Hoisted on their own petard

The all out assault on climate reality continues. Anti-science front group SPPI has put together a series of attacks on RealClimate by the Pielkes and others, courtesy of Marc “Swiftboat” Morano.

A favored tactic of denialists is to take the short term behavior of a noisy system to claim that there is no underlying trend. This is most frequently seen in claims that it’s been cooling since 1998 or 2001, when it’s clear that you need at least 20-30 years of temperature data to make meaningful claims about global trends.

Regular readers may remember Bjorn Lomborg using a version of this misdirection to argue that sea levels haven’t been rising recently, and more recently Stefan Rahmstorf’s brutal demolition of Lomborg’s chicanery. Lomborg wasn’t the only person making absurd claims about sea level rise based on a handful of data.

Roger Pielke Sr., too, actually had the chutzpah to claim that sea levels weren’t rising, because at the time 2006 showed a spike relative to more recent years (therefore sea levels will fall incredibly in the future [NOTE: this was hyperbole and not actually Pielke’s stated position, see follow up]).

I’d forgotten about Pielke Sr.’s shameful perpetuation of this idiocy until seeing it again on the SPPI site:

This claim was apparently made by Pielke back in June of last year. What was surprising to me about Pielke trafficking in this denialist-type argument was not its dishonesty- he is one of Watt’s biggest supporters after all- but rather its self-defeating nature. Presumably Pielke really isn’t so stupid as to believe that sea levels are in fact falling, and knows that 2006 as an outlier would inevitably be surpassed, illustrating his claim to be both incorrect on its own “merits” and exposing the ludicrous nature of its basis.

Amusingly, the link provided at Pielke Sr.’s blog and the SPPI page is the continuously-updated Boulder sea level data, and sure enough 2006 is no longer the “high water mark”. Pielke’s failure to update his blog and Morano’s republishing of the claim presumably mean that Pielke stands by his assertion, in which case he’s either unequivocally wrong, or deliberately lying.

I eagerly await for Pielke to claim in a year or two that sea level rise is “NOT TRUE… Sea level has actually flattened since 2009″ and again in 2011 or whatever the next short term peak is.

Of course, all this really does is point out how nonsensical the claim was from the beginning. The reason why we look at underlying trends is that simply eye-balling the greatest value doesn’t tell us anything about the general behavior of a noisy system over longer periods of time, and the trend line for SLR hasn’t varied terribly much between Lomborg and Pielke’s claim and the present, even as the maximum value has changed.

Pielke does the same thing with Northern Hemisphere sea ice, claiming that “Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.” He simply picks an extreme outlier minimum and then presents a regression to the mean (itself clearly decreasing) as an increase in sea ice!:

12 month smoothed NSIDC NH Sea Ice Index in red; linear trend in green, anomaly from 2007 to present blue.

The current extent of NH sea ice is actually below the record 2007 minimum:

Meaning that were I as misleading as Pielke, I would claim that sea ice has melted so much that it’s below its record minimum, implying that this was part of a new trend rather than a temporary wiggle superimposed on the overall decline, which is disturbing enough.

Pielke also claims that there has been “no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.” This analysis is based on heat content measured from 0-700m as assessed by Argo float data, which are problematic to put it mildly. Of course if we consider heat content from 0-2000m, the increase shows no such drop off:

The goal here isn’t to say that my short term data are definitive while Pielke, Morano, and SPPI’s are not- but rather to draw attention to the cherry-picked nature of the claims. If your conclusions are so sensitive to their starting or ending points, or data sets used, etc., then chances are you’re not saying much of import.

Hat tip to Brad Johnson for the SPPI page and pointing out that Pielke’s cherry-picking also extended to sea ice.

[UPDATE: From the comments, MapleLeaf points out that the SLR graph doesn’t have the inverse barometer adjustment, which can be seen here. In Pielke Sr.’s defense, the CU Boulder sea level home page graphic doesn’t show that version either.]

[UPDATE: Pielke has written a response, which I address here.]

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68 responses to “Hoisted on their own petard

  1. ” Pielke also claims that there has been “no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003″, basing his claim on . ”

    You didn’t finish that sentence?

  2. Pielke’s caption for the sea ice figure is wrong. Those cannot be anomalies! That looks like sea-ice extent in 10^6 km.

    The proper graph for him to cite for this subject is Fig. 3:

    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20091005_minimumpr.html

    Of course they do not mention the dramatic decline in MY ice also discussed in the above link.

    I also noted that the inverse barometer correction was not applied in the sea-level graph, pleas post one that incorporates this correction).

    There is also a nice graph of SL here:

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

  3. Not that it matters to your larger point, which still holds, but the sentence “The current extent of NH sea ice is actually below the record 2007 minimum” may not be correct, inasmuch as 2007 was probably not year with the minimum Jan-Feb ice extent (it was the year with the minimum Sep extent). See: http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm.

    In any case, the signal of ice melt is not expected to be as large in the winter, nor to have as dire consequences for either climate albedo feedback or ecosystem impacts, both of which are likely to be largest in the spring through fall.

    I think the appropriate graphic to show would be a set of 12 monthly charts (or maybe 4 seasonal charts) showing the trends over time. In some months/seasons 2007 is the lowest, in some it will likely be 2005, 6, 8, or 9. In no month/season will any year before 2000* be the lowest, nor will 2009/10 be higher than any year before 2000*, which supports your larger point about continued retreat of sea ice extent.

    -Marcus

    *I didn’t bother to actually figure out which year makes the critical threshold for “record making”: I’d guess 2004 or so, but 2000 was a safe, “I’d be $1000 on this” sort of pick.

  4. I don’t think they have any shame. They’ll continually say the same thing, just updating the date. If 2010 clearly ends up being a record year, then we’ll hear about how global warming stopped in 2010 for the next couple years. And then so on.

