Monday, March 30, 2015

The Evolution of a 97% Conspiracy Theory - The Case of the Abstract IDs

Sou | 11:04 PM Go to the first of 124 comments. Add a comment

Update: OMG! If you can believe it, even after all this, Richard Tol, in the comments below, is still indulging in a Recursive Fury of Gish gallops. He's taken the new (to him) facts and, instead of letting go of his wacky ideas as he should, he's gone and woven still more new conspiracy theories. (Has Richard not got any friends to have a quiet word in his ear? No-one who cares for him? How sad.)
[Sou 6:17 pm 31 March 2015 AEDT]

If you've been following this blog for the past few days, you'll have noticed the fine illustration of denier-weird in action, including a Gish gallop evolving live (here and here).

This article is more by way of a post-script. An extraordinarily long post-script. As you probably know, I don't normally repeat a theme over consecutive days. The reason I'm writing this up as a separate article is because it is a wonderful chance to see how a conspiratorial notion was developed over a few short hours, at the tail end of a Gish gallop.

It's a conspiracy. I just know it!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The fall and fall of Gish galloping Richard Tol's smear campaign

Sou | 6:42 PM Go to the first of 40 comments. Add a comment
A short while ago I wrote an article demolishing Richard Tol's latest demonisation of Cook13, the well known 97% consensus paper. (Update: there's still more to the saga - see here.)

"The consensus is of course in the high 90s" - Richard Tol

As you know, Richard agrees that of all the scientific papers that attribute a cause to global warming, the percentage that attribute it to human activity is "in the high 90s". Here is his confirmation at ATTP's blog:

Richard Tol says (my emphasis):
June 14, 2013 at 11:44 am
The consensus is of course in the high nineties. No one ever said it was not. We don’t need Cook’s survey to tell us that.
Cook’s paper tries to put a precise number on something everyone knows. They failed. Their number is not very precise.

So why does he think Cook13 failed, even though it "put a number" that "everyone else knows"? He doesn't say - anywhere.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How not to frame an FOI request - if you really want information

Sou | 5:06 PM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment

I don't normally bother too much with the denier blogger "Steve Goddard". Even among mainstream deniers he's viewed as shonky. However, something popped up at WUWT today (archived here) which is a great example of how deniers manufacture situations to suit their message, and how some disinformers (like Eric Worrall) misrepresent other deniers when it suits them.

This is what happened. "Steve Goddard" and someone I've never heard of, Kent Clizbe (a shady character), submitted an FOIA request to NOAA (the "Steve Goddard" version is archived here). They asked for a huge amount of information going back in history, minus the kitchen sink.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Deconstructing the 97% self-destructed Richard Tol

Sou | 1:38 AM Go to the first of 183 comments. Add a comment
If you're a mediocre academic who yearns to be in the spotlight, what do you do? If you've burnt your bridges academically and cemented a reputation as a bit of a hack who isn't too fussed about accuracy.  If you aren't too worried that you'll end your lack-lustre career on a third-rate public speaking circuit, talking to a handful of doddering deniers in seedy back rooms of government buildings, then you might consider a career as a climate science denier.

That's the image that comes to mind when I consider the antics of Richard Tol over the past few years. Richard managed to snag a position as Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex in the UK. He specialises in the economics of climate, sort of, though he's had mixed success. That's mainly because he's not a detail person. He isn't too fussed when he lets mistakes slip through - unless, that is, someone catches him out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slowing ocean circulation prompts more Mann bashing from deniers at WUWT

Sou | 5:29 AM Go to the first of 62 comments. Add a comment

Update: The Rahmstorf paper is getting more important by the minute. Now there are not one, not two, but three protest articles by Anthony Watts in the space of a few hours. You'll be surprised (probably not) that what Anthony thinks refutes the study actually lends support to it. See below.

Added by Sou 6:30 am 26 March 2015

There is a new paper in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf and others, which is getting a lot of protest from deniers. This signifies that it is potentially an important paper. Stefan has written about it at realclimate.org.

What the research suggests is that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) may have slowed a lot in the late twentieth century (particularly between 1970 and 1990). This is attributed to the influx of fresh cold water, primarily from melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A sensitive climate workshop - and freebies from the Royal Society

Sou | 3:45 AM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

Some of you will know about the workshop on climate sensitivity that's taking place this week at Ringberg in Germany. The participant list includes some big names in the science world, and will ensure a wide range of views on the subject.

You can read about the workshop at realclimate.org, or visit the website.  You can also follow what's happening on Twitter, by searching #ringberg15. (There are some nuisance denier tweeters, but if you're on Twitter, you can just block or mute them and read what the scientists are tweeting.)

