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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bob Tisdale won't take on Mark Boslough's bet

Sou | 7:21 AM Go to the first of 38 comments. Add a comment

Bob Tisdale has another "it's getting hotter because it's getting hotter" article at WUWT (archived here, latest here). Does he not realise how silly his articles are? As you know, the rapid rise in global mean surface temperature, particularly since the middle of last century, is because of the increase in greenhouse gases:

Fig 1| Global mean surface temperature - anomaly from 1881 to 1910 average.
Data source: NASA GISS

Bob Tisdale, a pseudo-scientist who uses WUWT to sell his "books", thinks this is natural, and has nothing to do with carbon emissions. He blames it all on blobs and El Niños.

Mark Boslough's Bet

Bob wrote about a bet that physicist Dr Mark Boslough has going. Bob had never heard of Mark Boslough (and I bet Mark Boslough has never heard of Bob Tisdale). Bob should have checked with Anthony Watts. Anthony, whose greatest fear is that an asteroid will land on him, has surely heard of Dr Boslough. Or maybe he hasn't (see also here and here).

Mark Boslough has again challenged anyone willing to bet that global warming isn't happening to put their money where their science denial is. He wrote at Huffington Post:
I, Mark Boslough, being of sound mind, do hereby challenge any individual or organization to a $25,000 bet that global warming is real and will continue. If the climatological average global land surface temperature goes up again in 2016, setting another new record, the party that accepts my challenge must donate $25,000 to a science education nonprofit of my choice. If not, I will donate $25,000 to a nonprofit designated by the accepting party.

Details are below. But it doesn't matter. It's a sucker bet. Everyone knows that global warming is real.

You can read the details here.

In case you're wondering (you're not, are you), the climatological average is the average over the 30 year period. Here's a chart using GISTemp:

Fig 2| Global mean surface temperature, moving 30 year average - anomaly from 1881 to 1910 average.
Data source: NASA GISS

Or, if you prefer to just see this in 30 year chunks:

Fig 3| Global mean surface temperature in 30 year intervals, anomaly from 1881 to 1910 average.
Data source: NASA GISS

Bob Tisdale thinks it's a sucker bet, but for all the wrong reasons

Now Bob Tisdale says:
Dr. Boslough is correct, inasmuch as it is a sucker bet, but not for the reason or reasons he claims. Even skeptics expect global surface temperatures (and global lower troposphere temperatures) will be higher in 2016 than they were in 2015, but skeptics understand the reasons for it…that a strong El Niño raises global surface temperatures in the El Niño evolution year AND (typically) even more in the El Niño decay year. That means, as the 2015/16 El Niño winds down in 2016, global surface and lower troposphere temperatures will continue to rise in response to the El Niño. I reminded readers of this likelihood back in September 2015, in the blog post Tired of the Claims of “Warmest Ever” Month and Year? They Will Likely Continue Next Year. Not too surprisingly, Dr. Boslough’s blog post failed to mention El Niño.
Now if Bob were correct that the climatological average global land surface temperature will only go up because of El Niño, then he has to explain why the climatological average global land surface temperature also went up in other years, including La Niña years. In fact as shown in Fig 2 above, it's been higher every successive year since 1976. For example, there was a moderate to strong La Niña in 2010-12. You can tell it was quite strong, particularly 2010/11, because so much water shifted from the ocean to land (causing massive floods) that the sea level showed a significant drop for a while there. However if you look at Figure 2 above you can see that it barely registered on the climatological average.

To see what little difference ENSO makes to the relentless increase in global mean surface temperature look at the chart below. The blue shading denotes La Niña years and the orange El Niño years. Almost every La Niña is hotter than the one before it, and the same goes for the El Niños. Quite remarkable if Bob is correct and it's all "natural".

