Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Steve McIntyre's big blooper - mistaking water mass movement for water temperature!

Sou | 9:42 PM Go to the first of 166 comments. Add a comment

Update: see below for the latest bit of continuing obstinate idiocy from Steve McIntyre, plus another diagram, plus another reference.

There are undoubtedly a few knowledgeable people chuckling or groaning over an article Steve McIntyre wrote on his blog last week. In case you are, like me, loathe to visit a blog where the author has a tendency to both conspiracy ideation and alleging the work of scientists is a "scam" and their results "fake", these here are the nuts and bolts (as I understand it).

Steve McIntyre mistook water mass movement for temperature (archived here). Or more correctly, he mistook a measure which was used to indicate water mass movement as being used to indicate water temperature.

If you're wondering how anyone, even a climate science denier, could possibly make such a silly mistake, read on.

Rahmstorf15 and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

You may recall the hullabaloo that followed a new paper by Stefan Rahmstorf and colleagues. I've already written about the three protest articles (in almost as many hours) on Anthony Watts denier blog (click here).  Now Steve McIntyre is protesting loud and long - and making a huge fool of himself in the process. (He'd already written at least two protest articles that I haven't bothered to read. If they are as bad as this, his third(?), then they'll be very bad indeed.)

Rahmstorf15 was about the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and how it may have slowed in the late twentieth century (particularly between 1970 and 1990). The authors attributed this slowing to the influx of fresh cold water, primarily from melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The implication is that, because Greenland is going to continue to melt, the AMOC may continue to slow down and cause marked changes in climate up north, and probably in more places, too. The massive ocean currents have a turnover time of around 1,000 years - which is long term as far as humans are concerned. However the impact of any major changes would be felt in the short and medium term (decades to centuries).

To learn more, go read the article by the lead author, Stefan Rahmstorf, at realclimate.org, if you don't subscribe to Nature Climate Change (or don't want to buy the paper itself). I've previously put together a list of other articles on the paper, which are worth reading.)

How Steve McIntyre gets it wrong (again)

I heard about Steve's big blooper from a tip from Bill H in the comments here. So I popped over to Steve's blog (which I don't usually bother with).  Steve was thinking that Stefan Rahmstorf and all his colleagues got something upside down. He was comparing a chart in Rahmstorf15, the AMOC paper, with one that he called "Sherwood11". Something about "d15N" data from corals off the coast of Canada.

Steve was in such a rush to show that "scientists don't know nuffin'" that he didn't say what "Sherwood11" was. No link. Nothing. (My first thought was U-NSW's Steve Sherwood, though I hadn't seen him write about corals before.) After a bit of detective work, I discovered Steve's "Sherwood11" was this paper by Owen Sherwood and co. (it's open access).

The Sherwood paper was about a nutrient regime shift in the western North Atlantic (as you can tell from the title: "Nutrient regime shift in the western North Atlantic indicated by compound-specific δ15N of deep-sea gorgonian corals"). The abstract suggests why this research was used by Stefan Rahmstorf in his study. Here's the relevant part from the abstract (my emphasis):
...In the Northwest Atlantic off Nova Scotia, coral δ15N is correlated with increasing presence of subtropical versus subpolar slope waters over the twentieth century. By using the new δ15N-AA approach to control for variable trophic processing, we are able to interpret coral bulk δ15N values as a proxy for nitrate source and, hence, slope water source partitioning. We conclude that the persistence of the warm, nutrient-rich regime since the early 1970s is largely unique in the context of the last approximately 1,800 yr. This evidence suggests that nutrient variability in this region is coordinated with recent changes in global climate and underscores the broad potential of δ15N-AA for paleoceanographic studies of the marine N cycle.

The Sherwood paper was describing changes in nutrient levels over the past 1,800 years or so, as measured by δ15N in a species of coral south of Nova Scotia. From that, the scientists were able to deduce changes in sources of water over time - with more or less water coming from the sub-Arctic compared to the sub-tropics.

BTW, "slope" refers to the continental slope, as shown in this diagram from the US Office of Naval Research:

Source: Office of Naval Research

When water from the cold sub-Arctic water dominates the region, it is much lower in nutrients than when warm water from the subtropics dominates. (This is described in Sherwood11 - and there's another description at NOAA, in the context of the North Atlantic Oscillation.)

Below is Figure 1 from Sherwood11, on which I've highlighted the area that the specimens came from. The map also shows the different sources of water, which dominate at different times:

Figure 1: Map of the study area with location of Northeast Channel. Blue arrows mark the approximate position of the Labrador Current, which transports Labrador slope water (LSW) southward, along-slope. Red arrows show the location of the Gulf Stream. Warm slope water (WSW) occupies the region between the Gulf Stream and continental shelf edge. Temperature and nitrate data were extracted from the 2 × 2 degree grid centered over the Northeast Channel, from 150 to 250 m water depth, where interannual variability is most pronounced (18). Temperature data are from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography hydrographic database. Nutrient data are from the Biochem database of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (44). Source: Sherwood11

How Steve McIntyre got his correlations wrong

Steve McIntyre mistakenly thought that Rahmstorf was using the δ15N data as a proxy for temperature of the water off Nova Scotia. They weren't. They were using the data (and findings) of Sherwood11 as an indication of the ocean currents. Steve mockingly wrote:
The idea that coldwater corals offshore Nova Scotia can be thermometers for ocean temperature in the subpolar gyre has little more plausibility than the belief that stripbark bristlecones in the distant Sierra Nevadas or contaminated Finnish sediments can be thermometers for the subpolar gyre.

If you're familiar with Rahmstorf15 then you'll be saying to yourself - but the paper was primarily focused on the region of the subpolar gyre, whereas Sherwood11 was about a location just south of Nova Scotia. And you'd be correct. You'll also be wondering why Steve assumed that the δ15N data used by Rahmstorf15 was as a temperature proxy - when both Rahmstorf15 and Sherwood11 were primarily about changes in ocean currents. Sure, Rahmstorf's AMOC index was based on temperature, but it was based on temperature of the sub-polar gyre - not on the temperature of the waters south of Nova Scotia.  And Sherwood11 did discuss the temperature of the waters that were more (subtropical) or less (subarctic) rich in nutrients. But temperature wasn't the reason that Rahmstorf15 used the Sherwood11 data.

Steve had his correlations all wrong. If you still haven't caught on why, keep reading.

Movement of water mass, not a temperature proxy

Rahmstorf15 is all about the strength of the AMOC - how it slowed down a lot in recent years, particularly between 1970 and 1990.  And it still hasn't got as fast as it was in the first half of the twentieth century. At one stage in the analysis, they used the corals as an illustration of the movement of ocean water mass (not temperature).

But first the diagram - Figure 5, which Steve picked out from Rahmstorf15, which shows the AMOC index (derived by the authors, based on temperature) as well as the annual mean bulk δ15N from Sherwood11 (as an indicator of water mass changes, not temperature changes) - as always, click to enlarge it:

In the text of Rahmstorf15, the authors state (my emphasis):
...The green curve denotes oceanic nitrogen 15 proxy data from corals of the US north-east coast from ref. 25. These annually resolved δ15N data represent a tracer for water mass changes in the region, where high values are characteristic of the presence of Labrador Slope Water. The time evolution of the δ15N tracer agrees well with that of our AMOC index (Fig. 5). Ref. 25 reports four more data points from ancient corals preceding the twentieth century, the oldest one from AD ∼500. These lie all above 10.5‰ [per mille], providing (albeit limited) evidence that the downward excursion to values below 10‰ between 1975 and 1995 and the corresponding water mass change may be unprecedented in several centuries. 

That's right. Rahmstorf15 quite explicitly states that δ15N data represent a tracer for water mass changes.

It looks as if Steve McIntyre was so intent on proving that "scientists don't know nuffin'" that he didn't bother reading the paper. He copied and pasted the Figure 5 caption but didn't take the time to read the section in Rahmstorf15 that described the chart in more detail.

You'll also have noticed that Figure 5 has δ15N data plotted on the right hand axis, not the left hand one (which is a temperature scale for other different data). Maybe Steve missed that, too.

Now I'll show you the chart from Sherwood11, which Steve put up. It's a segment of Figure 3, which is of annual mean bulk δ15N from six colonies of the deep-sea gorgonian P. resedaeformis.

The two are very similar, aren't they. That's because Rahmstorf15 was using the data from Sherwood11. And notice the y axis label. It's not temperature is it. It says Bulk δ15N ‰. It's an indicator of the nutrient status of the ocean in that region over time. The (inverse) correlation with temperature (in that part of the ocean) is through the source of the nutrients - warm subtropical vs cold sub-Arctic.

As I said earlier, what got Steve so excited was that he (mis-)figured that Rahmstorf15 drew the wrong inference and were saying the mean bulk δ15N data represented temperature. Steve crowingly wrote further down:
It’s not even well established that coral d15N is a proxy for local ocean temperature. Coral d15N is not a well-studied proxy, to say the least. Only a few examples are reported with results from only one article being archived at NOAA. In one of the original articles on the proxy, co-authored by the lead author of Rahmstorf’s citation, d15N values were thought to depend on distance from sewage source.

Ha ha. Poor Steve. He doesn't even remember the title of Sherwood13. Yes, naturally enough (pun intended) there are many sources of nutrients that can increase the amount of mean bulk δ15N, including sewage. [To clarify/correct, sewage - and subarctic water increase the amount of δ15N. "During denitrification, light nitrate (14NO3-) is preferentially removed leaving the remaining nitrate pool enriched in heavy nitrate (15NO3-)" - see here Sou - a bit later.] Fact is, off the Labrador coast, the warmer water from the subtropics is more nutrient rich than the water from the subarctic. As stated in Sherwood11 (my emphasis):
During negative modes of the NAO, cold (6 °C), fresh (34.9 psu), and nutrient-poor (∼15 μM Graphic) Labrador Slope Water (LSW) is advected along slope, from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to southwestward of Georges Bank (Fig. 1). During positive modes of the NAO, LSW retreats northeastward and is replaced by relatively warm (10 °C), saline (35.2 psu) and nutrient-rich (∼23 μM Graphic) Warm Slope Water (WSW) associated with the Gulf Stream

Different regions, different surface temperatures

In case you are wondering, the temperature off the coast of Nova Scotia (Sherwood11) can be quite different to the temperature in the sub-polar gyre region that Rahmstorf15 was about. Here's a segment from a map from NOAA, showing the 2014 temperature as an anomaly from the 1880 to 1920 average. I've marked the different regions (click to enlarge):

It took five whole days before anyone noticed!

A whole five days passed before anyone commented on Steve's big blunder. Most of the commenters were dull and gullible and foolishly took Steve at his word (or what they could understand of his words.) Bill H was the first to point it out, writing much more succinctly than I did (archived here):
Apr 6, 2015 at 12:31 PM
Steve, Having read the rahmstorf paper it is clear to me that nitrogen 15 content in coral is a proxy for water mass changes NOT temperature. Your entire post would consequently seem to be based on a false premise.

