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Once more unto the bray

Filed under: — gavin @ 23 July 2008

We are a little late to the party, but it is worth adding a few words now that our favourite amateur contrarian is at it again. As many already know, the Forum on Physics and Society (an un-peer-reviewed newsletter published by the otherwise quite sensible American Physical Society), rather surprisingly published a new paper by Monckton that tries again to show using rigorous arithmetic that IPCC is all wrong and that climate sensitivity is negligible. His latest sally, like his previous attempt, is full of the usual obfuscating sleight of hand, but to save people the time in working it out themselves, here are a few highlights.

As Deltoid quickly noticed the most egregious error is a completely arbitrary reduction (by 66%) of the radiative forcing due to CO2. He amusingly justifies this with reference to tropical troposphere temperatures – neglecting of course that temperatures change in response to forcing and are not the forcing itself. And of course, he ignores the evidence that the temperature changes are in fact rather uncertain, and may well be much more in accord with the models than he thinks.

But back to his main error: Forcing due to CO2 can be calculated very accurately using line-by-line radiative transfer codes (see Myhre et al 2001; Collins et al 2006). It is normally done for a few standard atmospheric profiles and those results weighted to produce a global mean estimate of 3.7 W/m2 – given the variations in atmospheric composition (clouds, water vapour etc.) uncertainties are about 10% (or 0.4 W/m2) (the spatial pattern can be seen here). There is no way that it is appropriate to arbitrarily divide it by three.

There is a good analogy to gas mileage. The gallon of gasoline is equivalent to the forcing, the miles you can go on a gallon is the response (i.e. temperature), and thus the miles per gallon is analogous to the climate sensitivity. Thinking that forcing should be changed because of your perception of the temperature change is equivalent to deciding after the fact that you only put in third of a gallon because you ran out of gas earlier than you expected. The appropriate response would be to think about the miles per gallon – but you’d need to be sure that you measured the miles travelled accurately (a very big issue for the tropical troposphere).

But Monckton is not satisfied with just a factor of three reduction in sensitivity. So he makes another dodgy claim. Note that Monckton starts off using the IPCC definition of climate sensitivity as the forcing associated with a concentration of 2xCO2 – this is the classical “Charney Sensitivity” and does not include feedbacks associated with carbon cycle, vegetation or ice-sheet change. Think of it this way – if humans raise CO2 levels to 560 ppm from 280 ppm through our emissions, and then as the climate warms the carbon cycle starts adding even more CO2 to the atmosphere, then the final CO2 will be higher and the temperature will end up higher than standard sensitivity would predict, but you are no longer dealing with the sensitivity to 2xCO2. Thus the classical climate sensitivity does not include any carbon cycle feedback term. But Monckton puts one in anyway.

You might ask why he would do this. Why add another positive feedback to the mix when he is aiming to minimise the climate sensitivity? The answer lies in the backwards calculations he makes to derive the feedbacks. At this point, I was going to do a full analysis of that particular calculation – but I was scooped. So instead of repeating the work, I’ll refer you there. The short answer is that by increasing the feedbacks incorrectly, he makes the ‘no-feedback’ temperature smaller (since he is deriving it from the reported climate sensitivities divided by the feedbacks). This reverses the causality since the ‘no-feedback’ value is actually independent of the feedbacks, and is much better constrained.

There are many more errors in his piece – for instance he accuses the IPCC of not defining radiative forcing in the Summary for Policy Makers and not fixing this despite requests. Umm… except that the definition is on the bottom of page 2. He bizarrely compares the net anthropogenic forcing to date with the value due to CO2 alone and then extrapolates that difference to come up with a meaningless ‘total anthropogenic forcings Del F_2xCO2′. His derivations and discussions of the no-feedback sensitivity and feedbacks is extremely opaque (a much better description is given on the first couple of pages of Hansen et al, 1984)). His discussion of the forcings in that paper are wrong (it’s 4.0 W/m2 for 2xCO2 (p135), not 4.8 W/m2), and the no-feedback temperature change is 1.2 (Hansen et al, 1988, p9360), giving k=0.30 C/(W/m2) (not his incorrect 0.260 C/(W/m2) value). Etc… Needless to say, the multiple errors completely undermine the conclusions regarding climate sensitivity.

Generally speaking, these are the kinds of issues that get spotted by peer-reviewers: are the citations correctly interpreted? is the mathematics correct? is the reasoning sound? do the conclusions follow? etc. In this case, there really wouldn’t have been much left, and so it is fair to conclude that Monckton’s piece only saw the light of day because it wasn’t peer-reviewed, not because it was. Claims that the suggested edits from the editor of the newsletter constitute ‘peer-review’ are belied by the editor’s obvious unfamiliarity with the key concepts of forcing and feedback – and the multitude of basic errors still remaining. The even more egregious claims that this paper provides “Mathematical proof that there is no ‘climate crisis’ ” or is “a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 10,000-strong American Physical Society” are just bunk (though amusing in their chutzpah).

The rational for the FPS publication of this note was to ‘open up the debate’ on climate change. The obvious ineptitude of this contribution underlines quite effectively how little debate there is on the fundamentals if this is the best counter-argument that can be offered.


536 Responses to “Once more unto the bray”

  1. 251
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod, the answer is you can’t tell, if you want an answer about the planet.

    Do you just want an answer about the numbers? Just the integers?
    Everyone here will agree that 10 is larger than 9, 9 is larger than 8 and so forth.

    But while you’re attaching the numbers you’re reading to the notion that they tell you something definite about the planet, people will go on telling you you haven’t understood this yet.

    They don’t go out and read one thermometer one day a year.

    You need to understand where the numbers Monckton is using come from.