The workshop aims to get a better handle on climate sensitivity (and transient climate response), though I'm not all that optimistic that there'll be agreement on all counts. Here are the questions posed on the website:

Monday, March 23, 2015

WUWT strawman: Week 13 of 52 - not much extreme weather? So sez Anthony Watts

Sou | 5:22 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, or one of his surrogates, has made a brief appearance at WUWT to write a headline and an opening salvo. Here is what he wrote (archived here):
So far, 2015 seems to be a bad year for the ‘severe weather caused by climate change” meme
Anthony Watts / 21 mins ago March 22, 2015
Looks like another “divergence problem” as tornadoes don’t follow the climatology

That's it. The rest was a copy and paste of an article from NOAA (archived here). The NOAA article was about how there have been no tornadoes reported in the USA this March, so far. This is a record - since 1970 at any rate.

Anthony Watts talked about a "meme", but what he wrote is a logical fallacy known as a strawman, as you'll see below.

Tim Ball recycling Medieval Warming conspiracies at WUWT

Sou | 7:39 AM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment

At WUWT, Tim Ball is pining for the good old days - twenty five years ago. He's written (again) about the medieval warm anomaly and wishing it was global (archived here). I don't know why he harps on about it so. I think it's an excuse to name drop - he says he once met up with Hubert Lamb and he tells everyone so at every opportunity. He likes to pretend they were bosom buddies, though I doubt Hubert Lamb would have remembered Tim Ball, even had he met him.

I've written about the medieval warm anomaly on previous occasions - here and here and in some detail here, for example. There's really not that much more to be said, so I'll just repeat what I've written on another occasion when Tim moaned about the MWP:

Another conspiracy theory at WUWT - birthers and more

Sou | 5:39 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment

Anthony's still pretty well AWOL. Meanwhile the conspiracy theorists are hard at it. This time it's Eric Worrall again - that is, Eric "eugenics" Worrall to those who aren't familiar with the name.

Someone started a rumour that President Obama had bought a beachfront property in Hawaii. Not just any property, it was the property used in Magnum PI - a television show from way back when starring Tom Selleck.

The rumour was quickly squashed, on both CNN and Fox News. However no-one bothered to correct the WUWT article itself (archived here). Why spoil a good rumour with facts?

As many people know, WUWT is a climate conspiracy website mainly, but it's not averse to a bit of birtherism and it most certainly panders to all those to the right of the extreme right. Given the USA has no leftist politics to speak of, the best WUWT can manage is to take a shot at centrist politicians like President Obama. And why not toss a bone to all the WUWT conspiracy nutters when the opportunity presents itself?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Roy Spencer PhD and Steve "mad, mad, mad" Goreham on defying laws

Sou | 11:52 PM Go to the first of 11 comments. Add a comment

Deniers are making hay while the sun beats down - or the little mice are playing while the boss is off doing something or the other.

As I've commented before, Anthony Watts has all but disappeared from WUWT recently. While he's gone AWOL, there are a lot of deniers using his blog to peddle their denial.

Yesterday it was David Middleton who seems to be a greenhouse effect denier. Today it's Steve "mad, mad mad" Goreham, who is employed to reject climate science. It's his job. I've just noticed that he is the Executive Director of one of those pretty well one-man bands that pretends to be a real organisation by giving itself a fancy name and building a website.

David Middleton calls on denier consensus to deride scientific consensus

Sou | 11:14 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

While Anthony Watts is taking a break he's handed over his blog to other deniers. One of these is a bloke called David Middleton, who has written two articles in the past few days. He's all over the place with no coherency, dredging up one denier meme after another.

Today his article is as scatty as any other (archived here). I gather that he's a greenhouse effect denier because he is madly trying to reject the fact that human emissions of greenhouse gases have caused the world to warm.

One thing that you'll notice if you bother to wade through his nonsense is that he objects to the fact that all the science points to the cause of the recent global warming. He complains a lot about scientific consensus. One of his main arguments against scientific consensus is that a lot of petroleum geologists and engineers (not climate scientists) from Alberta are climate science deniers. (I've written about that study before.) For example, he wrote:
So, it should come as little surprise that geoscientists have consistently been far more likely to think that modern climate changes have been driven by overwhelmingly natural processes…

He also called on the AMS survey I've also written about before, where a lot of US meteorologists - not researchers - basically weather announcers - rejected climate science.

In other words, David calls on consensus among deniers to refute consensus among scientists.

Did I say that climate science deniers are consistently inconsistent?

Incidentally, David Middleton misrepresented both studies, which is par for the course for deniers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tropical cyclones and ENSO

Sou | 5:48 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued its fortnightly ENSO wrap-up, so I've updated the sidebar. It remains on "watch" status.

Strong trade wind reversal

One thing it mentioned was Tropical Cyclones Pam and Bavi (Bavi was rated at TC1 by BoM). Below is an image I posted from Earth wind map, in an earlier article. (My annotations.) Bavi is above the equator and Pam below.

