Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stormy Weather - and a recycled storm at WUWT

Sou | 10:22 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

We've been getting quite a few fierce storms lately in my part of the world. The other day I drove through one of the worst wind/rain combos I've experienced in quite some time, although severe storms have been occurring more often here in the past few months.

Right now as I write this, there's a large and tumultuous storm over Melbourne. This is from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) - archived here. It's heading west to east (left to right):

On Gateway Beliefs: And a tough question at WUWT that no-one could answer

Sou | 6:25 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

A new paper by Sander L. van der Linden and colleagues has been published in the open access journal PLOS | One. It describes a 'gateway belief model' in the context of the scientific consensus on global warming.

This new paper is another one that finds that people will be more likely to accept the science of climate if they understand how much scientists agree on the subject. And in turn, they'll be more likely to support action to mitigate climate change once they understand the extent of agreement among scientists.

This article is another one that's a bit "too long". It's in two parts, so you can take your pick, if you're short of time. One part starts here at the top, or you can skip to the failure of denialists here :D

A short pause: Bob Tisdale thinks climate models are weather forecasts of the Northern Hemisphere

Sou | 3:53 AM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment

There's a new paper out in Science mag, which is another one looking at the so-called hiatus. This time it's from a different angle. The researchers, Byron A. Steinman, Michael E. Mann and Sonya K. Miller, were exploring climate models and observations in relation to natural variation. They studied surface temperature variations in the northern hemisphere over the past 150 years.

A temporary respite before more heat kicks in

The abstract sums up the research. The study suggests the supposed pause is merely a coincidence of two features of natural oceanic fluctuations - a peak in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and a strongly negative-trending Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (PMO). That it is the combined effect of these (in other words, natural variability) that partly offset the ongoing greenhouse warming.

The paper suggests that it may not be long before we get a lot hotter.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Double standards at WUWT. When is a witch hunt a witch hunt?

Sou | 6:35 PM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts' blog WUWT is known for inconsistency, its collation of pseudo-science claptrap from around the climate deniosphere, attacks on climate scientists and double standards. I've not posted much from there the past few days because I've been busy. Also because many of the recent WUWT articles are bemoaning a witch hunt, or what passes for a witch hunt at WUWT.

Are climate contrarians witches?

So what is the WUWT definition of a witch hunt? Is it the endless requests for personal emails by right wing lobby groups that Anthony Watts frequently hails on his blog? Is it court cases to push for release of personal emails from climate scientists, like of Michael Mann here and here and here and lots more. Is it harassment of James Hansen to list all his payments from speaking engagements - like here?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Confirming (again) the CO2 greenhouse effect - but WUWT doesn't like it

Sou | 9:17 PM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

There's a new paper out in Nature, by Daniel Feldman and his colleagues, in which they describe how they've measured the contribution of CO2 to radiative forcing at the surface. The measurements were taken in Alaska and Oklahoma. This is not something that's easy to do. It is not straightforward. There are lots of things that happen in the lower atmosphere and at the surface. The scientists managed to extract the signal of radiative forcing from CO2 from that of other things that affect spectral measurements.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fake outrage: Anthony Watts falsely smears while complaining about smears

Sou | 4:38 PM Go to the first of 36 comments. Add a comment

Who'd a thought it. Anthony Watts, who makes blog pocket money by smearing climate scientists and others, has published an article by Kip Hansen, saying he is "so sickened by this that I really don’t care to discuss it". The "this" being the latest publicity given to Willie Soon and his funding sources. Anthony is painting this as a poor little denier fighting a corrupted climate science. The mainstream media is painting it as a scientist possibly being corrupted by funding sources.

The chicken or the egg?

The issues are being mixed up quite a bit around the few traps I've visited. One of the central issues is funding sources. The implication is that Willie Soon is writing papers that suit the interests of his funders. That he has tailored his results to suit their perceived interests.

You could turn it around the other way, and argue that his funding sources like the general tenor of his research and stance on climate science, and therefore send funds his way.

I've already made some comments in another thread that science is judged by science, not by who pays for it. As I see it, the issue at hand can be summarised as follows:
  • Willie Soon is used by some lobby groups in their efforts to dispute AGW.
  • Willie Soon has received a lot of research funding from fossil fuel companies, right wing lobby groups and Donors Trust.
  • The question is being asked about whether or not Willie Soon has declared all his funding sources when he should have, as required by many scientific journals. This is the conflict of interest question.
  • Willie Soon's published research relating to climate is generally not regarded as good science.

This isn't a new issue. It's just resurfaced. As I see it, the current spate of articles are mainly intended to highlight Willie Soon's funding sources. The "smear" being the implication that if one receives substantial research funds from fossil fuel companies or organisations representing right wing interests (Donors Trust), then that research is suspect. 