  5. What was surprising to me about Pielke trafficking in this denialist-type argument was not its dishonesty- he is one of Watt’s biggest supporters after all

    I think he might be better labeled as being Watts’ *mentor*.

    1. The surface station project grew out of something similar done by Pielke and colleagues (students?) in Colorado.

    2. Pielke put Watts name on a paper that had something like 40-50 named authors, which allows Watts to proclaimed that he’s been published in the literature.

    3. Apparently Pielke is assisting with (or writing? doing whatever half-assed analysis is being done?) the paper Watts is promising as analysis of the results surface station project.

    “supporter” is too weak. “Mentor” or “collaborator” is more accurate, IMO, and makes more clear the depth of sewage in which Pielke Sr swims.

  6. I’d say ‘academic advisor’.

  7. Since you did not have the courtesy to link to Pielke I had to track it down. And what did I find? His discussion of short term trends was in response to claims made at RealClimate about … short term trends. RealClimate said that in the short term things were worse than predicted, Pielke said that according to some data like sea level rise, not necessarily so.

    You go and twist Pielke’s words into a suggestion that he does not make. How cool is that? Not very.

    Heap all the scorn on Morano that you want, but you are lying about Pielke. A shame, because you’re right about Morano.

    • Since you did not have the courtesy to link to Pielke I had to track it down.

      I realize that facts aren’t exactly the strong suit of the type of people who get worked up on Pielke’s behalf, but I did in fact link to Pielke (and went out of my way to link to his current blog, which is more than can be said of the SPPI/Morano reposting of his comments). Where I write “This claim was apparently made by Pielke back in June of last year”, you may notice that the majority of the sentence is underlined- on The Internet, that usually denotes a hyperlink. I also provided the link to the SPPI/Morano page, which excerpts directly from Pielke’s post, in case you somehow missed the second link.

    • RC was not actually talking about short term trends (they clarified this), though I can see how one can get confused by the wording.

  8. Pingback: My Reponse To An Ad Hominem Attack On Me By The Weblog “The Way Things Break” « Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.

    • Dr. Pielke,

      With respect, instead of attacking the messenger, should concede where and when you erred. We are not all perfect.

      It is telling that you do not allow comments on your blog. How am I or anyone else meant to engage you on this issue, or refute your claims?

  9. From the top of my head:

    Morano, Inhofe, Pielke, McIntyre, Watts, Christy, Spencer, Soon, Balliunas, Lomborg, Svensmark, Monckton, Carter, Singer, Plimer, Lindzen, Ball, Clark and so on…

    What’s my point? Well I’m not sure, but it bothers my to know all those names by heart… Why does it bother me? Well probably because of their views to the climate science and all the time spent on refuting some of their claims, instead of taking some real action to the issue at hand.

    For laymen to climate science it is very easy for claims, like those discussed in the post, to get in the way of the real issues.

  10. Dhogaza:3. “Apparently Pielke is assisting with (or writing? doing whatever half-assed analysis is being done?) the paper Watts is promising as analysis of the results surface station project.”

    Good idea. Let’s try to blow out of the water any upcoming peer reviewed papers coming from Watts before they actually get out there. That’s a strategy that has worked well in the past…as evidenced by the Climategate emails. (sarc off)

  11. Coward (and not Noel)


  12. That’s a strategy that has worked well in the past…as evidenced by the Climategate emails. (sarc off)

    I’ve read a couple of the papers that got Mann, Jones et al. all worked up over. And you know what? Those papers were rubbish — they contained errors of the sort that would get a college freshman’s term-paper severely red-inked.

    The real scandal was more like a “publishgate”, where unprofessional “garbage” papers were slipped into professional journals.

    Soon/Baliunas 2003 is an excellent example.

    • You hear this kind of balderdash all the time. What exactly did you find that made you think it was garbage. Simply stating, like Mann, that it is “garbage” does not make it so. You need proof of which you are lacking grandly.

  13. The main difference between blogs like this and “denialist” blogs is simple; there is much more vile abuse and rhetoric here.

    On the other side, you won’t find so much talk of “the depth of sewage in which Pielke Sr swims”, or that someone is “trafficking” information, or automatically dismissing someone’s work as “half-assed analysis.” I’m sure you can find some if you look, but it’s not as regular.

    Many of you will know that Tim Lambert of the Deltoid blog (see link on this page) debated Christopher Monckton in Australia last week. On that blog, Monckton was described as “two-bit rhetoric whore .. willing to spew shite”, “a potty peer”, “an unqualified liar and fraud”, “egotistic charlatan and fraud”, “a pathological liar”, “mischief-making clown”.

    One poster went so far as to say “I’d be tempted to show up with a bucket of DDT (recently purchased in Africa for anti-malarial spraying) and a tablespoon…”

    This is why you’re losing the debate in the public sphere. This level of abuse shows very clearly that you do not admit the other side’s right to disagree in any way, and the public don’t like that kind of totalitarian attitude. The shriller your voices become, the worse it’s going to get for you.

    The second thing, of course, is you have no idea who you’re up against. You believe that anyone who opposes action on global warming is a) in the pay of Big Oil or b) is scared of having to change their lifestyle under a low-carbon regime, or c) has been seduced by the anti-AGW “charlatans and frauds.”

    That is an arrogant delusion. There are millions of people out there who simply don’t like being railroaded. The more you say the debate is over, the more they are going to demand a debate. The more you scream that Monckton is “a charismatic charlatan”, the more people are going to realsie he has some thing valuable to say.

    Your science may be good, but if you persist in displaying a vindictive, arrogant superiority and treating other scientists and the general public as professional frauds and gullible fools respectively, your movement is going to founder.