    You’re ignoring the range of error, because you don’t understand the concept.

    Statistics 101 will change your life, if you understand the material.

    Now, are you going to tell us you know this already?

    If so, you’re just taking up all this time and attention although you _know_ these numbers have nothing to tell us about the planet, and you’re just trying to get everyone here to admit that some integers are more equal than others.

    If so, why bother?

  2. 252
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B., Two things. First, let’s look at what people in the past have said about statistics:
    Disraeli–“There are three types of lies: lies, damnable lies and statistics.”
    Andrew Lang–“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts – for support rather than illumination.”
    And so on. Now given that people have this impression of statistical analysis, it is not surprising that people who understand statistics insist on precision of both analysis and terminology. It is very easy to misuse statistics. One can use an analysis that is inappropriate to the problem. One can use a statistical measure that gives misleading or biased estimation. One can cherry-pick starting and end points. One can keep looking at different analyses until one finds one that supports one’s contention. All of these things can be done–and more important, experienced statisticians can spot them, where laymen are likely to be taken in.

    Now as to your contention that someone from, say, astrophysics can step right in and help out Gavin et al…. Remember, scientists study their discipline for a decade or more before they get their PhD. They then do a post-doc for about 5 years more. Several years as asistant professor, and on and on. Experience counts. Every field has its own history and techniques. If you are ignorant of that history, you will make old mistakes and reinvent wheels. The experienced researcher you are trying to help will probably spend more time explaining to you that your ideas have been tried before than you will actually producing anything of substance.
    When I’m having a particularly bad day, juggling 3 different telecons at the same time, I sometimes fantasize about switching to medical physics. After all, I do radiation effects in semiconductors and medical physicists look at radiation effects in bags of water called human beings. Pretty much the same physic, right? Yet, I know it would take me at least three years before I could say anything meaningful about my new field. Don’t discount the value of experience.

  3. 253
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re: #250 Rod B

    Rod,
    If you re-read my post (# 238) you’ll see that I claimed no such thing. Rather, I suggested (in my question to you) that climate modelers do use input from those non-climatologist scientists and mathematicians with relevant expertise, and Gavin confirmed this point.

    It boggles the mind that you could misinterpret my comments so badly.

  4. 254
    Rod B says:

    Gavin, I’m on board with everything you say (250).

    I don’t think it refutes my contention (which has expanded a lot during the discourse), which was, roughly, arbitrarily and completely excluding everyone from outside climatology from commenting on the discipline, especially my example of computer modelers, is stupid, silly, and not helpful. I did not contend that letting all the outsiders talk would solve all (or even many, or even some) of the problems, or that they would even show up! Ray, neither do I contend that these outside questioners are the nirvana. No way are they as versed as the guy with 10-11 years of post secondary education followed by a bunch of actual work. Maybe only once in a great while they might maybe mention something that has been over-looked. That’s not the point at all. My point is as above, literally, nothing more, nothing less.

    Ray and Hank re my #249: I’ll turn up the volume. Please listen carefully with some discrimination. I’M NOT IGNORING RANGE OF ERROR. I ACCEPT RANGE OF ERROR; REALLY BAD. I AGREE WITH THE MEANINGLESS NATURE OF 5-6 YEARS ANALYSIS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE. NOT WHAT I ASKED. I didn’t ask about “the planet”! My question, literally, nothing more, is, “does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.

  5. 255
    Rod B says:

    Chuck, well, your last paragraph of 238 sounded like it at the time. If I misread that, I apologize.

  6. 256
    Paul Klemencic says:

    Rod B., would you please let a lay person help you? I am an engineer, but even I recognize that Monckton is making a famous error in statistics, one that was first defined 80 years ago.

    He is saying that there is a trend in the data, when in fact the data could easily have been caused by random variation. In fact, it is far more likely that the data is caused by random system behavior than a causal factor.

    Let me quote a bit of W.Edwards Deming, one of the most famous statisticians ever (although his degree was in physics), “the numbers mean nothing, until you know by what system they were measured” further, “until you know the system’s variation, you cannot predict the system’s response”. Deming of course, made his name teaching the Japanese how to build better quality cars back in the 1950s (his picture, along with the emperor of Japan, and the founder, is in the front lobby of Toyota).

    Monckton is looking at annual global temperatures. Since 1975, the annual global temperatures have a standard variation of over 0.1 deg C. So to get a result that is 95% certain, the uncertainty bands have to be drawn +/- 0.2 deg C just to account for the natural variation in the Earth’s system.

    But Monckton is saying (paraphrased): But there is an obvious downward trend!
    Well, there is a statistical test for that, used in statistical process control (SPC), and that is seven consecutive steadily rising (or falling) trend. Does your data show that? Is 2001 cooler than 2000, AND 2002 cooler than 2001, AND 2003 cooler yet, AND 2004 cooler yet, AND 2005 cooler yet, AND so forth. Now that is for 3 sigma certainty, and 2 sigma is less, so perhaps 5 consecutive data points will do the trick. Does your data show five consecutive cooling years? If so, there could be a special cause, so lets go looking for the volcanic eruption and solar activity and so forth.

    Another statistical test sometimes used, is seven consecutive data points above or below the mean. Does your data show seven consecutive years of temperature anomaly below the mean of the years since 1975? How about five consecutive years below the mean?

    If none of these tests are met, then perhaps you don’t have statistically valid conclusion to draw. Monckton doesn’t seem to know any statistics, or perhaps he is ignoring this completely.

    Here is a link to this famous statistical error:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_I_and_type_II_errors

    If you want to try your hand at this, here are some statistical patterns you can look for to determine statistical significance:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Electric_rules

    Remember when applying these “dumb rules” (meaning that you don’t need to know about the system beyond the standard deviation to apply them), that you need the standard deviation to set the two sigma and three sigma levels, but the guys here provided that.

