A quick science lesson for Lord Lawson

Since my post about the BBC and its balance seems to be attracting comments about Lord Lawson’s and Brian Hoskins’ appearance on Radio 4 today, I thought it might be best to add a new post that was more explicitly about that topic.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation actually seems to be promoting the transcript of the interview. Honest of them, I guess, but a little strange given that it would appear to suggest that Lord Lawson – their Chairman – is rather lacking in an understanding of basic science. I thought maybe I (and those who comment) could give him some basic tips. It seems unlikely (sadly maybe) that the BBC will suddenly realise his lack of scientific expertise, so I would certainly like to help him do better in future.

For example, during the interview, the following exchange takes place

Lord Lawson: Everything. First of all, even if there is warming – and there’s been no recorded warming over the past 15, 16, 17 years.

Justin Webb: Well, there is a lot of controversy about that.

Lord Lawson: No there’s not, that’s a fact. That is accepted even by the IPCC.

No, it’s not a fact (firstly fact is a poor word to use in scientific discussion, unless it is suitably qualified). Depending on the dataset used, the surface warming trend since 1998 is between 0.05oC per decade and 0.12oC per decade with a 2σ uncertainty of about 0.14oC per decade. That means it’s possible that there’s been no surface warming, but it’s much more likely that there has been surface warming. Therefore, it’s entirely incorrect to say there’s been no recorded warming. Additionally, this statement fails to mention that warming continues in other parts of the climate system.

The interview ends with the following exchange in which Brian Hoskins explains where most of the excess energy associated with the energy imbalance has been going for the last 10 – 15 years

Sir Brian Hoskins: Oh yes, it’s there in the oceans.

Lord Lawson: That is pure speculation.

Sir Brian Hoskins: No, it’s a measurement.

Lord Lawson: No, it’s not. It’s speculation.

No, it really isn’t speculation. There really are measurements. There are satellite measurements of sea level rise and Argo floats that have been measuring ocean temperatures down to a depth of 2000m. You may not trust the measurements, or like what they’re suggesting, or may think the uncertainties are too large (they’re not) but the measurements exist and stating that the suggestion that the energy is going into the ocean is speculation is simply wrong.

So, that’s my quick comment. Given that Lord Lawson seems to be appearing on the radio and TV quite regularly, it would be very good if he could start getting these things right. Of course, you would hope that an organisation like the Global Warming Policy Foundation would have – as one of its goals – to correctly present the science associated with global warming and climate change. I did have a look their mission statement, and couldn’t actually find any statement like that, so maybe they don’t. If so, they’re doing a remarkably good job of not representing the science properly. Personally, I’d prefer that they did represent it properly and accurately but, if not, maybe they could add the following to their mission statement :

To say whatever we like about climate science and to do so with as much confidence as possible.

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457 Responses to A quick science lesson for Lord Lawson

  1. dana1981 says:

    Again, WTF is with the BBC false balance?

    BBC Today Programme: Sir Brian Hoskins, a member of the Committee on Climate Change, and Lord Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and founding chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, discuss the extent to which man-made climate change is a factor in the recent extreme weather.

    Brian Hoskins – climate scientist with expertise in meteorology – excellent choice. Nigel Lawson – politician and think tank founder…why on Earth would you invite him onto the radio to discuss this subject in the first place? Invite Lawson if you want to discuss policy, but not climate science and meteorology!

  2. Dana, yes precisely. In fact, TheGWPF mission says virtually nothing about science. It’s virtually all about policy. Maybe someone should point that out to the BBC.

  3. Albatross says:

    It would be interesting to know who in BBC solicited a politician (Lawson) and anti-science advocate to speak on a science issue. Or did the GWPF insist that Lawson participate? IN which case, why did the BBC say yes? More information please BBC. Should we then expect the BBC to now interview a young-earth creationist the next time they speak to evolution?

  4. Joshua says:

    It is interesting that Lawson makes, essentially, the same inaccurate statement as did Montford.

    Now “skeptics” often claims that “skeptics” are a diverse group with diverse opinions – and indeed they are. But it interesting that two high-profile skeptics would make the same fundamental mistake regarding an issue that they’ve been invited to discuss in a radio interview. Montford said his mistake could be explained by the fact that he isn’t a scientist and can’t be expected to keep facts in his head (paraphrasing). Would Lawson offer a similar reason for his error?

    At any rate, with a group as diverse as “skeptics” are, is there some significance that two prominent “skeptics” would make the same fundamental error?

    Or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

  5. William says:

    Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 5th July, 2005
    “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant….”

    Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 7th May, 2009
    ‘Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

    worried about what, I thought he would have been pleased.

  6. Albatross, that is indeed the big question. There have been suggestions that there has been pressure to include more “skeptics” on the BBC and I can’t – off the top of my head – think of a climate science story that didn’t include a “skeptic” (mainly Montford – twice – and Lawson – twice), but I guess there’s no evidence of such pressure.

    Interesting that I can think of 4 occasions where climate science has been discussed recently. BBC Question Time with Lawson and no climate scientist. The Stephen Nolan Show with Montford and Paul Williams. BBC News that had Ed Hawkins (I think), Tamsin Edwards and Montford. Now we have BBC Radio 4 with Lawson and Hoskins. So, in my memory Lawson and Montford have appeared twice as often as any individual climate scientist and in terms of shows, “skeptics” have been represented more often than climate scientists. That would appear to be remarkably unbalanced, even ignoring that they should probably be represented (when talking about science) 3 times out of 100.

  7. William,
    Not statistically significant does not mean “no warming”. The evidence suggests that there is a greater chance that the surface has warmed in the last 15 years, than it not having warmed. So, the statement “there’s been no warming” is wrong – on many different levels.

  8. Lawson also said 15, 16, 17 years. The Cowtan & Way trend for Jan 1996 – Dec 2013 is 0.146 ±0.138oC per decade, so it’s been warming. Lawson would seem to be wrong.

  9. badgersouth says:

    Anders,
    Is your post “tongue-in-cheek”?

  10. BBD says:

    Should quote mining from stolen emails be permitted by the commenting policy? Or are we going to be subjected to the same distortions of purloined private correspondence for ever and ever, amen? Or put more clearly: are we going to have to listen to the peddling of the “climategate” meme for ever more? Note that with “climategate” the clue is in the name – bestowed by fake sceptics as part of their language hijack thing. There was no scandal. There was no attempt to mislead the public. No papers were withdrawn. Nine inquiries found nothing. Et cetera. Yet *still* this meme is peddled, day in, day out, for purely rhetorical purposes by those without anything else in their quivers. Perhaps enough is enough now.

  11. Joshua says:

    William –

    ‘no upward trend’

    Even looking beyond the distinction between “no upward trend,” and “no statistically significant no upward trend,” my assumption that the “trend” referenced in the quote you provided was GSATs. Surely, you would agree that “recorded warmng,” must include more than GSATs. Assuming that you do agree with that, then how would you suggest holding Lawson accountable for his error?

  12. badgersouth, yes, it was definitely meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

    BBD,
    Actually, you make a good point. I keep forgetting that it’s part of my moderation policy, so any other such comments will be suitably moderated.

  13. badgersouth says:

    Perhaps the BBC is taking a page from the CNN playbook and is repositioning itself into an “entertainment” mode?

  14. Albatross says:

    William is trying to obfuscate, and I suspect that he knows better. But if he doesn’t then he doesn’t seem to understand what is meant by statistical significance. Further, those trends were determined using HadCRUT3, which is known to have a cool bias. Even HadCRUT4 has a cool bias because of poor coverage over the rapid warming Arctic as shown by Cowtan and Way (2013, QJRMS). Furthermore, there are very good reasons that climatologists use 30 years to calculate temperature trends, it is because the signal-to-noise ratio for shorter periods is insufficient to extract a statistically significant (and meaningful) trend. Moreover, the climate system has been accumulated the energy equivalent to 4 Hiroshima bombs per second since 1998 and since that increased to 12 in recent years. Finally, I would suggest that William look at what Tamino has to say on the actual data:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/global-temperature-the-post-1998-surprise/

    And this:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

  15. william says:

    [Mod : Sorry, William, well off-topic. Changes in population in Africa and China have nothing to do with whether or not Lawson made any scientifically credible comments on BBC Radio 4 today.]

  16. dana1981 says:

    worried about what, I thought he would have been pleased.

    Worried about climate models potentially missing some significant component of the climate. And to some degree they are – as the England paper showed, they don’t capture the recent unprecedented acceleration in trade winds that’s causing an unprecedented transfer of heat to the deep oceans.

    Back to the subject at hand, if I were a resident of the UK, I’d be very concerned about the BBC’s climate reporting false balance, and I’d probably be complaining frequently to whoever might be able to fix this wrongheaded policy.

  17. william says:

    [Mod : Again off-topic, somewhat inflammatory, and just a little bit silly.]

  18. John Mashey says:

    Regarding GWPF, people might read FOIA Facts 5 – Finds Friends Of GWPF

  19. I seem to recall Lawson also had some fundamental problems with National finance as well as climate science.

  20. I’m beginning to think the way forward might be an open letter from UK climate scientists to the BBC. This has been going on for a good while and it’s pernicious. BBC news reports prior to the AR5 release were equally dire – full-on “BUT THE PAUSE!”

  21. Dan, I think you’re right and I’d encourage them to do so. I think they should take a leaf out of the flooding experts’s book. When Pickles snarkily said “we thought we were talking to experts” they responded with “Pickles is talking so much tosh, he’d be more use as a sandbag.”

  22. badgersouth says:

    I heartedly concur in Dan’s suggestion.

    Out of curiosity, is there anything akin to the Yale Center on Climate Change & The Media in the UK?

  23. BBD says:

    Dan Olner; ATTP

    Agreed. It’s time some credentialled experts gave the BBC a properly hard time about this sustained failure of editorial judgement. If enough noise is made, notice will be taken. But it needs a reasonable number of working scientists – ideally some of them in senior positions – to make a fuss.

    Others cannot do it for them. Not with the same inherent credibility.

  24. badgersouth, no I don’t think there is. I think I once looked at that and wondered what it would take to get something like that going here. I should look at it again.

    BBD, agreed. It does need some senior people, although contrarians have been hard at work deligitimising as many of them as possible.

  25. badgersouth says:

    Is it save to assume that BBC News is under intense pressure by powerful factions to provide a platform for Lawson and his ilk?

  26. BBD says:

    badger

    It’s certainly a possibility that has to be taken seriously.

  27. mpcraig says:

    The theme here is that science should be represented properly. Well it should be pointed out that ocean heat content cannot be measured. A measurement is a raw data from a sensor. There exists no sensor that can measure the average heat content of the entire ocean to 2000m.

    it must be estimated BASED on measurements (and assumptions for that matter). While I wouldn’t use the term “speculation”, I would suggest it is closer to estimation than “measurement”.

  28. Rachel says:

    I agree with others here that a complaint to the BBC from scientists working in the field would be a good idea. I also think it would be good coming from the general public as well, so us. I’m sure their main motivation for placing climate scientists with contrarians is for dramatic effect and to boost their audience rather than for some ulterior motive. I could be wrong though. So in some sense, they’re probably more likely to take complaints from their listeners seriously.

  29. mpcraig, no, I think you’re wrong. There are 3000 sensors (Argo floats). They measure temperature and take many measurements as they go from the surface to a depth of 2000m every 10 days. If you know the equation of state of water and the volume associated with each sensor you can convert each temperature measurement into an energy. You can then combine all the measurements to get the total energy at each depth. If a regular commenter posting as AnOilMan were here, he’d would point out that understanding this was a crucial part of submarine warfare and that the US Navy developed sophisticated techniques for determining the ocean heat content.

    I’ll grant you something. It’s of course not a single measurement, but there are many reasons to feel that the totals they are getting from their 3000 sensors is a reasonable representation (estimation if you want) of the ocean heat content. Calling it speculation is completely incorrect.

  30. OPatrick says:

    I agree with Rachel about the probable motivation for the BBC’s approach to discussion of climate science – I think it far more likely that it is most significantly influenced by the desire for dramatic dispute and a certain level of ignorance about the science than pressure from the extremist positions of UKIP and the UKIP-leaning Conservatives. I hope more people complain, calmly and objectively, about the false balance. I have sent in my complaint.

  31. Here in Australia our usually sensible ABC has started to go soft on a range of issues under the threat of funding cuts or even privatisation from Tony Abbott. Do not be surprised if the BBC has been similarly coerced.

  32. badgersouth says:

    If his recent post, “Climate change means we will have to get used to flooding” in the Independent is indicative, Professor Nigel Arnell, Director of the Walker Institute for Climate System Research at the University of Reading, appears to be a prominent UK scientist who is willing to speak out.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/climate-change-means-we-will-have-to-get-used-to-flooding-9122443.html

  33. Pingback: Who Should Pay for Solar Geoengineering Liability? – Stoat

  34. Eric Mcoo says:

    Roger Pielke Jr

    What does the IPCC say on extreme weather events and climate change ? There is no relationship.

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2013.38.pdf

  35. Tom Curtis says:

    William:

    “Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 5th July, 2005
    “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant….”

    Absolutely the scientific community would come down on him, for the simple reason that no trend from mid 1997 through to June, 2005 on HadCRUT3 was negative. A slight warming trend with an error margin large enough to include negative values is not a cooling trend. Jones was simply wrong in the excerpted quote provided (although he may have properly clarified in the full quote).

  36. jsam says:

    “the five wettest years and the seven warmest years in the UK have happened since 2000″ – discuss.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/13/flooding-storms-uk-climate-change-lord-stern

  37. JasonB says:

    Heh — from jsam’s link:

    Thanks for your technical expertise and advice (it prevented anyone ever noticing that I’m an English graduate and know NOTHING about science apart from, maybe, how to grow copper sulphate crystals)

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Talk about living in denial. Yes, James, we noticed.

  38. Eric Mcoo, I don’t think that is quite what Roger Pielke Jr’s report is saying (although I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the conclusion that he would like people to draw). Also the IPCC does not say there is no relationship.

  39. OPatrick says:

    Editorial from the Guardian condemning the false balance. I’m sure there are nits to be picked there but strong words.

  40. JasonB, that quote from Delingpole is quite remarkable. Does he really think noone noticed?

  41. Bwana_mkubwa says:

    Well I have put in a complaint to the BBC. Why they continue to use Lord Lawson is a mystery to me. In that short section he passed off a load of old tosh without much of a challenge. If this was a politics interview, the questioner would be down his throat with challenges to back up his assertions.

  42. OPatrick says:

    An open letter to the BBC from Rob Hopkins at Transition Network – I hope more people deluge them with such complaints.

    todaycomplaints@bbc.co.uk

  43. Paul says:

    I’m not clear what it is you refer to as the GWPF’s mission statement, but their charitable objects (as registered with the Charity Commission) are:

    “THE GLOBAL WARMING POLICY FOUNDATION IS AN EDUCATIONAL CHARITY. ITS MAIN PURPOSE IS TO ADVANCE THE PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF GLOBAL WARMING AND OF ITS POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES, AND ALSO OF THE MEASURES TAKEN OR PROPOSED TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO SUCH WARMING.”

    Clearly, they do not advance public understanding of global warming and its possible consequences – they mostly do the reverse. I’m no lawyer but I would have thought the charity is a legal entity separate from the members and trustees. You could argue that the charity is being harmed by the activities of its trustees, particularly Lawson. You could further argue that the reputation and work of genuine educational charities is being harmed and undermined by the GWPF’s activities.

    Today has always been extremely weak on climate change (recall Justin Webb’s softball interview of Ian Plimer). I’ve registered a complaint with the BBC. I’m not expecting much to come from it but just hope that raising a stink might cause them to think twice about their future choice of expert.

  44. Paul,
    I was looking at this page. On that page they say, for example,

    We are an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated.

    I can’t actually find what you quote on their pages. Maybe it’s not quite consistent with what they’ve told the charity commission then? Certainly, what they present publicly would seem to be inconsistent with the claim that their MAIN PURPOSE IS TO ADVANCE THE PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF GLOBAL WARMING AND OF ITS POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES.

    Amusingly someone tweeted me to suggest that we are a non-party think tank has some of the words in the wrong order. I happen to agree :-)

  45. BBD says:

    [Mods: this comment failed to appear - sorry if we end up with a double-post]

    See Is the Global Warming Policy Foundation complying with Charity Commission rules? by Bob Ward, who is challenging the GWPF over its claim to charitable status.

  46. BBD,
    Yes, I was aware that Bob Ward was challenging them. I would certainly argue that if they’ve told (as Paul indicates above) that their goal is to advance the public understanding of global warming then they’re not even close to achieving that goal. I wish Bob Ward success in his challenge.

  47. badgersouth says:

    Technical question: How does one embed a link in this system?

  48. badgersouth, for video clips, I think you can simply add the html link. To embed one – if I understand what you mean – you can use standard html, by which I mean the a href = ” ” …. /a and in which I’m leaving out the triangular brackets so that it doesn’t turn it into a link. If you try and it doesn’t work, I can edit it for you or delete it so you can try again.

  49. badgersouth says:

    Is there a UK equivalent to Media Matters?

    http://mediamatters.org/

    Talk about serendipity…

    YouTube video posted by Media Matters yesterday:

    Dana Bell interviews Media Matters Climate and Energy Program Director Shauna Theel. Shauna discusses the conservative media’s coverage of climate change, from snow-trolling to denial.

  50. badgersouth says:

    Anders: Thanks for jogging my memory re the embedding of links.

  51. mpcraig says:

    andthentheresphysics

    A couple of quick points:

    1. ARGO went online in late 2003. Studies like Trenberth’s go back to 1955 so they had to use XBT data which was much more sparse and older measurements to 2000m were virtually non-existent.
    2. Both ARGO and XBT data were found to have errors and needed to be corrected. “The apparent large drop in temperature was due to bad data from the Argo floats and XBTs, and it disappeared when errors in these data sets were corrected.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page3.php
    3. Ocean heat content increase appeared after the corrections lowered XBT measurements and increased ARGO measurements.

    I’ll give you that “speculation” is wrong. But “measurement” is also wrong. Your term “reasonable representation” is subjective. And it appears that you only apply it since late 2003 and not since 1955.

    As you can surmise, I am skeptical of many aspects of AGW. I note that “corrections” to measured data almost universally result in the past being cooled and the recent being warmed as was exactly the case for the estimations of ocean heat content. To call it a “measurement” is misleading to anyone who hasn’t spent the time to do background research.

  52. badgersouth says:

    mpcraig:

    What is the source of your assertion: ” I note that ‘corrections’ to measured data almost universally result in the past being cooled and the recent being warmed as was exactly the case for the estimations of ocean heat content.” ?

  53. mpcraig, your quick points are true, but not surprising. It’s not unusual to have to check and double check how data is analysed and to find mistakes (UAH data for example).

    I’ll give you that “speculation” is wrong. But “measurement” is also wrong. Your term “reasonable representation” is subjective. And it appears that you only apply it since late 2003 and not since 1955.

    This is a bit of a semantic discussion, which I don’t particularly like. The ocean heat content data is based on measurements. That’s really all I was getting at. Yes, it’s not a single measurement, but this is pretty standard. Did we discover the Higgs Boson by finding a particle, or by colliding other particles together billions of times, collection data from millions/billions of such collisions, and eventually building a signal?

    By “reasonable representation” I don’t mean it is obviously correct, but that there’s no real reason – at this stage – to think that it’s horribly flawed. I don’t specifically apply it since late 2003. We’ve been making measurements that tells us about OHC for a long time. Even now, it’s not only based on ARGO. The points I was trying to get was that “speculation” is wrong, and it seems we agree about that.

    As you can surmise, I am skeptical of many aspects of AGW. I note that “corrections” to measured data almost universally result in the past being cooled and the recent being warmed as was exactly the case for the estimations of ocean heat content. To call it a “measurement” is misleading to anyone who hasn’t spent the time to do background research.

    It’s fairly obvious that you’re skeptical. However, you also seem to not quite appreciate the term “strawman”. If you go back to my post, I didn’t ever say “the OHC is a measurement”. I said – quite carefully – “there are measurements” and specifically described what they were (sea level, ARGO floats measuring temperature). So, we agree that “speculation” is wrong, and your claim of “misleading” is based on something I haven’t actually said. So, I have no objection to having challenging discussions with those who are skeptical. However, if someone is going to use the term “misleading” when discussing something I’ve said, I’d quite like it if they actually applied to something I actually said, not to something they think I said.

  54. mpcraig, okay, maybe you’re referring to Hoskins saying “No, it’s a measurement”. Fair enough, if one was being remarkably pedantic, that may not be strictly correct, but if asked (and had the opportunity to explain) he would have explained how it was determined. I seriously doubt he would have said “we drop an energy metre into the ocean and it takes a single measurement”. So, yes, the ocean heat content is based on measurements and not on a single measurement. I doubt, however, that you would find any credible scientist (of any physical science discipline) who would regard “no, it’s a measurement” as a misleading statement. In fact, I doubt you’d find any educated human being who would think that Hoskins was suggesting that we can somehow take a single measurement of the OHC.

  55. Ian Forrester says:

    The word mpcraig should have used is “calibration” not “correction”. Calibration is something which anyone who has worked in a lab using instruments does all the time. When a piece of analytical equipment is replaced it is always calibrated, both against accepted standards and the previous instrument.

  56. mpcraig says:

    andthentheresphysics

    All fair points. Here’s the thing in a nutshell. These are senior people who have air time in front of a large portion of the public. You are taking Lawson to task for using the term “speculation”. That might sow unreasonable doubt. Fair enough.

    However, you omitted taking Hoskins to task for using the term “measurement”. Regardless of what scientists or you and I think that means, to the average person, that implies something pretty definitive. You tried to explain in this post what he meant but that didn’t get aired did it?

    You claimed Lawson “didn’t represent the science properly”. Ironically, your need to explain Hoskin’s statement supports the idea that he didn’t either.

  57. mpcraig says:

    badgersouth says:
    February 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    mpcraig: What is the source of your assertion
    _________________________________________________
    – HadCRUT3 -> HadCRUT4
    – HadCRUT4 + UAH -> Cowtan and Way(2013)
    – GISSTemp1999 -> GISTemp(present)
    – Envisat
    – OHC: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page3.php
    – The Hockey Stick

    That’s just off the top of my head.

  58. mpcraig, okay, so Hoskins should have said “no, it’s based on measurements”. However, I don’t really think that saying measurement is misleading in the sense that I suspect you are suggesting. Firstly, it would typically imply intent (well, everyone got very upset when Dana N. suggested Pielke Jr was misleading) and I really doubt that he was intending to mislead. Secondly, what does it lead to (i.e., in what way is it misleading). What would the public conclude by him saying “measurement” that they wouldn’t have concluded if he’d said “based on measurements”. I can’t think what.

    You tried to explain in this post what he meant but that didn’t get aired did it?

    He didn’t really get a chance.

    You claimed Lawson “didn’t represent the science properly”. Ironically, your need to explain Hoskin’s statement supports the idea that he didn’t either.

    Lawson was atrocious. Barely said anything credible. One might argue that Hoskins missed, an “s” but I think one would be hard pressed to argue that he didn’t represent the science properly. I know you don’t think that the ocean heat content is necessarily correct, but I think most scientists disagree. So, if the public listened to that and concluded that we’ve measured the energy in the ocean, then that would be roughly correct. Bear in mind that his “No, it’s a measurement” was an interjection because Lawson had just said something completely wrong. I presume he was wanting to explain that Lawson was wrong. He wasn’t given the chance.

  59. mpcraig, I think badgersouth was actually referring to what you were implying with your corrections. Cowtan & Way, for example, is thought to be reasonable given that HadCRUT4 does not include the Arctic and there is plenty evidence for polar amplification (i.e., the polar regions warm faster than the rest). So, the Cowtan & Way result is not surprising.

    As Ian is pointing out, a lot of these “corrections” are either calibrations or the data is corrected because of an error, or a change in understanding. One can’t just assume that because the data is changing, that that implies something wrong with what’s being done.

    I’ll be honest that I don’t particularly like this line of discussion. The reason is as follows. Firstly, data changing as we discover more, is not unusual. It’s fairly standard. We’re always checking that the best possible analysis is being used. Secondly, by saying what you’re implying, you’re really suggesting one of two things. Those involved are not very good, or those involved are being deceptive. We can prove neither and it’s not really worth discussing, in my opinion. Furthermore, how likely is that? We now have, for example, at least 4 independent surface temperature records – all of which are largely consistent.

  60. John Mashey says:

    ATTP: Paul is quoting from the page you get via this one at charities commission. It’s deep web, so pages don’t have separate URLs. Click on categories at left, especially Charities Framework, which includes: WHO: ‘• THE GENERAL PUBLIC / MANKIND ‘

    By odd coincidence, I’ve been watching that page since Spring 2010, hoping that data would accumulate enough for someone to file a complaint. Again, see FOIA Facts 5 – Finds Friends Of GWPF, skip AIER section, but see the Update at end on connections with UK’s IEA, which has long helped the tobacco companies, is now beating the drums for e-cigs.

  61. John Mashey says:

    mpcraig:
    you mentioned the hockey stick (presumably MBH99)?
    Can you explain what you meant by that inclusion?

  62. badgersouth says:

    Anders: I was asking mpcraig to document his use of the phrase, “…almost universally result in…” His listing of data sources is certainly no where near “universal” and he provides no documentation that the “corrections” to the data sources he has listed “result in the past being cooled and the recent being warmed.”

  63. Joshua says:

    What would the public conclude by him saying “measurement” that they wouldn’t have concluded if he’d said “based on measurements”. I can’t think what.

    mpcraig – I would like to read your answer to this. In what way do you conclude that the public might think that “it’s a measurement” is significantly different than “it’s a conclusion drawn from averaging a series of measurements?” Is your point that there should be no mention of OHC data because you think that the uncertainties are too large? Should those data just simply be ignored? Do you think it is acceptable, scientifically, to simply not mention any likelihood of oceans warming as the result of ACO2 emissions?

    Further, don’t you agree that any misunderstanding so derived among the public would be less significant than the misunderstanding derived from hearing that “there has been no warming?”

  64. BBD says:

    @ John Mashey

    you mentioned the hockey stick (presumably MBH99)?
    Can you explain what you meant by that inclusion?

    I was going to ask mpcraig that same question. RIght after I had asked him to explain why every example he gave was indicative of scientific misconduct and an attempt to mislead the public and policy makers – as he is clearly implying.

    I’m a bit concerned about conspiracies, you see. Especially assertive ones.

  65. Joseph says:

    You would think if the administrators of these temperature records were arbitrarily adjusting their trends upwards they would gotten rid of the pause several years ago.

  66. Joshua says:

    Joseph –

    You would think if the administrators of these temperature records were arbitrarily adjusting their trends upwards they would gotten rid of the pause several years ago.

    This is a good point. The argument reminds me of American “conservatives” who have been absolutely convinced that the Bureau of Labor Statistics “skews” the data on unemployment to help Obama when the numbers go down, but not when the numbers go up. The same basic problem occurs on both circumstances – w/o a fairly conclusive evidence base, it turns out to be, basically, conspiratorial ideation. With all the accusations of so much skewing of so much data through deliberately fraudulent manipulation, you’d think that one scientist involved would step forward to provide evidence that proves the case. But as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you. It is impossible to prove that the temperature data are not being deliberately and invalidly adjusted to show warming. So those who are willing to base beliefs w/o a grounding in evidence are difficult to sway.

