Friday, March 25, 2016

Untenable denier delusions: Another Norman Page "ice age cometh" at WUWT

Times are tough in climate conspiracy land. Today there is another ice age cometh article at WUWT by Dr Norman Page (archived here). His headline is "Collapse of the CAGW Delusion: Untenable Past 2020". Anthony hasn't posted an "ice age cometh" article from this greenhouse effect denier for some time. His article seems to be based on the "work" of Syun-Ichi Akasofu, who is also a greenhouse effect denier. Akasofu's article was published in one of the journals of Scientific Research Publishing, which Beale has identified as a predatory publisher of junk. That is, it accepts any old nonsense. It's a "Little Ice Age bounce" paper otherwise known as a "the world warms by magic" article.

Norman Page's forecasts and imaginary millenial peak

Norman is also a "world warms by magic" proponent. He hides it by writing a lot of gobbledegook about patterns and cycles that don't have any physical basis. This time he put up some of his own forecasts. Here they are:


3.1 Long Term .
I am a firm believer in the value of Ockham’s razor thus the simplest working hypothesis based on the weight of all the data  is that  the millennial temperature cycle peaked at about 2003 and that the general  trends from 990 – 2003 seen in Fig 4 will  repeat from 2003-3016 with the depths of the next LIA at about 2640.

3.2 Medium Term.
Looking at the shorter 60+/-  year  wavelengths the simplest hypothesis is that the cooling trend from 2003 forward will simply be a mirror image of the rising trend. This is illustrated by the green curve in Fig,1.which shows cooling until 2038 ,slight warming to 2073, then cooling to the end of the century.

Norman posted a chart from Akasofu (2010) up the top, where the green line showed his medium term prediction. I'd say it's already wrong. Look for yourself. Akasofu said the observational data is from NOAA, so I've superimposed the NOAA observations on the chart as an animation. I've added a line to show the temperature that Akasofu said was Little Ice Age (LIA) temperature (one degree colder than in 2010), but it's not the LIA minimum, which would be colder:

Figure 1 | Animation showing actual NOAA observations of global mean surface temperature superimposed on the prediction from Norman Page as shown at WUWT. The base chart is from Akasofu 2010

Here is a blow up of the portion where the blue line (observations) overlap Norman's forecast, his green line. They are going in opposite directions:
Figure 1a | Magnification of the forecast/observation overlap from Figure 1.

As you can see, his prediction is already showing strong signs of failing. Norman fudges by shifting to lower troposphere temperature from RSS, and saying:
The cooling trend from the millennial peak at 2003  is illustrated  in blue in Fig 5. From 2015 on,the decadal cooling trend is obscured by the current El Nino. The SOI peaked in late 2015.Temperature peaks usually lag the SOI peak  by 6-7 months so there may be further modest warming  through April 2016. Thereafter during 2017 – 2019 we might reasonably expect a cooling at least as great as  that seen during the 1998 El Nino decline in Fig 5 – about 0.9 C
There are some questions that have to be asked.
  • Why did Norman feel he had to shift from land and sea surface temperature to the lower troposphere? 
  • When he did so, on what grounds did he split the trend line? 
  • Why did he end the split trend line at January 2015 instead of February 2016? 
  • How did he come up with the notion of a "millenial peak" in 2003? 

Below is Norman's Figure 5, animated with the RSS temperatures from 1980 with an unbroken trend line:

Figure 2 | Lower troposphere temperature from January 1980 to February 2016. The animation shows Norman Page's  nonsensical "trends" together with the linear trend for the entire period. Source: Wood for Trees

I'd say the answer is here - using GISTemp data. The land and sea global mean surface temperature doesn't corroborate his yarn:

Figure 3 | Monthly global mean surface temperature from January 1880 to February 2016.  Data source: GISS NASA

The above Figure 3 is a monthly chart, on the annual chart below it is easier to see the trend. There's not only no ice age in sight, there's no sign of a break in the trend since the 1970s. I've also marked Norman's imaginary "millenial peak" of 2003.