Another fail at WUWT? Where is the Open Atmospheric Society?

Sou | 3:29 PM Go to the first of 72 comments. Add a comment

The highly secretive "Open Atmospheric Society"

A couple of people have recently commented on the "no show" OAS. It looks to have missed the official deadline for forming the Board of Directors by several weeks - and the less official one by days now.

Several months ago, Anthony Watts announced a new society (archived here).  It was fairly obvious that it was a creation of his own, though he never admitted to having any official capacity. He did, however, talk about "we" and he stated that "My role is to put all the pieces in place, and help it grow.".

The tech details of the secret society point to the same address as WUWT. As far as I can tell, Anthony Watts' blog is the only one that has solicited membership. Membership is cheap for a scientific society, though not so cheap for anyone dumb enough to sign up for life membership.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Freedom Water" plus: Anthony Watts at WUWT promotes a whole mob of conspiracy nutters

Sou | 11:30 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, owner of anti-science website WUWT, has done it again. You know how he sponsors weird conspiracy nutters. Well today he's promoting an entire paranoid conspiracy group (archived here). I don't mean just climate conspiracy - this mob have the lot. They call themselves "We are Change Victoria" and they even have their own television show called, wait for it:

Freedom for All TV

Here are some of the conspiracy theories that they indulge in. It's like a list of the weirdest and wackiest:
  • Smart meters cause harmful radiation - not only that but "Corix and BC Hydro use fear, lies and scare tactics to make you comply"
  • Freedom water is apparently "safe" and "common water" not - for some reason I didn't bother trying to find out. 
  • Anti-vax - yep, if freedom water isn't enough, this group are anti-vaxxers who talk about "Vaccine propaganda produced by the collusion of the state and the pharmaceutical companies in order to control profits and public opinion".
  • The "climate hoax" plus the 911 "conspiracy" and the evil UN!

What's not at WUWT

Sou | 6:15 AM Go to the first of 22 comments. Add a comment

Update: I've added some data from Munich Re below. [Sou 3:53 pm 17 March 2015]

There is a lot of rubbish posted on denier websites like Anthony Watts' WUWT. What is even more telling is what you don't see at WUWT.

Tropical Cyclone Pam

First of all, there has not been a single WUWT article on the massive disaster of the last few days, Tropical Cyclone Pam. According to Jeff Masters at WeatherUnderground, after Cyclone Zoe in 2002, Pam was the next most intense cycle in the South Pacific basin. Its central pressure got as low as 896 millibar. Almost certainly it would have been the worst cyclone in recent history in Vanuatu.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Denier weird from the Global Warming Policy Foundation and WUWT

Sou | 8:34 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

I've been otherwise occupied the last couple of days and have missed a few items from denier land. I will make up - but not just yet.

In the meantime, here's a taster from WUWT.

Anthony Watts has an article (archived here) about how a bedraggled bunch of deniers has written a booklet for the denialist lobby group the Global Warming Policy Foundation. I didn't have to read any further than the first couple of sentences on page one to see that they are behaving like nutters. For example - the first chapter starts with the following quote from some Royal Society publication:
Royal Society: Yes. Earth’s average surface air temperature has increased by about 0.8◦C (1.4◦F) since 1900, with much of this increase taking place since the mid-1970s. A wide range of other observations such as sea-level rise, reduced Arctic sea ice extent and increased ocean heat content provide incontrovertible evidence of a warming Earth.
Underneath that quote, the GWPF's first sentence in the first chapter - on global warming and surface temperature:
A fuller picture: This is hardly an important question. The Earth’s surface is always warming or cooling, or on some occasions barely changing.

Profound, not! So global warming isn't an important question. Right.  WUWT and the Global Warming Policy Foundation can shut up shop.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu

Sou | 3:33 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

Cyclone Pam is Cat 5 and is already wreaking havoc in Port Vila, Vanuatu according to reports. Here is the Earth wind map:

There's a lot happening right now in regard to tropical storms and cyclones. It's Pam that's causing most consternation.

From ABC news:
In Fiji, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Pacific, Sune Gudnitz, said the storm was the "worst-case scenario".

"The most vulnerable will certainly be the people that are living or residing closer to the coastline, which in a place like Vanuatu is a lot of people," he said.
"Very few structures I think will be able to withstand a category five cyclone of the magnitude that we are seeing.
"So we are looking at potentially total destruction of many shelters, residences, especially in the islands south and outside of Port Vila."
Vanuatu's northern islands were the first to feel the destructive force of Pam, the strongest storm to hit the nation of 270,000 people in nearly 30 years.

Here's the tracking map from Vanuatu Meteorological Services:

Our thoughts are with all the people in its path. Stay safe.

What does Michael Zimmerman mean - "even if"?

