Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vessel trapped off Antarctica - it's a conspiracy, sez anti-science campaigner Anthony Watts

Sou | 6:53 PM Go to the first of 58 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, conspiracy theorist promoter at WUWT, is now heralding another conspiracy theory.  That there was an international plot to create a blizzard off Antarctica right at the very spot and time when MV Akademik Shokalskiy was most likely to get caught in the pack ice. I gather he believes the plot was hatched by the scientists on the ship, and the captain and his crew were only too willing to participate along with, presumably the Australian and Russian governments, the media and all the passengers.  Anthony reckons it's all a "publicity stunt"!

For more Anthony Watts' conspiracy theories at WUWT, see here and here and here.

Anthony Watts has a habit of capitalising on the misfortune of others

Anthony Watts has a reputation for mocking the misfortune of others to get blog hits and make believe he's "clever".  He downplayed the tragic deaths of thousands of people (latest toll is at least 6,111 people dead and 1,779 still missing) in the deadliest disaster in the Philippines. He tried to downplay the severity of the record-breaking typhoon - in several articles, which in itself shows that the storm was regarded by the rest of the world as a major catastrophe.

The troubles of the ice-bound Australasian Antarctic Expedition are nothing compared to the disaster wrought by Haiyan, but the reaction of Anthony Watts and some of his followers can be put in the same category.

Anthony delights in the misfortune using terms like "circus", "hilarity" in his malicious taunting of the plight of MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the 74 people on board.  Some of his followers have wished the scientists and passengers dead - literally.

Here is the latest from Australia's ABC news.  Here is the live blog from the Guardian.  And for background, here is an interview with Professor Chris Turney on Lateline - from last November; and a link to the expedition website.

This short clip shows, in fast-motion, research on board the Aurora Australis, to give some idea of what scientists do in the oceans around Antarctica:

The video was filmed by Antarctic researcher Dr Frederique Olivier onboard the recent voyage of the Australian Antarctic Division's icebreaker the Research Supply Vessel Aurora Australis.  It encapsulates some of the incredible amount of work undertaken by researchers working in shifts continuously throughout the voyage to learn more about the Antarctic Ocean and its relationship to the rest of Earth's environment.

It's a Russian/Australian conspiracy, sez Anthony Watts

Back to the plight of MV Akademik Shokalskiy.  Now Anthony has moved to "it's a conspiracy".  Not satisfied with mocking the expedition, cracking jokes, telling fibs and trying to make mileage out of their situation, now he speculates that being trapped in ice was a "publicity stunt" (archived here, latest update here):
Now, with such a fantastic failure in full world view, questions are going to start being asked. For example, with advanced tools at their disposal (that Mawson never had) such as near real-time satellite imaging of Antarctic sea ice, GPS navigation, on-board Internet, radar, and satellite communications, one wonders how these folks managed to get themselves stuck at all. Was it simple incompetence of ignoring the signs and data at their disposal combined with “full steam ahead” fever? Even the captain of the Aurora Australis had the good sense to turn back knowing he’d reached the limits of the ship on his rescue attempt.  Or, was it some sort of publicity stunt to draw attention? If it was the latter, it has backfired mightily.

I'm not quite sure why he thinks that all that equipment can accurately predict the future and even  if it did give an indication they were about to be hemmed in by sea ice, how the captain and navigator could have avoided it.  Nor how Anthony is so convinced that no sea-going vessels ever gets into strife, given all that equipment.

As you can see, Anthony also doubles down on his disinformation, calling the scientific expedition a "nothing more than a party":
And when the trip is nothing more than a party for your friends and media, disguised as a “scientific expedition”, one wonders if there shouldn’t be some moratorium on such trips.

That means that he regards the scientists here and here and here are mere party-goers. Not only that but Anthony Watts regards any reporting of science and nature as frivolous frippery.  Anthony cannot abide science or nature.

How ships get stuck in thick ice

Sea ice moves.  It is blown by the wind.  I'm not an expert on the Antarctic or sea ice, but here is some information I've gathered from various places:

First, a short description of what happened to Shackleton's Endurance, in 1915, from Wikipedia:
On January 18 the gale began to moderate and Endurance set the topsail with the engine at slow. The pack had blown away. Progress was made slowly until hours later Endurance encountered the pack once more. It was decided to move forward and work through the pack, and at 5pm Endurance entered it. However it was noticed that this ice was different from what had been encountered before. The ship was soon amongst thick but soft brash ice. The ship became beset. The gale now increased its intensity and kept blowing for another six days from a northerly direction towards land. By January 24, the wind had completely compressed the ice in the whole Weddell Sea against the land. Endurance was icebound. All that could be done was to wait for a southerly gale that would start pushing, decompressing and opening the ice in the other direction. Instead the days passed and the pack remained unchanged.
Endurance drifted for months beset in the ice in the Weddell Sea. The changing conditions of the Antarctic spring brought such pressure that Endurance was crushed over the period from October 27, 1915. On the morning of November 21, 1915, the Endurance's bow began to sink under the ice and it was abandoned. [2]

Here is a video taken from a ship going through pack ice in the Arctic. The sea ice moves on the ocean and different bits crash into each other, piling up.  This video is just normal ice motion, it's not pack ice being blown in one direction, packed tightly by the strong winds off East Antarctica and thickening around a ship:

The Arctic is mostly ocean surrounded by land.  In the Antarctic it's the opposite.  It's a large continent surrounded by ocean.  This raises the matter of fast ice.

As Alok Jha, science correspondent at the Guardian who is on the ship, wrote a couple of days ago:
We arrived at Commonwealth Bay more than a week ago, dropping anchor at the edge of a glistening sheet of fast ice – so called because it is stuck fast to the edge of the land mass of Antarctica. In front of us was an alien landscape of pure, flat white. The expedition's scientists began their work. 

After Commonwealth Bay, the ship continued to follow the path of the Mawson expedition and set off for the Mertz Glacier. It got as far as Cape de la Motte.  As Alok Jha wrote in the same article:
We are at Cape de la Motte in East Antarctica, on our way to the Mertz glacier, in a sea covered in ice floes up to four metres thick and several years old, making them dense and tough. Winds have pushed these floes towards the Antarctic mainland and pinned us in. The Xue Long arrived on Friday evening and spent 12 hours pushing its way through the dense ice before its captain decided enough was enough. We were only two nautical miles from the ocean before Christmas, but that distance has now swelled to around 20 nautical miles as the blizzards and winds have continued. If the joint efforts of the Aurora Australis and Xue Long don't work, the only other option will be to evacuate the ship by air, though this would be the absolute worst case scenario.

This is a map showing where the ship is now:

Fast ice is stuck to the land, the ice pack isn't.  Winds have pushed the pack ice towards the coast, trapping the ship.  And it's got worse.  Not only has the ice covered more of the ocean, blocking any route in or out, it's being compressed and is getting thicker as the wind keeps pushing the pack ice against itself.  It has nowhere to go so it banks up. The latest is that the ice around the ship is three to four metres thick.  Too thick for any ice-breaker and the pressure could be too thick for the ship to survive intact, though I don't know about the latter.  The ship is designed for the Arctic and Antarctic.

Anthony Watts' conspiracy theory

Anthony Watts prefers a conspiracy theory.  He speculated: Or, was it some sort of publicity stunt to draw attention?

That would have required some or all of the following:

  • An international conspiracy involving Russia and Australia with or without the connivance of governments of nations whose citizens are part of the expedition
  • Foreknowledge of the change in wind and how it would blow the pack ice forcing it to bank up around the ship and the coast
  • The ship's captain being central to the conspiracy - willingly, by coercion or by enticement such as bribery
  • The ships crew being complicit and following the Captain's orders
  • The scientists being willing to put their own lives and that of their colleagues, passengers, and the ship's crew at risk
  • The scientists having at their disposal the means by which to coerce (by brute force, bribery or other means) the ship's captain to deliberately put himself, his crew, all his passengers and his ship in harm's way
  • The scientists being so all-powerful that they could control the winds of the Antarctic and the sea ice.

