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Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Up yours!" sez Anthony Watts with another Tim Ball "Climate Hoax" conspiracy theory

Sou | 2:11 PM Go to the first of 133 comments. Add a comment


See hypotheses - added below.


There had only been two three WUWT articles since the Tim Ball fiasco of the other day. Now there's a third fourth. Who'd a thought it - it's by the man himself, Tim Ball (archived here). Anthony is bowing to his conspiracy theorising readers and reassuring them that he hasn't thrown their favourite number one climate conspiracist to the dogs. (Edit: I missed one article. There was one talking about some chap who said something or other about the new health care system in the USA, therefore climate science is a hoax. Or something like that.)

This is also Anthony getting back at all those nasty science types, who objected to Tim Ball claiming that climate science is a giant hoax. This is Anthony thumbing his nose at Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards and telling them - go jump. He figures he'll probably never be invited to dine with them again anyway.

Local news - conservatives lose out, Greens gain in Victoria

Sou | 3:39 AM One comment so far. Add a comment


Tides turn. We've just had state elections today.

It's no surprise that the Labor Party was elected back in after the conservatives, the Liberals in coalition with the Nationals, had been governing my home state of Victoria for a while. The Victorian Liberals aren't the same as the Federal Liberal Party - they are much less conservative here. However they had their problems and it was predicted they'd miss out today. Which they did.

A lot of the credit can probably go to our dismal Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, even though this is a state, not a federal election. The interesting bits was the election of a Greens candidate to the seat of Melbourne. It's the first time a Greens candidate has been elected to the Lower House. And there could be more, but it's too close to call just yet. The other interesting result was the likely loss of a rural seat (Shepparton) from the conservative party, the Nationals. The swing against the Nationals in that seat is currently sitting at 32.5% - which is massive. It's not unlike what happened in my electorate of Indi in the Federal election, when Cathy McGowan was elected.

State elections are not really anything to get too excited about.  What the result does show is that pendulums swing. And governments can't count on conservative voters. The Federal government should be getting a bit nervous, as should the conservative government in Queensland, which from what I read is not very popular either.

Why did the water in the kettle boil? Because it got hot!

Sou | 3:04 AM Go to the first of 47 comments. Add a comment


WUWT has been really, really quiet since the fiasco with Tim Ball's latest conspiracy blurb and the response. Usually there are anything from three to eight articles a day. There have only been three articles in the past three days, including the fiasco article.

There's one by Willis Eschenbach about a buoy and temperatures. It's too trivial to archive. There's another by "Bob Tisdale", about an article on Ed Hawkins' blog by Geert Jan van Oldenborgh. "Bob's" article isn't worth reading, either, though if you want to do so it's archived here. The article on Ed Hawkin's blog is worth reading.

Dr. van Oldenborgh's article is explaining how there is more energy being stored on earth than is coming in from the sun. He writes how most of it is being accumulated in the ocean.

"Bob" on the other hand doesn't want his readers to hear about that. He's gone off on some tropospheric tangent. He's also gone down the route that deniers go down, foolishly writing:

As we can see, yes, the oceans to depths of 2000 meters (about 1.25 miles) have warmed according to the NODC data, but note the warming rate. It is only +0.03 deg C/decade. That’s read 3 one-hundredths of a deg C per decade, which is a very tiny warming rate. It would be even tinier if we had data for the oceans from the surface to the ocean floor.

"Bob" doesn't mention the enormous heat capacity of the ocean. Just tosses around words like "miniscule" to describe ocean warming, which demonstrates his ignorance or his deceit. Or a mix of the two. Globally, the oceans are now probably as hot as they've been at least since the beginning of civilisation - and it won't stop as long as we insist on turning up the heat. The oceans absorb more than 90% of the extra energy that's being built up in the system. It won't take much for the surface to get quite a bit warmer. Here's a chart I did a while back on the ocean heat content:

Data Source: NOAA


You might recall that scientists have figured out that the oceans in the southern hemisphere have been warming faster - which doesn't show in the above.

There are some interesting charts in Dr. van Oldenborgh's article. He's plotted anomalies of surface temperatures against CO2, putting in the years. Go over and have a look. And while you're there you might think of something worthwhile to add to the comments, to let them know it's not just deniers reading the article :)


"Bob's" circular thinking


"Bob" is getting his excuses lined up for the next bout of global warming, writing:
Global surface temperatures in 2014 are very likely to be at record high levels in 2014. We are going to see that framed in many ways in months to come. However, we understand the reason for those record high levels to be the unusual warming of the eastern North Pacific. 

That's a bit like claiming that the water in the kettle boiled because it got hotter. It didn't boil because you put it on the stove and lit the gas.


From the WUWT comments


There aren't a lot of comments. I'll just pick out two as typical:

Neillusion is very sure what is not causing this very rapid rise in temperatures;
November 29, 2014 at 5:32 am
It is a change, a change from warming to ‘no change’ in temp that has three possible future trends, to start warming again, to stay even, or to start cooling. Until it is known why it warmed in the first place (and was cooling before that), no-one knows which of the three futures it’s gonna be. The only thing I’m personally sure of is that the ‘why’ has nothing to do with CO2

david smith, for some inexplicable reason, thinks that we here will be annoyed about what he thinks is virtually undetectable warming, that has been detected:
November 29, 2014 at 5:02 am
Thank you Bob. Informative as always.
The essential message from this post is (quite correctly) that we have absolutely nothing to worry about, the ocean ‘warming’ is virtually undetectable, and the models have been useless.
They’ll be annoyed over at Hot Whopper. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Disgusting Deniers: Anthony Watts exploits the publicity he got from Tim Ball

Sou | 1:56 AM Go to the first of 57 comments. Add a comment


Added an addendum. Sou 28 Nov 14

Update again - The article I've written about now has more than 500 comments (archived here) and Anthony has chosen to not dilute it's impact (he's not posted any other article today), unusually but not unexpectedly. Thus adding considerable weight to my contention that Anthony Watts saw the opportunity presented by Tim Ball's article as too good to pass up. He couldn't believe his luck when he got the huge bonus that scientists themselves even offered to lodge a complaint at WUWT. This is being mis-sold as if it means Tim Ball's nasty weird impossible ideas has legs (smoke and fire). Meanwhile Anthony Watts is sitting back with a big smirk on his face, rubbing his hands gleefully.
Sou - 28 November 2014


Tim Ball wrote an absolutely disgusting article from his first words to his last and everything in between, and Anthony Watts went and put it up on his blog - see here. Lots of people were appalled and shocked. So you can guess how bad it must have been. For anyone to be shocked at something that appears at WUWT it has to be really, really bad.

Anthony's reaction was shameful and continues to be so. He tweeted at one point (h/t rubiginosa):


Can you imagine? WUWT claimed that all climate scientists, including Richard Betts, are fooling the world and engaged in some giant deception, and Anthony has the gall to invite a scientist to "refute" it. He sees a chance to get more people to read his blog.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Various views flying about at WUWT

Sou | 8:51 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment


There's not a lot happening in the deniosphere today as far as I can see. Anthony Watts posted another of his "claim" headlines, this time with slight variation (archived here). His headline read "Model claim: airplanes of the future won’t be able to take off at some airports due to global warming". His headline implies some airports would have to close, which isn't what the paper said.