    • The main difference between blogs like this and “denialist” blogs is simple; there is much more vile abuse and rhetoric here.

      You’ll merely find accusations of massive conspiracies to defraud taxpayers, sprinkled among campaigns to have tireless public servants like Jim Hansen fired for the crime of speaking his mind as a private citizen, etc.

      you have no idea who you’re up against. You believe that anyone who opposes action on global warming is a) in the pay of Big Oil or b) is scared of having to change their lifestyle under a low-carbon regime, or c) has been seduced by the anti-AGW “charlatans and frauds.”

      What’s the alternative again? You seem to concede that the science is correct. For what it’s worth, most of us don’t believe that the hordes of commentors that descend on the comments section of any given news article on climate change railing about “Al Gore” and snowfall disproving anthropogenic warming are “in the pay of Big Oil”. That distrust of anthropogenic warming is associated with political (and by implication economic) conservatism is reflected in basically all relevant polling data, and is understandable, just as rejection of evolution is associated with religious affiliations that tend toward more literal interpretations of scripture. There exist “skeptics” on the extreme left, who share in immense distrust in governmental power and also tend to give credence to conspiracy theories about the UN.

      Monckton is a joke in terms of his grasp of climate, to anyone who has a basic background in statistics to say nothing of physics or earth sciences. Whether or not that upsets people is independent of whether or not it is true.

      You seem to be under the impression that there is a PR campaign being lost because climate realists are insufficiently obsequious to those who claim that their life’s work is fraudulent. How then do you explain the fact that even with the contortionism of groups like NCSE to assure the public that evolution doesn’t have to conflict with religion that such a small percentage of the public accepts reality?

      As for how “other scientists” get treated, the percentage of scientists who actually disagree with mainstream climate science who publish in the field is incredibly small, according to both the primary literature and surveys. They are an extreme minority in the general scientific community (at least in the US), coming in consistently at less than 20%. The problem is not in the scientific community, nor is it because climate science hasn’t as a field prostrated itself in front of the public. It’s because, as with evolution, there are incredible socio-political implications that contradict certain ideologies and a well-funded campaign to discredit reality has injected the appearance of conflict disproportionate to its scientific basis into the public imagination.

      Disagree? I’m all ears. But please don’t defend Monckton and expect to be taken seriously by anyone who isn’t impressed by his pretenses.

      • “You seem to concede that the science is correct.”

        This is a mistaken, common blogger, meme. The word scientist is not equal to science. Just because a scientist says something is true does not necessarily make it true. Just look at the fabrications of the Korean geneticist, Dr. Hwang.

        Scientists are, supposed to be, trying to find the rules of science. So when “scientists” said that the Earth had no plates, were they correct?

        Climate science is a baby science. It is not nearly as mature as physics or chemistry. Your arrogance in believing that climate scientists know everything is amazing.

  14. Firstly, I didn’t defend Monckton. I simply said that personally insulting him gives him credibility and notoriety he might otherwise lack.

    Let’s look at this sentence. “It’s because, as with evolution, there are incredible socio-political implications that contradict certain ideologies and a well-funded campaign to discredit reality…..”

    Do you concede that that sentence could equally be used by a denier about you? The ideology of the “deniers” tends to be right-wing, free-market, capitalist, small-government. The ideology of the AGW supporters equally tends to be left-wing, dirigiste, big-government. Both sides have ideology and both are entitled to it. And it will colour the approach of both sides to the science.

    Please, if you want to win any arguments, don’t bang on about well-funded skeptics. The amount of money that ExxonMobil has given to skeptic organisations is somewhere in the region of $23 million over 10 years, during which time the US government has spent about $20 billion on climate science and scientists, of whom only “an extreme minority”, (to use your words) oppose AGW.

    Also, it’s bad policy to try to equate (as you seem to be doing) the evolution debate with the climate change debate. Whether you mean to or not, that comes across as another arrogant, off-the-cuff dismissal of anyone who disagrees with you as a crackpot, especially when many of those who disagree with you have also put their life’s work into this science. They simply come to different conclusions. It’s a cheap shot which doesn’t work, any more than the “flat-earther” remarks.

    And I don’t think that AGW scientists need to be obsequious, merely not so overweeningly arrogant. It doesn’t play well.

    • gives him credibility and notoriety he might otherwise lack.

      You seem to be ignoring that he only has any “credibility and notoriety” because of front group backing in the first place. When faced with someone like Monckton, what is the appropriate response?

      Do you concede that that sentence could equally be used by a denier about you?

      Used as in it actually is true? Not particularly. I’ve overcome a great deal of mis/pre-conceptions that had an ideological underpinning on the basis of reality. Could it “be used by” them in terms of applying it irrespective of the truth? I’d expect nothing less. You have to remember that this was a group that pivoted from claiming that we wanted to steal their hard earned capital for brown people in other lands to claiming that emissions abatement bad because it would prevent aid from going to brown people in other lands. The aid that they used to resent when it was still socially acceptable to do so. Coherence isn’t a reoccurring theme with this group.

      The ideology of the “deniers” tends to be right-wing, free-market, capitalist, small-government. The ideology of the AGW supporters equally tends to be left-wing, dirigiste, big-government. Both sides have ideology and both are entitled to it. And it will colour the approach of both sides to the science.

      Pricing GHG emissions for their climatic consequence and letting the market pick the winning solution couldn’t be less “left-wing, dirigiste, big-government” while still actually addressing the problem. Yet the ostensible pro-government faction is begging for a market solution. What does that tell you about coherence/honesty?

      if you want to win any arguments, don’t bang on about well-funded skeptics

      Did you miss this? For what it’s worth, most of us don’t believe that the hordes of commentors that descend on the comments section of any given news article on climate change railing about “Al Gore” and snowfall disproving anthropogenic warming are “in the pay of Big Oil”.