WUWT-ers are willing to believe that Adelaide scientist Tom Wigley rules the world, with or without Kevin Trenberth, who they believe is arguably the most politically powerful climate scientist on earth. So it should come as no surprise that Anthony Watts' followers would swallow his yarn that one or two scientists can force the captain of a Russian ship and command the winds of the Antarctic to trap their ship behind 20  nautical miles of ice.

As others have pointed out, Anthony knows almost nothing about science and less about Antarctica.  Do you recall when he wrote about UHI disease in remote Antarctica, claiming that rising temperatures in Antarctica were caused by a couple of researchers freezing their butt off in a remote temporary camp, thousands of kilometres from the weather station?

Why didn't Anthony do any research on the subject of sea ice in Antarctica?  That should be obvious.  If he had he wouldn't have been able to spin his malicious yarns.

And does he really think that the captain of the Russian-flagged ship would deliberately get stuck in ice that is now 3 to 4 meters thick and risk it being destroyed on purpose?  Does he really think that scientists can command the winds around the Antarctic coastline? Perhaps he thinks that the scientists or passengers forced the Captain just so that he, Anthony Watts, could mock the fact that the ship got stuck in ice in a world that is warming.  Probably not.  He doesn't care about such matters.  All he cares about is trashing science and scientists and thereby getting the lowest of the low readers to his blog.

Other ships that have been trapped or sunk by Antarctic ice

Many ships have been trapped by ice in the Antarctic.  This vessel is by no means unique.  Here are just a few examples:

In January 1986, the british Antarctic expedition ship, Southern Quest, "sank in the Ross Sea Saturday night, trapped and crushed by pack ice while on its way to pick up three men who spent a year walking and skiing to the South Pole".  This was a private expedition and the aftermath is described here by John Elder.

In November 2009, a tourist ship, the Russian ice-breaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, was trapped by ice in the Antarctic for several days.  It included a BBC team who were filming for the well-known documentary "Frozen Planet".

Several fishing vessels have been sunk in Antarctic waters.  Did they, too, do it "as a publicity stunt"?

And of course there are the pioneering expeditions that battled the perils of the Antarctic waters.

How this ship got trapped

Early reports suggest the ship became trapped because the wind pushed the pack ice toward the fast ice and when it could move no further it piled up.  There will be a report of the events prepared by AMSA and maybe others after the dust has settled.  I'll leave it to the experts to apportion blame to the captain, crew, passengers, scientists, the media, global warming, WUWT's coming ice age, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Al Gore, the IPCC, the UN, Agenda 21 or the fickleness of Antarctic weather - in whatever proportion they see fit.

All I can say is that I expect the scientific team, the captain and crew and the passengers to come out looking a whole lot better than the despicable reaction of Anthony Watts and his anti-science fans.  It's not just good people who look like saints compared to Anthony Watts.  A lot of villains in the world would appear to smell of roses if put next to the people who worship anti-science.

Worth a "Sticky"

Anthony has made his mocking article a "sticky" to make sure his readers can see just how clever and insightful he is.  How you can't fool Anthony Watts.  This is probably what he and his nasty followers think:

Credit: Gabby's Playhouse

Addendum: I'd say this little section had a prophetic component.  Anthony has put up a detailed analysis of his blog stats for the year.  Do they "prove" he is "right"?  ha ha ha. (His article is archived here.  I can't be bothered archiving his actual report.  If readers are interested please make a request in the comment section and I'll make a copy and post a link.)

Meanwhile, in other news

From India:
Survivors of the flash floods in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in north India are still recovering from the calamity, six months on.
The floods, which has also been called the Himalayan Tsunami, left over 1,000 dead and more than 6,500 missing.

In Indonesia:
Around 18,000 people in western Indonesia have had to leave their homes after two rivers burst their banks and flooded thousands of houses, an official said.

In the Pilbara, Western Australia:
Authorities are assessing the damage after Tropical Cyclone Christine brought torrential rain and destructive winds to Western Australia's Pilbara, with residents of one town saying it was the worst in memory.

In the UK
A record number of women have appeared in the Queen's New Year's honours list...Some 1,195 people have received an award this year, and for the first time since the list was founded in 1917 there were more women (51 per cent) named than men.
(Oops - that's not terribly relevant, is it.)

From the WUWT comments

Anthony Watts really does bring out the nastier of the nasties. The worst of the comments are on his previous articles (eg as archived here, but the site seems to be slow at the moment) and are not suitable for printing on HotWhopper.  For readers who have a strong stomach comments on this latest WUWT diatribe are archived here at webcitation.org and updated here at archive.is, latest here.

Michael Ronayne says:
December 30, 2013 at 10:47 am
Question: What do you call a ship load of trapped Global Cooling Deniers who are in danger of freezing to death?
Answer: A good start!

Man Bearpig says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:14 am
This must have been the best entertainment that Penguins and Seals have seen in a long time.

Dobes says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:28 am
Why is it such a surprise the people who routinely ignore real world observation are stuck in a real world observation. I’m sure their models said the ice wasn’t there

David Becker is "not sure" about Adelie penguins being near people in Antarctica says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:28 am
The penguins in the first photo appear to be photoshopped in. I am not sure there would be a bunch of penguins right at the location at which the ship is stuck, unless they were just having a good laugh. (I will look at later pictures for a sad polar bear, just in case the biologists aboard are as competent as the “climate scientists.”)
I wonder how all these photos were taken if not by people.

Leo G gets into the spirit of Anthony's festivities and says:
December 30, 2013 at 8:14 pm
Have I got this right? A pair of Australian professors whose names sound like Christmas Turkey and Fogwilly use research funds to organise a tourist trip PR stunt in Antarctica by chartering a ship with a name that sounds like MV Academic Shocks-are-likely. A bipolar expedition?

En Passant notices the wealth of material at WUWT for psychologists and, contributing to it, says:
December 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm
At any moment Professor Lewandowsky (formerly of the University of WA and now of Bristol University) will issue a peer/pal reviewed paper entitled “Cognitive dissonance of Deniers mocking heroic CAGW pseudo-scientists trapped in global warming ice”
I cannot wait.
One interesting point of dissonance is that before they set off Professor Turkey blogged that Commonwealth Bay has been blocked for the past three years by a giant (75-mile long) iceberg that has lodged there. If he already knew that, how did this Band of Boonies intend to land? A Moses act of parting the ice and waters perhaps. Yet another mystery to be solved. I mean, Google maps would have told them it was a bad idea before they set off with my taxes in their pockets.
Let’s hope the UNSW picks up the costs as this will mean they have to close some unnecessary departments (probably medicine, engineering and physics) as this disaster shows just how important the Department of Climate Mythology really is.

Frank Kotler apparently thinks that Douglas Mawson is okay but people adding to his legacy of scientific observations are not okay, and says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:29 am
Rather arrogant for these folks to compare themselves to Douglas Mawson, IMO. Mawson was apparently a rugged guy, but he lost two crew members and nearly died himself. I guess if no one dies in this fiasco, it proves “global warming”. “Global Warming is real and dangerous.” Okay, scratch “dangerous”. “Global Warming is real and a lifesaver!” How’s thar?

Talk about deluded deniers. Gail Combs is vying for the dual awards of "biggest loonie" and "nastiest web denizen" and talks of "spin".  At the same time she is blaming the scientists on the vessel for "food riots in over 60 countries", the "real deaths of thousands in the UK" and potentially causing early deaths of millions". She says of the scientists and passengers (excerpt - with my bold italics):
December 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm
I have every sympathy for the crews and I hope like heck the Russian skipper and his 17 volunteers makes it out alive. The others, given their attitude, I have no sympathy for what’s so ever.
These are not a bunch of innocent befuddled tourists but a bunch of campaigning activists who combined with their brethren have cause food riots in over 60 countries (2008 biofuel -food crisis) the real deaths of thousands in the UK (fuel poverty), not to mention undermining the economies of several nations and potentially causing the suffering and early deaths of not thousands but millions.
If Mother Nature wants to deliver a hard object lesson to activists so be it.
The unfortunate problem is they will just find a way to spin it.

