I was recently invited to provide a response to an opinion article on climate change that was offered to “The Punch” website. The lead article can be read here: It’s just too hard to understand climate change. My response, reproduced below (original here), should be read with this context in mind.
It seems that many of the commenters on The Punch website thought I was being patronising or pontificating. Maybe I was, but how else to answer such a “it’s all too hard” complaint? As one of the others commenters noted: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”, i.e. just wanting for simple answers and consistent outcomes won’t make them so. Anyway, see what you think…
Dylan Malloch laments that understanding climate change is difficult, with the forecasts sometimes appearing to be contradictory or having a bit both ways, and therefore seeming all rather confusing! It’s easy to sympathise with him. Unfortunately, this is the nature of science.
Let’s consider another example. Newton’s laws of physics work just fine for the everyday world, but if we tried to use them in the timing system of our global positioning satellites, the resulting drift error would be about 10 kilometres every day.
So, the engineers at GPS mission control need to use Einstein’s relativistic theories to make sure your iPhone tells you precisely where you are, whenever you want to know. Similarly, neither Newton’s or Einstein’s equations allow scientists to properly predict the subatomic interactions within the electronics of satellites or iPhones. For that, you need to reference the weird world of quantum mechanics.
Each of these model systems – Newtonian, Einsteinian and Quantum physics – produce some contradictory predictions, and gaps in understanding remain. The theories have not yet been unified, for instance, to the lament of Einstein and his successors.
Yet the vast majority of us – the average Joe and Josephine Public – are not confused or worried about GPS and iPhones, for the simple matter that we don’t try too hard to understand how they work. After all, it’s plain enough to our eyes, immediately and incontrovertibly, that they do! So we just accept it, like we do for most forms of technology.
Climate science is now treated rather differently, however. This is because although the stochastic and chaotic systems involved are, in their own way, just as complex as relativity and quantum theory, many people just don’t want to take the underpinning science and evidence for granted.
They WANT to know and understand this stuff (which is good, from a science education perspective), and their motivation usually comes about because they feel threatened by it, or guilty about it, or whatever. Dylan’s example of not wanting to be responsible for suffering poor people underscores the point.
Yet at its core, much of the maths, physics, chemistry, models, theory, and so on, which together make up the many fields of climate science, can be really difficult stuff. It takes a lot of learning time, and lots exposure to the many lines of scientific evidence and the general practice of doing science and dealing with uncertainty, to appreciate the complexities and nuances involved.
So when people don’t ‘get’ the science and are left confused by media sound bites, it’s typically because they haven’t got the time, experience or training to really grasp the interconnections, feedbacks and apparent contradictions.
The other obvious problem is that climate model forecasts are not tangible and deterministic – unlike the GPS or iPhone, there is no simple, repeatable test of whether they ‘work’ or not. Climate change is also not being painted on a ‘blank canvas’ – extreme weather has always been with us, for instance, so how to tell what can be attributed to natural versus human-caused effects?
It’s tough, no doubt about it, and there is a huge scientific effort dedicated to identifying the ‘fingerprints’ of human activity amongst the many ‘smudges’ caused by ever-present natural influences on weather and climate.
Imagine, for example, that you wanted to safely cross a busy road, and there were 20 cars going past you every minute (natural events). Then, a traffic signal somewhere up the street failed, and started to let more traffic through (climate change), such that there were now 30 cars whizzing past each minute.
You step out on the road and are unfortunately hit by a car. As you lay in hospital with your leg in traction, you wonder: was I hit by one of the original 20 cars, or one of the new 10? You decide that you can never know for sure, but having later been told about the circumstances, you realise that your risk of being struck went up by half because of the failed traffic signal that you didn’t even observe.
Analogies like this are always imperfect, but it might help you get the point.
So Dylan is left wondering how ‘global warming’ can cause more heat waves and droughts, and yet also be attributed to torrential down pours and flooding.
The simple answer is that you can have both, because more and more energy is being trapped by the Earth’s atmosphere as greenhouse gases accumulate, and the climate dynamics that result from this energy input is expressed in different ways in different parts of the world at different times. The full answer? Well, it’s complicated…
232 replies on “Climate Change – it’s complicated, but it’s real”
Most will appreciate the care in writing to be found in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
Yes, David, indeed I made a comment over on The Punch website that referred to Weart’s writing. Here are a collection of my responses:
Barry Brook, on 12 February 2011 at 2:23 PM — Thanks. Well stated, methinks.
Your analogy works well because the power of science is not so much in theory as so many armchair philosophers have tried to argue but in the ways it acts on the world.
Scientists are only powerful when they can step back and let their apparatuses do the talking for them – whether that’s in the laboratory or embedded in iPhones and GPSs.
