Climate Change Sceptics

Climate Denial Crock

In a recent post, I directed BraveNewClimate readers to a couple of excellent information websites, which are designed explicitly to answer/rebutt all of the common ‘arguments’ (for want of a better word) that are recycled by climate change pseudo-sceptics. Those two websites, Global Warming Debate and Skeptical Science, along with other excellent anti-denial sites like Deltoid and Greenfyre’s (which deal with the day-to-day lunacy that crops up in the newspapers and blogosphere), serve this ongoing need very well. But they do require one to take the time to read a lot of stuff, and let’s face it, there is such a morass of reading material thrust at us each and every day, that it can be easy to ‘switch off’.

As a way of adding diversity to your climate and energy education, I’ve already pointed to some useful multimedia sources for understanding more about fast reactor nuclear power. This post is to alert you to a similar non-textual resource which tackles the recycled pseudo-sceptical arguments head-on. It’s called ‘Climate Denial Crock of the Week‘, produced by Peter Sinclair (aka ‘greenman3610’).

This is an expanding series of ‘documentary’ videos posted on YouTube, underpinned by excellent production values, and narrated with a dash of humour to keep the material interesting. Each weekly ‘smashing of the crockery’ lasts about 5 to 10 minutes, so it’s not a huge time committment to follow this, week in, week out. It’s definitely worth the bandwidth — Sinclair manages to pack a whole lot of useful and accurate information into each video. All in all, it’s a really superb resource and I applaud his ongoing effort.

So far, the following 16 episodes have been posted (listed below in so particular order — you can watch them in any sequence) — the blurbs after the title are by the producer:

Solar Schmolar — A favorite hobby horse of Climate Denialists is that there is some kind of invisible, undetectable influence from the sun that is responsible for the unequivocal warming of the last century. Let’s put that crock under a microscope and see where the cracks are.

Ice Area and Volume –Denialists continually try to confuse the issue of northern polar ice caps. Here are the facts from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Party like it’s 1998 — One of the enduring classics of denialism, “Global warming stopped in 1998”, is of course, nonsense. Here’s why.

It’s Cold. So there’s no Climate Change — “I looked outside, and it was snowing, therefore, there is no climate change.” If that’s what passes for rational thought in your social group, you owe it to yourself to watch this edition of Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

The Scoop on Southern Polar Ice — Don’t back down from the watercooler wars. Climate Denial Crock of the Week shoots down the brainless, Rush Limbaugh factoids of global climate denial. Keep coming back each week for more real science on climate change, and send me your suggestions for climate crocks to crush.

Mars Attacks! — It seems to be agreed among deniers, that there is a warming happening on other planets in the solar system. And not just one or two planets. It is considered climate denier gospel that all the other planets are warming, and that this is proof that some kind of solar activity is warming the whole system. Let’s look at the evidence.

The ‘Temp leads Carbon” Crock –Find out what a straw man argument is, and how the most spectacular cherry pick in the history of scientific argument is just part of a day’s work for the professional deniers.

All Wet on Sea Level Rise — Sea level rise will be one of the most destructive effects of climate change, so naturally, Deniers have something grossly in error to say about it. We’ll look, as always, at the source documents.

The Medieval Warming Crock — The so called Medieval Warming Period is an article of faith among deniers. But what does the “Supreme Court of Science” say?

The Great Petition Fraud — We’ve all heard about the “Petitions” of “Scientists” who disagree with Climate Science. This sordid little episode in the history of climate denial points up once again the fundamental dishonesty of the climate denial industry.

I Love the ’70s!! — Everyone has a favorite decade, and for Climate deniers, that decade has got to be, the 70s. Yes, the decade of disco, kung fu, and watergate Because in the 70’s, Deniers will tell you, All climate scientists believed an ice age was coming. Those crazy climate scientists! Why can’t they make up their minds? But is that really true? Maybe a little historical perspective is in order.

That 1500 Year Thing — Climate Deniers S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery make their living by confusing and obfuscating the science of climate change. Their latest book, “Unstoppable Global Warming every 1500 Years”, is a compendium of vintage as well as cutting edge climate crocks. Let’s find out who they are and how they are bamboozling their audience.

The “Urban Heat Island” Crock — Could the scientists at NASA, the National academy of science, the American Meteorological Society, and every professional scientific organization on the planet really have been so silly as to miss something this obvious?

Sense from Deniers on CO2? Don’t hold your breath... — Does breathing really make global warming worse? Don’t let Climate Deniers hand you this load of compostable organic matter. Do conservatives really think CO2 is safe because it doesn’t cause cancer?

Don’t it make my Green World Brown — Deniers often will tell you that CO2 is a good thing, because it makes plants and crops grow faster.
Under ideal conditions, this is true. But scientists have been studying the effects of increasing CO2 in the real world…

The Big Swindle Movie — When the Great Global Warming Swindle was first broadcast – climate deniers thought that at last they had the definitive polemic to beat back the forces of science and reason…

Enjoy the Channel, and make sure you subscribe to the feed, so that you’ll always remember to get your weekly dose of climate crockery! I’ll also keep this post’s title listing updated as new vids are added.

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By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

158 replies on “Climate Denial Crock”

This is a great video series. I’ve been promoting it too, as much as I can. Usually when I direct skeptics to them they get all quiet and don’t comment again :)

Have you seen my blog? It has to do with how climate change relates to ideas such as credibility, responsible journalism, and risk management.

You can probably just click on my name and it’ll take you there.



I remember the first few Crocks on Youtube and thought they were interesting and original, but they have improved quite a bit over time as well! Thanks for reminding me that new ones are still being made. I have subscribed.


Yes, I’d also recommend this site .. but I’d go a little further.

If you see a good one, add a comment to that effect.
Peter Sinclair does a great job, indeed with fine production values. *Say so* now and then.

YouTube comments are filled with seriously Dunning-Kruger-challenged folks, with no moderation possible. See KingDingaLing090, for example in Party like 1998.


Good! Note that the comment wasn’t directed to Barry, but to the general audience.

It’s simply that anyone who takes the time (as Barry does here, or greenman does) to create high-quality content, deserves to hear occasionally from readers who appreciate it, and especially not be left alone with crowds of ignoranti, especially in venues where thee is no comment moderation.


Thanks for the link to this great site. I have made my first visit (one of many i suspect) and left some encouraging comments. I have subscribed to a feed as suggested. It will be a great resource to pass on to pseudo sceptics :)


One sceptic argument I’ve yet to see adequately addressed, at least in laymans terms. In language that could be used around the water cooler or at the BBQ, is the question of CO2 saturation….. The following is an example of what I’m talking about. It is from an interview with Ian Plimer, on Radio National’s Counterpoint, April 27th 2009. In response to a question about anthropogenic CO2 Ian Plimer had this to say….”the first 50 parts per million of carbon dioxide has a profound effect, and that absorbs a lot of infrared radiation. Once we’re above 50 parts per million, in effect carbon dioxide has done its job, and you can keep increasing carbon dioxide and that has very little change on temperature.” I’ve listened to Bob Carter running a similar argument. The saturation point often comes up in blog comments. I’ve yet to see a counter argument that would be comprehensible to a non scientist….Maybe Barry you help out with some references, or maybe in future do a posting on the issue yourself ?


Ian Enting has a good response:

Click to access plimer1a4.pdf

“p. 374: Once there is 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, the doubling or tripling of CO2 has little effect on atmospheric temperature because CO2 has adsorbed all the infra-red it can adsorb. The term ‘adsorb’ is defined (Macquarie Dictionary) as “ to gather a gas, liquid or dissolved substance) on the surface of a condensed layer . . . ”, c.f. ‘absorb’ for which the same dictionary’s definitions include 5. to take or receive in by chemical or molecular action while Chambers Twentieth Century dictionary’s definition of ‘absorb’ includes “to suck in, to swallow up, … to take up and transform (energy) instead or transmitting or reflecting”. An consistent failure”

and, more directly pertinent to your question:

“p. 375, figure 50:1 As with many of the graphics, this is poorly described with no attribution of the numbers. However above 100 ppm the values seem to be inversely proportional to concentration as expected for incremental change when temperature has a logarithmic dependence on concentration (which Plimer acknowledges on p. 338). Thus a better label for the vertical axis would be ‘incremental warming’. This means that the claim in the caption once the atmosphere is at its present 385 ppm a doubling or quadrupling will have very little effect on the atmospheric temperature is untrue. (Note also similar statement on previous page — item 24). Each doubling will have the same effect on temperature until concentrations get so high that the logarithmic relation breaks down. The trend in Figure 50 shows no sign of this happening around 400 ppm. The bars would imply that the increments correspond to each additional 20 ppm of CO2. This would imply a climate sensitivity of 0.35C. While the origin of the numbers is not given, the discussion below notes that they can be explained by using 0.5C for the climate sensitivity (the lower of Plimer’s other values); then having a factor of 1.44 error through neglecting to consider the change of base of logarithms.”