      The impact of that funding isn’t monetary compensation for the average denialist. It’s the creation of a “debate” that doesn’t really exist (certainly at least not to the extent portrayed) in the popular imagination. This maps well with certain ideologies, but there’s no compensation for their free lobbying on those interests behalf.

      it’s bad policy to try to equate (as you seem to be doing) the evolution debate with the climate change debate

      Is that because of your opinion about one or the other, or something else? The parallels seem pretty glaring to me. Can you help me see what I’m overlooking?

      Whether you mean to or not, that comes across as another arrogant, off-the-cuff dismissal of anyone who disagrees with you as a crackpot, especially when many of those who disagree with you have also put their life’s work into this science.

      I’m not calling dismissers of evolution “crackpots”. That’s something you’re bringing in to the conversation with you. I use the word “reality” as what is addressable by objective (and yes, pretty much scientific) standards. Whether or not evolution deniers or climate deniers are “crack pots” is up to you at this point. I’m only going so far as to say that they’re opposed by science, and therefore in my limited opinion, reality. ;)

      Are you aware, though, of the crossover in polling data between climate denialists and creationsists? If not, it’s pretty eye-opening. Pew, Gallup, and a few others that escape me at the moment have some overlapping results which are pretty unambiguous.

      merely not so overweeningly arrogant. It doesn’t play well.

      Would you agree that the NCSE has bent over backwards to do what you recommend to climate science?

  15. caerbannog: I’ve read a couple of the papers that got Mann, Jones et al. all worked up over. And you know what? Those papers were rubbish — they contained errors of the sort that would get a college freshman’s term-paper severely red-inked.

    Ok. You win. You read a couple of papers and didn’t like them so they’re worthless. That’s climate science today, I guess. You do make a good point about the abysmal state of peer review and the manipulation (papers were “slipped” into professional journals) of so called scientific journals as they relate to today’s climate science.

    • Ok. You win. You read a couple of papers and didn’t like them so they’re worthless.

      What would it take to persuade you that the Soon and Baliunas paper was rubbish? The resignation of half of the editors of the journal over its publication?

      That’s climate science today, I guess.

      The irony of critics complaining that “climate science” assumes too much about the public and isn’t deferential enough to their concerns while this sort of comment remains par for the course remains baffling to me.

  16. I think it is only fair that you update your blog to link to Pielke Snr’s reply. I also strongly believe that you need to start playing the ball and not the man. This is a complex issue and contrary views are important.

    • I think it is only fair that you update your blog to link to Pielke Snr’s reply.

      I am in the process of posting a response here (I seem to be unable to do so over at his blog- do your comments get posted there?) which does so directly and have posted his pingback in my own comments section in the meantime. I assume that this is satisfactory?

      need to start playing the ball and not the man

      Hm. And what about his specific claims did I not address directly?

  17. I so agree with Rick. You use of words like “idiocy” are just infantile.

    I do hope that you continue, whoever you are, and I hope you get loads of coverage. It will only further alienate people

    Just debate the science dude, leave the insults to the schoolyard

    • Hi, Jim- thank you for stopping by again.

      You [sic] use of words like “idiocy” are just infantile.

      Is that because you find the word “idiocy” unnecessarily insulting and therefore not a viable part of an adult discussion, like others might find the word “infantile”, or is there something especially troubling to you about idiocy that caused you to comment on its use here as opposed to elsewhere on the web in general or even my own site?

      Is there a more accurate description for cherry picking in the way that Pielke did than notably stupid or foolish? If so, I would love to hear some suggestions.

  18. On comparing theories of evolution and AGW.

    * Evolution is a theory which has made repeated and detailed predictions which have proved to be true; AGW is not.
    * To disbelieve evolution, you must also discount an enormous fossil record, recent genetic and genomic analyses, discoveries in the areas of vestigial structures and pseudogenes; to disbelieve catastrophic AGW, you only need, as Phil Jones has said, to believe in the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age.

    • Evolution is a theory which has made repeated and detailed predictions which have proved to be true; AGW is not

      1. Evolution deniers claim the same thing about evolution.
      2. Can you not think of any “repeated and detailed predictions” of the consequences of an enhanced greenhouse warming that have been verified?

      I am trying to take your approach to heart and not alienate people by linking directly to contradictory examples. I can if you’d like, but I *sincerely* would rather bridge communication gaps than score rhetorical points.

      Can we look at what some of the basic predictions of anthropogenic forcings are and whether or not any are occurring as a collaborative effort?

  19. Well, we could try, but it would be fairly circular. You’ll post your graphs, and I’ll post my rebuttals, then you’ll claim my scientists are charlatans and I’ll say yours are frauds, and so it goes on, in the time-honored way.

    My original point was not so much about the science as about its presentation.

    If the AGW side of the debate is going to continue to dismiss opponents as charlatans, frauds, and flat-earthers, then a great many more people like Monckton are going to take offence and speak up, and you should not underestimate the power of public opinion to shape this debate in the political sphere. It is entirely possible that the next Australian general election will be fought over this issue.

    I recently heard a debate with Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and Philip Stott, professor emeritus at University of London (skeptic).

    In contrast to most discussions of this kind, the men debated politely and rationally, and basically came to an agreement that:

    * CO² is a greenhouse gas and we are pouring it into the atmosphere
    * The extent of any human effect on climate cannot be predicted with any accuracy. All we can do is to estimate a risk factor
    * We should be looking at non fossil-fuel forms of energy
    * Science needs to be more open and accountable, and less politicised.
    * Scientists should do the science, and leave policy to the politicians.
    * The whole IPCC procedure needs revamping

    Mike Hulme was honest, polite, rational, well-informed and genuine in his attempt to find a way forward for this important science.