Steve McIntyre still didn't get it, replying:
Apr 6, 2015 at 3:56 PM
Bill H, I do not understand what exactly you are objecting to. I do not claim to be infallible and try to correct errors when they are pointed out to me. Can you provide a direct quotation from statements that you believe to be erroneous. Simply saying that the entire post is “based on a wrong premise” is arm-waving. It is my understanding that Rahmstorf’s Figure 5 purports to show a positive correlation between Nova Scotia coral d15N and gyre temperature and I have seen nothing in your statements to change this understanding.

No. It's not "arm-waving". Bill rightly pointed out that the entire article is wrong. That it was based on a false premise, not that there was just one little itty bitty mistake. The whole damn thing was wrong. Did Steve really want Bill to quote the entire article?

Steve is stuck on his false notion that Rahmstorf15 included the δ15N data as a proxy for temperature, even though the paper specifically states it's an indicator of water mass changes, writing:
...These annually resolved δ15N data represent a tracer for water mass changes in the region, where high values are characteristic of the presence of Labrador Slope Water. 

What follows from Bill H's comments is a lot of silliness, ranging from bristlecones to the disgraced Wegman. Really, I know a lot of deniers are hopeless at science, but surely they know the difference between "water mass changes" and "temperature". (I didn't see a sign of anyone except Bill H recognising Steve McIntyre's big blooper. If there was someone, Bill H might point it out in the comments.)

Update: Bill has pointed out that a commenter called Carrick saw what Bill H saw. I found it. (BTW I first archived this at Archive Today, but it chops off some bits, so the full version is also archived at WebCite, which didn't chop anything - but doesn't provide direct links to different bits of the article. WebCite includes a new comment by Steve - right at the bottom - where he's finally, six days later, showing signs of backtracking but not without some thimble switching.) [Sou - 12:54 am 8 April 2015 AEDT]

Update 2: How Steve's brain is stuck and won't budge

Steve McIntyre still hasn't got it. He's blundering about trying to link the Sherwood11 data to temperature, whereas the scientists linked it to water mass movement. In his latest comment he is still claiming a negative correlation - but it's not. That's because he can't get temperature out of his brain. (Is global warming causing a mind melt?). Well after lots of people attempted to point out his big blunder, Steve's last (latest) comment is:
In my opinion, there is considerable evidence for spatial autocorrelation of temperatures up to 1200 km or so. Indeed, this motivated the discussion of Chladni patterns in connection with our commentary on Steig et al 2009, as principal components applied to spatially autocorrelated data in a finite geometric region yields Chladni patterns.
The average distance from the Nova Scotia corals to the subpolar gyre gridcells used in R15 is 2500 km, double the Hansen radius. In addition, Rahmstorf is not arguing for a positive correlation, but for a NEGATIVE correlation.  While NH wave patterns do exist, it’s a large jump to claiming that these are stable enough to yield a permanent negative correlation of temperatures at a distance of 2500 km or so.

And further down he wrote: "nor did Rabbitt support large negative correlations. A complete red herring."

He's wrong. Rahmstorf15 AMOC index showed a positive correlation with mean bulk δ15N as measured by Sherwood11. The AMOC index declined when the mean bulk δ15N declined, and rose when the mean bulk δ15N rose.

Steve's still got his correlations wrong. The positive correlation is with mean bulk δ15N, which is a "tracer for water mass movement". In other words, less Labrador sea water was pouring south into the region where the Sherwood11 coral measurements were taken, over the time that the AMOC was shown to slow. That is, over much of last century and most particularly from around 1970 to 1990. (See the charts above.) That meant that the corals had better access to nutrients. The Labrador slope water is nutrient poor, the water coming up from the subtropics is richer in nutrients. (Lower mean bulk δ15N signifies a more nutrient-rich environment.)

Steve's comment was after more than one person tried to correct his misconception. Even Eli Rabett chimed in with a detailed explanation, and pointed out that teleconnections aren't necessarily about atmospheric connections (they can be about ocean currents, too). Note that the second half of Eli's comment is not Eli, but Steve.

The last paragraph in Rahmstorf15 reads:
Although major uncertainties remain about the past evolution of the AMOC for lack of direct measurements, indirect evidence from multiple sources provides a consistent picture, linking together the time evolution of surface temperature, ocean circulation and, possibly,   Greenland   ice   mass   balance.   If   the   interconnections between these three components continue as we have conjectured, the ongoing melting of the GIS, which reached an extreme in 2012 (ref. 44), may lead to further freshening of the subpolar Atlantic in the next few decades. Bamber et al.45 estimate that if current trends continue, the Greenland freshwater input from 1995 to  AD 2025 may exceed 10,000 km3. This might lead to further weakening of the AMOC within a decade or two, and possibly even more permanent shutdown of Labrador Sea convection as a result of global warming, as has been predicted by some climate models.

Steve needs to read up on AMOC and Labrador sea convection. Or even look at some pictures, like this one from The Encyclopedia of Earth:

Topographic map of the Nordic Seas and subpolar basins with schematic circulation of surface currents (solid curves) and deep currents (dashed curves) that form a portion of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Colors of curves indicate approximate temperatures.
Source: R. Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Science/USGCRP. Linked source: EoE

Or for more detail, this one from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, which also has a short explanation of why the Labrador Sea is so important:

Source: Bedford Institute of Oceanography

Note also that Stefan Rahmstorf has been studying Atlantic circulation probably since before Steve McIntyre had ever heard of AMOC. He had a much cited paper in Nature twenty years ago, back in 1995:

Rahmstorf, Stefan. "Bifurcations of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to changes in the hydrological cycle." (1995): 145-149.  doi:10.1038/378145a0 (pdf here)

Who do you "believe" - an expert who has specialised in the subject for decades, or a conked out denier blogger with no scientific training or expertise, who can't tell the difference between temperature and mass movement?  That's a rhetorical question :D

Added by Sou 8 April 3:40 pm AEDT


Rahmstorf, S., J.E. Box, G. Feulner, M.E. Mann, A. Robinson, S. Rutherford and E.J. Schaffernicht, "Exceptional twentieth-century slowdown in Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation", Nature Climate Change, 23 MARCH 2015 | DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2554

Sherwood, Owen A., Moritz F. Lehmann, Carsten J. Schubert, David B. Scott, and Matthew D. McCarthy. "Nutrient regime shift in the western North Atlantic indicated by compound-specific δ15N of deep-sea gorgonian corals." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, no. 3 (2011): 1011-1015. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1004904108 (open access)


  1. Captain FlashheartApril 7, 2015 at 9:58 PM

    Gorgonian corals... What a cool name!

    It's worth remembering Steve is an incompetent poseur, and everything he does is wrong. He also seems, in that thread, to have implicitly accepted one of the major flaws of the wegman report, though of course he denies it is his fault (even though wegman used Steve's code). That's progress of a sort, I guess...

    1. Yes - great name isn't it. I should have worked it into the title of the article - missed opportunity :(

    2. Speaking of titles, I'm leaning to a temporary change from 'HotWhopper' to 'Climate Audit Audit'.

  2. In the article "Week in Review" on Climate Etc April 3rd 2005, Dr Curry said this:

    "As a follow up to recent post Whats up with the Atlantic? Steve McIntyre has 3 posts that DEVASTATES Rahstorf and Mann’s argument:"

    In a previous article Dr Curry made glib, unsubstantiated and unprofessional remarks about Rahmstorf et al's use of proxies.

    1. These days Judith is no more than an echo chamber for denier blogs. She doesn't bother applying any of her scientific knowledge to check their silly claims. She knows her audience well.


    2. Ha,, Harry, you beat me to it: see below.

      Thanks for the info about the earlier Curry article. I'll have a look at it but imagine it will lean very heavily on McIntyre's posts. Gavin Schmidt's remark in the famous set to with Judith: "In future I shall assume you are just being a conduit for someone else's opinions" is proving to be a sound strategy.

    3. I've followed up the Curry reference and compared with McI . How about this for plagiarism:

      McIntyre, March 25th:
      "Rahmstorf and Mann’s results are not based on proxies for Atlantic current velocity, but on a network consisting of contaminated Tiljander sediments (upside-down or not), Graybill’s stripbark bristlecone chronologies, Briffa MXD series truncated to hide-the-decline and hundreds of nondescript tree ring series statistically indistinguishable from white noise. In other words, they used the same much-criticized proxy network as Mann et al 2008-9. It’s hard to understand why anyone would seriously believe (let alone publish in peer reviewed literature) that Atlantic ocean currents could be reconstructed by such dreck, but Rahmstorf et al 2015 stands as evidence to the contrary."
      Curry: March 25th:
      "Well, if there is anything I distrust more than climate model simulations of decadal to millennial scale ocean circulations and internal variability, it is Mannian proxy analysis of same. It seems like strip bark bristlecones and Tiljander sediments can tell us about Gulf Stream flow rates, as well as global temperatures. Remarkable."

      A "conduit for someone else's opinions" indeed

    4. The Very Reverend Jebediah HypotenuseApril 7, 2015 at 11:54 PM

      Anyone who hasn't read the 'real climate' eschange between Curry and Schmidt really should. Now THAT was DEVASTATING.

      Here's the full Gavin quote that bill is paraphrasing:

      [Response: Thanks for passing by. In future I will simply assume you are a conduit for untrue statements rather than their originator. And if we are offering advice, might I suggest that you actually engage your critical faculties before demanding that others waste their time rebutting nonsense. I, for one, have much better things to do. – gavin]


    5. I read that, Reverend. And what saddened me the most was the intellectual _laziness_ that Curry exhibited - taking Montfords arguments at face value despite their ridiculous lack of sense, without ever applying a critical thought.

    6. It's telling that Curry is insufficiently critical of the analysis that she completely misses what would be a mortifyingly embarrassing mistake for a first year undergraduate in biology.

      But then, she herself admits that she has no ecology experience whatsoever, so it's no surprise that her capacity to understand and comment on the subject of isotope analyses in biological systems is severely limited by her reluctance to put her ideology aside in favour of due diligence in objective learning and understanding.

      That said, she appears to be confident in her comments on the issue so perhaps she stands by them even now. Ten points for persistence in the face of opposition. I hope that people who might consider her next job application are able to take into consideration matters such as this.

    7. It's worth noting for the record that oxygen (amongst other elements) isotope records in coral depositions can be used as a temperature proxy, and indeed are so used.

      And guess what they show?

    8. Thinking about Curry's parroting of McIntyre should she be reported for plagiarism? If an academic writes something that consists so much of quotes from what someone else said in another article is it not incumbent upon him/her to reference the original article rather than pass what s/he has written as his/her own creation?

    9. Nah, the tedium of referencing is usually reserved for academic publications. It's good form to acknowledge your source, but on a blog, I don't think anyone would really care. Curry's not even really an academic anymore, and McIntyre is hardly going to complain.

      Rational Troll

    10. Seeing the TVRJH post above I had to revisit this at Real Climate by the full thread, the descent from scientist to nonsensist that Curry has demonstrated would make an aerobatic pilot's heart stop. Nothing brings this out more than the preceding comment #168 here:


      a head to head between Gavin and Curry would be a popcorn show but I doubt Curry would even dare.