See also his comments on pg 11-12 on climate sensitivity.

So, as per usual, Plimer’s and Carter’s arguments are based on a mixture of mathematical errors, distortion, misrepresentation, and an unsupportably low (and utterly arbitrary) climate sensitivity.


Barry would you use the Paleocene Ecocene Temperature Optimum as an example that could demonstrate to lay people the scale of the warming expected?

would you see any problmes with this analogy?


The problem with the 55my PETM analogy is that it was a hot spike that occurred in a world already much warmer than today (it was already about 5C hotter). So, for instance, there was no ice to melt on the planet when this excursion occurred.

Thus the temperature response of perhaps +3-5C that seems to have resulted from a massive injection of greenhouse gases (perhaps 2-3 times what we’ve already liberated through industrial activity) would cause less temperature response compared to today, because (i) of the logarithmically declining effect of CO2 [if CO2 was already 1000 ppm and the event took it to 2000 ppm, then that’s the same as going from 280 to 550 ppm today] and (ii) lack of albedo feedback (which would be more important today). So I’d consider the PETM useful but limited as an analogy.


PETM = Paleocene Ecocene Temperature Optimum? Mmmm.
And I thought it was Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum – not very optimal at all.



As I understand it, the CO2 blanket gets thicker, not just denser. So the CO2 reaches higher into the atmopshere, further slowing the escape of heat. I.e. atmophere with concentrations of >50ppm are exended higher and higher.

Further more, at these higher altitude there is less or no effect from water vapour, hence the warming impact of CO2 increases relative to H2O at higher altiudes.


Richard you could also show them figure 7 in

which shows TLT warming trend and TLS cooling trend (i.e. signature that heat escape is slowing).

Though showing this chart you might also need to bring aresols into the discussion (volcanic erruptions coincident with TLS spike, and TLS cooling slowing coincident with rise in Asian production and decline in air quality.


Thanks for the reference Barry, though I doubt Enting’s response would assist much around the water cooler or at the BBQ. It is not just Plimer pushing this argument. Carter I’ve mentioned, Kinninmonth, also uses the same argument. It is a sceptic debating point that fits neatly with the current La Nina weather pattern. “CO2 levels are increasing,so where’s the warming?” I just hope someone out there takes the time and trouble to nail this one, in language a lay person can relate to.


Aren’t most denialists coming from positions of ideology or immediate economic self interest? I think those that view the climate debate through such lenses simply cannot comprehend open archives of knowledge built upon genuine efforts to understand such things as human influence on climate processes; from those perspectives the processes and conclusions must be distorted by the ideologies and self interest of those who do science, after all that’s how politics and business operate. There is no acknowledgement that careers, within science, are seriously endangered by compiling arguments, adversarial style, entirely to support desired conclusions or outcomes, that glossing over counter arguments or cheating, instead of being advantageous as in politics and business, undermines credibility and careers, that if science papers are counted as important enough to influence current understanding they will be thoroughly scrutinised. It’s only possible to avoid being scrutinised if the paper makes minimal or no impact – ie has nothing of value to say. Scientists have to get things right to be successful, unlike politics where attack can be the best form of defence, bamboozling the public through emotional button pushing is standard practice and there is no long term; win now and you win and if scientific reality intrudes, beat it down again and win again.

Those that insist it’s all politics will use those no-holds-barred, no-truth-required methods to attack the science that appears to be counter to their ideology or is against their short term interests. If, in the future the climate fails to live up to their preferred requirements, they’ll have still had a successful career and perhaps a good pension to boot.

I sometimes think it will only be when successful lawsuits are brought for climate change damages that we’ll see a real shift to clean energy because I don’t see any governments willing to impose the necessary changes.


I agree with you Ken – in fact class actions are already being brought to court in the U.S.(see link) based upon the same principle that won suits over misinformation about the bad effects of smoking i.e. the companies are lying and conniving to undermine the proven science. Let us hope the Eskimo village of Kivalina wins this which will open the door for similar actions to be brought. Maybe then we will see the end of the funding of pseudo-science for propaganda, by Big Oil and Coal etc.
From the link:-

“Union Of Concerned Scientists”

“ExxonMobil covertly established “front” groups, promoting writers who exaggerate uncertainties in the science,and improperly cultivating ties within the government. The oil company has funneled approximately $16 million to carefully chosen organisations that promote disinformation on global warming”


Aren’t most warmists coming from positions of ideology or immediate economic self interest? I think those that view the climate debate through such lenses simply cannot comprehend open archives of knowledge built upon genuine efforts to understand such things as human influence on climate processes; from those perspectives the processes and conclusions must be distorted by the ideologies and self interest of those who do science, after all that’s how politics and business operate. There is no acknowledgement that careers, within science, are seriously endangered by compiling arguments that disprove Anthropogenic Global Warming, and potentially threaten sinecures like the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change …..


I’m curious — where did that term ‘warmist’ come from? It implies people prefer warming (even worse, I’ve seen ‘warmaholic’). In fact, people who prefer a tolerable and relatively stable climate prefer that neither warming nor cooling occur. I’m glad you wish that people would pursue a genuine effort to understand such things as human influence on climate processes. I wish you the same — take the time to browse this site and the others I link to in the above post. You may yet learn something.


I don’t know where ‘warmist’ comes from, though it’s certainly less perjorative than its obverse ‘denialist’. I would describe myself as a skeptic, and as such I am uncomfortable with the faith positions held on both sides of this debate. Hence my original reply, which you must be able to see is just a cut&paste of the start of Ken Fabos’ original comment with a little find&replace, so as to turn it on its head and be equally strident and ridiculous.


Thankyou for the fine example. Monbiot and Booker are exactly the type of yin/yang-faithheads I was referring to in my previous reply.


“after all that’s how politics and business operate”

Ah , but not how science operates. Your mistake in in assuming that AGW and CC are driven by politics or business. This is a problem of the natural boundaries and systems, that civilization has evolved with, being disturbed. The Earth and its systems care not for your politics or commerce! Before becoming so concerned with CC, scientists would have been involved with other areas of research and have funding in place for that – CC has become such an overarching problem for all fields of human endeavour that future research has to factor in the likely consequences of AGW. Really, unless we fix this – nothing else will matter and that goes for “politics and business”!


Some responses to Mark Byrne. Mark (1) I have looked at the Paleo Eocene Thermal Maximum. Considering land masses and ocean circulation were different back then and the 6 degree C temperature rise occurred over 20,000 years, I’m not sure you would be comparing apples with apples in relation to the present day…..Mark (2) “the CO2 reaches higher into the atmosphere further slowing the escape of heat” I think a scientist named Santer came up with a similar explanation. From memory he did not go into the logarithmics of increasing C02 and climate sensitivity….Mark (3) The figure 7 you refer is of use in that it shows warming in the troposphere and cooling in the stratosphere. But then one has to link that to C02 increase…..The argument that most of the greenhouse effect of C02 occurs with the first 50ppm and what happens after that is of little consequence is not new. I first came accross the argument in a piece by William Kininmonth that appeared in the Australian Sept 12th 2006. I’m just surprised and frustrated this argument is yet to be fully debunked on web sites like ‘skeptical science.’


Richard, you’ll probably get a better answer from Barry, but here is my lay person response for other lay people:

1) From memory the PET Maximum resulted from release of CO2 equivalent to what we will release up to 2100. But in the PETM the release was slower by about 10,000 years. So while time scales might be out, the range of temperature (6 deg) supports climate sensitivities in the range of IPCC FAR (not those predicted by petering out at 50 pmmCO2).

2) You’ll need someone else to comment on the scale of effect of altitude expansion of the CO2.

3) The TLT warming and TLS cooling trends are predicted by the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect (at least unlit a new equilibrium is reached)and they are occurring (for 30 years of measurement) coincident with a dramatic rise in a CO2. I’m not sure if anyone has tie the two more than that. I suppose if they had they might be able to call it proof?

If Barry or someone else can provide more information it would be appreciated and read with interest.


As the article was about the series of the Climate Denial Crock, I just checked out the one on Ice Area vs Volume. Yes, what he’s said is true. He backs up his position with irrefutable evidence. Scary stuff!
However, he makes no mention of the fact that much is what is happening now, happened in the late 1800s up to the 1940s. There is enough evidence from the journals of Roald Amundsen, reports from the Norwegian Department of Commerce and even the US Weather Bureau, (especially during the 1920s) reporting on warm waters, unusual fish movements, ice melting and regular shipping use of the North West Passage. Although temps were lower globally then (although US had some of their warmest years in the 1930s), the Arctic temps were reported as quite high.
Luckily the cooling during the middle of the century helped the ice recover. Satellite data he uses as evidence began in 1979 when the next warming phase began. It would be interesting to see if computer models could simulate the conditions of early last century in order to to see if there is any difference.
I intend to look at the others in his series but hope they are more balanced than this one.