It has long been known that Willie Soon's funding sources include parties that are keen to deny climate science. The extent of this funding has been revealed by FOI requests.  The point of some of these articles is not so much that he that he received this funding, but whether or not he consistently failed to declare these funding sources when he should have. (Some people argue that his recent paper with Monckton etc should have indicated funding sources. Soon says it was done in his own time. It boils down to "he said" "he said". The paper was so silly there's not much point making a fuss about it.)

Irony indeed: Anthony Watts falsely smears while complaining about smears

What I find ironic, in this case, is that Anthony Watts posted an article by Kip Hansen who sez that he is "sickened" by the "smear" and doesn't "care to discuss it". Anthony Watts wasn't so "sickened" - in an earlier article the same day (archived here), Anthony wrote:

Smear campaign: “His judgment cometh and that right soon”
The title is a quote from the framed embroidery over the Warden’s wall safe in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, which is a story about one man fighting the corruption of the penal system at the hands of the warden, who was using his position to profit, bully, and murder. Since the quote turned out to be wildly ironic, I thought it was appropriate for what’s happening to Dr. Willie Soon at the hand of green activists and the compliant media. I often think of the warden as a figurehead for people like Dr. Lawrence Torricello, who once called for the death of climate skeptics.

"Wildly ironic" indeed. Anthony Watts is trying to paint Willie Soon as the martyr - fighting some mythical "corruption". That's how Anthony Watts is portraying Willie Soon. It won't stand up. Presumably Anthony will acknowledge that Soon's "fight" is against facts, and is being paid for by vested interests, including some fossil fuel companies, right wing lobby groups and the shady Donors Trust.

Since Anthony called on wild irony, let me point out another supreme irony in that paragraph of his. Anthony again "smears" Lawrence Torcello (and doesn't even get his name right) - completely misrepresenting what he wrote in an article at the Conversation - again.

In fact, Anthony and others so successfully lied about and "smeared" Professor Torcello that it resulted in hundreds of emails ("upwards of 700"), including some very nasty threats. Some of these would have been a direct result of a call by Anthony Watts for deniers to write to Professor Torcello's university, as I described here.

Dr Torcello did not call for the "death of climate skeptics". The closest he came was writing: "an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent". How many countries sentence the "criminally negligent" to death? And "climate skeptics" are not necessarily "an organised campaign funding misinformation". They are the target of such a campaign.

Maybe Anthony sees himself as part of "an organised campaign funding misinformation" - although he is more likely to be a recipient of funds than a funder. (Can you imagine Anthony Watts, the cyberpanhandler, giving his hard-begged funds away? He's often putting his hand out, and rarely delivers).

Which leads us back to the funding issue.

The Smithsonian Institution wants to get the facts straight

The Soon matter is reportedly being looked into by the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian doesn't have any requirement for people to declare their funding sources, but it does expect it's affiliates and staff members to comply with the requirements of the journals they publish in.

As well as the New York Times and the Guardian writing about the story, Jeff Tollefson has an article about this in Nature. He reports about the Smithsonian Institution:
The institution has no explicit policy requiring its researchers to disclose funding sources when they publish, says CfA director Charles Alcock, but they are expected to comply with journal rules, which typically require that authors report potential conflicts of interest.
“We want to get the facts straight,” says Alcock. “If there is evidence of failure to disclose, yes, we have a problem.”

Declaration of funding sources and questionable research

On the matter of questionable research, the Nature article refers to the infamous paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas. Some editors of the journal that published that paper, Climate Research, resigned over the fiasco. Incidentally, the declaration on that disputed paper reads:
Acknowledgements. This work was supported by funds from the American Petroleum Institute (01-0000-4579), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Grant AF49620-02-1-0194) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Grant NAG5-7635). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are independent of the sponsoring agencies. We have benefitted greatly from the true and kind spirit of research communications (including a preview of their thoughts) with the late Jean Grove (who passed away on January 18, 2001), Dave Evans, Shaopeng Huang, Jim Kennett,
Yoshio Tagami and Referee #3. We thank John Daly, Diane Douglas-Dalziel, Craig and Keith Idso for their unselfish contributions to the references. We also thank the Editor, Chris de Freitas, for very helpful editorial changes that improved the manuscript. We are very grateful to Maria McEachern, Melissa Hilbert, Barbara Palmer and Will Graves for invaluable library help, and both Philip Gonzalez and Lisa Linarte for crucial all-around help.

I also see that Willie Soon has declared his funding sources on some other papers, too. For example, in this paper published in GRL, he writes:
I thank Igor Polyakov for kind access to his Arctic SAT data, Peter Frick for sharing his insights and programs on wavelet transform, and Gene Avrett and David R. Legates for comments. I further thank Julia Pham and Benjamin Soon for motivation. Both referees offered helpful suggestions for significant improvements. This scientific research was supported by generous grants from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, American Petroleum Institute, and Exxon-Mobil Corporation. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and are independent of sources providing support.

On the other hand, there is no declaration of funding sources in this 2013 paper in the (low impact factor) Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. (The paper is mainly cited by various contrarians and science deniers, so it got no traction.) That journal does require disclosure as follows:
Conflict of interest
All authors are requested to disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within three years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, their work. See also http://www.elsevier.com/conflictsofinterest. Further information and an example of a Conflict of Interest form can be found at: http://help.elsevier.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/286/p/7923.