    Final word, it seems that climatologists are letting you off easy… they are only asking for two sigma significance. Be thankful you aren’t supply the auto makers, who demand three sigma to establish statistical significance.

  7. 257
    IAN HILLIAR says:

    gavin,you state that “I’ve never had much useful input from astrophysicist modellers”. Just to remind you,your friend James Hansen,famous for his high profile,is an astrophysicist modeller.

    [Response: Valid point – but he hasn’t worked on planetary atmospheres (other than the Earth) since at least the 1980s, so this pre-dates my connection to GCMs by almost 20 years. – gavin]

  8. 258
    John Mason says:

    Re – 186 – just read the “chuck it….” PDF.

    I loved this bit:

    “Al Gore took care to ensure that Hansen’s testimony to Congress in the hot summer of 1988 was staged
    on a particularly hot day, for maximum political effect.”

    I’d love to know how he does that in advance. When I arrange field trips for people, I spend three months praying for sunshine and it usually tips it down!

    Cheers – John

  9. 259
    Owen Phelps says:

    #254 Rod B NOT WHAT I ASKED. […] My question, literally, nothing more, is, “does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.

    Oh for crying it loud, dude! That is NOT how you put it in any other comment. You kept saying “trend”. People kept correcting you. Say this and we can all move on:

    “I now realise I used the wrong word, and gave you a misleading impression of my intention. I apologise for the confusion, it was unintentional. To clarify, I meant that the smoothed out figures decrease for the period concerned. I understand that this is not a statistical trend, and that Monckton was in error if he claimed it was.”

    Regardless of your intention, by using a technical word out of context without clear elaboration, you said something different to what you (clearly, now) meant. This was a small slip, but no-one who called you on it can be faulted for assuming you meant what you said.

  10. 260
    kevin says:

    @RodB, and the “ZOMG!!!IT’S JUST A SIMPLE YES/NO QUESTION!!!” question:

    I, for one, don’t know. But given that, as you have repeatedly point out, you have acknowledged that the answer is meaningless in practical terms, why do you care?

    And I would guess that the reasons people haven’t answered you with that simple yes or no you’re looking for include things like the following:

    1) Having also recognized that the answer would be meaningless in practical terms, they DON’T CARE and so haven’t bothered to look for an answer.

    2) Although the answer is not practically useful in terms of climate science, if the answer is “yes,” it could be put to use in constructing misleading rhetoric. I can easily imagine someone copying a yes response to your question, and pasting it out of context somewhere else, while proclaiming “see?!? Even those RC people are admitting Monckton was right!!!1!”

    See what I mean?

  11. 261
    Marcus says:

    Rod B: You ask: “does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.”

    Er. You’d have to define what you mean by “smoothed”. I like 5 year moving averages myself. But a five year moving average for 2002 to 2008 gets you all of 2 points (2004 and 2005), and the 2nd point is warmer than the first point because 2007 is warmer than 2002. (the 5 year average around 2005 is significantly warmer than the 5 year average around 2002, if you care).

    Or are you talking about just sticking 3 month averages from GISS into STATA and doing a linear regression? Well, then, fine, the “best fit” for the 3 month quarters between 2002 and present is temperature = quarter*-0.15 + constant, so yes, negative, but a 95% bound of -0.75 to plus 0.45, so it is pretty clear that that tells us nothing. (95% bounds on regressing monthly temperature vs. time are not significant either).

    So, regardless of the fact that EVEN IF there was an actually significant trend from 2002 to 2008 it would be meaningless because of how we understand the climate system, at least according to GISS there is NO statistically significant trend during that time period. Satisfied?

  12. 262
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod, don’t shout. Read.

  13. 263
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re: 254, Rod B. You are asking a statistical question, and statistical questions do not ever under any circumstances have yes or no answers. If I flip a coin 100 times and it comes up heads 100 times and then I am asked is this an honest coin, I go not give a yes or no question. I give a probability and a confidence level or best guess and error. I’m telling you that I don’t lie with statistics. You are asking me to tell you what the liar’s statistical answer is. See the problem?

  14. 264
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Viscount C. M of B: “Al Gore took care to ensure that Hansen’s testimony to Congress in the hot summer of 1988 was staged
    on a particularly hot day, for maximum political effect.”

    John Mason:”I’d love to know how he does that in advance. When I arrange field trips for people, I spend three months praying for sunshine and it usually tips it down!”

    Why, of course, he used the UN death ray they’ve been using to warm up the planet and enslave us under one-world government and socialized medicine and stuff. Not only can it vaporize opponents from a typical UN black helicopter, it is the real cause of global warming! And I hear it makes real good barbecue, too!

  15. 265
    SecularAnimist says:

    A brief conversation yesterday gave rise to a thought about “skepticism”.

    The science of climate change is rare among fields of scientific inquiry in having an organized opposition of self-described “skeptics” who are quite devoted to challenging it at every level, with some going so far as to question whether it is even science at all, as opposed to guesswork, a “religion” or some sort of ideological agenda. As I have often commented here, much of this organized opposition results from the deliberate campaign of deceit and disinformation by those who profit from the continued use of fossil fuels, whose desire to undermine public confidence in the conclusions and implications of climate science is readily understandable, if reprehensible. But not all of the vehement “skepticism” is driven by the profit motive. Why then are some “skeptics” who have no such ulterior motive so strongly committed to rejecting climate science?

    While climate science is rare in having to contend with organized opposition, it is not unique. As most readers of this site will be aware, the science of biological evolution is also confronted by an organized opposition who claim to be “skeptics”, who work very hard to challenge evolution at every level from its foundations to its details.

