If you've been around climate stuff these last few days you may well have come across a neat climate graphic at Bloomberg. Eric Roston and Blacki Migliozzi, with help from Kate Marvel and Gavin Schmidt, have charts of global surface temperatures and more. What their charts show are the various contributions to global surface temperature changes since 1880, modeled and observed. There are a number of different charts illustrating the observed annual mean global surface temperature against modeled, as affected by:
1. Natural factors:
- orbital changes only
- solar variation
- volcanic eruptions
- all three natural factors together.
- land use changes
- ozone changes
- greenhouse gas accumulation
- all human activity together.
You might remember David. He's the chap who spent 547.5 days and nights fretting about Doran & Zimmerman (2009) before coming up with a number-fudging brainwave (It was not a brainwave, it was nothing but Dave's bad arithmetic.)
David Burton wanted a plot of something different
Here’s a close-up of the key part of the full-size version of their graph, showing the period for which we have Mauna Loa CO2 measurement data (March 1958 to present):...Compare that to a graph of actual measured CO2 levels since 1958:...Reality doesn’t look very much like the Bloomberg graph, does it?
...if you read the “methodology” section of the Bloomberg piece, you’ll discover why Roston & Migliozzi showed no separate scale for their GHG levels. It’s because, despite the “greenhouse gases” label on their graph, they did not actually graph greenhouse gas levels.
That’s right. even though the graph’s caption says, “It Really Is Greenhouse Gases,” they really did not graph greenhouse gases.
Skeptics of manmade climate change offer various natural causes to explain why the Earth has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. But can these account for the planet's rising temperature? Scroll down to see how much different factors, both natural and industrial, contribute to global warming, based on findings from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
And if the headline, the opening paragraph and the charts themselves weren't enough, the explanation of the charts are further down the very same page as the charts. I guess David didn't scroll down far enough. Here is the explanation (my emphasis):
What the Lines Show
The black "observed" line is the GISS global land and ocean temperature record, which can be found here. It starts in 1880.
The colored temperature lines are the modeled estimates that each climate factor contributes to the overall temperature. Each factor was simulated five times, with different initial conditions; each slide here shows the average of five runs. GISS researchers laid out their historical simulations in detail last year in this article. The modeled years 1850-1879 from the Phase-5 "historical" experiment are not shown because the observed data begins in 1880.
David Burton admits he lives in an "alternate reality"
Instead, they graphed what GISS’s favorite computer model apparently calculated that temperatures ought to have been, in an alternate reality in which GHG levels increased as they really did, but all other possible causes for climate change remained constant. (That’s the sort of thing they call an “experiment” these days, at NASA GISS. The scientists who made NASA great must be spinning in their graves.)As David says, he lives in an "alternate reality". His "reality" is very different to the reality of normal people. (I wonder how David would do the experiment? He doesn't say. I notice that in David's "reality" all the "great" NASA scientists are dead. NASA was only established in 1958.)
David's logical fallacy of personal incredulity
The rest of David's article suggests that he doesn't "believe" what the science shows. He doesn't discuss the forcings from solar, or aerosols, or volcanoes or anything except greenhouse gases. Still, it's fair to assume that he doesn't "believe" the impact of those climatic forcings either.
One thing that he has is a wrong understanding of climate science. He doesn't "believe" that science shows:
- there is internal variability of surface temperature, affected by the oceans for example - like ENSO;
- surface temperature changes do not mimic the changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases minute by minute, day by day and month by month.
- Over the medium term (multiple years to multiple decades), surface temperature will go up, forced by the increase in greenhouse gases. Sometimes the surface will warm more quickly, sometimes the oceans will warm more quickly.
David clearly doesn't accept that all the factors listed up top can have an impact on temperature. Nor that the oceans can absorb heat or indeed that there is internal variability. He probably doesn't think that summer and winter happen either.
David's entire article is based on what is known as the logical fallacy of personal incredulity. He doesn't believe it, therefore he says it cannot be so.
Models reflect observations
David claims there is something very wrong with the models. Here is the model vs observations as shown in the Bloomberg article:
It would be hard to imagine anything that could be much closer. Remembering that the models are of climate, not weather. They are not expected to align with internal variability from year to year, but show the longer term trends. The models are very close to observations, particularly bearing in mind that observations in the early years cannot be nearly as accurate as those in more recent decades. (The pink stippling is the uncertainty bounds. According to the notes to the Bloomberg article, 95% of observations would be expected to lie within the shaded area, and they do.)
David doesn't understand what the uncertainty represents. Or if he does he's pretending he doesn't. It's the uncertainty of the modeled temperature. He thinks it is the uncertainty of observed greenhouse gases. He's wrong. He's wrong too, when he claims that GHG concentration from 1880 to the first half of the twentieth century are "very rough estimates". They aren't. At least not for CO2. It's well-established that atmospheric CO2 was around 280 ppm in 1750 and around 291 ppm in 1880 (from ice cores) and around 315 in 1958 (from direct measures). Contrary to what WUWT deniers will tell you, atmospheric CO2 doesn't jump about all over the place from year to year.
David Burton's "evidence"
David at one point complained about the fact that the model data only went to 2005. Thing is that isn't what he wrote:
For one thing, Roston & Migliozzi ended their graph with 2005, because GISS gave them old data. That’s convenient, considering the widening divergence between models and reality:
The data wasn't observational data, which went to 2014. It was model output that went to 2005. On the Bloomberg page, this is what was stated:
GISS produced the results shown here in 2012, as part of its contribution to an international climate-science research initiative called the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase Five. Let's just call it "Phase-5."...
