Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sunstroke hits Jim Goodridge at WUWT, and is CO2 cooling the sun?

Sou | 8:12 AM Go to the first of 34 comments. Add a comment
Sunstroke isn't fun, it mushes the brain. That's what's happened at WUWT today. There's a very weird article that Anthony Watts has posted, written by Jim Goodridge who long ago was State Climatologist in California. He started work at the US Weather Bureau in Sacramento in 1950, so he's probably in his late 80s. In that role, he did some good work from what I've read. If Anthony Watts knew him and cared, he'd never have let him post this article about sunspots. The article was very short and very wrong and is archived here.

First of all Jim put up some charts. The first one was of sunspots going back to 1700. I'll put up my own, which looks to be using the same data. Since Jim didn't say where he got the data, I can't say for sure. All the sunspot data shown here is from WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels and is the latest version.

Jim Goodridge, in his unwisdom, plonked a linear trend line through the whole lot and proudly proclaimed:
Sunspots have increased by 1 percent per year since 1700. This suggests recovery from the Little Ice Age of 1660 to 1710. A major increase in sunspot trend was observed from 1940 to 2002.
First of all, there was not a "major increase in sunspot trend" from 1940 to 2002. The sunspots reached a maximum of 269 in 1957, and declined in number from there on in.  If you want to see the shape better, below is a bar chart averaged at eleven year intervals (approx solar cycle):

Alternatively, you can look at the data plotted as an 11-year moving average:

It doesn't matter which way you look at it, the number of sunspots hit a peak in the middle of last century and since then have gone down a bit. In fact, they are down quite a bit in this current solar cycle.

Oh Pleeze (not again!)

Then, take a look at the top chart again. Would you do what Jim did to it? Would you whack a linear trend line from 1700 to 2015 over those data? What on earth possessed him, you may well ask. Apparently he's got it into his head that "it's the sun", not the greenhouse effect, which has caused all the recent warming. His next words were:
This is coinciding with the atmospheric CO2 increase. This suggests that the temperature-CO2 correlation is spurious, rather than causal.
Err - what? How Jim Goodridge made that leap of illogic one can only wonder. He skipped over about a zillion steps in his thinking, or maybe he didn't (think, that is).

Jim put up some other charts as well. I've no idea what he thinks he was doing, but he called one of them an "accumulated departure from average sunspot numbers", and the other "accumulated percent of average annual sunspot numbers". I think he must think that the sun adds up and the sunlight accumulates in the air or something.

When I searched for something about Mr Goodridge, I discovered an old post from Tamino from way back in December 2011, called "Oh Pleeze". Poor Jim has been puzzling over the sun for quite some time and learnt not a thing.

Is CO2 is cooling the sun?

I'd best add another chart in case anyone is wondering why I am flabbergasted that even a climate conspiracy blog like WUWT would post such silliness. It's the global mean surface temperature and sunspot numbers. There's no discernible relationship, and for the past few decades they've been going in opposite directions.

If you wanted to talk correlation, you'd be forced to argue that a decrease in sunspots led to an increase in warming. Or that sunlight has a cooling effect on Earth. That's if you didn't know anything about physics or solar radiation or sunspots. The temperature data is from NASA.

From the WUWT comments

The little conspiracy theorists at WUWT, who have had nothing to grab hold of for such a long time, are so desperate to grasp any foolish notion that they mindlessly embrace this nonsense.

Resourceguy probably thinks he's saying something intelligent:
May 3, 2016 at 12:11 pm
Such long term trends and large scale departures from trend hold the key to correlation with climate
He then posts a chart of what he calls the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, though it's not been detrended. Maybe he thinks the Atlantic is causing global warming, or the sun is just warming the Atlantic Ocean, or something. Whatever, it prompts and equally meaningless comment from Old'un, who wrote:
May 3, 2016 at 12:32 pm
Looks good to me There are more things in heaven and on earth than CO2, Horatio! 

Steven Mosher says "no", but without explanation (if one should be needed):
May 3, 2016 at 12:23 pm
“This is coinciding with the atmospheric CO2 increase. This suggests that the temperature-CO2 correlation is spurious, rather than causal.”
Err no.
logic fail. 
Other comments were very perplexing. Mark has to falsely claim that temperature data has been fudged, and presumably all the photos of open water in the Arctic too, and the photos of melted glaciers, and the sea level measurements, and the tide gauge measurements, and all else. He also has yet to learn that burning hydrocarbons produces CO2 and lots of it.
May 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm
before the temperature data got revised, 18 years, that’s all the correlation there is, from around 1975 to around 2000.
But since the data for the 1940s has been revised CO2 now correlates from the 60s to 2000.
Changing data (much of which you didn’t even have due to lack of records) 60+ years later, and using it to make scientific claims of ANY certainty is complete garbage.
Logic is not for you Mosher
It must sting that there is still not a shred of hard evidence as to the source of CO2 growth

Mike the Morlock doesn't understand what's wrong with Jim Goodridges illogical leap either:
May 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm
Steven Mosher May 3, 2016 at 12:23 pm
Err no.
logic fail.