The copy and paste this time was the abstract from a paper in the AMS journal, Weather, Climate and Society, about how the increase in surface temperatures is affecting aircraft. (For some reason, Anthony Watts said it was published in BAMS, but it wasn't.) The abstract, which was all Anthony published, states in part:

For a given runway length, airport elevation, and aircraft type there is a temperature threshold above which the airplane cannot take off at its maximum weight and thus must be weight restricted. The number of summer days necessitating weight restriction has increased since 1980 along with the observed increase in surface temperature. Climate change is projected to increase mean temperatures at all airports and significantly increase the frequency and severity of extreme heat events at some.
It goes on to discuss how it will be a particular problem in the future for airports having short runways and no room to extend them.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Anthony Watts tries for one foot in the Hitler camp and one foot out

Sou | 1:31 AM Go to the first of 39 comments. Add a comment


I've noticed a few people expressing shock and disbelief that Anthony Watts would put up the article that Tim Ball wrote the other day.

I don't know why they picked out that particular one.

Yes, it was shocking. Yes, it was not only one of the dumbest articles you'll ever read, it was horrible. Tim Ball was basically accusing climate scientists of being Hitlers. He quoted a passage from Hitler's writings to prove that climate science was one big con. (Yeah - weird!) He was accusing climate scientists of massive deception on a centuries-long world-wide scale, which is something that Anthony encourages his readers to believe quite often. So that's nothing new.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Belief trumps fact at WUWT. And are fake sceptics "cynics"?

Sou | 9:18 PM Go to the first of 34 comments. Add a comment


Anthony Watts gives another illustration of his limited vocabulary and poor grasp of English (archived here). Anthony put up a rather nice photo of a researcher at Michigan State University and described him as looking "angry". He doesn't. He's even showing a hint of a smile.

Many times when Anthony disagrees with someone, he describes them in terms of being "angry" or "full of hate" or "mendacious" or a variation. Those are three of his favourite ways of describing people with whom he disagrees. He couldn't label this scientist using what is pretty well the only other descriptor in his arsenal, an "anonymous coward" or a "hateful anonymous coward", because his name was on the research paper and in the press release. And anyway, he showed his photo, which tends to dispel any notion of anonymity.

Anthony seems unable to write: "I disagree with X because Y".  Many times it's because Anthony can't figure out what "X" is.  All he knows is that it's something that he disagrees with. Maybe because a scientist wrote it. Or maybe because the person who said "X" votes Democrat. Or maybe because they wear yellow socks, or a polka dot tie, or a skirt and high heeled shoes. Whatever. If by some chance Anthony does work out what is being said (the "X"), then he's unable to articulate the "Y" - why he disagrees. In this case it's really hard to figure out what Anthony Watts disagrees with or finds contentious. The research results should not surprise anyone.

This particular researcher, Michigan State University sociologist Aaron M. McCright, has had a paper published about American perceptions of weather and human-caused global warming. Interestingly it was published in Nature Climate Change, rather than a sociology journal.


An unsustainable planet - and yellow submarines in Antarctica

Sou | 3:17 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment


I was reading WUWT today, there's an interesting article about new research on Antarctic sea ice, which the WUWT-ers are finding difficult to get their head around. Anthony didn't go to any trouble as usual (archived here), he just copied and pasted the press release. If you want to keep up with science news, you'd do better by reading ScienceDaily.com than WUWT. So here's a bit more about it, plus the denialati reaction.

First the research itself. There's a press release at ScienceDaily.com about how scientists have produced detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. That means ice thickness as well as showing how ice behaves in winter (there's not much sea ice in summer around Antarctica). Here's a map highlighting the areas that the scientists wrote up about in the paper in Nature Geoscience. As always, click to enlarge.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Bob Tisdale gets into a spot of hot water

Sou | 12:36 PM Go to the first of 66 comments. Add a comment


Today Perennially Puzzled "Bob Tisdale" is puzzling over sea level. He's branching out a bit from his normal sea surface temperature, or SST for those "in the know" like "Bob" :) - but not too far. And, for a change, he's decided to prove that it's not ENSO that's causing global sea levels to rise, sort of. He doesn't go quite as far as admitting that melting ice and thermal expansion of water from the hotter oceans or changing salinity have anything to do with sea level change, let alone that it's got anything to do with human activity. But it's a small step in the right direction.

Of course, he didn't admit to that.

The spot of hot water "Bob" got into (archived here) is near the Philippines. He wrote about "The region east of the Philippines" and said:
For months, I’ve wanted to plot the data for that region, so that I could get a rough idea of its contribution to the global rate of sea level rise.

Smaller volcanic eruptions helped slow warming, but deniers at WUWT don't believe it

Sou | 3:14 AM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment


There was a paper that came out last week that you might have heard about. It was by David Ridley from MIT and a team of others, including some very high profile scientists. What they did was investigate the impact of volcanoes over the past few years. They found that the cooling effect of volcanoes since 2000 could be from 0.05°C up to as much as 0.12 °C, which would be quite a bit more than previously thought.

The Sarychev Peak Volcano, on Matua Island, erupted on June 12, 2009.
Credit: NASA via AGU

There have been other recent studies looking at the impact of volcanoes, including by some of the co-authors of this paper. I've written previously about the article by Gavin Schmidt, Drew Shindell and Kostas Tsigaridis,  in a special edition of Nature Geoscience, "Focus on recent slowdown in global warming". That issue also had an article on volcanoes, two of whose co-authors were also co-authors on the Ridley paper.

This new work was different.

What this team did was look particularly at the impact of volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere below 15 km. From satellite observations, scientists know that above 15 km, volcanic eruptions that are smallish in size can perturb incoming solar radiation. David Ridley found that below 15 km in the stratosphere, there has also been a measurable impact by volcanoes.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Finally - another WUWT article on the drought in California

Sou | 10:58 AM Go to the first of 32 comments. Add a comment


Maybe the niggling from here has paid off. Anthony Watts has finally posted another article on the California drought. Well, WUWT has mentioned it a couple of times before already, in an article about Daniel Swain's recent research paper, and back in January this year, when he proclaimed it had nothing to do with global warming.

Today he's wanting to downplay it again in an article by Robert Moore (archived here).  He's not downplaying it quite so much this time. The top lot of images he's used don't help his argument much. It shows how the drought emerged over the past 3 years. Here's what it looks like now - a very small improvement from the worst of it three months ago (click to enlarge):

Source: US Drought Monitor

Friday, November 21, 2014

The back story

Sou | 2:53 PM Go to the first of 40 comments. Add a comment


This is just a placeholder for any stray WUWT-ers who are not such fake sceptics that they'll not investigate denialist claims made at WUWT. What Dr Michael Singer actually wrote. In full. Without the quote-mining by Jim Steele.

