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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chance of El Niño drops to 50%

Sou | 4:51 AM Go to the first of 124 comments. Add a comment

From the Bureau of Meteorology (the pdf report for the record):

Despite the tropical Pacific Ocean being primed for an El Niño during much of the first half of 2014, the atmosphere above has largely failed to respond, and hence the ocean and atmosphere have not reinforced each other. As a result, some cooling has now taken place in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, with most of the key NINO regions returning to neutral values.

While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific, and the (slight) majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for spring. Hence the establishment of El Niño before year's end cannot be ruled out. If an El Niño were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event.

Given the current observations and the climate model outlooks, the Bureau’s ENSO Tracker has shifted to El Niño WATCH status. This means the chance of El Niño developing in 2014 is approximately 50%, which remains significant at double the normal likelihood of an event.

Read the latest full report here.

Australia's wine industry is moving south to escape the heat

Sou | 4:18 AM Go to the first of 49 comments. Add a comment

Update - I've added a footnote showing how much hotter it's been getting over summer in south eastern Australia.

Climate change is already happening as you know. So do wine growers in Australia. Tasmania produces some rather nice boutique wines. It's going to produce a lot more.

Some of the big wine growers are setting up more vineyards in Tasmania, replacing the ones on the mainland where it's getting a tad too hot for wine grapes. From the ABC yesterday:
Climate change is helping to drive a boom in Tasmania's wine industry with interstate investors seeking cooler growing conditions, the state's peak body has said.
The industry is expected to benefit from the long-term effects of climate change, attracting interstate investors and boosting production.
Warmer weather conditions are already causing major mainland wine producers to invest in the state after seeing potential in Tasmania's cooler climate.
Wine Tasmania, the state's peak wine body, said there had been growing interest from major winemakers who were finding mainland conditions challenging.
The trend looks set to continue with figures from the Tasmanian Climate Change Office showing wine production in the state was growing by about 10 per cent a year.

I ventured a bit further and found some other articles on the subject. This one is from three years ago at, quoting Ross Brown of Brown Bros, one of Australia's more noted wineries from my region:
Brown Brothers Wineries CEO Ross Brown said he was sufficiently alarmed by climate change to have started relocating production of cooler varieties to Tasmania’s Tamar Ridge winery.
"Basically we are in the coolest part of Victoria (for wine) and that won't be cool enough to produce some of our main wines - for sparkling and pinot noir," Mr Brown said. 
"As the vineyards warm up a few degrees some of the varieties we are currently growing won't be viable in those vineyards in 10 to 15 years time."
Mr Brown said warming also presented a major challenge for wines that are suited to warm climates - like shiraz and cabernet - which would lose quality.
"In a warmer climate that heat and earlier ripening period creates richer and fuller bodied wines," he said. "But we are seeing a consumer demand for finer wines, more elegant wines and that does not augur well for people who are already making those rich fuller bodied wines." 

Other parts of the grape-growing world are also feeling the heat. In a few years, regions now covered in grape vines will look quite different and new regions will emerge. Think what that will do to the character of places like Tuscany and Bordeaux. From in February this year:
According to these projections, by midcentury Bordeaux could reach the upper temperature limits for growing red varieties, and will fall outside the ideal climate for its white grapes. Other areas are threatened too. Last year an international team of scientists showed that by 2050, some of the world’s most famous wine-making regions, including Tuscany in Italy, will shrink by nearly 70 percent.
That doesn’t mean the end of sauvignon blanc or merlot. But in the not-so-distant future, these well-recognized French wines may not come from France. Some wine producers in Champagne or Bordeaux already are moving north and setting up vineyards in southern England. There the soil is similar to the chalky substrate of Champagne, offering a hospitable environment for growing quality grapes. In other parts of the world, growers are expanding into areas previously not known for wine, setting up vineyards in India, Brazil and China.

Enjoy your favourite wine while you still can. The next bottle will be different.


A visitor here is in denial, so I've added a chart showing the temperature increase in south eastern Australia over the past few decades. The previous decade was around 0.9°C hotter than it was in the 1960s. These past three summers have been much hotter still, around 1.3°C hotter. This is the average summer temperature over the whole region.  I leave it to you to imagine how hot some days and week have been and how that can affect the grape harvest.

Data Source: BoM

It's not just summer, other seasons are changing too.

400ppm CO2 and Oh Dear! Another humungous blunderous blunder by Anthony Watts

Sou | 1:30 AM Go to the first of 23 comments. Add a comment

Update: see below for how Anthony shifts the blame!

A short while ago Wondering Willis Eschenbach wrote about Anthony Watts at WUWT:
So it is not Anthony’s job to determine whether or not the work of the guest authors will stand the harsh light of public exposure. That’s the job of the peer reviewers, who are you and I and everyone making defensible supported scientific comments. Even if Anthony had a year to analyze and dissect each piece, he couldn’t do that job.

Anthony Watts seems to agree that it's not his job to see if articles have any merit or not. And Willis is on the ball when he says that Anthony couldn't tell anyway.

Anthony Watts - big, huge, spectacular fail in climate 101

There's another example of that today (archived here). Anthony copied and pasted an article from another blog, which was itself taken from yet a third blog. (Deniers are into recycling in a big way.)  His claim this time is encapsulated in his headline:

EPA document supports ~3% of atmospheric carbon dioxide is attributable to human sources

Three per cent? 3%? WRONG - it's 30%!

Remember, Anthony Watts has been blogging about climate science or weather for more than seven years now. To not know that human activity has added more than 40% to atmospheric CO2 is amazing, even for someone as blockheaded as Anthony Watts. It makes you realise that Willis Eschenbach has hit the nail on the head. Anthony Watts doesn't know the first thing about climate. [Corrected phrasing/arithmetic, thanks Robert.]

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strange bedfellows at WUWT - the tin foil hat brigade and the pseudo-religious cult

Sou | 6:22 AM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts keeps very strange company. Remember last year when he boasted of giving one of his rare, wrong and excruciatingly boring lectures to the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness? Wondering Willis got to go this year and he loved it (archived here). Who'd have thought that they would boast of such a strange alliance.

The denialist doctors are a very weird mob. They are tied in with this mob. They are pro-DDT and are anti-vaxxers. They seem to be a survivalist group. I have images of them hoarding lentils and rice in their garages, checking their ammunition and stoking their back up generators while they wait for the apocalypse.