Fig 4| Global mean surface temperature showing La Nina years (blue) and El Nino years (orange), anomaly from 1881 to 1910 average. Data source: NASA GISS

Global warming is caused by blobs, says Bob

Bob's backup plan is that global warming is caused by blobs. He doesn't explain what caused the blob to get so warm. Nor does he explain why the entire globe is warming, it's not just blobs. If the world wasn't warming then the warm blob would be offset by cold blobs somewhere, surely. Bob wrote:
In addition to the 2015/16 El Niño, skeptics also understand that another naturally caused warming event was responsible for the reported record high (much-fiddled-with) SURFACE temperatures in 2015. That naturally caused warming event in the eastern extratropical North Pacific is known as The Blob. And we understand the reported record high SURFACE temperatures in 2014 were a response to The Blob. The Blob is another natural factor Dr. Boslough just happened to overlook.
Here are the percentiles for the period from January to November 2015. Just look at all those blobs! If you're wondering which blob Bob thinks caused all the warming, it's the one underneath Alaska on the left hand side of the map. The other blobs don't rate a mention - oh, except for the ENSO blob in the equatorial Pacific:

Fig 5| Lots of record warmest blobs - too many for Bob the Blob to count.
Source: NOAA Global Analysis - November 2015 

To win the bet against Mark Boslough

In order for Mark Boslough to lose his bet (assuming someone took him up on it), the global mean surface temperature for 2016 would have to be at least 0.56 C (or more than one degree Fahrenheit) below that of 2014. It would have to drop back to a temperature not seen in thirty years, since 1986. This is what would have to happen:

Fig 6| Global mean surface temperature showing what the 2016 average would have to be to win the bet.
Data source: NASA GISS

Bob tosses in the lower troposphere

Bob goes all out lower troposphere too - and again he's missing the mark. Bob wrote:
Another thing skeptics understand: Dr. Boslough failed to mention lower troposphere temperatures in his publicity stunt…that lower troposphere temperature anomalies are not close to record highs in 2015, though they will likely make a jump in 2016 in response to the current El Niño. 
It's true that lower troposphere temperatures this year are "only" the third highest on record, after 1998 and 2010. However if Bob wanted to shift the bet to RSS he'd be bound to lose. Below is the 30 year moving average (the climatological period) for RSS lower troposphere temperature anomalies:

Fig 7| Global mean lower troposphere temperature, moving 30 year average - anomaly from 1881 to 1910 average. Data source: RSS

As you can see, you have to trip back to 2008 to see a slight dip. And if you want to see 2016 drop below the climatological mean, then this year the average temperature would need to be 0.5 below the 2015 average, back to a temperature not seen since 1993:

Fig 8| Global mean lower troposphere temperature showing what the 2016 average would have to be to win the bet. Data source: RSS

RSS and El Niño

The RSS temperature for December this year is already out. So here's the ENSO comparison chart that I've shown before, updated for December. It's going up, and is showing an earlier rise than it did in the other two El Niño years shown.

Fig 9| Global mean lower troposphere temperature for El Nino years. Data sourceRSS

Is there something wrong in the lower troposphere?

Bob added this comment. He was referring to this tweet reply from Gavin Schmidt.
Forgot to mention that Gavin Schmidt, Director GISS, recently acknowledged that lower troposphere temperatures are supposed to be warming at a faster rate than surface temperatures.
Indeed. Can we expect yet another correction to the lower troposphere temperature records? They are notoriously tricky to get right. Maybe next year we'll see the rate of increase shoot up.

Where are the fake sceptics?

Now there are bound to be some people who are too big of a squib take the bet offered by Mark Boslough. Surely there's someone willing to put their money where their mouth is, people like the weird lot who reckon we're heading for an ice age - David "funny sunny" Archibald and Ed Hoskins and Denier Don Easterbrook and Pierre Gosselin and Diatribical Idiot.

By the way, sorry Mark - I hope I haven't deterred anyone from taking you up on your bet:)

From the WUWT comments

markstoval is willing to place a counter bet because he (still) thinks the world is about to cool down - or is he?
January 2, 2016 at 6:57 am
And a Happy New Year to you Bob.
I would take his bet if it were modified to say the global temperature 10 (or 5) years from now as measured by the UAH satellite temperature data-set will be lower than this year’s final measured temperature for the year. And this one would also be a sucker bet too since we are in a cooling period that looks to go on for at least 20 years. (but not a total sucker bet since I could be wrong)
~ Mark

You might think Jaakko Kateenkorva doesn't understand averaging and his logical fallacy of personal incredulity is showing. However, I call Poe.  Minus 90 °C maybe, but is there anywhere on earth that has reached +90 °C, let alone span that range within a day? (It has felt like 73 °C we're told.)
January 2, 2016 at 7:12 am
As if ‘global warming’ (whatever that entails) could be measured with +0.01°C accuracy in a year when the known natural variation on the surface alone can be in the range of −90 °C and +90 °C within a day. For this reason I dare Mr Chuck’n Little to buy my bridge.