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/11/jim-steele-at-wuwt-pushes-for-pseudo.html

Dr Singer's long comment is in the body of the article. He adds quite a bit more in the comments. I'm linking to this to put Jim's latest dummy spit into perspective.

(Didn't I once say that sexism and climate science denial are common to a certain demographic? I did? Yep, I was right, wasn't I.)

PS WUWT moderator Smokey aka dbstealey aka D Boehm aka  ~dbs is wrong again as usual. Here's why.

Deniers are weird at WUWT. ENSO is a BoM conspiracy!

Sou | 12:37 AM Go to the first of 212 comments. Add a comment


Yeah, yeah. You knew already that deniers are WUWT are a weird mob. But did you know just how weird they are?

There's finally another WUWT article (archived here) by Bob Tisdale about the BoM alert for El Nino, which you might have read about here the other day. That isn't what I'm writing about. What I'm writing about is some of the comments in response.

This is the 21st article that Bob's written on the possibility of an El Nino this year (at least), but do you know what some of the riff raff are writing? Are they complaining that WUWT is obsessed by ENSO? Nope. Are they complaining that Bob Tisdale is trying to frighten the fake sceptics? Nope.

It's not WUWT or Bob Tisdale who they are complaining about. What the WUWT lot are claiming is that the BoM fortnightly ENSO updates are all a plot by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to frighten the pants off the dumb deniers at WUWT.

Hold on to your hats. Here comes the conspiracy brigade - over ENSO would you believe!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wondering Willis Eschenbach has gone nuts about volcanoes at WUWT

Sou | 8:19 PM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment


Wondering Willis Eschenbach has a new article at WUWT (archived here). It's not at all clear what he is wondering about this time. He's ostensibly writing about an icelandic volcano that began erupting on June 8, 1783 and continued until Feb. 1784. His article is full of contradictions and false claims. It's more evidence that Willis has gone around the twist. He says of the volcano:

It is claimed to have caused a very cold winter in 1783-1784

No, Willis - the scientists you cite say the complete opposite


The problem is that he doesn't say who claims that. The only scientific paper he cites is D’Arrigo et al (2011), which doesn't make any such claim. In fact, that team is arguing that the very cold winter of 1783-84 was not connected to the Laki eruption. From the abstract:
Data sources and model simulations support our hypothesis that a combined negative NAO‐ENSO warm phase was the dominant cause of the anomalous winter of 1783–1784, and that these events likely resulted from natural variability unconnected to Laki. 

"Unconnected to Laki" is what they wrote. So what is Willis going on about? It's a very mixed up article by Willis. He's been getting increasingly ratty (erratic) of late. Denialism isn't good for one's mental health is my guess. Cognitive dissonance causes brain farts.


More double standards at WUWT: Not one person asked to see the data from Pat'n Chip

Sou | 4:45 PM Go to the first of 21 comments. Add a comment


It looks as if Anthony Watts is getting his marching orders from the CATO Institute this week. First there was Paul Driessen wanting to "bring back smog". Now we've got the disinformer duo, Patrick J. Michaels and his sidekick, Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger - affectionately known as Pat 'n Chip (archived here). What this pair is trying to tell us is that what the IPCC report said about a "hiatus" is reflected in science papers about the so-called "hiatus" in global surface temperatures. They are in essence claiming the IPCC was correct. (Actually, to sell their story to the deniers, Pat'n Chip made up stuff about what the IPCC report actually said, pretending it said something different so they could argue the point. It's called building a strawman.)


What pause? There is no pause in global warming!


Remember, a "slow down" (or even the poorly named "hiatus") in global surface temperature does not in any way signify a pause in global warming. The earth continues to warm up. This year even the global surface temperatures are setting new records.

Data source: NASA GISS - including average year to date to October 2014.


ENSO Wrap up - El Niño Alert

Sou | 2:55 AM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment




The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has shifted its ENSO status to alert, meaning there's a 70% chance or greater of an El Niño. I've updated the sidebar with the latest announcement (pdf version) from BoM.
The Pacific Ocean has shown some renewed signs of El Niño development in recent weeks. Above-average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean have warmed further in the past fortnight, while the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has generally been in excess of El Niño thresholds for the past three months. Climate models suggest current conditions will either persist or strengthen. These factors mean the Bureau's ENSO Tracker Status has been upgraded from WATCH to ALERT level, indicating at least a 70% chance of El Niño occurring.
Not all indicators have shifted towards El Niño. Tropical cloudiness near the Date Line and trade wind strength are close to average, suggesting the atmosphere is still not firmly linked with the warmer ocean below. However, trade winds have weakened several times over the past few months and SOI values have remained generally negative, suggesting at least some atmospheric response to the underlying ocean conditions.
International climate models expect the warm tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures to persist, with most models predicting values will remain near or beyond El Niño thresholds for the next two to three months. Regardless of whether or not El Niño fully develops, warmer-than-average tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, combined with cooler waters currently to the north of Australia increase the chance of some El Niño-like impacts. For many parts of Australia, this suggests below average rainfall and above average temperatures in the months ahead (as shown by the November–January Climate Outlook).

Here are the POAMA model projections - it doesn't look as if it will be earth shattering if it does eventuate. As always, click the image to enlarge it:

Source: BoM


This is what the monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for October looked like:

Source: BoM

And here's a comparison of sub-sea surface temperatures with earlier in the year:

Source: BoM

The updates come out every fortnight. Here is a link to pdf files of the current and past updates.


If you want to learn more about ENSO, this is probably the most extensive article I've written, and it has lots of links so you can explore further.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paul Driessen and CFACT want to send Americans back to the Smog Age

Sou | 8:30 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment


After an article about the Bronze Age, now Anthony Watts is touting the delights and health benefits of the smog age (archived here). Many Americans probably don't remember that golden era (dirty pink-yellow haze era?) all that well. When I was in primary school, we learnt about the smog in Los Angeles, where the topography collided with the vehicle exhausts and factory emissions and made the air downright dangerous to human health and well-being.

Anyway, Paul Driessen wants the USA to get rid of clean air regs and allow factories and cars to smother his fellow citizens in smog and pollutants. He wrote about:
...concerns about the effects the tsunami of regulations is having on the livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare of millions of American families.

Bring back SMOG - Yay!


Yep. Get rid of that tsunami of regulations. Bring back smog. 

Smog - Credit: Reuters, I think. It's all over the Internet.

What's getting him all irate now is that the EPA is looking to tighten controls to reduce ground-level ozone in the USA. He's rolled this gripe into an article about environmental regulations all up. It's Paul's job to complain about clean air. He works for CFACT, which AFAIK is an anti-environment lobby group for polluters in the USA.

So if you want unhealthy air, go over to WUWT and pledge your support for Paul Driessen and his dirty air pro-smog campaign.

Paul is complaining that the EPA is wanting to reduce the permissible ozone levels to "70 or 60 ppb", Well, this is old news. There's a paper from 2010 with the proposed changes:
The EPA is proposing to strengthen the 8-hour “primary” ozone standard, designed to protect public health, to a level within the range of 0.060-0.070 parts per million (ppm). 