Then there's the Cornwall Alliance. That's that wacky cult who thinks that their god will protect them from all natural disasters and they have sworn to deny climate science. Today Anthony's hosted one of their mob, Paul Driessen (archived here), complaining that deniers are being scorned and vilified by, well, Greenpeace from what I gather. Not sure when or where. But Pat Michaels (of Pat'n Chip fame, who's not a member of the Cornwall cult AFAIK but often cited by them) and David Legates (who is a member of the Cornwall cult and coauthors papers with the potty peer, Christopher Monckton) are feeling a mite depressed and must've asked Paul to stand up for their right to reject science. You might remember David. He's the one who told a US Senate committee that CO2 is animal food!

Survivalists and a religious cult. What better company could Anthony Watts ask for?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Food and climate change and hypersensitive deniers at WUWT

Sou | 2:34 PM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment

In my experience, prolonged exposure to severe sharp pain can make a person hypersensitive to pain, at least temporarily.  Well I'm seeing the same effect with Anthony Watts at WUWT when it comes to fear.

Studies have suggested that some people process information via the amygdala more and they are hypersensitive to fear. That goes a long way to explaining the following. In fact it explains a lot about deniers. Deniers (ie the plebs as opposed to the disinformers) do appear to react strongly against anything that causes them to be scared. Their brain gets overloaded so they claim "it can't be true". I see it time and time again at WUWT. The words "scare" and "fear" come up a lot whenever climate science is discussed, with claims like "they are just trying to scare us".

Christopher Monckton knows very well that the threshold of fear among the denialati is much lower than average. He drafted an email which traded heavily on the scaredy cat tendency, you may recall (email here, which I discussed here). Any normal person would laugh or groan or tsk upon getting an email like that. I don't know how most deniers reacted. What I do know is that he managed to attract people to his events, so it's likely there were some people who didn't consign his email to the spam or trash folder.

Two days in a row Anthony's picked on perfectly normal headlines and claimed they are "hype".

Now hype happens all the time. Editors want to attract readers so they pick a headline that will scream for attention. Yet that wasn't the case in these two situations.  Here are the two cases (click read more if you are on the home page).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Denier weirdness: Anthony Watts at WUWT predicts major imminent global cooling

Sou | 9:25 PM Go to the first of 23 comments. Add a comment

Not a lot of time today but I just couldn't pass this one up.

Anthony Watts has gone full-on denier in an article about global surface temperatures (archived here). At the very end of his article he puts up this chart:

Source: WUWT
And he writes:
To my eye, I see a natural sine wave, which I’ve traced below on the same graph in solid grey, with extrapolated segments in dashed grey:
It seems to me that our current “pause” might simply be that we are at the top of that sine wave I see, and that we might actually see some cooling ahead, assuming it isn’t all adjusted away by the next “improvement” from NCDC.

First up, I'd say his eye is out a bit if he thinks it's a natural sine wave. Second up, did you notice his conspiratorial thinking? But lets leave all that aside and assume that the Anthony's "wave" will be repeated. Here's the result:

Oh my! It looks as if Anthony Watts has become a greenhouse effect denier. He speculates that global temperatures will drop by more than 1°C before the end of this century.

Addendum: How Anthony Watts "disappears" the Little Ice Age

Since Anthony bothered to put in some dotted lines for "extrapolated segments", you might like to see how well his hindcast matches up with the instrumental record. I've superimposed HadCRUT4 and "extrapolated" Anthony's wave. It's not looking too hot. Or should I say it is looking too hot. Has Anthony decided to "disappear" half the Little Ice Age? :)

Sources: WUWT and HadCRUT4

(Added by Sou 10:48 pm 27 July 2014)

Now compare Anthony's prediction with IPCC temperature anomaly projections for different cumulative total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. If we're not careful, by 2100 the world will be more than 3 or 4°C hotter than this year and maybe 5°C or more hotter than it was in 1870:

Adapted from source: IPCC AR5 WG1 Summary for Policy Makers

Click "read more" to see what WUWT deniers have to say.

Alec Rawls and WUWT deniers fail Christopher Keating's global warming challenge

Sou | 7:24 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

Alec Rawls is one of the conspiracy theorists who pops up at WUWT from time to time. Alec has written a two-part entry (archived here and here) into a competition you may have heard about. (He is promising a Part 3 as well, but don't hold your breath if these two are anything to go by.)

Christopher Keating has announced he will pay $30,000 to anyone who can prove, scientifically, that global warming isn't happening. (If you're thinking of entering, the $30k competition closes at the end of this month. He's got another easier comp, with a prize of $1,000 for the first correct entry.) Christopher Keating is a retired scientist who has written a book on the subject of climate change.

About the competition

The prize of $30,000 will be given to the first person who "can prove, via the scientific method, that man-made global climate change is not occurring".

The prize of $1,000 will be given to the first person who "can show there is valid scientific evidence indicating man made global warming is not real. It doesn't have to prove man made global warming is not real, it just needs to be valid scientific evidence against it".

Alec ponders nefarious intent

Now quite a number of people, like Alec, have decided to enter the $30k competition. However Alec, being the deeply suspicious person that he is, thought it could be what he called a bait and switch. You'll see how his mind works by the following.

Alec has announced that most fake sceptics don't dispute the fact that humans have caused at least a teensy weensy little bit of warming. He wrote that the $30k challenge as described above was "ridiculous". I guess he wanted another challenge. Alec wrote:
Ridiculous. There is hardly a skeptic alive who doesn’t think that human activity is causing some climate change, and in particular, some amount of warming. The question is whether one accepts the IPCC’s claim of extreme certainty that the human release of greenhouse gases is responsible for most late 20th century warming, and is on course to cause a dangerous amount of warming over the next century. Skeptics see this as unlikely, or as unsupported by the evidence, but it all comes down to the size of the human warming effect.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Climate disinformer Judith Curry, "pragmatic ethicist" despicably perpetuates a lie....

Sou | 8:19 AM Go to the first of 32 comments. Add a comment

Update: After this article which I tweeted to @curryja at the time, comments from Kevin O'Neill and Izen and two days after writing it, Judith has finally commented that she has changed her article (compare original to revised). She now refers to the headline but does not clarify what Professor Torcello actually wrote or the context or that she grossly misrepresented him and his views. She left the word "outrageous" to refer to Lawrence Torcello's "thinking about climate ethics", suggesting she views the organised funding of misinformation campaigns as more than perfectly okay. Does it fit with her "pragmatic ethics"?

Curry as amended... Torcello famously wrote an essay entitled Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent? More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics ...
Curry's original and very wrong portrayal... Torcello famously wrote that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”.  More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics

What Lawrence Torcello wrote (my bold italics):
When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent
Of interest may be the comments like this and this and these, especially in light of the fact that Lawrence Torcello's article attracted so much venom on denier blogs and upwards of 700 hate emails and telephone calls.

