Monday, July 21, 2014

No fatal blunder: Matching climate models with ENSO matches observations.

Sou | 4:30 AM Go to the first of 98 comments. Add a comment

Update 2: I've now written the promised article. You can read it here. And you can click here to see the previous HotWhopper article on the subject.

Update: The devastating rebuttal is out (archived here). It is, as expected, not devastating at all, unless you were under the mistaken impression that Bob Tisdale understood climate models and global warming. If that were the case - be devastated. It's not a rebuttal either. All it is is Bob Tisdale missing the point and contradicting himself a few times in the process. He seems to think that the authors are dividing models into "good" and "bad". By my reading, he's missing the point. What the authors were doing is providing further evidence that the so-called "pause" is the result of natural variation (see below).

Anthony's own promised rebuttal hasn't appeared. I wonder if he was hoping that Bob Tisdale would let him appear as joint author? You can read the archived WUWT article here if you want to. I've got other things to do so won't be able to rebut Bob's rebuttal for a while yet (see PS below).

While I'm away, if anyone can send me a copy of the paper I'd be grateful (sou at hotwhopper.com). I've emailed the authors, which is a bit hit and miss and/or it may be a while before they see my request. Got it now, thanks.

We're waiting for pseudo-science journalist Anthony Watts to write his "denier-blog-peer-reviewed" rebuttal to the new Risbey & co paper, describing the fatal blunder they think they've discovered. In the meantime, here is what looks to be the essence of the paper as described by Stephan Lewandowsky. (I'm not as clever as Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale because I don't have a clue what the fatal blunder could be.)

First the abstract to the paper in Nature Climate Change (my paras):
The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations.
We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

Stephan described how in order to compare models to observations, they "must be brought into phase with the oceans. In particular, the models must be synchronized with El Niño – La Niña". He described three approaches to doing this, which have already been published, including one that I've written about here. He then goes on to describe this new analysis:
The fourth approach was used in a paper by James Risbey, myself, and colleagues from CSIRO in Australia and at Harvard which appeared in Nature Climate Change today.
This new approach did not specify any of the observed outcomes and left the existing model projections from the CMIP5 ensemble untouched. Instead, we select only those climate models (or model runs) that happened to be synchronized with the observed El Niño - La Niña preference in any given 15-year period. In other words, we selected those models whose projected internal natural variability happened to coincide with the state of the Earth’s oceans at any given point since the 1950’s. We then looked at the models’ predicted global mean surface temperature for the same time period.
For comparison, we also looked at output from those models that were furthest from the observed El Niño - La Niña trends.
The results are shown in the figure below, showing the Cowtan and Way data (in red) against model output (they don't differ qualitatively for the other temperature data sets):

Stephan posted these charts - click to see them enlarged:

He wrote:
The data represent decadal trends within overlapping 15-year windows that are centered on the plotted year. The left panel shows the models (in blue) whose internal natural variability was maximally synchronized with the Earth’s oceans at any point, whereas the right panel shows the models (in gray) that were maximally out of phase with the Earth.
The conclusion is fairly obvious: When the models are synchronized with the oceans, they do a great job. Not only do they reproduce global warming trends during the last 50 years, as shown in the figure, but they also handle the spatial pattern of sea surface temperatures (the figure for that is available in the article).
In sum, we now have four converging lines of evidence that highlight the predictive power of climate models.

You can read Stephan Lewandowsky's full article here - it's worth it.

Now what problems Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale think they have found is still a mystery, which we will unravel in due course. I can't fathom what it could be.

I wonder if they both think that all climate models should mimic natural variability in synchronisation with what is observed? That would be an unrealistic expectation, though it would be nice to have. It would also suggest that they don't understand climate models. My favourite description of models is provided by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.

I'll add to this article once Anthony has written his devastating rebuttal :) Meanwhile, try to get your head around what Anthony finds "of interest". His brain is positively addled with conspiratorial ideation. He added this to his earlier article, where the paper describes the contributions from the various authors:
of interest is this:
J.S.R. and S.L. conceived the study and initial experimental design. All authors contributed to experiment design and interpretation. S.L. provided analysis of models and observations. C.L. and D.P.M. analysed Niño3.4 in models. J.S.R. wrote the paper and all authors edited the text.

And this will amuse:
The rebuttal will be posted here shortly.
PS I've now got two three copies of the paper - thank you very much RN and AS and JR. I'm on the road today, and won't get a chance to sit down and write about Bob's ramblings before tomorrow. Same goes for comments. I'll be able to delete dumb comments, but won't have time to repost them to the HotWhoppery until tomorrow. (That last is just in case any little mouse thinks of playing while the cat's away ...)

Sou 11:24 am AEST 21 July 2014

James S. Risbey, Stephan Lewandowsky, Clothilde Langlais, Didier P. Monselesan, Terence J. O’Kane & Naomi Oreskes. "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase." Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2310


  1. As I said on WattsUpWithThat today regarding Bob Tisdale's excellent questioning of the paper.

    earwig42 says:
    July 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Bob Tisdale–” Because Risbey et al. (2014) have not identified the models they’ve selected as “best” and “worst”, their work cannot be verified.”

    Enough said, except, Climate Agnotology from a historian and a psychologist at work.

