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Curve manipulation: lesson 2

Filed under: — stefan @ 14 June 2007

Two weeks ago, we published the first lesson in curve manipulation taught by German school teacher and would-be scientist E.G. Beck: How to make it appear as if the Medieval times were warmer than today, even if all scientific studies come to the opposite conclusion. Today we publish curve manipulation, lesson 2: How to make it appear as if 20th Century warming fits into a 1500-year cycle. This gem is again brought to us by E.G. Beck. In a recent article (in German), he published the following graph:

Notice how temperature goes up and down in beautifully regular cycles since 800 B.C.? At the bottom, they are labelled “Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles” – this refers to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events found in Greenland ice cores during the last Ice Age (but not during the last 10,000 years), about which there is a serious scientific discussion whether they are paced by a 1500-year cycle (see my paper in GRL). Beck’s curve shows a warm phase 400 BC and the next one 1200 AD – that’s 1600 years difference, so it just about fits. (I’m not endorsing his curve, by the way, I have no idea where it comes from – I’m just playing along with it for the sake of the argument). So the next warm phase should be in the year – oooops… 2700 or 2800? Hang on, how come it looks like the current warmth fits so nicely into the cycle? Shouldn’t we be right in the coldest phase? Now I see it… two little lines across the x-axis indicate that the axis has been broken there – tick-marks after the break are in 200-year intervals and before the break in 400-year intervals, and there’s also a gap of 200 missing years there. So that’s how we make the current global warming fit past climate cycles – it’s so easy!

p.s. Beck appeared on German TV last Monday, after the “Swindle” film was shown, and he is announced to appear on the program “Report München” in the first channel of public German TV next Monday (18 June), to educate the viewers about another of his fantasy graphs, namely his CO2 curve. It promises to be a must-see for friends of the unintentionally farcical.


346 Responses to “Curve manipulation: lesson 2”

  1. 201
    Rod B says:

    re 191 (tax): So you reward the guy who cut his emissions in half by doubling his tax?? Doesn’t seem like much of an incentive, other than if he doesn’t cut emissions the tax will be even higher. The neutrality is still not obvious, at least in the initial phase (before you raise the tax). The carbon tax collected still theoretically has to pay for the marginal costs of carbon emissions. The beneficiaries of the sales tax, which is now ended, receive their benefits from where? Not the new carbon tax — it’s being used elsewhere.

  2. 202
    ray ladbury says:

    John Mashey, As you point out, the results one gets in a meta-analysis such as Tol’s depend crucially on the sorts of distributions assumed. Indeed, if the distribution of negative outcomes is thick-tailed, it is indeed very difficult to deal with. This is precisely the problem that SuperCat insurance companies face, as well as derivatives traders, etc., and why you can make pretty good money if you understand extreme value statistics.
    While the Lognormal is positively skewed, it is by no means the worst-case possible distribution. (My favorite nerdy statistics joke: Q: What’s the Cauchy distribution’s least favorite question? A: Got a moment?). It is, however a reasonable, positively skewed distribution to use. For a negatively skewed distribution, the only reasonable commonly occurring one I know of is the Weibull (shape parameter has to be >3.3 as I recall before it becomes negatively skewed), and the Normal, of course for zero skew.

  3. 203
    Rod B says:

    re 193 (Chuck): [If your skepticism about AGW is rooted in your concern about the impact on the economy if AGW is real...]

    To clarify, my skepticism is rooted in the science. The zeal of my skepticism comes from the potential economic impact.

  4. 204
    Timothy Chase says:

    Steve Reynolds (#195) wrote:

    If the IPCC did not exist to enforce a consensus, would it appear that climate scientists had a clue about climate sensitivity?

    The following article would seem to suggest that the climate sensitivity of CO2 has been fairly stable – and roughly 2.9 degrees Celsius for more than 400 million years, although they don’t give the exact figure but only a broad range.

    Climate sensitivity constrained by CO2 concentrations over the past 420 million years (abstract only – but the article is pretty well-known)
    Dana L. Royer, Robert A. Berner & Jeffrey Park
    Nature 446, 530-532 (29 March 2007)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v446/n7135/abs/nature05699.html

    This is the figure that Jim Hansen has been using in his most recent projections. It looks like this might become the generally-accepted figure, with or without the IPCC.

    RL> a carbon tax is every bit as susceptible to manipulation as is a cap and trade system.

    I believe economists disagree. It is much harder for politicians to manipulate a tax, since the expectation is that everyone emitting carbon will pay it.

    See this link for carbon trading problems:
    http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2104395,00.html

    I myself have been rather skeptical of carbon trading – and that is without any awareness of how volatile the market is, although undoubtedly much of this is due to the uncertainty regarding government actions, for example, whether there will even be such a market five years from now. But I wouldn’t be getting paid for the forest I wasn’t going to cut down in the first place, and I wouldn’t be able to sell my credits to someone else for my not performing this action.

    The transition to this sort of approach would seem a bit easier to handle if the government were initially simply taxing everyone the same amount that they would be paying otherwise. There would also seem to be less room for some form of favoritism where one business or industry were granted credits as the result of political influence. Of course I assume that the this would have to change over time, at least if it were to reflect the actual carbon emissions from each activity.

    Details to be worked out, but it looks like it may be a promising approach.

  5. 205
    Timothy Chase says:

    ray ladbury (#200) wrote:

    WRT a carbon tax vs. carbon trading, the problem I see with a tax is that it would have to be coordinated globally, or it would become a race to the bottom. There is certainly more prospect for corruption and subversion of such a taxation regime. I have more faith in markets than I do in governments, but then somebody must guard the guards.

    Well, a government isn’t likely to give up its source of income – if this is what you mean by race to the bottom. But at the same time, the need for global coordination would be one more level of complexity. If taxes are only gradually raised and at first everyone is getting taxed the same as they were under the old regime, then the taxes aren’t actually reflecting the carbon emissions associated with a given activity. So the taxes will have to be adjusted based upon the activity – but then this is experienced by the market as a “distortion.”

    Then once you start attempting to equalize the amount of taxation per unit of emission across all countries, this will be experienced as a further “distortion” reflecting true costs which until then had been externalized. But to some extent this could temporarily at least be handled through tariffs on imported goods – at least in the developed countries.

  6. 206
    John Mashey says:

    re: #200 & 202 Ray Ladbury
    I looked at the NS blog recently, and gave up fairly quickly. I don’t think it revealed any *new* psychology profiles.

    Re: Cauchy joke: horrible, wince!

    Since not everyone uses Cauchy:
    [if xi and yi independent, from normal distribution, ri = xi/yi is Cauchy, which has no mean or variance, since bad things happen when yi is near zero. Sample means don’t follow a normal distribution, etc, etc.