It’s scientific practice, stupid. This is why reducing science to ‘interests’ or theories like the Punch guy completely misses the point.
Let’s be quite clear: ignorance is no excuse.
Not knowing that it was my car that you stole would not save you from being beaten to death when I catch you. You know it is wrong, so don’t do it.
The ultimate authorities have told us that our fossil emissions are bad for our descendants. Being ignorant of the details is irrelevant. If we emit fossil carbon, we must expect to be beaten to death by our descendants. You’ve been told, that’s enough to know. So don’t do it.
It’s not difficult to understand that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as methane, cause warming, although there are other variables involved.
It is also not difficult to understand that while there are fluctuations in the weather, it is long term climate trends that are important.
Yes Margaret, but the devil is in the detail — and that is the instrument of difficulty that so-called sceptics love to play on, to the public’s lament.
Using the GPS as the icon of perfection is not a good way to prove AGW:
I’ll give you a good analogy as to why you should be sceptical:
Yesterday I left my home in the bush where it was 25 c on my car thermometer.
Twenty minutes later I’m on the freeway where it is reading 32 c.
That is man made global warming!
Nothing to do with ACO2e.
Maybe enough to understand the general prediction of increased droughts punctuated by extreme precipitation events.
There’s a lot more at issue than understanding. It’s a matter of trust. Very few people have the time and background needed to understand the science but they need to understand that scientists care about
the truth and will sanction people who are misleading and deceptive. This isn’t happening.
Consider the difference between what has happened in the vaccination “debate” and the climate change “debate” … the main star in the anti-vaccination lobby (Andrew Wakefield) has been stripped of the right to practice medicine in his homeland and denounced quite formally as fraudulent. If Ian Plimer weren’t being given a safe haven by McWha at Adelaide University his misleading and deceptive book might carry less weight.
I’m not saying he shouldn’t be allowed to publish, he can publish and say whatever he likes, but he should not be allowed the credibility his official position gives while publishing rubbish. Because it is that credibility which is more important than the content of his book … as witnessed by the following frequently heard response: “He’s a Professor at the University, how could his book be the complete rubbish you say?”
The science is missing from Ian Plimer’s “Heaven and Earth”
He is, it seems, a professor of mining geology; he clearly does not understand geophysics. Then reference the book by Pigliucci I listed over on the current Open Thread.
Many people feel it is those pushing the catastrophic climate change alarmism and scaremongering that are being fraudulent.
So Peter Lang – do you think Barry is,(to quote you) “pushing climate change alarmism and scaremongering” and is therefore fraudulent? You should be ashamed of yourself – and be careful of what you say and write in future.
Sometimes Peter needs help with his posts excluding strawman arguments and baseless claims. A handful of people are spamming cyberspace with unsubstantiated claims of fraudulent conduct by scientists. There is simply no evidence that any substantial number of people actually believe these claims and even those making them often contradict themselves,showing that they are repeating things they simply don’t understand and thus can’t really believe.
At this stage, nobody supporting the IPCC position has been shown to have acted fraudulently in putting their case despite exhaustive inquiry in the UK and the US. In short, those who are best placed to know and declare on the matter have exposed this slander for the abuse of the truth in the service of culture war it is.
“Maybe enough to understand the general prediction of increased droughts punctuated by extreme precipitation events.”
Do you have any proof that extreme events are any more extreme?
In my NOTW, since the AGW theory has been promoted we have never had it so good AFA weather extremes are concerned. Might be different where you are.
You’re not referring to safe havens like UEA are you?
“A handful of people are spamming cyberspace with unsubstantiated claims of fraudulent conduct by scientists.”
Do you know what science is?
“For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.
“If not, it is not science, it is guessing.
“More like a horoscope…”
“At this stage, nobody supporting the IPCC position has been shown to have acted fraudulently in putting their case despite exhaustive inquiry in the UK and the US”
There are lots of scientists concerned about warming who think that those inquiries were not as exhaustive as you claim. When there was no criticism of them or the IPCC for emails like this from Phil Jones:
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
And the IPCC broke its own rules to accept papers prior to peer review and assigned high-status positions to untested researchers who happen to make claims which support the IPCC narrative of impending doom.
To not be sceptical is being in denial of the real world. A state of disconnect.
I’m inclined to believe the researchers who say that all fossil fuels will be in severe decline within a generation. Google names like Aleklett, Patzek, Heinberg and Rutledge. Others like Barry suggest unconventional hydrocarbons will take up the slack but a case by case look at logistics and other limiting factors suggests otherwise.