    Once again we see a paper that tries to hide info that could invalidate the paper. How does that kind of crap get through pal review?

    1. Earwig, I can tell you are a brilliant verifier. Would you send me a copy of the paper please? Thanks. Email address is in the article.

      I see that you think the paper is different to how the author described it and I'd like to verify your account, or otherwise.

    2. Papers can't include every detail. If it's true that the specific runs aren't identified (our library doesn't list the paper yet), did anyone try emailing the authors to ask for the names of the models? Seems simple enough.

      Besides which, to the extent that I understand the findings (again, I haven't seen the full paper) the identities of the specific model runs aren't relevant to the question at hand.

    3. Earwig, you've made an allegation that the paper tries to hide info that could invalidate the paper. Be specific.

      What aspect of the paper would be invalidated?
      What info are the authors trying to hide?
      How would that info invalidate the paper?

      I allege you are just blowing smoke. Based on the evidence of your comment, I allege that you haven't read the paper. Moreover, I allege you won't ever bother reading the paper. I further allege that you wouldn't understand it if you did. I further further allege that you wouldn't know info if you fell over it.

      In other words, put up or shut up.

    4. earwig,
      This isn't complicated, so I'll try to explain. The paper defines what it means by "best" and "worst". Therefore anyone else could themselves determine which of the models is "best" and "worst" and could repeat the analysis. Replication doesn't mean "I've given you every specific detail about my work including my codes and the precise data that I used", it means "someone else has enough information to redo the work".

    5. ” Because Risbey et al. (2014) have not identified the models they’ve selected as “best” and “worst”, their work cannot be verified.”

      The important thing is that they describe how the models were selected.

  2. "What the authors were doing is providing further evidence that the so-called "pause" is the result of natural variation "

    No what they are actually saying is: Well, our climate change models can't model natural variation in the past, so why would you expect they can do it for the present and future? Nothing to see, move on.

    1. Anonymous, same goes for you in case Earwig takes too long about it. Would you send me a copy of the paper please? Thanks. Email address is in the article.

      I see that your reading of the paper is different to the authors and I'd like to examine it for myself to see why your account differs from that of the authors in the abstract and in Stephan's account of it.

    2. The eye-opener is fig.2. Even a blind person so to speak can see that climate change models can't replicate natural variability in the past. Of course, that's not how the authors interpret it. Their reasoning is: "well, you see, in the past observations were sometimes in the upper hot zone of our envelope, and sometimes in the lower cooler zone, so - tata - the fact that observations are now in the lower cooler part of the envelope does not contradict what models have been saying all along, au contraire. Now, given there are so many models to pick from, and also given that observations more or less always stay within the fat grey envelope, it really doesn't take a genius to understand that for any relatively short period (in climate terms) you can always find a few (3 or 4?) models that would match observations more or less. Except, it would more than likely always be different models (which may be one of the reasons why they're not revealing the identity of the picked models).
      The crux of the matter is, what does this tell us about the predictive value of the models? With the envelope getting wider and wider in the future, it's still not unlikely that "some of the models' results" will co-incide with observations (unless some cooling would set in for the next 10 years or so, in which case you can throw all models in the bin). But even assuming warming for the next 10-15 years, in what way does their paper tell us which model(s) to pick for the next period? Are they saying they have finally identified the 4 "best" models,and we can throw away all the others? Obviously not, or surely they would have told us by now what those models are.
      So again, can you please tell us which models to pick for the next 10 to 15 years which will replicate future observations best? Ah, but it must be that I don't understand climate models. They are not meant to "predict" the future, the trick is to build so many of them that afterwards you can always pick a few who for some limited period of time were spot on the mark.

    3. With the envelope getting wider and wider in the future ..."

      Is there an alternative?

    4. Anonymous said:

      Ah, but it must be that I don't understand climate models.


      They are not meant to "predict" the future, the trick is to build so many of them that afterwards you can always pick a few who for some limited period of time were spot on the mark.

      Nope. They are not meant to predict the future, but rather to *project* the future for different emissions scenarios. IOW, if we keep emitting CO2 at the current rate, what is the global average surface temp likely to be in the *long term*. If we cut down on our emissions, then there will be a different projection from the same model. And, needless to say, ENSO cancels out in the long term. For the umpteenth time, see here:

      The Escalator

  3. Thanks for the Ars Technica link - very informative.

    (And very graceful responses above.)

  4. Sou, I've sent you a copy. I would hazard a guess that Tisdale misunderstood the paper.

  5. Thanks, RN, very much appreciated. I've just got another as well :)

    I'll compare what the authors wrote with the accounts of Bob Tisdale, Earwig and Anonymous. So far, Rattus, your guess is spot on from what I've read.

  6. I'll be traveling today and so won't be able to rebut Bob Tisdale's devastating rebuttal until later tomorrow. Which is a pity, because I can't wait to get stuck into it.

    From my initial read of the paper, it confirms Stephan's account of it. It also confirms my initial impressions that Bob Tisdale doesn't know what he's talking about and is misrepresenting the paper and the science - again.

  7. "I wonder if they both think that all climate models should mimic natural variability in synchronisation with what is observed?"