In this Ice Area vs Ice volume clip, a graphic is used that shows red area of ice that is said to be very old. What evidence is used to determine the age of this red area ice?


There is enough evidence from the journals of Roald Amundsen, reports from the Norwegian Department of Commerce and even the US Weather Bureau, (especially during the 1920s) reporting on warm waters, unusual fish movements, ice melting and regular shipping use of the North West Passage.

Not this again … (sigh)


Amundsen, for instance …

The Northwest Passage was not conquered by sea until 1906, when the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who had sailed just in time to escape creditors seeking to stop the expedition, completed a three-year voyage in the converted 47-ton herring boat Gjøa. At the end of this trip, he walked into the city of Eagle, Alaska, and sent a telegram announcing his success. Although his chosen east–west route, via the Rae Strait, contained young ice and thus was navigable, some of the waterways were extremely shallow making the route commercially impractical.

See, AGW “agnostic”, it wasn’t ICE FREE when he made his passage.


Yes, sigh.
So I suppose what you are saying Dhogaza that all Amundsen’s journals were fairy tales and can be dismissed out of hand.
So I have taken parts out of a report written on Oct 10, 1922 entitled THE CHANGING ARCTIC and submitted to the State Department in Washington which i used to frame my comments at Post 10.

‘The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from
fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas
about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to
a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto un-
heard-of high temperatures.’

‘In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The
expedition all but established a record, sailing as far
north as 8l 29′ in ice-free water. This is the farthest
north ever reached with modern oceanographic apparatus.’

‘In connection with Dr Hoel’s report, it is of interest
to note the unusually warm summer in Arctic Norway
and the observations of Capt. Martin Ingebrigtsen, who
has sailed the eastern Arctic for 54 years past. He says
that he first noted warmer conditions in 1915, and that since
that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that to-day
the Arctic of that region is not recognizable as the same
region of 1865 to 1917.’

The report later goes on to say that temps around Spitzbergen were
up to 15C (usually 3C) and that ‘the ocean did not freeze over even on the north coast
of Spitzbergen.’ Seals and white fish had disappeared.

To say this was isolated to one section of the Arctic would stretch anyone’s credibility.

For those who need further material, try;

Four years in the 1930s + 1921 all rate in the top 10 US hottest years. So there was definitely
something happening during those times which AGWers don’t wish others to know about.


AGW agnostic, I don’t read dhogaza as implying “that all Amundsen’s journals were fairy tales and can be dismissed out of hand.”

dhogaza cites Amundsen’s reports that:
1)The Northwest Passage was not conquered by sea until 1906, 2)Amundsen completed a three-year voyage in the converted 47-ton herring boat Gjøa.
3)Amundsen had chosen east–west route, via the Rae Strait, contained young ice and thus was navigable, some of the waterways were extremely shallow making the route commercially impractical.


Interesting material “agnostic” at #13.

But I’m here to join the praise for Peter Sinclair’s simply excellent video series “Climate Denial Crock”: it’s a beautifully balanced presentation of the science, worthy of commendation I think to almost any audience.


The frustrating thing about this whole debate is that ‘facts’ are reported and then those same ‘facts’ are refuted. There seems to be counter-arguments for every ‘fact’ given by reputable scientists on both sides of the argument. Even the IPCC, the body given the task of investigating the phenomena, can only give a 90% probability of AGW (a high figure but still leaves room for doubt). There seems to be no scientist who weighs up both sides but if you know of one, let me know.
There’s a report today about this April being the 6th warmest April on record at 1.06F above average. Yet the four most prominent temperature collators display differing results, even between the satellite data.


AGW agnostic,

There’s a report today about this April being the 6th warmest April on record at 1.06F above average. Yet the four most prominent temperature collators display differing results, even between the satellite data.

I wouldn’t put too much weight on a month-by-month result for temperature. The four main temperature series use different methods (satilite vs station thermometer locations etc). Besides, the Greenhouse theory predictions account for long term trends not short term noise.

When you say “There seems to be counter-arguments for every ‘fact’ given by reputable scientists on both sides of the argument.”
How does it look when you line up all the arguments together?
Does anything standout about about the sources of either side of the arguments?

There seems to be no scientist who weighs up both sides but if you know of one, let me know.


‘How does it look when you line up all the arguments together?
Does anything standout about about the sources of either side of the arguments?’

Not good, I’m afraid.
One of these arguments is:
Are temps getting hotter, cooler or ‘plateauing’? The last few years have been cooler but taken on a ten year average, this decade is warmer than the previous decade. So it seems both have a case.
But NASA GISS says 2005 was the hottest year, Hadley Centre and others say 1998. If NASA is right, temps are basically rising, if not, plateauing seems apparent. See

My point, I suppose, is that the institutions we rely on to provide solid data don’t even agree with each other.

Take the ‘hockey stick’ debate. Despite many studies + some historical data which conclude it was very warm 1000 years, Mann’s study showing that there was little warming. McKitrick et al showed flaws in Mann’s study and the jury it seems is still out. From around 1999, the IPCC used the hockey stick exclusively to prove this warming period is unprecedented ( although I have since noted the ‘hockey stick graph’ is not quite as prominent in their reports lately).

Wading through the claims and counter-claims is an interesting but frustrating activity. When time permits, I trawl through the rest of Climate Denial Crock and check it against other claims.


My point, I suppose, is that the institutions we rely on to provide solid data don’t even agree with each other.

When people measure things as complex as global average surface
temperature, I’d be more suspicious if they DID agree
precisely with one another … that would be like Mendel’s
pea experiments … the results are just too good.


AGW Agnostic:

My point, I suppose, is that the institutions we rely on to provide solid data don’t even agree with each other.

My understanding is that Hadley and NASA tread the artic differently (hence their slight disagreement). NASA extrapolate the warming (where temperature station on the not possible, while Hadley just use temperature from stations where they are possilbe.

Hence NASA would be closer to the mark if warming is increases with latitude and Hadley would be closer to the mark if there is no difference in warming between he highest latitude measuring stations and the higher latitudes of the arctic.

Given that nothing is perfect I wouldn’t quibble between the differences. Instead I am struck by the agreement of a significant warming trend that they agree on.

Regarding the plateau/cooling/noise question: My understanding is that the warming is not predicted to increase monotonically year on year. The enhanced CO2e temperature forcing is calculated to be only 1.6 W/m^2. There are natural cycles that produce greater range in temperature than that. The difference is that the natural cycles are cycles. They don’t keep pushing temperature in one direction.

There is some interesting work on this here:


‘My understanding is that Hadley and NASA tread the artic differently (hence their slight disagreement). NASA extrapolate the warming (where temperature station on the not possible, while Hadley just use temperature from stations where they are possilbe.’

I’ve read this too. But if NASA include temps from the Arctic, then those temps (because the Arctic would be cooler than data from further south) should reduce the overall global temp. Hadley’s non-inclusion should have global av temps higher because they do not include the cooler temps. But it’s the other way round.
(Unless of course NASA believe Arctic temps are warmer than those below 80).
Don’t get that at all.

‘Regarding the plateau/cooling/noise question: My understanding is that the warming is not predicted to increase monotonically year on year.’
That part I accept because other the factors are at work (as you say). The IPCC may be at fault there because it shows on many of its graphs from computer models that warming ‘appears’ monotonically.
However, from 1940 – 1975 temps dropped – how can increasing CO2 not influence temps over such a long period?


1) GISS vs Hadley

Do you understand the difference between temperature and temperature anomaly? This is pretty fundamental. At any given time, it may be cooler in the Arctic than further South, but it may be warming faster, which gives it a higher anomaly.

Google: ice-albedo feedback OR
polar amplification

Catching up on others:

2)The US is not the world. Some people get confused about this, and in particular, continental interiors sometimes have stronger temperature gyrations than more maritime climates. Dustbowl conditions (like in SW US in 1930s) tend to be somewhat self-amplifying.

3) The post-WWII temperature flattening is usually ascribed to growth in sulfate aerosols. Since economic changes can change aerosols quickly, akin to volcanoes, they can produce spikey temperature noise, especially in the Northern Hemisphere where the industry is. Add this to ocean oscillations, and there’s a lot of noise.

See top graph (N. Hemisphere) in NASA GISS, 3 latitude bands. Ignore the other two latitude bands.

Now, compare with Historical sulfur dioxide emissions 1850-2000, especially Figure 3, focusing on the bottom two bands, Europe and N. America,or adding East & Central Asia if you want.

Unlike CO2, aerosol plumes are more local. More aerosol causes more cooling effect to mask CO2+CH4 warming.
Less aerosol causes less masking, hence higher temperatures.

See 1945-1975, in N. America + Europe a long, strong rise in NH aerosols. Compare that with NH temperatures 1945-1975.