Sou | 2:31 AM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment

Judith Curry has found another science denier (archived here). His name is Michael Zimmerman and he is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

You'd think that being a professor and all, and an exponent of "integral ecology" he'd have the wit to pop down the corridor and speak with some climate scientists at U Colorado. Not on your nellie. Judith Curry has posted some article he wrote, in which he said:
Even if Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios about rising global temperatures are plausible, an important issue remains: should resources be directed to adapng to coming climate change, or should they be directed to efforts to cut drama- cally anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, especially C02? How are we to know how billions of different people with many different perspecves would answer this queson?

Even if? What does he mean "even if"! Notice his suggestion that climate science isn't plausible. Looks as if he's not just a fake sceptic, he's a budding climate conspiracy theorist.

And while Judith presents him as understanding her wicked problem, he presents his "even if" solution as binary. As an "either/or" solution. That doesn't sound like a rational response to a wicked problem, does it.

He goes further and says that
When I began research for this article, I initially assumed that AGW was largely validated, but the more I read, the more I began to conclude that something was amiss. Too many credible scientists strongly object to the AGW hypothesis and to the IPCC as the agency responsible for promulgating evidence in its favor. 

I was right. He's not a climate scientist or a scientist of any sort, he's a paranoid conspiracy nutter. Judith cannily leaves out Michael's "credible scientists". However his article, which reads like any other denier manifesto, lists them as follows:

  • Willie "it's the sun" Soon
  • Roger Pielke Snr
  • Henrik "cosmic rays" Svensmark and journalist Nigel Calder - and their book (no peer reviewed paper) "The Chilling Star"
  • John Christy
  • William DiPuccio, who reportedly "was a weather forecaster for the U.S. Navy, and a Meteorological/Radiosonde Technician for the National Weather Service.  More recently, he served as head of the science department for St. Nicholas Orthodox School in Akron, Ohio (closed in 2006)." I think Michael Zimmerman went to WUWT for that bit of nonsense!


And what about this?
Scientists can provide important information about what a particular problem is, but go astray when suggesting that such information dictates what policies ought to be promulgated to deal with the problem.

I can see why Judith likes him. Scientists can define the problem, but when it comes to what policies ought to be put in place they have as much say as any of us.

Where does integral ecology fit into all this? (It reads like a 21st century rehash of 1970's New Age.) Well, Judith didn't say. She didn't even explain what "integral ecology" is.  She did say up front that "A way forward through the morass of wicked environmental problems is suggested by integral theory as applied to integral ecology." but at the end all she said was that she doesn't have an answer.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back to normal at WUWT: Dog whistles and big announcements

Sou | 10:59 PM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

After a short interlude of tedious boring, WUWT is back to normal. I last wrote about Anthony Watts and his blog: "Is this a lull before his next "big announcement" or dogwhistle to his lynch mob?" Turns out it was both.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Boring denier memes recycled at WUWT. I blame Andrew Weaver!

Sou | 11:05 PM Go to the first of 31 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts' blog has become tedious and boring and dull. When the most exciting article of the WUWT week is the sleep-inducing "Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #171" you know that WUWT is in the doldrums.

Here are some of Anthony's recent offerings:

  • Umpteen articles bemoaning the fact that a few more people have found out what a loser is Willie Soon with his "it's the sun" fantasies - though few people would have heard of Willie Soon even now, and most people are well aware that it's not the sun that's causing this global warming. (Last I heard, Willie has run away to sulk in some dark corner of the Heartland Institute.)
  • One article by some pseudo-religious anti-environmental nutter saying that global warming is not his fault and anyway it's not really happening (or not much) and there wasn't really much of a drought in Syria or if there was the resulting food shortages didn't exacerbate conflict in the region or if it did then it wasn't his fault
  • An article by one of Anthony's "anonymous cowards" who went by the name of Megg, saying how he, she or it couldn't tell the difference between scientific facts and religious beliefs. The article was too primitive to warrant an "absurd" tag, let alone a whole article on HotWhopper.
  • An article about a new Tsonis paper claiming to have found a pattern in the temperature records, and deciding it was all down to galactic cosmic rays. The stats in the paper is beyond me, but from what I read, I wonder if Leif Svalgaard is correct and the patterns they saw could be no more than the cyclical changes in incoming solar radiation. Whatever, they concluded that cosmic rays, or lack of, aren't causing global warming.
  • An article with a video of some US Republican Senator miming "CO2 isn't a pollutant, it's plant food" - sheesh!

I don't think Anthony Watts has defamed a single scientist or climate hawk in, oh - it could be a week or more now. Josh has lost his touch. There's not even the usual UAH temperature report to liven things up. (Probably because last month was the third hottest February in the UAH lower troposphere record, after 1998 and 2010).

Has Anthony given up? Is this a lull before his next "big announcement" or dogwhistle to his lynch mob

blame Andrew Weaver.

On pace for rapid warming, while Anthony Watts laughs at live dragons at WUWT...