Of the Peak Everything group some have access to GCM computation which comes up with AGW maxing at say 2.6C. The IPCC high emissions scenario that has man made CO2 increasing beyond 2050 is not plausible …. consult any of the authors mentioned. Anyway we might need to invent Category 6 or 7 cyclones if extreme weather gets even worse. Major southern cities are a smidgin off 50C summer temps. We’re just coping with 0.8C of warming not 2-3C.
Please don’t feed the trolls.Arguing with a troll is just an invitation for them to shit all over you.
In case you haven’t indentified them the current repeat offenders are SD and PL.
“Please don’t feed the trolls.Arguing with a troll is just an invitation for them to shit all over you”
Podargus, check the name on this thread and check what constitutes a troll. Many sceptics believe in Nuclear Power. I happen to think that AGW, though it probably exists, may not only be a non-problem but [like NP] could be essential to our survival.
Here’s also something nice and sibyl, Simple.
SD, it might sound simple, but saying “there’s a completely natural increase of 0.5ºC per century”, without proposing any possible cause for this warming, is not even a hypothesis, let alone a theory.
On the other side, we have a large group of highly qualified climate scientists who have proposed that it’s not natural, and who have also gone into great detail as to exactly *why* they think it is not natural, and what is most likely to be causing it.
To dismiss that with a wave of the hand and a statement of “it’s all natural” is, to quote your earlier comment: “…not science, it is guessing. More like a horoscope…”
Without any credible explanation, I’ll pay it about as much heed as a horoscope, too…
It pains me to disagree with Barry but his arguments based on the relationship between Newton’s and Einstein’s theories concerning acceleration and the addition of velocities are inappropriate.
The theories of Newton and Einstein can be tested well beyond the 3 sigma level that is expected in the “Hard sciences”. Climate “Science” on the other hand is annoyingly fuzzy.
GC’s attempt to define science in terms of 3 sigma, or hard and soft, is a ploy designed to exclude much of what science is all about.
Even the so-called hard sciences have their roots in much fuzzier pasts. Does that mean that Copernicus (for example) was wasting his time, or that what he was doing was not science?
Were Watson and Crick not doing science as they wrestled with the nature of DNA? Are medical researchers who are seeking to combat malaria not doing science, despite immense frustration?
Perhaps science is the study of the unknown, using all rational tools available.
So, enough with that 3Sigma nonsense and the notion that just because something is not “hard science” then it is not science at all.
Extreme events: For example Tamino carefully calculated that last summer’s heat wa ve in Russia was a 1 in 1000 year evernt until excess CO2 (thus warming) is taken into account whence it becomes a 1 to 240 year event.
For another, see NOAA’s postings of record highs and record lows for verious places and ti8me intervals.
Alarmism? UAE? Global food distribution has helped us smooth out disasters and we can handle crop failures that would have caused vast famine 150 years ago. But multiple events can swamp our capacity to cope. 1.2 million big animals died in the Pakistan floods this year … and 6 million poultry … even if you only care about the owners, this is a massive disaster. The technical impossibility of tieing individual events to climate change is just a definitional issue. We are seeing more extreme events. How can you be too alarmist about something which is killing people in the here and
now and not quickly, but by starvation?
There is zero evidence that a carbon price in Australia will change the climate. I don’t believe it will even cut world emissions, for the reasons I’ve laid out on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread. The arguments I’ve put been mostly uncontested let alone refuted.
However, most BNCers and people of similar persuasion are arguing for a carbon price. It appears to me they are doing so to achieve more symbolic gestures, and for political reasons, rather than for sound policy reasons.
It’s nice to see that Peter still thinks that opinion (his) trumps observation and scientific analysis (blame the results on the greeny lefties).
At least he is being consistent.
How about some facts instead:
And check out 1824.
“Without any credible explanation, I’ll pay it about as much heed as a horoscope, too…”
Occam’s razor is a principle in science which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions.
You guys love to tout your science creds while all the time denying the science fundamentals.
C’mon SD, radiative physics is well understood. Also the empirical evidence is loud and clear. As Barry pointed out there is a lot more energy in the system as a result of us dumping CO2 in the atmosphere. Eventually the system will reach equilibrium again, whether the ecosystem will then be benign for hairless primates , let alone countless other creatures, is the question.Somehow I doubt it very much.
Yep, the Brisbane floods were not unprecedented. They are quite possibly a 1-in-30 type event. But what is your point?
If you are trying to demonstrate that extreme climate events will or will not be more frequent as the climate deteriorates, then this opinion will not be falsified or demonstrated by a single data point. That is the business of trends, statistics and climatologists. I, for one, think that the jury is still out as to whether the weather apocalypse has commenced. Plus or minus a bad season in Qld is just a fly speck on climate’s wall.
Whether or not global climate is heading in that direction, is another question altogether. My feeling is “yes”, and this is based on what I perceive to be the collective advice of the resounding majority of true climatologists. Not climate nay-sayers, or climate deniers, but those trained and employed in the business of climate science.