    I’ve given talks that mentioned Cauchy (“among the most awkward known distributions”). But fortunately, in the variant I needed, xi & yi were constrained to be positive, so ri was also positive, and quite often has good reasons to be to be lognormal, which is why Geometric Means and Geometric Standard Deviations work better than the more familiar ones. I haven’t had occasion to use Weibull, not having done failure analysis.

    Note, all this may seem like a diversion, except that the following lessons apply widely:

    a) Knowing the shape of a distribution is worth a *lot* more than knowing a mean, or even mean plus standard deviation. Certainly knowing skew helps. Of course, all this assumes that one is comfortable with probability distributions. Many people are not, and want a single number, no matter how much you tell them “your mileage may vary.”

    b) If one can find that the distribution is fit by some form of Gaussian distribution, life is good, because one instantly gets all the power of the usual math around it.
    This might be:
    - standard normal: x is normally distributed.
    - lognormal: ln(x) is normal
    - inverse normal: 1/x is normal
    - etc
    Assuming you can figure out a good reason why the transformation makes sense.

    c) But of course, *assuming* a normal is a bad idea

    d) Given a bunch of numbers, you can compute statistics to your heart’s content, but they may or may not mean much, and it takes a lot of digging to figure them out.

    I suspect it will take a while to sort out the economics.

  7. 207
    ray ladbury says:

    John,
    My take on assuming a particular distribution based on a sample is that what you are doing is trading statistical error for the possibility of systematic error, and it is always risky inferring beyond the bounds of the available data.
    I wonder if we might be able to look at the effects of historical precedents and get some assistance. For instance, the oil embargo on the US economy resulted in an economic and social shock, but ultimately gave rise to a more efficient economy less vulnerable to price fluctuations not just in energy but also in other raw materials. Likewise, the start of hostilities between Japan and the US cut Japan off from much of its oil sources. Might be some interesting parallels in how the Japanese dealt with these shocks. This might give us some idea of the effects–short and long term–of dealing with climate mitigation.

    I have a harder time figuring out how to anticipate the negative shocks if we don’t deal with climate change. I mean we could look at the introduction of invasive weeds/pests/diseases and how this has affected agriculture and couple this with GCM projections to extrapolate effects on agriculture, but there are a helluva lot of uncertainties here.

  8. 208
    Timothy Chase says:

    Steve Reynolds and Ray Ladbury,

    A good place to begin to get a sense of what economists are thinking as far as considering the relative merits of carbon emission cap-and-trade vs.tax might be -

    Carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade: dealing with uncertainty (a potential Rosanne Rosannadanna post)
    June 04, 2007
    http://www.env-econ.net/2007/06/carbon_tax_vs_c_1.html

    Environmental Economics
    Economists on Environmental and Natural Resources: News, Opinion, and Analysis
    http://www.env-econ.net

    … at least as far as getting one’s toes wet.

    The author of that post recommended a paper “Prices vs. Quantities Revisited: The Case of Climate Change” from back in 1997 by William A Pizer of “Resources for the Future,” a non-profit which appears legit. (No doubt we can look up something more recent, but its a start.) The paper itself certainly won’t get into all the relevant issues, but it might give some indication of the terms in which economists are at least thinking. It focuses on tax vs cap-and-trade and considers various hybrid approaches with an eye to the uncertainties, both in costs and benefits, e.g., caps will result in uncertain per unit costs, but eliminates uncertaintly with regard to the level of compliance. As a discussion paper, it has not been peer-reviewed and is explicitly identified as such. I of course would prefer something peer-reviewed, and of course to get a sense of the consensus, a review paper or two. But…

    … What is immediately interesting upon first cracking open something which I will no doubt find to be on the Sahara side of dry is that they are employing a “global integrated climate economy model” for simulating the consequences of these uncertainties.

    Yep.

    More modeling.

  9. 209
    James says:

    Re #201: [ So you reward the guy who cut his emissions in half by doubling his tax?? Doesn't seem like much of an incentive, other than if he doesn't cut emissions the tax will be even higher.]

    You’re only thinking of one individual. If you have many, there is competition. The guy who lowers his CO2 emissions the most winds up paying less, even though the rate is higher. Those who can’t or won’t lower their emissions pay more. That cost gets passed along to the consumer, who either pays more, or chooses some other alternative. Eventually most CO2 emissions get competed out of existence. (At which point, of course, the governments concerned have to look for a new source of tax revenue.)

    [The carbon tax collected still theoretically has to pay for the marginal costs of carbon emissions. The beneficiaries of the sales tax, which is now ended, receive their benefits from where? Not the new carbon tax -- it's being used elsewhere.]

    I don’t follow the logic: the point of the tax is to discourage CO2 emissions, and has nothing to do with actual CO2 emission costs. The money from it would presumably go to wherever the sales tax revenue goes now.

    Besides, how do you determine what the marginal cost of CO2 emissions might be? Since there is a small but finite possibility that continued CO2 emissions will destroy human civilization – that is, everything – that means the marginal cost is infinite, no?

  10. 210
    Nigel Williams says:

    Are not conventional economic instruments like carbon taxes and international carbon trading markets actually just technical niceties akin to fiddling while Rome burns? Can those approaches actually haul us to Hansen’s required point of sequestering ALL industrial CO2 emissions immediately and husbanding our transport fuels? Not Pygmalion likely! Not in a century not in a decade, and certainly not by Christmas.

    The only curve that’s going to matter will be the classical predator-prey balance between foxes and rabbits, man vs man.

    Already nations are having to grapple with recalcitrant blobs of humanity who are refusing to yield to their fellow’s moderate and prudent responses to climate change. Simple, almost trivial signs of a growing discomfort, isolated pieces of the panic that comes before acceptance that comes before grief before the end of life as we know it today.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/shire-defies-water-ban/2007/06/21/1182019286776.html

    Melbourne; (With 80 days water in reserve) has also been let off having to go to the next stage of water conservation measures, in spite of water storage levels having fallen below the agreed trigger level. By only a little, you understand; only by a little.

    http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.aspx?StoryName=391364

    The Water Minister says “It really does depend on the rain we get over the next month,…” Yea, right mate!

    Not a drop of water lost to the sea from the Murray-Darling basin for 3 years, and the dry worsens for the two million people-like-us who live there.

    How do you turn down the taps in a town that refuses to use less water at the loss of its neighbour? Negotiations have failed? A soldier by every tap? It is starting. Neighbour against neighbour. Ordinary people without means. Penniless. Using anger to hold back fear. First hundreds, then thousands, and by the time its millions, it all on. We’ll be pushing them back in to the sea or the desert with sticks and barbed wire.