Bruce Cobb wants a debate about science, but instead of science he broke Brandon Gates irony meter:
January 2, 2016 at 7:52 am
I bet that Climate Coward Mark Boslough wouldn’t dare come on here and debate what he “knows” about climate. Dollars to doughnuts it would all be Arguments from Authority and Concensus, with liberal sprinklings of red herrings, ad hominems, and straw man arguments. In other words, he’s got nada, just a big mouth.
If Bruce had read Mark Boslough's article, he'd have seen that he spoke at a conference that included fake sceptics, none of whom was willing to bet on their denial!

LexingtonGreen is tempted but wants a different bet. He'd be bound to lose just the same, unless there's a super-volcanic eruption or an asteroid strike.
January 2, 2016 at 7:52 am
It is tempting. What do people think of making the bet but using satelite data and a 2018 date?
Werner Brozek shifts the pause - again. Deniers really need to make up their minds, don't they. How can a pause shift so often? Only a couple of months ago it started January 1997. Now they are telling us it starts in May 1997. Deniers are consistently inconsistent.
January 2, 2016 at 7:59 am
RSS for December has just come in at 0.543. This is the hottest December on record, however 0.543 was beaten in the first 8 months of 1998 and for 4 months in 2010. The 2015 average is 0.358, putting 2015 in third place as Bob mentioned behind 0.550 from 1998 and 0.468 from 2010.
The pause has decreased by one month to 18 years and 8 months. Now, the pause goes from May 1997 to December 2015.
This month, the start date for the pause jumped by two months to May. The huge question now is whether or not the anomalies will drop to 0.24 before the start month reaches December 1997.

Odd thing about this supposed "pause", the temperature is above the trendline, and the trend for RSS is now 0.12 C a decade.

Fig 10| Global mean lower troposphere temperature. Data source: RSS

Hoyt Clagwell doesn't know what is meant by the climatological average global land surface temperature, and thinks that the bet is just for a single year. I don't know how he can write about school yard bullies and keep a straight face. Maybe he doesn't. I can't tell what his face is doing:
January 2, 2016 at 8:16 am
I’m amazed Dr. Boslough thinks that he can prove global warming one way or the other by observing what happens in a single year. He doesn’t seem to realize that he is the school yard bully with a chip on his shoulder daring anyone to knock it off. He doesn’t even address the only significant part of global warming theory which is, how much is man to blame and can man do anything about it.
Oh, and does the hottest year claim for 2016 need to have more than 38% confidence, or is that enough to win the bet?

There were lots of conspiracy ideation and accusations of fudging being thrown about. Deniers don't want to accept that ice is melting, that seas are rising and that it's getting a whole lot hotter. I guess they are also saying that Bob's charts aren't worth a cracker. carbon bigfoot expressed one of the milder "thoughts" in this regard:
January 2, 2016 at 8:48 am
That is a sucker bet because they and their ilk are fudging the data. SWAG

This one is funny, particularly if you know what Mark Boslough is famous for. cassandra wrote:
January 2, 2016 at 9:16 am
Yet another precocious PhD who craves stardom. As one “disrespectful” Chinese engineer member of one of my teams years ago on a major project despairingly stated – in response to weeks of arrogant but nonsensical inputs from a Dr. engineer who was causing chaos: ” PhD stands for permanent head damage caused by spending years studying one minute specialist subject but continually in denial and being ignorant of our works’ and the world’s real required inputs!


  1. Just for interest the now traditional Met Office annual forecast (last issued last month) is a super-position of a quasilinear trend owing to increasing GHG burdens, ENSO state and volcanic ash loading. No 'fancy' models involved in the first 8 years of these forecasts. Now a very little bit. But its basically energetics. You could, quite literally, estimate the next year value on the back of an envelope if you knew the values of these three parameters and the global mean surface temperature for long enough to train a multi-linear regression model.

    See here and here.