    At least Bob Tisdale certainly thinks this, as one can see from following statement in his article:

    "Curiously, in their abstract, Risbey et al. (2014) note a major flaw with the climate models used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report—that they are “generally not in phase with observations”—but they don’t accept that as a flaw. If your stock broker’s models were out of phase with observations, would you continue to invest with that broker based on their out-of-phase models or would you look for another broker whose models were in-phase with observations? Of course, you’d look elsewhere."

    Tisdale is as clueless as they come. He doesn't know much about climate modeling, like he doesn't know much about basic physics, things like energy conservation (look at his absurd explanation for global warming as supposedly being caused by El Nino as if the oceans just spontaneously heat up by themselves w/o any net energy influx necessary coming from somewhere), and he doesn't understand at all that the chronological succession of events (the individual trajectory) of a system that is governed by chaotic dynamics, is objectively not predictable beyond a time limit. He believes it was a "major flaw" of the models to not be able to do something that is objectively impossible, something that even couldn't be achieved with a perfect model (as a thought experiment), i.e., a model that would be flawless by definition.

    1. Exactly, Jan, you beat me to it. Bob Tisdale thinks El Niño actually causes global warming, rather than just moving around the OHC that has already been absorbed by the system.

      In fact, every time he writes one of those >5000 word tl;dr screeds of his, all he does is re-state the fact that he has not the slightest clue what he's talking about many times over in just slightly different ways ;-)

      ENSO is a stochastic (i.e. *random*) process. GCMs can model it, but their model runs cannot be expected to conform to what is happening in the real world *except by chance*. And that is what Risbey et. al. have found: model runs that include ENSO parameters that *happened* to match real world ENSO conditions after 1950 pretty closely. And when they match the ENSO conditions like that, the projected surface temps match the real world ones pretty closely too.

    2. No stock broker on the planet can accurately model future "natural variability" in the market, if they could, everyone would use that model and everyone would get rich … ummm, well, you can see the flaw in that logic, too.

      So apparently Tisdale is not an investor and believes that no one is an investor ...

    3. Perhaps, Tisdale believes that his own stock broker had such a model, with which the broker could predict the stock market fluctuations "in phase" with reality, because his stock broker told him so? So what did he do? Give all his money to his stock broker? I mean, if he didn't believe such a thing wouldn't he have looked for another broker already, following his own advice? Assuming he has a stock broker. But from the tone of his writing I would assume so.

  8. For comparison, here's a paper that does sort models into good and bad. For context, see also this related article. I'm not sure ENSO is even in the same diagnostic league.

    1. That link you gave Steve, was to Mahlstein and Knutti , 2010 The very second sentence says...."One of its characteristic features, the Arctic sea ice, is very vulnerable to Anthropogenically caused warming"
      Anthropogenic global warming !
      What sheer presumptuous, arrogant nonsense. And of course a paper like this would be included as one of the 95% or 98% of scientific papers which confirm AGW.
      Yeah, they just assume, making an ass out of you and me.

    2. Reality itself bends to Mack's Randian will.

    3. "....making an ass out of you and me. "

      Sorry Mack, but you are making an ass out of yourself with no help other than that provided by Watts and Co. - who have filled your mind with vapid nonsense.

    4. I thought Charlton Heston had passed, yet here he is, posting as "Mack" .

      Yo, Charlton: why did it take you so long to figure out why the apes on that planet were speaking English? I always wondered...

    5. Some of the greatest "Simpsons" parody material ever comes in this musical version of the Planet of the Apes:


  9. it's this paper just a confirmation that the models that match observations the closest are those that simulate the historical state of ENSO the closest? and isn't that not very surprising, considering ENSO is the largest factor affecting year-to-year temperature variability?


    1. Seems to be that if a model run happens to guess ENSO correctly, then the model for is extremely good, even on short timescales.

      That's from the abstract; I'll wait until others review the paper to figure out how this differs from previous papers that have argued the same.

    2. "The model fit" -- sorry, tapping quickly.

    3. The model matching is not by 'those that simulate the historical state of ENSO the closest'. It's by those runs of many climate models in which ENSO - the timing of which is not predictable for the purpose of climate modelling - matches the actual timing of ENSO. Lo: these well-timed runs of models of climate including both greenhouse gas changes and ENSO match actual temperatures really well. (And 'no greenhouse but ENSO' plainly doesn't match temperatures well, even if ENSO timing is good.)

    4. that is of course what I mean


    5. ISTM the paper demonstrates that the ocean oscillations are noise and the models do very well at forecasting the thing they are attempting to forecast: the AGW signal.

  10. A very interesting paper - I'll note the related Kosaka and Xie 2013, where they proscribed both the radiative forcing and the sea surface temperatures "over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a
    climate model"
    , and found that if the ENSO was included and matched observed phases, their model matched average global temperatures (r=0.97 for 1970-2012), not to mention regional characteristics such as intensified Walker circulation, winter cooling in NW North America, and the prolonged drought in the southern USA.

    The ENSO is a major variation - if it's accounted for, if the model can match it in both extent and phase, model outputs match observations. And that means the models do quite a good job for the energy flows involved, and moreover that we can have good confidence in longer term average projections from those models.

    And finally, yes indeed Tisdale fails to understand the paper. No surprise there.