  67. mpcraig says:

    andthentheresphysics says:
    February 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    mpcraig, I think badgersouth was actually referring to what you were implying with your corrections.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    I wasn’t implying anything. I have merely observed that corrections to data in climate science have not followed generally an expected Gaussian distribution but have been severely skewed to cooling the past and warming the present.

    And no I don’t have data to support that, it’s my own non-scientific eyeballing. I realize now I am not getting anywhere so I’ll just sign off after one more answer to Joshua.

    +++++++++
    Joshua says:
    February 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    What would the public conclude by him saying “measurement” that they wouldn’t have concluded if he’d said “based on measurements”. I can’t think what.

    mpcraig – I would like to read your answer to this.
    _______________________________________________________________

    You’re correct. It’s basically the same thing. And it’s still a story that belies what actually needs to happen to arrive at final OHC values.

    They would still would have no idea of the corrections, calibrations, estimations, interpolations and homogenizations let alone the climate model reanalysis and the splicing and combining of data from different sensors. That takes so much work that a peer-reviewed study is generally required by specialists trained in this area.

    Maybe you are so knowledgeable on the subject that you’re having trouble putting yourself into the shoes of the average BBC viewer. To most of them, a measurement consists of looking at a thermometer outside their window.

    +++++++++
    “We provide updated estimates of the change of ocean heat content and the thermosteric component of sea level change of the 0–700 and 0–2000 m layers of the World Ocean for 1955–2010. Our estimates are based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, and bathythermograph data corrected for instrumental biases. We have also used Argo data corrected by the Argo DAC if available and used uncorrected Argo data if no corrections were available at the time we downloaded the Argo data.” http://data.nodc.noaa.gov/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat12.pdf

    That’s the first few sentences of Levitus et al(2012). The word measurement does not even appear once in the report. Do you think the average Joe would distinguish between “measurement” and “estimates”?

    Well thanks for listening although I get the feeling I am talking to myself.

  68. mpcraig says:

    badgersouth says:
    February 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    mpcraig: What is the source of your assertion
    _______________________________________________________________

    Show me a graph that doesn’t look like this: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif

  69. badgersouth says:

    mpcraig: You have a propensity to make sweeping global statements with little to back them up. Why do you expect not be challenged on those statements?

  70. badgersouth says:

    mpcraig: The burden to support your assertions rests on you, not me.

  71. John Mashey says:

    mpcraig:
    one more time: you mentioned the hockey stick. please explain.

  72. mpcraig, maybe you could explain that graph.

  73. BBD says:

    I think mpcraig has said enough and we need detain him no further:

    no I don’t have data to support that, it’s my own non-scientific eyeballing.

  74. BBD says:

    ATTP

    As usual, we crossed.

  75. Joshua says:

    mpcraig –

    If you decide to come back. It seems that you think that since the public may not be likely to understand all the science that goes behind OHC estimates….

    So I asked you above and I’ll ask you again:

    1) Does that lead you to conclude that they should not be informed that there is evidence that OHC is increasing as the result of ACO2?

    2) If so, do you think that in terms of conveying information, it is preferable to simply say that there has been “no warming?”

    3) If not, and you think that ignoring the evidence is not appropriate, how do you think information about that evidence should be conveyed?

    That’s the first few sentences of Levitus et al(2012). The word measurement does not even appear once in the report. Do you think the average Joe would distinguish between “measurement” and “estimates”?

    As for your question – I think that the difference between “measurement” and “estimate” is mostly subjective and that the terms are for the average Joe fairly interchangeable. I don’t think that the use of the one instead of the other is likely to lead to significantly increased misunderstanding.

    I have seen long and protracted debates between smart and knowledgeable people in the climate blogosphere arguing about the differences between “measurement” and “estimate” and whether those differences are particularly clear and/or menaingful. What should I conclude from that?

    Should I conclude that the public is being misinformed by the use of “measurement” instead of “estimate” even though the differences between the two are heavily debated by those who are well-informed?

  76. izen says:

    I heard the broadcast and as expected Lord Lawson deployed his politician’s facility with rhetoric to dismiss cause and extol the virtue of cheap energy to respond and adapt to the damage from recent extreme weather.

    I think the accusation that the BBC was indulging in a naive false balance is over harsh. There is a minority, small but vocal and with powerful economic sponsorship, that does dispute, strongly, any causal influence from ‘alleged’ AGW on extreme weather events. Just as there is a small, and less vocal minority that strongly support the claims that AGW must cause a change in the incidence of extreme weather.
    There is probably a majority who don’t know. Primarily because they do not care enough about the issue to form a view.

    In raising the issue of how much culpability AGW has for the severity of recent weather, the BBC was reporting a dispute that had made it into the political forum as different politicians expressed their views.
    It required two representatives from each side of this unrealistically polarised issue. Not just to create a more newsworthy conflict.

    I think that quite apart from the egregious ‘science’ spouted by Lord Lawson, there is another message in the whole structure of the piece.
    They chose an expert scientist for one side. It could have been worse, an environmental activist or partisan reporter might have generated more conflict, (better radio?!) but they went with scientific authority.
    They were unable to get any similar scientific authority to oppose his position, a clear admission that the scientific side is effectively unanimous on this issue. They had to get to put the ‘no link’ position a partisan politician with well known historical baggage.

    The disparity in the status and perceived reliability of any information the two people might communicate carries a strong message to the uncommitted.
    However much each speaker might be strongly supported and trusted by providing confirmation bias to their tribal clique.

  77. BBD says:

    That’s the first few sentences of Levitus et al(2012). The word measurement does not even appear once in the report.

    Oh dear.

    These are *measurements*:

    Our estimates are based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, and bathythermograph data corrected for instrumental biases. We have also used Argo data corrected by the Argo DAC if available and used uncorrected Argo data if no corrections were available at the time we downloaded the Argo data.

    The estimate is based on the measurements mpcraig. Either you haven’t read Levitus12 or you haven’t understood it at all.

  78. mpcraig, I haven’t had a chance to read it in detail, but try reading this page. I don’t think the graph you linked to in an earlier comment is quite what it first might appear.

  79. mpcraig, I think one of the biggest factors in the graph that you linked to is the Time Of Observation Adjustment. If I understand it properly, the time at which measurements were taken (or were used for the dataset) has changed and it needs to be adjusted for that, as explained here

    Next, the temperature data are adjusted for the time-of-observation bias (Karl, et al. 1986) which occurs when observing times are changed from midnight to some time earlier in the day. The TOB is the first of several adjustments. The ending time of the 24 hour climatological day varies from station to station and/or over a period of years at a given station. The TOB introduces a non climatic bias into the monthly means.

  80. dana1981 says:

    I wasn’t implying anything. I have merely observed that corrections to data in climate science have not followed generally an expected Gaussian distribution but have been severely skewed to cooling the past and warming the present.

    What’s the purpose of making that observation if you’re not implying anything? There have been adjustments both in the cooling and warming directions in the surface temperature data, FWIW. And most of the adjustments to UAH data have been in the warming direction (or at least the largest adjustments), so whatever is or isn’t being implied needs to apply to Spencer & Christy as well.

    In any case, I find the criticism of Hoskins for saying “it’s a measurement” in response to Lawson calling ocean temp measurements “pure speculation” utterly absurd. Yes, it’s slightly imprecise language in response to an absolutely grossly wrong statement. Yeah, ocean temp measurements are plural, not singular, but who cares? That’s such a nitpicky irrelevant criticism.

  81. BBD says:

    That’s such a nitpicky irrelevant criticism.

    But the very lifeblood of much “scepticism” ;-)

  82. Vinny Burgoo says:

    badgersouth: ‘If his recent post, “Climate change means we will have to get used to flooding” in the Independent is indicative, Professor Nigel Arnell, Director of the Walker Institute for Climate System Research at the University of Reading, appears to be a prominent UK scientist who is willing to speak out.’

    Sometimes he is, sometimes he isn’t. He kept quiet when the IPCC included a misrepresentation of one of his studies in the AR4 Synthesis Report (1st statement in SYR 3.3.2, wrong in several ways: not just CC but changes in population and wealth too; is gross, not net; wrong year; wrong numbers) and he has kept quiet when Rajendra Pachauri has repeated* that misrepresentation in just about every speech and article he has produced in the last seven years.

    As for Arnell’s article in The Indie, it’s the usual ‘We don’t know, we do know, we don’t know – look, we might not *know* but we know’ stuff. Good science presented badly or senior science getting above itself or half and half or something else entirely? I’m not qualified to comment.

    ===
    *Actually, Dr Pachauri has repeated it so many times that it has now morphed into something else: he now habitually misrepresents AR4’s misrepresentation of Arnell. E.g. this article last week:

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/world-has-enough-food-for-all-but-it-does-not-reach-everyone/article1-1180882.aspx

    ‘In Africa, by 2020, 75-250 million people are projected to be exposed to water stress due to climate change.’**

    No, exposed to *increased* water stress, Dr Pachauri. You’re downplaying the possible impacts of climate change (plus population etc). What are you? Some sort of denier?

    Perhaps the IPCC – in the person of Dr Pachauri – should step forwards and speak out about Dr Pachauri’s repeated watering down of its (overly dry) Arnell-based statement.

    ===
    **In his next sentence, Pachauri repeats – accurately – another bit of tosh from AR4, in this case about the number of people who rely on Himalayan glacial meltwater. AR4 relied on the Stern Review, which IIRC ultimately relied on studies that estimated the combined contribution of snow- and ice-melt to a couple of mountain tributaries of the *Indus* then made that the exclusively ice-melt contribution to the whole Ganges/Brahmaputra (not even Indus) basin. Nuts. But that’s WG2 for you.

  83. BBD says:

    The problem is, Vinny, that picking over the real or imaginary issues with the totality of statements made to the public by “the scientists” doesn’t actually impinge on the science at all. We’re still stuck with a massive problem. Some people find focussing on the the science and the policy issues more productive than focussing on the minutiae of real or imaginary communications issues.

  84. Vinny, as BBD is – I think – trying to illustrate, there’s quite a difference between getting some details wrong (i.e., maybe Pachauri should have said “increased water stress” but that doesn’t change that climate change will still have negative impacts) and getting virtually everything wrong. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t correct errors and try to be accurate, but it would be nice if those who got as worked up about one error in a Met Office document got as worked up about the nonsense that Lawson was sprouting on Radio 4.

  85. mpcraig says:

    Well, it’s been a real slice. Couple of parting comments:

    – People can make observations without implications. Others with active imaginations insert the possible implications they may not like.

    – Ask a carpenter if he’s okay to go ahead and start cutting wood with estimates.

    – The past cooling and recent warming adjustments usually have an explanation. That’s irrelevant to the point I was making.

    – Estimates are usually based on something. Measurements is part of it. Expert judgement is another part of it. Statistical techniques are part of it. Computer reanalysis is another aspect (at least for most OHC studies)

    – The Hockey Stick. Compare the global temperature reconstruction from AR2 to the Hockey Stick in AR3. Your eyeball will reveal the differences.

    – I made a note based on personal observation and even went out of my way to explain that more clearly, and I get this great ironic dagger: “You have a propensity to make sweeping global statements with little to back them up.” A “great propensity” from a single noted observation. That’s rich.

    As for Dana1981, I was actually quite impressed with your recent article in Guardian here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/feb/12/discussing-global-warming-hard

    “Discussing global warming: why does this have to be so hard?” That’s a good question. This threat appears to be a case study. Cheers.

  86. mpcraig,
    It’s a pity you’re apparently not interested in discussing adjustments to the temperature record in more detail.

    People can make observations without implications. Others with active imaginations insert the possible implications they may not like.

    You can make them, but if it’s a standard “skeptic” talking point it’s hard for others to believe that you weren’t implying something. Also, it’s scientifically poor to simply present a graph without explaining its significance.

    The past cooling and recent warming adjustments usually have an explanation. That’s irrelevant to the point I was making.

    Then I really don’t understand the point you were making. The important issue is whether or not the adjustments were justified, not whether or not they happened.

    Estimates are usually based on something. Measurements is part of it. Expert judgement is another part of it. Statistical techniques are part of it. Computer reanalysis is another aspect (at least for most OHC studies)

    Not so sure about the expert judgement, but otherwise what you describe is roughly how science happens. Very rarely (if ever) can you simply make a measurement and then have a final and conclusive result.

    The Hockey Stick. Compare the global temperature reconstruction from AR2 to the Hockey Stick in AR3. Your eyeball will reveal the differences.

    I’m sure they may be different. Is what we would conclude from them different though? Having looked at recent millenial reconstructions, I don’t think so.

    “Discussing global warming: why does this have to be so hard?” That’s a good question. This threat appears to be a case study

    It is indeed hard and this thread may well be a case study, but it’s almost certainly not alone in that respect.

  87. jsam says:

    I always find it interesting to track new participants’ posting history.

    http://climatecrocks.com/2013/07/26/dear-met-office/comment-page-1/#comment-24908

  88. BBD says:

    If all the temperature and OHC reconstructions and millennial paleoclimate reconstructions are being tampered with, what are we to suppose? That there is a grand conspiracy involving co-ordinated multidisciplinary scientific misconduct? Generalised falsification of results in different fields, all in the same direction and presumably therefore with the same overarching purpose?

    Or what, exactly?

  89. mpcraig says:

    Summary of my learning experience here:

    – “measurement” = “based on measurements” = “estimates”

    – “I note” = “sweeping global statement”

    – “observation” = “implication” (unless it is a purposeless observation)
    ______________________________________________
    In words I can summarize my visit with some theater:

    “Why Did I Get Up This Morning?” – Words and Lyrics by mpcraig

    Me: You look beautiful today.
    Her: Are you implying I didn’t look beautiful yesterday.
    Me: Sigh.

  90. mpcraig, have you had a rough Valentine’s day :-(

  91. On Rachel’s point about whether the BBC is going for dramatic effect: I just returned to this BBC news item broadcast prior to the AR5 release. It’s gobsmacking, and I don’t think it’s after dramatic coverage – it’s just muddled nonsense. It’s particularly striking how the report yomps between climate change and some vague thing to do with recycling that they fail to explain, while all the while going “hmmm, pause eh, why bother with all this green mumbo jumbo eh?”

    Does that level of confusion sound at all familiar? It seems mildy reminiscent of some of Nigel Lawson’s dafter statements (transcript handily at the gwpf) and the general framing of the whole thing as eco-tards vs freem.

  92. Dan, yes it is rather gobsmacking. I’ve also been rather un-impressed with David Shuckman who seems to have quite often repeated this kind of thing.

  93. izen says:

    Well if the things are off topic, one more thought…

    There is one measurement that unequivocally confirms the accumulation of energy in the oceans over the last 15,16, 17 years…
    The rise in sea level from melting ice and thermal expansion.

    The reason there is a non-Gaussian distribution in the correction of past data is because of the asymmetry in detecting errors in data with an unpredicted trend/pattern.
    If you are expecting the data to vary around a stable mean, errors that negate an unknown trend will be less visible than errors that amplify it.
    When the pattern/trend is established, perhaps from other methodological sources, then in the light of better knowledge the past undetected errors become evident.
    The history of the UAH versions is a case in point.

  94. Joshua says:

    mpcraig –

    - Ask a carpenter if he’s okay to go ahead and start cutting wood with estimates.

    See – that’s interesting because I used to be a carpenter. My views on estimates vs. measurements is very much informed by those experiences.

    Every single cut requires some level of estimation. How precise was my measurement and how much tolerance do I have? Since I know that there are realistic limits to my precision, I have to estimate whether I should leave the line on or take the line off. Will there be any give when I slide the stud into place? What will the shrinkage likely be? I have to adjust based on averages and based on biases (for example, maybe I know that the clip on the end of my tape measure is a little too loose and so I need to take a bit extra off.

    Every single cut requires some level of estimation and no measurement is without consideration of relevant estimates.

    If I were reliant on only precise measurements with no element of estimation I would would have been stymied and would have had to take up a different trade, (like plumbing where all you need to know is that shit flows down hill and never bite your fingernails).

    Of course, if I wanted to sit in my chair and find reasons why a house couldn’t be built, I could say that no one would buy any houses because all the wood was cut with the integration of estimation.

  95. BBD says:

    The history of the UAH versions is a case in point.

    It’s always struck me as ironic that, given the contrarian meme about the unreliability of temperature reconstructions, UAH remains the only data set to have been withdrawn and comprehensively revised because of methodological errors. As we know, UAH was at the time curated by Spencer and Christy, who are of course prominent contrarians. When the errors were revealed, (Mears & Wentz 2005) UAH was redone and exhibited a previously absent warming trend.

    All part of life’s rich tapestry.

  96. Joshua says:

    BTW – mpcraig –

    I noticed that you left w/o answering a few questions I asked (I’ve noticed that tends to be a pattern with “skeptics” who show up here).

    If you should happen to double back, I’d appreciate it if you’d take the time.

  97. I just made a little GIF animation putting the GWPF’s banner data into the context of the actual dataset.

  98. John Mashey says:

    mpcraig:
    When you say “The Hockey Stick. Compare the global temperature reconstruction from AR2 to the Hockey Stick in AR3. Your eyeball will reveal the differences.’

    what are you talking about? Specifically, when you say AR2 (AR3) did you mean the reports normally called IPCC WG I SAR (TAR)? Whatever you meant, can you give the Figure #s you meant to compare, and I will look at them. I do hope you didn’t get confused and mean FAR Fig 7.1(c) vs TAR Fig 2.20., for example.

  99. Dan, that’s fantastic. Do you mind if I put that into a post?

  100. Lord Lawson: “Everything. First of all, even if there is warming – and there’s been no recorded warming over the past 15, 16, 17 years.”

    He should be more specific. His trend has to start in 1998 exactly, if you start it only one year earlier or later the trend is a lot stronger, which already indicates how large the confidence interval is for such climatologically extremely short periods.

    andthentheresphysics says: “Cowtan & Way, for example, is thought to be reasonable given that HadCRUT4 does not include the Arctic and there is plenty evidence for polar amplification (i.e., the polar regions warm faster than the rest). So, the Cowtan & Way result is not surprising.”

    This statement is too strong. Yes the Arctic is warming stronger than the global average. However, the global average is only expected rise on average a few tenth of a degree in this period. If I remember C&W well, they found increases in the Arctic of 1 to 2 degrees, which are probably also necessary for such a small region to influence the global mean temperature.

    Thus polar amplification is just a part of the story and another large part is natural variability, which is larger, the smaller the region considered is.

    Joshua says: “It is impossible to prove that the temperature data are not being deliberately and invalidly adjusted to show warming. So those who are willing to base beliefs w/o a grounding in evidence are difficult to sway.”

    Except if it were a carefully planned global conspiracy of all weather services, it would be possible to see such things in the data. Without close coordination, one would see jumps at the boundaries between countries. You can see such jumps in the raw data, because non-climatic changes are often specific for national changes in measurement methods. In the adjusted data such jumps should be small and are not sufficient to explain global warming. Surprise, surprise.

    mpcraig says: “I have merely observed that corrections to data in climate science have not followed generally an expected Gaussian distribution but have been severely skewed to cooling the past and warming the present.”

    I presume, you mean with “an expected Gaussian distribution”, that you expect the mean to be zero. If the mean were zero, there would not be any need for adjustments, for homogenization to compute the global mean temperature. We have thousands of weather stations (so 10,000) and about 5 non-climatic changes per station per century. Thus the total number of changes would be about 50,000. Even if the non-climatic changes were around 1°C in size, their influence on the global mean temperature would be around 1°C/sqrt(50,000)=0.004°C. The interesting non-climatic changes in the climate record are the ones that produce a bias.

    Most of your colleague climate ostriches would not expect the non-climatic changes to be zero, by the way. They often claim that a significant part, if not all, of the warming is due to increases in the urban heat island around the stations. In other words, they would expect that the non-climatic changes have a positive mean.

    You are right in your observation that the global mean surface temperature is adjusted to produce a stronger temperature trend. At least in the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCNv3) of NOAA, the temperature trend in the raw data is 0.6°C per century (between 1880 and now) and in the adjusted data it is 0.8°C per century.
    The figure you showed was just for the USA (the US Historical Climate Network), which is about 2% of the Earth surface and not very important for the global mean. Here the adjustments increase the trend stronger. As ATTP already wrote, that is due to adjustments for the Time of Observation bias and for the transition to automatic weather stations (AWS), which record cooler temperatures and the Cotton Region Shelters (called Stevenson screens elsewhere) used previously.

    Izen, the term “increases in extremes” should preferably not be used without specification. Heat waves and strong precipitation have been observed and are expected to increase. That is not of the category settled science, but pretty sure. Other types of extremes are more difficult to assess, however. Thus depending on the type of extremes you are thinking of, any statement would be right and thus useless.

    I think it is a good suggestion, Izen, next time that Lord Lawson should appear on the BBC to have him discuss someone from Earth first, who is also willing to hurt humanity to defend his position. And if the BBC wants controversy, that would be the max. Best lock them up together in a cage. I thing I have suggested the love of controversy as an explanation for the invitations of climate ostriches to “debate” climate science. However, I feel that that is not a sufficient explanation because this idiocy is not followed consistently for other scientific topics.

    I had wanted to write exactly what Dana wrote: “In any case, I find the criticism of Hoskins for saying “it’s a measurement” in response to Lawson calling ocean temp measurements “pure speculation” utterly absurd. Yes, it’s slightly imprecise language in response to an absolutely grossly wrong statement. Yeah, ocean temp measurements are plural, not singular, but who cares? That’s such a nitpicky irrelevant criticism.”

    I do not think that the public is so stupid to think that it really was just one measurement made outside of someone’s window. If only because the discussion was about a change, thus trivially there had to be at least two measurements. The gross misnomer in the case was the term “pure speculation”. How is it possible that someone like that is discussing climate science? Simply a disgrace. I am sorry that I cannot find a more friendly term.

    In a scientific article on the computation of the global mean temperature or the ocean heat content, it is important to distinguish between the input and the estimate. Naturally the next article using these estimates, will refer to them again as measurements. Any measurement has errors. Trying to reduce these errors does not change their character as to need to use a new term.

    ATTP, please do not use Dan’s animation in a post. It makes me sea sick! :)

  101. “Do you mind if I put that into a post?” Not at all, I’d be honoured! As long as you think it’s accurate (pretty sure it is…) Victor – GIFs are meant to make you feel seasick!

  102. Victor, wow, that’s quite a comment thanks. Re Cowtan & Way, yes, quite possibly too strong.

    Dan, thanks.

  103. badgersouth says:

    Anders: I agree. Victor’s post is excellent. It would, however, be easier to digest if there were spaces inserted between the paragraphs. Unless Victor objects, I urge you to do so.

  104. Tom Curtis says:

    I am taking a hiatus from climate discussion at the moment, so I have not read through mpcraig’s comments and am not going to. I did, however, notice this piece of nonsense:

    “- People can make observations without implications. Others with active imaginations insert the possible implications they may not like.”

    It is nonsense because people do things for reasons. If they make an observation, it is at least because they think the observation is interesting; and there are implications from why it is interesting to them. Thus, it is entirely acceptable for people to draw inferences from somebody making an observation. If they do not wish the inferences to be to obvious points of motivation, they need to spell out the implications themselves.

    I fact, the most frequent reason for simple observations without the implications being spelled out on the internet, at least on debate forums, is to introduce the obvious inferences into the debate, while pretending that you have no need to defend them. It is, in other words, a rather dishonest debate tactic.

  105. Rachel says:

    I’ve edited your comment, Victor. Let me know if you’re unhappy with the formatting. I didn’t change the text at all.

  106. badgersouth says:

    Rachel: Thank you.

  107. John Mashey says:

    Some of this is reminiscent of words to extol the UAH satellite temperature series:
    ‘“Each month, Earth Track updates the global averaged satellite measurements of the Earth’s temperature. These numbers are important because they are real—not projections, forecasts, or
    guesses. Global satellite measurements are made from a series of orbiting platforms that sense the average temperature in various atmospheric layers.’

    I.e., the ground stations are wrong, the satellite #s from UAH are *real*.. :-)

  108. Rachel says:

    badgersouth, no worries. I thought it needed it too. :-)

  109. JasonB says:

    Regarding the NOAA graph mpcraig linked to before, with the steadily increasing difference between raw and final USHCN data sets, I think there are a few points worth mentioning.

    The first is the reason for the increase in adjustment over time. My understanding is that the TOBS and instrumental change were one-off changes per station, but not all stations changed simultaneously. This means that there would be a single jump in adjustment at an individual station to account for the TOBS change (which, uncorrected, would lead to a sudden drop in temperatures recorded at that station), but the net adjustment over all stations appears to increase during that period of time as more and more stations were switched over.

    The second is that TOBS in particular (which AFAIK is the largest correction) is a peculiarly US issue, caused by the fact that most readings are taken by a network of volunteers (who therefore feel somewhat justified in fitting the work in with their schedules) whereas elsewhere it’s generally a government employee’s job. This means that you can’t assume that just because the US data has had a lot of corrections over the years that the rest of the world’s data is in a similar boat. It’s also why choosing to use RAW data or corrected data makes next to no difference in the global temperature record — the US represents quite a small proportion of the land area.

    Finally, the third point is that all the FUD surrounding this issue was essentially dealt a death blow by the BEST project, which doesn’t correct data at all. (Err… That’s ignoring the death blow that should have resulted from the observation that it doesn’t really matter whether you use raw or corrected, or whether you use rural-only high-quality stations, etc…) Instead, when a discontinuity is observed at a station (which could be due to an instrument move, or change, or TOBS change), the record is split at that point and the two records are treated as completely independent. (The other reconstructions attempt to determine the effect of the change and then correct the readings either before or after the change to maintain a single unbroken record.)

    And what’s the BEST trend (land-only) from 1998?

    0.135 ±0.290 °C/decade (2σ)

    That’s the highest trend of any of the indices, including the land-only ones, and it’s during the cherry-picked supposed “pause”.

    I suppose that alone is enough to take it off the radar for people like mpcraig, who would rather worry about the corrections applied by the other teams, at least to the extent that it justifies fear, uncertainty, and doubt — not to the extent that it actually motivates an attempt to understand what the corrections were and how they were derived.

  110. Rachel, thanks for added the paragraphs. Was away at a meeting and had so many things to reply to that I had copied those comments to Word and wrote my comment there. Word fakes paragraphs, but does not insert them. :(

    JasonB, you are right. Except that changes in the time of observation also occur in other countries. In other countries typically the whole network changes simultaneously. Then the necessary adjustments are computed using a period where both observations times are recorded or they are adjusted using (automatic) hourly measurement.

    What is special about the US is that the change takes place one station at a time because the observer can chose. There are nowadays more morning as afternoon observations of temperature because more observers also observe precipitation, which needs to be read in the morning.

  111. Pingback: A new logo for the GWPF | And Then There's Physics

  112. mpcraig, I thought I might add a comment to point out that Victor Venema – who commented above – actually does research into homogenisation of climate records. There’s, therefore, potentially an opportunity for you to discuss the issues you have with – for example – the temperature records with an actual expert. You might also want to have a look at Victor’s blog (Variable Variability) where you can find more information about the homogenisation of temperature datasets.

  113. kdk33 says:

    There seem to be a variety of claims that wearming is a +/- b, a>0, b>a. And that this is warming and that anyone who ways different is wrong. Well, no.

    The usual interpretation is that b derives from the confidence you have accepted as basis for rejecting the null hypothesis (no warming), so the correct interpretation is that you cannot reject the null hypothessis and so there is no evidence of warming.