DirkH and Mervyn are busy building up their reputations as a Conspiracy Theorists First Class:
December 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm
Mervyn says: December 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm
“The media are doing an atrocious job reporting the truth about this ‘expedition’ ”
You are doing them injustice. The media are doing a splendig job lying about this expedition.
You have to know the job description.

Not all of Anthony's science deniers are getting completely caught up in Anthony Watts' hysteria.  Laurie says:
December 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm
I don’t see these people as enemies… just wrong thinking. The ice? Well, it was there and someone made a mistake. I don’t really care how they want to spin this when it’s over. I would just like to see them all safe. Ignorant and safe is …okay. Truth will win out in the end.

I wonder if this latest episode at WUWT will make anyone reassess their rejection of science and reconsider their opinion of Anthony Watts?

Monday, December 30, 2013

It was only this morning that we talked of trolls...

Sou | 3:31 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

It was only this morning when a worthy contributor at HotWhopper remarked on an article in the Telegraph, in which Tom Chivers referred to this sort of ugly response to the ice-bound ship in Antarctica as trolling.  We then observed how anyone who discusses science at WUWT is commonly referred to as a troll.

Is it pure coincidence that the first thing I see when I check WUWT is:
Peer Review; Last Refuge of the (Uninformed) Troll
And the first sentence I read in that new article is this?
It has become a favorite tactic amongst trolls to declare their belief in peer reviewed science.  

It just goes to show, doesn't it :D

Anthony Watts has put up an article (archived here) by David M Hoffer (who believes that scientists ought to be diminished to an "it").  David Hoffer appears to be trying to make an argument that the fact that fake sceptics have not managed to publish anything credible to prove any one of their various weird and wonderful theories, doesn't mean that any one of their weird and wonderful theories that we're heading for an ice age or whatever won't hold up.  He continues:
With this simple strategy, they at once excuse themselves from the need to know anything about the science, and at the same time seek to discredit skeptic arguments on the grounds that, not having been published in peer reviewed journals, they may be dismissed out of hand.

Which is a funny thing to say.  First of all, David fails to spell out anywhere in his article just which of the myriad conflicting fake skeptic arguments he believes are credit-worthy.  Secondly, if "trolls" (aka scientists and others) accept peer-reviewed science it's quite likely that:

  • it's their own research, which they've published in a peer-reviewed journal and/or
  • it's science they've read in a peer-reviewed journal and/or
  • they understand science well enough to know whether a particular paper accords with or conflicts with the wider body of scientific knowledge and/or
  • they are sensible enough to realise that if 97% of the thousands of experts agree, then it's probably wise to pay attention.

The "argument" hinges (precariously) on an ancient Greek (and a less ancient Italian)

David's argument goes something like this, although he doesn't go into nearly as much detail:

In the fifth century BC (ca. 495–435 BCE), there was a philosopher physician poet whose name was Empedocles. Empedocles was a very important influence and features in the work of Plato and Arisotle among others.  He posited that we see objects because they emanate colour which is perceived by the eye.  It's a fair bit more complicated than that.  David Hoffer describes it as "Empedocles theorized that one could see by virtue of rays emanating from one’s eyes."  However from what I've read (here and here) it was the other way around.  And it wasn't "rays" it was effluences, which to my mind has a slightly different meaning. It's more like objects emanate effluences of different colours which are received by the eyes.

Now David claims:
Falsifying this notion required no more than pointing out that one cannot see in a dark room.  

Well, that might be okay if David's notion of Empedocles' ideas was correct and complete.  However from what I've read, Empedocles was quite a clever chap and I don't think that he would have come up with a notion that could be so easily dispelled.  So I think it much more likely that Empedocles notion may be more as described by Katerina Ierodiakonou  (p 22 onwards).  It's a thoughtful treatise and one which I am not in a position to judge as to accuracy, not being a scholar of ancient Greece. I'm drawn to the similarities with our knowledge of light and vision, rather than the differences.  And I have to admit that the dreamer in me is attracted to the merging of philosophy and natural sciences.

Before I get too carried away, best return to the mundane.  David has raised this flawed "argument" before as you may recall.  The nuts and bolts of it is, if a single Greek philosopher physician and poet could be mistaken about light and vision back in the fifth century BC, then today all the scientists in the world must be wrong about modern physics, chemistry and biology.

We could extend that and argue that all the physicians and medical researchers in the world are wrong about vision.  And all the physicists in the world are wrong about theories of light.  In fact, all modern science could be wrong.  It could even be that Empedocles is correct after all, couldn't it?

Just because there is no peer-reviewed paper proving that pigs can fly...

What it boils down to is that David M Hoffer is arguing that pigs might fly.  Just because there isn't a peer-reviewed paper proving that pigs can fly doesn't mean that they can't.  

David makes a very good point.  As he writes, who are we to:
...retreat to authoritarian arguments in the face of dead simple observations.

Galileo proves something or other ...

David calls on Galileo Galilei to support his notion that all the scientists in the world have had it wrong for decades. This is rather odd, because Galileo was a scientist who was battling with fake sceptics who didn't like him or his science largely because of political ideology (the Church and politics were intertwined back then).  Just like all the fake sceptics at WUWT.  So it's not at all clear why David would call on him for support.  If Galileo were alive today he'd be horrified to discover the anti-science mob claimed him as one of their own.

Move over Tom Wigley, there's a new ruler in town

Another thing, David M Hoffer disputes the fact that Tom Wigley is the ruler of the world.  He reckons that its Kevin Trenberth, who he says is "arguably the most politically powerful climate scientist on earth".  They are a fickle lot this anti-science crowd.  Maybe there'll be a stand-up fight between David M Hoffer and Tim Ball.  Who's going to place a bet?

David M Hoffer's "evidence"

Finally David puts up his dead simple observations as "evidence" that all the physics, chemistry and biology is wrong.  Well, I know who's acting like a dead simpleton and it's not the scientists.  Here are David's "dead simple" notions:

  • stolen emails (Good grief - not that furphy!)
  • the models are wrong (No they aren't!)
  • the models didn't indicate that the oceans would warm up with global warming (What nonsense! What did he think would happen? That the oceans would cool down with global warming?)
  • Roy Spencer says the Earth emits radiation to space (If it didn't, we'd have combusted long before we evolved.)
  • the models didn't suggest that the Arctic would warm faster than other places (Every projection in the IPCC reports shows the Arctic warming faster.)

David M Hoffer's most sensible conclusion

David concludes his wondrous non-peer reviewed bit of nonsense with:
But you need not believe me in that regard.
That's a relief.  You'd be much better to do as David finally and sensibly suggests:
Just the peer reviewed science by the foremost climate scientists on earth.
Thank goodness.  We now have David M Hoffer's permission to go back to peer-reviewed science.  I bet he had you all worried for a minute or less :)

From the WUWT comments

The first few comments I'll show are a sample from the paid up "dead simple" scientific illiterati (archived here):

GlynnMhor says:
December 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm
‘Peer review’ may become ‘pal review’, or less politely a ‘circle jerk’ of like-minded colleagues boosting one another’s fortunes.

Janice Moore says:
December 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Well done, David M. Hoffer (if I may, smile). Glad to see an article by you. When I saw you were this post’s author, I even came off my WUWT vacation to read it. You (and other WUWT science giants) certainly provided irrefutable demonstrative evidence of your above assertion in your valiant attempt last week to educate that troll-of-contrived-ignorance whose name I will NOT give the benefit of even mentioning ( = home for a legion of rabbits, going nicely with Monckton’s hive metaphor in the post below which your comments appeared).