In Australia, the national air quality standards restrict ozone to 0.10 ppm of ozone measured over a one hour period and 0.08 ppm of ozone measured over a four hour period, which isn't too different from what's being proposed by the US EPA. I haven't heard of anyone complaining about them. We like our clean air in Australia.

For more on ozone, here's a handy guide for you if you've got an ozone detector.


From the WUWT comments


There aren't a lot, only four so far and none worth reporting.

The end of the Bronze Age at WUWT (not really!)

Sou | 7:23 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment


In a bit of a change from the norm of late at WUWT, Anthony Watts decides to copy and paste a press release about the end of the Bronze Age. No "claim" headline. Just a straight up press release (archived here).  I think he screwed up the title of his article talking about the "collapse of the Bronze Age", when he should have referred to the "collapse of the population", but other than that he made no comment. He hasn't done that in a while - posted a straight article without any dog-whistles. But don't get excited. I don't think it means that WUWT is about to convert to a science blog (or emerge from its metaphorical Bronze Age).

The paper talks about a population collapse toward the end of the Bronze Age, occurring around 800 BC. (Don't ask me, I'm not an historian - but that's what the paper says.) Apparently it was "widely thought" that it was climate change that caused the population to decline. Not so, say Professor Ian Armit and the other the authors of this new paper. The population started declining before the European climate became colder and wetter.

Here are some Wikipedia entries of relevance - the timeline of the Bronze Age in Europe; with more detail here; and the Iron Age which followed; with another article on the Iron Age in Europe - and a timeline.

You can read about the paper here at ScienceDaily.com. If you've a subscription, you can read the paper itself at PNAS. It looks as if it would make an interesting read. What the work of the research team showed was:

...that human activity starts to decline after 900BC, and falls rapidly after 800BC, indicating a population collapse. But the climate records show that colder, wetter conditions didn't occur until around two generations later.

The "two generations later" was around 750 BC. The press release goes on to describe the findings in more detail:
Fluctuations in levels of human activity through time are reflected by the numbers of radiocarbon dates for a given period. The team used new statistical techniques to analyse more than 2000 radiocarbon dates, taken from hundreds of archaeological sites in Ireland, to pinpoint the precise dates that Europe's Bronze Age population collapse occurred.
The team then analysed past climate records from peat bogs in Ireland and compared the archaeological data to these climate records to see if the dates tallied. That information was then compared with evidence of climate change across NW Europe between 1200 and 500 BC.
"Our evidence shows definitively that the population decline in this period cannot have been caused by climate change," says Ian Armit, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bradford, and lead author of the study.
Graeme Swindles, Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics at the University of Leeds, added, "We found clear evidence for a rapid change in climate to much wetter conditions, which we were able to precisely pinpoint to 750BC using statistical methods."
According to Professor Armit, social and economic stress is more likely to be the cause of the sudden and widespread fall in numbers. Communities producing bronze needed to trade over very large distances to obtain copper and tin. Control of these networks enabled the growth of complex, hierarchical societies dominated by a warrior elite. As iron production took over, these networks collapsed, leading to widespread conflict and social collapse. It may be these unstable social conditions, rather than climate change, that led to the population collapse at the end of the Bronze Age.
According to Katharina Becker, Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at UCC, the Late Bronze Age is usually seen as a time of plenty, in contrast to an impoverished Early Iron Age. "Our results show that the rich Bronze Age artefact record does not provide the full picture and that crisis began earlier than previously thought," she says.
"Although climate change was not directly responsible for the collapse it is likely that the poor climatic conditions would have affected farming," adds Professor Armit. "This would have been particularly difficult for vulnerable communities, preventing population recovery for several centuries." 

There you have it. Another bit of knowledge to add to what you know (or don't know, or replace what you thought you knew) and raising probably as many questions as it answers. Don't look to me for any of the questions or answers though. What I know about the Bronze Age and the Iron Age wouldn't cover a postage stamp :)


From the WUWT comments


It looks as if some of the people at WUWT are even more ignorant than I am on the subject, if that's possible. At least, I think I understand what the research found and what it was about.

 There were quite a few people who got in a bit of a tizz over what was meant by "two generations". The paper itself suggests a time period of around 50 years or so, from 800 BC when things really started to go pear-shaped, to 750 BC when the regional climate changed.

Charles Nelson decided that two generations is 70 to 80 years:
November 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm
Two generations…so what are we talking here…seventy/ eighty years?
Wow they are so wonderfully precise with their measurements!

Alan Robertson  disagreed with Charles Nelson and wrote:
November 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm
A generation is a lot closer to 20 yrs 

Dudley Horscroft figures this research lends support to the unorthodox writings of Velikovsky :)
November 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm (extract only)
We found clear evidence for a rapid change in climate to much wetter conditions, which we were able to precisely pinpoint to 750BC using statistical methods.”
This date is remarkably close to the dating of an earth mini-catastrophe as postulated by Immanuel Velikovsky. He dates this as -747 = 748 BC. (Being a very devout, perhaps even orthodox Jew, he refused to use AD or BC in his dating.) ...

You can read more of the comments here, if you're interested.


Ian Armit, Graeme T. Swindles, Katharina Becker, Gill Plunkett, and Maarten Blaauw. "Rapid climate change did not cause population collapse at the end of the European Bronze Age." PNAS, November 17, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408028111

Taunting the World: Anthony Watts brazenly boasts about climate disinformers getting away with theft and lies

Sou | 1:59 PM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment



Anthony Watts at WUWT has decided to go back five years (archived here), and boast about how he and other deniers escaped the wrath of the law and got away with the crime of receiving stolen property, protecting thieves and worse. They've not got much else to boast about these days. But it's in character for him and his band of deniers to be proud of the fact that deniers managed to defeat the British constabulary, steal thousands of emails from a university, and then misrepresent the contents to the world at large.  How they hounded the world's leading climate scientists and tried to destroy their professional reputations, in their effort to put the entire world at risk.

What science disinformers like Anthony Watts won't admit to his dismal audience is that there was nothing, nothing at all in the emails. Zero. Zilch. Not one teeny tiny little bit of an email, that put the smallest dent in the vast body of climate science knowledge.  All the incident showed was how low science disinformers will sink to try to preserve the interests of those they are shielding. The crooked politicians. The greedy fossil fuel company owners.

That was a dark episode, and is probably the best example of the lengths to which these climate vandals will go in their ongoing efforts to make the next several generations suffer misery, drought, hunger, thirst, floods, dislocation, social upheaval and war. They will break the law. They will steal, lie and defame - and continue to do so. Some of them will get away with it. Others won't - or that's my climate prediction. Many of them will pay for their crimes eventually - either by being brought before a court of law, or by suffering the effects of climate change first hand themselves.

Some of these people are sociopaths who get a kick out of damaging humanity. Some are just petty criminals, lowlife scoundrels who are in it for the money. Their target audience is the wilfully ignorant. The dumb deniers. The uneducated ultra-conservative voter who is afraid of anything and everything outside their immediate tiny bigoted social circle.  The disenfranchised and fearful, who think they are powerless. It's the dumb deniers who make up the chorus and help spread the lies of the professional disinformers. It doesn't take much to play on the fears of the fearful. All it takes is to pretend to be anti-authority. To be against learning and knowledge and all the good things that humanity represents.