Figure 4 | Annual global mean surface temperature from 1880 to 2015. Data source: GISS NASA

Norman and his mischaracterised "wicked problem"

Norman's conclusion is laughably bad. He claimed the scientists don't know what they are doing, then wrote about some imaginary solar cycles, and finished with a misunderstanding of the "wicked problem". He wrote:
It is fashionable  in establishment climate circles to present climate forecasting as a “wicked” problem. I would by contrast contend that by adopting the appropriate time scale and method  for analysis it becomes entirely tractable so that commonsense working hypotheses with sufficient likely accuracy and chances of success to guide policy can be formulated.
It's not climate science "forecasting" that is the wicked problem. The "wicked problem" is the policy response. "Wicked problems" are those for which the solution is bound up in the problem definition. One in which only by developing solutions to the problem can you understand the problem better. One where it's almost impossible to see all the downstream repercussions as you implement solutions. One where if you don't address the problem there will be worse repercussions. And so on. Making projections of climate is much more straightforward than deciding the best public policy solutions to climate change.

Norman's iffy if's

Norman's last sentence is a lot of untenable "ifs":
If the real outcomes follow the near term forecasts in  para 3.3 above  I suggest that the establishment position is untenable past 2020.This is imminent in climate terms.  The essential point of this post is that the 2003 peak in Fig 1 marks a millennial peak which is totally ignored  in all  the IPCC projections.

His near term forecasts seem to already be proven wrong. Also, there was no "millenial peak" in 2003 as you can see from Figure 4 above. Is it any wonder that his imaginary peak has been ignored in all the IPCC projections?

From the WUWT comments

I don't think anyone remarked on the fact that Norman's forecast was already looking very shaky. There were the expected false allegations that climate scientists have committed fraud - some quite specifically defamatory, and other defamatory conspiracy theories, which Anthony Watts left unchallenged. One day these may come back to bite him. There were also lots of comments about Norman's imaginary solar cycles. The first one was from solar physicist Leif Svalgaard. lsvalgaard wrote:
March 24, 2016 at 1:53 pm
The best proxy for solar activity is the neutron monitor count and 10 Be data.

The general increase in solar activity which accounts for the temperature rise since the Little Ice Age is obvious in the ice core 10 Be flux data between about 1700 and the late twentieth century.

Berggren shows that the 10Be count 400 years ago was comparable to what it is today, demolishing your 1000-year wave. Berggren’s conclusion is that the count ” do not indicate unusually high recent solar activity compared to the last 600 years”, demolishing your 1000-year wave.

The Waldmeier Effect [ ] shows that solar activity has not had any upward trend since 1700, demolishing your 1000-year wave.

As Einstein said: “make it as simple as possible, but no simpler”.

It seems to me that fall short of his advice,

The irrepressible conspiracy clown Marcus expressed lots of silly nasty "thoughts" about Leif Svalgaard, so much so that Anthony Watts stepped in. This was by no means the worst "thought" from Marcus:
March 24, 2016 at 2:23 pm
..All you have to do is mention the Sun and lsvalgaard goes batty !!! He is an anti-Sun kind of guy !!

Anthony Watts told him to tone it down:
March 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm
Marcus, tone it down or I’ll be forced to put you on moderation.

Lots of people made comments of the type "I don't understand a word but it's brilliant". catweazle666  
March 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm
Good piece Dr. Page. 

markstoval was one of the climate conspiracy theorists falsely alleging fraud, but he wasn't the worst:
March 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm
“To the detriment of the reputation of science in general, establishment climate scientists made two egregious errors of judgment in their method of approach to climate forecasting and thus in their advice to policy makers in successive SPMs.”
I would add a third egregious error that you seem too gentlemanly to mention. I would add that besides the two egregious errors you mention in the text, that the so-called scientists made the egregious error of deciding the answer ahead of time and then cooking the books to support the conclusion they started with.
You might call error three “conformation bias run amok”. 

Frankly, there are virtually no decent comments on Norman Page's idiocy. The closest are those from Leif Svalgaard, but he doesn't make any comment about the failure of Norman's forecast to line up with what has been observed. I don't think anyone commented on Norman's rejection of the greenhouse effect. The subject of CO2 was raised by a few people - mainly to reject it.

Anthony Watts must be struggling to find any decent fake sceptic. That's not a surprise - I doubt there are any.

References and further reading

Akasofu, Syun-Ichi. "On the recovery from the Little Ice Age." Natural Science 2, no. 11 (2010): 1211. DOI: 10.4236/ns.2010.211149 (open access and worth less than what you pay for it) The publisher is on Beale's list of predatory publishers, and puts out tripe.