Bob Tisdale says (did you doubt he would?):
December 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Thanks, David. Well put!

Andrew Thomas says (excerpt):
December 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Warmist “peer review” is as dishonest as their pseudo-scientific religion. 

mosomoso says (excerpt):
December 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm
Peer reviewed climate science seems to be little more than the art of ignoring one’s ignorance for the greater good of the clique. Maybe five percent of the hydrosphere has been visited? Never mind. Almost all of the hot, plasticky ball called Earth unvisited, unexamined? Bor-ing. Get to all that later. Gotta publish.

The next few are from readers who can demonstrate they are alive and probably have at least half a brain, some have a whole one.  They are outnumbered by around ten to one, which in itself is quite a remarkable achievement for WUWT where the ratio is generally closer to 99 to one:

Juice says:
December 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Is there some law that says if you’re having an argument about science and you compare yourself to Galileo you automatically lose?

cd says:
December 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm
Anthony Watts
I try to actually introduce as many of my friends to your excellent website as a focus of general science (which it does a better job than fully dedicated ones) but when ironic S@*te like this appears it dilutes some of the excellent pieces posted here.

climateace says:
December 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm
D Hoffer
Oh dear – a paper which starts by defining anyone who dares question the views of the author as a ‘troll’. The beauty of this bit of sophistry is that the author virtually sets up, and automatically ‘wins’, a circular argument: trolls are wrong and bad. Hoffer is not a troll.
Therefore D Hoffer is right!
Verbal alchemy – logical dross into gold!

The really ugly side of Anthony Watts and his science deniers at WUWT

Sou | 7:42 AM Go to the first of 62 comments. Add a comment

Update: Anthony Watts is working hard to cement his reputation, with unfathomable behaviour. See below.

I've only been watching the antics at WUWT for a few months.  I occasionally went there before last year when someone at HotCopper copied and pasted some nonsense, but didn't hang around because it was so eminently dull and wrong.  Since I've been attempting to show up the stupid, I've come to know Anthony Watts and his regulars a bit better.

One thing I've observed and been dismayed with is their really nasty side.  Anthony is not satisfied with smearing individual scientists, he takes delight in any misfortunes.  He takes special delight in any misfortunes of people who take dangerous journeys to inhospitable parts of the world in an effort to find out more about the world we live in - or for the sake of adventure.

This past few days he has, with great glee, been writing about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, with the ship stuck in ice.  (Anthony may have been gearing up to get in the mood of this article with a frenzy of tweets, insulting all and sundry and making little sense.  The juxtaposition of this tweet followed immediately by this one and then adding insult to injury to Gavin Schmidt after calling him "cowardly" was especially silly. Anthony doesn't frequent twitter that often except to tweet his blog articles, but when he does he tends to go berserk.)

In this especially nasty (and misleading) article Anthony wrote (archived here, update here, latest update here):
Then there’s the comedy of a scientific research expedition disguised as a junket for activists and reporters, such as this guy, tweeting up a storm from on-board:...
... The other fellow, Chris Turney, has some science credentials, but also has a propensity for wackadoodle alarmism as we see in this WUWT post: Now it’s 2°C climate change target ‘not safe’
Mostly, it’s a media sponsored event, presumably so they can tell us how terrible things are in Anarctica with melting and such:

Being icebound in Antarctica is a "comedy"?  Mostly "media sponsored"? A "junket" - where people pay their own way?

Given his lack of research skills, it's understandable that Anthony wouldn't attempt to find out anything about the expedition, the scientists, the passengers or who is supporting the expedition.  However, as an avowed "free marketer", you'd have thought Anthony would favour a venture that is supported by business and private sponsorship as well as by government grants.  But no. It's scientific research - therefore it must be bad, regardless of its funding, its mission or the value of the work.  Or I should say it's bad in Anthony's eyes because it's science.  Science means new knowledge and new knowledge is to be scoffed at in the weird world of the scientific illiterati.

(Anyone who, after reading an article like that one of Anthony's, thinks that he is anything but a brutish thug who despises knowledge, adventure and exploration needs their head read.)

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition is being led by Professor Chris Turney of the University of New South Wales.  They are tracing the path of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914, led by Douglas Mawson.  The "science case" is described here.  You can keep up to date with what's happening on Twitter  @ProfChrisTurney.

It seems that the ice is finally starting to break up.  So hopefully the Aurora Australis will be able to free the ship.  I wish them well (with a touch of envy - I would love to go to Antarctica).


Anthony Watts is working hard to retain and solidify his reputation.  He writes (archived hereupdate here, latest update here):
UPDATE: get a load of the hilarious announcement from the expedition, where they claim sea ice is disappearing, see update 2 below....
UPDATE2: You can’t make this stuff up. This is from a news.com.au story covering the incident and the announcement made by the expedition:

Anthony refers to this precarious situation as "hilarious".  He can't read past the words "Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change".  He highlighted those words in yellow.  He was so keen to show those people in peril just what he thought of them and how clever he is to have spotted those words that he failed to notice what followed immediately after, like "but here ice is building up".  And he completely ignores the warning about "the increase in sea ice has freshened the water below, so much so that you can almost drink it" or "Who can say what effects ..."

I've been stumped by Anthony Watts ignorant and utterly foolish utterings before.  But this is up there with the worst of them.  Does he really and truly not have even a glimmer of understanding of the consequences of the havoc we are wreaking on the planet?  Does he really and truly not have the least bit of empathy for people in danger? (It would appear the answer is "no" to both.)

Here is what Anthony referred to - from News.com.au
A statement from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition:
We're stuck in our own experiment. We came to Antarctica to study how one of the biggest icebergs in the world has altered the system by trapping ice. We followed Sir Douglas Mawson's footsteps into Commonwealth Bay, and are now ourselves trapped by ice surrounding our ship.
Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up. We have found this has changed the system on many levels. The increase in sea ice has freshened the seawater below, so much so that you can almost drink it. This change will have impacts on the deep ocean circulation.
Underwater, forests of algae are dying as sea-ice blocks the light. Who can say what effects the regional circulation changes may have on the ice sheet of the Antarctic plateau, or whether the low number of seals suggests changes to their population.

Any sane person would be very concerned, not just for the people who are trapped in ice and the people who are attempting to rescue them, but for the Antarctic and for what the changes that are taking place there will mean for the rest of the world.

Perhaps I shouldn't, but this unfathomable behaviour reminds me of speculation I made once before.

From the WUWT comments

The following comments are not for the faint-hearted. Anthony's troops have rallied to his cry - or some of them have anyway. (Archived hereupdate here, latest update here):)

Addendum: The comments have got much worse, with people suggesting death is too good for the scientists and passengers.  A mod (not Anthony) has vowed that no-one responsible for WUWT wishes them harm but Anthony's effusive glee belies that comment.  I won't print any more comments and definitely won't copy the most awful comments. They are too gross for HotWhopper.  However because I think it's important for the record, I have them preserved in the update here, latest update here. ) Sou: 7:32 pm, Monday 30 December 2013.

After Anthony Watts' two despicable and misleading articles on the subject, Dave has the cheek to write:
December 29, 2013 at 11:30 amAnyone taking bets that this will be reported in an honest manner by our ever-so-unbiased media?

JEM gets into the spirit of the illiterati and wishes they'd disappear:
December 29, 2013 at 11:42 am@albertalad – send food, diesel, and biodegradable bog paper, shut off their internet, leave them there.