    And, as I was reminded yesterday, parapsychology is another field of scientific inquiry that has to deal with an organized opposition of so-called “skeptics” who vociferously argue that it is not legitimate science, and have gone so far as to campaign to revoke the affiliation of the Parapsychological Association with the AAAS. (Parapsychology is a particular interest of mine, so I have followed this “controversy” fairly closely for years.)

    What I see in common here is a so-called “skepticism” that is, in reality, an a priori refusal to accept the conclusions of a particular field of inquiry, a refusal that can never be overcome by evidence or reason, for this reason: in each case, the results of scientific inquiry challenge the fundamental basis of someone’s world view, their deepest sense of what the world is and what they are within it.

    If the phenomena studied by parapsychology are “real”, then the view that the world is entirely mechanistic and “physical” in nature is called into question, and to some people this is totally unacceptable. Therefore, the phenomena cannot be real no matter what the evidence may show.

    [edit – no religion or ID discussion]

    If human activities are warming the earth and altering the climate, biosphere and hydrosphere in ways that threaten the viability of human civilization and perhaps the viability of the rich, diverse Holocene biosphere, then the continuation of “life as we know it” and as we have known it throughout human history is at grave risk, sooner rather than later — and to some people this very idea is totally unacceptable, because it threatens their world view that life will continue indefinitely much as it always has and that there is no way that ordinary human activities could alter this. Therefore, the theory of climate change must be wrong no matter what the evidence may show.

    A priori refusal to accept evidence, and the implications of that evidence, because those implications threaten one’s world view is not “skepticism”. It is merely obstinate denial. It is understandable — no one likes having the rug pulled out from under their most basic sense of reality and their place in it. In the cases of evolution and parapsychology, such obstinate denial has little practical import. In the case of climate science, however, it is a very real danger to all of us.

  16. 266
    John Mason says:

    Ah – thanks Ray – you have saved me the (possibly impossible) task of asking the man himself!

    Back to more serious stuff, as someone who works in science, and therefore accepts the way science works, and sadly the way nonscience works too, this sort of thing is so typical. Most folk (i.e. your proverbial Man On The Street)won’t understand the details of the “recalculations” presented in the RPS article. However, once the game is at least partially, if not wholly up, absurd comments like the one I quoted start to be found, and as a non-climatologist, but a geologist and keen amateur weather/climate type, even I can spot that! In fact I suspect over 50% of “Men On The Street” might!

    Cheers – John

  17. 267
    Rod B says:

    Paul K., I appreciate your learned and patient response. But I think you’re still not getting my question. For Owen P., kevin, Marcus, et al, it turns out maybe there still could be some value (maybe not a lot, though…) continuing this a bit longer, so let me review the bidding.

    I was initially just curious if, and only if, Monckton did the math calculations correctly. I said (200) that is all I was curious about, not whether his analysis was appropriate or about any thing else he said — which I termed goofy-looking in the post. This was all I wanted. I had no hidden agenda; just was curious, presuming his conclusions and words were “goofy”, if he could at least add and subtract (actually do linear regression math) correctly

    The initial responses all addressed what I did not ask. I responded (217) with a thanks for their good information and that I recognized that, “such an [his] analysis likely has no relevance to any long-term temperature trend, or anything else, and might be entirely mathematically inappropriate“, but I was really just interested in the basic math operations. Still didn’t use the “scare” term “trend” [loved that scare thing ;-) ]

    The following responses basically repeated the initial responses. Not important, but interesting, Ray was the first to use “trend” in this discourse. tamino also presented the two man scenario, the 1st being The Shack, to which I said a downward trend was mathematically accurate (tamino used the term “trend”). I later agreed to the correction and retracted that response on the basis that three is probably the minimum data set with any mathematical validity. (Though tidal later agreed with me, as did Martin though with the clear caveat that I was not using an accepted use of “trend”.) I suggested (230) that the number of data points of temperature between 2000 and 2008 ought to be mathematically sufficient. I again reiterated that I was not asking about appropriateness or Monckton’s assessment, which I admitted (again) looked wrong, sounded misleading, and [he] was acting like a dork.

    I then did my own eyeball analysis of Monckton’s graph and some graphs I have archived and asserted (237) that I thought it obvious the “”trend”” (first time I used the term on my own, and it was in quotes — scarry to some) from 2001-2008 was down. I also observed that 1999-2008 was not down, etc.

    Etc., etc., etc. This continues with no deviation.

    The insight is that you guys can not, seemingly mentally impossible to, look at a graph of global temps which unquestionably and unequivocally shows the “smoothed out global temperature measurements decreasing” between 2002 and 2008 and admit to it. (Smoothed out meaning linear regression, averages, end-to-end line, whatever.) I would guess because you fear I would take that answer out of context and try to beat you up over it like Monckton is trying to do — despite my incessant discounting and refutation of anything Monckton had to say on this topic. This, friends, while maybe not terribly important, is, interestingly and possibly sadly, nothing short of defensive religion. Sadly because it, frankly, diminishes credibility.

    I must go duck now.

    (anticlimactic) ps. yes, Ray, but if I asked you “did heads come up more the 50 times?”, the answer is yes, pure and simple.

  18. 268
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Rod asks, “Does the smoothed out global temperature measurements decrease between (1Q)2002 and (2Q)2008? The answer is a simple YES or NO, and does not imply anything else.”

    For a brief six years — who knows? But if you had read tamino’s post you would know that the answer is NO for 1998 to 2008:

    It turns out that even if we start at the 1998 peak, the trend is still warming. This is true for both GISTEMP and HadCRU data, and both results are statistically significant. There’s no getting around it: the planet has continued warming overall, since the 1998 el Nino event. The fact that one of two data sets indicates we haven’t broken the 1998 record, doesn’t alter the fact that the trend is still hotter.