Now, just because two charts have a strong (inverse) correlation doesn’t mean that one causes the other, or that one is all of the cause of the other. However, there have been many studies that absolutely prove sulfate aerosols raise albedo and reduce the energy reaching the Earth, and the models were already good enough to do a good job on predicting the quantititative effects of Mt. Pinataubo, almost 2 decades ago.

Hence, this is why serious climate scientists have no trouble at all with that temperature flattening.


But if NASA include temps from the Arctic, then those temps (because the Arctic would be cooler than data from further south) should reduce the overall global temp. Hadley’s non-inclusion should have global av temps higher because they do not include the cooler temps. But it’s the other way round.

Good point!

I was actually refering to the greater warming, that NASA would pickup. You have identified another valuable point. Tamino talks about this in terms of “Reference Periods”.


Thank you for that link.
After all the reorganising they at least seem to be in some form of unison. However you think that they could all use the same reference periods and try to include the same areas to record raw data.
At the following link, there is an argument made that NASA have quietly changed the temps.
If this is true (and the proof is in the overlay of the 1999 and the 2007 NASA graphs to the IPCC), I think I might trust the satellites and Hadley to give a truer picture of temperatures. In 1990, NASA removed many stations from its coverage and used from 250 – 1250 km smoothing patterns to cover missing areas. Does not encourage confidence?

I see at your link, a blogger called henry (January 25, 2008 at 4:11 am) shows the same concerns as I do about the NASA and Hadley data.

I’m still worried about what should be the same raw data being open to so much interpretation.


Hanson, like others before him, has become so caught up in defending his hypothesis, rather that actually testing it, that he is clearly fudging the data (see:
So unless you’re an activist, the NASA temps simply aren’t credible.
This is a big problem. The “vested interests” aren’t just oil companies, but the (actually quite small) group of scientists, like Hanson and Mann, who have staked their reputations on the AGW theory and the radical restructure of the the world’s energy production.
Unlike the bad effects of AGW which may or may not happen in the future, the curbing of CO2 has already cost billions, on it’s way to trillions, and people have died because of the biofuel/food price spikes. Once you’re in that deep, it’s pretty hard to go “oops sorry guys, I made a mistake”.



I would have like the article’s author to report NASA’s response to the specific criticisms.

I understand the temperature records are adjusted/corrected eg. US temp was recently raised for a period in 1930s which slightly reduced the warming from that period to now.
So I guess there are valid reasons for correction when errors are detected.

BTW, there have also been several corrections/adjustments for Satellite temp data. So alas this may not provide the ultimate answer either.

Perhaps someone else here has insight into this issue of adjusting temperature data?

Let me know if you find a response from NASA.


‘Perhaps someone else here has insight into this issue of adjusting temperature data?’
This may explain the ’30s period you mention.
From The Times Friday, August 17, 2007
By David Byers

‘A NASA research department has admitted that the calculations it used to show an increase in U.S. temperatures were flawed, after a campaign by an amateur meteorologist using his blog.
Climatologists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York have been forced to revise estimates after research by Stephen MacIntyre, who published his findings on his Climate Audit blog.
As a result of his calculations, which he e-mailed to NASA, scientists at the agency now say that 1934, not 1998, was the warmest year in the United States since records began to be kept in 1880.’

NASA’s response – to quietly admit their mistake. That meant that 4 years out of the top ten warmest years in the US were in the thirties. Does this help?


For any point or region on the planet, what makes you
assume that the warmest year will always have the
same value?

It is absolutely plausible for a change
in ocean currents to change the global distribution
of heat, but that will only be relevant if it alters
the global radiative energy budget — energy arriving minus
energy leaving. As long as more arrives than leaves, then
there is a problem.


Ian George,

Thanks, that add another dimension as Stephen MacIntyre and his Climate Audit blog, were the sources cited in the Canada Freepress article (linked by AGW Agnostic).

I would thus think MacIntryre would understand the need for tempeartatue adjustmetns?

NASA’s willingness to admit errors and correct them seems positive.


Barry, some of this is highly debateable stuff.
The Hockey Stick with its hidden data and code, Southern Polar Ice, hidden code and bad methodology, UHI, dodgy data etc.
All we need now is Al Gore and AIT!


I was looking at ‘Party like 1998’ and during those warm winters around 1998 we had two skifields go into receivership because of lack of snow,their chairlifts dismantled, down here in NZ.Since then the skifields have done ok ,2004 winter was a long cold bumper year but in 2008 the paper reads ‘Rainbow Skifield gets too much of a good thing,access road blocked with snow’This is abnormally cold.Worst snow in 40yrs say local farmers.I sit here typing this in hellishly cold temps,hard frosts,snow right down on the mountains and its only May! No amount of figures and graphs can refute these observed facts.For historical sake,back in 1980 the first meeting of US scientists latching onto the old Arrhenius CO2 thoery was chaired by Al Gore.Whether this was political or scientific you’ll have to ask Al ,but I don’t think he’ll give you a straight answer.However in a truely masterful piece of politics he was able to cobble together a fistful of graphs all pointing upward saying we’re doomed. This works on the useful idiots whether or not the science is quack.I’m not particully enamoured of rampant capitalism and believe in looking after the environment,but it just gripes my scottish nature to see knowledge,especially science, so badly corrupted by politics.


No amount of figures and graphs can refute these observed facts.

Certainly, but they might put the facts into a context.


Which ones? I have tried the links on this post to Climate Denial Crock, and they are OK. I also tried the links to Barry’s ccq&a and the podcasts are still coming up OK – could the problem be with your computer?


This one seems to have been removed:

“This video has been removed by the user. ”

The Scoop on Southern Polar Ice —

Is it that the “crock” he presented proved to be true?


No, the crock didn’t turn out to be true.
It was my first video, and its deficiencies in editing annoyed me.
Also, it came out before Steig’s paper on Antarctic warming, so needed to be
updated. Am currently working on some new ones that work around the same topic.


Let’s not confuse the state of science with the state of politics. Nations always have questions of policy to consider and will at any time be debating possible plans of action in light of what is then known (the science). What is known is science; the policy-making is politics.

Some are eager to have you believe that scientific knowledge in itself can be political: don’t believe them! At the same time, don’t let anyone persuade you that scientists alone of all people are not allowed to have political opinions. Anyone whose political opinion involves someone else not being entitled to their own is not worthy of your time.


I would have thought that a fistful of graphs all pointing upward saying we’re doomed is every politian’s dream, don’t you agree Frankis?


Why? Mark , because it works on the ‘useful idiots’ as stated in my posting. Goggle up ‘useful idiots’ and investigate.


Mark, sorry, perhaps I should elaborate on why a fistful of graphs all pointing upward saying we’re doomed works. It’s the typical politics of fear. Fear is easily disseminated throughout the populace and there is a huge proportion of easily led people who will vote for that politician to allay their fears. A bonus is the gullible media (more useful idiots)who love doom stories thus compounding the hysteria. Whether the graphs point up or down is irrelevant,provided they only impart bad news.
Such is the blatantly obvious corrupt connection between the politician and science,many AGWers would like to disassociate themselves from Al Gore but unfortunately they can’t. His presence was hugely felt at Bali and he’s likely to be attending Copenhagen.
As for the science,both you and AGW Agnostic can argue the toss until you’re blue in the face but neither of you will ever win simply because a 1 or 2 degree change in outside temp. is indiscernible to the human body,so the issue can only degenerate into one group of scientists pitted against another. Al Gore had the wit to realise this,hence assembling his cabal of scientists.
So you’ve got to hand it to old Al. For nearly 30 yrs he’s conned half the western world and paradoxically is heading to become the worlds first billionaire environmentalist.
In addition somehow I have the feeling that in the distant future the muddied history books will reflect back to “Albert Gore’s Nobel Prizewinning CO2 Theory”. Arrhenius won’t get a look in .


NZ Mack,

Have you determined which group are the useful idiots? If so how?

Thankyou for you elaboration:
Does your argument mean that all fear is based on lies? If not why is your evidence that we should not be concerned about ehanced greenhouse effect?

Such is the blatantly obvious corrupt connection between the politician and science

Mack, you’ve haven’t established this point, only asserted it- you will need to elaborate further here.

You seem to be ad homing Al Gore, what about the science that Gore presents do you disagree with?


To establish the blatantly obvious corrupt connection between the politician and science you’ve simply got to ask the question : is Al Gore a politician or a scientist? The answer is blatantly obvious.
I think the science that Al Gore presents is near enough to sheer quackery Mark.


OK, I’ll try that.

A. Al Gore is a politician.

Nope, that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the claim that there is a corrupt connection between the science and politics of climate.

Pardon me for being obtuse but could you try again? Simply saying something doesn’t make it so. You’ve tried that three times now. Could you instead give us something objective to go on?


just another thought – Gore holds no political office nor is he campaigning for one. So I’m not sure you can call him a politician.


Yes, just look how much fun Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are having with it. Yep, both sides of politics, both just loving it, both just itching to launch their massive CO2 abatement plans.