    But once, again, the blog-based zealots weren’t happy.

    “Mike Hulme is the ultimate example of why we are losing against such tossers as Monckton, Stott et al. The ‘offical’ face of climate science in the UK is crap. Useless. A waste of space. As much use as a chocolate teapot. The Royal Society should hang their heads in shame, as should the other scientific institutions. The media is to blame as well, but after Hulme’s performance, why would they bother talking to a climate scientist ever again?”

    The impression this gives is that they are happy to forget the science, forget rationality, forget everything except The Cause, in service of which, everything is acceptable except being honest. These are only bloggers, of course, but when there are people like UK PM Gordon Brown throwing in ‘flat-earther’ jibes, it only seves to harden already entrenched positions. And that does no good at all.

    • You’ll post your graphs, and I’ll post my rebuttals, then you’ll claim my scientists are charlatans and I’ll say yours are frauds, and so it goes on, in the time-honored way.

      You’re putting me at an extraordinary disadvantage, if you’re positioning yourself so that there is no evidence that can persuade you.

      My original point was not so much about the science as about its presentation.

      Can I assume that you’re an equal opportunity critic (and by that please don’t take offense, I truly am grateful for the perspective) and you’ve been telling Roger Pielke Sr. et al. that if they have any legitimate points to make, they shouldn’t dress them in creationist nonsense?

      If the AGW side of the debate is going to continue to dismiss opponents as charlatans, frauds, and flat-earthers, then a great many more people like Monckton are going to take offence and speak up, and you should not underestimate the power of public opinion to shape this debate in the political sphere.

      Okay. I don’t underestimate the public’s ability to be snowed by an entrenched and moneyed though largely volunteer opposition. I explicitly acknowledge it.

      I am asking you- given the impressive contortionsim by the NCSE, is it at least a hypothetical to you that denialists will never accept the reality of anthropogenic forcing being a problem?

      Can we address this “The extent of any human effect on climate cannot be predicted with any accuracy. All we can do is to estimate a risk factor” as a seperate issue?

      • And, Rick, just so it doesn’t seem like I’m trying to sandbag you, I was thinking that we can also ask the field of economics about the role of uncertainty in risk assessment.

  20. Like the man says:

    > Sea level has actually flattened since 2006.
    > …
    > Media and policymakers who blindly accept
    > these claims are either naive or are
    > deliberately slanting the science to
    > promote their particular advocacy position.

    How many years of data or observations are needed to say anything about a trend in sea level?

    Has anyone seen an analysis of the variability of any of the sea level data sets to determine what kind of data set is required to have a good chance of determination at any given confidence level that a trend does show up?

    Robert Grumbine goes through the general procedure on his site, using annual global temperature numbers, but I haven’t seen it done for sea level data sets.

  21. thingsbreak,

    1. I am as persuadable as anyone — I will extend you the courtesy of believing the same about you.

    Yet, note your seemingly automatic agit-prop style of language again: “…snowed [misled] by an entrenched [Entrenched? Where? In government? In bureaucracies? In the media? In academia?] and moneyed [Do you mean rich? Are you suggesting that all "deniers" are wealthy dilettantes?] though largely volunteer opposition.”

    I can’t think of anything more entrenched in government, bureaucracy and media circles than unthinking support for AGW, rarely backed up by attempts at understanding the science. There are some “deniers” who believe that because the “denier” position has been starved of oxygen for so long, it is acceptable to encourage fellows like Monckton to travel the globe loudly advertising that an alternative view exists, whatever his faults.

    2. I think that diehards on both sides of the debate will never believe the case for the other side, and this is a great pity. The debate is so polarized now that it is not about the science. What is needed are people at, or near, the middle like Mike Hulme and, I believe, John Christy.

    3. I like to think I am somewhere near being an equal-opportunity critic — I can take issue with Soon & Baliunas just as easily as I can with Michael Mann’s hockey stick. Monckton recently got shot down over his analysis of a paper by Rachel Pinker, and deserved it. I have my biases, of course, but perhaps less rigidly than the majority of people.

    And from that standpoint, even believing the IPCC’s projections for 2100 (between 1.1 and 6.4 °C — how do you price that for risk?), I think both sides should stop playing the catastrophe card and focus on all sorts of actual environmental problems as they arise.

  22. Rick:
    You are the voice of sweet reason. Keep it up.


  23. 3. I like to think I am somewhere near being an equal-opportunity critic — I can take issue with Soon & Baliunas just as easily as I can with Michael Mann’s hockey stick.

    You are *not* an equal-opportunity critic. Mann’s initial “hockey-stick” work was a credible “first-attempt” to compute global-average temperatures from proxy data. There were some issues with his pioneering work — the choice of a short-centered PCA method was theoretically (but it turns out, not in practice) problematic. Anyone familiar with eigenvalue/eigenvector decompositions knows full well that problems introduced by non-centered data can nearly always be compensated for by including more eigenvalues/eigenvectors. (And yes, Mann *did* check his eigenvalues before he continued with his hockey-stick computations.)

    Later publications by other researchers refined and improved on Mann’s original work. For example, later reconstructions did a better job of capturing the LIA. (An apples-to-apples comparison of Mann’s 1998 hockey-stick with more recent reconstructions will show that they largely agree during the MWP — it’s during the LIA that they diverge the most).

    Soon/Baliunas, on the other hand, was a pathetically bad paper full of freshman-class errors. Soon/Baliunas did not inspire further research work as Mann 1998 did. The only publications inspired by Soon/Baliunas were responses by other researchers pointing out their obvious errors.

    The fact that you consider Mann and Soon/Baliunas in any way equivalent demonstrates that (1) You are *not* even-handed, and (2) You are completely uninformed about the subject.