Then a genuinely concerned comment from a surprising source - David Ball says:
December 29, 2013 at 11:47 am
I hope they will be ok. They have underestimated the ice, so I hope they do not underestimate the very real danger they are in.

andrewmharding dehumanises "them" with his attribution of "they" and says:
December 29, 2013 at 11:44 am
Poetic justice! They have been telling the world that we need to pay high taxes on fossil fuels to stop AGW; they get stuck in the substance they say is disappearing (clearly it isn’t), needing icebreakers burning fossil fuels to attempt to rescue them.

Mac the Knife twists his knife and says:
December 29, 2013 at 11:53 am
At last – true Environmental Justice in action! In the most direct and immediately tangible terms, the expanding ice pack surrounds them with blunt and massive evidence that their beliefs are wrong. Yet, they continue to preach the AGW dogma, even as the antarctic climate tries to kill them. If that isn’t a hallmark of religious environmentalism, I don’t know what would be!
ABC’s MARGOT O’NEILL: The research stakes are high. ….But there’s ominous signs of climate change. Indeed, Margot. Ominously, the incredibly thick and extensive pack ice is trying to crush your ship!
Adding insult to their hypocritical injuries to the environment, consider of all of the energy, money, human effort, and resulting emissions/’pollution’ being needlessly expended to ‘rescue’ these enviro-miscreants from their own ice folly. Ahhhh – the massive, ice cold irony!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Classic denierism seen at WUWT...some identifying characteristics

Sou | 11:21 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

I came across this comment by chris y at WUWT when writing about Anthony's latest attempt to rejuvenate the old "it's the sun" denier meme (archived here).  This article is to illustrate several identifying characteristics of science deniers:
  1. Unclear thinking, an inability to appreciate context and limited comprehension.  What I'm referring to is how chris y apparently views as conflicting, statements that are in fact complementary.  There is probably a word to describe this.  Maybe a reader can help me out.
  2. An "all or nothing" approach. Seeing everything in black and white. There is probably a word for this that escapes me, too. It's not "dogmatic", but that's close. (Illustrated by the "science is unsettled" comment of chris y below.)
  3. A reluctance to link to sources.
  4. Cherry-picking.

Unclear thinking and difficulty with comprehension

One thing that some deniers are afflicted with is that they cannot put the different findings of science in any context. Could this be a symptom of confirmation bias - or an associated condition? It doesn't take a powerful intellect to understand the following - see my responses to different points raised by chris y who made a comment at WUWT (archived here):
December 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm
Gavin says- “We’ve looked at the sun; it’s not the sun. We’ve looked at volcanoes; it’s not volcanoes. We’ve looked at the orbit; it’s not the orbit.”
Sou: Gavin was referring to the cause of the rise in temperature in recent decades.

chris y continues:
Interesting claims, in light of what the climate experts have been saying of late-
Hansen blames aerosols from nonexistent volcanic eruptions to explain the pause in temperature rise over the recent 15 years.
Sou: Aerosols act as a negative forcing, mainly. They can offset the rise in temperature caused by the increase in greenhouse gases.  I've no idea from where chris y got the notion that Dr Hansen "blamed aerosols from nonexistent volcanic eruptions".  He cites no reference and I can't imagine that he could.  Dr Hansen referred to aerosols (among other things) in this recent paper, co-authored with Pushker Kharecha and Makiko Sato. And in this more recent paper by Hansen et al, there is reference to "Human-made tropospheric aerosols, which arise largely from fossil fuel use." There is no conflict with what Gavin Schmidt is quoted as saying.

chris y then quotes Kevin Trenberth, which comes from an article published at the Royal Meteorological Society:
Another prominent source of natural variability in the Earth’s energy imbalance is changes in the sun itself, seen most clearly as the sunspot cycle.
Kevin Trenberth, May 22, 2013
Sou: There is no conflict with what Gavin Schmidt said.  Variations in solar radiation are natural ie not caused by humans. All else being equal such changes will have an impact on Earth's climate.  However, changes in solar radiation are not sufficient to cause the recent rise in temperature.  In the article, this is only one of several sources of natural variability discussed by Kevin Trenberth.  The article was mainly discussing global warming and the various ways that is manifested on Earth.

Next chris y quotes Ray Pierrehumbert:
‘Nonetheless, he agrees that earlier warming may have been deceiving.
“I think it’s true that some rather sloppy discussion of the rapid warming from the 20th century has given people unrealistic expectations about the future course of warming.”
Ray Pierrehumbert, May, 2013
Sou: The above is from an article by David Appell at the Yale Forum.  What chris y left out was more context from Ray Pierrehumbert, who goes on to say: “Why would anyone seriously question greenhouse gases?” he asks. “They absolutely have a radiative effect, and no serious scientist thinks climate sensitivity could be much lower than 2 degrees Celsius based on the balance of the evidence.

Then chris y quotes Ben Santer:
…“It’s certainly the case that we got some of the forcings wrong,” [Ben Santer] says of the factors that specify the influence of any particular component of the atmosphere. “It’s likely we underestimated the true volcanic aerosol forcing, and may have underestimated the cooling effect of stratospheric ozone depletion.”
May 2013
Sou: this is from the same Appell article and doesn't conflict with what Gavin Schmidt said.  Here is the lead-in to the Santer quote:
“Our expectation has never been that each year would be inexorably warmer than the previous year,” says Ben Santer, a climate modeler at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
It’s simply scientifically incorrect, he says, to attribute the divergence of climate model projections and observations to an overestimation of the climate sensitivity. Santer says he sees several explanations of why climate model projections of surface warming may be differing from actual observations in the past decade or so.

Finally chris y comes up with what he possibly regards as a mind-blowing revelation, but which in reality is a mind-numbing denierism:
The dead certain settled science is unsettling.
Sou: Many climate science deniers are like chris y in this regard.  It's so endemic that it's arguably one of the defining characteristics of a science denier.  They are unable or unwilling to distinguish between science that is settled (eg the greenhouse effect) and science that is pretty well settled within certain parameters (eg climate sensitivity) and science where there is still much to learn (eg just how the ocean-cryosphere-atmosphere-biosphere will respond over time to rapid greenhouse warming).

No link to sources and cherry-picking quotes

Let me add there is another common characteristic of science deniers - they are much less likely to provide any link to sources than a scientist would. In fact it's my experience that they are less likely to provide a link to source material than anyone else would - although I have no citation to back that up :)  Anyway, even though chris y failed to cite a single source, it was fairly easy to find the origin of his quotes.

You can understand why deniers are not inclined to link to sources, because seeing the quotes in context shows up another identifying characteristic of deniers - that  of cherry-picking.

Another (recycled) cacophony from Anthony Watts. No, it's NOT the sun stupid!

Sou | 10:01 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts is running short of guest posters.  He was reduced to greenhouse effect denier and arch-conspiracy theorist Tim Ball and coal company advocate Viv Forbes to fill his daily quota yesterday. So today he decided to try and write an article all by himself (a risky tactic) and take a shot at Gavin Schmidt. (Archived here.)

The thing is, all Anthony did was demonstrate once again that he's a complete nincompoop when it comes to climate science.  He can't write a coherent or logical article and doesn't know the first thing about the subject.  And this is despite the fact that he's been (ostensibly) blogging about weather and climate for six years or so.

The headline for Anthony's latest article (archived here) is:
Gavin was for solar forcing of climate before he was against it
As Gavin Schmidt tweeted:

Cowardly? Not on your life!

Anthony started off badly, calling Gavin Schmidt "cowardly" for appearing on Fox television but declining the request to "debate" with Roy Spencer.  Cowardly is not even the last word that any sane person would think of to describe Gavin Schmidt - respected climate scientist, Deputy Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, climate champion, climate hawk, pioneer in blogging about climate science - bringing science to the people, recognised by the scientific community for his contribution to science communication, courteous and polite even in the face of provocation etc etc.  Many people would regard Gavin Schmidt as a hero, not afraid to speak out on behalf of humanity. Cowardly - never.