    As we’ve discussed, the Amazon is in a parlous state, its people seemingly muted, inarticulate on the global stage.
    http://envt.wordpress.com/2006/07/31/amazon-drought/
    http://www.metafilter.com/53265/amazon-drought-nearing-climate-tipping-point

    and of course there are all the rivers fed by the Himalayan glaciers. A mere billion or so people. And then of course there’s Africa.

    Now, should we be worrying about Poisson or Fourier or should we be putting down our pens and getting on with building micro-closed-loop protein units and associated grain production units to supply us with a Required Daily Allowance of the most basic nutrition, that we may live with at least the confidence of food supply secure from climate extremes. This cannot be achieved commercially, but must instead be done at state level using local labour and as much raw materials as we can get our hands on before these are priced off the market. And of course such a reliable supply can only be defended with an integrated force of some magnitude, not by villagers with sticks.

    Interesting times!

  11. 211
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 192 (and Gavin’s response)

    Alex,

    As atmospheric PCO2 (partial pressure of CO2) rises, CO2 diffuses into the oceans, raising the PCO2 there. This CO2 reacts with water to produce hydrogen ions (H+) and bicarbonate ions (HCO3-). Thus, the pH of the oceans falls, while the HCO3- conc. rises – this is easily seen in pH-HCO3- diagram (Davenport Diagram) used in medicine and physiology – refer to Figure 11 in this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davenport_diagram.

    This increase in HCO3- conc. due to increased PCO2 is not included in the measurement of alkalinity. In pulmonary medicine, this condition would be characterized as a respiratory acidosis.

  12. 212
    Rod B says:

    re 209 (James): I understand your point now. I thought you were tying in to the posts on society’s marginal cost estimates for carbon emission (all over the map, it seems, understandably) and covering those with the carbon tax. My misread.

  13. 213
    Timothy Chase says:

    Chuck Booth (#211) wrote:

    … this Wikipedia article:

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

    This increase in HCO3- conc. due to increased PCO2 is not included in the measurement of alkalinity. In pulmonary medicine, this condition would be characterized as a respiratory acidosis.

    (The above link should work.)

    I really like the comparison you are using between the ocean and the bloodstream. And it is of course a great deal more than just an analogy. The ocean was the original bloodstream of life. Even today the starfish have an open circulatory system with seawater as its blood.

    Even in closed circulatory systems, red blood cells aren’t necessary for carrying oxygen – if the water is cold enough. Icefish have adapted to increasingly cold environments by evolving proteins through tandem repeat slippage (tripple repeat protein coding sequences) that act as antifreeze since their blood stream would otherwise be too thick to flow through their veins – and likewise they have lost points in the instructions on making red blood cells because this would thicken the blood. As a result, they are transparent without so much as a hint of pink to them. And as you point out, much of the chemistry has remained the same with the ocean that we carry within us.

    With respect to the capacity of the ocean to absorb oxygen, raising the temperature of the icefish will diminish the capacity of its bloodstream to carry oxygen until it dies of hypoxia, and in much the same way, much of the life of the ocean will die as the temperatures of the polar regions rises several times faster than the rest of the ocean and diminishes its capacity to absorb oxygen. In essence, the interface between the atmosphere and the ocean in the polar regions are its gills or lungs, and the thermohaline functions as its circulatory system.

  14. 214
    Alexi Tekhasski says:

    #192, Gavin replied…

    Gavin, I don’t think I need your lessons nor your condescending cordiality. Maybe you need to start your own explanations from which one of the multitudes of different pH seawater scales is used in the alarming “acidification” statements. Then you need to explain how do you people have arrive to the global number of 8.1 while the spread of data across oceans waters is 7.7-8.3, according to your lovely source “wiki”. Then you need to explain how do you correct measurements to a standard temperature of 25C where the pH has the only sense. Then you need to explain how do you deal with the depth of ocean. Then how the surface data from only a dozen of stations are interpolated across millions of square miles of ocean surfaces. Then you talk about global “acidification” of oceans. Thanks.

    Chuck: oceans are a bit more complex than that. As you might know, equatorial areas of ocean continuously outgas (estimated) 330 GigaTonnes of CO2 per year. Then the CO2 gets transported polarwise by atmosphere. Colder areas of ocean continuously sink about the same amount of CO2 (estimated). The “diffused in” carbon gets carried out into deep ocean. Therefore, following your simplified example, increase in CO2 background might lead simply to reduction in equatorial outgassing, but not necessarily to increase in CO2 in surface waters. The CO2 diffused in cold areas goes into deep currents, and will be available for exchange with atmosphere thousands years later. As for the current state of CO2 fluxes, it is not clear what exactly comes out of deep waters and determines today’s outgassing. Therefore, simple averages do not apply, and conclusions might be premature.

    Strictly speaking, this kind of speculation does not have much of grounds, just like yours, Gavin’s, or any others. To get the result to adequate accuracy, one needs to solve a fully-resolved model of climate based on first principles of hydrodynamics and get the whole picture, and trace how the fluxes are settled (if ever). It is not possible. Any parameterized surrogate would remain as groundless speculations.

    Cheers,
    – Alexi

  15. 215
    Chris C says:

    Alexi:

    The measurement of ocean acidity is described in a report written by the Royal Society. It can be downloaded here:

    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/document.asp?id=3249

    It details several of the factors you mentioned, and includes both measurements and numerical model experiments.

  16. 216
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 214 Alexi,
    I’m not a marine chemist or chemical oceanographer, so I’ll defer to the experts with regard to ocean acidification, e.g.: http://www.ucar.edu/communications/Final_acidification.pdf
    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/displaypagedoc.asp?id=13314
    I trust you have read these?

    You stated (#192)that
    “Oceans are substantially alcaline”[sic]
    True

    “so no acidity is rising, technically speaking. More the alkalinity seems to be even _rising_ in the last 20 years”

    In support of your latter claims you cited a BBSR (now called the Bermuda Institute for Ocean science, BIOS, by the way) Marine Geochemistry Lab web article showing a 20-year times series from two of their open ocean monitoring sites. Immediately above Figure 1, the article states:

    “Within the 95% confidence levels, this rate of oceanic CO2 increase was similar to the expected oceanic equilibration (i.e., +0.9 µmoles kg-1 yr-1) with anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. Over the 1983-2003 period, seawater pCO2 increased at a rate of +1.25 + 0.3 µatm year-1, respectively (Table 2; Figure 1). Concurrently, seawater pH decreased by 0.0012 + 0.0004 pH units year-1, representing a significant decline of 0.025 pH units (~8.125 to ~8.100) over the last 20 years. In addition, observed alkalinity increased slightly at a rate of +0.17 + 0.08 µmoles kg-1 yr-1 (Table 2; Figure 1), though this increase was statistically insignificant.”
    http://www.bbsr.edu/Labs/co2lab/research/IntDecVar_OCC.html#fig1

    So, according to these data, surface pH is declining (= acidity is rising), PCO2 is rising (as expected if atmospheric PCO2 is increasing and CO2 is entering the surface waters of the ocean), and the rise in dissolved inorganic carbon (= mostly bicarbonate) reflects a simple equilibrium with atmospheric PCO2. And, there is no significant change alkalinity.