Russell Klier didn't question Jim's wrong statement. Instead he made a joke about it, which if you thought there was a relation between CO2 and sunspots, would be spot on, only in the other direction. Burning fossil fuels is putting out the sun :)
May 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm
“A major increase in sunspot trend was observed from 1940 to 2002.
This is coinciding with the atmospheric CO2 increase.” …. It’s worse than we thought….Burning fossil fuels is wrecking the sun……..

Mark spouts some nonsense about the 1930s being hotter than now.
May 3, 2016 at 12:58 pm
Some claim mid 1930s were hotter than the 00s after about 2002, this is true for sunspot numbers.
 He's wrong, very wrong, of course:

Sparks decided that ENSO events are caused by the "suns polarities striking the earth". I call Poe.
May 3, 2016 at 1:31 pm
The 30’s were hotter than today… The suns polar field reversed a bit slower too, which causes spikes in the ENSO such as el nino, when the suns polarities strike earth when they are reversing we always see these spikes.


  1. I have no clue how he computed this, but "Sunspots have increased by 1 percent per year since 1700" cannot be true. That would be an increase of over 300% since 1700 or more than 3 times as much sun spots about now as around 1700.

    The graph shows nearly no trend. Certainly no three fold increase.

    1. He was out by a decimal point. The linear trend line is 0.097. He computed the average sunspot number as 79.5.

      0.097/79.5 = 0.12% a year. Not that this has any real meaning, since a linear trend is not a good fit.

    2. Well, killing time, about 10 minutes, I reverse engineered all three graphs.

      The last graph with the slope of ~1 (where 1 = 100% not 1%), is just the summation of sunspot number (count) divided by the average sunspot number per year (count/year), or ... wait for it ...

      sum(count)/(sum(count)/(N years)) = sum(N years) = 316

      Calculating the residuals just gives his 2nd graph (divided by average sunspot number).

      And subtracting the residual time series from the original linear fit gives you ... wait for it ...

      Y = X -1699.5 = 2015.5 - 1699.5 = 316 (for all n)

      N = Years = 316 or an 31600% increase in Years since 1699.5 AD

      I have no idea if the above was even mentioned at all over at that idiotarian website.

      But you know what?

      Adopting the Pyrrhonian septic philosophical school of thought, as put forth by that modern stinker Brad Keyes, and as embodied so eloquently by another modern thinker, Master Sergeant Schultz ...

      "I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!"

    3. Interesting. As I understand it WUWT has an entry requirement: all brains must be discarded before being allowed to comment. (Occasionally a mod won't notice that a commenter ignored this mandate, but usually they just turf the comment.)

    4. Sou,

      It helps to think of all of the denier websites as a campfire yet to be lit in Yellowstone.

      You have your paper and kindling a few cords of wood a very strong wind and a five gallon can of gasoline.

      Watts and his ilk are just the pyros or firebugs.

  2. Every now and then Mosher gives nice clear explanations but mostly he contestis Willard for the obscurantist of the year award.
    (No not that Willard, the other one)

    1. Mosher if you are going to lurk at WUWT you have a moral duty inform the denizens, otherwise why the hell do you go there?

      Is your reticence to teach at WUWT a result of never having taught in an academic environment?

    2. His reticence may be tied to a knowledge of the uselessness of reading Shakespeare to warthog. While a whack on the nose might have some effect -- as likely to anger as to enlighten -- it's simply a waste of the Bard's gift to spread it before hogs.

      Still, if Mosher made his points a little more comprehensibly, those of us who occasionally use WUWT for laughs might be better informed about the interesting work they're doing at Berkeley.

    3. Eh, I appreciate Mosher's postings.

      I certainly don't have the fortitude to wade into WUWT so often.

    4. "Mosher if you are going to lurk at WUWT you have a moral duty inform the denizens, otherwise why the hell do you go there?

      Is your reticence to teach at WUWT a result of never having taught in an academic environment?"


      It depends on how much time I have. On occasion I will do longer comments. In truth it depends on how heavy the traffic is and how long I can take my eyes off the road to post. At other times it depends on how long a compile is taking. Right now, the job is running really slow so I have time to write less cryptically.
      Sometimes I choose to be cryptic because I know some tool will have a less than witty retort and then I can spin off that. So, partly it;s just having fun. There are other times when I just want to annoy people. And there are times when I do take the time to put together longer responses. And there are times I am just experimenting with certain lines of thought or twists in arguments. Its a sandbox for me. And Anthony doesnt always let me play.