Just viewed the ‘The Medieval Warming Crock’. I can’t believe that you are promoting this series. This episode denies the existence of the MWP on the basis of Mann’s hockey stick graph and casting doubt on the Viking historical era.
Outside the fact that the jury is still out over this graph (even the NAS found problems with Mann’s data), there are many studies from all over the world that consistently show the MWP. I’m not saying all these studies are flawless, but they all show the MWP was a very warm period.
By the way, if you check Mann’s original graph, you find that the period around 1900 is colder than the Little Ice Age around 1600-1700. Why weren’t alarm bells ringing on that bit alone? So using this graph to refute a MWP is not very convincing at all.

As far as the historical record goes, about 1003AD Leif Ericson sailed to what is now the northern area of Newfoundland. A Wikipedia report says in part;
‘Leif and his crew left Markland and again found land, which they named Vinland. They landed and built a small settlement. They found the area pleasant as there were wild grapes and plenty of salmon in the river. The climate was mild, with little frost in the winter and green grass year-round. They remained in the region over the winter.’ I would suggest that this is not indicative of the climate found there today.
Also, there is archeological proof that points to a warmer period such as Medieval Viking burial grounds in Greenland being found under permafrost!

I will check some of the others, but on the basis of this one, his proof to justify his position will need to be far more robust. His lack of rigour and research is showing.


My main objection is that the climate denial crock took one disputed study to disprove MWP. The other argument often bandied about is that the MWP was a localised warming, not global. Here are a list of studies that show a MWP. All the studies use differing proxies.
Mangini et al. (2005) Austria; Tyson et al. (2000) South Africa; Khim et al. (2002) Western Peninsula Antarctica;
Noon et al. (2003) Signy Island, Maritime Antarctica; Qiang et al. (2005) Northern Tibet; Chu et al. (2002) South China;
Oman Williams et al. (2005); New Zealand Hallett et al (2003) Canada; Rein et al. (2005) Peru; Grinsted et al. (2006) Norway.
(Vernon | May 15, 2009 11:18 AM on your scienceblog comes up with more studies, some very recent.) Global enough evidence for you?

At least the author in your Skeptical Science link uses better thought-out arguments and makes statements such as the following which create a more credible viewpoint.
‘This doesn’t mean by itself that CO2 is the main cause of current global warming – you don’t prove anthropogenic warming by eliminating all other options. But the primary causes of commonly cited climate change in the past have played little part in the current warming trend.’


Please give full references for the listed studies – Title, Journal/Publisher etc so we can check them out.


Just cut and paste names to Google.
In my checking I have found studies supporting MWP and studies that don’t support it. But there are enough studies in support plus historical records to provide at least a credible foundation for the ‘theory’.
But using just one study (ie Mann et al) to disprove MWP is not exactly scientific, especially since the data is still under scrutiny.
Just check the original graph in the IPCC report – the period around 1900 is colder than the LIA period (1600s and 1700s).
Climate Denial Crock needs to be more robust than that to convince deniers.


Can’t cut and paste from the blog entry.

I havr Googled several of the names and dates but there are too many choices to narrow down easily the research to which you refer. That is why I asked for more specifics.


Sorry, can’t help.
I read these in an e-article and pasted them to a document.
I then did a cut and paste to google to check their credentials – it took a while.
Can’t find the original doc.


Seems you have been sprung AGW Agnostic! References from a pseudo-sceptic site like CO2 don’t count – especially when they have been wilfully manipulated.


Just a thought – these references seem familiar to me. They would not be from here would they?

I found this site misrepresenting these people’s work by writing their own abstracts. I think that I have somewhere all these papers as I asked a friend, with access to a academic library, to get them for me. In most of them the actual abstract did not match what CO2Science wrote down as the abstract. I have taken down my blog so I do not have access to the article that I wrote on it however I probably could find the papers if you provide more specific references and then compare the real abstracts with the CO2Science ones.


Oh, wow. Here are the principals of CO2Science:

Chairman: Craig Idso
President: Sherwood Idso
Vice President: Keith Idso
Operations Manager: Julene Idso

Lets keep it all in the family.

Craig Idso is a former Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy. Peabody Energy proudly claims, “We are the worlds largest private sector coal company.”

AGWA, you must recognize that much of the material and claims that you are advancing here comes from sources with this sort of pedigree. They are as trustworthy and impartial as the Tobacco Science Institute work was when the tobacco companies were trying to muddy the connection between smoking and cancer.

Are you by any chance trying to promote the same sort of doubts here? Do you have any affiliation with coal interests, think tanks or the like? Who are you?


Thanks Ender – great memory you must have! It was amusing to find the refs were from – seems our AGW Agnostic is in disguise:)


Perps – No probs. The really sad thing is that CO2Science didn’t have to fake the abstracts. If you read the papers there is some evidence the the MWP was quite widespread however all of the papers stopped short of declaring whether the MWP was warmer than today.

Certainly an event of sufficient magnitude to raise temperatures in Europe would have effects elsewhere. What AGW Agnostic and the others fail to understand that is not an argument against AGW to say that the MWP was warmer than today. What they fail to understand is that warming has many causes and just because there was a warming event like the MWP when humans were not industrialised does not mean that the present warming event is being caused by our CO2 emissions.

However I think that the Idsos of this world are perfectly aware of this and their only intention is to sow doubt in the minds of the less well informed.


Thanks Ender – I came to the same opinion from researching MWP and LIA. AS you imply – why fake the abstracts- unless the final conclusion doesn’t fit with the proposition :)


1) One hates to repeat things again and again and again, but one more try.

See Medieval Warm Period….
At least read enough to see my posts at:

4:27PM 17 April 2007 Winelands of Britain [although Selley now has a newer edition out, even stronger]

4:27PM 17 April 2007 John Tukey..
“Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made more precise.”

10:51AM 18 April 2007 uncertainty

(and there are plenty more, plus comments from Andrew Dessler, who is of course is a serious climate scientist).

2) My bottom line is:

“Suppose someone could magically duplicate our current temperature sensors 10,000 years back, and have a current-technology record from then. Climatologists would be ecstatic, and models might improve, but otherwise, what would you do differently if it turned out the MWP were global, and a little warmer than now? or global and a little cooler? or not global?”

and as Wegman said (reference in the above):

“‘As we said in our report, “In a real sense the paleoclimate results of MBH98/99 are essentially irrelevant to the consensus on climate change. The instrumented temperature record clearly indicates an increase in temperature.” We certainly agree that modern global warming is real. We have never disputed this point. We think it is time to put the “hockey stick” controversy behind us and move on.'”

3) Some people seem to believe that
THEN one can:

– Prove that CO2 is not a GHG
– Prove that the recent warming has nothing to do with humans
– Ignore rises in Ocean Heat Content
– Disprove Conservation of Energy
– Throw out the climate models
– Disprove a vast amount of the physics of modern society

OR at least, throw up such fog to confuse people.

4) There is a *difference* between writing science for scientists to read, with all its caveats, and explaining it for a general audience, especially in a few-minute video. Climate Crocks does a very good job given the constraints. From experience, it is often easier to reach some scientific conclusion than it is to explain it simply. Even those of us who own all of Tufte’s books, and for whom multi-million-dollar deals have hinged on explaining complex technology to nontechnical managers, struggle wfor good ways to present complex data, without so overcaveating as to make it useless.

Personally, in 2003 I thought the IPCC’s version of the hockey-stick chart in the TAR SPM was just a little too simple (compared to the full report), because too many people think a line is a definite assertion of exactness,and this might cause trouble. But, I understand how this happens when you’re trying to condense complicated things into short pieces for non-experts. For that discussion, see sci.environment, 2003, posts 26-29.

Of course, if you *really* want to understand the science around the hockey-stick, you do like I did:
read MBH98, MBH99, IPCC TAR WG I (full report, TS, SPM, in that order), and later AR4 WG I (full report, TS, SPM), in that order.

Anyone with *any* serious experience in data analysis, looking at a chart like Fig 2.21, p.135 of TAR WG I, or in AR4 WG I, Chapter 6, Paleoclimate, Fig 6.10, Box 6.4,Fig 6.13 should think:

a) People are trying to extract signal from very limited, noisy, partial datasets. Read Section 6.6 above in detail: p.466-483.

b) They have substantial error bars, just as MBH98 and MBH99 did. They keep experimenting with ways to show that, and their graphics have improved.

c) Most people don’t understand error bars very well. They look at a line in the middle of a confidence interval, and ignore the latter. Standard error bars are too busy; a line in middle of gray zone doesn’t convey the uncertainty well to a lay reader. Maybe the AR4 approach will work better.

d) We will probably *never* know the global average temperature of the year 1000AD to within .5C.

e) And it doesn’t matter. 1000AD’s temperature was totally irrelevant to that of the last 100 years or the next 100 years.

Like Wegman said, time to move on.