    If you want to claim that there IS evidence of warming, then you need to state things the other way round. You should write that warming is a +/- c, a>0, c=a, then identify the confidence interval corresponding to c. At that point you can say “at the afore-determined confidence interval I reject the null hypothesis and there is indeed evidence of warmin”. At that confidence interval, of course.

    If it is stated this way, that kind of puts an end to the tastes great – less filling pissing contest.

  114. kdk33,
    A rather common misconception. If the warming is a +- b, then b tells you the range of warming trends. If a – b happens to be less than 0, that doesn’t mean that one should conclude that there’s been “no warming” it means that it is possible that there’s been no warming. In fact, even if a – b > 0, you still can’t rule out that there’s been no warming, it just means that it’s even more unlikely. This isn’t a randomised control trial.

  115. BBD says:

    ATTP

    kdk33 is a very tedious denier – not a contrarian, a denier – who will waste your time forever. Just so you know.

  116. Tom Curtis says:

    kdk33, the situation is that there is a period, e-f, which is a shorter interval in a longer period, d-f. The trend for d-f is m+/-n, where n <m. In this situation we can say with very high confidence that it is warming in the period d-f because it is a portion of a longer period which is warming, and we cannot statistically reject the continuation of the larger trend within the interval d-f. Because it is part of a larger interval, d-f, that is statistically distinguishable from zero, and not part of any smaller interval that is a part of d-f, which interval is statistically different from the trend in d-f, the null hypothesis is that the warming continues.

    Put another way, we have good statistical evidence that the climate is warming, and nobody has provided statistically significant evidence that that warming has stopped, or paused, or even slowed down. Your attempt to trade this lack of evidence that the warming has stopped into evidence that it has by an arbitrary and tendentious choice of a “null hypothesis” shows (in Russel’s words) “… all the advantages of theft over honest toil”.

  117. kdk33 says:

    Yes, [Mod: snipped part of this comment because it does not abide by the comment policy]
    But my post is both accurate and proper.

    ATTP, your latest post is non-sense. According to your logic, one can never conclude there has bee no warming. To prove otherwise, please tell me the conditions under which one could conclude that there has been coolling.

    Tom curtis, you highlight an interesting, but different argument. The question at hand was “has there been warming since 1998″. Unfortunately, you are answering a different question. Interesting, but different.

    If you will read carefully what I wrote, you will notice that I made no claim about is or isn’t warming. I simply pointed out the proper way to say it the context of confidence intervals. It is not controversial. If you continue to say it incorrectly, it hurts your credibility. And for no reason, you can still claim warming, but in a proper way that can’t can’t be refuted.
    Its up to you.

  118. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    A question. Do you think that there is a GHE from ACO2?

  119. kdk33 says:

    I think the IR spectra of CO2 is well known. But I think your question is meant to imply more than you say.

    Joshua, do you understand confidence intervals?

  120. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    I have a basic understanding of confidence intervals.

    I don’t really understand how your response follows from my question (it looks to me, perhaps because of my unscientific background, that your response was a non-sequitur), but I interpret your answer to mean that yes, you think that ACO2 causes a GHE and from that, I will infer that you believe that the net energy in the climate is increased as more CO2 is emitted (please correct me if I’m wrong in my inference, and excuse my unscientific terminology).

    So my next question is whether you think that there is some mechanism whereby heat escapes from the climate in equal (or greater) proportion to the increased in heat that results from ACO2 emissions?

    ———————————————

    But I think your question is meant to imply more than you say.

    I don’t really know what that means. What do you think is the larger implication to my question beyond what I said?

    I don’t want to get ahead of myself and engage in a more detailed discussion until I know the premises that you are working with – but I will say that I’m trying to understand the logic of how someone can accept the physics of a GHE from ACO2, yet think it possible that there has been no warming as ACO2 has increased. So I am trying to ascertain your opinions through a series of questions to see if I can understand your logic.

    If you’ll do me a favor, if you want to address my comments below the line, please do so after answering my question above the line.

  121. badgersouth says:

    Reminder: The lower troposphere is just one component of the Earth’s climate system. The discussion generated by kdk33 applies only to that component.

  122. kdk33,
    Firstly, I might suggest not using “nonsensical” in case it come backs to bite you. Secondly, I’m really the only one who’s allowed to be condescending here.

    [Snipped part of this comment because it refers to an earlier comment that has been edited]

    According to your logic, one can never conclude there has bee no warming. To prove otherwise, please tell me the conditions under which one could conclude that there has been coolling.

    Let’s do this slowly. If a is the trend and b is the 2σ confidence interval, then there is a 95% chance that the trend lies between a – b and a + b. Okay, so far?

    So, if a – b happens to be negative then one can’t rule out that there has been no warming, but simply because a – b is negative does not mean that one can state that there’s been no warming. That was what I was trying to get at in the post. Similarly, however, one cannot really state that there has been warming. For the intervals considered here |a + b| > |a – b| hence one can – quite rightly – say that it is more likely that there’s been warming than there’s been no warming/cooling.

    You ask under what conditions one could conclude that there’s been cooling. I would argue that it’s not a well defined question but, if a + b were negative, then one could conclude that there probably has been cooling.

  123. badgersouth says:

    On topic:

    If you have not already done so, you will want to check out Bob Ward’s article, UK floods making climate sceptics hot under the collar posted yesterday on the Guardian.

    The article’s teaser lead: “Bid by Lord Lawson to question the link between global warming and extreme weather is undermined by irrefutable evidence “

  124. Tom Curtis says:

    kdk33, let the interval d-f be 1975 to the present. Let the interval e-f be 1998 to the present.

    Then the temperature trend (Gistemp) for d-f is 0.169 +/- 0.038 C/decade. That is statistically distinguishable from zero. Indeed, zero lies nearly 9 SD below the mean, so that it is a “lay down misere” that the trend is in fact positive. Further, while lower than the AR4 predicted trend for the early twenty-first century, it is not statistically distinguishable from that trend at the 95% confidence level.

    The temperature trend from e-f becomes 0.063 +/- 0.129 C/ decade, which is not statistically distinguishable from zero, but nor is it statistically distinguishable from the d-f trend. The case I described above, therefore, is exactly the same case as the temperature trend from 1998 to present.

    Let me make this clear. The null hypothesis is not the hypothesis that the measured value equals zero. Zero is not some magical number that we expect all physical values to have if we cannot prove otherwise. Rather, the null hypothesis is no change in the prior measured values. In this case the prior measured values indicate a clear trend, so the null hypothesis is that the trend continues.

    At best your argument is that we should ignore all the information we have about the long term trend prior to 1998 because the trend of the data from 1998 onwards is statistically indistinguishable from zero and the prior trend. However, even if we allow that absurd premise, ie, that the opponents of a hypothesis can declare in unproved if a truncated data set of their own selection does not prove it, your analysis is simply false. That is because you assume 1998 is a randomly selected year. If you take random data with no trend, and measure the trends from all points lying more than 1.5 SDs above the mean, they will be biased towards negative trends. Indeed, they would be almost universally negative. It follows that applying the standard two sigma confidence test on trends with a start point with a known bias above the line (more than 2 SDs, in the case of 1998), is a statistical blunder. Given the cherry picked start point, we expect the post 1998 median trend to be lower than the long term trend. Just as, in 2024 we will expect a median 2008 onwards trend above the long term trend.

    So, if you want to lecture on statistical niceties, don’t prove yourself a patzer (or worse) by blatant cherry picking.

  125. BBD says:

    [Mod: removed this comment because I have snipped the comment it refers to]

  126. OPatrick says:

    I may need to reassess my opinion that the false balance observed in the BBC coverage of climate is a result of a desire for dramatic disagreement and ignorance rather than political bias. An article in the Independent today discusses the findings of the BBC Trust commissioned impartiality review:

    Beyond the main parties, the study suggested that the BBC is more likely than either ITV or Channel 4 to use sources from the right, such US Republicans or Ukip, and less likely to use sources from the left, such as US Democrats and the Green Party. But it is the imbalance between Conservative and Labour – by margins of three to one for party leaders and four to one for ministers/shadow ministers – that was most striking, especially since the research indicated that this rightward shift was a strictly BBC phenomenon.

    Longer extract here.

  127. BBD says:

    Very interesting, OPatrick. Thanks for the link.

  128. BBD says:

    Joshua

    Please read OPatrick’s links as they bear directly on your claims wrt lack of evidence for BBC bias and the “in the eye of the beholder” factor dominating. I disagreed with you then and do so now. And the evidence is clearly on my side.

  129. About the Independent piece: I’d like to see how those numbers compared to when labour was in power. It may be that, minister-wise, the BBC (more than other outlets) is the place government ministers go to. All the radio 4 news programmes, for example: it’s much more common for people in positions of power to speak on them than elsewhere. So the contrast to e.g. ITV or channel 4 doesn’t stand up, for me, by itself – it’d need to be compared to earlier governments.

    That said, the obvious tilt that’s happened on climate science seems to support the piece.

  130. OPatrick says:

    Dan –

    The study found, by a series of measures, that ‘Conservative dominance in 2012’ of BBC news was ‘by a notably larger margin than Labour dominance in 2007’ (Wahl-Jorgenson et al 2013: 5).

  131. BBD says:

    Dan

    Also note that the BBC is influenced by corporate vested interest:

    Overall, the available evidence on the BBC centre of gravity does not suggest a leftist tilt. On the contrary, its dependence on certain dominant institutions – notably in the business world and the national print media – would appear to push it the other way.

    One name in particular jumped out at me: American Friends of the IEA. The Institute of Economic Affairs is a British group which, like all the others, calls itself a free market thinktank. Scarcely a day goes by on which its staff are not interviewed in the broadcast media, promoting the dreary old billionaires’ agenda: less tax for the rich, less help for the poor, less spending by the state, less regulation for business. In the first 13 days of February, its people were on the BBC ten times(8).

    Never have I heard its claim to be an independent thinktank challenged by the BBC. When, in 2007, I called the institute a business lobby group, its then director-general responded, in a letter to the Guardian, that “we are independent of all business interests”(9). Oh yes?

    The database, published by the Canadian site desmogblog.com, shows that American Friends of the IEA has received (up to 2010) $215,000 from the two secretive funds(10). When I spoke to the IEA’s fundraising manager, she confirmed that the sole purpose of American Friends is to raise money for the organisation in London(11). She agreed that the IEA has never disclosed the Donors’ Trust money it has received. She denied that the institute is a sockpuppet organisation: purporting to be independent while working for some very powerful US interests.

    Would the BBC allow someone from Bell Pottinger to discuss an issue of concern to its sponsors without revealing the sponsors’ identity? No. So what’s the difference? What distinguishes an acknowledged public relations company taking money from a corporation or a billionaire from a so-called thinktank, funded by the same source to promote the same agenda?

  132. BBD says:

    Bizarre – lost links, formatting, the lot. Try again:

    George Monbiot has more to say on the subject:

    One name in particular jumped out at me: American Friends of the IEA. The Institute of Economic Affairs is a British group which, like all the others, calls itself a free market thinktank. Scarcely a day goes by on which its staff are not interviewed in the broadcast media, promoting the dreary old billionaires’ agenda: less tax for the rich, less help for the poor, less spending by the state, less regulation for business. In the first 13 days of February, its people were on the BBC ten times(8).

    Never have I heard its claim to be an independent thinktank challenged by the BBC. When, in 2007, I called the institute a business lobby group, its then director-general responded, in a letter to the Guardian, that “we are independent of all business interests”(9). Oh yes?

    The database, published by the Canadian site desmogblog.com, shows that American Friends of the IEA has received (up to 2010) $215,000 from the two secretive funds(10). When I spoke to the IEA’s fundraising manager, she confirmed that the sole purpose of American Friends is to raise money for the organisation in London(11). She agreed that the IEA has never disclosed the Donors’ Trust money it has received. She denied that the institute is a sockpuppet organisation: purporting to be independent while working for some very powerful US interests.

    Would the BBC allow someone from Bell Pottinger to discuss an issue of concern to its sponsors without revealing the sponsors’ identity? No. So what’s the difference? What distinguishes an acknowledged public relations company taking money from a corporation or a billionaire from a so-called thinktank, funded by the same source to promote the same agenda?

  133. Oo, my Gramsci is coming back to me…!

    In Gramsci’s view, a class cannot dominate in modern conditions by merely advancing its own narrow economic interests. Neither can it dominate purely through force and coercion. Rather, it must exert intellectual and moral leadership, and make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a ‘historic bloc’. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations and ideas.

    Perhaps the BBC should have a Marxist/neo-Marxist theorist on every time Nigel Lawson’s talking to provide the correct balance…

    The whole thing’s a helluva tangle; institutions are not keeping up. It’s also often perverse – a slightly O/T example: I used to work for a QUANGO (so, funded by government but arms-length) who paid professional lobbyists using specific contact and planning software to target and lobby government on their behalf. That’s government more or less paying itself to lobby itself – impressive. But it always strikes me that’s the kind of world we’re in: throwing in a tad more sociology, it’s all very Castells’ network society: there are rapid changes taking place in the way information is shaped and feeds back on itself, and we’re not keeping up with it.

    On the (sort-of) plus side, climate change is forcing the issue into the spotlight: there’s nothing quite like systematically destroying the planet to make people wonder how and why it’s happening.

    Er, went a bit off-piste there, sorry.

  134. kdk33 says:

    ATTPL: your argument seems to be “anything is statistically possible”. You are correct. I agree. I have no idea why you think this is interesting or what it has to do with my original post.

    Curtis: it is only cherry picking if you don’t like the answer. I have no problem with most of what you wrote. But there is also nothing wrong with asking “has there been warming since 1998″. You can also ask about warming from 1850 to 1900, or 1900 to 1940 or 1940 to 1970 or 1970 to 1998, or 1998 to now. All of these are valid and interesting questions.

    Where you go wrong is that you seem to want to make certain questions out of bounds, and that is not how it works.

  135. kdk33 says:

    Joshua,

    I don’t quibble with the conventional explanation of how CO2 affects radiative energy in the atmosphere. I don’t know why it is called a greenhouse effect, greenhouse don’t work in this way at all. IIRC, the equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 (no feedbacks) is about 1C. I don’t quibble with that number either.

    Does that help?
    Do you, Joshua, think there are things other than CO2 that affect temperature?

  136. OPatrick: oh, thanks for the quote! I thought I’d carefully gone back and read it to make sure, turns out not very well!

  137. kdk33,

    your argument seems to be “anything is statistically possible”. You are correct. I agree. I have no idea why you think this is interesting or what it has to do with my original post.

    No, that is not my argument. My argument is that the confidence interval tells you how likely something is. Strawman arguments are strongly discouraged. If you don’t know what I mean by “strawman” look it up.

  138. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    Do you, Joshua, think there are things other than CO2 that affect temperature?

    Yes, of course. I will add that I often find “skeptics” claiming that “realists” think that nothing except CO2 affects temperature. I find that assertion strange, and an example of “skepticism” (as opposed to skepticism) and motivated reasoning. I have never read anyone claim that only CO2 affects temperature. It is abundantly clear that such a viewpoint is not remotely close to the “consensus” science on climate change. The fact that I so often see such an assertion from “skeptics” is what makes me so skeptical about “skeptics.”

    I don’t know why it is called a greenhouse effect,…

    I don’t think it is important to quibble whether it is called the GHE. I look a the term as a kind of shorthand, or analogy.

    IIRC, the equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 (no feedbacks) is about 1C. I don’t quibble with that number either.

    Yes, that helps. So then it seems that you and I are in agreement, but let me confirm: Your “Well, no.” there was w/r/t a particular way of describing the warming (that you agree has definitely taken place), and you agree that anyone who says that there has been no warming is wrong? Do I understand you correctly?

    ——————————-

    So now let me ask you a question. Why did you ask me whether I think there are things other than CO2 that affect temperature? Was there something that you’ve read from me that might indicate such a belief on my part? Is that a belief that you think is widely held? If so, could you provide examples of where you’ve seen such a belief expressed?

    Again, I’m hoping that you would address my questions above the line before addressing my questions below the line.

  139. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    Thanks, I will take a look at the link.

    …as they bear directly on your claims wrt lack of evidence for BBC bias and the “in the eye of the beholder” factor dominating. I disagreed with you then and do so now.


    Just to be clear – w/r/t the BBC, I said that I didn’t know if there were evidence, but that I haven’t seen any and that the meta-analyses I’ve seen about overall media bias more generally are pretty inconclusive. I also said, IIRC, that I doubt that there is an overt bias with the BBC, but I am certainly open to and interested in looking at evidence otherwise.

    As to specific mainstream media outlets, I’m quite sure that we can find examples of bias. For example, I think there there is little question that we can find overt bias with Fox News or Rush Limbuagh (I haven’t seen any reasonable definitions of what = “mainstream media” that puts Limbaugh outside the “mainstream”).

  140. kdk33 says:

    Joshua, you’ve introduced many new things. Where to start…

    My original post made no claim about warming or lack thereof or how much. I suggested that claims should be made in a way consistent with confidence intervals being reported. So, given the usual way of addressing “has there been warming since 1998″, one would say that at the given confidence interval the no warming hypothsisi cannot be rejected. And this is correct.

    One could also say that it is more likely to have warmed than cooled. But that begs the question: how much more likley.

    My suggestion was tha ATTP say: at such-and-such confidence interval (it would be less than the 2-sgima interval shown) I can reject the no warming hypothesis.

    I’m not sure why all the uproar.

  141. kdk33,
    The reason there might be an uproar of sorts is that this is what I said in the post

    That means it’s possible that there’s been no surface warming, but it’s much more likely that there has been surface warming. Therefore, it’s entirely incorrect to say there’s been no recorded warming.

    That appears consistent with what you have said above. So, yes, I agree that one should talk about confidence intervals, but – as far as I’m concerned, I did. Also, I was specifically addressing the “there’s be no recorded warming” claim, and by saying that that was incorrect I was not implying that “there has been recorded warming” is correct. Neither statement is strictly correct, given the confidence intervals.

  142. badgersouth says:

    Joshua: Rush Limbaugh is in the entertainment business, not the news business.

  143. kdk33 says:

    it is NOT entirely incorrect to say there has been no warming.

    In fact it is perfectly consistent with the usual way of addressing the hypothesis: has there been warming since 1998. At the 2-sigma level, one cannot reject the no warming hypothesis. ( At some smallter interval one can.) It is also true to say that it is more likely to have warmed than cooled – but that isn’t very helpful without knowing how much.

    So it is accurate to say: Lawson’s claim is supported at at 2 sigma leve, but if we relax than some we can conclude differently. The difference lies in the required level of confidence. And that is a valid argument. And you should focus on that. To keep the discussion civil. If that’s what you want.

    Its up to you.

  144. kdk33,
    Well, I disagree. The statement, “there’s been no recorded warming” is not supported by the available evidence. One can, of course, go into more detail and discuss the likelihood of warming versus no warming, but the point I was making in the post was, quite simply, one cannot use the current evidence to state that there has been “no warming”.

  145. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    I can’t explain the “uproar.” I can explain my perspective and ask for clarification of yours. You say the following:

    So, given the usual way of addressing “has there been warming since 1998″, one would say that at the given confidence interval the no warming hypothsisi cannot be rejected.

    Hmmm.

    I’ll ask you again. Do you think it is inaccurate to say that there has been “no warming?”

    And, further, do you think that it is logically coherent to say that you accept the physics of ACO2 warming the climate but that there has been “no warming” despite increased ACO2?

    Those are yes or no questions. Yes or no answers would help me out here to understand your perspective.

    ————————————————

    I am wondering if you could answer the “below the line” questions from my last post to you?

  146. kdk33,
    You could try reading this for a perspective on statistical significance from, I believe, a statistician who works in climate science.

  147. Joshua says:

    badgersouth –

    Joshua: Rush Limbaugh is in the entertainment business, not the news business.

    I don’t see hard lines of distinction between the two – particularly since editorial processes and news reporting are inextricably linked.

  148. Joshua says:

    BBD – some things I’m thinking about after reading the article:

    It’s a bit hard to react without being able to read the report discussed – but the segment that was linked from the book was interesting reading:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/opinion/extract-how-the-bbc-leans-to-the-right-9129608.html

    I think that segment does a nice job of discussing something that I think is a relevant question: If there is a “tilt” in the coverage of the BBC, is that because the BBC is “biased’ or because it is reflecting back characteristics of public opinion, political bias or perhaps a process of business decision-making? If it is the latter, then I question whether there can be some external determination of where balance “should” lie? Who has the authority to make that determination?

    So I find the following statement to be on point:

    While this point is generally ignored, it is the BBC’s cyclical dependence upon whoever happens to be in government during the licence renewal period that is the greatest threat to its impartiality….While the BBC can, at times, be robust in defending its independence, it can also be risk averse

    What kind of a biases are a dependence on government, a reflection of who happens to be in government, and a tendency towards risk aversion? I don’t doubt that the BBC has a bias towards presenting a product that consumers want, and a bias towards maintaining their ability to do so. But I am a bit conflicted about my reaction to that – as I’m not entirely sure what the realistic alternatives are.

    The following is pretty important evidence of bias…

    Beyond the main parties, the study suggested that the BBC is more likely than either ITV or Channel 4 to use sources from the right, such US Republicans or Ukip, and less likely to use sources from the left, such as US Democrats and the Green Party.

    But as the author notes:

    The first problem facing any analysis of BBC impartiality is that there is no neutral centre of gravity, no golden objective mean to adopt as a point of departure. Locating the centre is a matter of context, and involves a series of choices.

    So we need to be careful about the validity of our test. Exactly how well do the metrics used evaluate the effect being targeted? Evaluating the context and finding the “center” is not an easy task. Does offering a debate between a libertarian activist like Montford and a climate scientist put the wheel’s axle off-center? Maybe. But I’m not really clear that it does. What should the context be? Public opinion? Scientific opinion? Some combination of the two?

    The recent BBC Trust commissioned review found ‘very little room for sources presenting a broader range of views, and for substantive information about what the EU actually does and how much it actually costs’ (ibid: 52). What we end up with is less a discussion about the merits of the EU than who can best represent UK interests. Important, no doubt, but limited in scope.

    Again – how do we determine if presenting a limited range of views = off-center or bias? I can certainly understand how it might, but I don’t take a determination there lightly – and I think that both the ethics and logistics involved are complicated. My main issue is that I see people on both sides of issues simplifying the ethical and logistical complications so as to reach clear determinations about bias.

    This part was particularly interesting to me:

    Similarly, there is now a growing body of evidence suggesting a model of permanent economic growth is of dwindling benefit to wealthy countries such as the UK. Research now shows that GDP growth is no longer linked to improvements in health or happiness (Bok 2010; Layard 2011), is environmentally unsustainable (Jackson 2010) and stretches commodity choice far beyond the time we have available to us as consumers (Offer 2006; Lewis 2013). In short, there is a serious debate about whether wealthy consumer economies still rely on growth to generate prosperity. But it is not one to be heard in the House of Commons – or, as a consequence, on the BBC, where GDP growth is invariably assumed to be an objective good (Lewis 2013). The BBC thereby reflects a series of assumptions that inform the political mainstream. It is both pro-democracy and pro-monarchy. It upholds liberal Western values and a series of economic assumption based on a global market economy (in which, for example, economic growth is seen as more important than the climate change it helps create).

    Again – what is the alternative here? If that “series of economic discussions” is consistent with the general discourse about economics in the public realm, how does the BBC deal with a responsibility to present the issues with a differently balanced “context?” Particularly when there is a “growing body of evidence” but that does not = a “predominance of evidence” in one direction of the other.

    I agree with the following statement:

    The BBC, in this very Reithian sense, reflects the assumptions of some of our dominant institutions. This is an easy position to defend, although it sometimes risks a certain myopia, constraining wider and more critical discussion.

    But I’m not sure what the implications are, exactly, and how that interplays with the question of bias. Can we say that a constrained discussion necessarily equals bias? Are there exceptions? How to we define what are or should be exceptions and what are or shouldn’t be exceptions?

    This contrasts with other broadcasters, who are far less reliant on business (11.1 per cent of sources on BBC news, but only 3.8 per cent on ITV and 2.2 per cent on Channel 4) or media (8.2 per cent of sources on BBC news, 1.6 per cent on ITV and 5.9 per cent on Channel 4). Both ITV and Channel 4 make significantly more use of sources from the academy, medicine, science and technology, thinks tanks, government/public agencies and NGOs: these groups make up 16.4 per cent of sources on ITV and 22.7 per cent on Channel 4, but only 9.7 per cent on the BBC. This not only narrows the range of expertise available on BBC news, it has implications for impartiality.

    So the question for me is to chase down the evidence that spells out the difference between a “narrowed range” and “impartiality.” For example, using a business source is not necessarily as effective (politically, or otherwise) as using a think tank source or an NGO source. Strict numbers do not tell the whole story. Having a particular slant relative to other outlets does not suffice to give us an absolute perspective (perhaps the media outlets being used as a comparison are relatively more removed from the “center”).

  149. BBD says:

    Joshua

    As a consumer of the BBC, my subjective impression is of right wing bias. It’s interesting that you say this:

    For example, using a business source is not necessarily as effective (politically, or otherwise) as using a think tank source or an NGO source.

    Did you read the Monbiot article I linked above?

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you (quite possible in fact) but you seem to be contradicting Monbiot. Apologies in advance if I’ve misread you.

  150. BBD says:

    Eh – missed a bit out:

    As a consumer of the BBC, my subjective impression is of right wing bias.

    Should have been qualified by “and the available evidence seems to support this.”

    I do appreciate your caveats about the study but it’s interesting that the business/right wing influence on and in BBC reportage seems to go beyond my subjective take on things.

  151. badgersouth says:

    From the OP:

    Lord Lawson:Everything. First of all, even if there is warming – and there’s been no recorded warming over the past 15, 16, 17 years.

    Lawson is wrong because the temperature of the lower troposphere does not measure what is happening in the Earth’s climate system.

  152. I point at this:

    > But my post is both accurate and proper.

    Then I point at this:

    > ATTP, your latest post is non-sense.

    That is all.

    ***

    Readers might appreciate a previous discussion between kdk33 and BBD:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2012/04/11/climate-change-joins-the-culture-wars

    Note that the comments are in reverse order.

  153. > Every single cut requires some level of estimation and no measurement is without consideration of relevant estimates.

    In other words, we are getting served the Cripwell gambit:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fjudithcurry.com+measurement+jim+cripwell

  154. Joshua says:

    Yeah, willard.

    Cripwell made the same (facile) allusion to carpentry, even. Almost makes me think that there’s some kind of a climateball playbook.

  155. guthrie says:

    Wait, why would anyone care if you can number crunch to claim statistics shows that there has been no warming since 1998 of the global average surface temperature when the trend of warming is up, (with 2 years having higher temperatures than 1998 in the years since then), oceanic heat content sharply and consistently rising, ditto with sea level, not to mention the continued loss of Arctic ice.
    My general conclusion is that anyone who bangs on about 1998 is either uninformed or a denialist.

  156. BBD says:

    Willard

    Plus ça change:

    Which reminds me. Since you [kdk33] ask (178), yes, I do appreciate willard’s contributions. Very much. Both as an erudite gloss on my own incomplete reasoning and expressive shortcomings, and of course, on those of others.

    I think we are both fortunate that he can be bothered.

  157. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    Yes, of course from your subjective perspective there is a bias. But for me the question is whether that shows us a relative bias or an absolute bias.