Sou | 5:17 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.
The Hobbit, Chapter XII, by  J. R. R. Tolkien.
Credit: Sascha Kozacenko (Sascha Kozacenko, with kind permission for GFDL.) Wikiquote

Today Anthony Watts has an article with the headline:
Laughable modeling study claims: in the middle of ‘the pause’, ‘climate is starting to change faster’

Then he put up the shonky chart from Roy Spencer and John Christy (see here and here), without identifying it or explaining how that pair managed to deceive the willing. Though he does provide a link to a WUWT article about it.

Anthony thinks it's really funny that global warming means that the world will most likely be heating up faster than ever in human history. Some say it will be at a pace ten times faster than any period in the last 65 million years.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Faking snow in Fortitude: how global warming affected a television thriller

Sou | 7:13 PM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment

I've been watching the new television show, Fortitude and was keen to know where it was filmed. The scenery is magnificent. Cold snow and ice and Arctic. It turns out it was filmed partly on the east coast of Iceland and partly on sets in London.

My search for the filming location took me to this article in The Guardian and a curious piece of global warming trivia:
Although they believed they had found the perfect isolated Icelandic location to double for Fortitude, for the first time since records began there was no snow on the ground during the six weeks of scheduled winter filming. The production company had to bring in fake snow to cover the landscape. 

BTW, if you enjoy a good thriller, watch out for this one. It not only has great actors and terrific music score, the setting is fabulous, and it throws in some science as an extra treat :)

It's not my fault, sez E. Calvin Beisner, on Syrian drought and conflict

Sou | 4:44 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

Is Anthony Watts trying to send a message? Was I was off track when I wrote yesterday that "I'm not suggesting that Anthony Watts is part of the Cornwall Alliance or CFACT. "? He's followed up his article from CFACT with an article from the pseudo-religious political group the Cornwall Alliance.

Drought implicated in the Syrian conflict

There is a new paper in PNAS, which is getting a bit of publicity. Anthony Watts has already had a protest article by Pat'n Chip of the CATO Institute, and now has another.

The paper, was by Colin P. Kelley of the University of California, Santa Barbara and co-authors from Columbia University NY. It reports research that suggests that the 2007-2010 drought in the greater Fertile Crescent, which was the most severe in the instrumental record, was made 2 to 3 times more likely with CO2 warming than by natural variability alone. The authors conclude that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict.

The supplementary information shows a timeline of events. As always, click to enlarge it:

Fig. S1. Timeline of events leading up to the civil uprising that began in March 2011, along with a graph depicting the net urban influx (in millions) of Syrian IDPs and Iraqi refugees since 2005. Source: Kelley15 SI.

Last year an article on the Red Cross website stated in part:
Between 2006 and 2013, 60% of the Syrian territory experienced the worst long-term drought and the bigger reduction of agricultural crops since thousands of years. The drought in Syria this year is expected to cause an 18% reduction in wheat and 65% decrease in barley production. 

The PNAS paper isn't the first to report on the impact of the drought in Syria. Last year there was a paper by Peter Gleick in the AMS journal "Weather, Climate and Society", which discussed how water shortage was one of the factors contributing to conflict in the region.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Anthony Watts, CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance

Sou | 4:33 PM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts allows his anti-science blog to be used to promote wacky conspiracy theories about climate science, One World Government, New World Order and other weird stuff. He also posts articles by CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance. These two organisations have linkages as described in an article at ThinkProgress back in 2010. There was an article at WUWT a while back in which CFACT was promoting the Cornwall Alliance.

I'm not suggesting that Anthony Watts is part of the Cornwall Alliance or CFACT. He claims to be Catholic and I doubt the Catholic Church would have a bar of the Cornwall Alliance. He is obviously sympathetic to the politics of CFACT and the Cornwall Alliance or he wouldn't be publishing their nonsense.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Worried by facts, quote-mining tides Anthony Watts over at WUWT

Sou | 8:56 PM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts is worried, because WUWT won't pass the fact test

In the comments, Chase Stoudt pointed out that Anthony Watts is worried about Google. In a paper in arXiv, a team of people from Google write how in future it might be possible to list results from Google search according to their factual content, putting disinformation sites (like WUWT) way down low:
The quality of web sources has been traditionally evaluated using exogenous signals such as the hyperlink structure of the graph. We propose a new approach that relies on endogenous signals, namely, the correctness of factual information provided by the source. A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy.

Anthony told Fox News how this worried him a lot. He said: "“I worry about this issue greatly… My site gets a significant portion of its daily traffic from Google,”.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Did anyone ask Judith?

Sou | 6:31 AM Go to the first of 50 comments. Add a comment

According to WUWT (archived here), Tom Fuller, who wanders around different blogs from time to time spouting nonsense and making a general nuisance of himself, has set up a petition for President Obama to nominate Judith Curry as next Chair of the IPCC.