Climate always changes but it does follow a basic pattern. We have cool periods and then we have warm periods.
In the last 2000 years we have had a Roman warming period, a cool Middle Ages, a warmer Medieval period, a little ice age
and now a current warmer period. Within those periods they have been cooler and warmer ‘weather bumps’. All natural warming and cooling.
What part does CO2 make in all this in the past 100 years?
From 1910 – 1940 CO2 rose 10ppm and temps rose 0.5C.
From 1941 – 1975 CO2 rose 21ppm and temps dropped 0.1C.
In the past 20 years CO2 has risen 50ppm and temps have risen 0.5C.
So prior to 1978 not much evidence really. Since then – well, there is no real scientific evidence (ie experimentation) and the IPCC says there’s a 90% certainty. Based on the last 30 years, there would seem to be some evidence if it wasn’t for that pesky 1910-1940 period when temps rose quickly without a large lift in CO2 followed by that cooling period when CO2 levels were rising more quickly.


AWG agnostic

So prior to 1978 not much evidence really. Since then – well, there is no real scientific evidence (ie experimentation) and the IPCC says there’s a 90% certainty.

You might be confusing evidence with proof. There is a lot of evidence concerning the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect.
There is strong evidence that CO2 and other greenhouse gases slow the escape of heat from the planet.
There is strong evidence that adding further CO2 with further slower the escape of heat.
There is strong evidence that greenhouse gases have been the dominant warming force driving the 0.15k/decade temperature trend.
There is strong evidence that CO2 level are rising much higher than any time in the last 600,000 years.
There is strong evidence that combustion of fossil fuels has been the dominant factor in tipping the natural carbon cycle and raising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Based on the last 30 years, there would seem to be some evidence if it wasn’t for that pesky 1910-1940 period when temps rose quickly without a large lift in CO2 followed by that cooling period when CO2 levels were rising more quickly.

As I said earlier, “The enhanced CO2e temperature forcing is calculated to be only 1.6 W/m^2. There are natural cycles that produce greater range in temperature than that. The difference is that the natural cycles are cycles. They don’t keep pushing temperature in one direction.”

For a metric with less “noise” try sealevel.


Climate agnostic (sic):

Have you read any books on climate by serious climate scientists? Can you say which ones?

If you haven’t, I suggest (see the reviews):
David Archer, The Long Thaw, 2008.
William Ruddiman, Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum, 2005.

These are inexpensive books, well-written for the general audience.

Plunging into the maelstrom of blogs, even good ones, is no substitute for building a coherent basic knowledge base by reading a few good books.



Is it just coincidence that nuclear explosions started in 1945? Use of nuclear explosions have a detectable influence on climate, similar to volcanic eruptions?


Yes. Read a review of an article once by Stephen Schneider, now an AGW advocate.
It was titled; “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141. Here’s a few quotes.
‘Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.’

‘We report here on the first results of a calculation in which separate estimates were made of the effects on global temperature of large increases in the amount of CO2 and dust in the atmosphere. It is found that even an increase by a factor of 8 in the amount of CO2, which is highly unlikely in the next several thousand years, will produce an increase in the surface temperature of less than 2 deg. K.’

Schneider also promoted the idea that the next Ice Age was imminent.

His most damning admission was:
“To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.”
– Leading greenhouse advocate, Dr Stephen Schneider (in an interview for “Discover” magazine, Oct 1989)

That’s when I changed from being an advocate of AGW to an agnostic. I found that Hansen and Mann et al have agendas just the same as Singer and the oil companies. The best ‘theory’ I have seen is that CO2 is only a passive insulator and may have most influence on increasing night time temperatures.


Thank you for the link. He also goes on to say In 1977 when writing in Nature and criticizing a popular science book (The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age) that predicted an imminent Ice Age;
‘…it insists on maintaining the shock effect of the dramatic…rather than the reality of the discipline: we just don’t know enough to chose definitely at this stage whether we are in for warming or cooling— or when.’ Obviously he decided shock tactics were the way to go 12 years later.

But he is right when he says ‘we just don’t know enough’ – and this is still correct and even the IPCC acknowledge this.

Why not push for green, sustained energy as a good idea in itself rather than to link it to AGW that we still can’t conclusively prove.


There’s no doubt renewable energy is a good idea in itself, just as there’s no doubt that burning dirty fossil fuels is a bad idea in itself. But they’re cheap to burn as long as other people will be picking up the tab for the damage done. That’s why the dirty fuels should be taxed – to lessen their cheap appeal.

But we’ve wandered away from the original topic which was the excellent “Climate Denial Crock” series.


Lying scum continue to repeat this claim about what Stephen Schneider wrote, over and over, knowing they’re lying.

Credulous people continue to repost it without checking whether it’s true.

Paid PR people use it repeatedly.

Anyone who bothers to look it up knows better.

You figure out who you are by whether you can learn how to check what you believe to be the facts against sources you can cite.

It’s easy to check and refute. Schneider’s website discusses this.

You know how to find this stuff.

—-excerpt follows—–

“… Would you trust a scientist who advises his/her colleagues to use scary scenarios to get media attention and to shape public opinion by making intentionally dramatic, overblown statements? Would you have confidence in his or her statements if the scientist said that “each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest”? Understandably, you’d probably be suspicious and wonder what was being compromised.

I confess: those were SOME of my words, yet their meaning is completely distorted when viewed out of context like this. You will find hundreds of places — especially on the web sites of industrial or economic growth advocates opposed to global warming policies that might harm their or their clients’ interests — in which I am similarly (mis)quoted alongside a declaration that my environmental cronies and I should never be trusted.

I’ll spend a few paragraphs telling you what I really said and why, as I want to illustrate the sorts of pitfalls that will confront a scientist or other expert …”


AGW Agnostic (sic: I believe you are misrepresenting yourself)

What books have you read?
Can you not answer one simple question?

Or would you rather spend your time misrepresenting Stephen Schneider?

Even Wikipedia gets that quote right, although it’s even better to read the full article, which is a thoughtful discussion.

Thefull quote goes:
“…being honest. I hope that means being both.”
For some reason, certain people always omit that last sentence.

Did you do that on purpose as well, or did you just copy that from one of the usual places?


I am not misrepresenting myself. I used to be an advocate of AGW but now I’m not so sure.
I go back to my original comment at comment 16. Barry is promoting the ‘Climate Denial Crock’. I thought that the evidence and data would come up with new evidence and be more robust but the two I have seen lack the necessary rigour I would have been expecting.
Still, many more to go.

There’s a lot at stake here. If AGW is shown to be false, the R & D into sustainable energy may be put on hold.


What a ridiculous conclusion. There are multiple reasons to develop sustainable energy now — peaking oil and gas supplies, insecure supply from volatile regions, mercury+sulphates+soot related health and environmental impacts of coal burning (severe), etc. Go read the IPCC reports, or if that is too much for you, read


Of course there are multiple reasons. Plus once the infrastructure is in place, the sources are free and sustainable, and we aren’t digging great holes in the earth. So push these benefits of green energy instead of what could be a flawed AGW theory.


AGW Agnostic

The enhanced greenhouse effect or AGW has stood up to probably the most scrutiny of any science in history. Largely as a function of the serious impactions, the vested interest, the requirement for government to have policy (intervene or not), the accumulation of data and the distribution of information via the internet.

After all this scrutiny the evidence for AGW is broad and robust. The evidence against is more about uncertainties. Does my conclusion/understanding on this seem inaccurate? Is there some evidence that I might be blind to. If so I’ll take a look.


Once again:

“What books have you read?
Can you not answer one simple question?”


John – can you recommend any good books:) I’ll be frank and say my re-education on climate science has not involved reading any either. I had always thought the science papers wher were it is at, and I do admit I find them a tad heavy…


If so, then why has the IPCC only given AGW a 90% probability of being correct? Or have I got that figure wrong too?



The number is correct, you just need to put a “greater than” (>) symbol in front.
“Very likey” indicates > 90% probability.

Click to access AR4_UncertaintyGuidanceNote.pdf

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.

I assume they give this figure is to say there is no proof (empirical double blind control studies), but the evidence is so strong that confidence is very high.

I see no reasonable evidence to challenge this. The debate is about sensitivity. How much more warming will our GHG produce and induce via feedbacks. And predictions just got worse on this front.


Checked your link. Another computer model prediction of 9F increase by 2100 which no-one alive today will probably ever see + another 90% probability.
Have a look at this link,
and scroll down and click on each year from 2001-2008 in the Annual Summations section.

What do you notice for most of the years from 2001 to 2008 on their respective Surface Temperature Anomaly maps?

Then ask yourself; ‘Is CO2 that selective or is this another MWP (ie only a Northern Hemisphere regional warming)?’


From your later comment I assume you are referring to the differential temperature anomaly between hemispheres. Is there anything different you notice between the hemispheres other than warming rates?
Two things to note is the gaps/absence of data below 80 degrees south, secondly the disproportion of land between the two hemispheres.