    So the oft-repeated “cooling since 1998″ claim is flatly wrong. Why would you have greater confidence in an analysis with 40% fewer samples?

  19. 269
    CL says:

    I’d like to offer agreement with Secular Animist’s analysis.

    My impression is that we (in the cultures I’m familiar with, USA, UK, Europe) build up a worldview during childhood and adolescence which is not really consciously perceived. It’s just the taken-for-granted backdrop to our ‘reality’.

    I think that the contemporary Western worldview is built from a number of strands which are mingled together. Close inspection would reveal incompatibilities, but few people are that self-aware. Some examples might be, from the Christian tradition, the idea in Genesis that humans have a ‘God-given’ right to dominate the Earth and all it’s creatures. Another would be from materialist science of the Enlightenment, that the ‘world’ is mechanistic, all just inert physical ‘stuff’ to be manipulated as we please. Another would be from free-market capitalism and economic models of infinite expansion. Another might be the American doctrine of ‘Manifest Destiny’…and so on and on. These cultural constructs are illustrated on a daily basis in ordinary conversations, and in the media, as sub-textual assumptions which are so broadly distributed that, largely, they pass unquestioned, and anyone who challenges them is assigned a label to neutralise the challenge, perhaps politely, as ‘eccentric’ or ‘maverick’ (James Lovelock ?) or more nastily, as crank, crackpot, extremist, lunatic, etc.

    My conclusion, having pondered these matters, as a philosophical quest, is that the reality is, that nobody knows why we exist, or why anything exists. Faced with that rather awesome and terrifying ‘void’, we tell ourselves stories to try and make our situation tolerable.

    However, not all stories are equal. Science (and also the Law) are distinctly different from all other categories of story, insofar as empirical evidence is required to support the propositions. So, IMHO, science is superior in that respect.

    But there’s a down side. We are social animals. We *need* gossip, myth, poetry, fantasy, music, play, etc, for our well-being. Science doesn’t provide much sustenance (although those deeply absorbed in science might disagree)for the soul, for the spirit, partly because science (like economics) can’t accept any dimension that cannot be measured.

    For many millions of humans, the ‘stuff that can’t be measured’ is vitally important to their daily lives. Their Faith is a core belief. (Hence,e.g. the statements that God wouldn’t allow the planet to heat up, because He gave us the coal and oil, etc.

    On the other side, there are the futurist optimistic technophiles, who fantasize about colonising the Universe, starting with Mars…when we can’t even take care of the beautiful world that produced us.

    I do think that the psychological mechanisms involved are comparable to denial by alcoholics. People get angry and upset, if they are told they have to change. Changing your fundamental picture of what the world is like, and your expectations, is stressful.

    There are many more examples that spring to mind, but this is already too long.

  20. 270
    Hank Roberts says:

    > guys can not, seemingly mentally impossible to, look at a graph of
    > global temps which unquestionably and unequivocally shows …

    No one who’s taken and passed Statistics 101 can do this, Rod.

    If you take and pass the class, you won’t see the illusion either.

    It’s one of those things you see until you understand it’s not there.

    Boo!

  21. 271
    dhogaza says:

    I was initially just curious if, and only if, Monckton did the math calculations correctly

    Monckton called it a *trend*, and describes the piece in which he wrote it “a major scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal”.

    So, by the standards he’s holding himself to, he did not do the math correctly because he claims significance but made no effort to show significance, undoubtably because it’s not significant (and therefore NOT A TREND).

    That’s what, the 20th time you’ve been told this?

  22. 272
    Dan says:

    re: 267. “nothing short of defensive religion.”

    There you go again. When pushed into a corner several times before on details, you’ve come back with the grossly insulting “religion” line. Peer-reviewed science does not work that way. It is clear that even after all this time you still have not learned what peer-review and the scientific method are all about. Perhaps you should not duck so much.

  23. 273
    kevin says:

    RodB
    It looks like you got what you wanted…evidence

    “that you guys can not, seemingly mentally impossible to, look at a graph of global temps which unquestionably and unequivocally shows the “smoothed out global temperature measurements decreasing” between 2002 and 2008 and admit to it.”

    But I think you’re neglecting some important stuff that people have said along the way. As Hank pointed out, if you’re just basically asking if integer A is bigger than integer B, what’s the point? You can damn well see for yourself whether integer A is bigger than integer B, so you appear to be playing a game–and people here resist playing into it. That really should not come as a surprise.

    If your intended question concerned anything more mathematically involved than a greater than/less than comparison, then it’s not clear that there even IS a yes or no answer–for example, what do you mean by “smoothed out,” as marcus asked? But you won’t accept the nuanced answers, saying “no really, I’m just trying to get you to say ‘decreasing temperature.’ Seriously, we all agree it won’t mean anything, but just say it. C’mon, say it. Whaddaya, some kinda religious nut or something?”

    So what are you, reliving the sixth grade? “HAHA, MADE YOU SAY IT!!”

    Please stop it. It’s trollish.

    PS when I wrote about someone copying and pasting and using people’s answers to nefarious purposes, I wasn’t saying that YOU would be the one to do it…but can you see that SOMEONE very easily might?

  24. 274
    Jim Eager says:

    Re Dan @272: “There you go again. When pushed into a corner several times before on details, you’ve come back with the grossly insulting “religion” line.”

    Yes, and it is always the last line of defense of those who do not have a real argument.

    Come on Rod, we know you are smarter than that.
    We also know that you are capable of admitting it when you are shown to be wrong.