As Gavin explains in part his decision to not take part in any debate with Roy Spencer (who rejects climate science apparently on pseudo-religious grounds) in this series of tweets:
Television is performance art, not scientific debate. We shouldn't confuse the two. 

"It's just a cacophony...I'm not interested in adding to noise..."

And in response to a question from the audience in his AGU13 Stephen Schneider Lecture (around 44:24), Gavin Schmidt explains more:
There are fora in which you can have a serious conversation. And there are fora in which it's almost impossible. 
Debate situations where you have "no no no no" "yes yes yes yes" - it's just a cacophony and often is just literally people talking over each other. It serves nobody's purpose other than the producer who thinks they had a fiery segment on their TV show. 
I don't do those kind of things. I was on Fox Business News a few months ago and they tried to set it up as a debate with Roy Spencer and I said, "Look, I don't want to, I'm not going to, I'm not here to make good TV for you.  If you want to ask me questions, if you want to understand what we as a community understand about the science then I'm happy to talk to you." And I did. And I talked to him and I explained things. 
And then he said: "Oh well, you know what. I've got Roy Spencer over here in the wings. I'll bring him on and now you can have a debate." And I said: "No. I don't want to have a debate with people. Because it's just noise. And I'm not interested in adding to noise."
Right. Now some people are. Right? Some people want to add noise to the discussion. And if that's what you're advocating - more noise, and there are people who are doing that,  nobody here. Then, you know, go ahead. But you know the things that I advocate for basically are a higher level of conversation. Right? And that means avoiding noise in order to have serious conversation.

Standing up for your principles on camera on a widely viewed television show is the absolute opposite of "cowardly". If only more people would have that sort of courage.

Anyway, that's how Anthony Watts set the scene - positing that this renowned climate scientist and award-winning climate communicator, who speaks out to inform the public about climate science, is somehow "cowardly".  And Anthony labels Dr Schmidt "cowardly" because he refused to put aside his principles and stood up to a popular television entertainer/presenter, John Stossel.

To Anthony Watts - (yawn) - it's not the sun, stupid!

Then Anthony Watts wrote:
After listing the known causes for climate change aka global warming, Gavin Schmidt said:
“We’ve looked at the sun; it’s not the sun. We’ve looked at volcanoes; it’s not volcanoes. We’ve looked at the orbit; it’s not the orbit.”
Interestingly, Gavin lists solar forcing as  primary cause of colder temperatures during the Maunder Minimum and “little ice age” in this 2001 paper co-authored with Mike Mann: 
Science 7 December 2001: Vol. 294 no. 5549 pp. 2149-2152 DOI: 10.1126/science.1064363 Solar Forcing of Regional Climate Change During the Maunder Minimum Drew T. Shindell1, Gavin A. Schmidt1, Michael E. Mann2, David Rind1, Anne Waple3

Yes, it is interesting to think that the sun may have played a role in the Northern Hemisphere cold spell during the Maunder Minimum (see Leif Svalgaard's cautionary comment below), but not in the way that Anthony Watts wants his readers to think.  Here is an chart from the IPCC AR5 WG1 report, which I've animated to illustrate all the above. As always, click to enlarge.

Source: Box TS-5 Figure 1 IPCC AR5 WG1

I note in the comments that Leif Svalgaard says that the Shindell paper is based on information about solar activity that is now seen as erroneous.  I don't know to what extent the IPCC chart above reflects current thinking about TSI.

Now it will be no surprise to HotWhopper readers that Anthony would ignore the forcing from greenhouse gases this past few decades while pretending to his followers that the earth is about to get very cold.  Which of course is just what he does when he writes about the possibility of the "smallest solar cycle for over 300 years":
Livingston and Penn provided the first hard estimate of Solar Cycle 25 amplitude based on a physical model. That estimate is 7, which would make it the smallest solar cycle for over 300 years. Yet according to Gavin in his recent television interview,
“We’ve looked at the sun; it’s not the sun.”
Right, apparently the sun can only force climate one-way.

Yet neither Gavin nor any reputable climate scientists would argue that "the sun can only force the climate one-way" (nor that "the sun can only force the climate one way").

If Anthony stopped to think for a second he'd realise that if there were no solar irradiance then earth would be frozen solid - that's if there were any water on Earth in that situation.  It's because of solar forcing that Earth is warm.  That plus greenhouse gases of course.

And in the chart above you can see how when there is higher solar irradiance the temperature goes up and when there is less the temperature drops.  The solar forcing works both ways.  But when there is another forcing, like from a volcanic eruption, that acts on top of the solar forcing.  And when there is yet another forcing like adding more greenhouse gases, that adds to any solar and volcanic forcing.

Anthony seems to be trying on the old "it's the sun".  If one took Anthony's article to its logical conclusion and ignored any forcing except incoming solar irradiance, then earth should be quite cold instead of being as hot or maybe even hotter than it's been since the Holocene Optimum.

Anthony finishes up with this bit of pseudo-scientific nonsense:
So in the upcoming two decades, as solar activity wanes, if it becomes globally cooler, will Gavin and Mike blame the sun, or will the disavow their previous work, pointing to studies like this one?

Because Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are scientists, not nincompoop fake sceptics who talk through their proverbial hats, if the earth cooled down in the next two decades I've no doubt they would be able to explain what caused it.  It won't be the sun unless it somehow reduced it's radiant output to levels not seen in millions of years.  And that's unlikely from a scientific perspective.  A supervolcano or two would probably do the trick.  Or a major nuclear war.  Or someone playing god by some massive geoengineering venture.

Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are way ahead of Anthony Watts

In fact, Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are way ahead of Anthony Watts. Two and a half years ago they posted an article on their website realclimate.org, discussing what would happen if there were a Grand Minimum.  They understand climate forcings a bit better than Anthony does.

In the article, Georg Feulner wrote:
The Maunder Minimum falls within the climatically cooler period of the “Little Ice Age”, during which temperatures were particularly low over continents in the Northern hemisphere (especially in winter). It has long been suspected that the low solar activity during the Maunder Minimum was one of the causes of the Little Ice Age, although other factors like a small drop in greenhouse gas concentrations around 1600 and strong volcanic eruptions during that time likely played a role as well.
Solar physicists do not yet understand how an extended solar-activity low like the Maunder Minimum arises. Yet there is recent observational evidence for an unusual behavior of the Sun during the current cycle 24, including a missing zonal wind flow within the Sun, decreasing magnetic field strength of sunspots and lower activity around the poles of the Sun. These observations prompted Frank Hill and colleagues to suggest that the Sun might enter a new Maunder-like minimum after the current 11-year cycle ends (i.e. after 2020 or so).

Georg Feulner referred to a paper he and Stefan Rahmstorf had published in GRL back in 2010, called On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth.  (I'd be very surprised if Anthony didn't know of this paper but not surprised that he doesn't refer to it.) What they found was that the impact would be no more than -0.3°C, which is considerably less than is projected for greenhouse gas forcing:

Figure 2. (top) Global mean temperature anomalies 1900–2100 relative to the period 1961–1990 for the A1B (red lines) and A2 (magenta lines) scenarios and for three different solar forcings corresponding to a typical 11‐year cycle (solid line) and to a new grand minimum with solar irradiance corresponding to recent reconstructions of Maunder‐minimum irradiance (dashed line) and a lower irradiance (dotted line), respectively. Observed temperatures until 2009 are also shown (NASA GISS [Hansen et al., 2006], blue line and shaded 1s and 2s error ranges). (bottom) Radiative forcings used in the simulation experiments, with observed values until 2008 marked by thick lines. Volcanic radiative forcing has been shifted by +8.25 W m−2 for clarity.
Source: Feulner and Rahmstorf (2010)

The upshot is that if there were a Grand Minimum, global surface temperatures may rise by, for example, 3.7°C by 2100 instead of 4°C if we keep emitting vast quantities of CO2.