Following the disinformation on denier blogs earlier this year, Professor Torcello wrote a strongly worded very clear statement  (h/t MikeH in the comments below).

(Note also that in this article I have not discussed the suspect ethics and absurdly impractical suggestions that Judith was promoting to try to justify her push to not reduce CO2 emissions and not mitigate climate change, which could be worth an article in its own right.)

Sou 12:27 pm AEST 27 July 2014 - amended 12:58 pm to compare changed wording and add more for clarification.

I don't go there too often - it's too awful. However today I visited Judith Curry's blog and I found her perpetuating an old lie (archived here). Since, as a bully herself she gets so upset about people "bullying" (ie calling her out on her disinformation and worse), you'd have thought she'd be more cautious.

No, I won't yawn, Judith, I'm outraged

What was her lie? She was repeating the nonsense about the Laurence Torcello article in The Conversation back in March this year. You know, the one that prompted all the hate mail from deniers, some of whom could well have been part of an "organised campaign funding misinformation".

Judith has to know it's made up baloney. She even linked to the article itself.  So this is just one more piece of evidence to add to her long list of sins.  I can totally believe that Judith would "yawn" at ethics. This is what Judith wrote [now inserted full paragraph for comparison with the update above Sou 12:27 pm AEST 27 July 2014 ]:
My recent post Why scientists should talk to philosophers elicited a comment on twitter (that I can’t find) that recommended Lawrence Torcello as a philosopher that I should be paying attention to.  In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Torcello famously wrote that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”.  More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics is typified by this Nature essay by Stephen Gardiner.My response to most writings on climate ethics that I’ve encountered has ranged from outrage to a yawn..

No, that's not what Lawrence Torcello "famously wrote". He said nothing of the kind. He didn't say that climate scientists should face trial.  Perhaps the philosophers Judith talks to encourage her to be immoral and unethical (Judith's "pragmatic ethics"), although she needs no encouragement.

Compare what Judith wrote with what Lawrence Torcello actually wrote:
The importance of clearly communicating science to the public should not be underestimated. Accurately understanding our natural environment and sharing that information can be a matter of life or death. When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.

No mention of climate scientists except to say that the majority agree on global warming. Professor Torcello was talking about "an organised campaign funding misinformation", not climate scientists.

What Lawrence Torcello did say was that he didn't believe poor scientific communication should be criminalised:
I don’t believe poor scientific communication should be criminalised because doing so will likely discourage scientists from engaging with the public at all.

Well, Judith Curry is one of those rare scientists who should most definitely not be engaging with the public. She's not to be trusted.

(I've just had a thought. Maybe Judith, climate scientist, is admitting to being part of "an organised campaign funding misinformation". That could let her off the hook, couldn't it? Maybe - at a Curry-style stretch. Especially with her "pragmatic" ethics. Only to hang her on another hook, of course.)

Justice for deliberate disinformers who are in positions of influence

Let's hope that one day there will be justice for people like Judith Curry. People like Judith Curry, who used to be a Departmental Chair at Georgia Tech professorial chair at a minor university, should be held to higher standards than plebs like the normal denier crowd at WUWT.

[Georgia Tech is a very worthy institution and is not a minor university by any means. I apologise without reservation for the unintended slight to all the current top notch staff, students and alumni. The intended slight was aimed at the single individual who has diminished its reputation somewhat. There are duds in the best universities. Sou 1:16 pm  AEST 26 July 2014]

You know what was the razor blade in the soap? Judith wrote her lie under a headline:

Towards a pragmatic ethics of climate change 

Is it her pragmatic ethics that allows Judith to promote disinformation? Does it allow her to disregard any twinge of conscience or does she have no conscience?

I'd say if the former, she hides it very well, as evidenced by her testimonies to the US Government.

Don't count on hiatus, volcanoes won't help us

Sou | 6:37 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment

If you thought that global warming was bad enough now, just wait.

I was following up an article at WUWT (archived here), where deniers seem to have discovered for the first time that sulphate aerosols have a cooling effect. I thought they'd have known that by now, but no. More on that below.

In doing so, I found a new paper at GRL, which is a bit of a worry. The paper is "Drivers of decadal hiatus periods in the 20th and 21st Centuries" by Nicola Maher, Alexander Sen Gupta and Matthew H. England from the University of New South Wales.

The scientists figure that there won't be too many hiatus in surface temperatures after 2030, even if there's a large volcanic eruption. It's just going to get a lot hotter, and a lot hotter still if we don't cut CO2 emissions.

Here is the abstract:

The latest generation of climate model simulations are used to investigate the occurrence of hiatus periods in global surface air temperature in the past and under two future warming scenarios. Hiatus periods are identified in three categories, (i) those due to volcanic eruptions, (ii) those associated with negative phases of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) and (iii) those affected by anthropogenically released aerosols in the mid 20th Century. The likelihood of future hiatus periods is found to be sensitive to the rate of change of anthropogenic forcing. Under high rates of greenhouse gas emissions there is little chance of a hiatus decade occurring beyond 2030, even in the event of a large volcanic eruption.
We further demonstrate that most non-volcanic hiatuses across CMIP5 models are associated with enhanced cooling in the equatorial Pacific linked to the transition to a negative IPO phase.

If you're around much after 2030, best plan ahead. You can look forward to unrelenting warming with maybe a little relief every now and again (relatively speaking) from negative IPO phases or a big volcanic eruption. Below is a figure from the supporting information, which shows the projected effect of volcanoes on the surface air temperature based on the Access 1-0 climate model. Barely a blip, even if there were an equivalent of Krakatau.

SAT (surface air temperature) for the RCP4.5 (blue) and RCP8.5 (red) future scenarios in the ACCESS1-0 model. The effect of two different sized volcanic eruptions, Santa Maria size (dashed lines) and Krakatau sized (dotted lines) if they occurred in 2032 and 2087 are shown. b) Artificial annual radiative forcing from two volcanic eruptions in 2032 and 2087, Santa Maria (dashed black) and Krakatau (purple) sized.
Source: Maher14 Supporting Information

This finding is consistent with the work that was done over the past couple of years by Feulner and Rahmstorf in 2010 and by Meehl et al in 2013, on the effect of a grand solar minimum. Both papers found that there'd be minimal impact on global warming.

Effects of reduction in anthropogenic sulphate aerosols quantified

There are some similarities with the article referred to at WUWT except that was about human interference by way of first dirtying the air and then cleaning it up, rather than aerosols from volcanoes. The paper was also in GRL and was by Pierre Nabat, Samuel Somot, Marc Mallet, Arturo Sanchez-Lorenzo and Martin Wild. What they found was that reduced sulphate aerosols resulted in 23% of the warming and 81% of the brightening in Europe between 1980 and 2012.