  11. Another case where it's necessary to state (actually restate because Jan also covered it) that Bob Tisdale simply doesn't understand the Law of Conservation of Energy.

    He appears to believe that he discovered an ENSO perpetual motion machine.

  12. There seems to be some confusion between models and model runs. Different models perform numerous runs, and it's the model runs which have closely followed the actual ENSO pattern of the last three decades which are being considered.

    It's not to do with which is a better model or how to predict the ENSO pattern for the next few decades. Projections will remain just that. What this paper does is show - again - that models from fifteen years ago did a very fine job of simulating what actually hapened through natural variation. And they did that by including AGW.

    It's QED all over again, but don't expect the anonymice to grasp that.

  13. Of course, the models' inability to predict the observed ENSO, which can make a short-term difference of 0.2 -0.3 C, matters little for their ability to predict the warming trend over one or more centuries, which might be a magnitude larger.

  14. I have not read the paper, but can someone that has explain why Lewandowsky and Oreskes are co-authors? Is there a climate psychology and history discussions in the paper. It just seems odd in a paper discussing modeling verification.

    1. Nature require author declerations ... so you don't need to ask ... its all freely declared ... outside the paywall ...


      J.S.R. and S.L. conceived the study and initial experimental design. All authors contributed to experiment design and interpretation. S.L. provided analysis of models and observations. C.L. and D.P.M. analysed Niño3.4 in models. J.S.R. wrote the paper and all authors edited the text.

      S. L. in this case would be S. Lewandowsky

      So, I think it should be clear how his contribution merited inclusion as second author? Furthermore, it is not a pre-requisite that scientists publish solely in their niche and indeed we should foster cross-fertilisation of ideas and expertise between disciplines? Nobody has exclusive rights to a given field and the peer review system is there to allow anyone with an idea that holds up to scrutiny to publish in any field. The key phrase here being 'holds up to scrutiny' ...

    2. As Peter said, anyone can contribute to science. The lead author and most of the team members are climate scientists from CSIRO.

      Gotta say though, that it's no more odd for a cognitive psychologist and a science historian/geologist to discuss climate models than it is for a half-baked economist and an ex-mining company employee to discuss paleoclimate reconstructions. Or a financial adviser to discuss climate sensitivity.

      Or a (possibly pseudonymous) blogger to discuss ENSO.

    3. On the other hand Sou, it's a little bit like visiting a proctologist when you've got toothache.

    4. except it is a proctologist along with three or four dentists.

    5. In Mack's world the only scientists you would trust are former tobacco scientists and their mates. It's a silly place - lets not go there.

    6. Mack can't understand why the earth isn't an ice block. In his version of climate science he'd never have existed and probably neither would any other multicellular life form on earth.

    7. Sou, I think it is different to compare bloggers' analysis to peer reviewed papers. Objective analysis from bloggers is not to be expected, but subjectively debated on the weight of finding problems with the hypothesis at hand. Sad, and Sou you do it just at much as Watts. I stopped going to Watts blog and only check your site when I see a post from Pielke Jr, Curry or Tol.

    8. Why do you say that, Just Asking? My comment was directly addressing yours.

      Just because some of the people I mentioned happen to be bloggers doesn't take away from the fact that they published peer reviewed papers on the topics I mentioned. Nor does the fact that one of the papers I referred to was found to be deeply flawed make my comment irrelevant. Anyone can get a paper published in a peer reviewed journal if they make the effort and meet the criteria and get the paper published.

      Nor is it irrelevant that the lead author and the majority of team members were climate scientists who work for CSIRO.

      By the way, a tv weather announcer (and known science denier) also got listed as an author on a peer reviewed paper. It doesn't mean the paper was no good.

    9. Peter, you are right we should include more interdisciplinary academics in peer reviewed papers. Even not PhD's but technical experts in a particular field, math/statistical analysis with strong skills in principal component analysis and signal detection. There a quite of few non Academics in industry that have immense experience that could make peer reviewed papers better by collaboration. Will it happen or a push to make happen? I hope so for the betterment of pure science discovery.

    10. Sou, the reason why I say that, and my comment was directed to your comment as well, is that it seems that your blog is almost entirely directed at refuting Watts. I am favoring reading Curry's blog, thoughtful discussion on new papers & articles without the your an alarmist not you are a denialist nonsense. Of course, comments do diverge and Curry allows comments that would not be allowed on many other blog sites.

    11. You misunderstood what I was responding to, Just Asking. I was asking why you wrote:

      "I think it is different to compare bloggers' analysis to peer reviewed papers."

      The economist, mining company employee and financier wrote peer reviewed papers on the topics I mentioned above.

      As for what blogs you like, everyone's taste is different. While I don't understand anyone favouring Judith Curry's blog I know the tone here is not to everyone's taste.

      For a civil discussion about climate science itself I recommend realclimate.org, skepticalscience.com and, for a more casual atmosphere, And Then There's Physics.

      If you want to learn about science and engage with scientists themselves, stay away from Judith's blog. She doesn't discriminate between science and pseudo science and is in the FUD business. You won't often see a comment from a scientist there. The majority who comment there are deniers, with a few normal people here and there. Judith herself saves her science for journal articles, not her blog.