    1. That is very skilful, Peter, isn't it. 12 months ahead - so that's how the UK Met Office got its 2016 prediction.

    2. Agreed: so much for the "AGW climate models have no skill" meme that gets repeated ad nauseam.

    3. Agreed: so much for the "AGW climate models have no skill" meme that gets repeated ad nauseam.

  2. The short version of the bet cited above could be misunderstood as betting whether 2016 is warmer than 2015. If you read the long version, then you see that the bet is basically whether 2016 is warmer than 1986. The long version:

    Mark Boslough (MB) hereby presents a challenge as to whether the Earth's climate will set a new record high temperature in 2016. The challenge will be settled using the NASA GISS mean global land surface temperatures for the conventional climate averaging period (defined by the World Meteorological Organization as 30 years) ending on December 31, 2016. If the global average temperature does not exceed the mean temperature for an equal period ending on the same date in any previous year for which complete data exist, MB will donate $25,000 to a nonprofit to be designated by the accepting party. Otherwise, tie accepting party will donate $25,000 to a science education nonprofit designated by MB.

    1. Yes, it looks as if Bob didn't read the article.

      BTW, (and I'm sure you know this, Victor), the 1986 year is just coincidence, or should I say, only because of the rapid warming. If temperatures had not been going up, or not going up as quickly, then the drop required would have been less.

      That is, if there wasn't global warming, if temperatures had just been fluctuating around a mean, then maybe only a year or two's worth of temperature drop would have been enough to win the bet.

    2. As I read it, the bet is whether 2016 mean temp is above the 1986-2015 _average_.

    3. No, Mark just liked the above post in the tweet you link to.

      NASA GISS mean global land surface temperatures for the conventional climate averaging period (defined by the World Meteorological Organization as 30 years) ending on December 31, 2016.

      Sounds like a 30-year average ending in 2016 to me. If it were just 2016, it would still be mostly about long-term climate change, but also about short-term natural variability. This would very verylikely work in 2016, but would still be strange for a climate change bet.

    4. Oh, I missed that and misread Raoul's comment. What I meant was my article was fine with Mark.

      You're right, Victor. The bet is that the average of the 30 years ending 31 December 2016 will be higher than the average of the 30 years ending 31 December 2015 (as in the above article). That's just as it has been for every consecutive 30 year period since, and including, the one ending 31 December 1977.

      If anyone wants to bet against that they can contact Mark via HuffPost.

    5. BTW - to clarify/correct my comment above @8:55 am - Victor is correct that the 2016 temperature has to be less than the 1986 temperature to get the 30 year average down far enough to win the bet.

      Too little sleep is my excuse.

    6. I reckon, just to keep the denialati happy, the bet should always be that the next year will be warmer than the year in which the current "pause" began, provided that is at least 7 years ago (I think even the denialati would recognise that a pause shorter than 7 years is not worth anything).

  3. Bob is still WUWT's most strident thought-policeman, guiding his 'readers' word by word ['readers will remember', 'of course skeptics will know', 'skeptics also understand','natural variability explains all' etc]...

    Such dull self-humiliation. When will he grow up?

  4. An interesting climate bet is Joe Romms bet that the Arctic will be essentially ice free in 2020. That bet might have looked promising in 2007, but he might loose that bet. Well, not that it matters that much, if it's 2020 or 2030, it's still not very good.

    1. Do you know if there were any bets placed, Oslo? That seems unlikely now, but you never know.

    2. Don't know if there was any takers on that bet Sou, but I have always believed it was by reading Romms postings:

      Reminds me that I have been reading climate blogs for a long time :-)

      2030 looks more promising to me, and the climate modelers might have nailed it more precisely, well we will know in the not so distant future :-)

    3. I wonder did the recent storm break up multi-year ice, or did it push more ice into the Arctic so that the melt this year won't be as great? (Not my idea, mind you. The thought is prompted by someone more knowledgeable than me who suggested the latter might have happened, I think.)

    4. I'm wondering about the heatwave with above zero temps reported here :

      and what effect that's going to have on the Arctic sea ice.

    5. I wondered the same thing Steve.

      I reckon that we'll find out soon enough...

  5. At first I thought it illustrated the cowardice of the so-called skeptics (being unwilling to bet that 2016 would be cooler than 2015), but on reading the details of the bet conditions more carefully it highlighted their dishonesty about no significant warming in XX years instead. Rather than admitting that of course there has been secular warming over the past 30 years and that 2016 will not possibly be cooler than 1986 (barring a century or millennium-scale volcanic eruption or giant meteor impact), they pretend they didn't hear the question.