The interesting thing was that this seemed to come as a surprise to Anthony Watts and his crew. His rather odd headline was: "The law of unintended climate consequences at work – study says 23% of warming in Europe since 1980 due to clean air laws". Seems like he didn't know that sulphate aerosols are a cooling force. It was almost as if he'd rather have dirty air than global warming.

The other odd thing was the following paragraph, which was probably directly copied from the denier website where Anthony got his article:
Note: Sulfur dioxide is an actual air pollutant, unlike harmless, essential, & beneficial carbon dioxide, despite the widespread scaremongering propaganda labelling CO2 as “carbon pollution”

Well, it's not really odd given that WUWT rejects science. Still, you more commonly read that sort of nonsense in the comments rather than in the main article, unless the main article is by ratbags like Tim Ball or Christopher Monckton.

From the WUWT comments

DS doesn't know about CO2 or aerosol forcing or solar radation and says:
July 25, 2014 at 11:18 am
But…but…but… I was told (obsessively, I might add) that the sun had nothing to do with Temps!
How can less pollution leading to more sun lead to higher temps if the sun has nothing to do with temps?

philjourdan has a very strange view of the world (and the paper) and says:
July 25, 2014 at 11:42 am
So now they want dirty (real) air! It is not enough to just starve all the poor and freeze them. They have to pollute the planet to save it. 

I don't know what is going through Joe Public's mind when he says:
July 25, 2014 at 11:50 am
Let’s not forget that in the UK (at least) the Clean Air Act led directly to the replacement of millions of domestic coal fires with much-more efficient gas fires.
That ensured far less CO2 & ‘waste’ heat being dumped into the atmosphere.
The net change was probably not proportional across Europe, but did the report’s writers factor that into their model? 

Kelvin Vaughan gets it right, especially for places where there are no clean air regulations enforced, when he says:
July 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm
So shutting down all the coal fired power stations will lead to more warming.

Nicola Maher, Alexander Sen Gupta and Matthew H. England, (2014) "Drivers of decadal hiatus periods in the 20th and 21st Centuries", Geophys. Res. Lett. doi: 10.1002/2014GL060527

Meehl, Gerald A., Julie M. Arblaster, and Daniel R. Marsh. "Could a future “Grand Solar Minimum” like the Maunder Minimum stop global warming?." Geophysical Research Letters 40, no. 9 (2013): 1789-1793.  DOI: 10.1002/grl.50361

Feulner, Georg, and Stefan Rahmstorf. "On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth." Geophysical Research Letters 37, no. 5 (2010).  doi:10.1029/2010GL042710, 2010

Pierre Nabat, Samuel Somot, Marc Mallet, Arturo Sanchez-Lorenzo and Martin Wild (2014). "Contribution of anthropogenic sulfate aerosols to the changing Euro-Mediterranean climate since 1980." Geophys. Res. Lett. doi: 10.1002/2014GL060798

Friday, July 25, 2014

Baby steps at WUWT towards a cleaner energy future?

Sou | 7:40 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

Today some tentative baby steps were taken on Anthony Watts blog at WUWT towards a cleaner energy future. The reason I say it's tentative baby steps is not that Anthony was promoting clean energy but because he was discussing it. That's one teensy weensy step forward from his usual nonsense that "global warming isn't happening or if it is it won't be bad".  He posted two articles that are (sort of) related to cleaner energy:

  • a clean energy plan for California
  • safe fracking

The tipping point - out of control...

Sou | 4:04 AM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

A previously unheard of 1,500 people per million ...

You dreaded this moment, but it looks like it has finally come. We've passed the tipping point...

The fact that the very existence of global warming somehow remains a topic of contention demonstrates that the density of these skeptics has spiraled out of control,” McCarthy said, citing data from the report showing that the concentration of the most ardent deniers recently reached a previously unheard-of 1,500 people per million. “While the U.S. remains the planet’s largest producer of climate change skeptics, countries halfway around the world are suffering environmental destruction from the actions of these people who refuse to acknowledge the threat of extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels. The effects of these outspoken deniers are truly global in scope.”

Read the full story at the Onion.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brendan Montague tells of the Las Vegas denier festival from the inside

Sou | 7:16 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

I've only just got around to reading Brendan Montague's account of the denier festival in Las Vegas. If you missed it - here's a link to the article.

Some snippets as tasters:
...The hundreds of sceptics around me not once questioned the bizarre, the illogical, the poorly constructed claims that swirled in front of our eyes. This parody of science was a deadly hybrid of 1970s Open University programmes and sub-Cirque du Soleil....
...Delingpole has written off one of the most influential climate studies as “ludicrous, comedy” and claimed its author, Professor Michael Mann at Penn State University, has “little discernible talent”. But during our confrontation he confirmed he had never interviewed Mann, never read his book and never read any of his scientific papers. I was dumbfounded. ...
...I buttonholed Joseph Bast and asked whether he had indeed chosen Vegas as a brilliantly daring provocation to his critics. The spin of the roulette wheel reminded me at least of the madness of sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps that plunged millions of Americans into penury. Was it social commentary? “No”, he said. “The rooms were cheap”.... 

Read the full article here.

Watching the weather for 84 years and the petty peeves of Anthony Watts

Sou | 11:57 AM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has an article about Richard G. Hendrickson, who is being honoured by the NOAA for watching the weather for 84 years. That's a very long time. Richard Hendrickson is now 101 years of age. He's been reporting weather at Bridgehampton, New York for the USA COOP network since he was just a lad of 18.

Congratulations, Richard. That's a long time of continuous service.

Richard Hendrickson is aware of global warming

The reason I'm writing this, apart from congratulating Richard Hendrickson, is because WUWT readers might be interested in the fact that he is concerned about global warming. He (or the journalist) might confuse the stratosphere with the troposphere, but he did say in a 2008 interview with the local paper:
We have polluted the stratosphere and because of that we have had warmer weather in the summer and milder weather in the winter and the potential of having heavy precipitation in the summer time increases– if not more rains, maybe they will be a little heavier than they have been in the past – you’ll notice your basement floods a little easier, your roof might leak a bit.
We are in a period in the cycle of global warming. We have polluted our stratosphere with our big factories and it will happen.

Adjusting data for time of observation

Anthony is determined to spoil Richard's celebration by complaining about how the weather station is not ideally sited and blames NOAA. Then he complains about data being adjusted. His headline (archived here, latest update here) was:
I wonder how this dedicated weather observer feels about having his readings adjusted by NCDC?