Ya mean this:
But as Lindzen says, if, with warming, the gradient between equator and poles is less steep [and that’s what the GCMs predict] then weather will be less extreme, not more.
Radiative physics is possibly reasonably well understood in theory but the uncertainty monster has many heads in practice. It will be interesting to see what the argo floats really tell us about energy in the system and I hope the data can be given to a few different agencies to report on.
CET 1659 -2010
Move along, nothing to see here:
Mille pardons, that should be:
unclepete and John B,
Here’s some extreme weather and accumulated energy:
Thanks for the WUWT web site stuff. I have placed a link in my Favourites.
However, again, I am compelled to say that individual factoids, including funny little charts of winter temperatures from mid-England and particularly error-prone estimates of world cyclone intensity through a… wait for it… couple of years, provide no real insight into global climate change at all.
Not a whit.
Climate change, particularly global climate change, is the stuff of real experts, working together, pooling talents and resources across as many threads of the global climate tapestry as possible.
Individual facts are, as stated above, just fly spots on climate’s wall. This is especially true when these facts come pre-sorted, cherry-picked and unaccredited.
Why, when posting something about English warming, did SD not also post stuff from NOAA about 2010 being the hottest year for yonks globally? We all know the answer, don’t we? And we can all spot the bias of a troll from a distance.
That’s it from me for this thread.
Just to add to the confusion !
“New volcanic vents found in Antarctica waters”
We know so little about what is under the ocean.
“Climate change, particularly global climate change, is the stuff of real experts, working together, pooling talents and resources across as many threads of the global climate tapestry as possible.”
The “big picture” you mean? Like this?
And the more recent “unprecedented” past:
With 6billion people on the planet don’t you think it will warm a little even if we emitted no CO2?
Even a lone koala in a tree is a heat island. A whale in the ocean. A polar bear in the Arctic.
What heat do 6 billion humans with all their infrastructure create?
Probably more than the current warming signal.
Observe your car’s thermometer as you drive through the bush then come to a bitumen road, then come to a village, then come to a town, then come to a freeway, then come to a city.
Everything we do, even without our CO2 emissions creates heat.
Seems I need to reference it again on this thead:
Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
Univ. Chicago Press, 2010.
What’s your point?
You think it nonsense that we put thermometers and read temperatures where we create this heat?
And then say it’s due to ACO2?
I don’t think even Pigliucci’s that confused.
Read the quotation:
Wow, DBB, what a point!
Especially when you’ve got none to make.
NIWA have been doing dodgy things in NZ, turning 0.006c warming into 0.9 c and it is only reasonable that we audit BoM and CSIRO too.
Click to access anao-request-audit-bom.pdf
I’m sure people here wouldn’t have any objection.
Remember people – don’t feed the foolish troll – just enjoy the laugh:)
No idea and no defence, have you Perpsy?
But here’s a solution. A little warming needed to save us from warming:
Considering the cost, we should be critical:
“The BOM claim their adjustments are “neutral” yet Ken Stewart showed that the trend in the raw figures for our whole continent has been adjusted up by 40%. The stakes are high. Australians could have to pay something in the order of $870 million dollars thanks to the Kyoto protocol, and the first four years of the Emissions Trading Scheme was expected to cost Australian industry (and hence Australian shareholders and consumers) nearly $50 billion dollars.
Given the stakes, the Australian people deserve to know they are getting transparent, high quality data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The small cost of the audit is nothing in comparison with the money at stake for all Australians. We need the full explanations of why individual stations have been adjusted repeatedly and non-randomly, and why adjustments were made decades after the measurements were taken. We need an audit of surface stations. (Are Australian stations as badly manipulated and poorly sited as the US stations? Who knows?)”
Too many critics of the temperature record appear not to know what a temperature anomaly. is.
It is not the absolute temperature measurement, it is the amount by which the measurement of that same station has increased or decreased compared to readings on the same days and times in previous years.
This has the effect of cancelling out the effects of local siting, whether it’s near a road, high up a hill, by the coast etc, and changes due to the seasons, day/night etc, since we are looking at changes, not absolute measurements.
The BOM takes considerable trouble to site stations well, see its document http://www.bom.gov.au/inside/oeb/networks/20131.pdf
Oh, and drongo, the the sun has an average day/night heat energy output of about 250 watts for every square metre of the earth’s surface.
When the heat energy output of all the humans, whales and koalas starts getting remotely near even one watt per square metre of the earth’s surface – the equivalent about one human for every 10 sq.m of land and sea – your remark might be slightly less stupidly irrelevant.