From you understanding of AGW and physical properties of land and water, how much faster would calculate the north should warm than the south? Currents make this calculation more complex, but the volume of water and the specific heat of water provide huge temperature inertia.


What I see is a whole lot of red for many of these years, especially since 2004, in the Arctic area where I doubt any stations exist above about 81 lat (Hadley don’t include the Arctic). I believe they use up to a 1250km shading to cover non-station areas (or do they use
The warming in the North is 0.3C higher than the South. Higher temperature anomalies occur over water as well.
I have just read an article by Dr Willem de Lange and his analysis on oceans, clouds and evaporation seem to make a lot of sense.


A whole lot of red in the Arctic is a signature of Enhanced Greenhouse Warming.
Faster warming in on land surface is expected and observed, as is faster warming in the North.


If you look at the Arctic anomalies, from 2005-2008 the Arctic areas show up in mainly red to dark red shading. So faster warming can also show up over water and ice as well.
It begs the question -why does CO2 enhanced warming increase the land temperatures to a greater extent than the water temperatures. We should see a reasonably consistent global anomaly pattern as it is shown at the Arctic.
The Antarctic is a large land mass but, except for the Western Peninsula, does not show a dramatic temperature rise as the Arctic.


Faster warming (red to dark red shading) in the higher latitudes is a signature of enhanced greenhouse warming.

Warming in general(CO2 or othersie) will produce faster warming (or cooling) on land than water (at comparable latitude).Another factor is ice extents. If we are measuring surface temperature ice complicates the land/ocean comparison. Shrinking Arctic ice extents also reduces albedo and thus increase heat. (Other factor is black particulate pollution that falls on and reduces ice albedo)

The Antarctic on average has warmed at 0.2 degrees F/decade since 1958. This despite the dominance of ocean in the south (and less black particulate pollution).


If you’d like to see how people synthesise the various science, and how it fits together (rather than the disjoint snippets on a blog)I’d also support John Mashey’s suggestion of a book or two.

You comment about ‘can CO2 be that selective’ prompted me wonder if you might get a lot out of reading about how the the science fits in an integrated context.


It probably wouldn’t be any good telling you which books I have read because you would either agree or discredit them depending on your point of view. In order to come to some sort of conclusion on this topic, I look at what groups (‘warmist’ and ‘deniers’) say and try to match it to the data or scientific principle. For instance, you say that the Antarctica has warmed 0.2F/per decade. Others say that only the Western Peninsula has and the eastern section has cooled despite Santer et al (2008) study.
Also there has been quite a deal of research recently into Greenland’s temperatures temps in the first half of last century and it has been found that they were were at least as warm as today and if not higher in many centres.
In 1948 Hans Ahlmann wrote, in The Geographical Journal, a publication of the British Royal Geographic Society, that “The last decades have reduced the ice in some parts of Greenland to such an extent that the whole landscape has changed in character.”
I checked some of the stations that went back to that period and found many were high though some do not have recent temp history to make a judgement.
However. in 2006, the American Geophysical Union confirmed Greenland’s higher temp regime in that period which would then explain the loss of ice in the Arctic in the 20s and 30s.
Comments like ‘…….if you might get a lot out of reading about how the the science fits in an integrated context’ and ‘What books have you read?’ are, to me, derogatory in that they are implying I don’t know what I’m writing about. As I said, I follow threads through with the data. Since I began to do this, I went from being a firm believer to a possible doubter.


AGW, I am aware other people say many things, but the science sorts out the fact from fiction.

Re Greenland, You are comparing regional warming with global warming. A review of the science by NAS gives the best estimate that we are currently at the highest temp globally for a long time.

Comments like “Is CO2 that selective” in relation to global temp anomaly, indicated that you were leaving out some basis stuff.

Take my advice or ignore it.


“but the science sorts out the fact from fiction.”

I’m not wanting to claim the average warming of 0.2 degF is all the science says, just the info you provide (re Antarctc) gives me nothing to go on.


Mark and John,
In all your readings, have you ever come across a feasible explanation as to why there was an 0.5C warming between 1910 and 1940 when the CO2 levels only rose 10ppm during that period?


Yes, try:

1) Archer’s “The Long thaw” alludes to it, p.61.

2) as does Ruddiman’s, Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum”, p.125.

3) and in a bit more detail, p.135-136, Figs. 11.6 and 11.7 in:

David Archer, Global Warming – Understanding the Forecast, 2007.

Then off to IPCC AR4, Section 2.7.1 Solar variability.


Just a simple answer would do? Then I can go check sources.
A temp rise of 0.5C over 30 years with little increase in CO2 and no other significant input equalling the same temp rise since 1978 with 5X increase of CO2 has to have some explanation.

By the way, if I buy the books you mention at 1) and 2) above, will you throw in Michael E. Mann, Lee R. Kump, Dire Predictions – The illustrated guide to the findings of the IPCC (2008) for $50.00? Or are they any cheaper now then Dec 4, 2008?


They might be cheaper, and certainly, as I have recommended before, Mann&Kump is a nice #3, but I’d read the other two first. The longer Archer book is also a good #3. Of course, a more detailed learning plan is at how to learn about science, although I do need to update it with a few of those newer books.

Let me try again. You seem to want to ask random piecemeal questions based on fragmentary knowledge & and expect someone to offer simple answers in a few words. I’ve seen people do this *endlessly* on blogs, and it simply is not very helpful in actually learning anything, and I’m hoping you do actually want to learn.

I’ve pointed you at several places that answer the question at several different levels of detail, all in the context of coherent knowledge frameworks.


Be that as it may, I have read a lot on both sides of the fence and have queries about both sides.
Why my question about a ‘temp rise of 0.5C over 30 years with little increase in CO2 and no other significant input equalling the same temp rise since 1978 with 5X increase of CO2’ needs explanation is because of this I found in an IPCC report on Palaeoclimate (CH 6).
‘……that the warming observed after 1980 is unprecedented compared to the levels measured in the previous 280 years,
even allowing for the greater variance expected in an average of so few early data compared to the much greater number in
the 20th century.’ P 466


AGW agnostic:
If you will cite the sources on the “other side of the fence” that cause you to ask these questions, I will:

a) Explain why the IPCC’s comment on p.466 is quite right, starting from the HadCRUT2v dataset they used and using a simple Excel spreadsheet that computes SLOPEs correctly and graphs them. If you’re handy with Excel, you can do the same analysis in an hour, so you can see there’s no hidden magic anywhere.

b) Explain why the “what was going on between 1910 and 1940” is basically, a misframed or incomplete question, either because someone doesn’t yet understand the general context, or because someone is reading blogs intended to confuse people. A more useful question is something more like:

Why did the last ~100 years have:
a) a period of warming
b) a period of flat (of even a little cooling)
c) a period of warming, *demonstrably* more rapid (1.2X-1.3X) than a)

There are fairly straightforward answers to all this, and since I was working on this recently, I’ve already uploaded the relevant simple charts and spreadsheet images to tinypic …

Anyway, you say you’ve read a lot on both sides, and you’ve referenced IPCC (good), but how about citing the blog posts or articles that lead you to these questions.


I’m not citing blog posts or articles with this question. I just have to look at the global temp records as shown by Hadley and NASA GISS to see the approximate 0.5C from 1910-1940 (in Australia the mean temps rose 0.5C from the late 40s to 1960 – BOM) and the same global increase of 0.5C increase since 1978.
So the IPCC statement about the recent warming phase being unprecedented in the past 280 years seems out of kilter with the data. The rise from 1910 – 1940 could hardly be due to CO2 (only 10ppm rise in those years) – or the sun (according to CDC’s ‘Solar Schmolar’). Was it ONI, which seems to be CDC’s explanation why temps haven’t fallen since 1998 in ‘Party like it’s 1998’?
Sorry, I’m confused.
‘There are fairly straightforward answers to all this, ……’. So, please, what are they?


And we also need to consider the logarithmic relation between CO2 and warming. That is, every doubling of atmospheric concentrations is calculated to force a similar temperature rise. I.e. CO2 has a diminishing effect on temp and continued linear upward temp forcing required logaryithmic growth in CO2 concentrations.

HadCRUT3 temperature anomalies and log CO2

Problem is we are keeping on this logarithmic growth rate, and natural sinks are threatening switching to keep this scale of growth up for more than a century.


This is pretty well-covered in the AR4, with all the caveats and complex analyses under radiative and surface forcings, aerosols, etc. Besides the other books, get a paper copy of AR4 WG I and put in sticky markers.

My hyper-simplified version is:


From 1910 to 1940ish
a) We had continued rise in CO2, CH4, and N2O
b) We had a very modest rise in sulfate emissions from 1910 through 1930, followed by a noticable drop (US,Great Depression.), which conincided with *high* temperatures in US Lower-48. Changes in sulfate emissions (either way) show up fairly quickly in opposite temperature changes, at least regionally.
c) We probably had a modest rise in solar irradiance

Of course, the effects of a) are much delayed compared to b) and c. Over time a 10ppm rise is quite substantial, just as an even smaller drop (as seen from Law Dome) probably helped solar minima create the LIA, as per Ruddiman.