The extent to which there is a "failure to disclose" on the part of Willie Soon has yet to be determined. Regardless, the publicity has once again brought his funding sources to light. The "by association" may well influence people who otherwise aren't in a position to assess the scientific merits or otherwise of Willie Soon's work.

To my way of thinking, the implied argument that Willie Soon's research was made to order for the funding bodies is too much like the denier argument that scientists only say what the government wants to hear. (Which is nonsense - there isn't a government in the world that wouldn't want global warming to go away). I doubt anyone will be able to categorically determine motivation. It requires mind-reading. His climate research is questionable at best and much of it has been shown to be flawed. (Which came first - the flawed science or the funding?)

Other scientists have received funding from some of the same sources. Think the Berkeley Earth temperature reconstruction, which received a fair whack from Koch. If that research had found something different would it have been because of the funding source? Or would scientists have decided its merits or otherwise on the strength of the work itself?

The real issue

To my mind, the problem is not so much Willie Soon's published papers, but any influence he might have in the deniosphere. (Many of the few climate papers he's had published are in journals that are not highly regarded. Many of his citations are by himself or other "contrarians".) Even in relation to his talks, I'd question whether anyone takes any notice, except for the denialati. Yes, he's called on by the deniers in the Republican Party - but so is Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, John Christy and others who the deniers among the Republicans probably think are willing to distort scientific facts.

This latest attempt to taint Willie Soon's name may be effective, or not. It will depend on whether or how often he has not declared interest when he should have. If he has declared interest in most of the cases he should have, then that particular line of argument will have gone nowhere. If he hasn't, maybe the Smithsonian will take action.

At the end of the day, it's the flaws in Willie Soon's utterances at his speaking engagements and his research publications that need to be highlighted if one is to show that he's not anyone worth listening to.

As Gavin Schmidt wrote at RealClimate.org almost four years ago:

... the real issue is not how he gets paid, but the quality of his science

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cyclonic conspiracies at WUWT

Sou | 2:46 AM Go to the first of 31 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts recently posted another article (archived here) by one of his WUWT readers, Eric Worrall. Eric was writing about a Sydney Morning Herald article about tropical cyclones in Australia, after TC Marcia made landfall in Queensland.

Eric's blog article showed that he doesn't read much if any climate science. His article appeared under the headline:
Unsubstantiated Claim Over One Cyclone: Climate Change is “Expanding the Tropics”

The headline was wrong. First of all, the "claim" wasn't just "over one cyclone". Secondly, the fact that climates are shifting poleward is not unsubstantiated. There were references substantiating this in the WUWT article under the headline, and in the SMH article on which the WUWT article was based, and there is lots about this in the scientific literature.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Climate science as portrayed by a disinformer, Christopher Essex

Sou | 10:39 AM Go to the first of 84 comments. Add a comment

Here's a test for you, denier style. Can you pick an ice age from this chart?

Anthony Watts has posted a video of a lecture that Chris Essex gave to a crowd of deniers (archived here). (Well, I don't know if there was a crowd there or if he was giving his talk to an empty room.) I didn't get as far as his main point, which apparently is a strange claim that climate can't be modeled. He's wrong, of course. Climate is being modeled - and amazingly well, if you ask me. Scientists are now working on the next phase of climate modeling - CMIP6.

I watched the first few minutes of the video. Chris doesn't strike me as a deep thinker. Or maybe it's just that he thought he was talking to a bunch of nincompoops.

Chris Essex on consensus

Here is one of his choice quotes:
Scientific thinking is about things and political thinking is about what other people are doing so they are very different things. So consensus is the wrong way to think about a scientific question.

Yep, you can disregard all that scientists have found out about physics, chemistry and biology - after all, scientific knowledge gets built up on what is agreed as existing knowledge (ie consensus). Therefore it must all be a giant hoax. Not.

Chris Essex on the temperature of Earth

Chris showed a picture of a thermometer in a shoe box and said that's how people think about climate. "well, there's just one thermometer and we know that it's got to heat up" - Huh?

He went on to claim insight into people's minds:
".. in people's minds what the earth is, is really this one giant hot brick that's floating in orbit around the earth (sic), and its got one temperature and that's that's that's basically what's happening." (video link)

"They" will never show you a thermometer...

He continues, talking about "they" (in the style of the conspiracy theorist):
If that's true then there should be something called the global thermometer. One of the things that you'll never ever see in any of the temperature plots that they have (is) a thermometer. So they will never show you a thermometer, what they will show you is, show you is a small variation over time in so-called temperature. And it will be in tenths of a degree. And what that is is not actually measured in terms of temperature like degrees Celsius kind of temperature but, ah, it's always a deviation from some average which is usually a 30-year average, and that's called an anomaly coordinate. So it's not an actual temperature. So what I'm going to show you... (video link)

And Chris proceeded to put up photos of thermometers to demonstrate how he can't tell the difference between the average global surface temperatures in 1988, 1998 and 2014.