Anthony Watts is simply recycling old noise

Anthony is finding it hard to come up with new denier memes, although yesterday he came up with a variation of a classic climate conspiracy that I hadn't come across before.

Anyway , here's a video that potholer54 put up back in June two years ago that Anthony might enjoy :)

A mini-ice age? Not from the sun. Cooling? If so, it won't be because of greenhouse gases.  And I'll bet you that scientists are able explain variations in the global surface temperature and that Anthony Watts will reject them - since he rejects almost all climate science.

That's why, despite his objections, Anthony Watts is known, if he's known at all, as one of that ratty mob of climate science deniers.

From the WUWT comments

There is a lot of name-calling going on in the comments (I'll make a blanket "name-call" - they are dull lot at WUWT), which is in keeping with WUWT policies.  I'll not bother repeating them. (The comments are archived here with the WUWT article.)

However, this first comment from lsvalgaard is worth mentioning, he refers to a paper Anthony linked to and says:
December 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm
The old Shidell et al. paper from 2001 was based on the erroneous Hoyt-Schatten reconstruction of TSI, so cannot be used anymore. The notion that solar activity in the 20th century was at an all-time high is also incorrect. When the data used to infer relationships are in doubt, anything goes, and no valid conclusions can be reached. My own reasoning is here: http://www.leif.org/research/Long-term-Variation-Solar-Activity.pdf

Pamela Gray ignores where Anthony quoted Gavin Schmidt as saying: “We’ve looked at the sun; it’s not the sun. We’ve looked at volcanoes; it’s not volcanoes. We’ve looked at the orbit; it’s not the orbit.” Either that or she thinks there is a new forcing to consider, outside of the sun, volcanoes, orbital variation and greenhouse gases:
December 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm
Gavin engaged in wriggle matching without serious attention to mechanism. As he currently also does. In both cases Gavin fails to consider other more probable mechanisms with the energy necessary to bring about, sustain and deepen weather pattern variations shifts. If he now agrees to consider other non-solar causes of historical shifts, he must consider other such causes for the modern one he is so focused on.

Anthony gets frustrated a lot by Stephen Mosher, who he used to regard as an ally against the evil forces of climate science.   Steven Mosher says - and Anthony mumbles an incoherent response:
December 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Global versus regional.
There is no modern maximum in TSI.
REPLY: Oh yea of narrow possibilities. Not one mention of TSI. There are other mechanisms – Anthony

What did Gavin say about cacophony?  RAH doesn't understand climate science but does understand recycling, and goes for the "money" and "religion" memes (excerpt):
December 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm
...After all their beliefs have nothing to do with science and everything to do with money and faith.
markstoval doesn't have any other explanation for this global warming, nor does he have a clue about climate science (see his "burn us to a crisp").  However, he is convinced that all the scientists in the world who research any aspect of the earth system are "dishonest" and says (excerpt):
December 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm
I truly think that it is honesty that is missing in the climatology realm more than there being a lack of common sense. I am not being cynical or snide with this comment; I can not explain the alarmist’s position that anthropogenic CO2 drives the climate and will burn us to a crisp other than to believe they are dishonest. 

Jimbo seems to have just discovered that Michael Mann has published quite a bit of research on the Medieval climate anomaly in his own right and with other scientists. He hasn't yet connected that revelation with the fact that Michael Mann and others have made a fair bit of progress in being able to describe and explain the climate of that period.  Before quoting from this 2001 paper by Briffa et al, Jimbo says (excerpt):
December 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm
Think about this little observation by Michael Mann on the Medieval Warm Period that he says he can’t explain? Can someone else explain the following observation by Michael Mann about FIGS AND OLIVES IN GERMANY????

The "Honest Broker"? Ahem...

Sou | 12:50 AM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment

Judith Curry (archived here):
As for moi, I engage and get involved in policy discussions but do not advocate, putting me further towards the Honest Broker box than is Tamsin.

Judith Curry (archived here) - This is "not advocacy"?
Attempting to reduce the damages associated with extreme weather in the 21st century by reducing greenhouse gas emissions is very misguided IMO, and misses important opportunities to focus on better weather forecasting, better emergency management practices, and reducing infrastructure vulnerability.

Judith Curry - as part of written testimony provided by John Christy to the US House Subcommittee on Environment, which Judith states here she gave permission to John Christy to submit. "I prepared that essay as part of written testimony for a Senate hearing that was cancelled".  This is "not advocacy"?
In a previous post, I discussed the IPCC’s diagnosis of a planetary fever and their prescription for planet Earth. In this post, I provide a diagnosis and prescription for the IPCC
...The IPCC needs to get out of the way so that scientists and policy makers can better do their jobs.
The diagnosis of paradigm paralysis seems fatal in the case of the IPCC, given the widespread nature of the infection and intrinsic motivated reasoning. We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible – not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease. Fortunately much of the population seems to be immune, but some governments seem highly susceptible to the disease. However, the precautionary principle demands that we not take any risks here, and hence the IPCC should be put down. 

Judith Curry to Fox News - This is "not advocacy"?
She is critical of the IPCC’s leadership as well, in particular its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri.
“They have explicit policy agendas,” Curry told Fox News. “Their proclamations are very alarmist and very imperative as to what we should be doing. And this does not inspire confidence in the final product.” (Archived here.)

Judith Curry (archived here) on Donna Laframboise latest book - This is "not advocacy"?
I am grateful to Donna Laframboise for pulling this all together, it provides   important context for the forthcoming AR5 report.  I encourage you to support Donna’s efforts by purchasing her book at amazon.com (kindle; paperback) and also writing a review at amazon....
... The IPCC has clearly been playing egregious politics with climate science, as Laframboise extensively documents.  Perhaps this is what the policy makers want, this whole thing is so politicized it is difficult to tell.  But there is no escaping that the IPCC has severely tarnished its ‘brand’, since the heady days in 2007 with the release of the AR4 and the Nobel Peace Price:  Climategate, Pachauri’s shenanagins, the explicit green advocacy by IPCC grand poobahs and their irrepressible urge to make imperative policy proclamations, and failure to address the reforms recommended by the IAC.
... Laframboise’s statement:
Could we switch to the grownup channel, please?
pretty much sums up the whole IPCC situation for me.  The science, the policy makers, and the world deserve better.  I hope that Laframboise’s new book gets the attention that it deserves.

Judith Curry - this is honest?
... as temperatures have declined and climate models have failed to predict this decline (archived here)
JC note:  Attention in the public debate seems to be moving away from the 15-17 yr ‘pause’ to the cooling since 2002 (note: I am receiving inquiries about this from journalists).  This period since 2002 is scientifically interesting, since it coincides with the ‘climate shift’ circa 2001/2002 posited  by Tsonis and others.  This shift and the subsequent slight cooling trend provides a rationale for inferring a slight cooling trend over the next decade or so, rather than a flat trend from the 15 yr ‘pause’.This period since 2002 is scientifically interesting, since it coincides with the ‘climate shift’ circa 2001/2002 posited  by Tsonis and others.  This shift and the subsequent slight cooling trend provides a rationale for inferring a slight cooling trend over the next decade or so, rather than a flat trend from the 15 yr ‘pause’. (archived here)

I'd shelved this article because I've already stuck the boot in and figured that was enough.  However I've read elsewhere that HotWhopper's interpretation of pretty much anything Judith Curry says is "ludicrous".

At HotWhopper, "Ludicrous" is a Specialty of the House. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anthony Watts takes "exception" and posts a doozy of a climate conspiracy theory at WUWT

Sou | 6:16 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

This is cute:

Well, Anthony is quite busy underselling temperatures.  Here's an example in a WUWT article by Tim Ball who, incidentally, doesn't share Anthony's "belief" that the greenhouse effect is real.