David B. Benson, on 15 February 2011 at 9:31 AM said: “Extreme events: For example Tamino carefully calculated that last summer’s heat wa ve in Russia was a 1 in 1000 year evernt……..”
Tamino is a statistician who can “prove” almost anything to his own satisfaction. Personally I am more impressed by what historians and archaeologists can tell us about extreme climate events.
Here is a link concerning really hot summers that occurred in the 16th century:
Let’s not forget that it sometimes gets hot in Europe too:
Consider the years 1538 to 1541 when there were major rivers around Europe that dried up from time to time. There were prolonged droughts over a wide area that ranged from Russia to Italy.
John Bennetts, on 15 February 2011 at 8:16 AM said:
“GC’s attempt to define science in terms of 3 sigma, or hard and soft, is a ploy designed to exclude much of what science is all about.”
My statement was no “ploy” but a simple statement of fact. Personally, I will be delighted when climate “Science” matures to the point that it can make credible predictions but at present comparing it to the hard sciences is like comparing astrology to astronomy.
“This has the effect of cancelling out the effects of local siting, whether it’s near a road, high up a hill, by the coast etc”
And it needs to be checked. The period of warming just happens to coincide with the period of phenomenal increase in our infrastructure. When you measure up to 7c variation due to infrastructure change, do you believe this is being fully accounted for?
And read what I wrote. It was about the heat generated by the infrastructure of 6 billion humans, not the animals.
A couple of new papers just out in Nature today give a pretty good indication of the state of attribution play. Bottom line: Likelihood of extreme rainfall may have been doubled by rising greenhouse-gas levels.
Useful new link Mark, thanks — I’ve twittered it too.
Unfortunately as you persist in spamming this thread, some people (with the patience of saints) are reading what you wrote.
Before you mouth off with this nonsense, if you had any interest in facts and the truth, you would do an order of magnitude check.
The world energy consumption in 2008 was 474 exajoules.
The climate forcing from CO2 alone without feedbacks is 3.7 W/m^2 (Stefan Rahmstorf) per doubling of CO2. If we integrate that over the surface of the earth and one year to get the yearly excess energy due to CO2 forcing, we get ~59,500 exajoules.
Your claims are off by two orders of magnitude.
Will you please stop spamming these thread with nonsense.
New definition of FUD, as exercised by SD:
Fear, Uncertainty, Defamation.
If SD was prepared to consider that which was placed before him and to build is knowledge, he would be welcome. Unfortunately, it all keeps coming back to childish efforts to justify an a priori position by grabbing at straws.
It’s sad to see that this has continued this far, but some good has come of it… Mark D’s link demonstrates that global climate may have deteriorated more than I had realised.
Mark Duffett, on 17 February 2011 at 9:47 AM — Thanks!
Great News !
The Space and Science Research Center (SSRC) announces today that the most recent global temperature data through January 31, 2011 using NASA and NOAA weather satellites supports the previous forecast from the SSRC that a historic drop in global temperatures is under way and that the previously predicted climate change to one of a long and deep global cooling era has begun.
I thought Gordon was just having a laugh.
Don’t be taken in by the supposedly genuine SSRC mentioned by Gordon above. This is who they really are
Just another pseudo sceptic group without any peer reviewed papers on the subject of CC. Trust genuine sources like NASA and NOAA on the subject of whether temperatures are increasing – hint – it is getting hotter :)
Barry knows me too well :-)
Like Barry, I thought Gordon was trying to be funny. As the SSRC is located in Orlando, only a few miles from my home, I will try to visit them.
I learned a great deal by visiting the NCDC in Asheville last October. Maybe “Director Casey” will make as much sense as “Director Peterson” did.
Ooops!. Tom Peterson is the “Chief Scientist”.
Is it pretense or are you really this dumb?
What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter where or how the temperature is generated, if you have the official thermometer beside the “fire” you’re never gonna get the truth.
And when Australians are living beside the “fire” more than their counterparts in the northern hemisphere they are possibly more perepared to accept inaccurate warming claims.
The UAH temperature series shows a large drop in January
( http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/uah-update-for-january-2011-global-temperatures-in-freefall/ )
and also a large drop in Sea Surface temperatures (same link), the SST data is from a NASA satellite.
This is the same satellite data reported by the SSRC which Gordon linked to.
Ms Perps dismissed this data by saying ” Trust genuine sources like NASA and NOAA on the subject of whether temperatures are increasing – hint – it is getting hotter ” which seems to me to be a bit odd, given that the NASA source is actually saying that SST is much colder.
So I would like to see her counter evidence that the change which was accurately reported by Gordon has been disowned or corrected by NASA.
After all, it’s the data which is important. It may be that the planet is warming, but the latest satellite and SST data doesn’t seem to say that, rather the reverse, perhaps, maybe..