Neither could you, is the message from Chris! It's no big deal that the earth is warming up.

For comparison, here is a chart of global surface temperature changes over the past 134 years. I've marked the years 2014, 1998 and 1988 to help Chris out. I'll even throw in a thermometer, since he complains of never seeing one on a temperature plot :)

Data Source: NASA

 "Why does Chris Essex use the Celsius scale?" you might ask. Why not use Kelvin?

Let's go back to the question I started with. Were you able to tell the difference between now and the last glacial maximum?

I wonder if Christopher Essex can tell the difference?

Now let's see if you can tell the difference going back 500 million years.

What does the above chart show? It shows most of the Phanerozoic eon from the hottest hothouse periods to the cold ice ages. It covers the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. It shows the period covering what are known as the five major extinctions.

It's quite fascinating to see how science deniers view the surface temperature changes on Earth. It does make you wonder why so many deniers are scared stiff of an ice age comething, doesn't it.

I watched a little bit more of the video and decided it wasn't worth continuing. Chris was merely pontificating about how he doesn't "believe" climate science. And I think he geared his talk to children aged three or less (most of whom would have left the room after about three minutes, from boredom, or from annoyance at the childish approach.)

BTW Christopher Essex teaches maths at the University of Western Ontario, in between pretending to be some sort of "expert" for the Heartland Institute, "advising" the Global Warming Policy Foundation and generally denying climate science. He is also listed as the Chairman and sole member of the Climatology Panel of some mickey mouse "organisation" that grandly calls itself the "World Federation of Scientists".

Friday, February 20, 2015

Denier weirdness at WUWT: An intensive five year water research project vs a "quick Google search"

Sou | 6:02 PM Go to the first of 23 comments. Add a comment

While parts of the Northern Territory and coastal Queensland are suffering a surfeit of water (and devastating damage), South Australia is figuring out how to cope with a deficit.

This classic was from Cameron Goodison at WUWT today (archived here):
Recently the Australian Goyder Institute released a report detailing the effects of climate change on rainfall in South Australia. The result:
‘Climate change will halve inflow to SA’s biggest reservoir.’
The ABC, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-17/climate-change-will-halve-inflow-to-sa-biggest-reservoir-mount-/6128832
To make such a alarming statement one would think the ABC has done its research. They must have first done a quick Google search of the average annual rainfall for the region to see if there is any sort of noticeable downward trend that would give such a statement some degree of credibility.

Yeah, right. Don't trust the detailed scientific report. All you need is a quick google search!

Australia is being battered by two serious cyclones: Lam and Marcia

Sou | 8:25 AM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment

Source: Earth Wind Map

Two cyclones are hitting Australia right now - Severe TC Lam in the Northern Territory and Severe TC Marcia in Queensland. Below is the latest satellite image from the Bureau of Meteorology. (As always, click the image to enlarge it):

TC Lam crossed the Northern Territory coast as a Cat 4 Cyclone and is heading south west. Jabiru and Katherine will be among the areas feeling the effects. The ABC has a report on its progress and the communities affected - plus a good map:

Source: BoM

TC Marcia has developed into a Cat 5 (the highest possible) and is headed directly for the city of Rockhampton in Queensland. The areas affected are heavily populated, and including Yeppoon, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gympie and further down, Brisbane itself will feel the effects.

Source: BoM

Again, the ABC is reporting the latest, including wind gusts of up to 300 km/hour.
In St Lawrence, hundreds of locals were asked to evacuate by police last night, and urgent evacuations were ordered in Yeppoon early this morning.
Queensland Police said the emergency cyclone shelter at the St Lawrence bowls club had been shut down as it was not strong enough to handle the system.

Marcia is one serious storm. From the ABC:
Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) senior forecaster Sam Campbell said the monster storm was not expected to weaken quickly, and would likely remain at least a category three until this evening, and possibly into Saturday.
"Even at 4:00pm [Friday] we expect it to stay at category three cyclone," he said....
...Bureau of Meteorology regional director Rob Webb said the cyclone would dump between 200 millimetres and 300 millimetres of rain.
"Those falls up to 500 millimetres or more are possible," he said.
A flood watch is current for the Wide Bay and Burnett, south-east coast and the Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts.
More than 200 swift water rescue officers have been sent to flood-prone areas.
Abnormally high tides will be experienced today with water levels expected to rise above the highest tide of the year on the high tide.
Residents between Mackay and Double Island have been warned of the potential for a dangerous storm tide. 

Stay safe everyone. Our thoughts are with you.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Denier blogs are shifting to the extreme end of nuttery

Sou | 3:26 PM Go to the first of 29 comments. Add a comment

If you're wondering why I haven't been posting quite as many articles lately, it's partly because the deniers have dried up. (And partly because real life has been making demands.)