    1. Jo Nova invited predictions in her New Year post, but no-one was game to make a climate prediction. And in her latest article, the first few comments are about the extraordinary weather recently.

      I don't take that as a sign that deniers are deserting the ship (that's flailing in rising seas). It's more likely that we'll just see more of the extraordinary display of insanity with Anthony Watts' latest article.

      "Bonkers" is the the formal Australian word for the phenomenon. Others might call it "batshit crazy".

    2. A prediction I make is there will be no end to the Conspiracy Theories regarding climate change.

    3. You'll be getting a lot of, "Look! A bear" from the denialati until the weather cools a bit.

  6. "Bruce Cobb wants a debate about science, but instead of science he broke Brandon Gates irony meter:"

    Stealey smoked the second one of the year not long after that on the Al Gore thread:

    I stop counting when I run out of toes. Took less than a week last year.

    1. Gives new meaning to the term "intellectual dishonesty".

      And Al Gore is still fat I see.

      I have not been able to decide who is worse at intellectual dishonestly - the WUWT kennel of attack-dogs, or Creationists.

    2. That's funny Brandon. I also noticed that someone posted that dishonestly labelled Alley graph yet again not understanding that the data finished in 1855, not 2000. I'm pretty sure that's on Watt's list of dubious graphs, but it still gets posted regularly WUWT and no moderator calls them on it.

    3. Harry,

      Richard S Courtney is basically both.

      Smokey is an attack poodle.


      I can't seem to find Anthony's list of dubious graphs at the moment ... suggestions? I'd like to check it.

      Apparently Robert Way thinks I should not splice HADCRUT4 C&W onto the Alley (2000) reconstruction ... something I should probably read up on more.

    4. Brandon, if you are talking about the Alley temperatures for GISP2 on Greenland, you'd need to get the temperature data for the GISP2 site. Trying to splice global temps won't work (if that's what you were trying). For example, the paper below has an average for the decade ending 2010 IIRC - I can't recall if it's specific to GISP2:

      Kobashi, Takuro, Kenji Kawamura, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, Jean‐Marc Barnola, Toshiyuki Nakaegawa, Bo M. Vinther, Sigfús J. Johnsen, and Jason E. Box. "High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core." Geophysical Research Letters 38, no. 21 (2011). DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049444

      And here:

      And the latest for Greenland as a whole:

      The WUWT list of dubious charts can be found under the reference pages (top menu) (archived).

    5. There's a website with Greenland weather stations, too.

  7. Stokes has the December anomaly (Adjusted to the 1951-1980 baseline of GISS) at 1.18°C. The records keep tumbling.

    1. And Tamino went straight to the Central England Temperature because it has reported daily mean temperature since 1772. The anomaly there for December is over 5 C

    2. Nick is usually pretty close on his monthly estimates of what the GISS figure will be. If it does come out to be around 118, that will put the 2015 Jan - Dec anomaly at 87.25 ~= .87C above the 1951 - 1980 average. That's a whole .13C above the 2014 Jan - Dec anomaly.

      In order for it to come out less than 87 (i.e. < 86.5), the Dec anomaly would have to be below 109, or 1.09C. Not likely.

    3. It was bizarre. At one point in mid December I arrived home at midnight, stepped out of the car and something didn't feel right. Then I realized it didn't feel remotely cold. Above freezing would be mild, but the car said 14 degrees C. Took my coat off as a test and found that yes it was warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt for several minutes without feeling a bite of cold.

  8. Can someone explain "too big of a squib"? Not an expression I have heard before.

    1. A wuss, a pillow, a wimp, an inadequate person generally. It's a UK and Australian english term - if you've read Harry Potter you may remember that the non-magical products of magical families are referred to as 'squibs'. The smallest of firecrackers, back in the days when fireworks night was still legal in Oz, were also squibs...

  9. It looks like Boslough is referring to the land temperature rather than land+ocean

  10. "The pause has decreased ..."

    Said in all apparent seriousness. A pause which gets shorter over time makes sense to some people.

    Interesting, though, that their latest pause is shorter than the last. They must be feeling the hand of Nemesis on their shoulders.


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