David Malakoff in Science, has listed the people in the running for the job as:
  • Jean-Pascal van Ypersele Université catholique de Louvain Earth and Life Institute (ELI) in Belgium, current IPCC Vice-Chair
  • Hoesung Lee of Korea University Graduate School of Energy & Environment, current IPCC Vice-Chair
  • Thomas Stocker from the University of Bern, Switzerland, co-Chair of Working Group I
  • Christopher Field from Stanford University, USA, co-Chair of Working Group II
  • Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, Co-Chair of Working Group III.
  • Nebojsa Nakicenovic of the Vienna University of Technology, lead author.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

At WUWT, Bob Tisdale pleads "no more sea surface temperatures"

Sou | 2:20 PM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

The rest of us plead "no more of Bob Tisdale's nonsense".

Bob Tisdale must be thinking of retiring. Bob is a frequent contributor at Anthony Watts' blog WUWT. He writes very, very long articles full of charts of sea surface temperature. He also write a lot of junk about climate models, about which he doesn't have the first clue.

Bob is a greenhouse effect denier who thinks that ENSO events suddenly, out of the blue, for no known reason, started to heat up the world. ENSO has been trundling along nicely for hundreds, probably thousands of years. According to Bob, back around forty years ago ENSO took it into its head to heat up the sea surface - such that it never cooled it back down.

Today he says he wants to stop climate science research (archived here). Perhaps he's sick and tired of preparing chart after chart after chart. I'm sick of his charts and I've only been looking at them a short while.

Bob wrote:
Believe It or Not There Are Plans for a 6th Assessment Report from the IPCC

He probably got that news from yesterday's article here. His last paragraph is where he suggested there be no more research or monitoring of earth's systems. He wrote:
What an incredible waste of money!!!  We got the message after the first report.  Assuming those continuously unchanging predictions are correct, those tens of billions of research dollars would be better spent on adaptation.

In case you think that Bob thought that the IPCC spends tens of billions of dollars, well he probably did. But he recovered in the comments when someone pointed out that the IPCC just collates and reports on the science. Bob's comments was:
March 3, 2015 at 6:07 pm
Richard Treadgold says: “In general, I agree, but you don’t mean to imply that the IPCC is spending those billions, surely?
It was not my intent.
“The science is settled”, the climate science community and activists keep telling us. If it is settled, then taxpayers surely don’t need to keep funding the repetitive, uninformative research that allows the IPCC to function.
Hmmm. I foresee an open letter to some politicians in the near future. 

Someone tell Bob that he's under no obligation to continue to clog up WUWT with his tedious articles. That doesn't mean that the rest of us don't want to monitor what's happening. TimTheToolMan remains interested, and wrote:
March 3, 2015 at 5:17 pm
I would have thought much of the ongoing expense was in measuring the various quantities (ie various temperatures, sea level, gravity anomolies and so on) we analyse to try to come to grips with how the earth works. I’m all for continuing to do that.

Eric Worrall is an ice age comether, and says, despite last year being the hottest on record globally, and January being the the second hottest January on record globally, and February - well there aren't any global numbers out yet, but in Australia it was the second hottest February on record. Ever hopeful, Eric wrote:
March 3, 2015 at 5:29 pm
The 6th assessment may occur a few years into a significant cooling trend – it could actually be entertaining, to watch them tie themselves into bizarre contortions as they try to demonstrated they predicted this all alone.

The rest are similar nonsense comments, replete with climate conspiracy theories.

What would WUWT deniers do if the science stopped? Where would the deniers congregate once WUWT shut down? My guess is Jesse Ventura, or one of these - until they got too hot, hungry or thirsty - or there was a total failure of communications and/or energy infrastructure as global warming kicks in. They wouldn't see it coming.

California Heat: How Patrick J Michaels can't read a simple chart

Sou | 8:37 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

Can you spot the difference? (Temperature is in degree Celsius, converted from NOAA/NCDC here.)

Patrick J Michaels can't. He wrote:
What’s different here? Nothing. 

How about we help him out:

I'll not be able to check how many dumb deniers he managed to fool till later today. Gotta go out. If someone wants to do a count, here's the WUWT archive to date.

Addendum - Just for Patrick J.

Just in case Patrick still can't figure out where he's gone wrong, here's the same data presented slightly differently.

A tip for those who have trouble reading charts - the right hand side is the recent temperatures - they are almost all above the 1951-1980 average, whereas the earlier years (to the left) are much colder.

Finally, in case young Patrick J. is still a bit puzzled, here's a decadal chart:

North American deniers are astoundingly ignorant. Take Judith Curry...

Sou | 5:34 AM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment

I wasn't going to write about the allegations of sexual harassment against Rajendra Pachauri, and I won't. However I will pick up on something that I admit to finding very difficult to believe. After all, Judith Curry is a professor. A supposedly educated woman.