      Other points: hated Shakespeare, I preferred this guy

      " Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
      And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
      Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
      Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies!—
      Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
      Here will I dwell, for Heaven is in these lips,
      And all is dross that is not Helena."

      And Pynchon of course.


      When I worked at Northrop in LA we would often go hang out in hermosa to see if we could run into pynchon sitting in the theatre with his pigs


      Err UCLA, freshman composition and TA for
      a bunch of classes. TAs in the 10 series had to give full lectures ( a couple times a quarter )
      I would typically give a TS Eliot lecture ( Bathos in J Alfred Prufrock ) or a Yeats lecture ( nietzsche and the dialogue of self and soul) or sometimes A Hopkins lecture can't recall them all. Then sections twice a week which was also a lecture but a smaller group obviously.

    5. I would typically give a TS Eliot lecture ( Bathos in J Alfred Prufrock )
      Tedious argument if you asked me.

    6. If I were a screen writer and I had to introduce Steven Mosher into the first act and all I knew of him was his CV and Climate Gate and somehow I had to establish this Northwestern English Lit Hons grad in just one line without resorting to expositional dialogue what would I write?

      Thankfully Steven has solved the problem for me (if not for the actor playing him).

      Mosher. Steven Mosher. I hate Shakespeare.

    7. Mel Gibson is a good choice.

    8. Steven, Mel Gibson is a good choice. I finished working with him on December 16. He is a directorial genius. Academy noms in Jan'17. I'm taking bets.

    9. Is that the film Hacksaw Ridge? Lots of good buzz I hear.

    10. Yes @whut. I found out on Saturday that the results of the research screenings held in Sherman Oaks LA were startling.

      Here's a Facebook quote from one of the H.R. writers

      We had our first test screening last week through Screen Engine LLC (the premier market research company for movies in the world), and we scored higher than any movie in the history of that company. We are so blessed. The CEO called me after the screening and said our picture is a masterpiece -- one of the most powerful films he's ever seen.

      Needless to say, Lionsgate is delaying its release until the awards season in November.

    11. Great to hear. Road Warrior is my top action movie of all time, tied with Hitch's North By Northwest.

    12. PS 'Strayans - remember we know 'The Road Warrior' simply as Mad Max. And N by NW is an action film?! It's indisputably a classic though. Though I'd credit Rear Window as my favourite, which has been amusingly described as an 'inaction movie'...

    13. Its maybe known as Mad Max 2.

      N by NW is an action thriller -- getting chased by the crop duster and the Mt Rushmore scenes.


    14. the original Mad Max movie was marketed in the UK as simply "Mad Max"

      the sequel as Mad Max 2

  3. If we accept the 'Goodridge method' then global warming could be attributed to the number of electric screwdrivers on this planet. Or disposable nappies, or indeed any number of spurious statistics.

    All his 'method' has really proven is that WUWT is a website run by a numpty for numpties.

    1. Well looking at the "accumulated percent of average annual sunspot numbers", a very important measure it fits pretty well with both the temperature increase and CO2 increase. Coincidence? I think not. The Earth does count sunspots and it causes both CO2 and warmth which is why it was so cold and lacking CO2 in the past...
      Or it could be pirates.

  4. So the guy was a state climatologist. This implies he knows better (cf Curry).
    Climate revisionist. Paid, of course.

  5. First, thank you.

    As someone working in climate science for 20 years and wisely having left the contrary-sphere to their own, the discovery of your site have made me laugh out loud/having jaw dropping moments/hysterical fits of giggling and quite a number of other spurts of expression over the last hr or so (quiet afternoon as it is public holiday tomorrow).

    So the sunspots are still out there, even on (?) WUWT, even in it's raw form without the double flip of geomagnetic feedbacks, low level clouds and deep space radiation? We are still on the forefront of understanding that the global temperature goes up during higher solar activity and goes up during reduced solar activity because....well....the Sun?!

    Now, having been tempted into WUWT for peek, here is what surprise me. Why is there no civilian war coming out of the posts and between the commentators?

    I wonder about this because of the contrarian explanations provided. It is all sun. Internal variability does not exist. Everything is internal variability. The heat is created from geothermal energy at the bottom of the sea. The temperature does not go up in the first place. CO2 falls out (sic.) from temperature.

    It is so internally inconsistent. How can it be that the "solar forcing - global warming" people get along with the people saying there is no warming/it is (or not) internal?

    Secondly - it is so amazingly complex (at least for a rational mind that goes "what" when seeing very flexible minds do fantastic gymnastics around concepts of logic that feels every so alien). Would it not be much simpler to read a book on the fundamental scientific basis underlying AGW? It would not take many days. Even a simple course introducing these things takes only a few weeks. It can be thought without mathematical or statistical experience. I know because I have done it.