    This is in full agreement with my comments in # 211: The equilibrium relationship between pH, PCO2, and HCO3- in a given volume of water, be it seawater, blood, or fresh water is described by fundamental principles of aquatic acid-base chemistry (as illustrated graphically in a Davenport Diagram) – this has nothing to do with outgassing, sinking, horizontal transport, etc (these will influence the concentration of dissolved CO2, but not the equilibrium chemistry of the CO2-HCO3- buffer system, which occurs within minutes).
    If there really is a significant rise in the surface ocean alkalinity that would be interesting – and off the top of my head, I don’t know how that would be explained. But, the data to which you referred do not show that trend.

  17. 217
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 213 Timothy,
    Thanks for posting a working link to the Davenport Diagram article. A couple of minor corrections to your comments – you wrote:
    “starfish have an open circulatory system with seawater as its blood.”

    Well, not really – you are confusing the water vascular system (which uses seawater to extend the tube feet) and the hemal system (which circulates nutrients and oxygen, sometimes using cells with hemoglobin, but is not connected to the water vascular, at not least in most species of starfish – this fluid is almost certainly not seawater)

    You also wrote:
    “much of the life of the ocean will die as the temperatures of the polar regions rises several times faster than the rest of the ocean and diminishes its capacity to absorb oxygen.”

    Mismatches between oxygen demand and supply can be important, but the effects of rising temperature on marine organisms (in polar waters and elsewhere) may be more complex than that (e.g., disrupted metabolic pathways due to temperature effects on the structure of proteins and the viscosity of membrane lipids)

  18. 218
    Timothy Chase says:

    Chuck Booth (#217) wrote:

    Well, not really – you are confusing the water vascular system (which uses seawater to extend the tube feet) and the hemal system (which circulates nutrients and oxygen, sometimes using cells with hemoglobin, but is not connected to the water vascular, at not least in most species of starfish – this fluid is almost certainly not seawater)

    You are right.

    As a matter of fact, even the so-called open circulatory system isn’t directly connected to the environment, but uses few blood vessels or just one, with a body cavity which acts as a reservoir of sorts. Most invertebrates use this sort of system. At the same time, I remember there being an organism which uses sea water, or so I thought.

    Ah! just looked it up: sponges!

    Re: Circulatory Systems in lower life forms
    Area: General Biology
    Posted By: Lynn Bry, MD/PhD Student, Molecular Microbiology
    Date: Sun Jul 21 01:11:53 1996
    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/dec96/834003297.Gb.r.html

    In any case, the comparison between blood and seawater is still more than a comparison and actually rooted in deeptime. But here is a bit that I know I remember correctly: chloroplasts are most closely related to some species of blue-green algae, and mitochondria are fairly closely related to rickettsia bacteria which is responsible for typhoid – although in the case of mitochondria, further sequencing may reveal a more closely related organism at some time in the future.

    With respect to the effects of rising temperature disrupting metabolic pathways – wouldn’t many of the organisms simply be able to move poleward?

    Just curious.

  19. 219
    Chuck Booth says:

    re 218 Timothy Chase wrote:
    “With respect to the effects of rising temperature disrupting metabolic pathways – wouldn’t many of the organisms simply be able to move poleward?”

    Indeed (at least those species not already living in polar waters):

    Climate Change and Distribution Shifts in Marine Fishes
    Allison L. Perry, Paula J. Low, Jim R. Ellis, John D. Reynolds
    Science 24 June 2005: Vol. 308. no. 5730, pp. 1912 – 1915
    http://tinyurl.com/29drda

    Planktonic Foraminifera of the California Current Reflect 20th-Century Warming
    David B. Field, Timothy R. Baumgartner, Christopher D. Charles, Vicente Ferreira-Bartrina, Mark D. Ohman
    Science 6 January 2006:Vol. 311. no. 5757, pp. 63 – 66
    http://tinyurl.com/2etc7a

    Those species already living in polar waters may have no were to go:

    Thriving Arctic Bottom Dwellers Could Get Strangled by Warming
    Kevin Krajick
    Science 16 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5818, p. 1527
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/315/5818/1527

    By the way, this article addresses the point you made about rising temperature and declining oxygen:

    Climate Change Affects Marine Fishes Through the Oxygen Limitation of Thermal Tolerance
    Hans O. Pörtner* and Rainer Knust
    Science 5 January 2007:Vol. 315. no. 5808, pp. 95 – 97
    http://tinyurl.com/2knhmm

  20. 220
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Re 219, Chuck Booth wrote:

    Those species already living in polar waters may have nowhere to go.

    The same is true for land animals and plants. Biologist Tim Flannery points out that although he’s been a big advocate of nature reserves, we may have created death traps for animals who are now unable to migrate away from rising temperatures.

  21. 221
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Timothy Chase wrote in 196:

    [agrichar] would potentially eliminate our dependence on phosphate fertilizers, reducing phosphate runoff and consequently the algae blooms which result in anoxic dead zones off the the coasts.

    This last consequence is something which Jim Galasyn and myself would be particularly interested in.

    Yes, agrichar is very good news indeed.

  22. 222
    Alexi Tekhasski says:

    In #216, Chuck wrote: “The equilibrium relationship between pH, PCO2, and HCO3- in a given volume of water, be it seawater, blood, or fresh water is described by fundamental principles of aquatic acid-base chemistry (as illustrated graphically in a Davenport Diagram) – this has nothing to do with outgassing, sinking, horizontal transport, etc.”

    Unfortunately, it does. Technically speaking, once here is a flux of CO2, there is no chemical equilibrium.

    More, if you inspect Figure 4 of the RS report, you will find out that it is the area of upwelling where pH goes below 7.7. Those are the waters of thousand years ago, and global ocean circulation does mean something. Because of pH=7.7, all seawaters near Panama must be already dead, right?

    Pardon me for one more “misconception”: the opinion expresed in “Final_acidification.pdf”, Figure 1-2, shows distinctive annual oscillations of pH with amplitude of 0.1, which exceeds decadal trends by 10x. If sea organizms are already perfectly fine with that swing in pH for many years, why would they suffer much from a such a relatively tiny shift, if any? Also, due to continuity of waters, some migration could occur (as I see, it was already addressed above). But, instead of worrying about those species living in polar waters, who will worry about 6 billion species of Homo sapiens (soon to be 9B)? I think your (I mean AGW people in general) worries are substantially misplaced.