You thought so too? Think again.

Anthony Watts - CO2 vs It's the Sun, Stupid

Sou | 3:16 AM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

Although I said I wouldn't be going back to WUWT till it got back to pseudo-science, I just remembered I was going to check a claim by Anthony Watts, in an article I've already written about, where he wrote:
Despite sophomoric claims that I’m a “denier”, I’ve never disputed that CO2 has a role in warming via retardation of IR transfer from the surface to the top of the atmosphere. 

Read the following to see if you agree with his statement.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

IPCC staying on course, with some variation

Sou | 5:12 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

In case you missed it. I meant to write about this a couple of days ago when I first read of it (thanks to the IPCC vice-chair Jean-Pascal van Ypersele and Leo Hickman).

At it's recent meeting the IPCC made five noteworthy decisions, as reported by Roz Pidcock at the Carbon Brief. They are:

1. Major comprehensive reports will continue to be produced every five to seven years.
In between there may be more special reports. For example, there has been a request for a report on oceans.

2. There may be a bit more time allowed between the reports from different working groups
However, the time span between the release of WG1 to WGIII won't be any longer than 18 months.

3. Science writers and graphic designers will contribute to the Summary for Policy Makers.
This is excellent news. I've said before that science communicators ought to be used to translate the science. Scientists will have the overall say and will sign off on reports (as will governments when it comes to the SPM, as always).

4. The IPCC will put more effort into communication activities
Again, excellent news. There is talk of an offer from the Norwegian government, to hold a workshop for scientists to discuss such things. The IPCC hasn't yet made a decision on whether to take up this offer.

5. More participation from developing countries
Again, this is a great move. Developing countries will be hit hardest by climate change. The IPCC is expanding the size of the bureau by two, to include more representatives from Africa and Asia. It's also "exploring the possibility" of holding more meetings in developing countries.

You can read more detail about this at the Carbon Brief.

You might also be interested in an article by Marianne Lavelle at The Daily Climate, which includes a discussion of how to better incorporate social and political sciences and economics into the IPCC reports. This I believe, relates in part to this memo from Carlo Carraro, Charles Kolstad, and Robert Stavins. You may recall Robert Stavins wrote a blog article in April last year, that got a bit of attention.

Spraying heat tolerance on plants

Sou | 4:03 PM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

Food security in the future is a major concern - with populations rising and the yield of many crops likely to fall as climate change worsens. Plant scientists are looking for ways to make plants more tolerant of heat.

I spotted this today at ScienceDaily.com. By spraying plants with a chemical derived from plants themselves, croppers will be able to induce better heat tolerance in their crops. This is a good thing. What happens is the sprayed chemical acts like a switch, turning on the innate heat tolerance of crops.

Research group at the Kobe University Graduate School of Agricultural Science Functional Phytochemistry Laboratory has identified for the first time that the (E)-2-hexenal, a plant-derived chemical substance, can induce a plant's stress response to high temperatures. Members of the research group are: Assistant Professor YAMAUCHI Yasuo, Graduate Student Ms. KUNISHIMA Mikiko, Associate Professor MIZUTANI Masaharu, and Professor SUGIMOTO Yukihiro.
Plants essentially have a high-temperature resistance function. It is switched off during normal conditions. However, it is switched on during periods of high temperature. The study started out by hypothesizing that if the signal chemicals in plants that switchs the function on could be identified, then plants' stress response to high temperature could be artificially controlled.
It is known that some plants' high-temperature resistance function is also switched on when oxidative treatment is applied. The study group assumed that a chemical compound, generated through oxidation of fatty acids in plants by reactive oxygen, triggers the switch. Through their experiments, the group has identified that the (E)-2-hexenal is the compound that acts as a signal chemical.
Acquired thermotolerance in plants in a non-genetically modified way. It will be easier for this method to find acceptance in Japan where consumers are less accepting of genetically-modified crops.
Since the (E)-2-hexenal is a plant-derived chemical substance, its use as a spray over farm produce will face little resistance from consumers.
The effects of the (E)-2-hexenal were examined at cooperative farms and confirmed including the effects on rice, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
A patent for the work was issued in September, 2014.

(Excuse the copies and pastes, please. I'm pressed for time over the next day or so. )

Yasuo Yamauchi, Mikiko Kunishima, Masaharu Mizutani, Yukihiro Sugimoto. Reactive short-chain leaf volatiles act as powerful inducers of abiotic stress-related gene expression. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 8030 DOI: 10.1038/srep08030 (open access)

Cool Science: Light as a particle and a wave

Sou | 3:44 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

Do you want to see light as both a particle and a wave? Didn't think you could?