  3. Sou, I may be succinct, but you greatly surpass me in your knowledge of the subject. This is an excellent post. I confess to being duped by Steve, since I had thought that the graph for the Sherwood data was of temperature vs time. Steve's howler is consequently even bigger than I thought. Like you I find there's something particularly unpleasant about Climate Audit, arising I'm sure from Steve's incessant hints and allusions concerning fraud and tricks - never just honest error. Watts and co. are much more like circus clowns, and consequently that bit more bearable. I was prompted to go there on impulse after seeing a "highlights" post from Prof Curry that included a reference to three "very technical" articles by McIntyre that were "devastating" for Rahmstorf et al. No indication as to what made them devestating, and I think "very technical" can be decoded as "I really didn't feel like making the effort to get to grips with them, but I know from Andrew Montford's brilliant book that Steve is one of the towering intellects of the modern age so I'm sure he can demolish anything by Mann and The Team".

    I was fortunate that the first person to respond to my post was Carrick, whom I managed to persuade very speedily that Steve was wrong. He was the only person with whom I could have a civilised discussion. The reception from most of the crowd was every bit as low brow as I receive at WUWT. I was described as "hysterical", as "having issues", as being "Bill H. Rahmsdork, baby daddy of Ramsdorf (sic)", etc.... Steve started out as modertely polite, but has gradually moved away from his original claim that Rahmstorf et al. “used nitrogen -15 concentrations as a thermometer”, to something along the lines that they have produced a “squiggle on a graph with no statistical significance” – that’s what “Trick 3” has currently morphed into. I don’t know how much longer I want to play cat and mouse with Steve, but I might return for another round or two, especially with your briefing!

    1. You have summed up the situation well. I was surprised that it is possible to find someone on WUWT who can think - you just have to ignore the constant jabs and trolling from dbstealey, the moderator.

    2. I made a bit of a blooper myself - sewage decreases N in corals. It can kill them. I've fixed the article. The rest of the article should be fine.

    3. Captain FlashheartApril 7, 2015 at 11:42 PM

      I noticed that Steve opened his reply to you with "I never claim to be infallible..." Who ever does that in writing or speech? Only a person who really does believe they are infallible...

      I think you're pissing in the wind there, Bill H, but points for trying!

    4. And again - my N isotopes were getting all topsy turvy and falling all over each other. The bit in the article about sewage was right the first time - almost.

    5. Yes, Bill H. Points for trying. I read through the comments (before Sou posted this article) and I did not really understand what was going on. The one point I did pick up was that you were saying the proxy was for water mass and not temperature. I had no idea if you were correct or not.

      However I did notice how many people attacked you as hysterical (and you without a womb!) but none of these critics addressed the point you were making. I thought you did well to ignore the distractions - though to them that was more evidence of your hysteria. I got the distinct impression it was them getting hysterical.

      Perhaps I will try again to understand this mass vs temperature thing as Sou has written an explanation. Keep up the good work.

  4. I'm guessing Steve also hasn't corrected his guest post about Marotzke & Forster where Nic Lewis took advice from an economist and a mathemtician to suggest that Marotzke & Forster had made some kind of silly circular mistake that should be used in undergraduate classes as an example of a stupid mistake.

    What I've discovered is that when someone says "I'm happy to correct my mistakes", what they really mean is "I'm happy to correct my mistakes, as long as you can prove - to me - beyond any measure of doubt, that I made one". That latter making it virtually impossible to convince them of a mistake.

  5. SM did something similar in an earlier post on the Labrador Current, as described here. He cited some data of Sicre et al to claim that no 20Cen spike was evident, contrasting with Marcotte. But he hadn't read the paper, Sicre et al weren't testing just any locations. They chose locations that would respond to the movements of the Labrador current. They showed how in past periods of warmth, these alkenone sites showed cooler temperatures. They believed that the current AGW would drive stronger NW winds, enhance the LC, and produce cooling. They chose the sites specifically to test this. And yes, there was cooling, or at least, no warming.

    1. Steve McIntyre is the living embodiment of why one should be slightly circumspect in your criticism of someone else's work if you want them to actually interact with you when you do so. Of course, if your goal is simply to generate talking points so that people can say "that work was debunked by...." then he's actually quite effective.

      I was actually being challeneged on BH as to why I didn't go and comment on CA. I have, actually, but dealing with people who may be statistical experts but understand little physics is just tedious, especially when they think that a discussion should proceed via "No, you're wrong, I'm right".

    2. ATTP, Steve might claim statistical expertise, but he has made huge statistical bloopers. Quite famous ones - talk about red noise :D. See also Deep Climate's excellent series. And he never was able to come to grips with exploratory factor analysis, used in the moon-landing paper.

      I think it's a case of a childhood win of a math prize giving him delusions of omnipotence. His main problem being that about the only way he can try out his ideas is by posting them on his blog - for all the world to see his blundering and flailing about. He burnt any bridges he could have forged with the real experts long ago. All he's got is an economist and his denier fans. And they won't usually explain to him his mistakes. They are just for 'rah 'rah effect - like a chorus of idiots.

    3. Yes, I'm aware of his past mistakes. Interestingly, he made a comment on my blog recently on a post where I was discussing an interview with Michel Foucalt. For some reason, his comment essentially pointed out that Foucalt may have belonged - at the same time - to the same organisation in Paris as Pol Pot. A somewhat odd thing to highlight, although Steve does seem to apply guilt by association more than might be regarded as reasonable.

    4. Captain FlashheartApril 8, 2015 at 12:56 AM

      ATTP, it's unlikely that a man of Steve's intellectual calibre and educational background could understand Foucault, but it's highly likely that a man of Steve's political background would object to Foucault's ideas on principle. So he was just doing what he does to the climate scientists whose work he doesn't understand: smearing by implication and association.

      He's nasty and he doesn't understand his own weaknesses.

    5. Just checked what he wrote. Good grief! The French Communist Party has nothing in common with the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. It's a respectable mainstream (if now minor) political party.

      Steve was showing (once again) his nasty side, which seems to be the main side he shows to the world.

    6. BTW - Even Steve saying "they might have been acquainted" solely on the grounds that they both belonged to the PCF for a very brief period, is a big stretch. I don't know the membership in the early 1950s, but according to Wiki, the PCF had 520,000 members in 1978!


    7. It was a rather odd comment. Steve might not understand Foucault, but I've just realised that I can't spell it :-)

    8. McIntyre reminds me of a person who knows how to dismantle the engine of his car, and therefore thinks that he is able to race on a complicated track at full speed without ever having studied the route.

      It just doesn't work like that.

  6. Actually, I'll make a slightly more serious comment. There is something you learn after years of listening to other paper give scientific presentations, or read other people's scientific papers. Invariably when you think you've found some kind of obvious and silly mistake, you haven't; you've typically illustrated that you haven't properly understood what they were doing. That's why you then go and ask them questions before pointing out this obvious and silly mistake.

    1. Steve has never figured that out. It would also seem that he hasn't figured out that it helps to read papers before you critique them.

    2. Steve used to have a reputation for "asking questions", or more properly, for endlessly harassing scientists and then either telling fibs about their work, or trying to pull apart some inconsequential "flaw" he thought he'd found, when mostly he was wrong - like in this case. I doubt too many scientists would fall for his "question asking" these days.

      There is a lot he has never figured out.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. ...*almost* invariably. Very occasionally a "What did they mean? They couldn't possibly have meant...?" turns out to be justified.

    5. This was inspired by a "debate" completely unrelated to climate science, but it sure as heck reminds me of McIntyre: http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/873/260/a5b.png

    6. That's my default position too, and I'd drill that into my students' heads--i.e. if you think you've found a mistake, it most likely is a misunderstanding on your part especially if you're not an expert in the subject matter.

  7. Well I now know where my friend gets his "debating" skills from. This guy absolutely fawns over McIntyre.

    "Back in 2004, 2005, and 2006 (and beyond), Dr. McIntyre and Dr. McKitrick eviscerated the MBH98/99 hockey schtick graph with a series of peer-reviewed papers that ended up making their way into the references for the 2007 IPCC document...and landed both scientists positions as "expert reviewers" for the paleoclimate sections for AR4."

    He's also admitted to me that he's been encouraged by McIntyre to spam these unmoderated forums to drown out anyone who disagrees with him. What's it called when you purposefully obfuscate and misrepresent what a scientist wrote? Gish-galloping of the highest order?

    You could swap water mass movement and water temperature with the contribution of dynamics versus thermodynamics to sea ice thickness and I wouldn't be able to tell Rick Cina and McIntyre apart!

    1. That statement is pretty bizarre, given what actually occurred. I especially like the claim about being an "expert reviewer". My dead pet cat could be an expert reviewer of 4AR.

    2. A misrepresentation can take the form of a straw man. The idea is you make a "man of straw" out of what your opponent is saying and attack that instead of the argument. It is a dishonest debating technique.

      I consider anyone using dishonest discussion techniques to be a troll. A troll isn't really interested in getting to the truth, they are only interested in "beating" their opponent. This fits my definition of a troll.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. And then there was Null of HackIntyre.

    Full of fury signifying nuffin.

  9. All this says to me is that perhaps the deniers could benefit from peer review. Or at least some pal review which I hear they prefer. Just sayin...

    1. We are all of us waiting with scarcely concealed excitement for the revived Pattern Recognition in Physics and also (if one was not enough) the OAS's prestigious publication: journals which we all feel will rapidly establish themselves as leaders in the field.

    2. To be fair, some of them tried their version of that "peer review" thing in 2001-2004 and it went spectacularly poorly for them.

      That incident reminds me somewhat of this one in its failure to utilise the correct data for the argument being made, although the McKitrick and Michaels debacle was arguably worse.

  10. I tried to read McI's blog once but couldn't: he can neither think nor write clearly. I always gave the shifty eye to his statistical and mathematical expertise.

    Now I find that the problem is that he won't ( or can't ) read.

  11. I've always thought of McIntyre as Slimy Steve. His natural style is innuendo and then, when called on some insinuation, bringing on the fake outrage because "I never said that! Show me where I said that!"

    One of Nature's born gits.

    1. It's a common tactic. I've quite commonly encountered people (Andrew Montford is another) who will claim not to have said, or implied, something while clearly saying, or implying, exactly what they're claiming not to be saying (or implying) - okay, that's a bit convoluted which may actually be quite apt.

    2. Montford is a great one for constructions like "one could be forgiven for thinking that...." when he's making his accusations. He can then claim when they're shown to be false that he never "thought" them anyway.

    3. I've tried to be balanced when it comes to criticising people like Montford. However, after hearing him say on the BBC "the IPCC says that the net effect of the next few degrees of warming will be zero" (paraphrasing) I can't help but conclude that he's either dishonest, or stupid. I think he's also got a habit of simply not correcting genuinely factual errors, as illustrated in the past by William Connolley. I should acknowledge, that I may still be slightly ticked off that he doesn't have the word "twat" in his moderation list (I'm probably about to find out if Sou does :-) ).

    4. ATTP, it wasn't even in my vocabulary, I had to look it up. (I live a sheltered life :D)

      Google blogger doesn't have as many features as WordPress - moderation is solely by human intervention (except for Google's excellent spam filtering).

    5. Hmmm, I'm somewhat disappointed that I've managed to expand your vocabulary in that way. Apologies :-)

    6. At least now I'll know it's not a compliment if I'm called one.

      (I'd rather learn such things from a physicist engaged in civil discourse than anyone else :D)

    7. Sou

      You should have seen what the recent charm contest winner at ATTP called ATTP the other day. Funnily enough, you banned him here a while back when he was posting as Rum Runner.