    Chris (#215): We must be reading different articles, but the RS report you cited has not a single word about questions I posted, just a general basic blurb and political BS.

    Cheers,

    – Alexi

  23. 223
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 222 Alexi wrote: “Technically speaking, once here is a flux of CO2, there is no chemical equilibrium.”

    Hmm… so, dissolved CO2 gas doesn’t react with water to form H+ and HCO3-, with an equilibrium described by the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation? And there is no further reaction of H+ with CaCO3? You mean all those aquatic chemistry and chemical oceanography textbooks are wrong? (e.g., http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt167nb66r&doc.view=0&toc.depth=1&query=0&chunk.id=ch06&doc.id=ch06, pages 192-210)

    Alexi then wrote: “instead of worrying about those species living in polar waters, who will worry about 6 billion species of Homo sapiens (soon to be 9B)? I think your (I mean AGW people in general) worries are substantially misplaced.”

    So, marine biologists and oceanographers should shift their research to focus on the implications of global warming on human society, and forget about those worthless fish and crabs and clams and starfish? Or, are you merely conceding that global warming is real, and should be a serious concern of everyone – is that correct? If the latter, I don’t disagree. But, I also think there is a need to have at least a few scientists worrying about the helpless plants and animals in the sea.

  24. 224
    tm says:

    You know, now that we’ve got a model, whether debatable or not, that can predict global temperatures closer than any one of the many GCMs, we now need to worry about the consequences. We know global warming is happening. How long, truly nobody knows.

    This model can also predict CO2, even though there’s only about 25 years of real global CO2 data. And after, what, 20 to 30 years there’s still debate about what the cause is shows that we’ll never come to any consensus! No truly unbiased scientist knows….

  25. 225
    tm says:

    Ray at http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/05/climate-myths-special.html
    “Uh, Jim, I’m almost afraid to ask. How do you get warming of earth from the remnants of supernovae–which are (thankfully) mostly millions of light-years away? And as to the Sun, we can measure solar irradiance. It can’t account for the warming.
    And if you are contending that Realclimate.org is biased in terms of actual science, I would have to agree.
    BTW, the term fraud is one scientists take seriously, and to make such an allegation without presenting evidence merely diminishes your credibility. All Mann et al. ’98 did was to use a proxy measure that was unintentionally biased, and the bias turns out not to change the results dramatically, as evidenced by the fact that Mann et al. does not stand out from the other results when you look at them together.
    By Ray on June 28, 2007 6:12 AM “

  26. 226
    Nick Gotts says:

    Re #222 [the opinion expresed in "Final_acidification.pdf", Figure 1-2, shows distinctive annual oscillations of pH with amplitude of 0.1, which exceeds decadal trends by 10x. If sea organizms are already perfectly fine with that swing in pH for many years, why would they suffer much from a such a relatively tiny shift, if any?]

    Because they are adapted to the seasonal rhythms, but not to the secular change. In just the same way land organisms can deal with very large differences between summer and winter temperatures or soil moisture content, but much smaller changes in annual averages can make their populations unviable – often due to competition, but sometimes to their absolute physiological requirements.

  27. 227
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 226 Nick Gott – temperature effects on organisms

    Sorry to go off topic again, but I would like to follow up Nick’s comment with one (of many) examples of how seemingly small changes in temperature can have a dramatic impact on organisms:
    It is well known that sex determination is temperature-dependent for some animals, e.g., reptiles. For the turtle, Graptemys ouachitensis, when the egg incubation temperature cycles between 20 and 30 C, with a median temp. of 25C, the hatchlings are all males. When the temp. cycles between 23 and 33C, again with a median temp. of 25C, all females are produced. This kind of subtle and non-intuitive response needs to be considered when attempting to predict (or dismiss) the effects of AGW on animals (and plants).
    For those who are skeptical of this, I would encourage you to check out the original research* and debate this in another forum.

    *Bull, J.J. and C.R. Vogt (1979) Temperature-dependent sex determination in turtles. Science 206: 1186-1188
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/206/4423/1186

  28. 228
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 227 my comment about temp-dependent sex determination in turtles

    I meant to write : This kind of dramatic and non-intuitive response – the difference between producing all males and all females is anything but sublt.

    More to the topic of this thread: The following post appeared on the Weirdest Millenium thread – since that thread is not getting much traffic, I thought it merits reposting here:

    For your information: Ernst Beck has published an article as a response to the uprising criticism here and by Urs Neu (ProClimate) on Readers Edition: Antwort auf “Klima-Kritik: Daten und Grafikmanipulation”.
    Comment by Henry 28 Jun 2007 @ 8:39 am

    Unfortunately, my scientific German is not quite up to the task of translating the article.

  29. 229
    Alan Cheswick says:

    I just found an interesting article on http://blogs.nature.com/news/blog/2007/02/climate_report.html posted on June 23, 2007 03:17 AM (at very bottom) that refutes anthropogenic causes of climate change.

  30. 230
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 229 Ref to Magnetic Intensity and Global Temperatures: A Strong Correlation

    I looked over the “paper” and can’t quite figure out what it is. If Moran and Tindall are claiming to be presenting a novel analysis of new or existing data, why was it published in GSAA? Why didn’t the authors publish it in a peer-reviewed journal? If their analysis has any merit, surely there would be some journal in the fields of earth or atmospheric science that would have accepted it? Or, the could have presented their analysis at a research conference, which would have brought it some attention and scrutiny by experts in the field. And if the data haven’t been peer-reviewed, why would GSAA make an exception to its policy and publish this article?

    Something is fishy here.

  31. 231
    tamino says:

    Re: #229 (Alan Cheswick)

    If you actually believe the paper you referred to, you’ve been seriously duped.

    All the authors have really shown is that they’ve found a variable which is trending upward since 1958. Because temperature has also trended upward since 1958, these variables will be correlated to each other. I could show similar correlation between any two variables which trend upward during that time interval; I’d venture to guess I could find at least as much correlation between global temperature and worldwide beer consumption.

    In fact, from the standpoint of both physics and statistics, the work you refer to is quite amateurish. It appears to have been published in the journal GLOBAL SECURITY AFFAIRS & ANALYSIS, which seems to be a new journal (since 2007 sees volume 1).

    The editor’s note at the beginning states “GSAA does not generally report on scientific findings.” There’s a reason for that: the journal editors are not qualified to judge scientific works.

  32. 232
    Alexi Tekhasski says:

    Chuck in #223 wrote: “You mean all those aquatic chemistry and chemical oceanography textbooks are wrong?”