Anthony leaves that question for readers to wonder. He doesn't say that whether or not the readings have in fact been adjusted.  Apparently it's sufficient to ask the question.

Anyway, I checked some of the records from NOAA. For the Bridgehampton weather station, the time of observation wasn't recorded until the late 1940s. Then up until May 2008, the observations were taken at 8:00 pm. From then till now they were taken at 8:00 am. So I think that Richard Hendrickson would be quite comfortable with the data being adjusted to allow for the change in time of observation, if nothing else.

Anthony Watts' petty peeve

One more thing. Anthony is most irate that the Director of NASA's GISS, Dr Gavin Schmidt, doesn't spend all his days and nights sitting at a computer terminal entering data for individual US weather stations in the NOAA's COOP network. I wonder does he know the scope of NASA's work? Does he know, for example, that NASA gets data from NOAA? If he is concerned about the GHCNV3 data, why does he complain about NASA and not about NOAA?
…NASA GISS run by Gavin Schmidt, can’t seem to find the time to get their data set current for Bridgehampton, as seen here, only going to 2012. You’d think Gavin could tear himself away from Twitter long enough to at least get the data updated, especially since this man is so dedicated to the task.

This is from the NASA web page:
Q. Does GISS deal directly with raw (observed) data?
A. No. GISS has neither the personnel nor the funding to visit weather stations or deal directly with data observations from weather stations. GISS relies on data collected by other organizations, specifically, NOAA/NCDC's Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) v3 adjusted monthly mean data as augmented by Antarctic data collated by UK Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and also NOAA/NCDC's Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) v3b data. 

Does Anthony Watts, weather station watcher extraordinaire, not know that little fact? Apparently not. Anthony Watts isn't just a spoilsport and wet blanket, he is an ignorant spoilsport and wet blanket. He doesn't hold a candle to Richard G. Hendrickson or Gavin Schmidt.

Update: From the WUWT comments

Anthony has pledged "More on all this in a later post." Will this be another broken promise? A couple of people pointed out to Anthony Watts that GISS uses NOAA data.

I also see that in addition to the change in time of observation, there has been a station move. Nick Stokes says, quoting Jim:
July 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm
jim says: July 23, 2014 at 9:08 pm “Absent any location or observer specific reasons for the GHCN adjustment of the recorded data from this observation site, the GHCN adjustments are just destruction of observation data.”
Why not try to find out, then?
The first thing you’ll find is that data is undestroyed. In fact, it is graphed in the page you refer to, which shows what is on the unadjusted file. And as the head post indicates, you can get the original docs on line.
But in fact if you look at the adjustment history, there is just one sustained change in the early 1980′s. And sure enough, the metadata tells you there was a station move around that time.

Added by Sou at around 3:30 pm AEST 24 July 14

Latest WUWT archive here, in which HW is quoted (paraphrased) :) 10:42 pm AEST 24 July 14

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

James Risbey and co: Another perspective on surface temperature observations and climate models

Sou | 12:13 AM Go to the first of 44 comments. Add a comment

The new Risbey paper that so puzzled Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale and caused them to make public fools of themselves yet again, was not an evaluation of climate models. It wasn't an evaluation of model's ability to emulate ENSO. The research was answering the following question:

How well have climate model projections tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature?
Their answer was:
These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale gets it wrong again

Bob Tisdale writing at WUWT (archived here) gets so much wrong in his article about the Risbey paper that it would take several articles to demolish every item. I'm not about to go to all that trouble. Let me just list a few things he got wrong:

If I had to pick one mistake out of all the mistakes Bob made, apart from not understanding basic thermodynamics and conservation of energy, perhaps Bob's biggest mistake is that he thinks CMIP5 climate models are designed to model day to day and year to year real world weather for the next several centuries. They aren't. That's an impossible task. It would mean being able to accurately predict not only random weather fluctuations but also every action that could affect weather. Such as how many aeroplanes are going to be flying where and when. Where and when the next volcanic eruption will be and how energetic it will be and what will be the composition of the stuff that blows out of it. How the sun will vary over time. Plus being able to find a computer of a size, and people to code, every single possible present and future interaction between the air, the land, animals, plants, the oceans, the ice, clouds, rivers, lakes, trees, the sun and outer space.  Humans are good and computers are powerful, but not that good and not that powerful. It's not just random fluctuations and disturbances in nature. We also affect the weather. Scientists model climate with those big computer models, not day to day weather.

I've written more below about the difference between models that are used to make weather forecasts and models used for climate projections - with some examples and links to further reading.

Climate models and natural internal variability - if in phase it's pure chance

Before talking about any of the hows and whys of Bob Tisdale getting it wrong, let me follow up my article from a couple of days ago and talk more about the Risbey paper itself and climate models in general. If you want to read more about climate models, I recommend the article by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.

The abstract and opening paragraph of Risbey14 is important to understand if you are wanting to know what the paper is about. In particular these sentences:
Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations.

Climate vs weather

The bit I put in bold italics is what this paper is all about. Some people wrongly think that climate models designed to make long term projections should also reflect natural internal variability happening at exactly the same time as it happens in reality. Why they have that expectation is anyone's guess. As you know, even weather forecasts that are primed with the most recent weather observations can only predict weather a few days out at most before chance takes over and they head off in all sorts of random different directions. Climate models that don't have recent observations plugged in, but rely on physics, will include natural variability but that random natural variability will only occasionally be in sync with reality and then purely by chance. It's the effects of long term forcings like increasing greenhouse gases that are evident in climate projections and that's what we are most interested in from them. In other words, long term climate models are for projections of climate not weather.

How realistic are climate model projections?

The Risbey paper was looking to see if climate model projections were overestimating warming or not. It took a different approach to that taken by other studies. Other studies have looked at the question from different angles. Stephan Lewandowsky has explained three previous approaches in his article about the Risbey paper. You can read about them there, there is no need for me to repeat them here.

I will repeat the following from Stephan's article though, because it's a point that science deniers ignore. Observations remain within the envelope of climate model projections. As Stephan showed, this is illustrated by a chart from a paper by Doug Smith in Nature Climate Change last year.

Source: Smith13 via ShapingTomorrowsWorld
The chart above shows three things. First that the overall trend is up. It's getting hotter. Secondly observations are within the envelope of model projections. Thirdly that over time temperature goes up and down and doesn't go up at a steady pace. The bottom part of the chart is the trend per decade. It goes up and down but has mostly been in positive territory since 1970.