    Yes, it seems that you recognize tendencies relative to other media outlets that can be validated with external evidence. Still, questions about what that means, remain.

    Could you explain why you think that what I said was contradictory to Monbiot?

    I will note that one study I saw reported a supposed 10-fold greater tendency in American media to identify the partisan orientation of think tanks if they are rightwing as opposed to leftwing.

  158. I do not think that the issue at hand is the balance of the BBC, it is about the quality of the BBC.

    If we talk about this in terms of bias, we accept the framing of the ostriches that claiming that the climate system is warming is a liberal idea and that a good Christian believes God created a stable climate and the the libertarian fact is that the Earth is cooling.

    It may very well be that the BBC has a bias, the problem is that they invite someone without sufficient background to discus climate science. When the BBC has a medical program they do not let doctors discuss with herbal witches. When a new comet is found, no astronomer has to discus what this means for the most likely end of the world with a astrologer.

    The problem is that the ostriches and their PR firms where someone able to frame a purely scientific matter as politics. When the BBC writes an article about any science topic apart from climate, they ask for a second opinion from one or more other scientists. That is normal. That is quality reporting. Asking Lawson is simply madness.

  159. Tom Curtis says:

    Even since 2005, various deniers have been saying “There has been no warming for x years” where x conveniently starts the period at, or very close to 1998. That is eight years of changing the length of the interval to coincide with 1998. Further, it continues to be the case that for any start date since 1979 (the start of the satellite era), if you take the trend to 1998, and the trend to the current time, the trend to the present time is greater than the trend to 1998. This is ably illustrated by Tamino, who demonstrates that from a start year in 1979, for example, just three years have fallen below the linear extension of the 1979-1998 trend line.

    Given this, any honest person would not that 1998 was an exceptionally warm year relative to the trend to 1998, or to surrounding years, and that therefore that warmth would distort the statistics. An honest person knowing this would avoid using 1998, or years within one to three years prior to 1998 as the start point of trend calculations to avoid spurious effects. If they needed to use 1998 for a very specific reason, they would determine the effect of the aberrantly high value on the likely short term trends starting in 1998, and compensate for that effect. Insisting on using 1998 as the start year, and treating it just as any other year with no allowance in the statistics is [Mod: snipped].

    So it turns out BBD was prophetic:

    “kdk33 is a very tedious denier – not a contrarian, a denier – who will waste your time forever. Just so you know.”

    [Mod: snipped part of this comment because it does not abide by the comment policy]

  160. BBD says:

    Joshua

    Could you explain why you think that what I said was contradictory to Monbiot?

    I’m sure now that I’ve misunderstood you. It was this:

    For example, using a business source is not necessarily as effective (politically, or otherwise) as using a think tank source or an NGO source.

    Which I read as an endorsement of the frequent use by the BBC of think tank spokespersons who are far from impartial and objective, as Monbiot points out.

    Yes, of course from your subjective perspective there is a bias. But for me the question is whether that shows us a relative bias or an absolute bias.

    You do seem to be down-playing the validity of the evidence for a right wing/corporate bias in the BBC, but we are all entitled to our opinions ;-)

  161. BBD says:

    Tom

    So it turns out BBD was prophetic:

    No need to hint at divine afflatus ;-) It was a projection based on robust empirical evidence.

  162. kdk33 says:

    So much to respond to…

    Tom, I’ve no idea who you are arguing with. It isn’t me. I’ve not chosen 1998. Nor indicated my opinion on warming. But feel free to cotinue, or not. Up to you.

    Now, to Joshua, who seems to at least be paying attention. At the 2-sigma level, using the interval reported here, one cannot reject the no warming hypothesis. Yes that is correct.

    Is this consistent with CO2 physics? Sure. Why not? There are other factors at play. Directionally, increasing CO2 would tend to warm things, but perhaps this is being offset by other stuff. Increasing CO2 is neither necessary nor sufficient for warming (or cooling for that matter). Does that help?.

  163. kdk33 says:

    To Willard:

    Hugs and Kisses.

    kdk33.

  164. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    Directionally, increasing CO2 would tend to warm things, but perhaps this is being offset by other stuff.

    So here’s where I need to talk about the science, with the proviso that I am not technically knowledgeable.

    I don’t know how the warming could be “offset,” except by some component that differentially causes an outflow of heat of proportional or greater magnitude, or by some forcing that causes cooling of an equal or greater magnitude.

    It seems to me that looking at GMSTs – and a short-term decrease in the statistically significant longer term increase in GMSTs – tells you nothing about those possibilities – yet you are saying that a statement of “no warming,” as a statement of fact (with no uncertainty), is valid on the basis of evaluating only GMSTs. So that seems like the first order of problematic logic in your argument.

    Additionally….

    At the 2-sigma level, using the interval reported here, one cannot reject the no warming hypothesis

    It seems to me that while there is other evidence of warming in addition to GMSTs (sea level rise, Arctic ice, Antarctic land ice, OHC, others?), there is no evidence of cooling with the possible exception of increase in Antarctic ice (the cause of which may actually be warming).

    So it looks like you are basing the view that “one cannot reject the no warming hypothesis” is problematic, as there actually is not a “hypothesis” to speak of. It seems like there is only a statement of “possibility.”

    So since there is no hypothesis, there is no hypothesis to reject.

    What you’re saying seems to me to be similar to saying “One cannot reject the no warming hypothesis – because it is possible that actually God is rigging all available data to test our faith by tempting us with evidence that suggests that man can affect the planet.” Except that is at least offering a hypothesis.

    You are simply saying that it is possible that all the existing evidence is wrong because it is impossible to know anything with absolute certainty. Well, I do agree with that, actually. I don’t think it is possible to know anything with absolute certainty (that’s why I’m an agnostic). But I have the sense that you aren’t acknowledging that your argument isn’t really any more scientifically sophisticated than saying: “It isn’t possible to know anything with absolute certainty.”

    Of course, maybe you do have an actual hypothesis. Maybe you have a hypothesis that would explain an outflow of heat that is of equal or greater proportion to the warming caused by ACO2? Or maybe you have a mechanistic hypothesis for a cooling forcing of equal or greater magnitude than the warming caused by ACO2?

    I notice the other day that Michael Mann wrote of a mechanistic hypothesis that might explain a “negative” (cooling) forcing that would reduce estimates of climate sensitivity slightly:

    On the other hand, if we are instead seeing a subtle effect of global warming in which increased greenhouse gas concentrations are, seemingly paradoxically, favoring the colder La Niña state of the climate system, then future global warming might end up being just a bit less than many of the current climate models are predicting. Keep in mind that the effect in question only amounts to at most one or two tenths of a degree C, and business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions are likely to warm the globe by 4-5C (7-9F) by the end of the century. So we’re talking about a very minor correction. But nonetheless, it would potentially constitute a small additional negative feedback in the climate system, and a slight mitigation of future warming in comparison with what prevailing climate models currently project.

    That seems to me to be what skepticism looks like: Speculation that is based on a hypothesis that can be tested scientifically. What you have offered, thus far, seems like logical incoherency because you say that ACO2 causes the climate to warm, and you recognize that we are increasing the concentration of ACO2 in the atmosphere, yet you are saying that “no warming” is a valid hypothesis even though it stands in contrast to existing evidence and even though it is an empty hypothesis.

  165. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    Which I read as an endorsement of the frequent use by the BBC of think tank spokespersons who are far from impartial and objective, as Monbiot points out.

    Saying hat one source may or may not be as effective (politically, or otherwise) as another source would be was not meant as an “endorsement.” It was simply a statement of fact, and the meaning in context was that, for example, a greater degree of sourcing from the business sector may not have the effect of biasing coverage. I can see why it may well do so, but sourcing from more, relatively ineffective sources may have a negative overall effect than sourcing from fewer, effective sources.

    You do seem to be down-playing the validity of the evidence for a right wing/corporate bias in the BBC,…

    I don’t think that’s the case. I’m saying that the evidence needs to be evaluated carefully to reach a conclusion w/r/t bias. I would say the same thing, and in fact have done so many times, when “conservatives” argue that the significantly disproportionate # of “liberals” in the media = a biased media.

  166. kdk33 says:

    Joshua,

    [Mod: snipped]

    I’m simply correctly stating the statistics. At the 2-sigma level you cannot refect the no warming hypothesis. This isn’t anything at all like claiming no warming to be “a fact”. Please take some time to reveiw basic statistics.

    I have no idea why you are prattling on about god. [Mod: snipped]

    I do however admit to having asolutely zero interst in a quote from Micahel Mann.

    [Mod: snipped because this comment does not abide by the comment policy]

    Good Luck.

    .

  167. John Mashey says:

    BBD: on IEA, you might look near the end of Familiar Think Tanks Fight For E-cigarettes on GWPF and its connections to IEA. The latter has long helped tobacco companies, just as many other PR agency/lobbyist thinktanks have in the US.

  168. John Mashey says:

    If people haven’t seen it, I recommend this discussion of an academic study of Internet troll personalities. It is relevant, and hints at why strong moderation (and better tools are useful).

  169. Joshua says:

    That’s kind of funny, Rachel – because I’m actually more interested in what got snipped than what was left behind.

    kdk33 –

    You say the following:

    … one cannot reject the no warming hypothesis.

    and then I read this:

    This isn’t anything at all like claiming no warming to be “a fact”.

    So there I start to think that maybe I should apologize. Certainly there is room between saying that you can’t disprove a hypothesis and saying that the hypothesis is definitely true. It could be that the hypothesis is neither proven false or proven true.

    But then you say:

    it is NOT entirely incorrect to say there has been no warming.

    And then this confuses me. Yes, I cut off the preceding clause, but I don’t see how the previous clause would somehow negate that clause, and I just don’t know what it means to say “it is not entirely incorrect” that there has been no warming if not to say that it is partially correct to say that there has been no warming? And if you’re saying that it is partially correct to say that there has been no warming, then what does it mean to say

    This isn’t anything at all like claiming no warming to be “a fact”.

    If “no warming” is partially correct, then how is “no warming” not a fact?

    It seems you’ve left the scene – so maybe someone else could explain kdk33’s logic to me?

  170. Joshua says:

    John –

    From the article:

    In the study, trolls were identified in a variety of ways. One was by simply asking survey participants what they “enjoyed doing most” when on online comment sites, offering five options: “debating issues that are important to you,” “chatting with others,” “making new friends,” “trolling others,” and “other.”

    Have you read the article? If so, how else are “trolls” identified? I don’t think that many of the people typically called “trolls” would say that what they enjoy most is “trolling others.”

    It is relevant, and hints at why strong moderation (and better tools are useful).

    How do you think that moderators should define trolls as a target for strong moderation? By asking them if what they enjoyed most was “trolling others?” I have been called a troll many times, and been the target for “strong moderation” although I never felt that what I was doing was “trolling” – but instead debating issues. Seems to me that kdk33, as one example, would say that his interest is “debating issues.”

    Also interesting:

    What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.

    Uh oh…. which of us here doesn’t spend a lot of time commenting on the Internet?

  171. badgersouth says:

    Rachel: Thank you for snipping kdk33’s snark.

  172. Rachel says:

    How do you all know it was me? Oh, all right, it was me. :-)

  173. dana1981 says:

    I thought much more important (and relevant to this post) than the BBC’s conservative bias, from the Cardiff report, was this:

    A 2007 study, for example, found that around half of those sources used on BBC news were from just four professions: the worlds of politics, business, law and order and the news media. By contrast, the main knowledge-based professions and civic voices (from the academy, medicine, science and technology, thinks tanks, government/public agencies and NGOs) made up, between them, only 10 per cent of all sources (Lewis and Cushion 2009).
    {…}
    Both ITV and Channel 4 make significantly more use of sources from the academy, medicine, science and technology, thinks tanks, government/public agencies and NGOs: these groups make up 16.4 per cent of sources on ITV and 22.7 per cent on Channel 4, but only 9.7 per cent on the BBC.

    So it seems to be the BBC’s general rule to use political sources like Lawson in their news stories more often than the other British networks.

  174. kdk33 says:

    Joshua, maybe a recap will help

    At the 2-sigma level one cannot reject the no warming hypothesis. At a lower level one can. ATTP writes that it is “entirely incorrect” to claim no warming. He is wrong (IMO) because the claim is perfectly consistent with the usual way of testing the hypothesis “has there been warming since 1998″ and at the confidence intervals he offers in his post. He would be right to say that at a lower confidence level the no warming hypothesis could be rejected. If he addressed the issue this way he would surface the meaningful difference between the two seemingly contradictory claims. Instead, we are left with the I said, you said, he said, she said that is typical of blog debates. (if you are old enough to remember the early days of Miller Lite, there was a famous commercialized debate of less filling / tastes great that was equally pointless, but mildly amusing. Perhaps that is why the terribly tasting product did so well).

  175. BBD says:

    I warned you about kdk33…

  176. kdk33,
    Here’s the probably with your null hypothesis testing view. You can, quite rightly, say “can I reject – at the 2σ level – the hypothesis that there’s been no warming since 1998″. The answer is no. However, I can ask the question “can I reject the hypothesis that the warming since 1998 differs – at the 2σ level – from the long-term trend of 0.16oC per decade”. The answer is also no. Therefore, which is it? Which null hypothesis is correct? Therefore, I would argue that neither is strictly valid. What we have is data that has been analysed to give a mean trend and a confidence interval.

    The problem with your argument is that there is no control planet. You don’t have a well-defined null.

  177. kdk33 says:

    A few extreneous issues came up along the way. Firstly about intervals – that measuring warming over an interval starting in 1998 was dishonest (egads!).

    Any interval is fair. All intervals are equally valid and equally informative. To set certain intervals off limits is wrong. In science, no question is out of bounds.

    I should note that I did not choose the interval in question, nor promote it, nor was it part of my comment. It isn’t clear that this was the starting point for Lawson’s comment. I was only addressing the statistics for this interval offerred by ATTP. So there was certainly some dishonesty at play, but not in the way implied. Or perhaps the quip was directed at ATPP. Hard to tell.

  178. kdk33 says:

    ATTP. I have a perfectly well defined null. It is the usual way of testing the hypothesis “has there been warming since 1998″. You can easily look this up.

    Yes you can have a different hypothesis and it will have a different null.

    Even more, you can reject my null by simply changing the criteria.

    All of this is true and none of it is my point.

    My point is that your statement that it is “perfecly incorrect” to claim no warming is wrong. It depends and the difference is in the depends (not a pun). In ths case I think it is the confidence interval. But if you would like to offer a differenty hypothesis that is OK too. But is also OK to reject no warming.

    You just have to state the criteria.

    Agreed?

  179. kdk33,

    Any interval is fair. All intervals are equally valid and equally informative. To set certain intervals off limits is wrong. In science, no question is out of bounds.

    It’s not that an interval is out of bounds, it’s about understanding the significance of the interval chosen. For example, here’s a test for you. Got to the Skeptical Science Trend Calculator. Randomly select 15 year intervals. You’ll rarely find one in which the trend exceeds the 2σ uncertainty. Hence, one can conclude that for intervals of 15 years or less, the uncertainties are often (mostly) too high to accurately constrain the trend.

    It isn’t clear that this was the starting point for Lawson’s comment. I was only addressing the statistics for this interval offerred by ATTP. So there was certainly some dishonesty at play, but not in the way implied. Or perhaps the quip was directed at ATPP. Hard to tell.

    Lawson said no warming for 15, 16, 17 years. I think that that is pretty hard to misinterpret.

    I know that you’re being civil but something that I like to avoid is going over the same arguments over and over again as that tends to get others wound up and I don’t feel like spending my Sunday moderating a comment thread. Given that I think you’ve made your point, can I ask that future comments – if you choose to make any – move onto something different, while still remaining civil and constructive.

  180. kdk33,

    My point is that your statement that it is “perfecly incorrect” to claim no warming is wrong. It depends and the difference is in the depends (not a pun). In ths case I think it is the confidence interval. But if you would like to offer a differenty hypothesis that is OK too. But is also OK to reject no warming.

    You just have to state the criteria.

    Agreed?

    No, because the statement “There’s been no recorded warming … it’s a fact” is not the same as “I cannot – at the 2σ level – reject the hypothesis that there’s been no warming”. So, I maintain that the statement that there’s been no warming is wrong.

  181. kdk33,
    Also, I provided a perfectly well-defined null too.

  182. kdk33 says:

    There is another interesting claim running around about intervals. The idea that the statistics of one interval can only be evaluated in the context of the larger interval in which it is contained. There is nothing wrong with this but it isn’t required. And the proof is rather simple.

    You can apply this recursively. After a few iterations you will discover a dearth of information. Another iteration and you will have exhausted the instrumental temperature record. You will shortly come to the only conclusions that this rational (if rigorously apllied) can provide:

    We don’t know enough to accurately interepret the climate data we have gathered so far.

    I’m led to believe that this is a common “denier” argument. This seems to be a not-denier site. So I do find the interval within intervals requirement amusing.

    As I said before. All intervals are fair, equally valid and informative.

  183. Any period is fair, if you have not looked at the time series before. If you do know that 1998 was a warm year with a strong El Nino, then it is no longer fair. Then you get problems with multiple testing and your significance levels will be wrong. This problem is well illustrated by a recent Open Mind post.

  184. kdk33,
    I don’t understand the point you’re making. This also seems rather silly,

    As I said before. All intervals are fair, equally valid and informative.

    I would argue that there are certain intervals that would provide virtually no information about how our climate might be changing. March 2011 to April 2011 for example – chosen randomly.

  185. Maybe I should add that the multiple testing problem is most problematic for short periods, because you have more options to get wildly different trends for short periods. If I remember right, also this is discussed by Open Mind.

  186. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    This discussion does seem past its due date, but I’ll do my own summing up – of what I take away from the discussion.

    I have an extremely limited understanding of statistics, but this discussion seems to me like the arguments I’m seeing about whether no statistically significant warming = “no warming” (because in a statistical sense it is indistinguishable from zero warming).

    It seems to me that no statistically significant warming = no statistically significant warming, and can’t justify a statement that there has been “no warming,” as a statement of fact.

    It seems to me that only a lack of warming can justify a statement of “there has been no warming.” If you lack confidence in the tools used to measure the warming, then you could say: “the instruments have shown warming, but they are not sufficiently reliable to justify confidence in that record.” But if you lack confidence in the tools being used to measure the warming, then you can’t then turn around and say that there has been “no warming” on the basis of what those instruments have (or have not) recorded. You could say “We don’t have enough information to determine if there’s been warming or not.”

    As I said before. All intervals are fair, equally valid and informative.

    Seems to me that there is a hierarchy of validity for intervals used to measure the impact of ACO2. It seems to me that the most valid interval for measuring the impact of ACO2 would be the longest period over which ACO2 has been emitted at high enough levels that you think it might impact the climate. Any shorter intervals are inherently less valuable if your goal is to measure the impact of ACO2. Of course, the variations in influence of other variables over any given interval is important, and thus any shorter interval can provide useful information – but that information is not lost if a shorter interval is placed in the context of a longer interval. In fact, it seems that the information provided by a shorter interval only becomes more useful if it is placed within the context of a longer interval, and is only that much less valuable if it is viewed in isolation from the longer interval.

    So there you have a more complete description of my ignorance. Helping me to increase my understanding is a difficult task, but if you can think of something that might improve my understanding, I’d appreciate it.

  187. badgersouth says:

    Kdk33: Do you agree, or disagree, with the following statement?

    “Surface temperature is one of the most familiar and consistently measured weather and climate variables, and has the most direct connection to long-term climate change. But it is just part of a much wider picture. More than 90 percent of the excess heat being caused by human activities is being absorbed by the ocean.”

    Source: Press release posted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Feb 5, 2014.

  188. JasonB says:

    kdk33:

    The idea that the statistics of one interval can only be evaluated in the context of the larger interval in which it is contained. There is nothing wrong with this but it isn’t required. And the proof is rather simple.

    You can apply this recursively.

    Even ignoring physics (which allows us to predict “sensible” intervals to evaluate climate over) this “proof” is wrong, simply by observing that as the interval is increased, the confidence interval shrinks, and at a certain interval size it becomes small enough to allow us to rule out certain hypotheses at the prescribed confidence level.

    HADCRUT4 from 1998: 0.042 ±0.123 °C/decade (2σ)
    HADCRUT4 from 1975: 0.167 ±0.036 °C/decade (2σ)

    The second says we can be ~95% confident that the warming trend from 1975 to today lies between 0.131 °C/decade and 0.203 °C/decade. There is only a ~2.5% probability that the warming trend from 1975 to today is below the bottom of that range, just as there is a ~2.5% probability that it is actually above the top of that range.

    The confidence interval for the first is too large for us to rule out the null hypothesis of “no warming”, but is this because there has been a change (and there is no warming) or is it simply because the interval is too short?

    We can’t tell from looking at this data alone. But it’s worth pointing out that failure to rule out a null hypothesis is not proof of that hypothesis, merely a failure to disprove it. This explains why the shorter interval does not rule out the null hypothesis that warming has continued at the same rate and it does not rule out the null hypothesis that warming has stopped. Basically, it doesn’t tell us anything yet. We either need to accept the need for longer intervals, or we need to filter out some of the non-climactic “noise” from the signal to reduce the interval required to achieve statistical significance (e.g. Foster & Rahmstorf 2011).

    Victor’s point (and Tom’s earlier) is important as well. If there was nothing peculiar about 1998 then the confidence intervals above would be correct; but in fact that year was an extreme outlier, affecting any attempt to compute a trend starting in its neighbourhood. As Tamino’s post shows, as soon as you are allowed to try many different starting dates in order to minimise trend, the confidence intervals need to be adjusted to compensate. (Interestingly, this is the same reason that particle physicists need to achieve “5-sigma” significance to make an announcement — the actual significance is far less than that. Doing a huge number of experiments and then filtering out the uninteresting results to search for the interesting stuff needs to be accounted for.)

    Finally, the bottom line is that “there’s been no recorded warming over the past 15, 16, 17 years” is simply wrong; the data does not show that. That’s a positive statement about what the data shows, not a negative statement about what the data fails to rule out. And that’s ignoring all the other records that do show warming (OHC, melting ice, etc.), so it’s a cherry pick of a cherry pick. Cherry2. :-)

  189. badgersouth says:

    kdk33: Are you also currently posting as “Russ R” on the comment thread to the 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #7 on the Skeptical Science website?

  190. badgersouth says:

    Jason B: Thank you for your cogent explanation of the statistics that kdk33 has attempted to manipulate. His machinations remind me of the magician’s use of smoke and mirrors to create an illusion.

  191. BBD says:

    He’s not that good, badger. If he were a magician, you’d be able to see the cards sticking out of his sleeves. Also magicians are supposed to be entertaining.

  192. Philip Hardy says:

    The BBC should have a team of highly qualified climate sceptics (there are hundreds of them out there just itching to be heard) versus some unqualified warmest. That would give some proper balance. The biased BBC never would of course for fear of exposing the global warming myth.

  193. Philip,
    I’m guessing that that’s an attempt at some clever and subtle jibe. It’s just a guess, mind you. Also I think you mean “warmist”, not “warmest”.

  194. kdk33 says:

    BBD,

    hugs and kisses

    kdk33

  195. kdk33 says:

    my real name is not kdk33, but it is the only moniker I use.

  196. Okay, I fear that this is starting to get into aggravation territory. Maybe we could all stop now or moderation will kick in.

  197. Philip Hardy, could you maybe invite these hundreds of highly qualified climate ostriches to comment here? Or make a list, so that we can invite them.

    I only know one, Roger Pielke Sr., at least the Pielke up to some years ago. It would be nice to finally discus with someone who has a little knowledge of the climate system and science.

  198. kdk33 says:

    I did not choose 1998, nor promote it, nor was it the subject of my post. The apparent bady, Lawson, chose 15, 16 or 17, so there is only a 33% chance the he chose 1998. If any readers find t1998 to be dishonest, deceitful, misleading, or underhanded; please take that up with ATTP. It was he who chose 1998. Not me.

    All intervals are valid. None are off limits. Cherry picking implies that one interval is given elevated status. This is the exact opposite.

    Evaluating a small interval that is contained within a larger interval can be misleading, Why? The small interval properties are embedded in the large interval properties and that can be problematic when testing certain hypothesis. It is often better to test two contiguous smaller intervals when looking for differences.

    Now, I have one question

    Can anyone on this board say, from what I’ve posted, whether I think there has been warming or how much? Anyone?

  199. kdk33,
    Can you clarify what type of warming you mean. Overall, lower troposphere, ….

  200. kdk33 says:

    Sure. Let’s say warming as indicated by the instrumental temperature record. Since that was the subject at hand. Can you, from what I’ve written, state my position?

  201. kdk33,
    Can I state your position from what you’ve written? Well, I get the impression that you think it’s okay to use the null hypothesis argument to claim that there’s been no warming for 15, 16, 17 years, but you realise that that may turn out to not be true. Of course, I could be completely wrong and have no real desire to try/claim to read someone’s mind.

  202. kdk33 says:

    I didn’t ask you to read my mind. I’m asking that you be fair / objective. Your assuming an underlying argument/position that upon reflection, I think you will agree I have not made.

    There is nothing wrong with using the null hypothesis as I presented it.

    Over the last 115 or so years, there is strong evidence of warming. I’m sure your trending tool will reject no warming over that interval. My conclusions is that it has warmed. I think it warmed from 1900 to 1940; flat to slightly cooling until 1970, warming until 2000, then flat to slightly warming until now.

    But I wouldn’t feel the need to give a “science lesson” to someone who claimed there was no warming since 1998. Given the usual way of hypothesis testing, this would be the most frequent conclusion.

    Yes, there is quibbling about the word “fact” – what people say in the vernacular isn’t what would be written in a journal. If you can’t claim no warming as a “fact”, then you can’t claim warming as a “fact”.

    Have a good Sunday.

  203. kdk33,

    If you can’t claim no warming as a “fact”, then you can’t claim warming as a “fact”.

    If you’re still referring to the instrumental temperature record, then that is the point I’ve been trying to make. I’m pretty sure I said something that was equivalent to this in one of my first responses to you. Have a good Sunday too.

  204. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD a couple of days ago: ‘The problem is, Vinny, that picking over the real or imaginary issues with the totality of statements made to the public by “the scientists” doesn’t actually impinge on the science at all. We’re still stuck with a massive problem. Some people find focussing on the the science and the policy issues more productive than focussing on the minutiae of real or imaginary communications issues.’

    In what way are massively inflated tallies of the number of people who will likely be affected by various aspects of climate change irrelevant to ‘the science’? They are ‘the science’ – and, for policy, such projections are the only bits of ‘the science’ that matter. That the number of people who rely to some extent on glacial melt in Asia is 100 million rather than 750 million (or two billion, as Tim Flannery and other activists say) makes the massive problem of climate change slightly less massive, no? And that has policy implications, if only that it knocks a few pence off the price of carbon.

    Knowing that climate change is a minor factor in the much-mangled AR4 ‘Arnell’ projection that Pachauri loves so much has a similar effect: problem shrinks a bit more, policy options shift.

  205. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts a few days ago: ‘Vinny, as BBD is – I think – trying to illustrate, there’s quite a difference between getting some details wrong (i.e., maybe Pachauri should have said “increased water stress” but that doesn’t change that climate change will still have negative impacts) and getting virtually everything wrong. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t correct errors and try to be accurate, but it would be nice if those who got as worked up about one error in a Met Office document got as worked up about the nonsense that Lawson was sprouting on Radio 4.’