These people think they are above the law. They will libel, steal and lie and do whatever it takes to make sure the world gets hotter as quickly as possible. Oh, those same people will call on the law when it suits them. If someone stole from them they'd be the first to call the local police force. However they think they themselves are immune. Well, they are getting away with their criminal acts for a while, but it will backfire on them.

Look at Anthony Watts. His own home state has been burning up, suffering one of the worst droughts in recorded history. It's improved only a smidgen since the worst of three months ago. How is he coping? He doesn't say. Anthony Watts, supposed weather person, has barely mentioned what's happening in his own backyard. He doesn't have the courage to admit to his readers that he and they are part of the problem. That they are bringing this on themselves.

Source: US Drought Monitor


Yes, this is a bit different to the mild ridicule I normally heap on the denialati. Ridicule is good, but not all these people are simple buffoons and well-meaning idiots. Some of them are quite simply immoral and have shown they are willing to break the law to protect their own personal interests. Calling disinformers out for their crimes from time to time, is also good.

Crimes against humanity by the fools and tools of climate denial

Sou | 11:59 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment


Sometimes I regard deniers as fools and tools. Other times I see the dark side of them. Their wilful crimes against humanity. You think I'm over-reacting? I don't. I'm just saying what should be said from time to time.


Deniers are hypocritical bigots


These same hypocrites will even claim that the "poor" need fossil fuels. This is when they know full well that the people who will suffer first and most from global warming are those living in less developed nations. They just want the world all for themselves. They think they don't need people in Africa and Asia. Given that most deniers are conservative, bigoted old white men, they are quite comfortable that it's people who live at a distance from them, and mostly people of a different race to them, people who they regard as "failures", as "unsuccessful" for not being as wealthy as they are - therefore "unworthy" of life, who will bear the brunt of global warming initially.


That WMO illustration was correctly labelled


I started to write a comment in reply to Phil Clarke, who was commenting on the appalling article by Christopher Monckton at WUWT (archived here). Christopher was doing his best to be added to a defamation lawsuit and to bring Anthony Watts along with him. Oh, I would like to see that happen. But I doubt it will. They are small fish who live in a fishbowl that's closed to most of the world. By their own choice I might add. Sane people don't go for conspiracy websites as a general rule.

(Anthony might think he can get away with defamation by describing the article as "opinion". He can't. He's the publisher and promoter of that filth.)

This is the gist of what I was going to put in my reply to Phil Clarke's comment. (Go read it. Phil made good points.)

Thanks, Phil. I've also written about this briefly on other occasions, here for example. The cover illustration was described adequately in the WMO report. I'll stress that again. The illustration was described properly for what it was in the WMO report. It's a crying shame that Muir Russell didn't acknowledge that. Maybe they felt obliged to give the fake sceptics a small bone. They were wrong.

First up, Michael Mann didn't prepare the illustration, he merely commented to the people who did. Secondly, the WMO report described the illustration properly:

WMO-No. 913
© 2000, World Meteorological Organization
ISBN 92-63-10913-3
Front cover: Northern Hemisphere temperatures were reconstructed for the past 1000 years (up to 1999) using palaeoclimatic records (tree rings, corals, ice cores, lake sediments, etc.), along with historical and long instrumental records. The data are shown as 50-year smoothed differences from the 1961–1990 normal.
Uncertainties are greater in the early part of the millennium (see page 4 for further information). For more details, readers are referred to the PAGES newsletter (Vol. 7, No. 1: March 1999, also available at http://www.pages.unibe.ch) and the National Geophysical Data Center (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov).
(Sources of data: P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa and T.J. Osborn, University of East Anglia, UK; M.E. Mann, University of Virginia, USA; R.S. Bradley, University of Massachusetts, USA; M.K. Hughes, University of Arizona, USA; and the Hadley Centre, The Met. Office).

Christopher Monckton is rehashing tired postings of that other miserable excuse for a human being, the auditor, who has nothing else to write about these days but is still doing his best to make sure the world suffers badly from global warming. Even Christopher Monckton, entertainer denier, can't come up with any new material of his own.


Defamation is a tool in the denier's arsenal


It's a pathetic that these despicable deniers resort to defamation of people of good character. They know they can't refute the science so they try to shoot the messengers. The people who are working their butts off to help save the world from itself.


Relegated to a footnote in the history of the climate wars


We know who some of these miserable creatures are, at least. The ones who come out of the shadows in public. We might not know all the people behind the various curtains who are pulling the strings of the denialati. However we do know who the puppets are. And someone will list their names in some footnote when writing the history of the climate wars (yet to occur). I hope that there is no excuse given them when it's written. No leeway. No mistake made that they were committing crimes against humanity. That they played a small role in the lead up to the climate wars.

The motley band of science deniers are making martyrs and heros of climate scientists like Phil Jones and Michael Mann - all because they know that in the long run, they can't beat science with science denial. (When NYC is under water again, will it be the Christopher Monckton's who'll be hailed as heroes or will people (grudgingly) acknowledge the James Hansen's who sounded the warnings.)


Monday, November 17, 2014

WUWT at the crossroads? Willis Eschenbach declares (again) he is nothing more than a dumb denier

Sou | 3:59 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment


A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that Willis Eschenbach is one of the smarter people at WUWT. I can tell you now, that if that's the case, then WUWT does not attract smart or educated people. It's purely for ignorant dumb deniers and that's it. Any hope that Anthony Watts might have had for getting recognition (other than for comedy or contempt) is misplaced.

There have recently been some really, really dumb articles at WUWT from Anthony's stand-by guest commenter Willis Eschenbach, including this one, where Willis Eschenbach showed he doesn't understand what causes seasons on Earth - and this one I just wrote about, in which Willis Eschenbach deliberately misrepresents sea level and provides misleading charts. Remember, Willis is the chap who penned a long article slamming his erstwhile friend Anthony Watts, saying he is not able to tell the difference between pseudo-scientific crap and meaningful science.

The reason I'm writing this is just in case anyone is under the false impression that Wondering Willis has an ounce of smart when it comes to climate science. He doesn't. Here is a comment he wrote today to the batty Duke:


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Topsy turvy - Wondering Willis Eschenbach tells big whoppers about sea level.

Sou | 8:25 PM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment


Wondering Willis Eschenbach doesn't usually go in for straight fabrication of other people's work, but he made some exceptions today. Usually he'll just wonder and ponder and either invent stuff out of nothing or claim well-established science as his own, usually distorting it.

Today he decided to go for straight misrepresentation (archived here). Or should I say crooked misrepresentation. Almost everything he wrote in his article is contradicted by the work of the scientists he claims to be writing about.