Judith Curry canvassed the views of her readers, of which the vast majority are deniers. I've also written about the two recycled paranoid conspiracy theories Anthony Watts posted in the past day or so - the Agenda 21 plot and the World Domination plot.

A couple of days ago Bob Tisdale tried to dismiss an updated publication by the Australian Academy of Science, muttering "models, models", then writing about internal variability instead of climate. (Bob doesn't understand the first thing about climate models. You can read about them here at Ars Technica.) I wonder how many quiz questions Bob would have answered correctly?

In an article today at WUWT (archived here), some American bloke called David Deming, who's a mate of Denier Don Easterbrook, complained that he was tired of reading about climate science, weakly protesting:
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and the Earth’s climate is not changing. So please, give it a rest. We’re tired of the array of tendentious claims and the endless litany of hysterical doom-mongering.

Yeah, right - David. What planet do you live on?

So, what do you think? Have science deniers run out of steam? Are they weary of recycling the same tired denier memes? Was the record hot 2014 too much for them? Have denier bloggers decided to shift their audience, getting rid of the merely ignorant or deluded deniers, to pander to the extremely nutty?

Rob's Gallop

Sou | 12:28 PM Go to the first of 103 comments. Add a comment

This is for Rob Ellison to continue his various thoughts. Other people can join in if they want to. I'm closing the other thread to further comments, and have transferred some of the latest comments here, to set the ball rolling.

Sou. 19 February 2015 1:08 pm

The World Domination Conspiracy Theory at WUWT

Sou | 6:40 AM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

As if Viv Forbes paranoid conspiracy theory wasn't enough, Anthony Watts trots out David "funny sunny" Archibald, starting off an article (archived here) with (my emphasis):
“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” was a 1985 song by Tears For Fears. Now in 2015, a number of parties are doing their best to that end – ISIS in the Middle East, Russia chewing up the Ukraine, China in the East and South China Seas and the UN Climate Change Commission. A draft document out of Geneva gives details of the UN plan to rule the world.

Does conspiracy theorists' paradise, WUWT, beat Judith Curry's denier heaven?

Sou | 12:31 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

Not wanting to be outdone by Judith Curry's recent demonstration of her blog as denier heaven, Anthony Watts decides to prove that his blog is conspiracy theorists' paradise. (A lot more fodder for Professor Lewandowsky.)

In a wonderful display of paranoia, Anthony Watts has posted another article (archived here) by Stanmore Coal director, Viv Forbes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Confessions of deniers at Judith Curry's blog

Sou | 3:38 AM Go to the first of 174 comments. Add a comment

Note: This thread is closed for comments. The discussion that was taking place can be continued here at Rob's Gallop.

Addendum: see below for Judith trying to defend her denier fans, and her own conspiracy ideation.

You may remember when Anthony Watts at WUWT posted a self-portrait of a denier, which brought out a whole host of other self portraits - predominately from engineers. Now Judith Curry has invited deniers to write about why they reject climate science (archived here). I think it was an open invitation to all, but since her blog is denier paradise, most of the comments are from - you guessed it, climate science deniers.

There were several people who wrote more than one of the 133 comments (as archived). I counted only eight people who accept the science. The rest rejected science (a couple were non-committal). Some described themselves as lukewarmers or fence-sitters. Others were more hard-core.

Monday, February 16, 2015

WUWT claims (again) that global warming is a giant conspiracy of mammoth proportions

Sou | 4:08 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, who runs a wacky conspiracy theory blog, WUWT, has another article (archived here) claiming that global warming isn't happening and it's all a giant conspiracy. Anthony posted a "guest essay" by someone called Ralph Park, who is a conspiracy nutter.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Science deniers try to change the facts about climate

Sou | 10:43 PM Go to the first of 71 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has finally written a promo for a book put out last month by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) (archived here). The book is called, somewhat ambiguously: Climate Change the Facts 2014. Given the publisher and the contributors, the meaning is pretty obvious: Climate - change the facts - 2014.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Paul Homewood and Christopher Booker are wrong about global surface temperatures

Sou | 2:06 AM Go to the first of 41 comments. Add a comment

For some odd reason, arch-science denier Christopher Booker has been getting some play in the media. He's been broadcasting false claims about the surface temperature records.

Every so often a science denier will scour the temperature records to unearth some that have been adjusted upwards. They'll then shout to the world "fraud" "scam" "it's all a hoax". What I've never seen from any denier is them scouring the records for temperatures adjusted downwards. That would totally spoil their propaganda.

This sort of thing happens from time to time, often when the UN is meeting to discuss action on global warming. The timing of the denier attacks in this case coincide with the UN meeting in Geneva.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rampant alarmism at WUWT (again) about UN climate talks in Geneva

Sou | 8:14 AM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment

WUWT is veering once again into rampant alarmism. Eric Worrall (he's just a run-of-the-mill denier from Australia, one of Anthony Watts' useful idiots) has written one of his very short "guest essays" (archived here), most of which is a copy and paste of a segment from the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a contrast to the tedious verbose "guest essays" by some other contributors I suppose.

