Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monckton makes a bigger mess at wattsupwiththat

Sou | 1:48 AM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

Update: see below - TimC has something to say in the WUWT comments about Monckton's fake claim to be a member of the House of Lords.

Not satisfied with the mess Christopher Monckton of Brenchley made in his last article, Anthony let's him get into a bigger mess on WUWT.  (If you click the link you'll notice I've taken everyone's advice. I've updated the link - previous version here)

What Christopher does is draw a whole heap of his yucky pink charts using monthly data and cherry picking the start date of December 1996.  He plonks on top a supposed trend line each with an R2 value close to zero.  In the background on a scale of his choosing he adds atmospheric CO2.  He could just as easily have used a different scale for CO2 and the slope would have been quite different.  Anyway, this is what Christopher's mess looks like.  I've combined all his charts into a single animation to save space (and eyes):

Anyone who knows anything about statistics or climate will see immediately what is wrong with this approach.  Notice the very low R2 value in each chart.  The trend lines are meaningless.  The surface temperature data is too noisy to determine a trend.  The CO2 background chart is meaningless.

Christopher Monckton drowns the trend in noisy variations

Here is what rasmus says on realclimate.org about this very common trick by fake skeptics like Anthony Watts and Christopher Monckton:
The real trick, however, is to show all the short-term variations. Hourly and daily values would be an over-kill, but showing monthly values works. Climate change involves time scales of many years, and hence if emphasis is given to much shorter time scales, the trends will drown in noisy variations. 
Let's look and see what happens with GISTemp using annual data.  Compare the R2 value of the linear trend line with those in Christopher's charts:

Data Source: NASA

Now given that climate doesn't change on an annual basis but over years, here is the same data on a decadal basis.

Data Source: NASA

Compare the R2 value with those in Christopher's charts and with that in the annual GISTemp above.  Remember too, the last column on the right only contains three years of data from 2010 to 2012 inclusive.

Next, compare the above with Christopher's cherry pick.  He started in December 1996.  Here is the annual data showing the full data set compared with data for the full year 1997 to 2012 inclusive:

Data Source: NASA

Christopher Monckton ignores uncertainty to fool people

Tamino has a very good article (well a lot of very good articles) on the topic of trends in data when there is a lot of noise, like there is in Christopher's monthly data and even in annual data.  If you think for one minute that Christopher is on to something then I urge you to read the article.  Tamino discusses how you need to allow for uncertainty, particularly with noisy data like monthly global surface temperature anomalies.

Christopher Monckton's ridiculous prediction

Christopher finishes up with this:
A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.
Data Source: NASA plus Monckton's math geek

I know people who think Christopher Monckton has something to offer are seriously weird, but are they that delusional? Let's see - from the WUWT comments:

MattN is getting impatient for all the cooling predicted by many people at WUWT and says:
August 27, 2013 at 3:59 am
As good as this is, what we really need is some cooling that no one can deny/spin instead of non-warming.

Eric says the greenhouse gas theory has been disproven:
August 27, 2013 at 6:36 am
How can people still cling to the CO2 myth — including WUWT? The idea that rising CO2 causes rising temperatures has failed the observational test.
“Does the Great Gap prove the basic greenhouse-gas theory wrong? No.” ???? Observation of actual events HAS disproved the GHG theory. Get over it.

rgbatduke, as part of a very long lecture to Christopher, says he doesn't know, he thinks it's all too uncertain:
August 27, 2013 at 5:08 am
I’m not certain I agree that we are due for 0.5C of cooling — perhaps we are, perhaps not — because I don’t think uncertain science suddenly becomes certain for you, for me, for your friend who is sometimes right, for the IPCC, for the GCMs, or for your favorite psychic medium. Given the uncertainties in the data and the corrections, I’m not even sure we’ve had the claimed 1 C of global warming post the mid-1800s. I think we have actually had some warming, but it could be a half a degree, it could be a degree and a half. Who knows what Australia, Antarctica, the western half of the United States, most of South America, half of Canada, most of China, the bulk of the pacific, and the bulk of the Atlantic oceans were doing (temperature-wise) in the mid-1800s? Our thermometric data is spotty to sparse and inaccurate, and a lot of this was terra incognita to the point where we don’t even have good ANECDOTAL evidence of climate.

Chris Schoneveld says it's a shame that Christopher picked the cherry:
August 27, 2013 at 3:57 am
So to summarize: Lord Monckton did pick the dataset with the lowest, (even negative) trend (RSS) of -0.2 ºC/century since all the other datasets show positive trends between +0.44ºC/century and +0.93 ºC/century. So, yes, RSS was a cherry, because it was the only one that showed (be it statistically insignificant) cooling for 200 months (I know, the warming trends of the others are equally statistically insignificant). It is a pity that he chose RSS, since it gave his opponents ammunition to attack his credibility.

David L. says all the models are wrong - Christopher Monckton sez so, so there!
August 27, 2013 at 2:45 am
Who can say the models aren’t wrong? The evidence cannot possibly be more clear. So warmists, scrap the models and go back to the drawing boards! You ain’t got nuthin’.