Predicting weather and climate

The Risbey paper sets the scene by describing the difference between a climate forecast and a climate projection, then the difference between weather variability and climate. It describes a climate forecast as attempting to take account of the correct phase of natural internal climate variations whereas climate projections do not.

Apart from any practical considerations, there are good reasons for this distinction. For climate projections looking ahead from decades to centuries, it doesn't matter much when natural internal climate variations come and go on a year to year basis. The interest is in the long term overall picture. For the next several decades and centuries, the interest will be in how much surface temperatures will rise, how quickly ice will melt, how soon and by how much seas will rise and where they will rise the most etc.

Even for projections over decades, we are most interested in regional climate change. Not interannual fluctuations such as ENSO variations so much as long term changes in the patterns of rainfall and temperature. ENSO affects weather. It will happen without climate change. The more important questions for the long term are things like: Will a region be getting wetter or drier? Will it be subject to more or less drought? Will the annual pattern of precipitation change, which will affect agricultural production, water supply management, flood control measures?

Climate models aren't yet able to be relied upon for projecting regional patterns of climate change with great accuracy but they can provide a guide.

The point is different models are adapted and used for different purposes. There are models used to predict short term weather. Some forecasts are fully automated (computer-generated) and others have human input. They are only useful for looking ahead seven to ten days. They are good for guiding decisions on whether to pack an umbrella, plant a crop, be alert for floods or scheduling construction tasks.

There are models that are constructed or adapted to make medium term weather forecasts, like those used by the Bureau of Meteorology to predict ENSO looking out over a few weeks to months. They are useful for making farm management decisions, utility companies making decisions on water storages (store or release water from dams), putting in a rainwater tank if it looks as if the next few months will be dry etc. They are forecasting weather not climate.

Then there are models adapted or constructed for longer term regional outlooks and models developed to look at the world as a whole.

Energy moves around between the surface, the ocean and the atmosphere

Climate models are used for more than just surface temperature. It's surface temperature that probably gets most attention in the media and on denier blogs. The world as a whole is warming up very quickly. Different parts of the system heat up at different times at different rates. Sometimes the air heats up more quickly than others. Different depths in the oceans heat up at different rates at different times too. Ice melts, but not at a steady pace. All that is because all these different parts of the system are connected. Heat flows between them. Anyone who goes swimming will have experienced the patches of warm water and patches of cold water in lakes, rivers and the sea. Just as heat is uneven on a small scale, it's uneven on a large scale.

I know some of you will be wondering why I'm taking readers back to climate kindergarten. Well if you read some of the comments to the previous article you can guess why. And if you manage to wade through even a part of Bob Tisdale's article at WUWT and the comments beneath, you'll get an even better appreciation.

CMIP5 projections are based on climate models not weather forecasts

All that is a prelude to the Risbey paper. It was looking at whether or not the recent global surface temperature trends are any different to what can reasonably be expected from model projections, given natural internal variability in the climate.

So the first thing to understand is that the CMIP5 climate model projections used by the IPCC will not generally model internal variability in phase with that observed over the model run. They do include internal variability but it's a stochastic property. It's purely a matter of chance when any model will show an El Niño spike or a La Niña dip in temperature for example. Whether a particular spike or dip lines up with what happens is pure chance. Sometimes a model run will be in phase with the natural variability observed and other times it won't. It's not important. Over time the natural internal variability cancels out. It's the long term trends that are of interest here, not whether an El Niño or La Niña happens at a particular time.

The Risbey approach

I call it the Risbey approach because James Risbey from Australia's CSIRO was the lead author. However I believe it was Stephan Lewandowsky who came up with the idea to take a look. Stephan thought it would be interesting to see what would be the effect on observations if the modeled natural internal variation was in phase with those observed.

Recall the point about climate models incorporating internal natural variation, but not necessarily in sync with when it happens in reality.  So what the team did was to look at windows of fifteen year periods and scan for model runs that were most closely aligned with observations, taking ENSO as the main measure of internal natural variability.

From the perspective of interannual internal variability, the factor that affects surface temperature as much or perhaps more than any other is ENSO. El Niño warms the atmosphere and La Niña has a cooling effect on the atmosphere. What happens is that heat is shifted between the ocean and the air. If there was no global warming trend, the surface temperature would go up and down with ENSO, leaving a long term trend of zero. (I've written a long article about ENSO, which includes references to good authorative sources.)

This brings us to the opening paragraph of the Risbey paper. On a short time frame, to see if models are reasonable, one needs to look at models that forecast. In other words, models that include natural internal variation that is in phase with what actually happens. Short to medium term forecast models do this by initialising them with the most recent observations or incorporating of the latest observations.  Most climate projection models are independent of recent observations. They are based on physics not live readings of what is happening. So if they happen to be in phase with internal natural variability at any time, it will only be by chance.

If you want to allow for natural internal variability and compare models with observations, one way you can do that is to look at model runs that happen to have a period of natural internal variability in phase with observations for the period of interest. That's what the Risbey team did.

Risbey14 looked at individual model runs and compared them with observations. For each fifteen year period they selected the model runs that were in phase with real world observations in relation to ENSO. They started with 1950 to 1964, then 1951 to 1965, then 1952 to 1966 etc. After selecting the models most closely aligned with ENSO phases observed for one fifteen year period, they moved up a year and looked at the next fifteen year period and so on. As well as that they were able to select, for each fifteen year period, the models that were most out of phase with ENSO.

Here is a conceptual visualisation of what they did:

Don't take too much notice of the actual data. It's a composite CMIP5 with GISTemp. And I'm not suggesting they eyeballed like that. They didn't. The above is just to get across the concept of what was done. In practice, the researchers selected model runs on the basis of their similarity in timing with real world observations of Niño 3.4 and related spatial patterns of sea surface temperature in the Pacific. [Correction: Stephan Lewandowsky has advised that during the selection phase they didn't look at the spatial patterns beyond Niño 3.4, which makes sense in the context of Figure 5 discussed below.] The image above is just so you get the idea that they looked at fifteen year periods starting with the period from 1950 to 1964.

The meaning of "Best" and "Worst"

That leads me to the discussion of "best" and "worst" that you may have read about and that Bob Tisdale got so wrong.

The research was not evaluating models. There is labeling on Figure 5 in the paper, which uses the words "best" and "worst". However there is no suggestion that the four "best" models are in any way superior to the four "worst" models in terms of what they are designed to do, which is future projections of climate. The word "best" denoted the subset of model runs in any fifteen year period that were most in phase with observations for ENSO. Conversely the word "worst" denoted the model runs that were least in phase with ENSO observations.