The SMH article was about how, for the Geneva talks, the draft UN agreement to combat climate change has now swollen to 100 pages, from the 38 page document drafted at Lima.

Eric sets the ball rolling with alarmism, writing:
Given the fact that countries are free to write their own terms, including joke effort’s like China’s agreement to do nothing until the 2030s, in return for America agreeing to commit economic suicide, the greatest contribution to CO2 reduction Paris is likely to produce, will be the sequestration in some dusty filing cabinet, of all the carbon copies, of what promises to be the longest climate agreement ever written.

Eric just made up the part about China - out of thin air. China is reportedly bringing forward its plan for carbon trading. As for America agreeing to "commit economic suicide" - I don't see that happening any time soon.

(Is this really the best that people who want the globe to warm faster have to offer? Seems pathetically weak to me. Thankfully, many world leaders are taking the UN meetings very seriously.)

Framing climate policies for public support

Now all this rampant alarmism gives me a good reason for alerting readers to a new paper by Mark Hurlstone and his colleagues.  Mark and one of his co-authors, Stephan Lewandowsky, have written about the paper at Shaping Tomorrow's World.  The research was exploring how best to frame messages to build support for climate policies.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Some people at WUWT agree with climate scientists: let's not go "howlingly barking mad"

Sou | 4:32 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

In the absence of anything much at WUWT, I was going to write about the proposed Geoengineering research program. Slate published an article by the eminent climate scientist, Professor Raymond Pierrehumbert, with the headline and sub-head:

Climate Hacking Is Barking Mad
You can’t fix the Earth with these geoengineering proposals, but you can sure make it worse. 

Opposing geoengineering of climate does not equate to not exploring options

Prof Pierrehumbert, a fierce opposer of geoengineering, has co-authored an NRC proposal that a research program be established to consider geoengineering proposals. As he wrote:
This week, the National Research Council (NRC) is releasing a report on climate engineering that deals with exactly those proposals I found most terrifying. The report even recommends the creation of a research program addressing these proposals. I am a co-author of this report. Does this mean I've had a change of heart?
The nearly two years' worth of reading and animated discussions that went into this study have convinced me more than ever that the idea of “fixing” the climate by hacking the Earth’s reflection of sunlight is wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad. In fact, though the report is couched in language more nuanced than what I myself would prefer, there is really nothing in it that is inconsistent with my earlier appraisals.

Geoengineering and public opinion

Before I got to write about this, I saw that WUWT has picked up on the subject of geoengineering with two articles. Many science deniers don't want geoengineering any more than scientists do.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Changes to lakes in the Andes, not in Canada but Ecuador!

Sou | 3:49 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

With another "claim" headline, Anthony Watts whistles his mob of scientific illiterati to join in with lots of "scientists don't know nuffin'" comments. And they oblige. Or most of them do.

Under his "claim" headline, Anthony just copied and pasted a copy of the press release about a new paper in PLOS | One. (WUWT article archived here.) That's about all he's doing these days. Since Andrew Weaver was successful in his defamation suit, I haven't seen a WUWT article defaming an individual scientist. It's early days yet of course.
Laguna Llaviacu, a study site. Credit: Neal Michelutti.

About the paper - scientists have been studying the lakes high up on the top of the Andes in Ecuador. The team was led by Neal Michelutti of the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PERL) at Queens University in Canada.

There was some interesting info in the press release. Did you know that it is estimated that the tropical Andes have about one sixth of Earth's biodiversity? And did you know that this region has been warming about twice as fast as the global average over the past few decades?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No, water vapour is not what's *causing* global warming

Sou | 4:21 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

Tim Ball wrote at WUWT an article with a misleading headline (as is usual at WUWT)):
Thanks To The IPCC, the Public Doesn’t Know Water Vapor Is Most Important Greenhouse Gas

This is a "back to basics" article. The basics being: CO2 is a greenhouse gas. As atmospheric CO2 increases, the earth gets hotter. As temperatures rise, more water evaporates.  Water is also a greenhouse gas. More atmospheric water vapour means the world gets hotter still.

The lack of basic scientific knowledge displayed at WUWT sometimes surprises even me.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"A serious case of defamation"

Sou | 10:45 AM Go to the first of 31 comments. Add a comment

Good to see that Dr Andrew Weaver has won his court case against the National Post (h/t Anonymous). As Carol Linnett at DeSmogCanada writes:
The ruling names Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, Peter Foster, a columnist at the National Post, Kevin Libin, a journalist that contributes to the Financial Post and National Post publisher Gordon Fisher.

Sad to see that the National Post has not yet complied with the judgement (at the time of writing this article).

Surprisingly, given the attention the paper gave to Dr Weaver, the court did not find malice, so did not award punitive damages.  General damages were awarded against all parties. So far only (almost) mainstream media has been sued - by climate scientists -  for defamation (to my knowledge). Once the rest of these cases have run their course, there may be sufficient weight of findings (precedence) to take on bloggers who claim readership in the millions. In any case, it will give people something to chew on the next time they want to attack the integrity of a climate scientist.