    Soon/Baliunas 2003 is available on the web (Google is your friend). If after downloading and reading it, you cannot identify at least one or two “show-stopper” blunders in their methodology, then you need to step aside from this discussion and do a *lot* of homework before you return.

    The bottom line is, Mann’s 1998 paper was a credible piece of pioneering research that inspired other researchers to extend and improve on his techniques. Soon/Baliunas 2003 wasn’t credible at all; it was full of elementary errors that you’d expect from a C-student freshman.

    Anyone who fails to distinguish between the two cases has no business participating in this debate.

    • Typical, you have all the talk and no substance. Name one error.

      A boat load of errors have been chronicled with the methods and source code readily available for download to verify them, on Climate Audit concerning the massive errors in the MBH1998 paper. Yet you can not name a single error in the Soon/Balinas 2003 paper. The best you can do is say their are errors there. Now that you have said it, lets see some proof–name one.

  24. I’m not defending Soon, et.al., however, it is interesting to note the following: the attack on the validity of their compilation and conclusions was led by none other than Mann, Briffa, Overpeck, Trenberth, Ammann, Osborn, Wigley and a had full of other hockey stick “team” members and participants in the most incriminating of the Climategate emails. Among those editors of CR who resigned were Claire Goodess, Sr. Reasearch Assoc. at none other than the (formerly) prestegeous CRU, Andrew Comrie of UofAriz. where he studies climate related topics such as the effects of climate change on infectous diseases and where, according to his U of A bio, “His work has been funded by numerous federal, state and local agencies.” But I guess he wouldn’t have any particular ax to grind other than just good science. Right? And Mann, in the Climategate emails, said of Soon and Balunas, “Fortunately, these two are clowns, neither remotely as sharp as Lindzen or as slick as Michaels, and it wasn’t too difficult to deal with them.” Very scientific.

    But we can all draw our own conclusions about the players based upon their behavior, biases, etc.

    As for you, I’m giving you a C- in debate for your use of a simplistic straw man tactic (“errors that you’d expect from a C-student freshman”)…setting up the S/B paper as unscientific and then accusing anyone who questions you about any topic of supporting S/B and being essentially science clowns (to use a most unscientific word from your man, Mann).

    • Steve ” “Fortunately, these two are clowns, neither remotely as sharp as Lindzen or as slick as Michaels, and it wasn’t too difficult to deal with them.”

      You are obviously not an academic. Science is not always polite and friendly. Deal with it. And, as it turns out, their assessment was pretty much spot on.

      You are making the naive assumption that Soon et al. have not the same or worse of Mann et al. in their private correspondence. You are applying uni-directional bias and ‘skepticism’. McIntyre certainly has engaged is libel and unsubstantiated rhetoric. Applying your logic, we can discount McI’s work too. Well, we can, but for uch more objective and scientific reasons, and not b/c he is malicious.

      Also, Rick, Barry and others blindly defending Pielke

      The Pielkes (Snr and Jnr, more so Jnr) also regularly engage in less than flattering rhetoric and critique of the ‘warmers’ and groups like NOAA and NCDC etc.

      The Pielkes also keep incredibly bad company in terms of people like Morano, Singer, de Freitas, Ball and Watts, for example, and knowingly engage in disseminating misinformation and distorting the facts as demonstrated here.

      But you justify the continual misinformation and distortion by the ‘skeptics’ somehow, while simultaneously being (unjustly) highly judgmental and critical of Mann. And using singular examples or mistakes to refute the body of science behind AGW. Your bias is blinding.

      PS: Mann’s seminal work and findings have since been corroborated by several independent proxies (e.g., borehole, lake and ocean sediments etc.). The Hockey Stick is alive and well, much to the frustration of McI et al.

      • Alan Wilkinson

        ” The Hockey Stick is alive and well, much to the frustration of McI et al.”

        That’s truly clueless. Even Jones has repudiated it.

      • Alan,

        Nope. Have you read Mann et al. (2009)……amongst others.
        Believe what you will, the science states otherwise.

        And your allegation about what Jones is alleged to have said about the MWP not accurate. His comments have, yet again, been distorted and misrepresented by the incompetent media. Go over to Deltoid, ClimateProgress and RC and see what a woeful ‘job’ the media have been doing lately, and for information about what Jones actually said and meant.

      • I’m not defending Peilke Sr., I’m telling you to put up or shut-up.

      • Barry, you claim to not be defending Pielke, and you are also not highlighting his transgressions. Then might I suggest that you go somewhere else and troll. Because you have stated clearly that you have no purpose being here other than to disrupt and detract.

        And I and other shave “put up” as is evidenced by posts here.


  25. Yet you can not name a single error in the Soon/Balinas 2003 paper. The best you can do is say their are errors there. Now that you have said it, lets see some proof–name one.

    OK berry, here ya go:

    1) Arbitrarily equating a period of wetness or dryness with a “warm anomaly” during the MWP.

    2) Turning around and equating a period of wetness or dryness with a “cool anomaly” during the LIA. (Note the contradiction with #1 above).

    3) Failing to determine whether the short-duration warm-anomalies tallied up during the 500-year-long MWP were in any way “synchronous”. Randomly-occurring short-duration warm periods scattered at various times and locations during a multi-century period are not evidence of a *global* warm period. I’ll leave it to you to figure out why.

    4) The 50+-year time-period specified for S&B’s “warm anomalies” is long enough to average out much of the warmth observed during the last two decades of the 20th century. It is only during these latter decades of the 20th century have temperatures significantly exceeded historical norms. Smearing that warming out over longer periods and claiming that the final decades weren’t anomalously warm is an obvious blunder.