Willis started off with a three year old email, with Kevin Trenberth replying to an "anonymous coward". The email and its response is here:


From: “Kevin Trenberth” <trenbert@XXXXX.edu>
To: “Dr XXXX” <xxx@xxx.xxx>
Sent: January XX, 2011 X:XX PM
Subject: Re: warming
Dear Kevin,
Thank you for your prompt reply. I’m 62 and now semi-retired. I’d like to  bring myself up to speed on global warming, which I read is one of the great catastrophes of our time. You describe rising sea levels as being the evidence for man caused global warming. It had been my understanding that sea levels have been rising steadily for thousands of years and now at a very slow rate. I know there’s been a huge increase in man’s CO2 in the heavy industrialisation since World War 2. How has this increase in man’s CO2 effected sea levels ? 

To which Kevin Trenberth replied:
The rates have not been steady and picked up markedly in the mid 20th century and even more since 1990 or so. CO2 has been increasing since 1750 although mainly since 1850.


Disinformer for Hire: Four Minute Dumb Denial by William Happer at WUWT

Sou | 1:08 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment


Note: I'm told by someone I regard as a reliable source that William Happer really and truly believes the dumb denierisms he comes up with. In which case, he's not so much a denier for hire as just another self-deluded climate science denier. Here's an old article about him and his skepticism from The Daily Princetonian. You'd think someone who's managed to attain a professorship at Princeton would have the ability to do some research on the subject before rejecting the entire field of climate science. But apparently not. Pity he didn't take up something like young earth creationism or flat earth-ism for his hobby, where he could do little harm to others and we could put his delusions down to eccentricity.

Sou 16 November 2014



William Happer is a climate science denier in his other job as Chairman of the George C Marshall Institute. He also "advises" the UK climate disinformation lobby group the Global Warming Policy Foundation. In his supposed full time job (has he retired already? The video says he's gone "Emeritus" - update - yes, he's Emeritus, though you can't tell from his website), it looks as if he works mainly in biophysics (medical). Nothing to do with climate science or atmospheric physics. He might even earn more money from the Marshall Institute than from his job at Princeton, but he doesn't have to do much to earn it. He certainly doesn't have to learn any climate science let alone do any climate research. All he has to do is mouth a few dumb denierisms to keep his Board and donors happy.  He doesn't have to believe the rubbish he talks. He just has to be willing to put aside his scruples (if he has any) and behave like a charlatan. He's a denier for hire [see updated note above - he apparently really believes his rubbish and is probably not in it for the money].

William Happer did a four minute video interview that was posted at WUWT (archived here - with the video itself on YouTube here). The video is ambitiously called "Will Happer, Princeton's Galileo", though AFAIK William Happer has never done any research in astronomy (or climate science) and he is no Galileo. His entire argument is pathetic, to say the least. It consisted mostly of denier memes chosen from SkepticalSciences' list of "Most used climate myths":
  • CO2 is plant food, ignoring the fact that droughts and heat waves and floods and changing climates will probably more than offset any benefits CO2 may bestow.
  • CO2 is invisible. William seems to think that a colourless gas cannot be a pollutant or do any harm and he's a physicist, would you believe. That's almost as good as the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's "carbon dioxide is invisible, it's weightless and it's odourless" - still up on the Liberal Party website!
  • William wrongly claims it hasn't warmed since the super-El Nino of 1998 and ignores the record hot years of 2005 and 2010 and now this year, 2014, all of which were hotter than 1998. And ignoring the melting ice and the hotter oceans. He completely ignores all that's been happening in the last sixteen years.
  • William claims that a "little bit" of warming won't hurt, ignoring that we're on track for ten times faster warming than has occurred in 65 million years.
  • William claims that fossil fuels help the poor even while he acknowledges the immense harm the associated polluting smog is causing in Asia.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oodles of hockey sticks on display for WUWT

Sou | 11:49 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment


Poor old WUWT is in the doldrums. Now that temperatures are shooting to unprecedented heights again, deniers don't know what to say or do. So they've fallen back on an old faithful.


Just when I was thinking it's been a while since WUWT took a shot at Professor Michael Mann, he makes another appearance. This time in an article by climate disinformer Doug L. Hoffman. Doug mistakenly thinks that the days of hockey sticks have passed. I'm here to tell him he's wrong - and to show him oodles of hockey sticks.

Doug's article is very long considering the point he is trying to make. He's arguing that the MBH98 hockey stick chart, which shows that modern temperatures have shot up suddenly from what they were for most of human civilisation, is "dead".  He's dead wrong!

Figure 5 Time reconstructions (solid lines) along with raw data (dashed lines)....b, for Northern Hemisphere mean temperature (NH) in 8C. In both cases, the zero line corresponds to the 1902–80 calibration mean of the quantity. For b raw data are shown up to 1995 and positive and negative 2σ uncertainty limits are shown by the light dotted lines surrounding the solid reconstruction, calculated as described in the Methods section. From MBH98

Nervous or stupid laughter from WUWT as their anticipated ice age cometh fades

Sou | 3:59 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment


Some people laugh nervously when they get scared. Some people become hysterical when stress becomes too great to bear. That's what seems to be happening at WUWT today.

There's nothing of substance at WUWT since the article I wrote on earlier, about the extra hot seas. There is one new article (archived here), which got a much larger than normal response - 497 comments so far. It seems to be providing a release from the pent up anxiety, knowing about the record heat that's being observed lately. The new article was by Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale, who seems to be pushing the idea that it won't get hotter or drier or wetter with global warming because it's just models.

Bob put up a chart from the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report, which showed the risk levels in different parts of the world and the potential for risk reduction.

It looks to me that the chart is of marginal utility, being more illustrative than predictive.  I say that from a parochial perspective because the chart doesn't list the three biggest hazards we face in the region in which I live, which are extreme heat, wildfire and water shortages (and associated threats to agricultural production and health).

Here's the diagram for what it's worth. It's Figure 2.4 from the recently released IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report - Longer report. Unlike Bob Tisdale, I've added the caption. Click the chart for a larger version:

Figure 2.4: Representative key risks for each region, including the potential for risk reduction through adaptation and mitigation, as well as limits to adaptation. Identification of key risks was based on expert judgment using the following specific criteria: large magnitude, high probability or irreversibility of impacts; timing of impacts; persistent vulnerability or exposure contributing to risks; or limited potential to reduce risks through adaptation or mitigation. Risk levels are assessed as very low, low, medium, high, or very high for three timeframes: the present, near term (here, for 2030-2040), and long term (here, for 2080–2100). For the near term, projected levels of global mean temperature increase do not diverge substantially across different emission scenarios. For the long term, risk levels are presented for two possible futures (2 °C and 4 °C global mean temperature increase above pre-industrial levels). For each time frame, risk levels are indicated for a continuation of current adaptation and assuming high levels of current or future adaptation. Risk levels are not necessarily comparable, especially across regions. {WGII SPM Assessment Box SPM.2 Table 1} Source: IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report - Longer report.

The chart shows a map of the world, with risks for nine regional areas, being six inhabited continents, the oceans, the polar regions and small islands. It purports to show the risk level for the present, the near term (2030-2040) and the long term, for two scenarios, 2°C and 4°C. As well as that it shows the potential for additional adaptation to reduce the risk.