Message to anti-scientist bloggers: don't make up stuff

The message from all this to bloggers is "don't make up stuff". The message to internet readers is "don't believe everything you read on the internet" (or anywhere). Check your facts.

The ruling makes interesting reading. The punch lines are the findings of the Supreme Court:
[289] As in Leenen, the defamation in this case was serious. It offended Dr. Weaver’s character and the defendants refused to publish a retraction. The libel was widely published by at least one high profile journalist and two others. In addition, the libel effectively ran through a serious of articles in a national newspaper published over a short and continuous time period. Re-publication of the libel occurred as established by the plaintiff.
[290] I am of the view a significant award is appropriate. The inferential meaning of the words implies a serious defect in character that impacts Dr. Weaver’s academic and professional world. The evidence establishes Dr. Weaver was deeply affected by what he perceived as a barrage of articles impugning his integrity and academic reputation. These gave rise to the “Wall of Hate” that he maintained outside his office; comments, he noted, which arose after the publication of those articles.
[291] I consider an award of $50,000 in general damages against all defendants jointly and severally to be appropriate in this case. I decline to award aggravated or punitive damages. I have not found malice to be present in this case.
[292] Dr. Weaver sought an injunction and assignment of copyright. I direct the defendants to remove the offending articles from any electronic database, where they are accessible under the control of the National Post Internet sites and electronic databases. In addition, the defendants are required to expressly withdraw any consent given to third parties to re-publish the defamatory expression and to require these third parties to cease re-publication.
[293] Further, the defendants will publish a complete retraction of the defamatory expression in the hardcopy National Post Internet sites and electronic databases in a form agreed to by the plaintiff. Failing agreement, the parties are at liberty to apply to this Court for directions concerning the form and content of such retraction. As to the Weaver v. Corcoran Page 82 question of ordering an assignment of copyright, without more foundation, I am unable to accede to that as requested by the plaintiff in this matter.

Readers' comments on the internet

This part of the ruling may be of interest to bloggers. It refers to readers' comments and the responsibilities of publishers of those comments:
Once the offensive comments were brought to the attention of the defendants, however, if immediate action is not taken to deal with these comments, the defendants would be considered publishers as at that date. 

So - if you find comments on blogs to be defamatory or otherwise offensive and want them removed, then it appears it may be up to you to request they be removed.  That is, if in Canada. A request to remove and retract false claims made in an article, is generally a precursor to legal action for defamation. So a request to remove comments is something you'd probably be doing in any case.

You can do your bit to help

Taking a defamer to court comes at great personal sacrifice, even if the person wins. Cases will be more likely to succeed if the best advice and help is provided. Donate to the climate science legal defense fund - or maybe donate again, if you've already done so :)

Click here to donate.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Quote of the Day from WUWT: Fleeing Tough Questions

Sou | 9:37 PM Go to the first of 57 comments. Add a comment

Seen at WUWT today (my emphasis):
Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore, Katherine (sic) Hayhoe, etc. are the ones armed with blanks and they know it, they flee from debate and they flee from any interview where tough questions might be asked.

Q. Who flees from tough questions? A. Anthony Watts

Remember how Anthony Watts gouged funds from his readers to take a jaunt to the UK? He got into their wallets with the promise that he had "many questions to ask".

And he slunk away, cowered into silence, ducking every opportunity to ask a question, tough or otherwise! He didn't even raise his hand.

Q. Who thrives on tough questions? A. Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore and Katharine Hayhoe

I've not heard of Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore or Katharine Hayhoe ever fleeing from anything, let alone tough questions about climate science. They all love a challenge. Three of them devote a huge amount of their after hours time to explaining climate science. Bill Nye's career is explaining science - of all kinds. These are some of the toughest people around and go-to people when it comes to the media. Anthony Watts (or Russell Cook) is just making up stuff as usual.

None of them are wimps like Anthony Watts.

Jim Steele brings the Arctic to Antarctica

Sou | 7:31 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

There's a very odd article at WUWT by Jim Steele about Antarctic sea ice (archived here, latest here). He started off the article saying he'd just read a new paper about Arctic sea ice. The paper, by Neil Swart and colleagues was published in Nature at the end of January.

The introduction to the paper sets the scene:
Internal climate variability can mask or enhance human-induced sea-ice loss on timescales ranging from years to decades. It must be properly accounted for when considering observations, understanding projections and evaluating models.

The scientists were looking at trends in Arctic sea ice in recent years. What they were looking at in particular was the extent to which internal climate variability can affect the trend. That is, how much of the ups and downs in Arctic sea ice could come from internal variability compared to the underlying decline from enhanced greenhouse warming.

The main message from the paper, I think, is that Arctic sea ice decline is not necessarily underestimated by climate models. The recent big dips of 2007 and 2012 could be natural variability. It's difficult to tell.

In defence of climate science denier!