Novandilcosid has chosen to quote something by a known climate dolt (or worse). For more on Dr Roy Spencer, see http://www.desmogblog.com/roy-spencer. Talk about charlatan!
Relax, Mrs Perps, there’s nothing for you to answer.
“No computer simulation can conclusively attribute a given snowstorm or flood to global warming. But with a combination of climate models, weather observations and a good dose of probability theory, scientists may be able to determine how climate warming changes the odds.”
I wonder what the collective is for GCMs?
Well this gavin of GCMs now claims that it’s AGW whether these extreme events are hotter or colder than normal, wetter or dryer than normal or more or less than normal and there I was thinking that to be scientific, all hypotheses had to be falsifiable.
Would Karl Popper laugh or cry, do you think?
Some current SST to look at rather than playing the man as some of the sages on this blog would rather do:
More bait and switch nonsense. Your ramblings are so vague that it’s exceptionally difficult to pin down exactly what you are saying – but that’s the way you like to do it – because you then attempt to disavow your previous claims when they are shown to be nonsense.
If you are attempting to raise issues of weather station siting and urban heat island effect and imply that such issues have not been extensively studied and dealt with in the major global temperature records and the Australian record produced by the BOM, then you are telling porkies.
In this 2003 paper Updating Australia’s high-quality annual temperature dataset, Della-Marta and Collins of BOM and Braganza of CSIRO detail the techniques used in addressing just such issues.
And they deal with those issues via detailed data analysis and not by waving pictures of weather stations around and shouting “Urban Heat Island” in microWatts style.
On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature recor deals with station siting in the US and concludes
“Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread
conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures.”
In other words, bias in data from “poorly” sited stations has introduced a cooling in the max anomaly temperature record. Once again, this is via data analysis and not by wild claims based on a bunch of photographs.
There is plenty of other literature on station siting too, if one only cares to look. As an issue that calls into question the validity of various temperature records. urban heat island is well and truly dead and buried.
Anybody who cites Roy Spencer cannot express surprise that he is being treated as Dr Spencer deserves to be.
John Bennets kindly responded to my post on NASA sea surface temperatures as follows:
“Novandilcosid has chosen to quote something by a known climate dolt (or worse). For more on Dr Roy Spencer, see http://www.desmogblog.com/roy-spencer. Talk about charlatan!”
and later: “Anybody who cites Roy Spencer cannot express surprise that he is being treated as Dr Spencer deserves to be.”
In debates I try to engage in substance rather than in personal attacks. The reason for this is that it is very easy, particularly in subjects where opinions are always going to be strongly held, to lambast the idiot who believes something wholly stupid. We are all human, and it is a human tendency to do this.
But we all also make mistakes. It is my experience that it is all too easy to overlook something and saddle up the white horse, ride into the attack, and discover you forgot the lance.
In these debates it is important to engage in the substance of the other idiot’s argument. Sometimes the other idiot is actually saying something sensible, something previously overlooked.
Now I can’t claim total infallibility. It may be that my post, which asked the question “has the SST data been disowned or corrected by NASA?” is silly. I wouldn’t know.
Perhaps John would like to address this question, which is the substantive issue on the table.
It would appear that novandilcosid has just admitted that he has no idea what he is talking about.
Finrod most kindly responded to my post above with the highly intelligent observation: “It would appear that novandilcosid has just admitted that he has no idea what he is talking about.”
There is a series of posts on Sea Surface Temperatures.
Gordon linked to a site which posted the NASA temperature data.
Ms Perps denied the data, saying one should only trust NASA data.
I pointed out that the data was NASA’s, and asked if NASA had repudiated or amended the data.
That question is still on the table. At present, there being no refutation, the statement that the latest NASA data shows a considerable drop in Sea Surface Temperatures stands.
Perhaps Finrod would care to address the substantive issue.
Now I can’t claim total infallibility. It may be that my post, which asked the question “has the SST data been disowned or corrected by NASA?” is silly. I wouldn’t know.
The above quote comes directly from novandilcosid.
Oh for pete’s sake. Is it really so hard to understand high frequency oscillations superimposed on a trend? In this case, the current downward spike is largely a manifestation of the current highly intense La Niña event (thus mirroring the high spike caused by El Niña in 1998), and was identified and even predicted as such by none other than Dr Roy Spencer, amongst myriad others.
So, SD and novandilcosid, your point is…?
Mark Duffett, on 18 February 2011 at 9:55 AM — I seriously doubt they have a rational one. Please don’t bother asking.
Mark Duffett helpfully respoded on topic, with:
” Is it really so hard to understand high frequency oscillations superimposed on a trend? In this case, the current downward spike is largely a manifestation of the current highly intense La Niña event (thus mirroring the high spike caused by El Niña in 1998), and was identified and even predicted as such by none other than Dr Roy Spencer, amongst myriad others.