  25. 275
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B., Get serious. This is not some silly number game like Soduku. This is statistics, and there are only 2 reasons to do statistics–to bring out the truth or to lie. What you asked was whether the Viscount was correct in his analysis. It was Monckton who used the word trend, and you have been shown unequivocally that Monckton’s analysis is not just wrong, but laughably so. You did not ask “Is 2008 cooler than 2007 on average.” That can be answered in the affirmative. You asked about an analysis, and that depends not just on the value of the answer, but on the validity of of how you got your answer. You asked your question. You got the same answer from everybody you asked. Now either accept the answer or come up with a meaningful argument of why it is valid to cherrypick two dates, calculate a slope, report the value with no error bars and draw a conclusion based on that travesty of an analysis.

  26. 276
    Charles says:

    Rod, assuming your not trolling here and are really sincere–although that is becoming a harder notion to maintain–you need to understand that the answer to your question would have no validity. Validity in science is a VERY BIG DEAL, and you need to know that what you are asking for (a meaningful trend between 2002 and 2008, a mere six years) would have no validity (especially in the context of climate science)–it would be a meaningless–as Ray and others have been endlessly patient in trying to explain to you.

    As Ray just pointed out to you, you need to: “come up with a meaningful argument of why it is valid to cherrypick two dates, calculate a slope, report the value with no error bars and draw a conclusion based on that travesty of an analysis.”

    What Ray and others (and consider the expertise here; tamino, for example is a professional statistician, and others are scientists with Ph.D.s) have been trying to tell you is you can’t come up with such a valid argument–and an introductory statistics course will make this abundantly clear to you.

    You write: “This, friends, while maybe not terribly important, is, interestingly and possibly sadly, nothing short of defensive religion. Sadly because it, frankly, diminishes credibility.”

    Au contraire! Had they given you an answer either way, that answer would have decreased their credibility. That is because a yes or no answer would be wrong: those data can’t be used to give you a meaningful and credible answer! This is something that you and Monckton don’t seem to understand. Bottom line: what Monckton reported about a trend from 2002 to 2008 is meaningless because it has no statistical validity. If you’re still unclear about this, read Ray’s explanation again. And read and re-read tamino’s “garbage is forever” posting on his blog.

  27. 277

    For those who are interested, I did a lengthy analysis of Monckton’s 2000-2008 graph here. So far, I haven’t gotten around to answering all the replies there (some of which are quite hostile). Feel free to answer them if you have the time…

  28. 278

    SecularAnimist writes:

    f the phenomena studied by parapsychology are “real”, then the view that the world is entirely mechanistic and “physical” in nature is called into question, and to some people this is totally unacceptable. Therefore, the phenomena cannot be real no matter what the evidence may show.

    Except that the evidence doesn’t show anything. Whenever a parapsychology experiment seems to produce significant results, tightening the controls eliminates the effect. When parapsychologists learn to run an experiment that doesn’t allow systematic errors, scientists will start listening to them. Until then, they won’t.

    [edit – no religion]

  29. 279

    CL writes:

    Some examples might be, from the Christian tradition, the idea in Genesis that humans have a ‘God-given’ right to dominate the Earth and all it’s creatures.

    Except that that isn’t what the Christian tradition actually says. What it says is that “the Earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). Genesis describes Adam and Eve’s task in the Garden of Eden as being to steward it on God’s behalf. The meme that the Bible somehow says to exploit the Earth is not backed up by actually reading the Bible.

    [Response: enough – please drop religious discussion here. ]

  30. 280

    In re @ 265:

    What I see in common here is a so-called “skepticism” that is, in reality, an a priori refusal to accept the conclusions of a particular field of inquiry, a refusal that can never be overcome by evidence or reason, for this reason: in each case, the results of scientific inquiry challenge the fundamental basis of someone’s world view, their deepest sense of what the world is and what they are within it.

    Whoa! Hold the phone!

    There’s a lot more to the IPCC papers, and the arguments advanced here, than the pure science.

    The science can tell you things like watts per meter squared, degrees per doubling, and so forth. It cannot tell you how people are going to respond to climbing oil prices or other forms of energy. And yet, the IPCC has charts that people reference with projections, and some of those projections are absurd. Chinese’s increased use of fossil fuels has come with a pretty hefty price, and while they aren’t showing too many signs of changing their path of self-destruction, at some point being self-destructive is self-correcting.

    So, I think there is a lot of room for skepticism, provided one understands and can support their arguments.

    (ReCaptcha sez: rental Hanna. With or without the wigs?)

  31. 281
    tamino says:

    Re: #277 (Jurgen Hubert)

    I already knew Monckton’s argument was invalid, but I had no idea how much he’d manipulated — especially his “extreme cherry-picking” (and he does go to the extreme!) — to misinform.

    Thanks for the link to an excellent expose’.

  32. 282
    a.c. says:

    reading back through the comments, it’s amazing how much energy is wasted over divisive issues that cannot be advanced by internet debate. to continue in this waste of energy is both a tactical and strategic error on our part, and is a failure of our leadership.

    scientists and journalists and most ordinary people have (at least at rock bottom) one common interest that threatens the wealthy elite that dominate this planet. our common interest is in the telling of that thin slice of truth that is objectively observable, and telling the truth threatens all who attain power through coercion and deception. the mantra of that elite has been “divide and conquer” since practically the beginning of time, and the elite have worked (consciously and unconsciously…..cf. Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States) to set everyone –nations, tribes and ordinary individuals– against each other. the energy we waste in petty conflict with each other is only a fraction of the energy we need to tap in order to hold our own against those who commit every last unit of their energy to the acquisition of property and power.

    perhaps it would be productive for us to reprioritize some of the energy we’ve been dedicating to ongoing defense of our individual core values to the task of organizing a defense of one (the only?) little interest we all have in common: maintaining the continuing habitability of the earth.