    OK. I know it is not about learning. It is about conflation. And I guess it is a way to "vent" or to feel anti-establishment or to feel edgy.

    Anyways: I appreciate your work. I know it is tiresome to meet "that argument again". But it also have merit. The hard-core deniers are loud and shouty, but not really that many. Many people will see arguments written out in a pseudo-scientific way and sometimes thing "this looks plausible". And then - sites like this that debug the arguments are helpful to the much larger curious population.

    The whole experience made me think of a new study (not at all regarding own science) on how climate science struggle to cross ideological boundaries. Maybe it will be fun for some to read it:

    Boomerangs versus Javelins: How Polarization Constrains Communication on Climate Change


    1. Would it not be much simpler to read a book on the fundamental scientific basis underlying AGW?

      Seriously. You can find "Principles of Planetary Climate" by Ray Pierrehumbert online, in PDF form, for free.

      I started off as a skeptic, having heard many of the common talking points and none of the rebuttals. Back in 2005-ish, I started digging into what the scientists were actually saying and listening to both sides. And it became clear pretty damn quickly that most of the skeptics had no idea about what the scientists were even saying. They hadn't bothered to get educated; they were arguing against strawmen. Most of the "skeptical" arguments are the climate science equivalent of "if humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys"?

      And so it continues to today.

      For cripes' sake, people, open a book, get educated, and then see if you have any intelligent critiques.

    2. Windchasers - It's good to know that (as I imagine when posting on WUWT - Toneb) there are non-committed passers-by who might, just might, bother to follow up what I post.
      However, I enjoy denying the ignorance there.
      After many years on Phys.org countering deniers I have a "repertoire" at my disposal to deal with the idiots when they come back with their usual ignorant mythology and d-k erisms. There is a technique required, or else they get to you. So very "down the rabbit-hole" of an experience.

    3. @ Windchasers, yes that sort of describes where I was some years ago

      From memory I think I semi bought into the 70's Global Cooling myth, together with the Global Warming changing to Climate Change claim

      But what really amazed was the continued repitition of the "trace gas" meme, and the fact that it contained no science at all

      Well about as much as saying "big things are heavier than small things"

      And having an Arts degree I read Bill Bryson's A short History of nearly everything - and it ignited a wonder (and appreciation) of science, the fact that it is hard, rarely proceeds in a straight line, but always moves forward

      (And a big hat tip to Potholer too)

      "Sceptics" and deniers just go round in circles, and presumably will eventually end disappearing up their backsides

    4. Thanks, glacier activity, and for the link to the paper. It is in some ways surprising, but not really. Seems to boil down to motivated reasoning = identity which trumps values. (That's not counting those who have lots of motivation and no values.)

    5. Windchasers and Tadaaa, wonderful to hear that scientific information can make a difference. Sometimes one wonders.

    6. well thank you Victor (and all the other scientist) for taking the time to explain the science and combat the ignorance

      it really does have an effect and make a difference

      research has shown something like 90% of views on forums and blogs never comment - lurkers

    7. And just to expand Victor, Bill Bryson asks (himself) at the beginning of his book

      "How do we know what we know" - and that just struck me as a great question

      And he went to answer it - through science

    8. I used to get work experience young people from about year nine and ten from various high schools.
      My job was to show them what science was really about. A lot of mundane repetitive work to run the brilliant research program.

      These young people were an inspiration to me. Such innocence and hope for the future.

      We did not let them down. We did not use them as cheap labour to sweep the floors.

      Most of what we do can be potentially dangerous so we got them to just tag along and observe.

      All of them were more impressed by the filling of liquid nitrogen dewars from our very large container at the back of our labs than the intricacies of structure elucidation by x-ray diffraction.

      I used to think all this effort was wasted until a young student in a pub opposite Melbourne Uni that said a very loud hello.

      It turns out that he was the son of a farmer with a love of science and his two weeks with us tipped him over the edge. He was in his third year at Uni and doing well at a degree in Physics. He introduced me to all his fellow students and said, without Bert showing me what science was really about I would not be here.

      I wonder now where all the others are? Bert

    9. Thanks.

      One of the advantages of being confronted with a-science is a renewed appreciation how amazingly wonderful science is. Like a fish does not appreciate how wonderful water is until it is gone.

  6. Windchasers, thanks for the tip on Principles of Planetary Climate. No idea it was online; I have the book which came out later (there's more material in the book than the pdf), but I like having an electronic copy so I can double-check something quickly without having to wait till I return home to my bookshelf (which could be anywhere from an hour later to six months later).


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