    12. Sou, I do read Gavin's realclimate.org, he just doesn't post frequently or engage. Sks has a habit of altering their posts when wrong without making a mention of it. They lost my trust. Haven't read Then There's Physics, but I think I did in the past when he/she was Wottsupwiththat blog. Still anon but read his posts in other blog comments. He/she really does have good points.

      I'm constantly learning about science since I received degrees in civil and environmental engineering two decades ago. I'm not a PhD, but have a bit of education and experience. I'm considered a "knowledgeable expert" in my small organizition which my board of directors rely on changes to policy decisions. While I try to get both sides of the polarized climate change discussion, I always fall back on IPCC WGII,
      particularly chapter 2

    13. SkS has a habit of altering their posts when wrong without making a mention of it.

      Examples? If they are correcting errors then what's the problem with that? If only denier blogs would do the same. Anthony Watts does do that from time to time, but he's more likely to just "disappear" his most extreme fiascos. Mostly deniers just leave their disinformation even when they know it's wrong.

      Denier blogs, including Judith Curry, tend not to correct their mistakes. Wouldn't you place more reliance, not less, on a website where the errors were corrected?

      AFAIK the policy at SkS now is to note if they correct or update an article. It might not have always been that way. Articles these days show the latest version, who wrote it and when, and a link to previous versions. That's more than you'll get anywhere else except maybe Wikipedia.


      As for your bio, good for you. You've done well in your career from the sound of it.

      With regard to your "debate" comment, denial of science and pseudo-science quackery isn't a "side" of any debate. Any scientific debate is at the frontiers of science, not on denier blogs.

    14. Sou, I do read Gavin's realclimate.org, he just doesn't post frequently or engage.

      That's an odd comment to make, given your liking of Judith's blog. She "engages" far less in the comment threads than Gavin does.

      Gavin is now Director of GISS. He was always a prodigious worker and now he's doing even more. Even so he makes time to engage with the public on climate science. He is one of the best climate science communicators you'll find.

      If you want people to chat with, there are plenty of discussion boards around on all sorts of subjects. If you want leading climate scientists to make time to have extended conversations with you personally, then understand that you and I are just two out of 7 billion plus people and ask yourself if you are being reasonable.

      If you are looking to learn about climate science, then realclimate.org has a wealth of information and is run by some of the world's leading climate scientists. And scientists frequently comment in the discussion threads there. Much more so than you'll ever find at Judith's blog or other denier blogs. You'll learn more about climate science at realclimate.org or at skepticalscience.com in an hour than you would in ten years spent at Curry's place.

    15. Speaking of Gavin at Real Climate....mmm.. Gavin hasn't said anything for a couple of months now Sou . What? His new position keeping him too busy? Gone on an extended holiday?
      You might want to keep an eye on Gavin. Soon you might have only Skeptical Science left.

    16. Mack is wrong as usual. He's wrong about Dr Schmidt - and here @ClimateofGavin.

      And wrong about realclimate.org.

    17. OK fair enough Sou,...maybe you're right about Gavin Schmidt.
      But here you say to me (above) .... "Mack can't understand why the earth isn't an iceblock"
      Why isn't the earth an iceblock, Sou ?

    18. Why isn't the earth an iceblock, Sou ?

      You've never asked yourself that? It's because of the greenhouse effect, Mack.

      From NASA:
      If the Earth had no atmosphere, a surface temperature far below freezing would produce enough emitted radiation to balance the absorbed solar energy. But the atmosphere warms the planet and makes Earth more livable. Clear air is largely transparent to incoming shortwave solar radiation and, hence, transmits it to the Earth's surface. However, a significant fraction of the longwave radiation emitted by the surface is absorbed by trace gases in the air. This heats the air and causes it to radiate energy both out to space and back toward the Earth's surface. The energy emitted back to the surface causes it to heat up more, which then results in greater emission from the surface. This heating effect of air on the surface, called the atmospheric greenhouse effect, is due mainly to water vapor in the air, but also is enhanced by carbon dioxide, methane, and other infrared-absorbing trace gases.


    19. Yes, Sou, Both you and NASA, have/had this theory that the atmosphere prevents the oceans from freezing. There it is in black and white from NASA..( not said exactly like that , but near enough)
      "But the atmosphere warms the planet...." and..."If the Earth had no atmosphere, a temperature far below freezing....."
      Well a sceptic like myself and others, have this obtoose opinion that the SUN stops the oceans from becoming a frozen ball.
      So we are just going to have to leave it up to you and NASA to be correct in believing that the atmosphere prevents the oceans from becoming a frozen ball or believe us "total" sceptics (Anthony Watts and Roy Spencer, not falling into this category..I think) ....us sceptics who are of the opinion you are dealing with an old , outdated, unreal, crackpot "greenhouse" theory.

    20. You have a bit of catching up to do, Mack, like almost 200 years of science, 150 years of experimental evidence and at least 130 years of popular science.

      By now you must be one of the very few people alive who don't know about this.

    21. Wow, Mack. That's one of the best examples of outright physics denial I've ever seen. All the climate scientists have this 'crackpot "greenhouse" theory', but good ol' Mackie just *knows* he's got it right.