Sou | 4:29 PM Go to the first of 42 comments. Add a comment

Update: Science of Doom has responded to the feedback his article got. You can read his comment here. It's very good and not just because he acknowledges that not everyone views the term as he did. (h/t verytallguy)

Sou 8:16 pm 5 February 2015

Science of Doom has a great blog explaining many aspects of climate science, with an emphasis on the underlying mathematics (and some of the physics). If you want to learn the maths and physics underpinning the greenhouse effect and lapse rates and adiabatic processes, you'll probably at some stage come across an article by Science of Doom.

A day or so back, for some very strange reason (ostensibly because he was reading a book), Science of Doom decided to fan the flames of climate science denial, unwittingly I would think.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Calling scientists frauds and fakers just pisses them off!

Sou | 2:17 AM Go to the first of 71 comments. Add a comment

There's an article at WUWT (archived here, latest here) about a new paper in Nature Climate Change. The paper is another one of those that looks at the differences between people who accept climate science and those who reject it. It's about the social dynamics of denial. (I was really interested in the paper and got a bit carried away. That means that this article is another one that's too long.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It never rains but it pours...Interesting juxtaposition at WUWT

Sou | 3:30 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

When I went to WUWT today there was this interesting juxtaposition of articles:

It doesn't come out in the same format in the archived version.

All but one were all about extra heavy precipitation, and even that one exception mentioned it. From left to right:

Deniers are a funny breed. I don't know if any of them noticed.

Australia's coolish (almost normal) January - where are the fake sceptics?

Sou | 1:33 PM Go to the first of 21 comments. Add a comment

This January has seemed to me to be relatively cool, almost "normal" where I live in south-eastern Australia. That is, normal compared to the past few years.

I've been looking to find articles on denier blogs claiming the Bureau of Meteorology has been fudging the temperatures downwards. But not a peep or a squeak, let alone a squawk of the type during our record hot summers. On the contrary, some deniers are now taking the BoM reports as gospel and claiming that it means that an ice age cometh.

Jo Nova (who I've been told complains I don't write about her nonsense enough) hasn't written anything. Jennifer Marohasy, who likes to keep a close (closed?) eye on Australian temperatures has been quiet. (Actually, I had to check both because they are not regular haunts of mine. I discovered that Jennifer's been away since last October.)

I first commented on this a few days ago saying that at the Australian Open they were wearing jumpers this year, unlike last year when people were collapsing on the court from the heat. It felt more like last century than this one. Anecdotal isn't all that reliable so I went to the repository of Australian temperatures to see what's been happening.

Monday, February 2, 2015

WUWT attacks the Catholic Church

Sou | 1:20 PM Go to the first of 21 comments. Add a comment

Not satisfied with attacking scientists and science, now WUWT has set its sights on the Catholic Church. According to Tim Ball (archived here), the Pontiff doesn't realise that mitigating climate change means "reducing and controlling population" and "contradicts Catholic doctrine". Tim says that Pope Francis is a socialist who is "easily persuaded". Oh, and according to Tim, one shouldn't approach scientists if one wants to learn about science.

It's odd for WUWT to come out with a full bore attack on the Catholic Church because Anthony Watts recently declared himself as Catholic. Most Catholics are very loyal to their Church though many would recognise its faults and past transgressions. So if Anthony Watts had posted an article praising cigarette smoking, given his history, this would be the equivalent. Remember, Anthony favours the Heartland Institute, which waged a pro-smoking campaign for years, so he is not being inconsistent in his inconsistency.

What all this goes to show is that Anthony Watts has one goal which is way more important to him than his religion and his anti-smoking stance. His goal is to prevent anyone doing anything to mitigate global warming. He'll drop all his principles (did he ever have any?) and grab hold of anything, even Tim Ball, to achieve that end. His underlying motivation like that of many at WUWT, is mundane - it's money.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

William M. Briggs falsely alleges broad-scale corruption across US science - sour grapes, mashed and diced

Sou | 2:56 PM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment

William M. Briggs has an article up at WUWT in which he makes all sorts of wrong claims about research grants (archived here). (Incidentally Anthony Watts called him William H. Briggs, and still hasn't corrected it, despite this tweet only four or so minutes after the article appeared.)

Now maybe William has never received a grant to do any research. From the quality of his recent efforts on "climate" papers, that wouldn't surprise. (See here and here and here and here and DJ in the HW comments here.) And the way William sells himself as numerologist for the stars or whatever (actually it's statistician to the stars with an exclamation point), that wouldn't surprise either.

William M. Briggs hits out at all sciences funded by US government grants

Although this blog is about climate, and WUWT (where the article appeared) is against climate science - the article by William M. Briggs is not restricted to climate-related science. It is about science in general. His article isn't about climate science in particular. He is taking a swipe at all government-funded scientific research in the USA, research scientists and Deans at universities.

This includes everything from space science through to health science through to social science and beyond. It covers physics, chemistry, biology and, presumably, applied science such as nano-technology and nuclear science as well as all the social sciences.