  12. Watts and McIntyre are some of the biggest fools arounds. Hardly anybody will try and debate that. The only person I know of that is worse is Senator Inhofe. At least Watts and McIntyre TRY to read and understand the science (but failing miserably). Inhofe however, totally rejects ALL science, embracing some kind of warped creation-fabricated illusion instead.

    Climate deniers are getting REALLY desperate as the climate continues to prove them wrong, wrong, wrong. This was inevitable - you cannot “deny” physics no matter how often you wish it would all just go away and leave you alone.

    Nobody is escaping this topic, but the head-in-the-sand denialism is sure entertaining to watch.

  13. I didn't realise McIntyre was still blogging. I used to read his output around the hacked email time and fouind an endless stream of paranoia and personal villipend directed towards Michael Mann.

    Tedious, obsessive and inconsequential.

  14. I've added an update to the article. Steve's brain is stuck in temperature and no-one can get it to budge.

    1. It's been said many times: professional fault-finders simply can't afford to ever be wrong. Thanks for the clear write-up and a much needed dose of sanity.

  15. "A whole five days passed before anyone commented on Steve's big blunder."

    It was no blunder, it was purpose. Do not presume innocence with climate revisionists.

    In this case McIntyres tactic was just one more resounding succes. Five days!! Easy to guess what we'll find in non-knowledgeable MSM forums where people write who actually have permission to vote. You will find McIntyre all over. You will not find the debunk, or where it is presented you will find abuse.

    1. You may be right, cRR. On the other hand, it could just be a sign that no-one of any substance visits Steve's blog much these days, or if they do they don't bother commenting. Bill H may have been a rare exception. That would mean that all Steve is doing these days is preaching to the 8% Dismissives. Like Anthony Watts and Judith Curry.

      Even though Inhofe etc are in that group and have some influence politically, I don't think they will be able to stop the huge shift to renewables that seems to be starting.

      I still maintain that the big shift will come from business and industry, and governments will mostly be playing catch up, after the event. Provided governments don't actively prevent the shift to renewables, that is. It'll be rather like the rapid change in information and communications. Blink, and we'll find ourselves in a different world.

      It will still take intervention and international cooperation to get us as far as we need to go - but there are signs (eg with coal) that the shift is already happening and I doubt it can be stopped. Not saying there won't be a lot of damage from climate change - just that it's not *only* government policy that will drive the shift to renewables.

    2. It seems like industry managed to keep anglophone countries stuck on fossil fuels, but they seem to have largely overlooked the rest of the world. It's East Asia and Northern Europe that are laying the groundwork for post-fossil capitalism.

    3. Yes, numerobis. And forget Holland, where Shell has kept the country in a #3 most backward position re renewables in all of Europe. But then Holland always had a transatlantic that is anglophilic hang too.

  16. The curious thing of course is that Rahmstorf 2015 has the AMOC index +vely correlated with temp, and +vely correlated with the δ15N tracer.

    Sherwood 2011 on the other hand has the δ15N tracer lagged as -vely correlated with temp.

    Now the fact that so much can be written here without mentioning (or even trying to explain) this apparent contradiction suggests some embarrassment at the most generous.

    1. It has been explained, HAS. Read the article again. There is no contradiction, apparent or otherwise.

      The Sherwood11 region is quite different to the subpolar gyre region. The temperature in the Nova Scotia region isn't the issue as far as Rahmstorf15 goes.

      The temperature around Nova Scotia is warmer when d15N is lower because the nutrient rich water comes from the subtropics. It's cooler when d15N is higher because the water is coming from the Labrador Sea, which is nutrient poor. It's the *nutrient status* that is how the researchers can tell where the water is coming from rather than the temperature - which is the whole point.

      The nutrient status is the indicator of origin of the water - I'd say a much better indicator than temperature going back in time (1800 years for Sherwood11). The nutrient status would probably also give a rough guide to past temperatures - but that's only by correlation - not as a direct measure. d15N *was* directly measured. (There haven't been thermometers continuously at that site for the past 1800 years.)

      When the AMOC slows down, less water is driven down to Nova Scotia from the subArctic, so it's getting more nutrient rich water from the subtropics.

      As I say, there is no contradiction. Temperature of the water around Nova Scotia isn't the issue. It's where the water is coming from that's the issue - north or south. The correlation in Rahmstorf15 is of the AMOC index with dN15 (nutrient status) not with temperature off Nova Scotia. Mean bulk dN15 indicates where the water is coming from.

      This is clearly explained in Rahmstorf15 (and elsewhere).

      You are mixing up correlations. I'll say it again. The correlation in Rahmstorf15 is with mean bulk d15N as an indicator of water mass movement. It's not a correlation with temperature (Temperature *would* be an inverse correlation, but that's not what was being measured - it's dN15.)

      What I don't get is why CA readers can't get that. It's not rocket science.

      Sorry for the repeats. I figured I'd try different ways of explaining it to see if one of them scored some understanding :)

    2. To clarify:

      You are mixing up correlations. I'll say it again. The correlation in Rahmstorf15 is with mean bulk d15N as an indicator of water mass movement. It's not a correlation with temperature ... off Nova Scotia .

      Since the AMOC index is itself based on temperature, obviously it goes up with the temperature of the subpolar gyre goes up and down when the temperature of the subpolar gyre goes down.

      The subpolar gyre is a distance from Nova Scotia - so the temperatures of the two regions are not expected to be the same. Particularly because of ^^.

    3. The first rule of Climate Auditing is:

      The Auditor is never wrong. Ever. Got that?

      The only way McI's blog can survive is if all his sycophants believe that. And they do.

    4. Steve led his readers astray from the outset, when he wrote:

      Rahmstorf’s Figure 5 shows a positive correlation between temperature and coral d15N (both decline together), while Sherwood et al reported a negative correlation (r=-0.27) between temperature and coral d15N. How’d they do that?

      The answer is obvious to everyone but Steve himself (and maybe Steve's sycophants, who can't or won't think for themselves).

      The temperature in Rahmstorf15 is the temperature of the subpolar gyre south of Greenland. The temperature in Sherwood11 is of a completely different region - off Nova Scotia.

      When the temperature of the subpolar gyre drops enough from, say, the melting of Greenland's ice sheet - the AMOC slows down, the currents toward Labrador slow down, and in the region Sherwood11 was studying, more water comes from the subtropics rather than from the subArctic, so the water in that region is warmer.

      Like I say - it's not rocket science.

      When he started banging on about d15N around Hawaii, it showed he'd really lost the plot. (Not really, it was clear he'd lost the plot well before then.)

    5. HAS,

      Your question is perfectly reasonable and perhaps Sou is being overly harsh. It's not easy when Steve Mc repeatedly states in his post that Rahmstorf et al. were making measurements off the coast of Nova Scotia - the same area as Sherwood et al. Naturally, you have every right to be suspicious if the two groups obtain opposite correlations.

      He was seriously wrong, as Sou points out. It gets even more confusing because all of a sudden he DOES start saying (7th April) that the two sets of measurements were 2500 km apart - correctly. Maybe he'd nipped over to Hot Whopper to see what all the fuss was about. He doesn't make any announcement of his previous error, or amend his original post to reflect the error. As a result it is even more difficult to work out what Trick no. 3 might actually have morphed into. Do you have any ideas?

    6. I don't mind the repeats...I found them helpful in my understanding, probably because a few pieces from the paper and from your article hadn't clicked into place yet. Your multiple explanation was much appreciated.

    7. Captain FlashheartApril 8, 2015 at 11:54 PM

      HAS, I remember you were present during the Lewandowsky debacle, when McIntyre also showed himself to be completely out of his depth. What is it going to take for you to realize that Steve is incompetent and ignorant?

    8. It's always been my impression that McIntyre is clever (as in digging into details, playing with various statistical methods) without being smart (as in understanding the background behind the data or the proper interpretation of results or significance).

      That was the case in the McIntyre/McKitrick papers disputing Mann et al 1998, where they applied PCA but failed to apply _any_ selection rules for component significance (the MM method derived 5 significant components, the MBH method had 2), resulting in MM incorrectly asserting that there was no hockey stick in the data. And in McIntyre's mis-application of PCA to Lewandowsky et al 2013, where he clearly didn't understand exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and again used the wrong number of principal factors. And over and over again with his various proxy nit-picking: an immense focus on the leaves while ignoring the forest.

      Add to that the _constant_ insinuations of malfeasance and nefarious action, and McIntyre is both generally wrong and quite tiresome.

    9. How typical he always errs to a certain side, or would that _actually_ be clever?

    10. I think it's simply motivated reasoning - having a conclusion and searching for arguments to support it, regardless of validity, applicability, significance, or an actual understanding of the statistical tools used.

    11. Sure, KR. But I presume he does have an actual understanding of said tools. After 15 years of being taught and taught again.. Sorry, no innocence, to which stupidity may belong, to be found there.

    12. cRR, your constant insinuations of malfeasance are tiresome. If you have specific evidence against a particular individual, sure, lay it out.

    13. Talk to Mann about malfeasance of McIntyre or the Serengeti strategy. Not to me. I'm just calling a thug a thug.
      This guy holds a B.Sc math at Toronto Uni. This means you can simply assume the man is quite versed in e.g. factor analysis and really all other statistical tools used in climatology. It means he can actually and succesfully concoct and merchandise doubt which is what he has been doing since at least the publication of the so-called 'hockey stick'.
      All those presuming 'stupidity' or any other kind of innocence with this man are fooled just as hard as the layman audience. Now: the thing I take issue with is that keeping up this presumption of innocence - like 'the man doesn't know better' and stuff like that simply helps him and his ilk merchandising the doubt. Because the general public cannot fathom the technicalties in e.g. a piece of Sou here; the only thing they see is heated discussion about climate change and the only conclusion they can make is 'the science is not settled'. You might have read a recent poll of US citizens of whom only a third know that scientists carry an even stronger consensus on CC than on 'cigarette smoking is dangerous' or evolution theory. That number is McIntyres succes and much of it is created on/by truly good blogs.

      There is no innocence in climate revisionism.

    14. As usual, you just double down on the vague allegations. If you want to play the man, be specific and provide actual proof. Things he's said are not proof that he's vaguely not innocent in some unspecified way. All they're proof of is that he's a vindictive asshole and an unrepentant idiot.

    15. So the argument then is that temp in the Northwest Channel is negatively correlated with temp index Rahmstorf construct from GISS extracting the NH temp from the temp in the subpolar gyre region.

      All well and good but the δ15N tracer looks much more like inverse of the NH that is meant to be extracted in the Rahmstorf temp index.

      Perhaps what the δ15N tracer residue association with the index is just telling us the that the index over-extracts the NH temp. I can't see how this is done from the paper or SI, but it looks as though rather than being the difference between two regional temps (NH-SPG vs SPG) it compares NH (that includes SPG) with SPG.

    16. The reason you can't see how it is done is because it wasn't done, dimbulb. It marks the source region for the water. (I hope I've got this right) Lower d15N means that the water is coming from the more nutrient rich tropics (Gulf Stream) and higher d15N means that the water comes from the Labrador current. It is a proxy for the relative strength of the two currents and has nothing to do with temperature.