      You're the poster boy for Dunning-Kruger.

    22. Captain FlashheartJuly 23, 2014 at 11:42 PM

      Just asking would like to see someone "with strong skills in principal component analysis and signal detection" get published in journals. He/she is obviously referring to McIntyre. Well, McIntyre is welcome to publish in journals, but for some reason he doesn't... I wonder why? Could it be because his work on the hockey stick is known to be fraudulent and deceptive (claiming to select signals randomly when he actually chose them purposively)? Could it be he showed in his response to Lewandowsky that he doesn't understand factor analysis? And that in his response to Marcott he showed he doesn't understand signal detection?

      Say it isn't so!!

    23. Wow Mack. Dunning-Kruger on amphetamines. I am impressed by your courage to say the first thing that comes into your head and not worry about how it makes you look.

      What temperature do you think the earth would be without an
      atmosphere? You should be able to find an answer with a bit of googling. I suggest you avoid the science-denier websites.

    24. We have some sort of handle on the temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere because the Moon acts as a kind of control. In full Sun, the temperature reaches a balmy 123C but in lunar night the temperature gets down to minus 153C. Now I know it isn't perfect and the Moon rotates a lot more slowly than the Earth but it is an illustration.

      Mack might also note that the atmosphere protects water from being decomposed by direct sunlight, one of the reasons that water is nowhere near as common on the Moon as it is here on Earth.

      I don't know if Mack cares to wonder why the surface of Venus is so anomalously hot and that temperature variations across the surface are not so extreme as either the Moon or Mercury but much more like those here.

      As a parting shot, looking these things up is so easy, even a denier could do it.

    25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    26. Then they again altered the post and their comments on Jan '12 after Hill's Sept '11 post and this time included and update. Still very deceptive and wrong.

    27. Sou, in regards to sks altering their blog posts it is just not corrections which I agree should be noted. Sks altered the text of their post and posted comments 6 months later trying to make commenters look like they didn't read the post. This was documented by Bishop Hill post here which you can confirm by using the wayback machine.

      [As per comment policy, I've redacted the hotlink to the denier website and replaced it with a link to same page but archived together with a link towayback machine and current webpage - Sou.]

    28. I notice this all happened in 2008, more than six years ago. You do hold a grudge for a very long time, don't you. Not asking, just saying.

      I don't understand what BH was getting at in any case. Something about mods messing up comments on comments.

      West Antarctica and the peninsula is melting. Sea ice is increasing but the Antarctic sea ice data has recently been found suspect, so it's not known at this time how much or at what rate.

      Funny that you object to skepticalscience.com, which goes to great pains to be up to date across a very broad range of topics, and links to scientific papers - yet you seem to like Judith Curry's blog where she doesn't even bother correcting her misinformation and often posts dumb articles by science deniers.

      I'd suggest you stay away from blogs altogether and whatever you do, don't read any comments. You clearly have a lot of difficulty sorting out facts from fiction and get ridiculously upset by trivialities, while ignoring the big picture.

      Pick another hobby.

    29. Captain Flash, I seriously doubt that Lewandowski, Cook, Dana, Mann, etc would ever collaborate with McIntyre. Too polarized obviously, but that was not who I was thinking about. There are many others in industry that could do the advanced maths. I'm an amateur radio operator as a hobby and spoken to many electrical engineers that have worked in the field particularly in developing advanced radar, most didn't follow climate science much. I can guarantee you that there are many in the industry side that worked on the development of phased array radar systems that know much more about signal detection than professors on the academic side. Not sure how you would connect these knowledgeable industry experts with academics in the field of climate science.

    30. Industry/academic collaborations do happen from time to time, but this is a red herring. No-one has suggested that the analysis in this paper is flawed.

      Stephan Lewandowsky has been publishing about stats since his earliest publications - and he's taught stats, mostly in the context of psychology of course.


      CSIRO would have internal quality control as well as access to specialist statisticians. The CSIRO staff have published work that suggests they are not unfamiliar with the necessary statistics.

      Contrary to popular denier belief, Steven McIntyre is not an expert statistician and when he's tried his hand at it the results have been flawed.

    31. No Sou, deceptively altering blog posts and comments by sks is plain wrong. Sorry that you don't see that point. Just one egregious occurrence like this is a huge credibility killer and not a grudge. If you don't understand BH's post, just read the current post and the wayback machine archived post. It is quite different and deceptive on what sks claimed they wrote and responded to commenters. I haven't done a bunch of wayback machine comparisons of sks posts but I would not be surprised if this was the only time this was done. This is not a hobby for me, I work in a field that relies on weather to provide a resource to our customers: water. Regional climate change can drastically alter this, so I try to follow all sides of the debate to get a balanced assessment in my opinion. The board of directors I report to are mostly large land owners, farmers, but a couple of them are actually lawyers. We've been in a long term drought here but many of the board members always repeat an old farmer's saying, "it always rains too much after the drought."

    32. Sou, yes psychologists publishing typically use statistics and maths. But hardly ever PCA differential equations that I know of as psych surveys really don't have a time/spatial cloud. Also, Lews last paper retraction (Recursive Fury) was not a good thing.