  33. 283
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Re parapsychology, I’ve been following this for some time:

    Global Consciousness Project

    We have been collecting data from a global network of random event generators since August, 1998. The network has grown to about 65 host sites around the world running custom software that reads the output of physical random number generators and records a 200-bit trial sum once every second, continuously over months and years. The data are transmitted GCP data via BrainPaint over the internet to a server in Princeton, NJ, USA, where they are archived for later analysis. Statistical results are complemented by visualizations. Individual data create a random tapestry. The dot color shows their global coherence. Global brain paintings display their complexity.

    Our purpose is to examine subtle correlations that reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world. We have learned that when millions of us share intentions and emotions the GCP/EGG network shows correlations. We can interpret this as evidence for a growing global consciousness. It suggests we are capable of conscious evolution.

  34. 284
  35. 285
    Jim Galasyn says:

    tamino, I followed a link in this comment on jhubert’s blog post that may have been the source for Monckton’s cherry picking:

    To Tell the Truth: Will the Real Global Average Temperature Trend Please Rise? Part 2

    The author uses the “Chow test”:

    …The Chow test is used to test for “structural breaks” in time series data…The Chow test involves fitting a regression to the sub parts, and comparing the sum of the mean square error (MSE) of the sub parts to the mean square error of a regression fitted to the entire time period.

  36. 286
    Rod B says:

    I should have used religious, as in religion-like, not religion. “Religion” connotes an all-encompasing institution that dominates the thinking, and that’s not what I meant or mean. What I do mean, validated by most of the recent repetitive response posts, is this. Looking at a simple object, process, idea and insisting with no reservations or arriere pensee that it does not exist, despite it being plainly visible and obvious, is irrational and usually stems from the fear (valid or not) that admitting such would create a crack, no matter how miniscule, in strongly held beliefs. This is religious, not scientific.

    “Is this wagon red?”
    “In what context do you mean?”
    “In the context of, is this wagon red?”
    “You have to look at the handle and wheels.”
    “Just the body; is it red?”
    “What’s it being used for?”
    “Is it red?”
    “It’s a stupid question; why do you ask?”
    “Want to know if the painter knew what he was doing. Is it red?”
    “If I don’t have others to compare, it’s statistically meaningless.”
    “Is it red?”
    “blah, blah, blah…….”

    That’s characteristic of a liturgy, not a scientific method (nor a “religion”).

    Here’s the problem, which I mean as a helpful criticism along with the straight criticism. (Which, to validate, I have done much of here: as a skeptic none-the-less offering helpful suggestions (not on the science, but) how AGWers can best present or argue their case for effect.) Man #2 now goes to a bystander who observed the above and says, “Let me explain the truth and facts of AGW.” The bystander replies — (fill in the blank with whatever repulsive phrase you like). Note that I don’t suffer the same negativism. I have been around all of you long enough that I can get past these periodic religious infirmities because, by experience, I know you have real science in your mind, and I’m able to separate the stuff and benefit from it. But to expect a newbie to accept anything you have to say (given the above kind of scenario) is futile.

    A few specific responses:
    Jim G., so 2002-2008 is completely bogus but 1998-2008 is perfectly good. Valid to invalid seems to have a really steep almost step function. If you start with 1998 (depending on when in 1998) the temperature direction is down. I think you really meant if you start looking at 1998 in a chart that started in 1975….. Not the same thing.

    dhogaza, Ray, et al, et al: for the umpteenth time I did not ask about (nor do I agree with) Monckton’s analysis. Most of you imply that I did (Ray asserts it directly), yet you will find no evidence of that. I know it’s what you all wished that I had asked, but as the man says, wish in one hand, crap in the other and see what fills up first.

    kevin, I have been properly chastised for eyeballing graphs, so I wanted only to simply ask if Monckton seemed to know how to calculate a least squares (or similar) linear regression.

    Let me pose a question. You are all taking the GRE and one question asks, “there are 60 data points for something happening between 1995 and 2000; calculate and graph a least squares linear regression.” Would you all, I would guess, just write on the answer sheet, “Meaningless.”? Would you expect or get full credit?

    Dan, what on earth does this discourse have to do with “peer-reviewed science”? Your wrath is making you flail.

    Jim says, “[religion] is always the last line of defense of those who do not have a real argument.” Are you referring to me or you all??

    And then, out of the blue comes Jürgen Hubert (277), seemingly properly credentialed, with a direct, no fuss no muss answer to my question! Boggles the mind! His answer basically said the temperature between 2002 and 2008, as calculated with linear regression, has been decreasing. His downward rate was different from Monckton’s and casts a question on (probably) Monckton’s calculation ability. He then proceeds to destroy Monckton’s analysis and logic. Check it out. See how easy it is!

  37. 287
    Rod B says:

    SecularAnimist (265), Like Furry, I think you took your logic beyond reasonable and made some assertions that were a bit too complete and inflexible. Short of that, I thought the post was erudite, informative, and offered some worthwhile stuff to consider.

  38. 288
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod, you get it backwards. Again.

    You claim:
    “His answer basically said the temperature … has been decreasing.”

    This is what you’re paraphrasing:

    —–excerpt follows——-

    “The linear fit produced a warming of 0.0349044 °C for the entire decade”

    _______________end excerpt____________________

  39. 289
    dhogaza says:

    First Rod B:

    Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?

    Last Rod B:

    dhogaza, Ray, et al, et al: for the umpteenth time I did not ask about (nor do I agree with) Monckton’s analysis.

    I do believe I get to call “bullshit” at this point.