      But then I figured out that Steve was a mendacious little twat close to a decade ago and have ignored him since. You would be well advised to to likewise.

    17. Rattus it may surprise you that Rahmstorf do in fact construct a temp index for the AMOC. It is sort of what their paper is about. Go read it.

    18. HAS,

      First of all my apologies if I misled you further back in this thread. I had misunderstood Steve McIntyre while "debating" at Climate Audit, so please ignore my earlier comments.

      But then everybody at Climate Audit seems to have failed to understand the Rahmstorf et al paper, despite Steve having produced 3 posts on the subject. The crucial thing is that d15N is NOT a proxy for temperature. Its a proxy for nutrients - because they contain nitrogen. Since polar flows into the gyre have different nutrient content to flows from the tropics it allows us to estimate which flow dominates. Now with this in mind I suggest you go back to Sou's article at the top of this post and read it: I found it helped my limited understanding and hence my ability to hold my own at Climate Audit. My advice to you is that if you want to learn about Climate Science don't try to do it at Climate Audit: 3 posts from McIntyre on the subject, yet his audience don't understand the ideas in the paper. Why? Because, to be frank, that isn't McIntyre's purpose. His purpose is to see if he can spot errors, and explain these errors in detail. While such audting can have value it's not really useful if you just want to understand what the authors did and why they did that. Maybe you are suspicious of climate scientists and so are attracted to what McIntyre does: well that's your right. All I would say is that it's worth going elsewhere to get your understanding of the work climate scientists do. Apart from anything else you then are better equipped to spot the flaws in the work.

    19. I've read his explanation but have not had time to read the paper. The use a difference between the region in question (south of Greenland) and the northern hemisphere mean (I think there were a couple of options) to estimate the strength of the AMOC. I've been busy the last couple of weeks. Sorry (NOT). The Sherwood data seem to have been used to verify whether or not the surface temperature difference as a proxy for the strength of the AMOC was valid.

      Once I get through helping to setup a statewide climate monitoring network and working on an insect pest monitoring network I might have a chance, but I'm going to be damn busy doing work for the next few months.

    20. HAS,

      Re constructing a temperature index: no they define a FOMC index at the outset and compare it with historic current flows.

      It may surprise you but Rattus, Sou and I are actually trying to help you understand. If you choose to pay us back with sarcastic comments like "go read the paper", then will you please clear off, though maybe an apology for deceiving us with you apparently genuine request for help would be in order.

    21. bill, I guess I can do without help from someone that refers to me as a dimbulb, offers help without having read the paper and makes comments about Sherwood that suggest he has neither read nor understood that either.

      I don't understand you comment "they [presumably Rahmstorf] define a FOMC index at the outset and compare it with historic current flows".

      As I noted before they set up and index using temp anomalies for the NH surface and for the SPG (they also look at other possibilities in the SI).

      What I'd like to know is what is the mathematical formula that relates the index to those quantities. The reason is that the relationship between the δ15N tracer and the AMOC index may well be simply an artifact of how this was done.

      The thing is that one really needs to think about some of this stuff, particularly when one gets results that seem a bit unusual.

    22. HAS, so many points you raise. well lets deal with the first of them, namely that: Rattus shouldn't be offering help because he hasn't read the paper.

      By your argument anyone who hasn't read the Principia Mathematica isn't qualified to teach High School Physics.

      Yes, it's that absurd. Rattus has read a very clear summary of the paper, just as (decent) High School Physics teachers will themselves have learnt a summary of the key points of the principia.

      With such absurdities in your arsenal you would appear to be a true McIntyre Disciple.

      Added to which you have shown not a trace of gratitude for the time people on this board have spent trying to help you. Rather you display contempt for Rattus because he/she fails to satisfy your absurd epistemological criteria. Once again, Summa cum Laude at the School of McIntyre.

    23. HAS - From the paper, here's how to work out the AMOC index:

      We define an AMOC index by subtracting the Northern Hemisphere
      mean surface temperature from that of the subpolar gyre.

      where the subpolar gyre is:

      We take the results of a climate model intercomparison1 to identify
      the geographic region that is most sensitive to a reduction in the
      AMOC (Fig. 1), which for simplicity we henceforth refer to as
      ‘subpolar gyre’ , although we use the term here merely to describe
      a geographic region and not an ocean circulation feature.

      I don't know what you mean by "the mathematical formula that relates the index to those quantities". Which quantities? If you mean the flow of water from the Labrador Slope then Rahmstorf15 research is just showing that as AMOC slowed, so did the Labrador Slope Water.

      And with regard to:

      "the relationship between the δ15N tracer and the AMOC index may well be simply an artifact of how this was done"

      The whole is consistent internally - as AMOC slows or speeds up, so does the water flowing east/south in and out of the Labrador Sea. It is consistent with the well-understood knowledge of ocean currents (see maps above). It is consistent with model experiments. It is also consistent with findings of many other studies as cited in the paper.

    24. I missed the earlier comment from HAS. It seems all wrong (what I can understand of it).

      For example: "All well and good but the δ15N tracer looks much more like inverse of the NH that is meant to be extracted in the Rahmstorf temp index."

      I don't know what this means. I will say that if you are seeing a pattern, HAS, it's a pattern that indicates the source of water off Nova Scotia. Where the water comes from. While it also suggest temperature of sea water in that region, its temperature is not relevant for this exercise. What is relevant is the source of the water - whether its source is Labrador Slope Water or the subtropics.

      Rattus N and Bill H have it right. The Sherwood nutrient status data is not about temperature, it's about the movement of water.

    25. Now look here, Sou Bundawhatever,

      You admit that you haven't even read this Ramydonk paper and yet here you are trying to educate HAS about it who has clearly read, marked and digested every sentence therein.

      I am shocked - simply shocked.

      (Warning: the foregoing may contain traces of irony)

    26. bill if you've got to the limit of your knowledge then say so rather than flounce off, we might learn something about this together.

      Sou the reason I want to know the calculation is because the words you quote suggest that in fig, 3 3b is just 3a SPG - NH. But even to my enfeebled eyes it doesn't quite look right and it is unclear what locational resolution the index is calculated for. Does it just take one value for the index per year, or are they working with different values for each grid-cell?

      On your other comments I think the misunderstanding comes from the stage of analysis I'm at. I see report results from modeling and some observations. I'm interested in how they are behaving and the extent to which that behaviour is a result of the analytic framework at that level.

      You are I think accepting all the hypotheses about the physical relationships actual and implied from the models and accepting inferences based on those. Unfortunately the science ain't that well developed.

      For example the relationship between the δ15N tracer and the index in Fig 5 may as I suggested simply be the result of the way the index is defined. Unfortunately Rahmstorf et al don't do any of the tests to eliminate the most obvious sources of contamination of this kind. To get an idea of the kind of work that does give confidence go and read how Sherwood eliminates the possibility that the δ15N changes arise from "physical oceanographic-driven changes in phytoplankton and zooplankton community structure".

      Now I've only just come back to this and decided I probably had to look more closely at the modelling to understand the index. The following section gives the background:

      “We test the performance of the index in a global warming scenario experiment for 1850 2100 with a state-of-the-art global climate model, the MPI-ESM-MR. This model has a realistic representation of the AMOC (refs 10,11) based on criteria that include the magnitude and shape of the AMOC stream function and the realism of sites of deep-water formation. Without satisfying those criteria, we cannot expect realistic spatial patterns of SST response to AMOC variations and hence a good correlation of our temperature-based AMOC index with the actual AMOC. An analysis of ten global climate models found that a surface temperature response in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre is a robust feature of AMOC variability, although the details of this response depend on the quality of representation of the AMOC (ref. 10).”

      I then look at ref 10 and 11 and find in the latter which describes MPI-ESM-MR’s performance in the North Atlantic as follows:

      “The largest SST errors are found in the North Atlantic where both model versions produce a too zonally oriented North Atlantic Current (NAC). The resulting cold bias covering the region between the simulated and observed subtropical gyre margin appears to be a persistent feature in state-of-the-art climate models, where lack of resolution prevents a proper representation of the Gulf Stream separation [Dengg et al., 1996]. The problems in the NAC path may, however, also be related to the representation of the deep western boundary current [Gerdes and Ko¨berle, 1995; Bryan et al., 2007] and the properties and strengths of the overflows across the GSR [Danabasoglu et al., 2010]. Even though the higher resolution in MR allows for a better representation of key features such as the flow through Florida Strait, there is no improvement in the Gulf Stream/ NAC position: the cold bias reaches even further to the north where the ‘‘northwest corner’’ should appear, and the MR realization shows a more pronounced warm bias in the Labrador Sea. “

      Rahmstorf’s index is all about the SST. This doesn’t feel like a good start to this journey of discovery does it?

    27. HAS, I get that to your "enfeebled eyes it doesn't quite look right" but I haven't a clue as to what doesn't look quite right to you or why. Nor do I have time to read and respond to every lengthy protest or insinuation you dream up as you shift the goal posts (if you've shifted them - I can't tell).

      At the very least you could explain clearly and concisely exactly what you think is in error and why and what the correct interpretation of the data is (in your mind at least). Not fill up HW with your vague and meaningless what ifs.

      Are you disputing:

      a) The cold patch below Greenland referred to as the subpolar gyre?
      b) That the cold spot below Greenland didn't really get colder between 1975 and 1990 relative to NH temp?
      c) That a slowing of the AMOC may result in a slowing of the Labrador Convection
      d) That a slowing of the AMOC may result in stopping the Labrador Convection in the future
      e) that the Greenland ice sheet is melting
      f) that there is any ocean in the North Atlantic

    28. Have a look at fig 3 and tell me if you think the series in fig 3b is just the difference between the two series in fig 3a (taking into account that NH has a +3K). If it isn't then the index isn't just simple subtraction so how does Rahmstorf calculate the index?

      Not curious?

      And if the apparent relationship between δ15N tracer and the index as shown in fig 5 came about because of the way the index was designed rather than any physical reason you wouldn't be curious?

      And if Rahmstorf was telling you that the models did a good job of modelling the AMOC and used the models to validate the index, but it turned out that wasn't the case, you wouldn't be curious?

      Now I don't know what's actually happening here because bits of the paper are unclear, but there is prima facie evidence for each of those things.

      Until those things are cleared up its hard to judge one way or the other on Rahmstorf's conclusions.

    29. As I'm used to, numerobis, you repeat your claim without even checking what I said in that post. We will have to agree that you have only just come looking at what climate revisionism is. I'd advise you to read some more. A great primer is Michael Mann's "The hockey stick and the climate wars" and, of course, Oreskes/Conway's "Merchants of doubt". See you later.

    30. HAS you say: "Have a look at fig 3 and tell me if you think the series in fig 3b is just the difference between the two series in fig 3a."

      I had a look and yes, that's fairly obvious even just eyeballing the curves.

      You then say: "And if the apparent relationship between δ15N tracer and the index as shown in fig 5 came about because of the way the index was designed rather than any physical reason you wouldn't be curious?"

      That's what is called a strawman. You've made up something out of thin air and posed it as an "if" statement. The index was designed to represent a known physical phenomenon. It is based on the temperature difference between the subpolar gyre region and the Northern Hemisphere as a whole. The relationship with d15N is consistent with the physical explanation. As the movement of water slowed, more nutrient rich water dominated the area near Nova Scotia. (I've already covered that multiple times.)