    It wouldn’t be any better if Pachauri parroted AR4’s ‘Arnell’ projection accurately. He shouldn’t be parroting it at all. It misrepresents Arnell’s study – which, in any case, has long since been superseded by work that says unambiguously that population growth and economic growth will be the main drivers of water stress in Africa (and elsewhere).

    Lawson? I don’t know why people feel so threatened by him. If he is such a big influence on policy then how come the UK has so many laws and targets aimed at reducing CO2 emissions? Legislatively, we must be among the world’s top twenty of climate-concerned countries. What more do people want?

    (I found out the other day that for the last decade or so an eco law has, in most circumstances, required any DIY-er replacing a front door to pay for two visits from a building inspector. U-values, innit. So I’m going to keep my old, rotten, leaky, planet-destroying door for a while longer.)

  206. Vinny,

    I don’t know why people feel so threatened by him.

    Maybe you could explain why you’ve extrapolated an annoyance at someone with no formal scientific training sprouting scientific nonsense on Radio 4, as being threatened.

    I don’t really know much – if anything – about Pachauri and the Arnell study. What does seem very common is that whenever someone points out that a “skeptic” has been talking nonsense, someone pops up to point out that someone with mainstream views said something wrong years ago.

    What more do people want?

    What I would like is to have fewer scientifically untrained people pontificating about climate science in the media – and, by science, I mean the science associated with global warming/climate, not the implications of gw/cc. If they want to argue for various policies and why their policy options are better than other policy options, or why we shouldn’t do anything, or why we should do very little, or whatever, that’s fine go ahead. It’s – in my opinion – the discussion we should be having. Going on the mainstream media and stating that there’s been “no warming …. it’s a fact” is just annoying, but not threatening.

  207. BBD says:

    Vinny Burgoo

    makes the massive problem of climate change slightly less massive, no?

    Actually, no, it doesn’t. Which was my original point, so I won’t repeat myself.

  208. Rob Nicholls says:

    Wonderful post. Science lessons for Lord Lawson is a v amusing idea. Having read Lawson’s marvellously twisted and hilariously titled “An appeal to reason: A cool look at global warming” I doubt that Lord Lawson would accept. He appears to be very confident in his knowledge of climate science. And the BBC do so love to transmit his opinions on the subject.

    I’ve complained several times to the BBC regarding its climate change coverage. Most recently I complained about a long News at 10 article on options for airport expansion around London which repeatedly asserted that this expansion is an economic necessity (total nonsense in my opinion), but failed to mention the disastrous effect that this will have on Britain’s ability to meet its GHG emissions targets (There was no mention of climate change at all, unless I missed something). My complaints never seem to have much effect, but I would encourage others to complain when they see poor reporting, which, alas, is very common.

  209. John Mashey says:

    Lord Lawson’s book sits on the 2 special shelves with about 50 others. I don’t let science books wander in there, for fear of contamination.

    I was lucky to be at Lord Stern’s award lecture in San Francisco a few months ago, and I noted that the US had lots of thinktanks, but GWPF seemed the only UK one dedicated to climate anti-science, and asked him if people listened to GWPF+Lawson … and sadly his answer was:
    ~ yes, unfortunately.
    (Of course, the IEA doe some as well, but it covers many areas.)

    Perhaps people might press the BBC to offer equal time to tobacco vendors, unfairly hobbled by all these annoying laws that take away their freedoms. Surely, for balance with the cabal of medical researchers, they can find someone to tell them that people who start smoking as teenagers have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases, and only half of regular smokers die of those, meaning their self-medication has saved half! Who knew? :-)
    (This is slightly akin to Murry Salby’s claims that CO2 rise is not caused by humans, but by temperature rise, accepted with fervent belief in some quarters.)

  210. Philip Hardy says:

    Victor Venema,
    How about the authors of the 123 peer reviewed papers opposing climate change listed on no tricks zone that were conveniently ignored by IPCC. Or the hundreds of peer reviewed papers opposing climate change listed in Wikipedia. Or any of the 31000 scientists who signed the Oregon Petition against climate change. Man made global warming is the world’s most expensive scientific blunder. The scientific evidence against it gets stronger and stronger, it’s days are numbered and the sooner the better.

  211. Its days are numbered! That would explain why last time I got out of our meteorological institute late, I had the impression that Grim Reaper was standing in a corner.

    I am just a simple climatologist and not that familiar with the climate ostrich movement. I hope the others here can react more informed.

    However, as a working scientist, I do know that also peer reviewed article can be wrong, peer review is not perfect, sometimes horrible stuff gets accepted. And Julia Slingo already has authored about as many papers as the “No Tricks Zone” lists.

    And even I know that the Oregon Petition was not signed by scientists only, like you suggest, but by people with a Bachelor degree in any field of study.

    Next time there is a petition against climate change, do let me know. I would sign. Let’s hope mother nature listens to our pleas.

  212. badgersouth says:

    Philip Hardy: You are impressing no one reading this comment thread by parroting worn-out climate denial myths. They have all been thoroughly debunked on numerous websites including Skeptical Science.

    For example, as documented in the Skeptical Science article, Over 31,000 scientists signed the OISM Petition Project, the petition is meaningless in any serious discussion about climate science and climate scientists.

  213. JasonB says:

    kdk33,

    The apparent bady, Lawson, chose 15, 16 or 17, so there is only a 33% chance the he chose 1998.

    It doesn’t matter; his statement is simply wrong whether it’s 1997, 1998, or 1999, or indeed any year since. The failure to reject the null hypothesis of “no warming” in each case does not mean that there has been “no recorded warming”, only that we can’t rule out the possibility that there has been no warming — just as we can’t rule out the possibility that the warming has continued unabated during that time (and, based on other measurements, we can actually be pretty confident of that). The interval is simply too short for the climate signal to emerge from the noise unless we take steps to try to eliminate the non-climatic noise.

    All intervals are valid. None are off limits.

    Sure — provided one recognises that the uncertainty range is an intrinsic component of the interval. The trend from 2010 to 2011 using HADCRUT4 was -2.058 ±5.418 °C/decade (2σ). Was that the start of a precipitous descent into an ice age? Obviously not — the uncertainty range is so wide it makes the trend effectively useless. Increasing the interval tightens the uncertainty range to the point where we can start making useful statements about what the underlying trend actually is. Lawson used a short interval but tried to pretend that the lack of statistical significance over that short interval actually meant something, when all it meant was that his interval was too short.

    It is often better to test two contiguous smaller intervals when looking for differences.

    If the confidence intervals of the shorter intervals are tight enough for the difference to be meaningful.

    HADCRUT4 from 1975-1995: 0.162 ±0.096 °C/decade (2σ)
    HADCRUT4 from 1975-1985: 0.277 ±0.278 °C/decade (2σ)
    HADCRUT4 from 1985-1995: 0.152 ±0.253 °C/decade (2σ)

    The null hypothesis of “no warming” cannot be excluded in either of the two contiguous smaller intervals — yet it can easily be excluded when the two intervals are combined. This illustrates why failure to exclude a hypothesis does not actually make that hypothesis true. The trend also appears to be approximately half in the second interval compared to the first — yet the overall trend is easily contained within the confidence range of both sub-intervals. The differences do not tell us if there was actually a change at all because each sub-trend lies within the uncertainty range of the other.

    I think it warmed from 1900 to 1940;

    Correct: 0.097 ±0.040 °C/decade (2σ)

    flat to slightly cooling until 1970,

    Can’t actually rule out warming, but it’s more likely than not that it cooled over that period: -0.026 ±0.056 °C/decade (2σ)

    Note that the range of trends in these two cases do not overlap, allowing one to legitimately conclude that there was actually a change in underlying trend.

    warming until 2000,

    Correct: 0.169 ±0.056 °C/decade (2σ)

    then flat to slightly warming until now.

    Bzzzt! 0.042 ±0.140 °C/decade (2σ)

    The error range is so large that we simply can’t tell from that data. All we know is that there’s a 95% chance that it’s somewhere between -0.098 °C/decade and 0.182 °C/decade, which means we can’t rule out the hypothesis that the long term warming trend has continued unabated. We cannot legitimately conclude that there was actually a change in underlying trend.

    If we apply the Foster & Rahmstorf corrections to reduce the influence of non-climactic influences, then the trend becomes 0.149 ±0.096 °C/decade (2σ), which does allow us to state that the hypothesis of no warming is rejected even over that shorter period, while still not allowing us to rule out the hypothesis that the underlying trend remains unchanged.

    But I wouldn’t feel the need to give a “science lesson” to someone who claimed there was no warming since 1998. Given the usual way of hypothesis testing, this would be the most frequent conclusion.

    I’m not sure what you think “the usual way” is, but if it allows one to conclude that there was “no warming” since 1998 then clearly it is wrong and Lord Lawson perhaps isn’t the only one in need of a “science lesson”.

    Note, also, that I’ve deliberately chosen to use HADCRUT4 in the above, despite there being strong evidence that it systematically underestimates the true global warming trend (e.g. Cowtan & Way 2014).

    Here is the trend computed from the corrected HADCRUT4 data set calculated from 1979 to 2000 (blue) and then extrapolated to the present so the subsequent data can be seen in the context of the previous trend:

    Applying Foster & Rahmstorf’s corrections to filter out the effect of el Nino, volcanos, and solar variations tightens up the range but doesn’t materially affect the underlying trend:

    The full post is worth a read.

  214. JasonB says:

    Sorry, images did not make it through in the last comment. This was the first and this was the second, both of which are also contained in the full post.

  215. JasonB says:

    badgersouth:

    the petition is meaningless in any serious discussion about climate science and climate scientists

    I’m afraid I have to disagree there — it’s one of several very useful litmus tests of the credibility of the person who brings it up, allowing you to very quickly determine the correct weighting to apply to their opinions. I have others but I prefer not to advertise them lest they catch on and start being more careful about giving the game away too quickly.

  216. badgersouth says:

    JasonB: You missed my point. For example, the National Academy of Science would not give the Oregon Petition any weight in its deliberations about climate science.

  217. pbjamm says:

    badgersouth I think he got your point entirely, unless of course I missed his point. JasonB was saying that anyone how uses the Oregon Petition as a basis for arguing against Climate Science is discrediting themselves so the petition is not meaningless, but still has no scientific merit.

  218. JasonB says:

    badgersouth: You missed my point. :-) If someone raises the Oregon Petition, then I do not need to give their opinions any weight because they clearly have not put any effort into learning about the subject at all and have absolutely no ability to judge expertise. As I said, one of several very useful litmus tests of someone’s knowledge (or ignorance).

    In other words, the petition is a very useful tool in filtering noise from a serious discussion about climate science; the very fact that it is meaningless scientifically is precisely what gives it value. :-)

  219. JasonB says:

    Precisely, pbjamm. (Sorry our comments crossed.)

  220. badgersouth says:

    JasonB: I understood your point the first time and agree with you.

  221. > All intervals are fair, equally valid and informative.

    So much the worse for seeking this desired property, then:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confidence_interval

    In “equally valid and informative”, is “equally informative” implied, kdk33?

  222. The desired property I was referring to was validity, e.g.:

    In many instances the confidence intervals that are quoted are only approximately valid, perhaps derived from “plus or minus twice the standard error”, and the implications of this for the supposedly corresponding hypothesis tests are usually unknown.

    Op. cit.

    I guess all confidence intervals are valid, but some are only approximately so.

  223. Philip Hardy says:

    I was merely listing a few hundred scientists expert in their field of climate change who say it’s not happening or it’s not man made. Just because your warmist religion disagrees with them doesn’t mean their peer reviewed papers are not valid.
    Even if the temperature data published by the met office does show temperatures have risen since 1998, it’s nowhere near the predictions of IPCC casting doubt on their computer models. In fact almost none of their predictions have been accurate.
    The met office (who seem to think no warming has taken place for 16 years) have said 16 years is statistically not relevant anyway. Julia Slingo said last week we can expect more heavy rain from now on due to man made global warming seemingly based on a single year statistic. Previously she predicted this winter would be dry with snow using their £33m computers.
    The whole thing is junk science used for political ends. It’s causing massive untold damage to the world and it’s time to stop it.
    This is not the first time the biased bbc have put a flat earther against a team of warmist scientists. It’s common practice for them to promote their warmist agenda as advised by snail expert prof Steve jones. It is a blatant illegal breach of their charter.

  224. Philip,

    I was merely listing a few hundred scientists expert in their field of climate change who say it’s not happening or it’s not man made

    I do not think you did this. Could you provide a link to show that there are indeed a few hundred experts in the field of climate science who say it’s not happening or not man made.

    Even if the temperature data published by the met office does show temperatures have risen since 1998, it’s nowhere near the predictions of IPCC casting doubt on their computer models. In fact almost none of their predictions have been accurate.

    Firstly the models are not typically designed top be accurate on decadal timescales. Internal variability is very difficult to model and the averaging of the ensembles means that such variability is typically averaged out. Also, the temperatures till lie within the 90% confidence interval and they’re projections, not predictions. If you’re not sure of the difference, I’m sure someone would be happy to explain.

    The whole thing is junk science used for political ends. It’s causing massive untold damage to the world and it’s time to stop it.
    This is not the first time the biased bbc have put a flat earther against a team of warmist scientists. It’s common practice for them to promote their warmist agenda as advised by snail expert prof Steve jones. It is a blatant illegal breach of their charter.

    Nonsense. Conspiracy ideation is violating my moderation policy. I’ll let this one stand, but I’d rather others didn’t respond to this part of the comment and I’ll snip any further comments that make such claims unless they can provide the kind of evidence that would convince a grand jury.

  225. badgersouth says:

    Phillip Hardy: It’s a shame that your political ideology blinds you to the reality of an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that the human race is changing the Earth’s climate system and that those changes not for the better. The physics and chemistry of the Earth’s climate system do not give a Tinker’s damn about politics.

  226. Philip Hardy says:

    Badgersouth
    I do not have a political ideology as you have said but in the case of climate change it is very sad that politics will inevitably sway the scientific results. Such is the nature of funding.

  227. Pingback: Another Week of Anthropocene Antics, February 16, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  228. badgersouth says:

    Phillip Hardy:
    What sources of funding are of concern to you? In which countries?

  229. Philip Hardy says:

    Just watched newsnight with one non scientific sceptic (bishop hill) versus two non scientific warmists (lord deben) (prof Kevin anderson). It had a big build up on the net but turned out a big letdown. Was very brief, interviewer asked all the wrong questions, sceptic was given hardly any time to speak and Anderson was allowed the last word unchallenged with wrong misleading facts. However it was a step in the right direction. Perhaps the bbc is finally listening to the barrage of complaints, which have been ignored for a decade, against its reporting of climate change.

  230. Joseph says:

    “I do not have a political ideology as you have said but in the case of climate change it is very sad that politics will inevitably sway the scientific results.”

    Who “wants” there to be climate change?

  231. dhogaza says:

    The silly thing about Philip’s claim is that, if he is to be believed, governments like the United States fund this fraud in order to … do almost nothing about it, other than wring hands or deny the results of the science that’s been funded. Odd, isn’t it?

  232. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    unchallenged with wrong misleading facts.

    If we pursue dhogaza’s reasoning with the old cynical cui bono as our guide we arrive in a world controlled by a cabal of climate scientists defrauding the public purse for personal gain *and* some say, ushering in world socialism to boot.

    This isn’t the planet I live on.

  233. JasonB says:

    dhogaza,

    Even worse, AR4 was produced while the Bush administration was in office, actively trying to prevent taking action on climate change, as well as trying to stop scientists from speaking out about it (also here), while in Australia the PM Tony Abbott is on the record as saying he thinks climate change is “absolute crap” and whose most important election promise (apart from “stopping the boats”) was to “axe the tax” (he gets a bit confused about the difference between taxes and emissions trading schemes). He recently accused a UN executive secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change of “talking through her hat” for suggesting that global warming was exacerbating bushfire risk in Australia while his Environment Minister Greg Hunt proved she was wrong about bushfires by looking up what Wikipedia had to say on the subject. (I wish I was kidding…)

    Within two weeks of being elected last September he had disbanded the Climate Council, formed by the previous government to act as an independent advisory group to report on the science of climate change.

    Apparently the scientists are corrupt enough to allow politics to sway their results but too stupid to realise which way they are supposed be swayed…

  234. JasonB says:

    Philip Hardy,

    I was merely listing a few hundred scientists expert in their field of climate change who say it’s not happening or it’s not man made.

    I note that you still haven’t responded to the request to provide this list. Is there anyone on this list who is not already listed here? (Note that the SkS list includes all manner of “skeptics”, not just “experts”, and not all of them would self-identify as “skeptics”, so it should be a superset of those you’re referring to.)

    I should also point out that the more highly-qualified scientists among your list would probably say something like “nobody denies it’s not happening”, which means you can’t try to use them to lend credence to the first clause. If you want to pretend that a statement has scientific backing then make sure that the scientists would actually back the statement in question and that they are not simply saying something about the likely range of climate sensitivity, eh?

    I think you’ll also find that many would probably say that man is at least partly responsible, even those who don’t think it’ll be a problem because sensitivity is low.

    Just because your warmist religion disagrees with them doesn’t mean their peer reviewed papers are not valid.

    No, generally their peer reviewed papers are not valid due to some fundamental error that even those from outside the field can see. Can you provide a list of papers that support your position that have not been refuted?

    Even if the temperature data published by the met office does show temperatures have risen since 1998, it’s nowhere near the predictions of IPCC casting doubt on their computer models.

    That’s really surprising given the wealth of comparisons out there refuting your claim. Perhaps you can provide a link to the information that led you to arrive at that conclusion?

    The met office (who seem to think no warming has taken place for 16 years)

    Where did they say that?

    This is not the first time the biased bbc have put a flat earther against a team of warmist scientists.

    OK, so what you’re saying is that the reason the BBC uses such obviously unqualified representatives of the “skeptics” side (“flat earther” is not a bad term, actually) is that it’s actually trying to discredit the “skeptics”?

    That’s certainly an interesting perspective.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the reason the BBC uses these “flat earthers” is because that’s all there is on the “skeptics” side?

    Take a look around. Who else should they use that would make the “skeptics” side seem more credible?

  235. Philip Hardy says:

    Jason B,
    The US Senate committee on public works lists some prominent scientists who have reversed their belief in man-made Global Warming after reviewing the research and are now sceptics.

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?

    Of course there are more warmist scientists than sceptic scientists but this is not necessarily as a result of the scientific evidence. Again politics and funding come into play. I mean the government/bbc/met office/senate are never going to appoint a climate sceptic to a key position no matter how highly qualified and how much evidence he has produced. Don’t say there are no such people because there are.
    The loony green party calling for the uk government to get rid of all sceptic cabinet ministers and advisors is a typical example of the problem sceptic scientists face.

  236. Philip,
    I can’t find a list on the link you provide.

    Of course there are more warmist scientists than sceptic scientists but this is not necessarily as a result of the scientific evidence.

    Not necessarily a result of the scientific evidence, in the sense that anything is possible. However, as I suspect many may have pointed out to you before, if the majority view turns out to be significantly in error, then much of fundamental physics must be wrong, or misunderstood. Also, if you’re going to play the politics/funding game then we can all do that. Clearly human nature does play some role in what people are willing to accept but that isn’t restricted to the “warmist” (your word) side only.

  237. Mr Hardy, could you directly link to the list and not just to the homepage of the senate? That would make it somewhat easier to find the list. Surely you would like everyone to know who your prominent supporters are?

    As a working climate scientist, I can only say that you clearly have no idea how the scientific community works. Yes a scientist that sprouts nonsense WUWT-style would get into trouble, but not for the lower estimates of AGW, but for lack of arguments and misinformation. A scientist that had good arguments why (some aspect of) the theory of AGW is wrong, would have good career prospects. What counts it the quality of the work and not the outcome (and naturally like in every human activity also who you know, unfortunately).

    It has happened to me once that a colleague referred to me as a climate “sceptic”, after giving a talk that called her research into question. That was clearly intended as a threat as an accusation of doing bad science. I have never lost a night of sleep over that, I have a solid reputation and no one would have believed this colleague. I just go where the evidence and the data leads me. As long as I have good arguments and do not overstate my case, I have no problem defending any position.

    I am somewhat surprised that you refer to politics as prove for how things work in science. Last time I looked they were two different things.

  238. badgersouth says:

    Philip Hardy:
    Do you understand that the ever growing body of scientific evidence about manmade climate change has been assembled by scientists throughout the world, not just those residing in the US and the UK?

  239. Marco says:

    I can provide the names of some “prominent scientists” who believe Séralini’s work is credible. Also of “prominent scientists” who are (or were for a while) sure that intelligent design was a credible contender to the theory of evolution. That notably includes several Nobel Prize winners.

    It is in fact quite easy to find otherwise excellent scientists who hold some kind of crank belief in some field of science, based on e.g. arrogance (for which physicists are notorious, but they are definitely not unique in that respect), or due to deeply-held ideological beliefs that completely block their scientific abilities.

  240. badgersouth says:

    Philip Hardy: If your antagonism toward climate science and climate scientists isn’t driven by political ideology, what is it driven by?

  241. Philip Hardy says:

    Now that the Australian government has declared man made global warming a load of tosh and is appointing sceptics onto government bodies instead of warmists, it will be interesting to see how quickly Australian public opinion will change, the increase in sceptic comments in newspapers and the change in scientific papers from warmist to sceptic. I suspect the science will follow the politics much like the CO2 follows the temperatures.
    Which country will be next I wonder.

  242. Philip,
    Do you not see the irony in your comment. If the scientific view on gw/cc were to change to a “sceptic” view because of change of political leadership, that would seem to be fairly convincing evidence that the “sceptic” view is motivated by politics, without necessary being evidence of that for the “warmist” view.

  243. Philip,
    Didn’t think you would. However, I would still argue that if it does shift that would be extremely concerning.

    Also, your list has 12 names (I think) and was published in 2007. Where are the other hundreds that you suggested existed? Also, if these names were selected randomly for a large pool of scientists who are skeptical, why do I know the names of 4 of them? That seems rather unlikely.

  244. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I know eight of them!

  245. BBD says:

    I hadn’t come across Tim Patterson, but it’s the same old, same old…

  246. Philip Hardy says:

    Andthenthere,

    Come on, be honest, deep down don’t you suspect the opinion in Australia will gradually change, even if it is wrong?

    I agree other science is above politics but climate change is different. The costs of believing in it are mega billions, the problems it has caused are enormous, way beyond any other scientific decision. For that reason we need to be sure.

  247. Come on, be honest, deep down don’t you suspect the opinion in Australia will gradually change, even if it is wrong?

    No, I don’t. I don’t think scientists behave that way. The evidence is far too strong for a political change to influence.

    I agree other science is above politics but climate change is different. The costs of believing in it are mega billions, the problems it has caused are enormous, way beyond any other scientific decision. For that reason we need to be sure.

    Climate change isn’t really different. That way lies conspiracy ideation. What problems has it caused? I know people like to blame poor policy on AGW, but do you really have evidence that links AGW to poor and expensive policy decisions. I also expect robust attribution, not just hearsay and speculation.

    The risks are also enormous. If you want to wait until we’re sure, it may be too late to avoid significant damage. Do you really want to gamble on some aspect of well-tested and well-understood physics being wrong?

  248. BBD says:

    Here’s another one – Ian Clark. More incorrect claims, dubious affiliations etc. This is an entirely unimpressive list of well-known and lesser-known “sceptics” who are just wrong.

  249. badgersouth says:

    Philip Hardy: You simply cannot accept the fact that the human race, primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, has caused climate change. All that scientists have done is to document what is happening and explain why it is happening. What the hum race does with this knowledge is an entirely different matter.

  250. Philip Hardy says:

    Badgersouth
    I’m just saying a significant number of expert climate scientists are writing important peer reviewed papers saying it’s not happening and these scientists are being sidelined and ignored without a valid reason. The commonly held belief that there is almost unanimous agreement among scientists is not correct.

  251. Philip,

    I’m just saying a significant number of expert climate scientists are writing important peer reviewed papers saying it’s not happening and these scientists are being sidelined and ignored without a valid reason.

    Significant. I don’t think so. At least you haven’t shown this to be the case. Ignored for no reason? Well, I’ve looked at some of the papers that present results that are very contrary to the mainstream papers and the ones I’ve seen have very apparent and obvious errors. Hence, it’s my view that most of these papers are being ignored because they’re crap.

    The commonly held belief that there is almost unanimous agreement among scientists is not correct.

    I don’t think anyone’s said it was unanimous.

  252. Philip Hardy says:

    BBC,
    Why are you slagging off Ian Clark? He has impeccable scientific credentials, lots of peer reviewed climate papers published. Is it that he disagrees there is a consensus among scientists or simply that he’s a sceptic and your a warmer? Why all this aggression?

  253. Rachel says:

    Philip,

    “I’m just saying a significant number of expert climate scientists are writing important peer reviewed papers saying it’s not happening and these scientists are being sidelined and ignored without a valid reason.”

    Ok. I can’t sit and watch this any longer. Philip, you need to provide evidence of this in the form of papers they have had published which say as much. I’ve had a look at the web pages of two who seem to at least be in the right field and I can’t see any recently published research which claims that climate change is not happening.

    Ian Clark’s research seems to be about isotopes in groundwater and paleoclimatology. Chris de Freitas also lists his publications online but his seem to be about climate and tourism and I can find any that support your position. I have not looked in detail at the others but if we look on the other side of the coin we have a recently released IPCC report which concludes:

    Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident in most regions of the globe, a new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes.

    It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models.

    Warming in the climate system is unequivocal and since 1950 many changes have been observed throughout the climate system that are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850, reports the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group I assessment report, Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by member governments of the IPCC in Stockholm, Sweden.

    And this is the work of 259 lead authors across 39 countries and it included 54,677 comments. Your list pales in comparison to this.

    Furthermore, no-one wants climate change to be real. If any of the people on your list has a plausible theory for why the Earth is getting warmer then the right thing to do would be to publish it. Most people would jump at the opportunity to find a legitimate theory that absolves us of responsibility in all of this.

  254. Rachel says:

    There’s a good blog post from meterologist and entrepreneur, Paul Douglas about debating climate change. Here’s a snippet:

    To the heart of your question, why don’t more climate scientists enter into the public debate? Because the debate is over. It’s the moral and scientific equivalent of debating gravity. The experts have spoken, and because a very small minority of stakeholders and shareholders don’t care for the implications there is vociferous push-back from certain special interests. I worked in television news for 35 years. Mainstream media likes a good on-air food-fight, a protagonist and antagonist, shouting at each other about their worldviews. It attracts curiosity and eyeballs – it’s ultimately good for ratings. But it’s a false equivalent, and it’s a terrible way to conduct science. We put a handful of (paid) climate skeptics and industry lobbyists on a stage with thousands of the world’s leading climate PhD’s, and think this is somehow serving the public interest? It’s not. It’s creating more confusion, more delay and more denial, as viewers and readers pick and choose their reality as easily as changing channels on their TV or grazing over their morning horoscope. I can absolutely understand why more professionals don’t want to subject themselves to inane banter with science-deniers.

  255. Philip Hardy says:

    Normally scientists can’t even agree on pizza toppings. Funny how suddenly there is so much agreement on a complicated, important, controversial subject like climate that there need be no further debate. Sounds like a dangerous slippery slope to me.

  256. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    BBC [sic],
    Why are you slagging off Ian Clark?