    33. My point is that SkS is correct 99% of the time. You have picked a single trivial instance from six years ago to complain about something or the other about comments from deniers on an article about Antarctic sea ice. And you even complain that SkS made a correction when alerted to a problem.

      You are looking for a reason to not read SkS and you think you've found a minor ancient triviality on which you denounce all climate science. Ridiculous doesn't describe it.

      My main point is that you say you favour Judith Curry's blog, which specialises in disinformation and doesn't even try to correct the misinformation posted there.

      I call that inconsistent at best. It means you have double standards. Others might go so far as to say you are being immensely hypocritical.

    34. Just asking ignores most of my comment to repeat one point I made as if to say "aha, gotcha". Pathetic attempt to Gish Gallop.

      Recursive Fury should never have been retracted. And it's not at all related to the subject of statistics. However, it has a lot to do with the way Just Asking's mind works. Just another conspiracy nutter.

    35. Captain FlashheartJuly 24, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Just Asking, you clearly were referring to McIntyre, don't be coy.

      Also, pyschologists regularly publish PCA methods. They have this thing called "scale development" and this whole branch of psychology called "pscyhometrics" that depends on it. Facial recognition research uses it heavily, as does all research on depression, anxiety and drug addiction. It's often hidden behind a process called "Factor Analysis" but it's a key part of those methods.
      There is also no direct relationship between PCA and differential equations.

      Really, you should try and look up the things you're talking about before you try to appear knowledgable.

    36. Wow Sou, you are quick to attack based on faulty logic. Sks is 99% correct all the time?? Shouldn't it be 99.99966% (six sigma) of the time? I realize you are on the "climate team" as espoused by sks and are retweeted by Dana and Mann, so I can understand your bias. Fair enough, but did you look at how sks changed their posts and comments? If you refuse to look at the truth, I really don't know what to say. Yes, I currently do favour reading Curry's latest posts. They are quite relevant in the debate, it is not settled science when it comes to attribution, sensitivity and long term projections. I did not ignore most of your comment, I just chose to respond to what was relevant and not respond to what I think is just more backing of sks perceived appeal to authority and PR promotion of a scary future if we don't act now. We disagree. What should we do, a penalizing carbon tax?

      I actually agree with a carbon tax in the US, but a regressive/progressive tax on all carbon sources that would be revenue positive by complety replacing payroll taxes here in the US. This would help lower wage earners by giving them more pocket money, but would be offset by very rich people with multiple homes, private jets, etc by increasing their carbon use bill. The rich could care less about payroll taxes, most don't have earned income and those that do don't pay the taxes once they hit $117k/yr. I would personally be negatively impacted, but I still think this is a reasonable way to alter carbon emissions. Help the lower wage earners, make the top earners pay more for their emissions. This will drive technology and efficiency much more than top down carbon emission political schemes. Let the market work it out with the rich fighting it out. This is just what I would think for the US, wouldn't work in other countries with different taxing schemes. Although, we will never get a global solution on co2 reduction due to the disparity on energy needs from developed countries such as India, China and most of Africa. They need cheap power. Did you see Japan is now promoting coal?

    37. Hah, swiped and cleaned comments. Just like team sks. Sceen grabs.

    38. ^^Oops, never mind.

    39. Captain Flash, no connection with PCA and diff equations? Most engineers I know use eigenvalue decomposition, centered weighted, for PCA. I think there is connection.

    40. Scary future...carbon tax? You're mixing policy and science. Why don't you read the scientific literature, look at the data and find the truth before bringing in biases? Just asking. From following your commentary, it seems that you've found blogs with the same bias due to policy concerns and thus it's clouding your understanding.

      Global warming is just physics that all. Simply put if there was no CO2, the planet would be frozen. Now, realize that CO2 jumped by 40% over the last 150 years after being relatively constant for thousands of years. Do you think this would have an effect on temps? Do you think it's coincidence that temps rose by 0.8C during the same time period? Just asking.

      As for Curry - go to this post and see how badly she misrepresents information in govt testimony: http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/some-comments-on-judith-currys-epw-testimony/

      Be sure to read some of the early comments where things are shown to be even worse than ATTP thought.

      Seriously, Just Asking, be a little more skeptical.

    41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    42. Captain FlashheartJuly 24, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      Just asking, I said there was "no direct connection" between PCA and differential equations. You answer with eigenvalue decomposition. You do understand that there are no differential equations involved in eigenvalue decomposition, right? Are you trying to say that the eigenvalue problem is a differential equation problem? Or did you misunderstand what I wrote?

    43. Captain Flashheart:

      "There is also no direct relationship between PCA and differential equations."

      Beat me to it. Clear sign that Just Asking doesn't know what he's talking about.

      Just asking:

      "Captain Flash, no connection with PCA and diff equations? Most engineers I know use eigenvalue decomposition, centered weighted, for PCA."

      Doubles down. Linear algebra, not calculus. Oh, I see Captain Flashheart bet me to it. Grrr. You're out of your league here, Just asking.

    44. Just Asking:

      "What should we do, a penalizing carbon tax?"

      We don't have to do anything. This question has absolutely nothing to do with science. Indeed, if we do nothing, just think of all the research possibilities as ecosystems collapse and agriculture is forced to adapt and engineers to design and build and ...