TimC has a few things to say about Christopher's false claim to me a member of the House of Lords:
August 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm
Lord Monckton: as your original posting in this thread itself made reference to your claim to be “a member of the House of Lords” and you also responded to what I thought was a fair posting from steveta_uk by describing him as a “furtively pseudonymous troll” and going on about “some malicious and politicized lackwit’s effusions” I am afraid I have decided to add my own ha’pennys worth – accepting that this was not of course the principal topic of your otherwise interesting article.
I am sure you know that in the UK the Monarch does not by herself (or by Royal Command or Warrant) make laws: it is “the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in …. Parliament assembled” (to use the enacting words on all general legislation of the Westminster Parliament), that constitutionally makes laws. The monarchy is itself subject to those laws (as under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013), so are peers (life and hereditary) and commoners. Unlike in some other jurisdictions there is no constitutional court or right of judicial review from legislation enacted by Parliament (Monarch, Lords and Commons together) nor any concept that an Act passed by Parliament can ever be flawed or unenforceable – every Act passed by Parliament is valid legislation until the Parliamentary process is used once again to alter or repeal it.
By Section 1 of the House of Lords Act 1999 (enacted by the Queen, Lords and Commons in Parliament) “No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage”. By Section 2 “Section 1 shall not apply in relation to anyone excepted from it by or in accordance with Standing Orders of the House”; “At any one time 90 people shall be excepted from section 1”; “Once excepted from section 1, a person shall continue to be so throughout his life …” – creating 90 hereditary peers (in addition to appointed life peers) as members of the House for life. This legislation is absolutely clear; it was passed with the direct authority of the (then) House of Lords.
Since I believe you succeeded to your title in 2006 when the 1999 Act was already in force (as it still is today), under Section 1 of that Act you cannot be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of your hereditary peerage unless you show that you have been excepted from Section 1. This is the law however unreasonable, unfair or improper you might consider it to be; it was approved by the Monarch, the (then) House of Lords and the Commons in 1999.
For clarity: may I ask if you have a Section 2 exception in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House? If not, how can you be a member of the House of Lords so long as Section 1 of the 1999 Act remains the law?

TimC has more to say about that:
August 27, 2013 at 3:02 pmAs “The furtively pseudonymous TimC” (Anthony has my email address with my correct full name which I prefer to abbreviate here) I have indeed read the opinion obtained by Lord Monckton: I assume that given by Hugh O’Donoghue of Carmelite Chambers, Inner Temple.
I have (the now rather too familiar) issues over someone first called in 2004, who probably won’t get silk for another 10-15 years, being described as “a leading constitutional lawyer” – until he gets silk he is not entitled to lead anyone. I fear this is another example of embroidering expressions rather to the limit – and we have all on occasions shopped cases around the Temple until we get the opinion we want.
And I’m afraid I simply don’t agree with the opinion. The 1999 Act is absolutely clear and to the point: “no-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage”. The Queen gave royal assent to this in 1999, thereby altering letters patent given before that time (by her or any of her predecessors). The Queen, and any instrument previously issued by her, is subject to later Acts of Parliament exactly in the same way as any of her subjects.


  1. Oh Lord, Monckton's R2 values are around 0.05. That is really poor!

    1. One of them (the RSS one that he likes to tout) had an r2 of 0.000. I wonder if any of the illiterati caught that!

    2. A few people in the comments picked up on it but most ignored it and accepted Monckton's trend values, even though they are completely meaningless when R2 is around zero.

      There's a lot of shouting about CAGW is dead in the water. They are a bunch of idiots at WUWT.

  2. I'm not sure what point anybody is making there with R^2 values, but if there truly wasn't any relationship between the independent and dependent variables, you'd expect a poor R^2 anyway.

    If you wanted to show that you need to use a longer period of time, I think you'd do something else to demonstrate that, not just look at the R^2. tamino's been over this ground.

    1. Yeah, that seems to be the case. I've got a link to a good article by Tamino above, in which he discusses noise and trend. Pretty well identical issue but on something that "stevengoddard" wrote.

      With climate, everyone who knows says you do need a longer period of time. As well as that, for climate, monthly data like fake skeptics use is just silly - unless like the WUWT writers, they are trying to deceive their readers, in which case it's not silly and works with some people.

      I also wrote about this before. Santer et al wrote a paper on how much time is needed to be confident about trends in global surface temperature.

  3. Interesting grumble from the crowd about the lack of cooling. They've been told since at least 2007 that a long-term cooling trend has already set in, but it's not feeling that way. It's always jam tomorrow, all promise and no performance. The rubes are leaving the tent.

  4. I think TimC has skewered Lord M's claim, not that Lord M will listen. To rub salt in the wound, Jenny Green, former deputy mayor of London, has recently been made a life peer and is entitled to call herself a member of the House of Lords. She is also a Green Party member.

    1. That's delightful.

      Down in Australia we used to get knighthoods and dames and all that from the Queen, but Bob Hawke put a stop to it ages ago. I bet ex Prime Minister John Howard was miffed - he's a true blue monarchist and served long enough to get some honour or other if we still took them.


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