So the diagram is quite clever, fitting a lot into the one chart. But it is very much simplified, which is why I say it's of marginal practical use. It is more illustrative than pragmatic. To get a better appreciation of the main risks to each region and the potential to adapt or not, or to act to reduce the various risks, you'll need to read the report itself - and the more detailed reports.


Nervous or stupid?


Bob Tisdale at WUWT is making light of the chart. That could be because it makes him very nervous so he jokes to reduce the stress. Or it could be because he is too stupid to realise that it should make him very nervous or at the very least, it should prompt him to act. If one takes his article at face value, it's because he's too stupid. He wrote:
The map resembles the planet Earth, where most of us reside. The continents are in the right places, and so are the oceans. But we know that’s not the Earth. The risks illustrated are based on climate models, and we know that climate models used by the IPCC for their reports are not based on Earth’s actual climate, as it has existed in the past, or as it exists now. The maps output by climate models may resemble our Earth, but they’re fantasy maps of a fantasy world. They create nothing more than an illusion…an illusion that is intended to make it look like bad things will happen in the future if we all do not agree to reduce our carbon footprints.

Bob's intelligent enough to understand what the diagram represents, but too thick to understand that the diagram is based, not just on models of future climate but on expert knowledge of past climate plus the current and potential economic, social and physical status of each region. He adds:
We need a name for the imaginary planet simulated by climate models—a planet that looks like Earth, but is not Earth. I’ll propose the climate-modeled planet be called TurnsToCrap. No matter how the modelers present the product of their endeavors, they show the planet TurnsToCrap.

So far his article has 497 responses, which must be a record not just for an article by Bob Tisdale, but for WUWT itself for this year. It's rare these days to get so many comments from the WUWT denialati. It comes across as an hysterical release of pent up nervousness.

The deniers have had a lot to get anxious about this past few weeks, with a swathe of announcements of record high temperatures shattering their dreams of an ice age to cometh.


From the WUWT comments


Most of the 497 comments are one-liners, with the deniers vying with each other to make the silliest remark. I've scanned some of them and few are genuinely funny. Most would not win a prize at a comedy festival. Quite a few did pick up on the fact that the future is grim if we don't reduce emissions. And there were a fair few who made an obligatory reference to "algore". Here's a small sample, you can read the rest here:

Resourceguy
November 14, 2014 at 11:32 am
Planet X, Y or Z, depending on the excuse needed.

Red Dust
November 14, 2014 at 11:34 am
Reblogged this on Scratch Living and commented:
I know a good name for the imaginary planet simulated climate models for the IPCC, “Paycheck” or “Easy Grants”.

Matthew R Marler
November 14, 2014 at 11:35 am
Good contributions above. Here are mine:
Simulistan,
Compustan,
Silicastan,
Democratic Republic of Alarm.

Mike Bryant
November 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm
Fear Sphere

Scott Wilmot Bennett  
November 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm
Terror Sphere
Terra Fear
steven strittmatter
November 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Algore-an. (As in a great disturbance in The Farce)

Jtom referred to the glaringly obvious about WUWT in general and this thread in particular. It could be that he intended it as an insult to career scientists rather than as an insult to his fellow WUWT illiterati. That would be if he was too incompetent to know he was incompetent:
November 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm
This might help explain the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which says stupid people are too stupid to realize they’re stupid:
DAVID DUNNING: Well, my specialty is decision-making. How well do people make the decisions they have to make in life? And I became very interested in judgments about the self, simply because, well, people tend to say things, whether it be in everyday life or in the lab, that just couldn’t possibly be true. And I became fascinated with that. Not just that people said these positive things about themselves, but they really, really believed them. Which led to my observation: if you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.
ERROL MORRIS: Why not?
DAVID DUNNING: If you knew it, you’d say, “Wait a minute. The decision I just made does not make much sense. I had better go and get some independent advice.” But when you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is. In logical reasoning, in parenting, in management, problem solving, the skills you use to produce the right answer are exactly the same skills you use to evaluate the answer. And so we went on to see if this could possibly be true in many other areas. And to our astonishment, it was very, very true. 

Getting hotter - much too hot for WUWT

Sou | 5:08 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment


It's getting a bit too hot for the deniers at WUWT. Anthony Watts is even disputing a report from the University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST that the oceans this year are the hottest ever recorded.  He's written one of his "claim" headlines, meaning his readers are meant to deny the science (archived here).

ScienceDaily.com has carried the report, under some charts provided by Professor Axel Timmermann:

Figure 1: a) NOAA Sea Surface Temperature anomaly (with respect to period 1854-2013) averaged over global oceans (red) and over North Pacific (0-60oN, 110oE-100oW) (cyan). September 2014 temperatures broke the record for both global and North Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures. b) Sea Surface Temperature anomaly of September 2014 from NOAA's ERSST dataset.

Deniers are catching up with climate science - they're now only 76 years behind

Sou | 1:21 AM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment


Wondering Willis Eschenbach at WUWT (archived here) has just discovered Guy Stewart Callendar, 76 years after everyone else did. He sings his praises, though he is selective about the bits he quotes.

"GS Callendar 1934"
University of East Anglia Archive (provided by James R. Fleming).
Source: Spencer Weart
At this rate, by 2032, deniers will be praising the 1956 work of Gilbert Plass. Then in 2051, some science denier will discover a 1975 paper by Wallace S. Broecker, and sing his praises.

In around 2064, another random denier will claim discovery of Dr James Hansen's 1988 testimony to the US Congressional Committee and say what a brilliant scientist Jim Hansen was.

Callendar didn't anticipate the rate at which we'd burn fossil fuel, with his Table VI showing CO2 at 360 ppm in the 22nd Century instead of 1995. He figured at 360 ppm, CO2 would result in a rise in global surface temperature of 0.57 degrees Celsius, which is pretty close to the actual increase by the mid-1990s, but doesn't allow for the climate to come to equilibrium. So it's probably an underestimate.  Someone more familiar with Callendar's work might comment on this.

Ed Hawkins and Phil Jones wrote a paper last year, to celebrate 75 years since Callendar's seminal paper. They also put together a poster. I see from their paper that if deniers want to get access to a "large collection" of Callendar's notebooks, they'll have to go cap in hand to the University of East Anglia, and maybe beg forgiveness from Dr Phil Jones.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Confirming Lewandowsky: More self-sealed conspiracy theories at WUWT

Sou | 4:50 PM Go to the first of 39 comments. Add a comment


Anthony Watts today has highlighted the curious ongoing obsession fake sceptics have with stolen emails written in the dim distant past (archived here). He's pointed to an article in Environmental Research Letters by Stephan Lewandowsky.


Don't confuse conspiracy theorists' obsessions with general public interest


Professor Lewandowsky's article is a perspective piece about a paper published in ERL earlier this year by William R L Anderegg and Gregory R Goldsmith. The abstract:
Anderegg and Goldsmith (2014 Environ. Res. Lett. 9 054005) use Google Trends to examine the impact of specific media events - the so-called "climategate" imbroglio and the glacial-melt error in the IPCC's 2007 report - on public opinion regarding climate change. There has been an overall decline of public interest in climate change after 2007, accompanied by spikes of interest with a half-life of six days for these two media events. The brevity of public interest in "climategate" stands in contrast to the continued and growing fascination of the "skeptic" blogosphere with that event. These results document the assertion that conspiratory obsession by a small number of people should not be mistaken for general public interest.