    No, the academic books are correct where they are correct. Your applications of the academically purified principles to reality are wrong; the reality contains certain second-order effects that you tend to neglect without acknowledging. Deviation from the sate of equilibrium is one of them.

    Regarding global climate change: I am of opinion that the climate always has been in change, and will continue to be unstable for the next billion years at least, regardless of any worries. And yes, I agree that further research is needed to explain climate changes, starting from the known past. So far the climatology has failed to explain even basic facts from Earth history, and thus has big troubles distinguishing between natural trends and anthropogenic signal.

  33. 233
    Gaye Moran says:

    Actually,

    The article was thoroughly and professionally reviewed by a know climatologists, geophysicists, and many, many colleagues. Additionally, the paper was published in that journal to get the info out as fast as possible, since $29B that are about to be spent looking at CO2 when apparently that’s not the biggest problem.

    The relation discussed in this paper has been studied for about 30 years with the last study done in 2002 or 3. That research found the same relation, in fact they all did. They could not explain the process however, now it’s explained. And where ever you look, the theory gets better back up.

    The two authors actually are fairly well known, but they’ll likely be torn down with just smear tactics. The stats are right, the problem is that GCMs can’t even come as close as this model: with a 0.1 to 0.2 degree C discrepancy from observed global temperatures and predicted out 6 to 7 years, scientists would kill for a climate model like that using one variable. You should research the subject.

    Thanks. But please try to pick it apart from the facts stated.

  34. 234
    Timothy Chase says:

    tamino (#231) wrote:

    In fact, from the standpoint of both physics and statistics, the work you refer to is quite amateurish. It appears to have been published in the journal GLOBAL SECURITY AFFAIRS & ANALYSIS, which seems to be a new journal (since 2007 sees volume 1).

    The editor’s note at the beginning states “GSAA does not generally report on scientific findings.” There’s a reason for that: the journal editors are not qualified to judge scientific works.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss this journal…

    These guys look pretty serious:

    Global Security Affairs & Analysis is a peer-reviewed online journal of the Global Defense Network (GDN) with the purpose of providing a forum to recommend and debate strategies, policies, and organizational planning to strengthen global security – from the physical to the highly strategic.

    Welcome to Global Security Affairs & Analysis (about page)
    http://www.gsaaj.org/jou.php?journal-about

  35. 235
    Ted Fulton says:

    I agree with Dr. Chase, the authors you refer to should not be dismissed so quickly. I have actually met them at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco. The senior author is a very well known modeler in complex dynamic physical systems while the co author, Dr. Tindall is very well known author having wrote what is called the text book in unsaturated zone flow and works as a scientist for the National Research Program of the USGS, while the senior author also works for the same agency. Thus, I would consider these individuals extremely well qualified scientists and not fruits. Indeed, I would not dismiss this work so quickly as both have a reputation for hard core, unbiased science.

  36. 236
    Michael Simons says:

    I have just received a disturbing phone call. I understand that one of our colleagues has been having a difficult time debating this issue, which surprises me that real scientists are so eager to stand around politics rather than investigate valid scientific findings. Therefore, I must agree with Dr. Chase, the authors you refer to should not be dismissed. I have met them (Moran and Tindall) personally at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco.

    The senior author is a well known and respected modeler in complex dynamic physical systems while the co author, Dr. Tindall is also a well known author, having wrote what is called �the text book� in unsaturated zone flow and works as a scientist for the National Research Program of the USGS, while the senior author also works for the same agency. Thus, I would consider these individuals extremely well qualified scientists and not �nut jobs� as stated by Ray Ladbury. Indeed, it is most likely their credentials would stand up to those of any.

    Both authors have a solid reputation for hard core, unbiased science on hotly debated issues. I believe the study has much merit and should be researched further, especially if we want to know the cause to more efficiently invest billions of dollars on the best resources to effectively reduce global warming.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Simons, Ph.D.

  37. 237
    John Mashey says:

    re: #229 Alan
    Thanks for this great reference, although it might fit better under the “Fun with Correlations” thread. It does offer a useful calibration for other posts, and a nice example of what one can learn from the web without knowing much about climate science, i.e., it may have nothing to do with climate science, but it’s a great exercise for rational skepticism in the face of astonishing bogosity. Anyone who wants to know about climate science can skip the rest.

    1) Calibration:
    a) “Refute” usually means “to prove wrong”, although a secondary meaning is: “deny something”: to deny an allegation or contradict a statement without disproving it.
    The second definition applies here.

    b) I see that the referenced item in the Nature Blog was posted by “tm”. I wonder if that’s the same tm posting here? It also seems a little strange to make us go to the Nature blog and scroll down to the item, which is just a pointer to another link. For reasons that will become clear, I won’t reference the complete links here, just note that all start with www dot gsaaj dot org, and any furthere mentions use that as a prefix.

    2) So I followed the link there, and I printed the paper, /articles/TempPaperv1n22007.pdf, whose authors are Edward H Moran and James A Tindall, PhD, but before reading it:

    3) The Website says this is an Online Peer Reviewed Journal, a Journal of The Global Defense Network. This doesn’t sound like a typical location in which cutting-edge climate science would be published. I was not able to find any physical address for Global Defense Network, although there is a videogame of that name. It’s hard to know whether this GDN has any physical existence or not, and whois.net didn’t help in any useful way.

    3) /jou.php?journal-about tells me that this is about global security.
    The Executive Editor is none other than James A. Tindall, i.e., one of the paper’s authors. This is, uhh, slightly unusual in a real peer-reviewed scientific journal.

    4) /jou.php?journal-review gives me the editorial board, although no affiliations are offered, just names. One of the names is “Ted Moran”, who might well be the same “Edward H. Moran” who is the other author.

    5) /jou.php?journal-archive shows me 3 papers, including the one in question.
    a) First is written by Tindall and two others, on psychology, and the two others look like people relevant to that topic.
    b) Second (on Islamic deception) is written by Andrew Campbell, who is also a member of the Editorial Board.
    c) Third is the article in question, written by two members of the Editorial Board.

    6) At this point, all this looks very strange, but there are links to author bios, so maybe I’ll discover that authors are climate experts?

    7) /bios1.php?Edward-Moran tells us that:
    “Edward Moran holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University… his expertise in Geographical Information System procedures and analysis, Global Positioning System applications and technology, and other fields of science are known throughout the U.S…. he retains a working knowledge in Dairy Farm management and animal husbandry with more than 8 years in the business.”

    Alaska Pacific University is a real, albeit small, liberal-arts, school. Edward Moran got his MS ES in 2002, along with 2 others. I also find that he (apparently) works as a hydrologist at the USGS in Anchorage, AK. Google Scholar gave me nothing relevant for EH Moran.