From 1940ish to 1975ish
a) we had continued rise in CO2, CH4, and N2O
b) We had a huge jump in sulfate emissions, i.e., a giant drag on temperature rise.
c) We had no trend in solar irradiance

Sulfates b) temporarily masked a), which was no longer getting even minimal help from c). You can see the sulfates in Fig 3, which I got from PNNL, Jan 2004. For context, Pinatubo was thought to have emitted ~17Mt of SO2.
See my recent discussion @ Open Mind.

From 1975ish to now
a) He have a large rise in CO2 and N2O, although CH4 has (mostly flattened)
b) Sulfate emissions dropped sharply, at least for a while, due to Clean Air Acts
c) No trend in irradiance.


So, see Fig 1, Temperature anomaly, 25,30,35-year SLOPEs, by end-year, derived for consistency from the same unfiltered HadCRUT2v dataset used on the top chart of AR4 WG I, p467, the spikey line of convenience as the top (gray) line in my Fig 1, using the right-side scale.

Needless to say, just “eyeballing” the chart to say much about temperature change rates, or drawing a straight line from one endpoint to another, or just picking a specific-sized interval, or picking too short an interval… are all statistically illiterate, and I try to discourage that.


The other 3 lines show average yearly change, left-hand-scale, as computed by linear regressions (Excel SLOPE) for 25-year (red), 30-year (green) and 35-year (blue) periods ending at the year plotted. For each year is shown the *rate* of change to that year, starting 25, 30, or 35 years before. One might normally pick 30, but I showed 25 and 35 as well to show that the exact interval makes a little difference, but not much. Naturally, longer intervals jiggle less. Doing this avoids accidental or purposeful cherry-picking.

Suppose we take 30-year case, to approximate 1910-1940. The *highest* 30-year slope to any year in 1938-1947 is .016, attained only by 1945, and of 1996-2005, only 1996-1997 are lower (0.14, 0.15). From then on, we get {one .017, five .018, one .019, one .020}.

See Fig 2 – Slope comparisons, temperature anomolies, which pulls out the rows for the two peak decades.

I also computed the mean growth rates for the two decades, which are, for 25,30,35 year:
.014, .013, .013 1938-1947
.018, .017, .016 1996-2005

I.e., call this .0003-.004C/year average faster, or, over a century, .3-.4C *more*, and of course, there’s already a lot fo warming “in the pipleine”.

I also computed the ratios, that is, 1996:1938 … 2005:1947, and computed the appropriate means of the warming ratios. I’d summarize all that as:

the yearly *rate of warming* is currently 1.2-1.3X higher than in the pre-WW II warming period., whose warming was quite reasonably in line, nothing magic.


Yes, as IPPC says: “the warming observed after 1980 is unprecedented compared to the levels measured in the previous 280 years…”

For sure, it’s substantially faster than 1910-1940, EVEN with no extra help from the sun, and EVEN having cooling SO2 emissions much larger than 1910-1940.

That’s it from me; endless questions from anonymous posters who won’t answer a few simple questions on sources gets old. Life is short.


Thanks John for your time and effort. If AGWAG is ‘fair dinkum” (which I doubt) checking out those details and doing the spreadsheets and computations should at least keep him out of this blog for some time;)


I am ‘fair dinkum’. A few questions and a bit of criticism regarding CDC does not a skeptic make. Maybe I can find the answers to some doubts I have amongst the Pilmers and Singers of the world. At least they may not make assumptions or treat people with contempt.


Don’t make me laugh! You must never have logged on to a pseudo sceptic website. They are really scary!


What’s scary is trying to teach a bunch of skeptical kids about AGW/CC who have access to all sorts of opinions on the internet as well as other reading material. I’m afraid John’s explanation, especially about 1910-1940, didn’t go down to well.



In what capacity are the “kids” looking at AWC/CC? (School, uni, church, fun?)


Thanks John, that slopes analysis is really useful — I’ve not seen it done quite like this before. I’ll probably use that graph in one of my presentations, if you don’t mind!


Thanks. Feel free…
(I’ll send over the spreadsheet, might save you a few minutes if you want something a little different.)

I’ve said this before somewhere, but again:

Standard temperature charts are insufficient visualizations for many people because:

a) Human perceptual systems tend to get drawn to jaggies. This is slightly akin to bad graphics effects, especially in 3D simulations that have twinkling edges as objects move. The solution was anti-aliasing hardware to stop the attention-grabbing twinkles, which in fact used to cause training problems for fighter pilot flight simulators. (They got used the twinkles, which of course weren’t there in real life).

b) People’s eyes are drawn to (local) minima and maxima, and the tendency is to draw a line from from one to the other, since people do not naturally do linear regressions in their heads. This can induce unconscious cherry-picks. Few people are good at visually comparing slopes between parts of a noisy time-series.

c) Hence, 1910-1940 doesn’t look that different from 1980-2008 on the standard graphs.

d) But when one does it like this, in effect showing a kind of first derivative, it converts a difficult slope-comparison into a customary height comparison.



I think there is a bias towards focus on the controversy when educating oneself via blog “debates”. The bias acts against basic uncontested fundamentals. These things are not discussed, and are hence more forgotten or ignored.

Instead we see a focus on the contested edge, neglecting to contextualise this edge in the broader picture. My understanding is the edge relates to a matter of degree not the actual mechanism of warming.


Yes, real arguments are about the edge, or put another way, arguments about probability distributions, their most likely values, and their shapes.

Ex: People may argue vigorously regarding climate sensitivity, but an argument between 2.5C and 3.5C isn’t between “fine” and “maybe a problem”, it’s between “serious problems” and “even worse problems”.

However, it is an observed fact that if one can stir up enough arguments about the details, that one can confuse many people enough to totally lose sight of the basic mechanisms or even doubt their existence.


Yes, thanks John. The problem is there are always new skeptics, jumping in
in mid stream. It’s not a problem that will vanish anytime soon. Barry has
collected and written enough stuff on this blog to educate anybody who
sincerely wishes to find out what is happening.


Thanks for that information, John. Even Barry was impressed. If I hadn’t kept asking then I would never have been aware of the slope comparisons.


John, would you mind putting some reference like a URL on those ‘tinypic’ images, so when one links to them, there’s some way to go from them to wherever you have this material organized — even back to this thread — and to recognize whose work they are?

These shorthand URL services obfuscate sources, handy as they are (and I’m becoming very fond of Zotero, which will quickly find those images again, but lose any information that would tell me whose work they are).

It’d be a kindness. Else it’s more recreational Internet detective work …

Let’s see, who spells anomaly with two “o”s, that could be a clew (grin).


Hank: Thanks, good idea, I’ll tweak them. I put URLs on them to reference the original data sources, but indeed, a link back here is not a bad idea.


Barry: one thought for next time BNC layout gets tweaked.

Identing so much for replies rapidly squishes them into awkwardness. TheOiLDrum indents also, but by much less, and that seems a bit handier.


It’s an auto-indent with WordPress. I can reduce the number of indents allowed, but I’d done this previously and people were confused that they could no longer hit “reply”. Still, I agree it gets too narrow as it is, even with people on widescreen monitors. I’ll take back a few levels and people will have to live with that.


> In what capacity
And with what kind of help?

If it’s from the guy who says “I just have to look …” then he’s hardly going to be doing a good job of explaining the human perceptual system and how statistics is useful.

Try this explanation: kids, we’re all descended from primates that were _really_really_ good at seeing patterns. Our ancestors never _once_ failed to see a tiger lurking in the bushes; they saw every single tiger in time to escape.

And so you are here, and you’ve inherited their ability to perceive patterns.

Now, consider how this works, and why you have an exceptional ability to see patterns.

And that includes patterns that aren’t there. You can look at a chart and be very sure you see something in it.

You can test that with statistics — assuming you have the time and don’t need to climb a tree really fast right at that moment.

But remember — one mistake failing to see the tiger, and you have no grandchildren.
You can make a _lot_ of mistakes thinking you see a tiger, and all it gets you is healthy exercise and a long and productive life.

So remember — when you look at charts — don’t trust your eyes. They’re working hard to protect you by finding patterns.


These ‘kids’ are ones that don’t take information at face value. They evaluate both sides of the debate and check facts rather than projections before drawing conclusions. Some find it too difficult and go for the precautionary principle. That some are for, some are against and some still haven’t made up their mind makes for interesting debate. These ‘kids’ will be voters soon. With well-tuned BS antennae, the debate will have to be transparent because of so much access to information on the net.


Numbers are the Supreme Court of science. However Godel proved that we may not prove everything. There are Physics Foibles!! We may never know it all.


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