    5) Failing to account for the different time-period lengths of the MWP (500 years) vs. 20th century (100) years when comparing warm-events during those time periods. (You can’t say that because we saw warmer periods during a 500-year period than we did during a 100-year period, that the 500-year period was on average warmer than the 100-year period. But that is pretty close to what S&B did here.

    In summary, the S&B paper can be categorized as “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln….”

    • You’re strong on physics but week in plant science? Tell me do you know the first thing about plants or soil systems?

      Can you walk out on the plains and tell me what kind of moisture the area receives from looking at the kinds of vegetation you see? Can you tell me that the underlying soil is clay because you know what kinds of plants grow in clay? I bet you don’t even know what the term range science means.

      By the way I am not a fruit, berries are good to eat, I am not.

  26. Maple Leaf PS: Mann’s seminal work and findings have since been corroborated by several independent proxies (e.g., borehole, lake and ocean sediments etc.). The Hockey Stick is alive and well, much to the frustration of McI et al.

    And that’s why the IPCC has removed it from all current PR material.

    We certainly know science isn’t always nice. That was apparent in the Climategate emails. Let’s see what happens with the Mann investigation. The inquiery did apparently find some issues. “The investigatory committee’s charge will be to consider what are the bounds of accepted practice in this instance and whether or not Dr. Mann did indeed engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”

    • Steve, the HS is alive and well in the peer-review lit and in the science mainstream. Also, you should know about mann et al. (2009).

      I’m not sure what you are talking about regards the IPCC and PR material. You need to be more specific. Mann’s work is featured prominently in AR4, see Chpt. 6 Fig. 6.10. Also see Fig 1 in Box 6.4. Mann is cited as lead author 8 times in Chpt 6 of AR4 alone (not to mention the number of times he is cited as a co-author)– do a search.

      You are obsessed I see with the hacked CRU emails. And what do you think we would find if we had access to McI’s email, for example; flowers and buttercups? Not likely. Or how about your email? Don’t apply a double standard or throw stones in glass houses.

      You insist on operating on the naive assumption that McI and other ‘skeptics’ will not have said similar things as stated in the CRU emails. Does that not register with you? Is your questioning and ‘skepticism’ really that focussed? Is your blind spot for the ‘skeptics’ really that large?

      Re Mann, interesting how you ignore the fact that he was exonerated on all three other bogus charges. PSU are making sure they cover their bases and making sure they do not provide fodder for the ‘skeptics’ you are on a witch hunt and are out for blood. If he is not exonerated on the fourth bogus accusation, I’ll be stunned.

      Lastly, this has nothing at all to do with the radiative forcing of GHGs? Nothing, fancy that.

      Have you looked at the UAH global lower trop. air temps. lately? Or the global SSTs, or 0-2000 m OHC, or Arctic sea ice loss (and don’t come back with three data points), or Arctic MY sea ice loss.

      I’m curious, do you things Watts runs a real science blog? And are you a frequent patron there?

      • The issues they supposedly cleared were concerning “illegal” avoidance of FOIA requests. I find it interesting that they did not even bother to check the other side of the story– what you are going to ask the murder if he actually killed Mrs. White? And, you expect me to believe the murder when he says, “I never met her.”

        That is exactly what happened in the PSU investigation. They summarily waved their hands and now they expect us to believe a chronic liar.

        “Response: No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, ‘grafted the thermometer record onto’ any reconstruction.”

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/myths-vs-fact-regarding-the-hockey-stick/

        And yet it is clear from the emails and data that this is exactly what Michael Mann did–Making his claim a bod-faced lie.

      • Barry, you are engaging in transparent troll tactics here. This thread is about Pielke misrepresenting the data and choosing to associate himself with unsavory and disingenuous characters like “swift-boat” Morano who makes a living destroying others. Understand? Pielke.

        And now you are using tricks to try and detract from that. We have discussed Soon, Mann, in addition to a bunch of other irrelevant stuff. We soundly refute your misinformation, and then you simply move on and spout more disinformation and half truths as done in your last post. All the while decrying how badly Mann has allegedly behaved.

        If you want to berate Mann, then at least a thread pertaining to Mann. I know it irks you that he is a good scientist and survived many attacks, now please grow up and deal with it.

        I’m not going to engage you any more and provide you more opportunities to spew your bias, hate and disregard for PSU and science in general.

      • I forgot to mention this in my post. Nobody even contacted McIntyre, to verify the claims that started this whole barage in the first place.

        http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/01/the-first-inquiry-to-report/

        In a court of law they would have at least heard both sides before coming to some form of conclusion. And you expect me and others to actually believe this mockery of an investigation? They did a poor job and therefore nobody, capable of rational thought, should believe them.

      • Barry, you are off topic, again.

        McI has stated on CA that he had no part in making or soliciting a complaint to PSU against Mann. So there was no need to hear “his (McI’s) side of the story” re the Mann investigation at PSU. So either you are lying now, or he was lying when he said that on his blog . McI needs to get over himself.

        Wow, Barry, you just can’t stop disseminating the misinformation can you. And worse still, seem to be a devote McI acolyte.

        I would say au revoir, but perhaps à bientôt is more appropriate.

      • Maple Leaf:

        You are right. I did not recognize the put up part before my cross-analysis of the complaints. I apologize for that.

        I did not see the put up part before I posted. Once again I am sorry for that, when I had read the put up I wished I could retract my post but, to no avail, no delete post.

      • Whether Steve McIntyre to lodge a complaint or not is a moot point.

        The primary reason the investigation was ever needed was due to the responses to FOIA requests in the leaked emails.

        If you do not investigate the source of the problem, then what has the investigation accomplished. It would be like me hearing clunk from under the hood of my car. So I pull my car over. Get out and walk to the back end of the car where I look at the exhaust pipe and kick the tire. When I get back into the car, I proceed to tell my wife that there is nothing wrong with the car because my investigation revealed nothing.