      You then say: "And if Rahmstorf was telling you that the models did a good job of modelling the AMOC and used the models to validate the index, but it turned out that wasn't the case, you wouldn't be curious? "

      Another of your hypothetical "if" statements. Rahmstorf15 described that they tested their own AMOC index against a model, the MPI-ESM-MR. Here is the full quote:

      We test the performance of the index in a global warming scenario experiment for 1850–2100 with a state-of-the-art global climate model, the MPI-ESM-MR. This model has a realistic representation of the AMOC (refs 10,11) based on criteria that include the magnitude and shape of the AMOC stream function and the realism of sites of deep-water formation. Without satisfying those criteria, we cannot expect realistic spatial patterns of SST response to AMOC variations and hence a good correlation of our temperature-based AMOC index with the actual AMOC.

      Here are quotes about the model they used, the MPI-ESM-MR from the Roberts et al (2010) evaluation of models relating to AMOC:

      In the upper ocean, the strength and depth of the Atlantic overturning maximum is in close agreement with observations in CCSM4, MPI-ESM-LR, MPI-ESM-P, and MPI-ESM-MR.

      Similarly, CCSM4, MPI-ESM-MR, MPI-ESM-LR, and MPI-ESM-P represent the vertical structure of temperature, salinity, and density in the subpolar gyre relatively well and also do a good job at simulating the depth and magnitude of the overturning maximum at 26.58N.


      In MPI-ESM-MR, the SST dipole index behaves as would be predicted from analysis of the preindustrial control simulation.

      You say: "Now I don't know what's actually happening here because bits of the paper are unclear, but there is prima facie evidence for each of those things. Until those things are cleared up its hard to judge one way or the other on Rahmstorf's conclusions."

      I take it that it's now "cleared up" enough for you.

    31. That looks a good reply Sou. I wonder what stawmen HAS will conjure up now.

      When do you think "curious" become a euphemism for asking stupid questions?

    32. In this sort of argument "curious" means "I'm about to raise a completely unfounded question about this study for the purpose of raising doubt and throwing mud on the reputations of all involved".

    33. "Have a look at fig 3 and tell me if you think the series in fig 3b is just the difference between the two series in fig 3a (taking into account that NH has a +3K). "

      Yes, I do.

      The main clues are on 3b the words "Subpolar gyre - NH". And on figure 3a the reminder "NH + 3K" and the label "Subpolar gyre". Complicated, eh?

      I am normally wary of just eyeballing a graph. But a quick check it looks pretty consistent with that calculation.

      Of course I do have the advantage I am not desperate to find something wrong with it.

    34. And yet when I look at (say) 1400 I have SPG minus NH from 3b of about 0.6K and from 3a SPG of 0.6K and NH+3K of 2.6K = -0.4K. A straight linear combination of the results from 3b is 1.0K compared with 0.6K from 3b. The calculation seems to be more complex than that.

      The reason why the calculation is important to understand is because all the major conclusions of the paper are based on it.

      On the "strawman" (they are more properly referred to as "hypotheses") in play here. One that the "time evolution of δ15N tracer agrees well with that of our AMOC index" and from that this it tells us something about water flows (Rahmstorf), and the other that the δ15N tracer is an artifact of the fact that it is correlated with sea temperatures elsewhere as is the index, and the relationship between the it and the index is inevitable.

      Right now I don't have enough information to test my hypothesis, but I'd say two things about the quality of Rahmstorf as a piece of research. First they have failed to do the simple testing to eliminate this possibility, and second they report no statistical testing of the relationship between the tracer and the index, instead simply asking us to rely upon eyeballing a graph.

      The modelling issue is in the same vein. When I read what Rahmstorf said about the criteria they used for performance testing against models it struck me as strange that they didn't mention its performance in reproducing SST particularly since the index is based on this, and the reliance on GCMs for the millennium reconstructions.

      Something about the dog that didn't bark in the night.

    35. That should be:

      On the "strawman" (they are more properly referred to as "hypotheses") there are two in play here.


    36. HAS
      You rudely criticised others for not reading the paper. Clearly you have not read the Supplemental Information of the paper.

      77 StatisticalsignificanceoftherecentlowAMOCindex77
      Toinvestigat ewhether thelowAMOC indexvaluesseeninthelate20
      Centurycould occurby78
      randomnaturalvariability,weperformedaseriesofMonteCarlosimulation s .Thetimeinterval900‐79
      1850ADwaschosentocharacterizethenaturalvariabilityoftheAMOC indexasweconsider this80
      pre‐industrialperiodtobe unaffectedbyanthropogenicclimatechange.81
      NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | www.nature.com/natureclimatechange 3
      DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2554

    37. Thanks anonymous but that deals with a different issue. Having constructed the index they then test on the assumption that the index is ARMA(1,1) the chances that the drop in the index in the late 20th C might have occurred by chance.

      We haven't got to the point of even constructing the index yet.

    38. HAS, there is such a thing as a corresponding author if you think they are lying.

    39. This comment has been removed by the author.

    40. Rattus, I just want to be clear. I haven't accused anyone of lying. Less than honest, perhaps - I am sure the authors have run formal statistical analysis of the relationship between the tracer and index, it's such a trivial thing to do and report (even within word limits) and it is an important plank in the development of their argument to get that relationship established.

      Also, given Sherwood reports the relationship between the tracer and NAO and statistical relationships abound between NAO and both the AMOC index and its components, one has to ask why these weren't explored if only for completeness.

    41. That's why there is a corresponding author. Write him and ask your questions.

    42. HAS - it's you who are being less than honest. You are not "just wanting to be clear" at all. You are wanting to insinuate wrong with no evidence by building strawmen. No they are not hypothesis, they are strawmen.

      Almost from the outset your comments have been borderline. Your base position is that climate science is a hoax and by hook or by crook you'll prove it to the world.

      You are doing what is known as concern trolling and are pushing your luck here.

    43. Sou I evaluate science for commercial exploitation for a business.

      I don't regard climate science as a hoax, just run a jaundiced eye over it. It is like most science and the curates egg, "good in parts".

      In this case Sherwood strikes me as pretty good, but Rahmstorf as rather light weight, for the reasons I've outlined. I notice there has been no dispute relating to the methodological issues I've raised.

      This blog should probably widen its brief and start having a go at any climate science that is second rate rather than deciding a priori that the science that produce a certain class of result is sacrosanct and those that don't is to be damned.

    44. There you go again - classic concern trolling.

      >>I notice there has been no dispute relating to the methodological issues I've raised.

      We have. What I and every other HW reader would have noticed is that you didn't respond to my questions up thread. I also noticed you didn't acknowledge your gross errors when they were pointed out to you. I also noticed your constant shifting of the goal posts, and your nasty allegations of dishonesty and your really dumb insinuations that the scientists "don't know nuffin".

      Coming from you your insinuations are a joke.

      I find it hard to believe you "evaluate science" for a business. Which business? What science? Do you ever get paid? Do you always subcontract to bloggers like you are doing here?

      I've already spent way too much time pointing out your dumb mistakes and showing you up for the troll you are.

    45. Borrowed from pjclarke at 09:52 AM on 11 September, 2012
      on Shaping Tomorrows World - about Steve McIntyre but applies to HAS's behaviour here too.

      You're in real trouble now, Professor. You've come to the attention of The Auditor. He has asked you Questions. You now have two choices:-

      (1) You could assume the questions are posed in good faith, The Auditor is genuinely interested in the knowing the answers, and will make constructive and reasonable use of the information. This would be a category error. It's like those email scams where if you respond the spammers know the address they've hit is real. Next thing you know there will be a second round of followup questions, and so on ad nauseum. Dr Gerald North writes:-

      "This guy can just wear you out. He has started it with me but I just don’t bite. But there are some guys, Ben Santer comes to mind, who if they are questioned will take a lot of time to answer. He’s sincere and he just can’t leave these things along. If you get yourself in a back-and-forth with these guys it can be never ending, and basically they shut you down with requests. They want everything, all your computer programs. Then they send you back a comment saying, “I don’t understand this, can you explain it to me.” It’s never ending. And the first thing you know you’re spending all your time dealing with these guys.”

      Do you really want that?

      (2) You ignore the questions. This will lead to a post at the Audit weblog using words like 'stonewall', 'petulance', 'refusal'. You won't be directly accused of malpractice or fraud, naturally, however the comments will be a playground where those with a desire to speculate about 'What is Lewandowsky hiding?' will be given free rein. There will then be a short hiatus during which you may think your life is getting back to normal, but then the orchestrated FOI requests for any and all emails relating to the paper will start ...

      Do you really want that?

      There is no 3rd choice.


      pjclarke was wrong in one respect - the auditor has accused scientists of "fake" "scam" etc - when he couldn't understand the science.

    46. Sou, that was a couple of very lazy responses (although no doubt it made you feel better).

      The problem we are dealing with (on-topic) is the chain of temp correlations between the tracer and the index and how that came about. That is after all what your initial post is essentially all about.

      I think we've established that no one reading the thread understand how the index was created, we don't understand the statistical relationship between the index and the tracer, we don't understand how the time series was created given the problems GCMs have in modeling the SST in the region, nor do we understand the impact of the tracer being correlated with the NAO and its confounding effect back on the relationship.

      In light of that you may be confident about drawing out the various physical relationship you have. Me I'd me more circumspect. I confess these issues makes me look sideways at the authors, but perhaps we should just agree to differ on that and move on.

      I'm genuinely interested in what's going on here and hwo the system is behaving. I'm also interested in the uncertainty in it all. I think that's the interesting bit.

      What I don't understand is why you aren't curious about this stuff.

      If you are perhaps try and talk about the substantive issues rather than flounce off throwing abuse across your shoulder as Bill did.

    47. This is the last time I'll do unpaid corrections for HAS, who wrote:

      And yet when I look at (say) 1400 I have SPG minus NH from 3b of about 0.6K and from 3a SPG of 0.6K and NH+3K of 2.6K = -0.4K. A straight linear combination of the results from 3b is 1.0K compared with 0.6K from 3b. The calculation seems to be more complex than that.

      Get your "enfeebled eyes" checked, HAS. I did check, with precision, and once again your calculations are out. I've copied Figure 3, and drawn lines for the last data point, which clearly shows:

      NH + 3K =3.7
      NH = 3.7 - 3 = -0.7
      Sub polar gyre = 0.5
      Sub polar gyre-NH = 0.5-0.7 =-0.2

      AMOC index=-0.2 = Sub polar gyre-NH

      You can check here

      As Dan Andrews wrote recently:

      ...if you think you've found a mistake, it most likely is a misunderstanding on your part especially if you're not an expert in the subject matter.

      And another version: if a concern troll claims to have found "something wrong" in a science paper, it is more likely an attempt at deception on their part, especially if they have already admitted to having a "jaundiced" and "enfeebled" eye.

    48. HAS wrote:
      I'm genuinely interested in what's going on here and hwo the system is behaving. I'm also interested in the uncertainty in it all. I think that's the interesting bit.

      What bullshit. All you are genuinely interested in is FUD. So far you've been wrong on every count.

      And then HAS had the gall to write: "What I don't understand is why you aren't curious about this stuff."