    I’m not slagging him off. He made a mistake:

    I am compelled to disagree that there is a consensus of scientists who agree that this [climate change] is the consequence of human activities. While the melting of permafrost, retreat of glaciers and waning of the permanent ice pack may be alarming, it is only alarming to those unfamiliar with past changes in climate in the North. Paleoclimatologists recognize such events as part of natural changes wholly unrelated to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. In fact, the waxing and waning of ice shelves, along with glaciers, ice caps and pack ice are largely related to changes in solar inputs.

    The millennial-scale spatial and seasonal changes in TSI arising from orbital dynamics that forced the current interglacial and the Holocene Climate Optimum are long gone. Ian Clark argues from false equivalence.

  257. Ian Forrester says:

    BBD, Tim Patterson is the head of the Earth Sciences Department at Carleton University who invited well known AGW denier Ton Harris to give what has been called a “climate denial” course at Carleton.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/tom-harris-carleton-university-climate-misinformation-class.html

  258. Tom Curtis says:

    Phillip Hardy:

    “Now that the Australian government has declared man made global warming a load of tosh and is appointing sceptics onto government bodies instead of warmists, it will be interesting to see how quickly Australian public opinion will change, the increase in sceptic comments in newspapers and the change in scientific papers from warmist to sceptic. I suspect the science will follow the politics much like the CO2 follows the temperatures.
    Which country will be next I wonder.”

    From 1996 to 2007, Australia was lead by John Howard, a man virulently opposed to climate science and any action on climate change. Despite that, the scientific papers during that time heavily supported global warming as real, anthropogenic, and a problem. There is no reason to think the recent election of the former Howard government minister, Tony Abbot will change the science in any way. It certainly has a chance of changing the public debate, and the Abbot government has already take steps to ensure that the Australian people will here less of the science, and more of the political claptrap produced by so-called skeptics. I am unsure how having science reporting dictated by pseudo-scientists will improve public debate.

  259. badgersouth says:

    I highly recommend that everyone participating in this discussion thread take a gander at the following article:

    Thinking Appropriately About Climate Change by Paul C Stern, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, Feb 18, 2014

    Stern’s article is summarized as follows:

    Think of climate scientists as doctors and yourself as a guardian of the planet, rather than debating the ‘fact’ of climate change, one expert advises, rejecting the criminal standard of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ approach. (Reprinted with permission of thepsychreport.com)

  260. badgersouth says:

    About Paul C Stern:

    Paul C. Stern is a senior scholar with the Board on Environmental Change and Society (formerly the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, which he directed from its inception in 1989) at the U.S. National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences. His research interests include the determinants of environmentally significant behavior, particularly at the individual level; participatory processes for informing environmental decision making; processes for informing environmental decisions; and the governance of environmental resources and risks. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association. He holds a B.A. from Amherst College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Clark University, all in psychology.

  261. badgersouth says:

    Philip Hardy:

    The article, How the Spreading Symptoms of Climate Change Can be Deadly, was posted on Scientific American today, Feb 18, 2014. It documents the results of a set of studies conducted in various parts of the world about the potential near-term public health consequences of manmade climate change.

    Do you honestly believe that all of the scientists and researchers who produced this set of reports are part of some secret international cabal bent on promoting manmade climate change?

    Do you honestly believe that the findings made in these reports are bogus?

  262. JasonB says:

    I’m just saying a significant number of expert climate scientists are writing important peer reviewed papers saying it’s not happening and these scientists are being sidelined and ignored without a valid reason.

    Well, let’s look at your list from 2007 to see how true that is, shall we?

    Useful resources:

    Skeptical Science
    DeSmogBlog

    Claude Allegre (PhD Physics): No known peer-reviewed climate papers that take a negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming. Doesn’t know what causes climate change so believes nobody else does, either.

    Bruno Wiskel (BSc Geology): No known peer-reviewed journal papers on any subject at all.

    Nir Shaviv (PhD Physics): No known peer-reviewed climate papers that take a negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming. Believes that because “At least half of the warming over the 20th century is because of the sun … it means we don’t have to worry about warming over the 21st century” which disagrees with the evidence and is also a non-sequitur. Also thinks that AGW will be the dominant cause of warming in the 21st century.

    David Evans (PhD EE): No known peer-reviewed climate papers that take a negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming. Thinks that the absence of a hot spot proves that the enhanced greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming, ignoring the facts that (a) the hot spot is not a signature of AGW but should appear with any warming, (b) that the measurements aren’t accurate enough to detect the hot spot over longer time frames, and (c) the measurements do show the expected hot spot over shorter time frames. Debunked here.

    Tad Murty (PhD Oceanography and Meteorology): Published many papers in the area of Tsunamis and storm surges. Don’t know about peer-reviewed climate papers that take a negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming.

    David Bellamy (PhD Biology?): One paper in a civil engineering journal. Was responded to (not ignored) by this paper but I can’t find it freely online.

    That’s nearly half, with only one known peer-reviewed paper contesting the mainstream view between them, and it’s by the environmentalist, published in a civil engineering journal, and it wasn’t ignored.

    Is that what you mean by “significant number of important papers”?

    Not only that, but even this tiny list includes people who think that AGW will be the dominant cause of global warming in the 21st century! That’s a far cry from saying “it’s not happening”! Plus it has been padded out by people with no obvious qualifications in the area.

    To answer my own question: Only four of the people in that list were not already accounted for on the SkS web page I linked you to.

    I’m still waiting for:

    1. A list of papers that support your position that have not been refuted.

    2. The information that led you to believe that the rate of warming has been nowhere near the IPCC predictions.

    3. What the met office actually said to make you believe that they “seem to think no warming has taken place for 16 years”.

    Since I took the time to go through your list for you, it’s only fair for you to put in a bit of effort yourself now.

  263. JasonB says:

    Philip:

    Now that the Australian government has declared man made global warming a load of tosh and is appointing sceptics onto government bodies instead of warmists, it will be interesting to see how quickly Australian public opinion will change, the increase in sceptic comments in newspapers and the change in scientific papers from warmist to sceptic. I suspect the science will follow the politics much like the CO2 follows the temperatures.

    As Tom Curtis already pointed out, this displays a great deal of ignorance of Australian political history (until 2007 much the same group were in power as are in power now, with much the same views on AGW, which didn’t cause scientists in that era to publish “skeptic” papers) and, by your standard, proves that Hanson is a guy you should listen to because during the Bush era, when the Bush administration actively tried to gag him, he continued to speak out about the dangers (already referenced above).

    It also shows ignorance of the media in Australia, given that Murdoch owns the overwhelming majority of newspapers in the country and they all take a strong “skeptic” stance. Tim Lambert has a long list of examples from The Australian, the only daily national paper:

    The Australian’s War on Science

    And while Abbott wasn’t in power for the previous six years, he spent much of the last four claiming that Labor’s ETS would wreck the economy and built his election campaign on “axing the tax”. Conservative commentators and politicians alike spammed the airways with non-stop references to the issue. Any public opinion that’s amenable to woolly-headed thinking would surely have been swayed by now. The kind of woolly-headed thinking, I would note, that would lead one to believe that “the science will follow the politics”. If you were familiar with what the science was actually based on, you’d realise how ludicrous that seems.

  264. Marco says:

    If political opinion were to steer scientific opinion, there would be hardly any evolutionary biologist in the US (of the real science-kind) not continuously having to defend his work against other evolutionary biologist (of the creationist-kind). One also wonders how all those papers on climate change and its dire consequences could come out of the US during the 8 years of Bush government. And those Canadians…well, those Canadian scientists need to be actively muzzled by their government, because it looks like the politicians there can’t stop the scientific opinion not following the political opinion.

  265. JasonB: “Since I took the time to go through your list for you, it’s only fair for you to put in a bit of effort yourself now.”

    Amen. And I would suggest to treat Philip Hardy as a troll as long as he does not do so and not to respond to this continual stream of cheap denial talking points until he presents counter arguments to the answers.

  266. Philip Hardy says:

    I just received an email circular from Greenpeace asking for a donation to their cause. They say ‘the majority of scientists and senior politicians are convinced the uk floods are linked to climate change’. I know Cameron said this and Julia Slingo hinted at it but surely the majority scientific view is that there is no evidence and therefore they cannot possibly be convinced.

  267. badgersouth says:

    The following caught my eye and bears directly on the broader issue of journalistic balance touched on in the OP of this thread.

    “Providing equal status to climate deniers constitutes journalistic malpractice. While nonpartisan news outlets and journalists may have a desire to demonstrate their objective bona fides, this decision has real consequences.

    “In a recent paper, Jesse Shapiro from the University of Chicago examines the relationship between media treatment of climate change and the public’s understanding of the issue. He argues that American journalists often go to great lengths to prove that they are unbiased, which leads them to cover the “debate” around climate change and misinform viewers.

    “He finds a strong correlation in OECD countries between the percentage of journalists who make it clear that there is strong evidence for the manmade global warming and the likelihood that the general public accepts this consensus view. Accordingly, because American journalists are twice as likely to cling to their objectivity as German journalists, Americans are less informed on climate change than citizens of any other OECD state.”

    Source: What climate hawks can learn from the ‘Meet the Press’ debacle by Tim Kovich.

  268. dana1981 says:

    They say ‘the majority of scientists and senior politicians are convinced the uk floods are linked to climate change’.

    And they’re right. Global warming causes higher sea levels and more water in the atmosphere, both of which contribute to the floods. That’s a direct link.

    The Tim Kovich post linked by badger is really good, btw. Very clear example of why it’s always a mistake for a realist to debate a denier on TV. The denier just has to pump out a Gish Gallop with too much material for the realist to refute in the brief time allowed, and doubt has been introduced, giving the denier a ‘win’.

  269. Philip,

    They say ‘the majority of scientists and senior politicians are convinced the uk floods are linked to climate change’. I know Cameron said this and Julia Slingo hinted at it but surely the majority scientific view is that there is no evidence and therefore they cannot possibly be convinced.

    Your inference is wrong. There is evidence. Warmer air holds more water vapour, therefore more precipitation, for example. What they can’t do is specifically attribute these individual events to climate change, but there are links. So, just because we can’t definitively say that they are linked, that does not allow one to conclude that they definitely aren’t.

  270. Philip Hardy says:

    Badgersouth
    The bbc gives more air time to crop circle and homeothapy believers than they do to climate sceptics, so no problem in the uk. Interesting situation in Australia if they take the attitude that providing equal status to warmists constitutes journalistic malpractice.

    I understand the point you are making though. That’s why Richard Dawkins refuses to debate with intelligent design believers.

    In fact on the rare occasions the bbc does have a climate debate it’s usually only for a few minutes in the middle of the Today program or Newsnight and then it’s always the same old alarmist statements by the same old sceptic denials with an uninformed questioner and the winner is the last one to speak. And it’s usually only done not to breach the bbc charter. The bbc always go to great lengths to find the most distinguished scientists they can with strings of letters after their name to speak but because it’s all over in a flash and nothing new is said they may as well have a debate with their mother in laws.

  271. Philip,
    Maybe things have changed in the last year, but as far as I’m aware Lawson and Montford have appeared on the BBC talking about climate science, more than any other single individual. I think they’ve also been represented on all segments I’ve heard in the last year, bar one.

  272. Philip Hardy says:

    Andthenthere,
    Now I’m confused, I thought the met office issued a joint statement last week about flooding and climate change basically saying ‘we don’t know’. Slingo said they were linked but I got the impression others at the met office didn’t agree. Is there a peer reviewed paper which the majority of scientists accept that proves the two things are linked and that’s why nearly all scientists agree?

    What happened to the idea that ‘weather is not climate’? Surely a few weeks of unpredicted rain is just weather and statistically irrelevant?

    Does the met office 2012 statement that melting Arctic ice means cooler and dryer winters from now still hold or is that now replaced by we can expect warmer and wetter winters from now on?

    I find the met office web site full of contradictions on climate change.

  273. Philip,
    My point was that “we don’t know” is not the same as “there is no link”. So, my understanding is that there is increasing evidence that climate change is influence these extreme events. We can’t ever say that climate change has caused a single event or that it would not have happened in the absence of climate change, but there is at least evidence for a relationship between climate change and these events.

    So, we can continue to stick with the idea that the inability to definitively link climate change to these events means that we should reject a link, or we could start asking the question of how likely it is that in a warmer world, with more energy in the climate system, and with more water vapour in the atmosphere, that there won’t be some kind of link. I’d also like to know the answer to the question : “have we seen an unusual number of extreme events in the last few years/decades and, if so, how likely would that be in the absence of climate change”.

  274. Philip Hardy says:

    And then
    So the greenoeace statement that most scientists are CONVINCED is wrong,right? It should say nobody knows, nobody can ever say for sure, but it’s possible. – that’s a Big difference. Surely the only way to CONVINCE a trusty scientist is the time honoured system of peer reviewed papers. Anything short of that is just maybe?

  275. Philip,
    You’ll have to give me more context. What are they convinced about? Am I convinced that global warming will influence extreme events. Absolutely. Hard to see how putting more energy into our climate system will not influence them. Am I convinced that what we’ve just seen is an indication of what we will see more of in the coming decades. Yes. Rising sea levels will influence coastal flooding. Increased precipitation will clearly influence flooding in other areas. Am I convinced that global warming definitely influenced the current events. No. We can’t show that. So, what was Greenpeace saying scientists are convinced about?

  276. Philip Hardy says:

    Uk flooding is caused by global warming.

  277. badgersouth says:

    Manmade climate change creates new climate normals. Weather happens in the new normal, not the old normal.

  278. Joshua says:

    Philip Hardy –

    Do you trust RPJr.’s views on climate change?

  279. dhogaza says:

    From the UK Greenpeace site (note: Greenpeace International is a separate, umbrella organization with its own news team, and may be saying something different, but UK Greenpeace seems a reasonable place to start:

    ‘What does the science say about the link with the flooding and climate change?

    What we can say is that it doesn’t look like a coincidence that four of the five wettest years recorded in the UK have happened since 2000 at the same time as have also had the seven warmest years. As the Met Office pointed out in its recent report, there is an increasing evidence showing heavy rainfall is becoming heavier. They say this is consistent with what you’d expect from basic physics; the astmosphere in a warmer world holds more vater vapour = more intense downpours.

    The Met office also linked the UK’s storminess with an erratic jet stream – the belt of strong winds circling the planet – over the Pacific Ocean and North America. The North Atlantic jet stream, which blows in storms from the west towards the UK, has been 30% stronger than normal, which links to to exceptional wind patterns in the stratosphere with a very intense polar vortex – which has also been affecting weather in the US and Canada.

    This whole process was driven by higher than normal ocean temperatures in the West Pacific that was most probably linked to climate change.

    Scientist says…

    Professor Myles Allen, University of Oxford, said: “There are simple physical reasons, supported by computer modelling of similar events back in the 2000s, to suspect that human-induced warming of the climate system has increased the risk of the kind of heavy rainfall events that are playing a major role in these floods.”’

    Philip Hardy:

    “Uk flooding is caused by global warming.” – UK Greenpeace, at least, is not saying this in its official news piece on their website.

  280. Ian Forrester says:

    Philip Hardy asks:

    Surely a few weeks of unpredicted rain is just weather and statistically irrelevant?

    It not just a few weeks but 30 years in which climate disasters have been dramatically increasing. Check out this graph:

    http://www.preventionweb.net/files/20120613_ClimateDisaster1980-2011.pdf

    All of these types of climate disasters have been predicted from the science behind AGW. If you claim that AGW is not contributing to these disasters then please tell us what, in your opinion, is causing this increase. You cannot reject science unless you have a sensible alternative, so let’s hear it.

  281. Philip,

    Uk flooding is caused by global warming.

    I’ll need some kind of link. Far too often people’s interpretation of what others have said is not quite what they actually said.

  282. Philip Hardy says:

    This was an email circular from uk Greenpeace on 20 February which I assume went to thousands of people in uk. In it was this link:- https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/m/58307049/640e5796/63964c40/205054af/247622112/VEsH/

  283. Philip,
    You said

    Uk flooding is caused by global warming.

    They said

    We’re in the middle of a crisis, which the majority of scientists and senior politicians are convinced is linked to climate change. So why do you have a climate sceptic as environment minister?

    So, they didn’t say caused by, they said linked. The obvious link is that events like this are what the evidence suggests we will see more of in the future. the other link is that warmer air holds more water vapour hence can lead to more precipitation. So one can’t argue that these events are not directly linked to climate change. One can’t show that definitively, but there are hints. So, I have no issue with the Greenpeace statement as it seems consistent with the evidence.

  284. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    What everyone else said plus a quick reminder that the atmosphere is getting moister as well as warmer.

    The key figure is here.

  285. badgersouth says:

    The ClimateWire article, U.K. Probes whether Strange, Wet Winter Is Part of a Changing Climate by Christina Reed also plows much of the same ground as does the OP and this comment thread.

    By coincidence, Reed’s article was reposted on Scientific American on the same day, Feb 13, as Ander’s posted the OP. Her article includes a number of quotes by Met Office experts.

  286. badgersouth says:

    Philip Hardy: If you have an issue with what Greenpeace has written in a broadcast email, take it up with them, not us.

  287. johnrussell40 says:

    Following my complaint to the BBC about the inclusion of Lord Lawson in this programme segment of the ‘Today’ programme, I have received the following response from Ceri Thomas, Head of Programmes at BBC News:

    “The BBC is committed to impartial and balanced coverage of climate change. Furthermore we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on the issue and reflect this accordingly. Across our programmes the number of scientists and academics who support the mainstream view far outweighs those who disagree with it. We do however on occasion, offer space to dissenting voices where appropriate as part of the BBC’s overall commitment to impartiality. The BBC Trust, which oversees our work on behalf of licence fee payers, has explicitly urged programme makers not to exclude critical opinion from policy debates involving scientists.

    As was clear from the discussion, there is no conclusive proof as yet of a direct link between the storms hitting the UK this year and climate change. It was therefore reasonable for Justin Webb to ask Sir Brian Hoskins about the limits of scientific knowledge, in particular how the lay person should judge the evidence. But he also rigorously challenged Lord Lawson – in particular on his assertion that focusing efforts on developing green energy sources was a waste of money and that resources would be better spent on improving our defences against bad weather. Both lines of questioning were designed to help listeners judge how to assess the recent bad weather in the context of climate change.

    Scientists do have a crucial role to play in this debate. ‘Today’ has a track record of interviewing distinguished experts on climate change such as Lord Krebs, Sir John Beddington and Sir Mark Walport; all three have appeared on the programme in single interviews in recent months. But politicians and pressure groups also have their place and in six weeks of flooding, this was the first interview on ‘Today’ with a climate change ‘sceptic.’

    Whilst there may be a scientific consensus about global warming – that it is happening and largely man-made – there is no similar agreement about what should be done to tackle it; whether money should be spent, for example, on cutting carbon emissions or would be better used adapting our defences to the changing climate. Lord Lawson is not a scientist, but as a former Chancellor of the Exchequer is well qualified to comment on the economic arguments, which are a legitimate area for debate.

    We believe there has to be space in the BBC’s coverage where scientific consensus meets reasonable argument about the policy implications of that consensus view. That said we do accept that we could have offered a clearer description of the sceptical position taken by Lord Lawson and the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the introduction. That would have clarified in the audience’s minds the ideological background to the arguments.

    I hope this helps explain our thinking.”

  288. dhogaza says:

    ATTP:

    “So, they didn’t say caused by, they said linked.”

    Entirely consistent with the longer message I pasted from their website, and neither saying what Philip Hardy claims they said.

    Philip – do take care to read for comprehension before making claims. We do tend to check …

  289. After this statement by the BBC, I am wondering how much percent of the time Lord Lawson was talking about basic science and who much about economics? And how many of the questions directed at him were about science, respectively about economics? Could anyone who listened comment on that?

    If the part on the basic science was small, you could also see this part as a service to the audience. The falsifiable statements on the simple science can be used to estimate the upper limit of the reliability of his statements on the much more complicated economic matters.

  290. Bwana_mkubwa says:

    I got the same response. Note this section:

    Whilst there may be a scientific consensus about global warming – that it is happening and largely man-made – there is no similar agreement about what should be done to tackle it; whether money should be spent, for example, on cutting carbon emissions or would be better used adapting our defences to the changing climate. Lord Lawson is not a scientist, but as a former Chancellor of the Exchequer is well qualified to comment on the economic arguments, which are a legitimate area for debate.

    The trouble is his argument was not about economic issues, witness his response on heat going into the ocean. There he vociferously disputed scientific studies. So, the BBC statement is totally incorrect. I still think they are bowing to political pressure due to their forthcoming contract renewal.

  291. Patrick says:

    As an interested “agnostic” in the AGW hypothesis I find it extremely difficult to come to any conclusions on what appears to be such highly divisive topic. I try to read material from both supporters and sceptics but the views and the claims are often completely contradictory. The devil is in the detail which means having to review the thousands (millions?) of research papers which is frankly impossible. [One thing which I see over and over again is the term "peer reviewed papers" which is to give added weight that the research is robust. Sadly, peer review is a much distorted and over rated check as the "peers" are often sympathetic to the paper's conclusions and rarely question and inspect the validity of the underlying data and evaluate the statistics applied.]

    It seems to me that there is as yet no conclusive proof as to what amount of global warming is due to man made activities and what may be attributed to natural climate variations such as sunspot activity, ENSO and the equivalent La Nina, a natural rebound in temperature from the “Little Ice Age” which ended in early 19th century, and so on and so on. I accept the increase in CO2 from 270ppm to 400ppm over the last 15 or so years and the fact that global temperatures seem to have risen about 0.8C since 1880 (although how robust is the temperature station data especial from the early years and what corrections have been made for the Heat Island effects?).

    What is important is to question every assertion and to ask what evidence there is to support it. So, for example. Lord Lawson’s statement that there has been no warming for the last 15, 16, 17 years and the Met Office’s Julia Slingo’s statement that all the evidence points to the recent UK flooding being due to AGW and adding that there was no evidence that it it was not. [Lack of evidence that something is not the case is no proof that it is.] Also, the theory that the “pause” of the last 15 or 16 years is because all the heat has been hidden in the oceans. [I admit I have not studied - yet - the paper(s) on which this is based.]

    As to the criticism that Lord Lawson is not a climate scientist and should therefore not be given air time to express his views, does this mean which should not give a platform to the likes of Al Gore, or Steve Jones who advised the BBC to give less air time to the sceptics. Lay people should be allowed to express their opinions if they can demonstrate a reasonable knowledge of their subject even if they are not so -called experts. To use the old adage: science is too important to be left solely to the scientists.

  292. johnrussell40 says:

    In my complaint I made exactly the point that Lawson was quite entitled to talk about policy but on this occasion preferred to spend his time refuting the science, for which he is unqualified. I guess I should complain again at this strawman response. I wonder how many people complained and received this same reply?

  293. Patrick says:

    Correction:

    Fifth line in second paragraph should be 370ppm CO2 and not 270ppm. I think the increase per the Mount Loa Observatory is about eight percent since the 1998 El Nino.

  294. Patrick,

    It seems to me that there is as yet no conclusive proof as to what amount of global warming is due to man made activities and what may be attributed to natural climate variations such as sunspot activity, ENSO and the equivalent La Nina, a natural rebound in temperature from the “Little Ice Age” which ended in early 19th century, and so on and so on.

    There is evidence. Natural climate variations would typically average out over timescales of many decades. Hence, we are quite confident that anthropogenic influences have provided most (more than 80%) of the surface warming since 1950. The concept of a rebound also doesn’t make sense. The climate doesn’t bounce. It responds to various forcings, some of which make it cooler, others make it warmer. We can explain the LIA and the current warming using the same basic physics.

    Also, the theory that the “pause” of the last 15 or 16 years is because all the heat has been hidden in the oceans.

    A large majority of the evidence suggests that this is indeed the case. The surface warming is only associated with a few percent of the excess energy (if you’re not sure what I mean by the excess energy, feel free to ask). Most of the excess energy goes into the oceans. Therefore small variations in the ocean heat uptake can make a big difference to the rate at which the surface warms.

    As to the criticism that Lord Lawson is not a climate scientist and should therefore not be given air time to express his views,

    This is not about him being prevented from expressing his views. It’s about a major media outlet giving him the opportunity to express his views about the specifics of a complex topic in which he has no formal experience and in which he appears to have no expert knowledge.

  295. badgersouth says:

    Patrick: You assertion that you are “just a interested ‘agnostic’ in the AGW hypothesis” is hilarious given the rest of your post. Give us a break!

  296. Patrick: You assertion that you are “just a interested ‘agnostic’ in the AGW hypothesis” is hilarious given the rest of your post. Give us a break!

    Yes, I almost said the same myself. Not the comment of someone who I would typically describe as agnostic.

  297. Rachel says:

    Patrick,

    “…although how robust is the temperature station data especial from the early years and what corrections have been made for the Heat Island effects?”

    The study conducted by Richard Muller, BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project), put this to rest. Richard Muller was a self-confessed skeptic and did not trust the temperature records and so with funding from the fossil fuel industry he did the research himself. Here’s what he says in the NYTimes, The Conversion of a climate-change skeptic:

    CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

  298. Philip Hardy says:

    [Mod: This comment has been removed because it does not abide by the moderation policy]

  299. Joseph says:

    “As an interested “agnostic” in the AGW hypothesis ”

    An “agnostic” whose only criticisms were for arguments made by the pro-AGW side.

  300. Marco says:

    “the “peers” are often sympathetic to the paper’s conclusions and rarely question and inspect the validity of the underlying data and evaluate the statistics applied”

    Sometimes I wish to have two such peers reviewing my paper, it would make it much easier to get papers published. Funnily, the two times that I did encounter such peers, the corresponding authors of the paper (not me in both cases) complained that the reviewers had not properly read the paper…

  301. Patrick says:

    For “Andthenthereisphysiscs”

    Thank you for your detailed response.

    I have three points

    (1) 80 percent surface warming due to AGW since 1950.

    You write:-

    “There is evidence. Natural climate variations would typically average out over timescales of many decades. Hence, we are quite confident that anthropogenic influences have provided most (more than 80%) of the surface warming since 1950. The concept of a rebound also doesn’t make sense. The climate doesn’t bounce. It responds to various forcings, some of which make it cooler, others make it warmer. We can explain the LIA and the current warming using the same basic physics.”

    May I query your comment about “Natural climate variations over timescales over many decades”. As I understand it we have temperature records gong back to about 1860 although I know that the Central England Temperature record dates from 1659 (I think). Therefore, how do we know that natural comate variations cover timescales of many decades. How do we know that a 0.8C increase in temperature has not happened before over 100 or 110 years? For example in the last 2000 to 3000 years. Could you give me a few of the research papers that support “the more than 80 percent” statement.

    By “bounce” I meant that at the end of the LIA the world became warmer (since the LIA ended). In other words one would expect some natural climate warming over the following few decades/century. Do we know what this warming may have been, say, from 1800 to 1860?

    You say we can explain the LIA and the current warming using the same basic physics. Could you please elaborate. I was under the impression that the LIA was caused (in part) by the lack of sunspot activity (the Maunder Minimum) which I imagine you would call a “forcing”.

    (2) Heat hidden in the oceans

    You say that a large majority of the evidence suggests that this is indeed the case. Could you please give the names of the research papers that support this. How many are there? I did say I had yet to read the supporting evidence.

    (3) Lord Lawson’s lack of formal experience about climate

    We are agreed that he is not a scientist on climate but you did not comment on my point about Al Gore (perhaps the world’s most famous proponent of AGW) and Professor Steve Jones who is a geneticist but was asked by the BBC to give his views on the balance of the climate debate on the BBC. He has expressed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and elsewhere strong support for AGW but he is not a climate expert. It seems inconsistent to allow him – and Al Gore – to give their views but to say Lawson should not.