The paper compares the spatial pattern of temperature variation for the period 1998 to 2012. It compares models most in phase with the ENSO regime with observations as below. The real world observations are on the right: (click to view larger size)

Source: Figure 5 Risbey14

It also compares models most out of phase with the ENSO regime with observations:

Source: Figure 5 Risbey14

The point being made was that the model runs most in phase with the real world ENSO observations had a "PDO-like" spatial pattern of cooling in the east Pacific. Look at the above charts close to the equator near South America.  In the top left hand chart, while not as cool, the overall pattern is closer to the observations on the right. In the bottom chart, the warming is smudged all over and it doesn't show the cooler east Pacific. Figure 5 showed that the model runs most out of phase showed a "more uniform El Niño-like warming in the Pacific".

Bob Tisdale was thrown by the word "best" and "worst". He also seemed to think the climate model runs should have been identical to the real world. He's wrong because he doesn't understand what CMIP5 climate models are for or how they work. As the paper states, when you select only the model runs in phase for the period, you get much closer spatial similarity, not just a closer match for the surface temperature as a whole. When you lump all the climate model runs together, the multi-model trends average out the internal variability. Models will cancel out the effect of each other when you lump them all together, because on shorter time scales, it's only by chance that some have internal variability in phase with the real world.

When it comes to "best" and "worst", the paper was only referring to the extent to which selected model runs were in phase with the real world. There is no suggestion in the paper that any one model was any better as a model than any other. The research was not an evaluation of climate models. In fact, different models were in and out of phase in different fifteen year windows. Just because by pure chance a model run was in phase with ENSO over a particular time period did not mean that same model run was in phase with ENSO in other time periods.

Models will go in and out of phase with the real world over time. That randomness is intrinsic to climate models. The models are designed to respond to forcings like increasing greenhouse gases and changes in solar radiation. They exhibit internal variation too, because the physics is built in. But it won't generally be at exactly the same time as it happens in the real world. (If there were long term models that could do that, then most weather bureaus would be out of business.)

Now, if you have a large enough sample, then in any fifteen year period some model runs will line up pretty well with natural fluctuations in the real world. Just by chance. So if you want to see a short period of time, like say the last fifteen years, you can see if any model runs line up with ENSO over that period and if they do, how close are they overall to global surface temperature observations.

That's probably the nuts and bolts of the paper. Comparing all model runs for a short period like the last few years won't tell you a whole lot about whether the models are realistic or not. That's because individual model runs won't necessarily be in sync with the real world in regard to natural variability. They are expected to reflect the dominant climate forcings but not the exact timing of ENSO for example.

By looking just at model runs that just happen to be in sync (by chance), you can see how much they vary from the real world observations. This study showed that once you allow for the fact that models won't be in phase with natural variability, then the models are even closer to real world observations. I'll finish with the two figures showing trends, that Stephan had in his article. The one on the left is from the "in-phase" model runs compared with observations. The one on the right is those least "in-phase" compared with observations. As always, click to enlarge.

Source: Risbey14 via Shaping Tomorrow's World

Further reading:

Acknowledgement: Thanks to James Risbey for answering my naive questions so promptly. Thanks to Stephan Lewandowsky for describing the work so well. Any mistakes in this article are mine. It wasn't checked by any of the paper's authors before publication. Since then, I've made one correction, thanks to Stephan L. And thanks to all those who made available a copy of the paper so I could write this article - RN, AS, JR and SL.

Note: updated with more links to WUWT. Sou 11:14 pm 24 July 2014

James S. Risbey, Stephan Lewandowsky, Clothilde Langlais, Didier P. Monselesan, Terence J. O’Kane & Naomi Oreskes. "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase." Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2310

Monday, July 21, 2014

No fatal blunder: Matching climate models with ENSO matches observations.

Sou | 4:30 AM Go to the first of 98 comments. Add a comment

Update 2: I've now written the promised article. You can read it here. And you can click here to see the previous HotWhopper article on the subject.

Update: The devastating rebuttal is out (archived here). It is, as expected, not devastating at all, unless you were under the mistaken impression that Bob Tisdale understood climate models and global warming. If that were the case - be devastated. It's not a rebuttal either. All it is is Bob Tisdale missing the point and contradicting himself a few times in the process. He seems to think that the authors are dividing models into "good" and "bad". By my reading, he's missing the point. What the authors were doing is providing further evidence that the so-called "pause" is the result of natural variation (see below).

Anthony's own promised rebuttal hasn't appeared. I wonder if he was hoping that Bob Tisdale would let him appear as joint author? You can read the archived WUWT article here if you want to. I've got other things to do so won't be able to rebut Bob's rebuttal for a while yet (see PS below).

While I'm away, if anyone can send me a copy of the paper I'd be grateful (sou at I've emailed the authors, which is a bit hit and miss and/or it may be a while before they see my request. Got it now, thanks.

We're waiting for pseudo-science journalist Anthony Watts to write his "denier-blog-peer-reviewed" rebuttal to the new Risbey & co paper, describing the fatal blunder they think they've discovered. In the meantime, here is what looks to be the essence of the paper as described by Stephan Lewandowsky. (I'm not as clever as Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale because I don't have a clue what the fatal blunder could be.)

First the abstract to the paper in Nature Climate Change (my paras):
The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations.
We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

Stephan described how in order to compare models to observations, they "must be brought into phase with the oceans. In particular, the models must be synchronized with El Niño – La Niña". He described three approaches to doing this, which have already been published, including one that I've written about here. He then goes on to describe this new analysis:
The fourth approach was used in a paper by James Risbey, myself, and colleagues from CSIRO in Australia and at Harvard which appeared in Nature Climate Change today.
This new approach did not specify any of the observed outcomes and left the existing model projections from the CMIP5 ensemble untouched. Instead, we select only those climate models (or model runs) that happened to be synchronized with the observed El Niño - La Niña preference in any given 15-year period. In other words, we selected those models whose projected internal natural variability happened to coincide with the state of the Earth’s oceans at any given point since the 1950’s. We then looked at the models’ predicted global mean surface temperature for the same time period.
For comparison, we also looked at output from those models that were furthest from the observed El Niño - La Niña trends.
The results are shown in the figure below, showing the Cowtan and Way data (in red) against model output (they don't differ qualitatively for the other temperature data sets):

Stephan posted these charts - click to see them enlarged:

He wrote:
The data represent decadal trends within overlapping 15-year windows that are centered on the plotted year. The left panel shows the models (in blue) whose internal natural variability was maximally synchronized with the Earth’s oceans at any point, whereas the right panel shows the models (in gray) that were maximally out of phase with the Earth.
The conclusion is fairly obvious: When the models are synchronized with the oceans, they do a great job. Not only do they reproduce global warming trends during the last 50 years, as shown in the figure, but they also handle the spatial pattern of sea surface temperatures (the figure for that is available in the article).
In sum, we now have four converging lines of evidence that highlight the predictive power of climate models.