      That's after I've spent a heap of my valuable time painstakingly checking and correcting and reporting HAS's mistakes and deceptions - here and here and here and here and here and now here.

      While for his part (he has to be a he, if he's a stereotypical denier) HAS has not given a straight answer to my questions. Instead all he does is shift the goal posts in true troll fashion.

      And quit flaming other commenters. It was Bill H who discovered Steve's big blooper in the first place. He didn't "flounce off" from CA, despite all the pathetic flames he got there, and he didn't "flounce off" from here either.

      Enough HAS. Time out for you.

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

    50. I've already called "time out" for HAS.

    51. pjclarke was wrong in one respect - the auditor has accused scientists of "fake" "scam" etc - when he couldn't understand the science.

      When I wrote that (as pjclarke, I also used John Philip, which is a reversal of my first two names for a while when I deemed that using my real name at places like WUWT was unwise.) it was true, McIntyre was the master of passive aggression, building a case for fraud while being very careful not to use the actual word or directly accusing malpractice, [no he would just title his posts things like 'Get a stick, Get a stick' and refer to particular reconstructions as 'like crack cocaine' to dendrochronologists] , relying instead on selective quotation, cherry picking and elevating inconsequential methodological molehills into mountains. I'm not at CA much these days but I do see that for whatever reason, he seems less cautious now. I guess he's given up on being taken seriously outside his little coterie….

      Ben Santer's description of his encounters with the auditor are instructive (scroll down)


      The punch-line of this story is that Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests were completely unnecessary. In my opinion, they were frivolous. Mr. McIntyre already had access to all of the information necessary to check our calculations and our findings.

      When I invited Mr. McIntyre to “audit” our entire study, including the intermediate calculations, and told him that all the data necessary to perform such an “audit” were freely available, he expressed moral outrage on his blog. I began to receive threatening emails. Complaints about my “stonewalling” behavior were sent to my superiors at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at the U.S. Department of Energy.

      A little over a month after receiving Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests, I decided to release all of the intermediate calculations I had performed for our International Journal of Climatology paper. I made these datasets available to the entire scientific community. I did this because I wanted to continue with my scientific research. I did not want to spend all of my available time and energy responding to harassment incited by Mr. McIntyre’s blog.

      PS If you want examples of someone saying something without actually saying it, check out McIntyre's attack poodle Andrew Montford's hilarious 'Bishop Hill' blog. He's a master of the 'some may think', 'it has been reported in some quarters' style of rhetoric. He never says 'is', always 'seems'. I think he may be channelling Francis Urquhart in the original (BBC) series House of Cards 'you may well think that, I could not possibly comment' -)

    52. Typo. First hyperlink should go here


      First of many examples of me being snipped or banned.

    53. When I wrote my little piece referencing The Auditor above, I was actually paying homage to Phil Clarke, because I will always remember that famous comment of his on Lewandowsky's site. So glad he came along here and resurrected it for our reading pleasure.

      I have nicked over to CA from time to time, and bumped into HAS there. His style is quite similar to McIntyre's. HAS couldn't possibly be another one of McI's 'Nigel Persaud'-type sockpuppets, could he? He's got that same dogged persistence, and way of casting thinly veiled accusations of malfeasance at climate scientists. But, nah... that's rather implausible.

    54. "His style is quite similar to McIntyre's. HAS couldn't possibly be another one of McI's 'Nigel Persaud'-type sockpuppets, could he?"

      I believe the correct response is "some might think that".

    55. I think he's not ... over at Climate Audit (shudder) his writing style is very different to McI's. Also this is McI's technique: he never comments on "lesser" blogs but his footsoldiers go and do his work for him. HAS covered himself in ignominy during the Lewandowsky debacle, when McI was completely incapable of doing anything mathematically useful but HAS was all over Lewandowsky's website casting aspersions, as were Carrick, foxgoose and the rest of McI's useful idiots. Also when McI needs to intimidate someone it's his useful idiots who post up identifying details - McI eggs them on but they do the dirty work, leaving McI with the moral high ground of "cleaning up the ad homs" (as someone foolishly observed above - this is not McI being nice, it's McI maintaining his reputation through the shitty actions of his useful idiots).

      It's a sad fact about humanity that there are people stupid enough and malicious enough to be useful idiots for a no good waste of talent like McI. When the history of this era is written - a history drowned in shit - people like McI are going to be given a very negative review. His blog followers like HAS won't even rate a mention, but they certainly deserve a footnote: "He was surrounded by stupid, shallow dickheads who never amounted to anything."

    56. Remember when McI (or was it Mosher?) posted up a pro-forma FOI request to CRU for station data on Climate Audit and encouraged the winged monkeys to take 5 stations each and submit a request? ISTR CRU got an average of one every half hour for about a fortnight, each of which must be responded to.

      What did they then do with the data?

    57. That was Mosher. And to imagine, they got all pissed off when these idiotic requests were labeled as "vexatious". They didn't mean to harass the CRU, nooooo....

    58. Not just Mosher - Steve McIntyre himself instigated FOI attacks (AKA denial of research attacks) and urged his readers to bomb CRU with vexatious FOIs. I am not aware of any blog articles or research papers as a result. I'd say it was solely done for vindictive harassment:

      Steve McIntyre Posted Jul 24, 2009 at 10:59 AM
      I suggest that interested readers can participate by choosing 5 countries and sending the following FOI request to [email address redacted by Sou]:

      Steve McIntyre Posted Jul 24, 2009 at 11:03 AM
      A CA reader notified me offline that he requested agreements involving Russia, China, India. I already requested Canada, United States, Australia, U.K., and Brazil.

      Please keep adding to the inventory of FOI requests to CRU.

      BTW - I wasn't sure you were the author of that famous passage, Phil. I use it all the time. It sums up the Auditor perfectly - though since you wrote that he did start alleging fakery and scams. I don't know if he's backed off a bit on that following Andrew Weaver's successful court case and Michael Mann's lawsuits. If I get the urge I'll check - one of these days.

    59. Captain Flashheart - it's not quite true that Steve *never* comments on lesser blogs. He does very occasionally post a comment at WUWT, which I'm sure he would regard as a "lesser" blog. The deniers there just love it when he appears, albeit so briefly. They feel especially honoured.

      I've got to say, though, that when he does comment there, you'd think he was just another pleb from Anthony's denier rabble. You'd not think he was the god he otherwise pretends to be.


      A dumb comment - as bad as his mixing up temperature with water mass movement.

    60. This comment has been removed by the author.

    61. Well, Sou, you’ve hit the big time when a heavy from Climate Audit shows up. I’ve just had a look over there at the “Rahmstorf trick 3” thread, and HAS recently left a message proclaiming his being banned. It’s easy to find, being right at the end of what’s probably a more or less dead thread.
      I left a comment describing his behaviour, citing examples, just to put some balance. I also noted the “coincidence” of another “HAS” on Lewandowsky’s blog in the recent past. (Hit tip Capt. Flashheart).
      It’s hard to tell if McI has actually sent him over. I don’t want to judge on this one, partly because someone else at C.A. was suggesting I had been sent on a mission to undermine McI.
      Anyway, how you persisted in the face of such rudeness and ingratitude I can’t imagine. Your doggedness reminded me of a hero of mine, Nick Stokes, another Aussie, who helped keep me sane during that grisly Lisbon “conference”/Judith Curry’s “coming out” party back in 2011. Is it all down to the famous Aussie grit and determination?

      Incidentally on the subjects of Curry and of McIntyre's useful idiots did you spot the shameful bit of plagiarism of McIntyre from her that I posted up near the beginning of this thread?

      A professor at one of the World's top 100 universities acting as the Auditor's parrot.

    62. HAS:

      "I think we've established that no one reading the thread understand how the index was created, WE don't understand the statistical relationship between the index and the tracer, WE don't understand how the time series was created given the problems GCMs have in modeling the SST in the region, nor do WE understand the impact of the tracer being correlated with the NAO and its confounding effect back on the relationship."

      WE is inclusive, therefore HAS stated that he doesn't understand, either.

      Yet, that didn't stop him from accusing the authors: "Rattus, I just want to be clear. I haven't accused anyone of lying. Less than honest, perhaps"


    63. Bill H. Is English not HAS's first language? He writes it rather well in that case.

      Or maybe, as with many trolls here, he was aching for me to ban him (ignoring my requests) so that he could trot back and play the martyr. When I didn't ban him, he decided that taking "time out" was as good and played the martyr in any case.

      He's behaved in classic troll fashion from his very first comment to his last martyrdom complaint, when he went back to his home.

      If he hadn't had a home to go to, then he probably would have followed up his "time out" by sending me a rash of comments here at HW, claiming things like "nobody reads HW anyway", and becoming increasingly abusive until I did ban him completely.

    64. Correction:

      "He's behaved in classic troll fashion from his very first comment to his last martyrdom complaint, when he went back to his home" should read:

      "HAS behaved in classic troll fashion from his very first comment to his last martyrdom complaint, when he flounced off back to his home".


    65. Also - many thanks, Bill :)

      I've just had a peep, and HAS is doing a Steve and making up stuff. It demonstrates that we were wasting our time talking to the proverbial brick wall (HAS). Though I'm pleased to see our comments did help other readers.

      And I see that Steve is doing a Steve and denying he couldn't understand EFA and gave eventually up in a huff. (Steve is still trying to claim it was Lewandowsky13 that was "highly flawed" - when it was Steve who couldn't understand it. And it was his work that was not just "highly flawed" it was arguably defamatory - watch this space.)

      To save readers the trouble here's a link - starting with Donna Summer's nice link:


      (Very few people have bothered to check HAS's tall tale by coming here, he'll be very glad to know. And I don't blame them.)

    66. @Doghaza - not to mention that everyone *except* HAS understands it's a simple subtraction:

      AMOC index = Sub-polar Gyre temperature minus Northern Hemisphere mean surface temperature

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

    68. HAS was testing to see if his "time out" was up. It's not. He asked if I'd checked 1400 - by which I think he meant did I try to work out from Figure 3 itself, by attempting to line up the lines.

      I did better. I wrote to the authors, and can confirm that it's a simple subtraction.

    69. Well if HAS is still about perhaps he'd deign to explain to us all why he and all the other self-appointed 'auditors' out there have failed year after year to identify any of the serial blunders committed by 'contrarian' scientists. It seems so very like the entire 'auditing' community are a bunch of fakes.

    70. But Sou, HAS confirmed by his expert eyeball that the subtraction was wrong. How can you trust the authors over his eyes?

    71. Some have suggested that Steve McIntyre is more often wrong than right. I don't presume that he's deliberately misleading people, but has certainly been suggested by others.

      Not curious?

      If a Google search of "Steve McIntyre is more often wrong than right" returned 261,000 results, you wouldn't be curious?

      And if the first result claimed to show that he is on an obsessive quest to disprove Michael Mann's hockey stick you wouldn't be curious?

      I hate to ascribe motives. People are just as likely to be stupid as malevolent. It is possible he is actually right in this case, but plenty of evidence has been presented to the contrary.

      Until this is all cleared up its hard to judge one way or the other.

      Gee, it's fun to play the innuendo game. Glenn Beck would be proud.