Rittel, Horst WJ, and Melvin M. Webber. "Dilemmas in a general theory of planning." Policy sciences 4, no. 2 (1973): 155-169. (pdf here) (The first paper to characterise "wicked problems".)

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. "He hides it by writing a lot of gobbledegook about patterns and cycles that don't have any physical basis. "

    The key here is "physical basis". I have been researching the behavior of QBO, which is one of the most well known global oscillation patterns, yet undermined by a "gobbledegook" model proposed by Richard Lindzen over 40 years ago. And Lindzen's theory is still currently accepted as the de facto model.

    The problem with Lindzen's theory is that the QBO cycles match exactly to those of aliased lunisolar periods, which provides a much better physical basis for QBO behavior. Compared head-to-head, it's no contest to choose a model with a physical basis over a gobbledegook model such as Lindzen's

    Dr. Norman Page is much like Lindzen in creating a Just-So story to try to explain the data. Like Rudyard Kipling observed over a century ago, the pattern in a Leopard's spots can be explained by any preposterous theory (i.e. Just-So), but that doesn't make it true.

  2. This is climate modelling with crayons: I have to wonder how he became a doctor. Or perhaps it would need Lewandowsky to explain how, being a petroleum geology doctor (from the linked Hotwhopper article), a fear of losing one's livelihood might cause an otherwise rational person to stray so far into batshitcrazyland.

    1. To judge from the date of his Ph.D. thesis (Carbonate Replacement of Detrital Quartz in Upper Cambrian Dolomites of Warren County, New Jersey, 1961), Page is another elderly crank wasting his senior years on an ill-considered hobby well outside his former area of expertise.

      There are more than a few examples like Page among the denier community. It's kind of sad.

    2. Perhaps he is unable to accept that his life's work has been to contribute to the destruction of the planet.

  3. See also comments at Moyhu, including Page on "expanding Earth."

    See also email from Freeman Dyson (sad).

    He is a retired Houston geologist, after all.

  4. Hotwhopper
    I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my WUWT post
    A few points. The major difference between your interpretations and mine is of course that I am using the RSS satellite data. The sad fact is that the original standard land / sea data bases have been steadily readjusted over time by the establishment groups to try to make reality fit their computer model outcomes and they are no longer useful as a basis for climate discussion.
    You say "Norman is also a "world warms by magic" proponent. He hides it by writing a lot of gobbledegook about patterns and cycles that don't have any physical basis." The evidence for the millennial cycle and its timing and magnitude is strong and persuasive. I invite your readers to judge for themselves by looking at the data in Figs 1,3,4,5,and 6 in the post.
    The main evidence for the millennial peak is obvious in Fig 8 where solar activity peaks at about 1991 ( NM count low)
    The post says " There is a varying lag between the solar activity peak and the corresponding peak in the different temperature metrics. There is a 12 year delay between the solar activity peak and the millennial cyclic temperature peak seen in the RSS data at 2003.( Fig 5 above )"
    Hence the break in the graph - and the point where the establishment make their schoolboy error by projecting upwards in a straight line.
    I stop the blue line at 2015 to show the cooling trend, The El Nino peak is a temporary aberration of the decadal trend which will soon dissipate as the El Nino peak dissipates.

    1. Ah yes, the worldwide conspiracy of scientists in America, Japan, and England in multiple research groups funded by multiple sources including the Koch brothers! And of course, for a denier, el Ninos only count when they are on the left side of the graph. Never on the right side. Everyone knows THAT!

    2. Norman, the person who put together RSS says to use RSS lower troposphere temperature with caution. I suggest if one does so because of a weird conspiracy theory, one should at least be consistent :(

      What about your broken forecast? That's using surface temperature, not the temperature way up above in the cold, cold air.

    3. How is it that pseudoskeptics always like to talk about steadily readjusted surface data - but somehow neglect to mention that the sum of these adjustments is to make the trend *smaller* ?

    4. How many pseudoskeptics can explain the algorithms used to compute the satellite temperature series, and compare the different versions of code? :-)

  5. Unfortunately, Pattern Recognition in Physics is gone, but Jeffrey Beall has a fine list of predatory open access journals that will publish anything for a small fee. See The peer review of Ollila (2016) for example.

    I mention that because Ollila was not the only signer of Will Happer's "300 scientists" (sic) letter to take advantage of such journals.


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