Well, now you can, thanks to Fabrizio Carbone and his colleagues. Here it is:

Source: EPFL via ScienceDaily.com

From EPFL:
A research team led by Fabrizio Carbone at EPFL has now carried out an experiment with a clever twist: using electrons to image light. The researchers have captured, for the first time ever, a single snapshot of light behaving simultaneously as both a wave and a stream of particles particle.
The experiment is set up like this: A pulse of laser light is fired at a tiny metallic nanowire. The laser adds energy to the charged particles in the nanowire, causing them to vibrate. Light travels along this tiny wire in two possible directions, like cars on a highway. When waves traveling in opposite directions meet each other they form a new wave that looks like it is standing in place. Here, this standing wave becomes the source of light for the experiment, radiating around the nanowire.
This is where the experiment’s trick comes in: The scientists shot a stream of electrons close to the nanowire, using them to image the standing wave of light. As the electrons interacted with the confined light on the nanowire, they either sped up or slowed down. Using the ultrafast microscope to image the position where this change in speed occurred, Carbone’s team could now visualize the standing wave, which acts as a fingerprint of the wave-nature of light.
While this phenomenon shows the wave-like nature of light, it simultaneously demonstrated its particle aspect as well. As the electrons pass close to the standing wave of light, they “hit” the light’s particles, the photons. As mentioned above, this affects their speed, making them move faster or slower. This change in speed appears as an exchange of energy “packets” (quanta) between electrons and photons. The very occurrence of these energy packets shows that the light on the nanowire behaves as a particle.
“This experiment demonstrates that, for the first time ever, we can film quantum mechanics – and its paradoxical nature – directly,” says Fabrizio Carbone. In addition, the importance of this pioneering work can extend beyond fundamental science and to future technologies. As Carbone explains: “Being able to image and control quantum phenomena at the nanometer scale like this opens up a new route towards quantum computing.” 

Read the full article at EPFL.


L Piazza, T.T.A. Lummen, E Quiñonez, Y Murooka, B.W. Reed, B Barwick  & F Carbone. Simultaneous observation of the quantization and the interference pattern of a plasmonic near-field. Nature Communications 6, Article number: 6407 doi:10.1038/ncomms7407

A pause on denier watching - till they crawl out of the gutter

Sou | 2:56 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

There's been almost nothing worth writing about from deniersville the last few days. The deniers at WUWT are busy wallowing in the gutter. I've already written about some of it here and here and here, but enough is enough.

While WUWT are deciding whether to emulate James Delingpole. smutty gossip rags or paranoid conspiracy theory websites, I'll not be writing much about them. No decent person would be able to stomach most of the WUWT articles of the past few days, including me. (Roy Spencer's blog has gone in a similar direction.)

Maybe that's the intention. To rid WUWT of any readers with a sense of decency.

I can only conclude that deniers have given up trying to dispute science for the time being, except for silliness from Bob Tisdale - which is being recycled by Anthony, who is pretending to agree with Bob's wilful ignorance. (See the HotWhopper article here.)

Oh, and so you know, Willie Soon has issued a statement from the safety of the execrable Heartland Institute. So if you were in any doubt at all about his ideological or other motivation, he's made it perfectly clear. (See also Greg Laden's recent articles, RealClimate.org and John Mashey's comment.)

Stick around, though. I'll be writing bits and pieces about new science when I get the chance.

Normal programming will resume when or if deniers ever decide to poke their heads up above the gutter.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Paranoia runs riot at CFACT and WUWT: conspiracy nuttery doesn't describe it

Sou | 6:19 PM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment

On WUWT today (archived here), Paul Driessen of CFACT, has gone overboard (putting it mildly). In a very strange article he has gone full on Godwin's Law (21st Century-style), comparing people who accept science to fundamentalist militant butchers from the middle east. Paul Driessen has featured here before (eg here). Today he wrote a piece that would make Christopher Monckton green with envy.

This is the headline and opening paragraph:
Climatic Jihad?
ISIL and other Islamist jihad movements continue to round up and silence all who oppose them or refuse to convert to their extreme religious tenets. They are inspiring thousands to join them. Their intolerance, vicious tactics and growing power seem to have inspired others, as well.

Weirdly, and in a display of religious ignorance, Anthony Watts accompanied an article based on the militant group ISIS, with a cartoon showing a character wearing a Christian bishops' mitre.

Applauding gratuitous violence as entertainment for the "justly righteous" at WUWT

Sou | 1:54 AM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment

I've just read at WUWT how David "funny sunny" Archibald is singing the praises of an ultra-violent film (archived here). And I thought that deniers at WUWT thought the 10:10 spoof (that went nowhere) was gross (it really was).

Apparently gratuitous and extreme violence, sick morals, sexism, unfunny jokes and a generally poor cinematic experience is viewed as wonderful entertainment, as long as it's disparaging anyone who cares for the environment.

If you want to know what I'm talking about, read the review from the Guardian or SBS - and then some of the user reviews here on IMDB.