    8) /bios1.php?James-A-Tindall tells me:
    “James Tindall is an internationally recognized expert on the strategy of global security processes for large-scale, complex systems and infrastructures, and the development and application of technology that serves them…. He received his Ph.D. in physics and engineering from the University of Georgia.”

    Googling finds: “Deconvolution of plant type(s) for homeland security enforcement using remote sensing on a UAV collection platform”, (apparently done while doing an MS at naval Postgraduate School) and that Tindall got his PhD in 1990, and (as of April 2006) was a “research scientist for the U.S. DOI – US Geological Survey”.

    I also find that his PhD advisor appears to be David Radcliffe, who teaches *soil physics*, and that he directed a PhD dissertation by J. A. Tindall in 1990 entitled:
    “Effect of soil physical parameters on rooting distribution of vegetables using micro-irrigation.”

    Dr. Tindall is also is an adjunct professor at U Colorado Denver, currently listed with USGS affiliation, teaching “Unsaturated zone hydrology”.

    Google: james tindall usgs
    yields many references, and place him at USGS in Lakewood, CO. At least 3 of the other members of the Editorial Board show up as co-authors of his on various USGS papers.

    9) Now, assuming that these are still USGS employees (?), it does seem a little odd to be running a for-profit (but hard to locate) website that publishes papers by its editorial board on psychology, Islamic deception techniques, and why temperatures can be predicted by magnetic field strength, written by hydrologists … but why not? The world is full of wonders.

    =====
    Now, finally, we come to the paper itself, and this will mercifully be shorter:
    =====
    10) The “Editor’s Note” (remember, Tindal is the Editor) says:

    “Consequently, the ability to predict future global, continental, and national temperatures six to seven years in the future is a significant scientific finding that is of great importance to security and disaster preparedness professionals.”

    Uh-oh, that means among other things, being able to predict ENSOs and major volcanic eruptions. This is quite impressive, so I read on.

    In any real peer review, the paper would be thrown out in 5 minutes. The references are vague enough to make it difficult to tell where the data comes from, the statistics are reminiscent of “Fun with Correlations” here or “torture numbers and they’ll confess to anything”.

    The conclusion is:

    “this research shows a natural process that explains 79-percent (p<0.01) of global average-annual temperatures and reasonable predicts temperatures seven years into the future.”

    Examining the central part of Figure 1 shows how silly that is. By quick eyeball check, if you look at their modeled anomalies, of 39 years, the actual measured temperatures were outside the 95%-confidence interval about 50% of the time, and other 20% were were right around the 95% limits.

    All of this can be determined without knowing the science, but the science is bogus handwaving as well. Then, one finds that the temperature data is cited as coming from: www dot co2science dot org., but really just referens USHCN data anyway.

    CONCLUSION:
    1) Not peer-reviewed or peer-reviewable.
    2) Not even competent.
    3) About as far from “refute” as you can get.
    4) But, probably useful for raising the hit rates on that website.

  38. 238
    John Mashey says:

    Fascinating, my psychology studies have been enhanced, especially by the lightning-fast responses…

    Here are useful related tidbits:
    1)”tm” was a busy entity:

    Google: gsaaj.org
    finds a bunch of link-spamming on numerous blogs, although the one here was indirect.

    2) The USGS is of course a respected institution, with a nice website, including a handy employee directory:
    http://www.usgs.gov/phonebook/employee

    Of the GSAAJ Editorial Board:
    Dean Anderson
    Michael J. Friedel (Senior Editor)
    Edward Moran
    James A. Tindall (Executive Editor)

    are current USGS employees, of which Moran is in Alaska, the rest in Colorado.

    The bios for Moran and Tindall do *not* mention USGS; I couldn’t find bios for the others.

    3) The downloadable elicense says:
    “Problems with a subscription can be addressed by sending e-mail to GSAAJ, PO Box 260126, Lakewood, Colorado 80226.”

    Begging the question of how one sends email to that address, Lakewood is where the USGS is located, or at least, this piece:
    http://water.usgs.gov/nrp/proj.bib/weeks.html

    4) My curiosity is now *seriously* aroused, given that the USGS:
    - is a US-taxpayer-supported organization,
    - publishes numerous reports.

    One would think there should be a reasonable outlet inside USGS for earthshaking climate reports, written by 2 USGS employees. (?)

    I’ve spent sometime dealing with government security organizations, and I’ve heard strange stories, but this is fairly odd. Is a piece of the US some kind of special security entity?

    Does anybody know somebody in USGS well enough to ask what this is about?

  39. 239
    Nick Gotts says:

    Re #235 [the authors you refer to should not be dismissed so quickly. I have actually met them at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco. The senior author is a very well known modeler in complex dynamic physical systems while the co author, Dr. Tindall is very well known author having wrote what is called the text book in unsaturated zone flow and works as a scientist for the National Research Program of the USGS, while the senior author also works for the same agency. Thus, I would consider these individuals extremely well qualified scientists and not fruits. Indeed, I would not dismiss this work so quickly as both have a reputation for hard core, unbiased science. - Ted Fulton]

    …and #236 [the authors you refer to should not be dismissed. I have met them (Moran and Tindall) personally at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco.

    The senior author is a well known and respected modeler in complex dynamic physical systems while the co author, Dr. Tindall is also a well known author, having wrote what is called "the text book" in unsaturated zone flow and works as a scientist for the National Research Program of the USGS, while the senior author also works for the same agency. Thus, I would consider these individuals extremely well qualified scientists and not "nut jobs" as stated by Ray Ladbury. Indeed, it is most likely their credentials would stand up to those of any.

    Both authors have a solid reputation for hard core, unbiased science on hotly debated issues.] – Michael Simons, PhD.

    Great minds think alike, eh? But not always grammatically (“having wrote”)!

  40. 240
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Re 235 and 236: what is this? copied and pasted identical comments from what appears to be 2 different posts? Who wrote the original one? any of you two, or someone else? Did you do a mailing type of thing to a bunch of blogs? The credibility of that paragraph is entirely destroyed by its repetition!!

  41. 241
    Timothy Chase says:

    Ted Fulton (#235) wrote:

    I agree with Dr. Chase, the authors you refer to should not be dismissed so quickly. I have actually met them at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco.

    First, I don’t have a PhD. And even if I did, it wouldn’t be in a relevant subject.

    Second, you should click the link I included – as I believe it says something about how legit the journal is, or at least what kind of journal it is.

    The journal is a peer-reviewed online journal, but is it an offline journal, too? It is a journal of the Global Defense Network. But who is the Global Defense Network? As far as I can tell, countries haven’t formed such a thing – quite possibly because there isn’t anyone else to defend ourselves against. When I looked it up I got a game developer. But this probably isn’t the same organization. As near as I can tell it is something which Tindall dreamt up. Ex-military now advising people on security. No background in anything related to climatology. As for the other author, well, someone already pointed out that his bio. Transportation, diary and animal husbandry. Apparently for the last twenty years. Before that? The environment.