    Patrick

  302. Patrick says:

    Rachel.

    Thank you for your information. I shall look at Richard Muller’s study.

    I have seen other studies that support the global 0.8 C rise since 1880 but they were using the same temperature data as the CRU-UEA. I know that the CRU / Phil Jones was critisised for the poor correction of temperature date due to the Heat Island Effect and also the loss of data from stations in China. Was Muller using CRU data?

    I do not doubt global surface temperatures have risen but I would like to see exaclty how they compute the 0.8C rise. Of course, the essence of this debate is what element of the temperature rise is due to AGW.

  303. Patrick,
    There’s a lot in your comment, so let’s do this slowly and consider one thing at a time. Can we establish that we agree about some basic physics?

    Consider a planet orbiting a star. It’s fairly easy to then establish how much energy – on average – that planet receives from the star. The average surface temperature then depends on how much energy it gets, how much it reflects (the albedo – clouds, ice and atmospheric aerosol particles), and the composition of the atmosphere (i.e., the radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases). This sets an equilibrium temperature. If the actual temperature is below this, the climate system of the planet will gain energy until the temperature returns to equilibrium. If the temperature is above equilibrium, the planet will lose energy until the temperature returns to equilibrium. Do we at least agree on this?

    Now the equilibrium temperature of the planet can change in a number of ways. The albedo can change (the planet can reflect more or less of the incoming light), the flux from the star can change, or the composition of the atmosphere can change.

    Now there are a few other things to bear in mind. The land and atmosphere have a low heat capacity. If some internal process were to heat the land and atmosphere and not change the equilibrium temperature, then this excess energy should be radiated away very quickly (months). On the other hand, if the temperature were to drop below equilibrium, then it takes longer to return to equilibrium because of inertia of the oceans. However, in this I show that it should take decades, not 200 years. So, even if during the LIA the surface temperature was a degree below equilibrium we would have recovered much faster than we have.

    I think I’ll stop there for now and see if we can at least agree on these basics. Plus, I need to go and do some painting :-)

  304. Patrick says:

    Badgersouth

    I am sorry you doubt my description as an agnostic. I did say we should question Lord Lawson’s assertion that there has been no warming in the last 15, 16 17 years. But I also commented on Julia Slingo’s comments on the recent UK flooding.

    However, as I wrote: What is important is to question every assertion and to ask what evidence there is to support it. Never accept anything on face value. It may seem logically correct but that does not mean it is. This should apply equally to proponents and sceptics of AGW and its effects.

    We should not simply accept assertions from scientists and non- scientists without asking where is their evidence. Science should always be about testing the theories and results of others. There is a great deal of poor research out there in all areas of science such as the efficacy of new drugs by pharmaceutical companies and economic theory.

  305. Philip Hardy says:

    Jason B,
    Herewith a list of 1350 peer reviewed papers supporting sceptic arguments against AGW together with their rebuttals to criticism. http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html#Rebuttals
    I wonder how many of these papers were considered by the IPCC in their highly controversial figure of 95% agreement.

  306. Patrick,

    What is important is to question every assertion and to ask what evidence there is to support it. Never accept anything on face value. It may seem logically correct but that does not mean it is. This should apply equally to proponents and sceptics of AGW and its effects.

    But some questions have been answered so many times that it gets tedious answering them again, and some questions don’t make sense. I’m not trying to specifically criticise your questions, just make you aware that there are reasons why some people become suspicious.

  307. BBD says:

    Oh FFS. Not Poptech’s list. Just no.

  308. Philip,
    Here’s an experiment for you to try. Take the following names
    Lindzen
    Spencer
    Douglass
    Knox
    Loehle
    Braswell
    Michaels
    Pielke
    Humlum
    de Freitas

    That’s 10 names. Randomly select papers from your list of 1350. Do this 100 times. How many of the papers you selected have one of the above people as an author? I would guess, about half. I could be wrong.

  309. BBD,

    Not Poptech’s list. Just no.

    It does appear to be so :-)

  310. Philip Hardy says:

    What’s wrong with Poptech’s list?

  311. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    I don’t know if you have much experience of the “climate debate” but I’m assuming not because brandishing Poptech’s list instantly disqualifies the waver from rational discourse about climate. If you knew the ground, you would know this. So put it away, there’s a good chap. We’ll all do our best to pretend that this didn’t happen and we can carry on as normal. Just this once.

  312. guthrie says:

    It is a commonplace demand by some people that others do their homework for them. People like Patrick can get most of the information required by reading the likes of Spencer whatsisnames book on the history of knowlegde of climate change, by reading the IPPC reports and realclimate.
    Demanding on a blog that a complete stranger explain the IPCC text to them without taking into account the massive amount of background work that went into it is either rude or stupid or the sign of a pseudosceptic.
    As he correctly notes, to make a full adjudication would require reading thousands of papers and understanding the topic fully oneself.
    This is of course an impossible task unless you have an independent income and a spare decade, so the question becomes, where do you draw the line in trusting people?

  313. jsam says:

    Any sceptic can answer “what’s wrong with Poptech’s list?” – any sceptic except a “climate sceptic”.

  314. JasonB says:

    Philip,

    If you have to ask what’s wrong with Poptech’s list then I’m afraid I’m going to have to refer you to my earlier comment to badgersouth (and followup) about the value of the Oregon Petition.

    Poptech’s list fulfills a similar role.

    If you really want a genuine list of papers rejecting the view that mankind is responsible for most of the warming over the past 50 years, then use the The Consensus Project’s search tool and put a space in as the search term and an Endorsement Level ranging from 5-7. There you’ll find the ~3% of the papers that took a position on the cause of global warming and were found to claim (from rating their abstracts at least) that man was not responsible for most of it.

    Personally, I would suggest you instead start trying to use the science for illumination rather than as a crutch.

  315. Philip Hardy says:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/

    FFS not skeptical science. Check the above link to find out how many scientists really believe in AGW.

  316. Philip,
    If you really believe that a majority (or even a significant minority) of scientists (by which I mean physical scientists) do not believe in AGW, then you really are not being even remotely skeptical. No amount of surveys or lists of papers suggesting AGW isn’t real is going to suddenly make your view credible.

    I quite happy to have challenging discussions here. I’m not interested in discussions with those who deny the fundamentals of AGW. It’s nonsense and I’m not going to waste my time, the time of those who read theses posts, or the time of others who comment.

  317. BBD says:

    Poptech, James Taylor at Forbes… it’ll be David Rose in the Daily Mail next ;-)

  318. Steve Bloom says:

    From PH’s linK: “we consider how climate change is constructed by professional engineers and geoscientists in the province of Alberta, Canada”

    So just an especially transparent and idiotic misrepresentation. You’re quite the tool, Phil.

    As well to pound sand as to wonder why this blog tolerates this sort of thing, I suppose. If any historians manage to survive, they can use it as part of an object lesson in how societies fail.

  319. Steve Bloom says:

    “I quite happy to have challenging discussions here. I’m not interested in discussions with those who deny the fundamentals of AGW. It’s nonsense and I’m not going to waste my time, the time of those who read theses posts, or the time of others who comment.”

    Great. Except you just did.

  320. As well to pound sand as to wonder why this blog tolerates this sort of thing, I suppose. If any historians manage to survive, they can use it as part of an object lesson in how societies fail.

    I thought I had made it clear I wasn’t. Steve, how would you do it differently? I’m in complete agreement with you that about the risks we face. I’m just not convinced how preventing people from expressing an alternate view is suddenly going to convince everyone of the risks, or convince our policy makers that they should act. I’m not suggesting that what I’m doing here is the right approach, I just don’t have any evidence that an alternative approach would be any more (or less) effective.

  321. Ian Forrester says:

    Hardy, did you read the paper that Taylor cited? I very much doubt it since you say”

    how many scientists really believe in AGW.

    Are you saying this survey applies to all scientists all over the world? If you think that you are sadly mistaken. The survey was of Geoscientists and Engineers in Alberta. How many of these do you think are unbiased and do not work directly or indirectly for the fossil fuel industry? I would suggest that approximately 64% work for the fossil fuel industry.

    Here is a quote from the paper by Lefsrud and Meyer:

    Given this debate, APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta) initiated a broad survey of its 40,000 members (as of 2007) concerning their beliefs about climate change, sources of knowledge, and opinions about the appropriate roles for individuals, industry, APEGA, and government. The first author was engaged by APEGA to develop the survey and analyze the results.

    Do you not see a conflict of interest here?

  322. Great. Except you just did.

    I didn’t think that qualified as a discussion. Just out of interest, what do you hope to achieve by your current style of engagement? I’m all for constructive criticism, but even I have my limits.

  323. Steve Bloom says:

    My initial response and yours crossed, just to be clear.

    I am happy to see signs of reduced tolerance, but note that his dropping drew five replies so far. That’s a discussion.

    IMO such comments should be deleted and the commenters banned. Otherwise you make the blog a target for more of the same. Of course it’s your right to run it in any manner you choose.

    It’s a good question as to what I, to say nothing of you and the other not-insane participants, get out of this blog. I should reply in more detail, but other than to note that I do indeed pick up a certain amount of insight on the science I should probably gather my thoughts and reply more carefully.

  324. Steve,

    IMO such comments should be deleted and the commenters banned. Otherwise you make the blog a target for more of the same. Of course it’s your right to run it in any manner you choose.

    By and large, most commenters of the type you identify do get banned. Maybe not fast enough for some, but it happens eventually nonetheless.

  325. BBD says:

    Come on Steve, sometimes you just have treat these things as comic relief ;-)

    That’s a discussion.

    More like “gentle mockery” if you ask me…

  326. BBD says:

    it happens eventually nonetheless.

    It does, Steve. I’ve seen it myself. I sometimes wonder what might happen if Rachel had the killswitch though :-)

  327. Rachel says:

    I sometimes wonder what might happen if Rachel had the killswitch though

    It might just be you and me commenting here, BBD.

  328. Patrick says:

    andthentheresphysiscs

    Patrick,

    What is important is to question every assertion and to ask what evidence there is to support it. Never accept anything on face value. It may seem logically correct but that does not mean it is. This should apply equally to proponents and sceptics of AGW and its effects.

    But some questions have been answered so many times that it gets tedious answering them again, and some questions don’t make sense. I’m not trying to specifically criticise your questions, just make you aware that there are reasons why some people become suspicious.

    —————————————————————————————-

    I think we have a duty to give explanations to justify our statements such as links to other websites, research papers, references to the IPCC AR5, etc. I do not have a hidden agenda and I am not trying to catch anyone out so people should not be suspicious. I find some of the statements made by proponents or AGW and the sceptics truly appalling and I strongly object to the many ad hominen attacks from each side. The vitriol is frightening.

    There is nothing wrong in repeating answers to the many questions others have and it should never be tedious; in fact one is more likely to convince with well reasoned and explanatory answers. Comments such as “everybody knows that there is AGW and there is 100 percent consensus” or “AGW is a conspiracy invented by self-interested groups of scientists looking for funding” add nothing to the debate.

    ——————————————————–

    Thank you for the physics. I studied the subject at A Level along with pure and applied maths and then thermodynamics and mathematics at university here in the UK but it was many years ago so much has been forgotten.

    I hope you are able to find the time to respond to the posting I made this morning containing the three points. I look forward to it. Thank you.

    Patrick

    PS

    For those who have not seen it there is a letter today in The Times from Julia Slingo and others in the Met Office about the link between the recent UK flooding and climate change. It does not say there is a definite link. The Met Office has been criticised for having forecast in November the likelihood of a dry winter and saying there was only a small chance of above average rainfall. Predictions, as they say, are always difficult but especially when they are about the future. To be fair to the Met Office the BBC and others have been pressing them to state that there is a link and it must be tempting to give the answer you know others want to hear.

  329. Patrick,
    I have already responded to your post with an initial attempt. You need to respond to that before we move on. I do need to know if you understand these basics, or this discussion will be largely pointless. One of the reasons I started this blog was because I thought many didn’t understand the fundamentals and were making judgements about climate science without this basic knowledge or understanding. If you can respond to this comment we can move on. I don’t mind putting some effort in, but you need to do the same. We can address all of what you say in your original comment, but we do need to do it one step at a time.

  330. BBD says:

    Rachel

    It might just be you and me commenting here, BBD.

    Nah, go for Dumb Scientist. He knows what he’s on about and I get the impression he’s nicer than me. With me you’d just get a Moebius Strip rant about lapses in editorial judgement at the BBC and you’d have to put a stop to it sooner or later for your own sanity’s sake.

  331. Steve Bloom says:

    Anders, in his initial comment Patrick as much as told you that he wouldn’t take on board anything said here. This is because he set the bar at convincing a non-expert with minimal knowledge of climate science (him) using arguments that such a non-expert is unable to grasp without taking an expert’s word for much of it even while being unwilling to do so. Just sayin’.

  332. jsam says:

    The Met Office on the recent UK weather, without a paywall.

    “What the Met Office report – and indeed the IPCC – does say is that there is increasing evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense. It is clear that global warming has led to an increase in moisture in the atmosphere – with about four per cent more moisture over the oceans than in the 1970s – which means that when conditions are favourable to the formation of storms there is a greater risk of intense rainfall. This is where climate change has a role to play in this year’s flooding.”

    http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/met-office-in-the-media-16-february-2014-response-by-professor-mat-collins-and-the-met-office/

  333. Steve,
    Yes, I’m not surprised you think that. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you turn out to be correct. I would, however, rather that were proven true than simply making that judgement without proper evidence.

  334. guthrie says:

    Of course the Met office has to say that; they are correct in that this link is the definitely proven one. On the other hand it is starting to look likely that the massive series of storms was the result of the jet stream going awry, due to changes in the north Pacific and other places which are linked to circulation changes that are likely due to AGW. The problem is of course that it takes time to gather the evidence to show the link.

  335. jsam says:

    I look forward to reading guthrie’s reputable citation for his assertion.

  336. jsam says:

    Having reread guthrie’s post I have, obviously, misread it. I should like to withdraw my snark – and apologise to him.

  337. jsam,
    Yes, I did rather wonder about your comment. Easily done, though :-)

  338. jsam says:

    I’m still recovering from my month long experiment as a climate troll. :-(

    The shields don’t come down as easily as I thought they might.

  339. Steve Bloom says:

    That said, the sticky wicket which Dame Professor Slingo finds herself tripping over Is of great interest.

    The problem, as I understand it, is that while on the one hand physics tells us to expect a slowing and more meandering polar jet stream as the heat differential between the poles and the equator decreases, on the other the GCMs say it’s far too early for measurable effects, and indeed numerous recent studies amount to a vehement argument as to whether it is, but on the third it has become very difficult to address the extreme jet stream-related weather of recent months (not just the storms hitting the British Isles, but the rest of the pattern involving Arctic warmth, California drought, eastern U.S. cold outbreaks, etc.) without saying that the most likely explanation is changes to jet stream behavior ultimately induced by AGW.

    So to put this in the form of a broader question, what should scientists do when they think they’re probably seeing AGW effects, not the subtle sort but big ones with major impacts on large swathes of the planet, yet know that they’re years if not decades away from being able to make a (necessarily model-based) formal attribution statement?

  340. Steve,
    It always amazes me that at a time when almost everyone is starting to use Bayesian analysis in their work, climate science still seems somewhat stuck in a frequentist approach (or, maybe, “skeptics” seem focused on the somewhat more convenient frequentist approach). How likely is it that the effects that we expect to see because of AGW, start happening earlier than expected by chance alone?

  341. BBD says:

    How likely is it that the effects that we expect to see because of AGW, start happening earlier than expected by chance alone?

    You’ve lost me there. Did you mean that the mad weather is chance alone and is *confused* with the “effects we expect to see because of AGW” starting earlier than expected?

    Sorry if I am being obtuse.

  342. Steve Bloom says:

    Hmm, are JS’s remarks necessarily Bayesian? Or is it just that it’s hard to tell the difference in these circumstances?

    I am unable to keep myself from observing that in our respective views of Patrick I’m the Bayesian and you’re the frequentist (or at least are holding yourself to a frequentist standard). :)

  343. BBD,
    No, I was suggesting that mad weather by chance alone seems unlikely. It’s of course possible, but given that we expect AGW to produce “mad weather” how likely is it that it’s not related to AGW.

    It’s something I’ve been wondering recently. Whenever there is some extreme event and someone mentions the possibility that it might be related to AGW, we get the usual suspect piping up and pointing out that there’s no trend, or that the trend isn’t statistically significant. My understanding is that this is a frequentist approach to statistics. Consider some time series and test it against some null hypothesis. An alternative framing would be to consider some prior knowledge, ask the question as to whether the trend (whether statistically significant or not) is consistent with the prior expectation. For individual events, this may still not be conclusive, so a more interesting question would be “given all the information we have and all the different extremes we’ve experience recently, how likely is it that we’re not seeing the influence of AGW?”

    Of course, I’m not a statistician, so I may be talking nonsense or may not have expressed this as clearly as it could be. I do think, however, that there is a better way to consider attribution than considering individual types of events alone.

  344. Steve,

    Hmm, are JS’s remarks necessarily Bayesian? Or is it just that it’s hard to tell the difference in these circumstances?

    I think JS’s might be Bayesian. The responses, typically, are not.

    I am unable to keep myself from observing that in our respective views of Patrick I’m the Bayesian and you’re the frequentist

    Point taken :-)

  345. BBD says:

    ATTP

    “given all the information we have and all the different extremes we’ve experience recently, how likely is it that we’re not seeing the influence of AGW?”

    Ah.I thought I was being obtuse. That’s how I see it too, although I am not a statistician either (nor can I spell it on a first attempt, at least not now).

  346. BBD says:

    we get the usual suspect piping up and pointing out that there’s no trend, or that the trend isn’t statistically significant.

    Enabled by the national broadcaster.

  347. guthrie says:

    I’m pretty sure that the jetstream has been meandering more in the last few years as well, just not always over the USA and UK, so we hear less about it when it disturbs strange foreigners in far away lands.
    And as someone who is very substance/ physical reality oriented, mere discussion of statistics isn’t exactly useful; we’re dealing with a complex physical system so asking how often you’ll roll above 15 on a D20 isn’t that useful by itself because there’s things going on elsewhere that can affect it, i.e. it isn’t random but it is chaotic.

  348. Philip Hardy says:

    Ian Forrester,

    Your comment ……….”How many of these [scientists] do you think are unbiased and do not work directly or indirectly for the fossil fuel industry? I would suggest that approximately 64% work for the fossil fuel industry… Do you not see the conflict of interest here?”……….

    If you understood the methods of scientific research you would know that the results of scientific research never depend on their source of funding. Scientists in climate research are much more honest than that. I think that point has been clarified on this site several times by others.

    It is no more true to say the $23 million funding by the oil companies sways their papers towards scepticism any more than the $32 BILLION funding for climate research by the US government sways their papers towards warming (since 1989).

    Neither does the $126 billion spent per annum in worldwide carbon trading mean that there is a vested interest in a biased investigation.

  349. Joseph says:

    “more than the $32 BILLION funding for climate research by the US government sways their papers towards warming (since 1989). ”

    The government has no vested interest in there being AGW, while the oil companies do have a vested interest in there not being AGW.

  350. Poptech says:

    [Mod: inflammatory and thread bombing]

  351. Poptech says:

    [Mod: inflammatory and thread bombing]

  352. Poptech says:

    [Mod: this comment has been removed by the moderator]

  353. Steve Bloom says:

    Now look what’s happened, Anders.

  354. Poptech says:

    [Mod: this comment has been removed by the moderator]

  355. Rachel says:

    Ok, I want a killswitch!

  356. Poptech says:

    It is inflammatory to respond that there are 1500 authors on my list?

  357. Poptech says:

    [Mod: please stop bombing the thread. I will accept comments that present a civil and reasoned argument. This is not Andthentheresphysics]

  358. BBD says:

    All you need is a coherent and well-supported scientific position. Lists don’t cut it.

  359. Poptech says:

    Mod, please explain how this comment is a civil and reasoned argument,

    I don’t know if you have much experience of the “climate debate” but I’m assuming not because brandishing Poptech’s list instantly disqualifies the waver from rational discourse about climate. If you knew the ground, you would know this. So put it away, there’s a good chap. We’ll all do our best to pretend that this didn’t happen and we can carry on as normal. Just this once.

    I appreciate the fairness you have shown to me as you have to others so far and am not attempting to “thread bomb” anything but was responding to individual comments.

  360. BBD says:

    I’m sorry if I’ve brought this on you ATTP & Rachel. I didn’t link here so it must be bad serendipity.

  361. Poptech says:

    andthentheresphysics says:
    February 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm
    Philip,
    Here’s an experiment for you to try. Take the following names [...]

    That’s 10 names. Randomly select papers from your list of 1350. Do this 100 times. How many of the papers you selected have one of the above people as an author? I would guess, about half. I could be wrong.

    I respectfully disagree and attempt to address this in my rebuttals to criticism section of my list. I do hope you take the time to read them as they should answer some of your complaints. This one addresses your specific complaint here,

    Criticism: Most of the papers come from a small amount of authors.

    Rebuttal: Cherry picking the most prolific authors as representative of the entire list is misleading. ISI Highly Cited Researchers such as Sherwood B. Idso and Richard S. Lindzen will naturally be well represented on the list. It has been independently verified by Needlebase that there are over 1500 authors on the list.

  362. BBD says:

    You need a coherent and well-supported scientific argument, not a list. Lists aren’t scientific arguments.

    I’ve just looked in my pocket and found two lists. One was for food shopping and the other was… oh who cares?

    Lists aren’t scientific arguments. You seem to base your contrarianism on a list but as we can see, you need a coherent scientific argument. Which you don’t provide.

    Sorry if I am repeating myself but I’m concerned that we aren’t connecting.

  363. Rachel says:

    I just want to point out this pie chart created by James Powell:

    pie chart

    In just one year, he found 2258 peer-reviewed climate articles by 9136 authors. Poptech’s 1500 or so rather pales in comparison. And if we look at a longer time frame, 1991 – 2012, James Powell found 13,950 articles which rather dwarfs 900+.

  364. BBD says:

    And then there’s physics.

  365. Rachel says:

    You’re up late, BBD.

  366. Poptech says:

    BBD says:
    February 23, 2014 at 2:22 am
    You need a coherent and well-supported scientific argument, not a list. Lists aren’t scientific arguments. [...]

    Lists aren’t scientific arguments. You seem to base your contrarianism on a list but as we can see, you need a coherent scientific argument. Which you don’t provide.

    BBD, again this is addressed in the “Rebuttals to Criticism” section,

    Criticism: The list does not present a scientific argument.

    Rebuttal: The list is a resource not a scientific argument. The purpose of the list is to show that peer-reviewed papers exist that support skeptic arguments.

    I have never presented the “list” as a scientific argument so I am not sure why you are getting this impression.

  367. Poptech says:

    Rachel says:
    February 23, 2014 at 2:31 am
    I just want to point out this pie chart created by James Powell:

    Rachel, unfortunately James Powell does not understand his results,

    2,258 Meaningless Search Results
    13,950 Meaningless Search Results

    For instance the Web of Science does not have a “peer-review” filter as the articles document type includes nonpeer-reviewed content.

  368. Ian Forrester says:

    Hardy’s recent post is just so confusing. He states:

    If you understood the methods of scientific research you would know that the results of scientific research never depend on their source of funding.

    For a start, the paper referred to by Taylor is not a science paper nor was it conducted by scientists. Lefsrud is a doctoral student in Strategic Management and Organization and Meyer is a professor of Public Management and Governance. How can you claim this to be a science paper?

    Both you and Taylor (you do know that he is a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute?) are being dishonest when you state ” a majority of scientists skeptical of AGW”. As I made plain to you in my earlier post this survey is of a very small minority of scientists all geoscientists and engineers who happen to be members of APEGA and the majority work for the fossil fuel industry. How do I know this? Because I live in Calgary and know lots of geoscientists and engineers, the majority of whom are very skeptical of AGW and most work for the oil industry. Calgary is home to the “Friends” of Science, and some of the most dishonest “scientists” around are members or associated with that group.

    You also mention climate scientists. Where on earth do you get the idea that any climate scientists were involved in the survey?

    I’m afraid that you are very confused when it comes to understanding climate science and climate scientists. Here is a position paper put forward by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (the only scientific body to take a stance against AGW):

    http://web.archive.org/web/20030819031444/www.cspg.org/CSPG_Climate_Change_Backgrounder.pdf

    Now can you see why the survey conducted by Lefsrud and Meyer is meaningless?

  369. > unfortunately James Powell does not understand his results

    Unfortunately James Powell’s understanding of his results does not change his results.

  370. Steve Bloom says:

    “support skeptic arguments” What a slippery phrase that is. That would allow papers that challenge the consensus in some rather unimportant ways even while accepting the big picture, noting how denialists like to glom onto actual scientific controversies and try to run with them. No wonder [Mod: snipped, ad hom] doesn’t care for auditing of his claims.

    But on the substance, I’ve been around long enough to recognize the bulk of the papers on that list, and nearly all of them fall into the above category, or were simply trash, easily refuted or published in journals so obscure or discredited that no one needed to bother.

    And only ~1500 authors for ~1350 papers rather proves the point of how very incestuous they are.

    [Mod: snipped]

  371. Poptech says:

    willard (@nevaudit) says:
    February 23, 2014 at 3:20 am
    > unfortunately James Powell does not understand his results

    Unfortunately James Powell’s understanding of his results does not change his results.

    This is correct, his results remain meaningless. Here are examples some of Powell’s “climate science” articles from his list,

    Environmental comparison of draught animal and tractor power

    Quantification of reductions in ammonia emissions from fertiliser urea and animal urine in grazed pastures with urease inhibitors for agriculture inventory: New Zealand as a case study

    Comparative LCA of treatment options for US scrap tires: material recycling and tire-derived fuel combustion

    Comparison of two ICT solutions: desktop PC versus thin client computing

    Condensation of the low GWP refrigerant HFC1234yf inside a brazed plate heat exchanger

    Convenience for the car-borne shopper: Are malls and shopping strips driving customers away?

  372. > his results remain meaningless.

    Providing anecdotes don’t prove this. All it does is bomb the thread.

  373. Steve Bloom says:

    Rachel, I was just making use of the analogy Brigitte mentioned a day or so ago. What’s wrong with that? Also, if I changed my handle to e.g. “Grand High Poobah of Climate Science” should I expect everyone to treat it seriously? Addressing our guest using either “popular” or “technology” seems like an abuse of both terms.

    Funny how every one of those six articles has obvious climate implications, the bulk of them quite important. OK, knowing that would involve knowing something about climate science, which I realize is an unfair standard to apply, but apparently he-who-cannot-be-named-while-keeping-a straight-face doesn’t even know what “GWP” stands for.

  374. Poptech says:

    Steve Bloom says:
    February 23, 2014 at 3:31 am

    But on the substance, I’ve been around long enough to recognize the bulk of the papers on that list, .or were simply trash, easily refuted or published in journals so obscure or discredited that no one needed to bother.

    There are over 350 unique journals cited on the list, with over 120 papers listed from Geophysical Research Letters.

    And only ~1500 authors for ~1350 papers rather proves the point of how very incestuous they are.

    I should clarify, the independent verification of over 1500 authors was done when the list was at 900+ papers back in 2011.