So, SD and novandilcosid, your point is…?”
I think the original substantive discussion was whether the data is valid, which I assert and with which Mark agrees. I agree that it may show a “high frequency” oscillation superimposed on a long term trend.
Mark mentioned La Nina and El Nino. These seem to be large natural swings in the climate pattern (hard to be sure with a chaotic system). Are there any thoughts on what the natural forcing agents are?
” urban heat island is well and truly dead and buried”
I think that link from Jo Nova and the NIWA fiasco shows how dead and buried UHI is.
The fact is that the people who advocate AGW, who are the most financially rewarded, who are the “gatekeepers”, also make the “adjustments”.
Now when we have already spent billions, with more trillions to come, based on a very obscure signal during a time of natural recovery from a cold era, I am absolutely gobsmacked that people like yourselves who claim to be interested in the future of the planet, are not the least bit sceptical of this potential, if not real, carpet-baggery.
If you watched the ball for a change you would see that as even Mark D says, they all agree but I suppose that’s no reason to stop villifying Roy Spencer.
Mark D says that Dr Roy agrees on one issue. Not all issues. This indicates the type of logical inconsistencies which infect your writings. A fly speck is not a universal truth – it is a fly speck.
On most matters, Dr Roy is also a fly speck.
I know that you are being intentionally obtuse, prepared to insult, determinedly ignorant of integrated analysis and generally a nigger in the woodpile. We are all capable of that if we try. Unfortunately, your form indicates that you are stuck in this fruitless rut, intent on FUD and prepared to quote anything or anybody, regardless of ethical or theoretical foundation and without relevance and context.
One thing I will say in your favour, though – you are nothing if not consistent.
Yes, its complicated but also not so much so:
“On most matters, Dr Roy is also a fly speck.”
Well JB, you are yourself incredibly consistent at the unfair and moronic practice of playing the man and not the ball.
Care to list these “matters” and your reasons?
You’ve got it right for once. The fact that only crank web sites bang on interminably about UHI, while real science has methodically dealt with the issue of weather station siting providing the best obtainable adjustments in all the major temperature temperature records is surely an indication that the inflation of the importance of UHI is a tactic of politically motivated cranks.
Readers should be aware that NIWA in December 2010 released the results of an extensive review of the NZ annual temperature trend. The work was peer reviewed by Australia’s BOM.
The results – minor changes to the record, but no discernible change to the previously reported long term trend as shown in this chart:
The full 167 page extremely detailed report is available here: http://www.niwa.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/108934/Report-on-the-Review-of-NIWAas-Seven-Station-Temperature-Series_v3.pdf
Why reference to the activities of cranks and fools in NZ by an Australian crank website should be taken as evidence of anything other than the existence of a surplus of cranks and fools is rather difficult to comprehend.
O/T sorry but relevant, interesting and what the average person needs to realise about how NR is simply part of everyday life.
There is no need for me to list the “matters” of which you ask. It has been done for you.
So quokka, the similarity of the BoM auditing and approving of NIWA’s actions with the UEA old boys auditing and approving of the UEA climategate debacle doesn’t strike you as anything to worry about?
CAGW promoters auditing CAGW promoters?
Because if you can’t see a conflict of interest there, I have to point out that the average informed person is just not that dumb.
Then to refer to them as cranks and fools, reflects only on yourself.
When did Caesar judging Caesar suddenly become part of due diligence?
I was laying long odds you’d chicken out on that one.
A number of people have posted on Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect.
My favourite demonstration of this effect is this post at Warwick Hughes’s site: http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=575
This shows a 2 degree UHI in a town of 227 inhabitants.
To paraphrase Geoff Sherington:
The purpose of an audit is twofold; 1/ to see that the numbers are a proper reflection of the original records and 2/ because of the huge cost involved it is essentially a financial audit. Accounting, not about attributing motives.
It’s a pity you did not take heed of it. Let me repeat it for you. Siting of weather stations has long been recognized as an issue by scientists compiling temperature records. Through careful data analysis, methods have been used to remove bias from the records induced by issues of siting, changes in instrumentation and instrumentation drift.
This has been done for thousands of stations over countless data points for records stretching over many decades. The methodology has been published in a number of papers and it available for anybody to examine.
Instead of spamming with anecdotes about somebodies country outing, why don’t you actually read the available scientific literature and raise questions or issues that you feel are relevant.
The troll is getting so fat he is about to explode! We can but hope:)
Audits, strangely enough, are generally carried out by accountants. Governments when seeking advice on science perceived to be of significant public interest, strangely enough generally turn to scientists. There is probably no recorded instance of governments seeking scientific advice from accountants.