...Phase-5 calls for a suite of "historical" experiments. Research groups were asked to see how well they could reproduce what's known about the climate from 1850-2005. They were also asked to estimate how the various climate factors—or "forcings"—contribute to those temperatures. That's why this graphic stops in 2005, even though the GISS observed temperature data is up-to-date. The years 2005-2012 were not a part of the Phase-5 "historical" experiment.
David offered a chart as "evidence" of his "widening divergence between models and reality. Not a chart of surface temperature though. What he proffered was a chart of mid-troposphere temperatures. As Dana Nuccitelli pointed out in The Guardian recently, the mid-troposphere is from about 7.6 km to nearly 16 km above the surface (25,000–50,000 feet). And David's chart wasn't even global mid-troposphere temperatures. It was a chart of tropical mid-troposphere temperatures. In other words, it was nowhere near the surface and most certainly not global. An area where there is much greater uncertainty than surface temperature observations.
It could be that David is trying to argue that if climate models aren't close to observations high up in the air above the tropics, then they can't be relied upon to model global surface temperature. The evidence shows otherwise, as you can see in the chart above. (I'm more inclined to treat it as another example of David Burton not having a clue.)
Denier "objections" to reality
To sum up, David doesn't like the chart because he wanted to see a chart of greenhouse gas changes instead of plots of surface temperature. He claims that the chart above is "very wrong", even though it shows that observations are very much in line with modeled surface temperature. Part of his "evidence" is a chart, not of surface temperature, nor of global temperature - but of some temperature of the air way above the surface in the tropics - where there is little agreement between the different measurements.
It's as if he was pointing to a cloudless sky and claiming that anyone who claims the sky is blue is "very wrong". Or pointing to a white fluffy cloud and saying that anyone claiming that clouds are white are "very wrong". Or pointing to a lush lawn and saying anyone who claims the grass is green is "very wrong".
From the WUWT comments
There are all sorts of "thoughts" as dumb as or dumber than the main article, including an obligatory reference to Nazis and to deniers' Agenda 21 conspiracy theory. There is the occasional rational comment from a stray who probably stumbled upon the conspiracy blog thinking the article was an aberration (instead of rational articles at WUWT being the aberration).
higley7 is one of the dumb ones, who thinks that atmospheric CO2 can rise and fall extraordinary amounts in the blink of an eye.
June 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm
I like the subheading in the top graph. They claim CO2 is 40$ higher than in 1750, but they neglect to add that it is currently 25% less than in the 1940s and was higher than now during tow other periods in the 1800s. (Ernst Beck’s paper on direct CO2 chemical bottle data over 200 years)
cnxtim has an indecipherable "thought":
June 27, 2015 at 1:23 pm
The CAGW disciples need their Constantine.
Sorry Bloomberg it ain’t gonna be you. , Poorly constructed plagiarism won’t cut the mustard.
And it isn’t you either little “o” – you cant even get close to those high notes. – At least C produced a convincing argument for his time and occupied (by force of arms) some nifty buildings.
Whoever, it will have to be someone who can offer up something akin to the ‘loaves and fishes’ gig, lot’s of luck.
Mark Johnson tries to counter the alternate reality of David Burton with some real reality:
June 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm
The green line shows the influence of greenhouse gas emissions, not the actual co2 level.
Remember, CO2 emission to temperature rise in not linear, so the two graphs should not look the same.
In the reality of bw apples are identical to oranges:
June 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm
The most important “greenhouse gas” is water. Water vapor over the tropical ocean surface reaches 40000 ppm. Adding the 400 ppm CO2 you get a total of 40400 ppm of greenhouse gas. Next year the amount will reach 40401 ppm.
That water vapor quickly rises, cools and condenses into thick clouds. Clouds then reflect large amounts of incoming solar, which causes the surface stop warming.
In the upper atmosphere where water vapor is under 100ppm, the effect of “greenhouse gas” causes the air to cool more efficiently. The stratosphere is cooler than 20 years ago.
Jeff B. endorses the "climate science is a hoax" conspiracy:
June 27, 2015 at 11:14 pmWhen you are on the Left and mostly beholden to political dogma and narratives, lying comes as naturaly as breathing.
Mr. Pettersen has a "thought". Not a great thought, not a particularly useful or informed thought, but probably quite an achievement just the same - for Mr. Pettersen.
June 27, 2015 at 11:43 pm
So why dont you send this to Bloomberg and tell them to print it?
They should be sued for giving people wrong information and if they deny printing this means that they wants to misslead people.
So much for a free press !
petermue asks a question:
June 27, 2015 at 1:19 pmPeter, the answer is various sources. The main source ice cores.
I’m still not convinced that pre-industrial CO2 values were at ~280 ppm.
Where does that number originate from?
Reference and further reading
What's really warming the world? - charts at Bloomberg
Miller, Ron L., Gavin A. Schmidt, Larissa S. Nazarenko, Nick Tausnev, Susanne E. Bauer, Anthony D. DelGenio, Max Kelley et al. "CMIP5 historical simulations (1850–2012) with GISS ModelE2." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 6, no. 2 (2014): 441-477. DOI: 10.1002/2013MS000266 (open access)
Denier Weirdness: David Burton @wattsupwiththat finally has a 97% brain wave! - HotWhopper December 2013