    45. "...no connection with PCA and diff equations? Most engineers I know use eigenvalue decomposition, centered weighted, for PCA. I think there is connection."

      And that connection is?

      I can guarantee you that there are many in the industry side that worked on the development of phased array radar systems that know much more about signal detection than professors on the academic side.

      Diagnosis - severe case of Dunning-Kruger syndrome. Sounds like someone feels a bit insecure.

  15. Phased Array Radar Systems! Are you that much of a wanker, Just Asking? You would not know what a partial differential integral equation was let alone a real thought!

    Can you tell me what Greens Theorem is without goggling? How do we integrate near discontinuities by using elliptical integrals. See I can make up shit up quicker than you!


    1. Captain FlashheartJuly 25, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      A little google is a dangerous thing ...

    2. Wow, the vile comments on this site are astonishingly juvenile. In regards to dif eq, try reading this paper

    3. "Vile comments"? That's a bit rich, coming from someone who made vile false accusations about SkepticalScience.com and who prefers disinformation about climate from vile anti-science websites to factual climate science from climate science websites. (See my comment below.)

      Incidentally, it looks like your paper only proves the point that the previous commenters were making.

    4. Yep Sou, dif eq maths is totally dissociated with pca. Also, someone should let Mann know that dif eq is not related to and is referencing his name inappropriately paper. Can he sue for defamation?

  16. I've now had time to look at the example Just Asking gave for not "trusting" SkepticalScience.com. This is another lesson in how despicable disinformers like Just Asking operate.

    Just Asking referred to an article at Bishop Hill - archived here. There are a few points that struck me.

    First of all, why didn't Just Asking refer to John Cook's comment and explanation on that same web page:

    BH, no, I don't cook any books. How SkS works is that the rebuttals to climate myths are organized as an encyclopedic reference, as opposed to blog posts which are more like snapshots in time. This means I regularly update old rebuttals when new data is released or when new papers are published. In this case, I updated my original rebuttal of the "Antarctica is gaining ice" myth with the latest GRACE data from Velicogna 2009 and while I was at it, also incorporated references to a number of other papers, trying to give a broad overview of what the peer-reviewed science had to say about what was happening in Antarctica.

    When I posted the responses to those particular comments, I mistakenly thought they were comments to the updated post (SkS is a big site so I don't keep track of all the comments as they come in). So in responding to the commenters, thinking they hadn't read the updated article, I was unfair to them. It was an honest mistake but I'm a little annoyed with myself for making it because the focus on the timing of comments and responses distracts attention from the science discussed: Antarctic land ice is shrinking at an accelerating rate but Antarctic sea ice is increasing despite the fact that the Southern Ocean is warming faster than the rest of the world's oceans. This information is accurate, derived from peer-reviewed research, as SkS's main commitment is to maintain fidelity to the peer-reviewed literature.
    Sep 21, 2011 at 12:36 AM |  Unregistered CommenterJohn Cook

    Second of all, deceitful Just Asking:

    Why didn't Just Asking accept the correction and point out that John Cook from SkepticalScience responded almost immediately, as soon as possible after investigating the matter. Not only explaining how the mistake occurred but correcting it as soon as it was discovered. Unlike Just Asking's disinformation websites.

    Third of all, double standards from Just Asking, plus more deceit

    Why didn't Just Asking castigate Bishop Hill for not updating the article with John Cook's explanation. That is what I call deceitful, not SkepticalScience.

    Fourth of all - Just Asking admits to preferring disinformation about climate science

    I've already mentioned. Why, given that SkS bends over backwards to be factual, does Just Asking prefer the known disinformation website run by Judith Curry.

    Fifth of all - dubious Just Asking - more double standards

    Why would Just Asking refer to a known disinformation website, Bishop Hill, as evidence that
    SkepticalScience is "untrustworthy", when Bishop Hill even beats Judith Curry's blog for being untrustworthy.

    Questions, questions.  The only answer I can come up with is that Just Asking is a dyed-in-the-wool denier and is in the business of peddling disinformation.

    1. That's pretty damning, there. Just Asking, we expect an honest response.

    2. So far, in all Just Asking's behaviour here, there's nothing that I can see that would support that expectation, dhogaza.

      Even the chosen moniker spells troll.

    3. True … "just asking" is just a bit telling :)

    4. Initially I thought it was chosen ironically. Then they started JAQing.

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Not deleted, Just Asking. Your two "removed" comments have been moved to where they belong, the HotWhoppery.

    2. Thank you for clarifying. Didn't realize you adopted a Roger Pielke Jr. way of moderation by having a dust bin of deleted comments. That is a good thing :)

  18. Just Asking only has to look at Judith's latest 'correction' on the Torcello essay to find a perfect example of all he sees wrong. Judith misquotes and completely mischaracterizes an essay by Professor Torcello.

    300+ comments later *not one* commenter on her site calls her out for it (a prime example of the echo chamber on most pseudoskeptic sites).

    When it *is* pointed out she changes her original text with no acknowledement in the text that the original has been changed.

    And the short one sentence comment she leaves in the comment #350 range offers no explanation why she got it wrong or even any admission that she did get it wrong.

    Why isn't Just Asking just asking Judith about *her* policies?


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.