Very frequently national governments turn to their national science academies, whose membership consists of many of the most eminent and senior scientists of their respective nations, for expert advice and reports.
As you should well know national academies across the planet have spoken with one voice about the reality of AGW. The “audit” has been and gone and you missed it.
In the bizarre event of an audit office being called upon to provide scientific advice, it would clearly need to draw on outside scientific expertise. And who would be the logical first port of call for that – the national academy.
Which all seems rather pointless and circular, but guaranteed to waste a fair of public money and more importantly time. But that is the whole point of this nonsense, isn’t it?
“Audits, strangely enough, are generally carried out by accountants”
Except in climatology where they are carried out by pals:
And who said anything about asking for accountants to audit the data?
“As you should well know national academies across the planet have spoken with one voice about the reality of AGW.”
You mean through the IPCC/hockey team filter as per the climategate emails such as I listed above from Phil Jones:
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
You lot are in really serious denial if you think that is the right attitude to sorting out a difficult problem.
Any suitably malicious person can steal some private emails, pick a few bits out of context and twist them for their own purposes. In this case, the facts are these:
– The two papers in question were McKitrick, R. and P.J. Michaels, 2004: A test of corrections for extraneous signals in gridded surface temperature data. Climate Research,26, 159-173 and Soon, W. and Baliunas, S., 2003: Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years. Clim. Res. 23, 89-110.
– Both these papers were shown by independent peer review to have serious flaws. The Soon and Baliunas paper was only published because of an editorial failure and the journal subsequently repudiated it. Phil Jones’ misgivings were entirely justified.
– Both these papers were in fact referenced in the IPCC AR4 report, contrary to Phil Jones’ expectation. As a new reviewer that year, he had misunderstood that the job of the IPCC was not to pick-and-choose “good” papers, but to assess the whole body of climate studies and knowledge that existed at that time and come to a detailed overall view.
Kevin Trenberth has given his own account here.
Any suitably interested person can read the entire IPCC report at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml and decide for themselves whether the report gives a true and fair view or not.
Come on, SD. Be a man. Admit that Phil Jones’s email is not what you, and others, said that it was and that, under the circumstances, his comment was entirely justified.
I suggest a simple “Thanks, turnages. I now see that I misunderstood the true meaning of Phil Jones’s email.”
Fred Pearce’s 12 part Guardian series on hacked emails and climate science.
“Audits, strangely enough, are generally carried out by accountants. ”
This claim is untrue.
There are many non-financial audits conducted. For example most organisations have quality system audits annually.
Virtually every engineering activity is audited, from preliminary design, through to final design, the auditing of tests to ensure that all specifications are tested, the auditing of the tested sample to ensure that drawings and parts lists comply with what was tested, and so on.
If mitigating climate change was to be undertaken as an engineering activity, then at the preliminary stages the entire set of assertions and assumptions would be subjected to audit scrutiny to determine where uncertainty exists and where additionalo research is required.
Many engineers are sceptical of the claims made in climate science, for the reason that such audits have not been performed, and where they have been done there appear to be deficiencies and great uncertainty.
Peer review is often touted as if it was audit. Such reviews would not be of acceptable standard in engineering. It is also true that peer review has been abused in Climate Science in two ways:
1. To shut out dissent;
2. To give on-message papers an easy ride
To see these faults (which are human) one only has to read the climategate emails, and also the latest incident involving Dr Steig. (See the front cover of this week’s Spectator).
Quokka replied to my post on Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect as follows:
“Instead of spamming with anecdotes about somebodies country outing, why don’t you actually read the available scientific literature and raise questions or issues that you feel are relevant.”
I would like to thank Quokka for his response.
In my original post, I cited a link http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=575 to an interesting experiment, where Warwick Hughes strapped a thermometer onto his car and drove through Barmedman, a 227 person town in NSW Australia.
I think it is interesting because it shows what a large magnitude effect it is. Certainly the size of the effect suprised me.
I know that many here believe that UHI has been adequately addressed in the climate literature. However it remains the fact that the seminal paper by Jones and Wang in 1990 was very flawed (to the point of accusations of academic fraud), and that the supporting data for this paper, which derives an exeedingly low UHI adjustment, has never been published. This paper is still being cited as the final authority on this subject, but there are also other peer-reviewed papers in the literature which claim that UHI is being underestimated.
One of the most recent of these, which debunked the 2009 criticism by Gavin Schmidt in 2009 of McKitrick and Michaels 2007 , has been accepted for publication.
One cannot say that the process of scientific audit of UHI is complete. As is normal, claims and counter claims are being made, and at present the final word is with thise who claim that it is under allowed for in the temperature data.