You can read Stephan Lewandowsky's full article here - it's worth it.

Now what problems Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale think they have found is still a mystery, which we will unravel in due course. I can't fathom what it could be.

I wonder if they both think that all climate models should mimic natural variability in synchronisation with what is observed? That would be an unrealistic expectation, though it would be nice to have. It would also suggest that they don't understand climate models. My favourite description of models is provided by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.

I'll add to this article once Anthony has written his devastating rebuttal :) Meanwhile, try to get your head around what Anthony finds "of interest". His brain is positively addled with conspiratorial ideation. He added this to his earlier article, where the paper describes the contributions from the various authors:
of interest is this:
J.S.R. and S.L. conceived the study and initial experimental design. All authors contributed to experiment design and interpretation. S.L. provided analysis of models and observations. C.L. and D.P.M. analysed Niño3.4 in models. J.S.R. wrote the paper and all authors edited the text.

And this will amuse:
The rebuttal will be posted here shortly.
PS I've now got two three copies of the paper - thank you very much RN and AS and JR. I'm on the road today, and won't get a chance to sit down and write about Bob's ramblings before tomorrow. Same goes for comments. I'll be able to delete dumb comments, but won't have time to repost them to the HotWhoppery until tomorrow. (That last is just in case any little mouse thinks of playing while the cat's away ...)

Sou 11:24 am AEST 21 July 2014

James S. Risbey, Stephan Lewandowsky, Clothilde Langlais, Didier P. Monselesan, Terence J. O’Kane & Naomi Oreskes. "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase." Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2310

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Has a "climate journalist" discovered a major blunder?

Sou | 1:04 PM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

Update 2: I've written two more articles about this. The main one is about the paper itself and points out some of the errors made at WUWT. The other was an interim follow up to the release of the paper.

Update: the Risbey paper is out (h/t Steve Bloom) and can be accessed here at Nature Climate Change, but you'll need a subscription. Stephan Lewandowsky has been good enough to write about it on his blog.

Sou 3:53 am AEST 21 July 2014

We'll have to wait and see. Anthony Watts thinks he has found a "major blunder" in a new paper (archived here). This is the same Anthony Watts who was described by his good friend, Willis Eschenbach, as (paraphrased):
Even if Anthony had a year to analyze and dissect each piece...(he publishes on his blog, he couldn't tell if it would)... stand the harsh light of public exposure. 

This same Anthony Watts writes:
As a climate journalist running the most viewed blog on climate, I have been graciously provided an advance copy of the press release and paper Risbey et al. (2014) that is being held under embargo until Sunday, July 20th. I am in the process of helping to co-author a rebuttal to Risbey et al. (2014) I think we’ve spotted a major blunder, but I want to check with a team member first. 

If Anthony Watts is a climate journalist he hides it well. Anthony is hopeless at the job. He posed as a journalist to get a free press pass to AGU13, but the most interesting thing he "reported" was that he could hear the sound of smirks. The rest could not be described as "journalism" by any stretch of the imagination.

This is the same Anthony Watts who had so much difficulty Googling "James Risbey, CSIRO" and clicking on the first item in the list, writing:
Hello Dr. Risbey,
At first I had trouble finding your email, which is why I sent it to Ms.Oreskes first. I dare not send it to professor Lewandowsky, since as we have seen by example, all he does is taunt people who have legitimate questions.

This is the same Anthony Watts who thinks dumb questions are "legitimate".  Anthony doesn't like being "taunted".

Clarification: In case you thought Anthony had been "graciously provided" with a copy of the paper by the journal Nature or one of the authors, you'd be wrong. He said he was emailed a copy by a "journalist". (My guess is the so-called "journalist" is someone like Steve Milloy who blogs junk science.) Sou: 7:45 pm AEST 20/7/14

If you're interested, the question that Anthony posed was related to climate models and the simulation of "spatial patterns of the warming and cooling trends in sea surface temperatures during the hiatus period". There was a special issue of Nature Geoscience this March, which had a number of articles relating to global warming over the past few years. And there've been other papers, such as this one by Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie in Nature.

Getting back to Anthony's question - he said he wants to "check with a team member first".  But that claim is contradicted by the fact that he was so excited that he might have found "something wrong" that he preempted any reply by writing about it on his blog.

True to form, Anthony doesn't wait for the answer, but posts about his "cleverness" on his blog. That's the point. He doesn't care about the answer. All he cares about is that a question at WUWT, any question, no matter if it's dumb or on the ball, is fodder for dumb deniers to claim AGW is a hoax.

We'll have to wait and see if Anthony Watts and perennially puzzled Bob Tisdale have accidentally been right this time. Since we don't yet know what the paper is about (though we can take a stab at guessing the general topic), there is insufficient data to come to any conclusion.

From the WUWT comments

Brad says:
July 19, 2014 at 9:58 am
Very well written!! Nothing “extra” added, simply asking a question.
It will be interesting to see if you get a response, or the release gets pushed back.

Anthony's response to Verity Jones is more evidence that he is not a climate journalist. Otherwise he'd be well aware of the fact that Stephan Lewandowsky and Naomi Oreskes are not climate modellers. Verity says:
July 19, 2014 at 10:06 am
I was going to ask if you were sent the supplementary data that so often accompanies papers published in Nature, but it is unusual for papers relying on separate supplements to refer the reader to them, so I am supposing this is not an oversight of the sender in this case. Very well handled.
REPLY: I asked the journalist if an SI was included, and none was listed. Still such an important label of the best and worst models, central to the claim of the paper, surely would not be relegated to the depths of an SI. – Anthony 

At the time of archiving there were 130 comments. So many strong opinions about a paper that has not yet been released from the embargo. About a paper of which no-one but Anthony and Bob Tisdale know the subject. About the authors of the paper, and about Anthony's cleverness and astuteness as a "climate journalist".

Whether the Weather

I hope James Risbey doesn't mind my copying his little rhyme, which most internet sources attribute to John Ruskin:

Whether the weather be fine 
Or whether the weather be not 
Whether the weather be cold 
Or whether the weather be hot, 
We'll weather the weather 
Whatever the weather 
Whether we like it or not.

And I've got my own version: 
Some of us will weather the weather, 
some of us will end up under the weather, 
some of us are totally over the weather and, 
whether we like it or not, 
some of us won't weather the weather at all.

Sou 4:29 pm AEST 20 July 2014