  375. Steve Bloom says:

    A ~5/3 proportion isn’t much better. 350 journals, especially when so many of the papers are so old, means that the bulk will have had little to do with climate science, nor would the associated editors and peer reviewers. GRL is certainly legitimate, but has a policy of trading off quality for quick publication in order to get new results out into the scientific community as quickly as possible. A certain proportion of mistakes is the price they pay.

    But in terms of the science, that’s all quibbling. The real question with those papers is whether they stood the test of time. Nearly all of the ones purporting to challenge the consensus in any fundamental way have not, although some will try to keep a debate going by refusing to admit to that.

  376. Poptech says:

    Funny how every one of those six articles has obvious climate implications, the bulk of them quite important. OK, knowing that would involve knowing something about climate science, which I realize is an unfair standard to apply, but apparently he-who-cannot-be-named-while-keeping-a straight-face doesn’t even know what “GWP” stands for.

    Are those papers on “climate science” or do they simply contain the search phrase in Powell’s query?

  377. > Are those papers on “climate science” or do they simply contain the search phrase in Powell’s query?

    Being “on” climate science is not that easy to define.

    The “simply contain the search phrase” shows a misunderstanding of how bibliographic databases work and caricatures what was being done.

  378. Steve Bloom says:

    Powell’s stated methodology: Find papers containing either “global warming” or “global climate change” and then “(r)ead some combination of titles, abstracts, and entire papers as necessary to judge whether a paper ‘rejects’ human-caused global warming or professes to have a better explanation of observations.”

  379. Rachel says:

    Poptech,

    I’ve looked up the selection of papers you have provided and copied bits from their abstracts:

    Comparison of draught animal and tractor power
    “The impact assessment focuses on global warming (GW) and primary energy consumption (PEC).”

    Quantification of reductions in ammonia emissions from fertiliser urea and animal urine in grazed pastures with urease inhibitors for agriculture inventory: New Zealand as a case study
    “Unlike nitrous oxide (N2O), however, NH3 is not a greenhouse gas although it can act as a secondary source of N2O, and hence contribute indirectly to global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion.”

    Comparative LCA of treatment options for US scrap tires: material recycling and tire-derived fuel combustion
    “The results in both methodological approaches indicate that the material recycling scenario provides greater impact reductions than the energy recovery scenario in terms of the examined environmental impact potentials: energy demand, iron ore consumption, global warming potential, acidification, eutrophication, smog formation, and respiratory effects.”

    Comparison of two ICT solutions: desktop PC versus thin client computing
    “The LCA method used in this paper is focused on the impact category of global warming potential. ”

    Condensation of the low GWP refrigerant HFC1234yf inside a brazed plate heat exchanger
    “This paper presents the heat transfer coefficients and the pressure drop measured during condensation of the new low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant HFO1234yf inside a brazed plate heat exchanger: the effects of saturation temperature, refrigerant mass flux and vapour super-heating are investigated.”

    Convenience for the car-borne shopper: Are malls and shopping strips driving customers away?
    “Global warming, increasing traffic congestion, diminishing resources and declining health levels have led to the introduction of several policies aimed at deterring car-usage.”

    All of these papers are from peer-reviewed journals. I also looked at James Powell’s excel spreadsheet of 2,258 articles and checked the first 20 then another 10 at random. They were all peer-reviewed. He has put the spreadsheet online here for anyone to check if they so wish.

  380. Steve Bloom says:

    Thanks for going to that effort, Rachel. It’s about what could be inferred from the titles.

  381. There’s a simple refutation of this:

    > The purpose of the list is to show that peer-reviewed papers exist that support skeptic arguments.

    1. Poptech’s formulation of his “skeptic” arguments make them about impact.
    2. Unless this list only contains about impact, it is meaningless by Poptech’s own standard.
    3. Lindzen, Christy, and Spencer are no authority on impact.
    4. Lindzen, Christy, and Spencer are cited in Poptech’s list.

    I believe this is checkmate.

  382. Poptech says:

    willard (@nevaudit) says:
    February 23, 2014 at 4:17 am

    The “simply contain the search phrase” shows a misunderstanding of how bibliographic databases work and caricatures what was being done.

    Fascinating, please explain how my statement is inaccurate.

    Rachel, are those “climate science” papers or do they simply contain the search phrase in Powell’s query? Also, does Web of Science contain a peer-reviewed filter?

  383. > please explain how my statement is inaccurate.

    Here you go:

    I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases “global warming” or “global climate change.” The search produced 13,950 articles

    “Being a keyword” is a bit more precise than “contains a search phrase”, don’t you think?

    Thank you for playing.

  384. The source of the quote above:

    http://www.jamespowell.org/PieChart/piechart.html

    See also the methodology.

  385. Poptech says:

    willard (@nevaudit) says:
    February 23, 2014 at 4:32 am
    There’s a simple refutation of this:

    > The purpose of the list is to show that peer-reviewed papers exist that support skeptic arguments.

    1. Poptech’s formulation of his “skeptic” arguments make them about impact.

    This is incorrect as the word “impact” is not used anywhere to describe the list. The preface makes this clear,

    Preface: The following papers support skeptic arguments against Anthropogenic Climate Change (ACC), Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or ACC/AGW Alarm [Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) or Dangerous Anthropogenic Global Warming (DAGW)].

  386. And since I have to go soon, here’s what’s in line, Pop:

    TS=Topic

    Searches for topic terms in the following fields within a record.

    Title
    Abstract
    Author Keyword
    Keywords Plus®

    http://images.webofknowledge.com/WOK46/help/WOS/h_advanced_fieldtags.html

  387. Poptech says:

    willard (@nevaudit) says:
    February 23, 2014 at 4:38 am
    > please explain how my statement is inaccurate.

    Here you go:

    I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases “global warming” or “global climate change.” The search produced 13,950 articles

    “Being a keyword” is a bit more precise than “contains a search phrase”, don’t you think?

    That is just the term he used for typing in the search bar his keywords as a phrase using quotes. He was not searching documents by their assigned keywords. For example,

    Comparison of two ICT solutions: desktop PC versus thin client computing

    Keywords
    Environmental assessment
    ICT
    MEErP
    MIPS
    Thin client

  388. > This is incorrect as the word “impact” is not used anywhere to describe the list.

    The expression “skeptic arguments” refers to formulations like these:

    the list not only includes papers that support skeptic arguments against ACC/AGW but also ACC/AGW Alarm. Thus, a paper does not have to argue against AGW to still support skeptic arguments against alarmist conclusions (e.g. Hurricanes are getting worse due to global warming). Valid skeptic arguments include that AGW is exaggerated or inconsequential, such as those made by Richard S. Lindzen Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at MIT and John R. Christy Ph.D. Professor of Atmospheric Science at UHA.

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html#Rebuttals

    I hope Poptech will concede that “alarmism” refers to impacts.

    Poptech’s claim quoted above (after the “>”) is therefore a red herring.

  389. Poptech says:

    Notice Powell did not say he used “Author Keywords”, likely because this would have significantly reduced his results. A default search would search the author keywords as well as the title, abstract and body text of the paper, which is why it produced papers effectively irrelevant to climate science.

  390. Poptech says:

    willard (@nevaudit) says:
    February 23, 2014 at 4:53 am
    > This is incorrect as the word “impact” is not used anywhere to describe the list.

    The expression “skeptic arguments” refers to formulations like these:

    The expression ‘skeptic arguments” refers to “arguments skeptics make”. It is not in dispute that Lindzen and Spencer are both skeptics and that both make arguments against ACC/AGW Alarm. The rebuttal you quoted snipped the criticism line and thus its context,

    Criticism: Paper [Insert Name] does not argue against AGW.

    Rebuttal: This is a strawman argument as the list not only includes papers that support skeptic arguments against ACC/AGW but also ACC/AGW Alarm. Thus, a paper does not have to argue against AGW to still support skeptic arguments against alarmist conclusions (e.g. Hurricanes are getting worse due to global warming). Valid skeptic arguments include that AGW is exaggerated or inconsequential, such as those made by Richard S. Lindzen Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at MIT and John R. Christy Ph.D. Professor of Atmospheric Science at UHA.

  391. Steve Bloom says:

    that ICT paper is a really bad example to focus on. Didn’t even read the abstract, did you? “Environmental assessment” of what, we might inquire.

  392. Poptech says:

    The ICT paper is not a “climate science” paper and was being used to demonstrate that Powell was not searching by author keywords.

  393. Rachel says:

    Poptech,

    How many papers from your list reject AGW?

  394. dana1981 says:

    Arguing with Poptech is a waste of time. He’ll just keep bombing comments, which is what eventually got him banned from commenting on SkS.

    For the record, this argument about how many papers in Powell’s search are ‘climate science’ papers is kind of stupid. Powell only searched for rejections of AGW, and found 1 published in 2013. Do you really want to argue about how small of a fraction of a percent of peer-reviewed climate science papers that 1 rejection represents? Is it 0.06% instead of 0.04%? That would be a major victory for pseudoskeptics!

  395. Poptech says:

    Rachel says:
    February 23, 2014 at 5:22 am
    Poptech,

    How many papers from your list reject AGW?

    No idea but it will vary greatly depending on how it is defined.

  396. Steve Bloom says:

    Keywords are no substitute for looking at the contents. Key phrases aren’t either, but they are a clue that the paper may contain something of relevance. As we saw with your example, a keyword may not be specific enough to be useful pointer to the contents. And, sorry to say, a focus on “global warming potential” does make it a climate science paper.

  397. Steve Bloom says:

    Totally agree, Dana. It’s a Gish Gallop, pure and simple.

  398. Poptech says:

    dana1981 says:
    February 23, 2014 at 5:32 am
    Arguing with Poptech is a waste of time. He’ll just keep bombing comments, which is what eventually got him banned from commenting on SkS.

    I did not know replying to all comments directed at me or work was defined as “comment bombing”. Since Dana brought this up I feel I have a right to defend myself as I am not attempting to be inflamatory but an interesting discover for why I was banned can be found here,

    Skeptical Science: The Censorship of Poptech

    For the record, this argument about how many papers in Powell’s search are ‘climate science’ papers is kind of stupid. Powell only searched for rejections of AGW, and found 1

    Not when the remainder are implied to be so as Powell specifically refers to them as “climate articles” not “…desktop PC versus thin client computing”. I believe this is misleading.

  399. Poptech says:

    Steve Bloom says:
    February 23, 2014 at 5:36 am
    Keywords are no substitute for looking at the contents. Key phrases aren’t either, but they are a clue that the paper may contain something of relevance. As we saw with your example, a keyword may not be specific enough to be useful pointer to the contents. And, sorry to say, a focus on “global warming potential” does make it a climate science paper.

    I agree they are not a substitute, that is why I made my contextual argument against Powell’s analysis. The only clue they provide is that the search phrase exists in the document title, abstract or body. As Rob at Skeptical Science learned, they provide clues to what can appear in books about Chuck Norris.

    Steve do you want to be on record saying, “Comparison of two ICT solutions: desktop PC versus thin client computing” is a “climate science” paper? Since I do not wish to misinterpret you, please confirm or deny this.

  400. Rachel says:

    I will just point at Philip Hardy’s comment from earlier:

    Check the above link to find out how many scientists really believe in AGW.

    and Poptech’s comment from earlier:

    Thus, a paper does not have to argue against AGW to still support skeptic arguments against alarmist conclusions (e.g. Hurricanes are getting worse due to global warming).

    Philip Hardy introduced the link to Poptech to support his assertion that there are scientists who reject AGW but Poptech tells us that his list includes scientific papers that do accept AGW. Therefore this whole discussion has been largely irrelevant. I’d like to bring it to a close now please since this is largely off-topic.

  401. > The expression ‘skeptic arguments” refers to “arguments skeptics make”.

    This may very well be false, Pop:

    All counted papers must be peer-reviewed, published in a peer-reviewed journal and support a skeptic argument against ACC/AGW or ACC/AGW Alarm.

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    It is not impossible for non-skeptics to publish a paper that would be included in your list, as long as it supports a skeptic argument against AGW or its alarm.

    Of course, you may wish to define a skeptic as someone who publish a paper that supports a skeptic argument against AGW or its alarm. But then both your definitions of skeptic and of skeptic argument are circular: you go from skeptic to skeptic argument and the back. To break the circle, you need to refer to something that targets either AGW or its alarm. And since alarmism implies one constructs an argument against impact, my earlier argument stands.

  402. > It is not in dispute that Lindzen and Spencer are both skeptics and that both make arguments against ACC/AGW Alarm.

    They could be Gods playing with dice or all I care. What matters is that both do no such thing as “making arguments against” any alarm. To make such an argument, they would need to offer a direct argument about impact. Since they don’t (and can’t, having not the authority to talk about impact), they’re stuck with epiloguing on the basis of some lowballing that is irrelevant here.

    Pop should also note the difference between making a skeptic argument and having a published paper that could be seen as supporting a skeptic argument. The latter is less impressive than the former.

  403. > Notice Powell did not say he used “Author Keywords”, [...]

    No, he said “keywords”, which is incomplete when we look at his methodology.

    Notice how Pop does not seem to have any understanding of what Powell did. To understand what Powell did, Pop would have to reverse engineer what was done. Pop may have a hard time reverse engineer anything if he specializes in anecdata, incidentally the basis of his criticism against the significance of Powell’s result.

  404. Rachel says:

    Ok, Willard, as i’ve said previously, this particular topic is closed and you’re borderline thread-bombing now.

    I won’t be accepting any more comments about this. If someone wishes to comment on the topic of the thread which is A quick lesson for Lord Lawson, then that is fine.

  405. Sorry about that, Rachel.

    [Mod: unnecessary, and a bit inflammatory]

  406. Poptech says:

    [Mod: I don't want any more about this, thanks. Stick to the topic please]

  407. Poptech says:

    [Mod: please, that's enough.]

  408. Poptech says:

    [Mod: The discussion is closed. This is not negotiable.]

  409. Poptech says:

    Respectfully please allow this stay and I shall leave this topic,

    Willard, I am able to refute each of your arguments but since the discussion on this topic is closed I am unable to do so here.

  410. Patrick says:

    Following on from the posting by Rachel of the pie chart by James Powell, there was also the paper by John Cook et al widely publicised in 2013 which stated that 97 percent of research papers reviewed supported AGW.

  411. Patrick,
    Indeed, but strictly speaking it was 97% of the abstracts that stated something with respect to AGW, endorsed AGW and 97% of the authors who responded claimed their papers endorsed AGW.

  412. Philip,
    No it really doesn’t. Even Cook et al. do not claim that they rated every abstract perfectly. Plus, the title of your post gives away the error in their thinking. Cook et al. were not rating scientists, they were rating abstracts. Tol has tried and failed to publish a rebuttal. Despite the irony of me saying this, a blog post really does not blow a peer-reviewed paper away. If it did, any sensible person would publish it.

  413. Philip,
    By the way, I rated just over 100 hundred abstracts from the Cook et al. sample and got roughly the same result as they did. I also did not find a single abstract the explicitly rejected AGW. That of course, doesn’t mean that I’m right, but it does mean that I’ve tried to sample their data and couldn’t find any evidence that they’d made some kind of fundamental mistake.

  414. I should also add that I’ve been and done discussions of the consensus project and other such things. I don’t really want to start again and I don’t really want this comment thread to be dominated by such discussions. It doesn’t really prove anything and there’s little anyone could do to somehow prove that a significant number of peer-reviewed papers reject AGW. Why? Because it is patently not true.

  415. BBD says:

    @ Rachel

    You’re up late, BBD.

    Tortured by guilt and self-loathing, as per.
    ;-)

  416. Patrick says:

    Philip & thentheresphysics

    If any one news story in the last year exemplifies the divisiveness of the AGW deabte it is the Cook et al paper. I understand that the 97 percent consensus claimed was tweeted by Obama no less, and also quoted by Ed Davey, UK’s Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change. I have not read the paper (although I have read critiques thereof) but surely the essence of the debate is the amount of global warming since 1860/1880 to now that is anthropogenic compared to natural variations and other forcings. This in turn has a direct bearing on climate models and what the world could/should be doing about it.

    Happy to move on to other matters.

  417. Patrick,
    I think you’re confusing the paper itself, with how it was used.

  418. Philip Hardy says:

    Patrick
    Another useful.source of facts about the much quoted 97% is Christopher Booker who has written various articles on this subject.

    To prevent the increase in the number of people who doubt AGW exists, there is a serious proposal in the US to prosecute sceptics (Rico prosecution) and in the UK there is pressure to remove all sceptics from government. Also members of the public will be prevented from looking out of the window.

  419. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    No, Christopher Booker is not “another useful source of facts” about Cook13. I wasn’t aware of a proposal to “prosecute sceptics” under the RICO statute – can you link to a reliable source for this?

    Pseudoscepticism has no place in the policy-making process, and I suspect that in due course – although not soon enough – the electorate will see that it disappears altogether from mainstream politics.

  420. Philip Hardy says:

    BBD,
    Prof Naomi Oreskes in her book Merchant of Doubt and various presentations.

  421. dhogaza says:

    Here is one example of what Oreskes says about RICO:

    “ORESKES: Well, exactly. And this was a major topic in our book. And that’s where the true conspiracy, of course, comes in because the tobacco industry, the American tobacco industry was in fact found guilty by the U.S. Department of Justice, charged under the RICO statute with criminal conspiracy to defraud the American people. And one of the things we were able to show in the book is that some of the exact same people, not just the same tactics, but actually the same individuals who had worked in the tobacco industry and developed the strategy, for which they were convicted of criminal conspiracy by the U.S. Department of Justice, those same people have been involved in some of the attempts to undermine and challenge the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change.”

    In the video which has Hardy et al up in arms, she mention that a RICO-style prosecution might arise in the future if a smart prosecutor somewhere feels that the law has been broken.

    Speculation, not a specific call for action, and speculation informed by the tobacco’s history with RICO, and that the fact that some of the same people have been involved in the climate science misinformation campaign.

    Speculating that a RICO charge might arise at some point in the future is a far cry from Hardy’s claim that Oreskes has made a “serious proposal” that such action be taken now.

  422. BBD says:

    dhogaza

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Philip Hardy

    Can we strive for more precise expression? It saves time. Dhogaza’s, for example.

  423. dhogaza says:

    BBD:

    Your comment cracked me up, made the time investment more than worthwhile.

    Philip Hardy:

    More than worthwhile – once. No more. Thank you for your cooperation.

  424. JasonB says:

    Patrick,

    Perhaps you should actually read the paper itself to see what it actually says before reading “criticisms” of it. It’s not a very complicated paper to read and not only is the methodology completely transparent but they actually provide all of the data online so you can check it yourself.

  425. Patrick says:

    Jason,

    I used the work “critiques” not “criticisms”. The former is defined as a detailed analysis and assessment of something and may therefore be positive, negative, or neutral. It does not imply only a negaitive assessment. The word “criticism” is now generally accepted to mean disapproval or disaggreement.

    My point was not about Cook’s paper, per se, but the reaction it produced.

    I shall follow you advice and read it.

    Patrick

  426. dhogaza says:

    Patrick:

    “My point was not about Cook’s paper, per se, but the reaction it produced.”

    Of course you and fellow denialists are going to attack any paper that attempts to show what is obvious to anyone who actually pays attention to science: there is no debate in climate science as to whether or not pouring CO2 in the atmosphere will cause the planet to warm overall, and the debate amongst serious researchers over the actual sensitivity of climate to CO2 doubling is captured by the range given by the various IPCC reports.

    In other words, the consensus exists and is strong, and denialists refuse to accept that this consensus exists for ideological reasons.

    Tell us something we already didn’t know, Patrick.

    “I shall follow you advice and read it.”

    Pity you didn’t before starting to go on about it.

  427. dhogza,

    and the debate amongst serious researchers over the actual sensitivity of climate to CO2 doubling is captured by the range given by the various IPCC reports.

    This is a fairly crucial point. There seems to be a rallying cry amongst “skeptic” that they can’t be called “deniers” because they don’t deny that CO2 causes warming. However, if a “skeptic” thinks that the warming will probably be close to 1 degree for a doubling of CO2 then they’re so far out the likely range presented by the IPCC reports (and drawn from the scientific literature) that even though “denier” may not be strictly correct, it’s hard to think of another appropriate term.

  428. Philip Hardy says:

    There is a theory that the earth’s greenhouse is a saturated system in dynamic equilibrium so that CO2 is automatically kept under control by natural processes involving mainly water vapour.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/Saturated%20Greenhouse%20Effect%20Theory.pdf

  429. Philip,
    And then there’s Venus.

  430. Marco says:

    Philip, that’s not even a theory, but at the very best a hypothesis, and one that is simply not worth much time:

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/04/25/the-mystery-of-tau-miskolczi-part-two-kirchhoff/

    (as just one example of the trouble with Miskolczi’s hypothesis). He’s essentially claimed something follows Kirchhoff’s law, when his result actually contradicts Kirchhoff’s law.

  431. johnrussell40 says:

    That’s pseudoscientific chaff, Philip Hardy. Not even Roy Spencer thinks much of that as a theory: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/08/comments-on-miskolczi%E2%80%99s-2010-controversial-greenhouse-theory/

    Hope springs eternal in the fake sceptic breast.

  432. Patrick says:

    dhogaza:

    Your wrote:-

    “Of course you and fellow denialists are going to attack any paper that attempts to show what is obvious to anyone who actually pays attention to science: there is no debate in climate science whether or not pouring CO2 in the atmosphere will cause the planet to warm overall, and the debate amongst serious researchers over the actual sensitivity of climate to CO2 doubling is captured by the range given by the various IPCC reports.”

    Your anger is papable. I am not a “denalist” (an exceptionally derogatory term which to some implies they should be equated with deniers of the Holocust) and I did not attack Cook’s paper. If you read what I wrote you would see this. I simply pointed out what the word “critique” means which is not how you understood it.

    You comment is aggressive and brooks no discussion thereby deserving no response. Please do not stir your wrath by replying as I shall not return to this site.

  433. badgersouth says:

    Observation re Patrick’s exit note: One of the common characteristics of climate deniers is the ability to rise up in self-righteous indignation at the drop of a hat.

  434. Patrick,
    You, in an earlier comment, asked some questions. I started responding here. If you’re genuinely interested, we could step through the basics. You would, however, need to respond to my first response to your comment. Possibly ignoring that and moving on to critiques of consensus papers is what has lead to people’s characterisations of your position with respect to climate science.

  435. dhogaza says:

    Patrick (who I doubt will actually leave):

    “Your anger is papable.”

    Anger? I’ve said nothing in anger.Patrick (who I doubt will actually leave):

    “(an exceptionally derogatory term which to some implies they should be equated with deniers of the Holocust)”

    The general use of “denier” goes back roughly four hundred years before Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. Your insistence that it is necessarily linked to denial of the Holocaust indicates denial of the history and current usage of the English language, which fits in well with your denial of science.

  436. Philip Hardy says:

    97% of Alchemists agree that lead can be turned into gold. The science is settled. Deniers will be burned at the stake.

  437. dhogaza says:

    ‘More than 30 years ago nuclear scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California succeeded in producing very small amounts of gold from bismuth, a metallic element adjacent to lead on the periodic table. The same process would work for lead, but isolating the gold at the end of the reaction would prove much more difficult, says David J. Morrissey, now of Michigan State University, one of the scientists who conducted the research. “We could have used lead in the experiments, but we used bismuth because it has only one stable isotope,” Morrissey says.’

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-lead-can-be-turned-into-gold/

    Thank you for playing.

  438. Philip,

    97% of Alchemists agree that lead can be turned into gold. The science is settled. Deniers will be burned at the stake.

    Ahh, I think you’re missing something fundamental about consensus-like projects. They are aimed at addressing claims that there is a lot of disagreements amongst scientists and therefore the science isn’t settled. The consensus project shows that there is a great deal of agreement. It doesn’t, however, prove that the science is actually correct, it just illustrates the level of agreement.

    Your example may well be a case in which there is a lot of agreement about something which is ultimately wrong. That, however, doesn’t indicate that a high level of agreement typically indicates that there is an error, though.

  439. dhogaza says:

    Well, if we must take Philip’s comment seriously, “the science was settled” is simply false, because alchemy was not a science. The search for the alchemist’s stone was spiritual as well as physical. Some people assume because alchemists developed laboratory methods that survived the rise of the science of chemistry.

    From wikipedia:

    “Early alchemists, such as Zosimos of Panopolis (c. AD 300), highlight the spiritual nature of the alchemical quest, symbolic of a religious regeneration of the human soul.[15] This approach continued in the Middle Ages, as metaphysical aspects, substances, physical states, and material processes were used as metaphors for spiritual entities, spiritual states, and, ultimately, transformation. In this sense, the literal meanings of ‘Alchemical Formulas’ were a blind, hiding their true spiritual philosophy. Practitioners and patrons such as Melchior Cibinensis and Pope Innocent VIII existed within the ranks of the church, while Martin Luther applauded alchemy for its consistency with Christian teachings.[16] Both the transmutation of common metals into gold and the universal panacea symbolized evolution from an imperfect, diseased, corruptible, and ephemeral state towards a perfect, healthy, incorruptible, and everlasting state; and the philosopher’s stone then represented a mystic key that would make this evolution possible. Applied to the alchemist himself, the twin goal symbolized his evolution from ignorance to enlightenment, and the stone represented a hidden spiritual truth or power that would lead to that goal. In texts that are written according to this view, the cryptic alchemical symbols, diagrams, and textual imagery of late alchemical works typically contain multiple layers of meanings, allegories, and references to other equally cryptic works; and must be laboriously decoded to discover their true meaning.”

    Of course, Philip might not recognize the difference because it is possible he believes that science, or at least climate science, is a “religion”, an argument frequently put forward by climate science denialists.

    Or Philip’s belief that alchemy was a science may simply reflect a very deep misunderstanding of what constitutes science.

  440. dhogaza says:

    Sorry … “Some people assume because alchemists developed laboratory methods that survived the rise of the science of chemistry” … means that alchemy itself was a science, which is false.

  441. Pingback: Enough scientific certainty exists on climate change to challenge media sceptics - Technology Org

  442. Pingback: A Prime lesson in how not to cover climate change | ThinkOrSwim (the Climatechange.ie Blog)

  443. Philip Hardy says:

    http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/5541/full

    This is a very good, intelligent, thoughtful and important article by Lawson which talks about his appearance on radio 4 and other global warming matters.

  444. Philip,
    Seriously? Did you read it carefully and actually think about it? I thought it was mostly nonsense. It annoyed me so much, I decided it best not to write anything about it at all.

  445. AnOilMan says:

    Anders… did you catch the conspiracy theory in Nigel Lawson’s article;
    “The BBC received a well-organised deluge of complaints — some of them, inevitably, from those with a vested interest in renewable energy — accusing me, among other things, of being a geriatric retired politician and not a climate scientist, and so wholly unqualified to discuss the issue.”

    So either he’s being persecuted, or a lot of people think he’s a nut job. I have no idea which.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Lawson

    Lawson responded to Grubb’s article, describing it as an example of the “intellectual bankruptcy of the [...] climate change establishment”.
    If the guy is going to try and redefine physics, he’s going to have to do better than that.

  446. jsam says:

    Philip’s correct. That is an important article by Lawson. It demonstrates the zealotry behind denial. Read Lawson, listen to Dame Julia. If this is a difficult choice have a problem. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01x04cy

  447. Pingback: Matt Ridley, you seem a little too certain! | …and Then There's Physics

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