Indeed. It would be hard to mistake the conspiratory obsession by the small number of people at WUWT with general public interest about anything. For example, is the general public really interested in fake skeptic allegations that climate science is a hoax because climate scientists use email? And is the general public really interested in Tim Ball and his theories about how Tom Wigley has become the ruler of the world?  Is the general public really interested in the WUWT paranoid conspiracy theories about the IPCC?


Who's the wackadoodle?


Although he probably hasn't read the paper, Anthony Watts doesn't seem to like what Professor Lewandowsky wrote, and said:
A new paper by Stephan Lewandowsky once again projects his own conspiracy ideation onto skeptics...
Extract:
One known element of conspiratorial thinking is its ‘self-sealing’ quality (Keeley 1999, Bale 2007, Sunstein and Vermeule 2009), whereby evidence against a conspiratorial belief is re-interpreted as evidence for that belief. In the case of ‘climategate’, this self-sealing nature of conspiratorial belief became evident after the scientists in question were exonerated by nine investigations in two countries (including various parliamentary and government committees in the U.S. and U.K.; see table 1), when those exonerations were re-branded as a ‘whitewash.’ This ‘whitewash’ response can be illustrated by U.S. Representative Sensenbrennerʼs published response to the EPAʼs endangerment finding
...Basically, the gist of it is that being interested in Climategate, makes you a conspiracy theorist.
What a wackadoodle.
h/t to Barry Wood. 

Which is funny on a few counts. First of all, there's no hint of any conspiratorial thinking on the part of Professor Lewandowsky in his article.  Anthony is just trying to be "clever" and failing. And yeah, being consumed by a desire to find something, anything in the stolen emails that will "prove" that climate science is a hoax - is a prominent sign of conspiracy ideation. Finally - h/t Barry Wood. Of course!


Empty vessels


The Lewandowsky paper closes by observing that the empty vessel effect is evident. People think there are more deniers than there actually are, because they make so much noise. He writes:
It is known that the perception of the prevalence of ‘skeptic’ opinions is grossly over-estimated compared to the actual extent of ‘skepticism.’ In a representative Australian sample, (Leviston et al 2013b) found that only around 6% of respondents denied that climate change was happening, whereas the publicʼs estimate of the prevalence of that opinion was in excess of 20%—more than three times greater. 

He then discusses the miconceptions about scientific consensus and how that can shape people's attitudes. He wrote:
Given the well-known linkage between the perception of a consensus and actual opinion (e.g., Lewandowsky et al 2013b), peopleʼs mis-calibration of the perceived public-opinion landscape—in particular the inflation of a small minority into 1/5 of the population—raises the possibility that peopleʼs attitudes are disproportionately shaped by a small but very vocal minority. 

And he notes that scientists themselves are not immune to the influence of the empty vessels, writing:
It must be of particular concern that the scientific community does not appear to be immune to such misperceptions. There is some evidence that ‘skeptical’ voices are affecting—and arguably distorting—the course of climate science and the communication of its findings (Freudenburg and Muselli 2010, Brysse et al 2013).

Stephan Lewandowsky rounds off the article cautioning people not to confuse the obsessions of the small number of fake sceptics with the wider public interest. And refers again to the Anderegg & Goldsmith paper, which showed that:
... the wider public astutely lost interest in ‘climategate’ long ago.
Not being as astute as the wider public, Anthony Watts and his fake sceptics at WUWT are still obsessed, turning innocent conversations from innocuous fifteen year old emails into grand conspiracies of climate hoaxes.


Self-sealing conspiracy theories from the WUWT comments


If you go to the WUWT comments, you'll find confirmation of what Professor Lewandowsky wrote in his paper, which Anthony Watts quoted above, about the "self-sealing" quality of conspiracy theory advocates.
...whereby evidence against a conspiratorial belief is reinterpreted as evidence for that belief. ...
WUWT readers decided to prove the points made in the paper. I saw scant evidence of self awareness in the comments. See the self-sealing in action, from Anna Keppa, who wrote:
November 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm
What a crock. It isn’t a case of evidence of a conspiratorial **belief** that matters, it’s evidence of the conspiracy itself. In the case of climategate, there were no independent or disinterested investigations, just parties either invested with stakes in the outcome or on record as having held the same position of the warmistas.

Will Nitschke tries to fudge, but fails to hide his self-sealed conspiracy theory:
November 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm
People don’t trust “internal” police investigations because of the obvious conflict of interest. That’s why police are usually investigated by special and separate branches of the police, or in some cases anti-corruption special judicial appointments.
The issue needs to be correctly framed. Not, that ‘conspiracy’ or more correctly, ‘self interest’ is impossible or highly unlikely, but rather, with any group behaviour, can one expect it to NOT operate? It seems like a rather absurd proposition. It’s rather self evident that conflict of interest is normative in any field of human endeavour.

Malcolm is another self-sealer and says:
November 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm
The primary purpose of these ‘investigations’ was to exonerate the scientists. This point is completely lost on most people. 


Chip Javert decides that Professor Lewandowsky is part of a conspiracy to curtail his freedom to indulge in conspiracy thinking:
November 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm
Oh good. Some witch doctor climbs out from under the psychology rock to defame a community attempting to conduct a legitimate science discussion.
He easily demonstrates a firm grasp on bovine excrement, but how much math & physics does he understand? 

ossqss says he knows from experience that psychologists are nuts. He's married to one, he said, so he knows!
November 12, 2014 at 7:01 pm
Mr. Lew’s continued behavior speaks to psychological issues of his own. I am not a psychologist, but I married one. I have viewed this type of behavior through studies helping my better half get that credential. Just sayin, fixation through facination can lead to strange things. Perhaps one of our credentialed viewers could comment further, but he seems to have a serious internal problem with no known way out of it now. A plateau has been reached in more ways than one for him. 

Konrad. agrees with ossqss and says that because he analyses the fake sceptic psyche he must be nuts, and maybe he's right :)
November 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm
Yes, strange isn’t it? Every time complete foamer Lewandowsky goes to write another of his turgid psychology papers, he keeps coming back to his own crazed conspiracy ideation about sceptics. It’s like a dog returning to its vomit.
I fear there is no hope for a “physician heal thyself” solution. For Lewandowsky it may be time for the quiet clinic in the country where all the nurses speak softly, the furnishings are padded and all the utensils are plastic…


Anderegg, William RL, and Gregory R. Goldsmith. "Public interest in climate change over the past decade and the effects of the ‘climategate’media event." Environmental Research Letters 9, no. 5 (2014): 054005. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/5/054005

Stephan Lewandowsky. "Conspiratory fascination versus public interest: the case of 'climategate'" Environ. Res. Lett. 9, no. 11 (2014): 111004 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/11/111004