    I was putting that up there for what it was.

    The fit between the Series1 and Series2 Modeled Temperature Anomalies is quite amazing. Of course, since they are both modeled series this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

    The fit between the data and the unidentified “polynominal equation (reasonably representing Earth’s magnetic-field cyclicity)” could probably still stand a little more work. And maybe some transparency. As a matter of fact, over the range that they are displaying, we aren’t seeing any “cyclicity.” What we have is something increasing being mapped to something increasing by means of an undefined function which is increasing.

    If one kept to Lypanov functions but had the choice any Lyponov function for mapping the two, this would always be possible and could always achieve an exact match. But someone already pointed out that the level of statistical significance, even with their unidentified polynomial equation was low. So apparently these guys didn’t know enough to even get their entirely bogus function to give them respectable results.

  42. 242
    SomeBeans says:

    The ISI database of academic literature shows 14 papers for JA Tindall, papers on water quality and stuff going on in soil, and 2 papers for EH Moran in “TRANSACTIONS OF THE AMERICAN FISHERIES SOCIETY” on “Photographic techniques for characterizing streambed particle sizes”. They seem to have addresses matching the description above.

    By contrast RT Pierrehumbert gets you 80 hits on atmospheric physics and S Rahmstorf gets you 56 hits on atmospheric physics style things,so the database would appear to cover the areas of interest.

  43. 243
    ray ladbury says:

    John, Nick and Tim, I came across this article posted by the same guy on the New Scientist blog, where I’ve been trying to inject some science into the conspiracy theories now and again.

    I looked at the article and there were several immediate red flags
    1)the fact that one of the authors was on the editorial board of the journal in question.
    2)the fact that the journal is not a climate journal.
    3)the fact that the only references to climate research are 30 years old
    4)the paucity of references
    5)the fact that one of the references is to a freshman physics text (Feynmann Lectures on Physics) from the 1960s

    Despite these red flags, I persevered and actually wasted my time reading the article. The authors claim that an R^2 value of .748 implies that the theory explains 74.8% of the trend. This is dingo’s kidneys. An R^2 of 0.748 is actually very weak. I won’t even look at a relationship unless it gives an R^2 >0.95. Then there’s the fact that to achieve even this feeble level of correlation, they introduced an adjustable parameter to their analysis–the lag between temperature and field of 7 years. There is no physical justification or proposed model for this lag, nor indeed for any of the correlation.

    Thus, I did not dismiss the article because the authors are nutjobs. Rather, I called the authors nutjobs because 1)they wrote a really lame article in a field (actually 2 fields geomagnetism and climate) they don’t understand, and 2)they then published it as a “peer-reviewed” piece in their own on-line journal. The first sin might be excusable, and indeed, if submitted to a real science journal, the article would have been flatly rejected and no harm done. The second sin rises to the level of ethical lapse in science. And it would appear that now they are compounding said sin by sewing endorsements from fictitious scientists. All I can say, is “Wow, denialists really are a sad, pathetic group.”

  44. 244
    Timothy Chase says:

    RE #243

    Yah, I know. James A. Tindall might have enough justification for claiming some sort of background in security, but given the article I wouldn’t trust this guy to keep my place in line.

  45. 245
    John Mashey says:

    re: #243 Ray
    Yes, agreed, and thanks for the new-to-me term “dingo’s kidneys”.
    The same red flags struck me fairly quickly, but I persisted in the interest of studying psychopathology…

    The USGS rules on outside employment can be found here:
    http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/370-600/370-7355.html

    Among the numerous link-spam’s by “tm”, “guest”, “anonymous” is also a longer discussion:
    nov55 dot com / heat.html, which also tells us:

    “It seems likely that ice ages on earth are caused by a nuclear hot spot in the core rotating toward the surface and heating the Pacific Ocean.”
    This may be related to something I saw decades ago that claimed that the Hawaiian islands arose due to leakage from an antimatter-powered starship buried in the ocean floor. (sorry, I can’t remember that reference).

    The nov55 website is apparently run by Gary Novak, “Independent Scientist” or “Independent mushroom physiologist” and it displays a wide range of “interesting” assertions.

  46. 246
    James says:

    One further point on this: regardless of the authors’ qualifications or the accuracy of their statistics, it still doesn’t un-explain the “standard model”. That is, certain temperature increases are predicted to occur, based on measured increases in CO2 and known physics, so any conflicting theory has to explain why the changes from CO2 won’t occur.

    From a quick skim, I think the authors missed a bet. The correlation looks like it could work as well or better the other way around, so they could have written a paper entitled “Global Temperature Changes Alter Earth’s Magnetic Field”.

  47. 247
    Nick Gotts says:

    RE #245 [The correlation looks like it could work as well or better the other way around, so they could have written a paper entitled "Global Temperature Changes Alter Earth's Magnetic Field".]

    That’s the follow-up paper. Have you never heard of positive feedbacks? :-)

  48. 248
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 233 Gaye Moran wrote regarding to the Tyndall and Moran “paper”:

    “The article was thoroughly and professionally reviewed by a know climatologists, geophysicists, and many, many colleagues.”

    Just out of curiosity, how do you know that? If the journal conducted peer review, that would (or should) be confidential – only the editor and editorial staff should know who the reviewers were and their qualifications. If the authors sent it to colleagues for review and comments prior to submitting it for publication, that is all well and good, but it is not the same as anonymous peer-review by disinterested third-party reviewers who should have no conflict of interest.
    Again, this sounds (or looks) fishy to me.

    By the way, is it just coincidence that someone named Moran is defending the paper?

  49. 249
    John L. McCormick says:

    RE# 248

    Chuck, it might be more than a coincidence. Gaye and Edward Moran have the same mailing address in Anchorage.

  50. 250
    John Mashey says:

    #248 Chuck:

    “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

    The set {tm, Alan Cheswick, Gaye Moran, Ted Fulton, and Michael Simons) map to 1-5 True Names in the real world.

    a) Do we have any idea of the real number?
    b) Do we have any idea if *any* of those names above are actually True Names?

    [I actually looked, and I could find no convincing evidence that any of multiple people that match the 4 names have any obvious connections. The clearest hit is Gaye Moran, but she's a Senior Lecturer in Law in London, who doesn't seem a likely poster here, unless she gets on the net ~7AM to look at RealClimate.]

    My guess: I wouldn’t count on any of these being True Names, and if there are actually 5 distinct people, I’d be surprised. “tm” shows up often enough that there is clearly a person, but more than that? Who knows?


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