        Did my investigation prove anything, no. Did the PSU investigation prove anything, no. They looked at the exhaust pipe when they should have been under the hood.

        What they should have done was, like judges who are too close to the case, recursed themselves of the investigations and called in an independent inquiry team. They simply have too much to lose if Michael Mann is found guilty of fraud.

  27. Science may not always be nice but abuse from anonymity is merely contemptible – and entirely counter–productive as a PR tactic.

  28. I must give this blog credit for having a comments section. Which has been pointed out to be missing from Dr. Pielke Sr.’s blog, I am unaware of his reasons for doing so.

    On the other hand who is the author here? It is easy to throw stones from behind a rock.

    The most interesting fact is that Dr. Pielke Sr. is a self proclaimed believer in the effects of AGW but not to the extremes that the IPCC claims and he also believes their are other, possibly more important, factors involved in climate change, such as land use change.

    It is amazing that the author of this blog is so ready to go to 5th grade name calling rather than dealing with issues raised. Typical rhetoric of the true believers.

  29. Now this one is in defense of Dr. Piekle Sr.

    Maple Leaf: “If you want to berate Mann, then at least a thread pertaining to Mann. I know it irks you that he is a good scientist and survived many attacks, now please grow up and deal with it.”

    So you do not deny that Mann is a liar, but then claim that he is a great scientist. For Dr. Hwang’s lies, he was sentenced to prison and stripped of his position.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwang_Woo-Suk

    But you think we should admire Mann?
    How can he be a liar, on the record about his methodologies, and a great scientist at the same time. When does the lie end and the truth begin.

    Yet we somehow are to believe your mantra that Dr. Pielke, who as of yet has nothing but libelous accusations leveled against him, with no sustenance to back it up. Are we to believe this unbelievable diatribe coming from a person who obviously worships the lies of a liar?

  30. Barry you are clearly becoming increasingly and incredibly desperate. Speak to someone in denial long enough and they begin to spew invective, vitriol and make references to religion.

    I’ve told you before, I’m not engaging you or providing you with a springboard from which to float your absurd beliefs and menacing rhetoric. ThingsBreak, IMO, is being incredibly tolerant in allowing you to continue spewing this stream of nonsense here.

    In the meantime, the planet continues to warm:

    http://tinyurl.com/ylmcfzc

    bon débarras!

    • “desperate”

      So much so that I have backed you into a corner of which you have nothing left to say; you know what I say is true and you can not deny it. Why? The proof is in plain view for the world to see, by the very hands to which you esteem such praise. Furthermore, you are not big enough to admit you are wrong.

      Michael Mann wrote his own noose in which he has hanged his credibility with, whether or not PSU was adept enough to dig and find it.

      Your position, concerning Mann, has become increasingly untenable. But you continue throwing visceral verbal punches, especially at Dr. Piekle and any who disagree with your hero. Why do you you cherish being the character assassin but loathe the recoil of your own actions? If you can’t take the heat, then get out of the fire. Stop the slander and, you won’t have to deal with people like me trying to bring you out of your cloud back to reality.

  31. I find it instructive to check out another site that has no axes to grind – no claims one way or the other – they simply lay out the facts so one can see for oneself what is going on. It is certainly apparent that the Arctic has a bit less ice than the norm, however the Antarctic has a bit more ice than the norm. The average between the two ice fields shows a deviation of about 500K square Kilometers (out of 15 Million sq.K.) less than the average for 1979 – 2000. The website? http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ for the latest unedited showings of the current ice coverage of the northern and southern hemispheres plus charts showing the swings since the satellite records were first started back in 1979.
    The site shows that the minimum arctic sea ice for 2009 was closer to the average for 2000 – 2006 and that interestingly enough the maximum arctic sea ice for 2008, 2009 and looks like 2010 will be close to 14M Sq. K. which is just slightly under the average for all the years 1979 to 2000.
    The data is there – go look for yourself.

  32. Rick Bradford

    “The ideology of the AGW supporters equally tends to be left-wing, dirigiste,big-government. Both sides have ideology and both are entitled to it.”

    Baloney.

    AGW is science and has nothing to do with ideology. Your entire assumption in the above statement IS right wing ideology. Just because right wing ideologues claim that the science is left wing ideology doesn’t make it so. All you are doing is restating right wing ideology about climate science, which is what has politicized it to begin with. You are using a form of what I call pretzel logic.

    “during which time the US government has spent about $20 billion on climate science and scientists, of whom only an extreme minority, (to use your words) oppose AGW”

    During 8 of the last ten years the federal government under the Bush administration was at war with the science. Only an extreme minority don’t agree with the science. By using the word ‘opposed’ you are showing that you think it is about opinion or ideology.
    Again, the science is not a political issue and is not about opinion.

  33. Barry
    “Michael Mann wrote his own noose in which he has hanged his credibility with, whether or not PSU was adept enough to dig and find it”

    Yeah right, and the National Academy of Science didn’t dig anything up and neither did the Associated Press in their climate gate investigation. Keep beating the dead horse though.

    • It’s hard to dig it up if you are not using a shovel.

      We already know how incestuous some of the relationships are at the top, as revealed by the Climategate emails.

      That aside, are you honestly trying to deny what is in plain view? I laid it out for everyone to see. So it doesn’t matter if NAS found it or not; it is there. Must I show you the links again?

      My question is, which Nature article was Dr. Jones referring to and where is the code for that article? It should be easily verifiable, the “trick.”, as Dr. Jones told us all exactly what the trick was.

      “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
      to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
      1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”–Dr. Phil Jones

      http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?page=1&pp=25&kw=nature%20trick

  34. Pingback: Common sense gets Rogered | The Way Things Break

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