    72. Captain FlashheartApril 12, 2015 at 1:47 AM

      I don't need to be curious or ask leading questions. I know McI is more often wrong than right.

    73. Sou: "I did better. I wrote to the authors, and can confirm that it's a simple subtraction."

      Ack! Your missing the point Sou. The point is to raise questions, not provide answers. Answers are typically mundane. Not so questions. Questions make us curious, and if phrased just the right way they can also make us suspicious.

      Anybody can provide answers. Especially if it's as easy as asking the author. It's hard to build a narrative around answers. Who's the villain? Where's the intrigue? We need to focus on questions.

    74. This comment has been removed by the author.

    75. We should never forget that it is the faux auditor's prerogative to ask the questions, and it is for the rest of us - mere mortals - to provide the answers. And answers must be given even though they represent nothing more than the material from which the next set of questions are formulated, because the faux auditors are only performing the fossil fuel industry's mission to spread disinformation.

      The faux auditors see themselves as this, only without the 'wit':


      The rest of humanity sees them like this: but only the ridiculous bit, not the wit:


      'Debating' with them bears a remarkable similarity to their using FoI to demand data that they have no intention of analysing. The data is nothing to them, the harassment, and the innuendo about fraudulent science is all.

    76. Anon said:

      Until this is all cleared up its hard to judge one way or the other.

      Maybe you haven't been hanging around too long in the climate change blogosphere, but if you have you should know that these pissing contests rarely if ever get 'cleared up'. Because people like McIntyre will never, ever admit to being wrong, even on the smallest point.

    77. metzomagic: Anon was serving up a nicely roasted McI kabob on a skewer. I'm sure they're acutely aware of all climate change blogosphere traditions, including the inability of any major denier to admit error.

    78. I'm not sure if I allowed back here, but I do need to admit I was wrong.

      The relationship between d15N and the AMOC didn't arise from relationships between d15N and either of the temperature series that went into AMOC. The failure was much more basic than that.

      The problem with finding interrelationships between time series like d15N and AMOC is that you need to make sure that there aren't quite unrelated factors driving them the apparent relationship. This is indicated if the series aren't stationary which is the case with these two series.

      One way to confirm or otherwise the existence of a relationship is to take first differences and compare the series (this is comparing the slope at each point rather than the actual value - obviously if these aren't related one would find it hard to say the time series were related).

      I digitalised the AMOC index and the d15N series and checked them out.

      Despite strong relationships between the series (that you see in the graphs) there is no relationship at all between the first differences of the d15N series and the AMOC index.

      Moving to the physical interpretation there is no case for arguing the AMOC tells us anything about the movement of the flows.

      This probably explains why the authors didn't do the required analysis, and left it to our failing eyeballs to draw the conclusions from the graphs.

    79. It's your failure, HAS - not the experts.

      HAS's comment is coming from someone who five days ago didn't understand the paper enough to realise that dN15 was about mass water movement, not temperature. This was despite him apparently reading the paper, and despite the above article, and despite the numerous responses he got. He decided the authors and reviewers and editors from Nature Climate Change had messed up! An inflated sense of self-importance and a denier bent, has HAS.

      Then he couldn't understand the simple subtraction used to develop the AMOC index, again insinuating the authors were wrong and he was "right". Ha! He "didn't believe" the clear statement explaining it in the paper, and couldn't even see what was staring him in the face in a chart.

      He's still pitting himself against one of the world's leading experts on AMOC - and still losing badly.

      Take no notice of HAS, ever, on anything related to climate or earth sciences.

      A slowing AMOC will, by definition, slow ocean currents. (BIg hint: the "C" in AMOC stands for circulation!)


      The fact that the slopes of whatever at two places, very far apart, aren't identical every single minute in time means squat. There is a lot of water mass movement between the sub-polar gyre and the area near Nova Scotia and an awful lot of ocean for it to move around in.

      The fact is that less water came from the Labrador when the AMOC index dropped suggested a slowing of the AMOC. That's quite clear.

      (Think "water mass movement" in a vast ocean - not the flow of water out of a short 2cm diam hose.)

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

    81. HAS's comment has been moved to the the HotWhoppery.


    82. HAS is taking first differences and considering the AMOC and d15N series to be nonstationary? Sounds like somebody has been reading the Beenstock et al nonsense and thinking both d15N and the AMOC are random walks, an approach best described as worthless by Tamino here and here.


      A recurring, albeit pointless, exercise from deniers. Both mass flow changes from d15N and the AMOC are bounded phenomena driven by physics, not random walks. As a pointer to readers, whenever you hear someone invoke "not stationary", "first differences", or "random walk" with respect to climate, you're about to hear nonsense.

    83. A random walk is ARIMA(0,1,0) a special case of integrated time series. Like random walks the series we have here are integrated to the first order but are they not random walks.

      The difference is they also contain significant autoregression and trend, but is possible that if the autoregression is modeled at higher orders the trend ceases to be significant (i.e. they are likely ARIMA (3,1,0) or ARIMA (1,1,1)) .

      [The parameter used in the ARIMA model show the order of AutoRegression, Intergration, and Moving Averages (aka trend) respectively]

    84. But you asserted that the d15N proxy and SST AMOC index are non-stationary. As opposed to physically constrained (trend!) stationary phenomena that will vary around the driven/forced state?

      As trend-stationary phenomena the appropriate check on their relationship (if you are interested in those statistics) would be correlation of values over time, not differencing and comparing _rates_ of change (derivatives), an inherently noisy comparison. Which in the case of two different physical phenomena is particularly uninformative.

      And (as has been pointed out to you repeatedly on this thread) both are effects (and indicators) of the underlying circulation changes investigated in the paper. Their relationships are properly speaking to that circulation, as separate indicators, and the Rahmstorf et al paper isn't trying to make conclusions about the statistical relationship of the two indexes. They are using the physics of circulation, and the understood relationships between water mass source/d15N and between circulation patterns/AMOC SST index to investigate the AMOC circulation.

      Screwing around with the statistics of index derivatives, in the absence of the underlying physics, is nonsensical. And doesn't address Rahmstorf et al in any manner whatsoever - it's simply irrelevant.

    85. Shorter answer: "...you need to make sure that there aren't quite unrelated factors driving them the apparent relationship..." There are known factors driving both indexes - the ocean circulation. And while proxies need to be checked for physical confounding factors, both proxies have strong relationships to the underlying AMOC.

      You aren't making a physical argument, such as investigating possible confounding factors - you're just messing around with (inapplicable) statistics trying to generate some kind of objection. Physics discussions require physics, and you aren't supplying any.

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    87. Captain FlashheartApril 15, 2015 at 8:56 AM

      How did you compare the series HAS? How does your argument change if both series are correlated with or driven by an I observed factor?

      Why didn't you digitize the series before you started making accusations of deception about the construction of the index? Your eyes were good enough then, until you were shown up as a fool. Now you have moved on to a new criticism, without acknowledging how mean your last one was... You say the "graph was ambiguous " but what you should say is you "didn't understand the graph when everyone else did".

      You really are as Ill mannered and mendacious as your hero.

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

    90. Captain Flashheart - "Why didn't you digitize the series before you started making accusations of deception about the construction of the index? [...]. Now you have moved on to a new criticism, without acknowledging how mean your last one was..."

      Because HAS is thrashing around with different claims trying to come up with a sciency sounding objection to the paper. And failing.

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  18. Well, Steve Mc has amended his post, in the interests of “clarifying misunderstandings”. Interestingly he has only added text: there are no “strikethrough” passages. This makes for some rather clumsy syntax. The substantial changes are:
    But all that the coral d15N series show is (at most) that there has been increased [Apr 7 – mixing proportion of lower d15N Gulf Stream waters, which could account for] increased temperatures offshore Nova Scotia) – but the significance of this relationship is very tenuous.
    It’s not even well established that coral d15N is a proxy for local ocean temperature [Apr 7 – or mixing of water masses].

    There’s currently nothing at the top of the post to indicate that amendments have been made, so anyone reading it would be puzzled by the various “[Apr 7th]” insertions.
    The second amendment is highly disingenuous: of course it hasn’t been “well established” that it’s a temperature proxy, since there are plenty of good temperature proxies available already, so such “establishment” is unnecessary. Unfortunately, his “no deletions” rule meant he had to fall back on this form of words.
    As for Steve’s claim more general claim elsewhere of d15N being “little used” as a proxy I actually challenged him on this, having the temerity to suggest that maybe he needed to research it sufficiently. He replied that he didn’t need to research because he was an expert on proxies already. A quick search by me on Google Scholar revealed 1100 citations on d15N as a proxy. Not exactly “little used”.
    No acknowledgement was made to me for pointing out that Rahmstorf et al were not using d15N as a temperature proxy, which rather undermines his claims of mistreatment by scientists for their not acknowledging his “assistance” to them.

    1. His article has turned into a real mess. As you say, he still hasn't let go of his temperature idea. Plus he inserted a strawman:

      "[Apr 7 – mixing proportion of lower d15N Gulf Stream waters, which could account for] increased temperatures offshore Nova Scotia) – but the significance of this relationship is very tenuous. On its face, the d15N series does not show that subpolar gyre temperatures have decreased [the definition of Rahmstorf’s AMOC index]."

      No it doesn't show that. And Rahmstorf15 makes no such claim. That would be silly - it's way too far away and in any case, the currents are flowing *away* from the subpolar gyre, not toward it.

      The significance of d15N was that it supported the evidence for slowing of the AMOC - the movement of water. That's it. It wasn't used in reference to temperature of the subpolar gyre at all.

      The main part of the study was looking at the anomalous temperatures in the subpolar gyre, plus data on Greenland ice melt.

      Steve McIntyre is a clod.

    2. As for mistreatment by scientists - phooey! He's the one who has maligned scientists and endlessly harassed them. He doesn't deserve any treatment at all. Not even deigned with mistreatment.

      I'm not surprised he's done nothing but give you grief. He doesn't take corrections kindly - especially not from someone who accepts climate science.

      You are being credited in places that matter :)

    3. Actually, to give Steve his due he did take down some of the ad homs.

  19. Looking through Steve McIntyre's amended post I note that the passage:

    The idea that coldwater corals offshore Nova Scotia can be thermometers for ocean temperature in the subpolar gyre has little more plausibility than the belief that stripbark bristlecones in the distant Sierra Nevadas or contaminated Finnish sediments can be thermometers for the subpolar gyre.

    remains completely unchanged, so he's still claiming that Rahmstorf et al. are using d15N as a "thermometer". Either he overlooked like that or, despite his great cunning, he couldn't work out a way of adding text to make it look less wrong.

    1. Unchanged and unhinged. :-)

      I still find it hard to believe that he doesn't understand what is going on, but he hates Mann so much...

    2. and you hate McI so much

    3. "and you hate McI so much"

      What sort of person would admire the vile innuendo that accompanies his posts?

    4. Bill H,

      I note McI is now claiming that you've run away from the discussion of stripbark bristlecones, leaving the impression that they actually apply to Rahmstorf (2015). I would think they don't, but then I think. Apologies if this has been covered explicitly somewhere else in this thread ... has gotten a bit lengthy and tedious in places. Keep fighting the good fight.

    5. Anoy, hate is too intense an emotion to describe what I feel about McI. Contempt describes it better.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.


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