It's a conspiracy, sez WUWT

But first - did you know that it's all a conspiracy?  The IPCC "controls" national weather offices through the WMO according to Tim Ball.  He does come up with the weirdest conspiracy theories, doesn't he. Someone should tell NOAA and BoM and JMA and CMA and SAWS and Roshydromet and all the worlds' weather bureaux that they are secretly under the control of the IPCC and the WMO and probably the New World Order and maybe the Lizard Men.

Today Anthony Watts has posted an article by Tim Ball who made this startling new revelation.  According to WUWT (archived here):
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) set climate research back thirty years, mostly by focusing world attention on CO2 and higher temperature. It was a classic misdirection that required planning. The IPCC was created for this purpose and pursued it relentlessly. Through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) they controlled national weather offices so global climate policies and research funding were similarly directed.

This means that all the world's nations have finally found common ground.  Despite their differences in politics and world view, despite battling each other in trade wars and military conflicts they all agreed on one thing because they are under the control of the IPCC.  They conspire together on climate science.

Think of the rewards.  Governments in democratic countries would win elections by introducing carbon taxes.  That's a sure winner with voters.  Then they would get elected by hoodwinking the public into thinking there have been worse heat waves and droughts and flash floods occurring more often.  That way they can get votes by making taxpayers dip into their pockets and pay flood levies and build sea barriers.  Voters just love politicians who raise taxes.

How Tom Wigley became the Ruler of the World

There's a lot more intrigue in this conspiracy. In his article Tim covers a lot of ground - ranging from the IPCC controls all the governments of the world through their weather bureaux or something to the CRU controlling the IPCC and Tom Wigley controlling the CRU. Tim wrote:
It is almost a maxim that if the people at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), who effectively controlled IPCC science, were looking at a topic it was because it posed a threat to their predetermined hypothesis.
Tom Wigley took over from Hubert Lamb as Director of the CRU and guided much of the early research and then remained the major influence...

Tim Ball didn't put up a diagram of his conspiracy hierarchy, so I will.  Here is how it goes from what I can make out:

No wonder Tom Wigley is looking so content.  He is the all-powerful ruler of the world.  Nice to have an Australian-born world ruler :)

Tim doesn't understand anomalies and baselines?

Now what else has Tim done?  Well, Tim puts up this table:

Tim asks the question: "How can two major agencies HadCRUT and GISS produce such different results, supposedly from the same data set?"

Let's see now.  Here is a chart comparing all the above data sets, adjusted to the same baseline. You can click the chart to enlarge it:

Over the period from 1979 to 2012 both surface and tropospheric temperatures show similar trends, which isn't surprising.  The two surface records show temperatures rising at 0.16 degrees a decade (HadCRUT4 and GISTemp), while the two lower troposphere records show temperatures rising at 0.14 degrees a decade (UAH) and 0.17 degrees a decade (RSS).

What about Tim's question:  "How can two major agencies HadCRUT and GISS produce such different results, supposedly from the same data set?"

As you can see, they don't.  What might surprise some people is just how close these two temperature records are, with both of them showing temperature rising at 0.16 degrees a decade.  Now it's not unexpected that they will vary on a month to month basis.  They use different algorithms and to some extent different data sources.  One of the more noted differences is the coverage of the Arctic.

What about the "average 2002-2011" in Tim's table?  I'm not sure what that's meant to demonstrate, given that global surface temperatures are rising. But just for the heck of it let's have a look.  First we'll make sure the anomaly is from the same baseline, I'll use the 1981 to 2010 baseline.

HadCRUT4 average anomaly 2002-2011 = 0.19 degrees Celsius
GISTemp average anomaly 2002-2011 = 0.20 degrees Celsius
UAH average anomaly 2002-2011 = 0.19 degrees Celsius
RSS average anomaly 2002-2011 = 0.21 degrees Celsius

Wow, a whole 0.02 degrees difference from largest to least.  Well that's a long way from what duffer Tim Ball maintained.  He said:
GISS and UAH differ by 0.36°C, which is enormous in nine years. Compare it to the 0.6°C increase over 140 years, a change the 2001 IPCC claimed was dramatic and unnatural.
Tim must suffer from the same anomalous affliction as Anthony Watts! In fact, the table he linked to had in large letters underneath:
[Remember all four sets are based on different base periods, so the absolute numbers are not directly comparable]
If you recalculate the anomalies from the same baseline, most of the difference between them disappears. (Newbies can see the examples here.) The data as provided has different baselines: HadCRUT4 is 1961-1990; GISTemp is 1951-1980; UAH is 1981-2010; and RSS is 1979-1998 (I think - the documentation for RSS is good in some respects but not in others).

And it's worse still.  Tim Ball said: "Compare it to the 0.6°C increase over 140 years"

Have a look at the decadal chart at the top - go back 140 years to the 1870s and you'll see the temperature has risen by 0.8°C.  Tim Ball has shaved about 0.2°C off the temperature rise.  And not a word from the blog owner Anthony Watts. Not a single objection in the comments.  I guess when there are so many errors in the one paragraph it's hard to keep up with them all.  Here - you can check HadCRUT4 as well, which covers a longer period than GISTemp. The temperature anomaly has gone up from around -0.3 degrees to +0.5 degrees, or a rise of 0.8°C.

Even if you just looked at central England, which is a favourite of deniers at WUWT, the temperature has gone up by a lot.  It's risen from an anomaly of around minus 0.4°C or more in the 1800s to more than +0.5°C - a rise of around 0.9°C.

The point? Maybe that Anthony Watts is a climate science denier!

What's the point of this article?  There isn't one really.  Perhaps to make a snide point, I'll relate it back to the tweet at the top of the page from Anthony Watts.  He objects to being called a "denier" because he accepts the greenhouse effect.  However he admits that he pushes for "temperatures being oversold".  I suppose that's why he puts up article by Tim Ball, who rejects the greenhouse effect and misrepresents the temperature record.  It's not the temperature that's oversold it's that Anthony Watts "undersells" the temperature record!

From the deluded deniers at WUWT

Here are a few comments from the deluded deniers that Anthony Watts encourages at WUWT (archived here).

I wonder who DR he has been listening to.  Not climate scientists that's for sure (excerpt):
December 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm
We were told for decades the greenhouse effect would boil the planet, that at the equator it would cause unprecedented temperatures throughout the lower atmosphere and all sorts of catastrophic “stuff” was going to happen.

DR next asks if the science of the greenhouse effect has changed since the late '80s and '90s.  Someone might tell him - no.  It's still the same.
December 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm
Who else remembers the myriads of magazine articles such as this and countless TV specials and news reports about how the “greenhouse effect” was going to cause heat to be “trapped” in the troposphere back in the late 80′s and 90′s……and believing it? I mean, who wouldn’t believe NASA with all them super smart scientists; they surely had to be right.
Remember Mosher, this is all high school physics we were told back then. We’re still told it is basic high school physics today, but was there a new hypothesis constructed to replace the one we were indoctrinated with 25 years ago? Has the science changed?

Steve Case says he's always wondered but he's never bothered to find out:
December 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm
I’ve always wondered about the tree ring studies and how they are supposed to be a proxy for temperature when trees obviously will respond to changes in precipitation and CO2 concentration – probably more than temperature.

Hoser could be talking about the delusions at WUWT when saying:
December 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm
I’m still reading. Compelled to say… And there are unknown knowns, the things we think we know, but actually don’t. If you lie to yourself, you can produce lots of these. Aren’t we discussing a great collective lie, and a great crumbling example of an unknown known?

A couple of reasonable people have snuck into the discussion without getting banned (yet).  Felix says:
December 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm
The WMO does not control national weather services. Funding for climate research in the U.S. is mainly from the NSF and many other major countries similar funding agencies. The idea the the WMO directs climate research funding is absurd. And the CRU does not control the IPCC.
I’m afraid you all are going down the conspiracy theory path.
The IPCC reports give extensive discussion of the hydrologic (water) cycle.