    Most of you imply that I did (Ray asserts it directly),

    Gee, I wonder why …

    yet you will find no evidence of that.

    Sort of like the missing empirical evidence that supports the AGW hyptothesis, I imagine …

    I report, you decide …

  40. 290
    dhogaza says:

    And then, out of the blue comes Jürgen Hubert (277), seemingly properly credentialed, with a direct, no fuss no muss answer to my question! Boggles the mind! His answer basically said the temperature between 2002 and 2008, as calculated with linear regression, has been decreasing.

    In other words, Monckton was flat out wrong, because he claimed 2001 to 2008 …

    That’s even worse than an algebraic sign error, I do believe …

  41. 291
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B., I’m going to try one last time, and then if you want to continue to make a fool of yourself, you are welcome to do so without my assistance.

    First, you did not ask about an intrinsic property (e.g. red color) of a physical object. You asked if an analysis was correct. It was an analysis involving a physical quantity–slope of a temperature trend. An analysis to be correct must have not just a numerical value, but errors on that numerical value and some way of interpreting both. Without that, it is not correct–regardless of whether the arithmetic is done correctly.
    I am sorry if you interpret this as religious fervor. In reality, there is no more emotion in this than I would have in grading the test of a student. If it’s wrong, I’ll tell you about it. You can fix it, or you can get it wrong on the final, too. Your choice.

  42. 292
    SecularAnimist says:

    Barton Paul Levenson wrote: “Whenever a parapsychology experiment seems to produce significant results, tightening the controls eliminates the effect.”

    An extended discussion of parapsychology would be wildly off-topic and inappropriate for this forum, but if the moderator will indulge I would like to respond in order to elaborate on my point about skepticism.

    With all due respect, Mr. Levenson’s statement is simply incorrect. An open-minded examination of modern day parapsychological research will find that it is conducted according to the highest standards that apply to any field of scientific inquiry, and has obtained robust, replicable results that demonstrate the existence of certain types of psi phenomena.

    Jessica Utts, who is professor of statistics at the University of Californa, chair of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies, and a member of the board of directors of the Parapsychological Association (an affiliate of the AAAS) wrote in a 1995 review of US government-sponsored parapsychology research:

    Research on psychic functioning, conducted over a two decade period, is examined to determine whether or not the phenomenon has been scientifically established … Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted. Effects of similar magnitude to those found in government-sponsored research … have been replicated at a number of laboratories across the world. Such consistency cannot be readily explained by claims of flaws or fraud … it is reliable enough to be replicated in properly conducted experiments, with sufficient trials to achieve the long-run statistical results needed for replicability … It is recommended that future experiments focus on understanding how this phenomenon works … There is little benefit to continuing experiments designed to offer proof, since there is little more to be offered to anyone who does not accept the current collection of data. [Emphasis added]

    Now, clearly parapsychology and climate science differ in their subject matter; moreover climate science is widely known and understood by a large community of scientists whereas parapsychology is a relatively small and obscure field of research. The conclusions of climate science with regard to the “reality” of anthropogenic warming are widely known and almost universally accepted by scientists both within and outside the field; the conclusions of parapsychology about the “reality” of psi phenomena are little known and not widely accepted by scientists outside the field. And the conclusions of parapsychology, while they suggest tantalizing new horizons for scientific exploration and our understanding of the world, do not bear urgently upon the survival of human civilization and the well-being of the Earth’s biosphere as do those of climate science.

    And yet, it is not hard for me to find in the contrast between Mr. Levenson’s view and that of Professor Utts, a parallel with a certain sort of conversation that has occurred numerous times on this site:

    Skeptic: “Climate science hasn’t proved that the warming is real or that humans are causing it. There is no good data to support this, it’s just the ‘religion’ of ‘environmentalists’ and a ‘belief’ that falls apart under scrutiny. The warming trend you claim to find is an artifact of flawed methodology or sloppy statistics and disappears when the data is more tightly controlled. At best, you need to do more research to prove that AGW exists, before I will accept it.”

    Climate Scientist: “No, the research is robust, and has established that the warming is real and human activities are causing it. The focus of research should now be on understanding how this phenomenon works in more detail. There is little more ‘proof’ to offer anyone who does not accept the current collection of data.

    It is easy to judge harshly — as I often do — those obstinate climate change deniers, who misname themselves “skeptics”, who approach the subject with an a priori certainty that anthropogenic global warming is not, and cannot be, must not be, real, who seem driven by a refusal to accept something that profoundly challenges their sense of the world, who thus reject science that they have not studied, and will not study and will never accept no matter what, because they already know that it must be wrong, and the work of frauds or incompetents or ideologically-motivated environmental radicals or Al Gore or whatever.

    And yet, I would not be surprised if the majority of the scientists and science-minded laypersons who participate in this site, would react to the mention of parapsychology much as Mr. Levenson has with his quite incorrect characterization of the state of that science — with an a priori rejection of the reality of phenomena that challenge their world view, an inclination to reject the results of decades of scientific research with which they are actually unfamiliar, and a suspicion that the whole subject is the work of frauds or incompetents or “spiritualists” or Uri Geller or the “X-Files” or whatever. If this is your reaction, you might ask yourself honestly whether you would be easily able to undertake a dispassionate, impartial, open-minded examination of the subject.

    I think it behooves all of us when we engage with obstinate climate change deniers, to recognize that all of us are capable of “denial” to some degree, when our most basic sense of the world and our place in it is challenged, and to extend compassion to those who may be so disturbed by what climate science has to tell us, that they have great difficulty in approaching the subject with an open mind.

  43. 293
    Rod B says:

    Hank (288), you’ve taken this otherwise contentious (not to mention getting boring) topic beyond the pale. I’m really losing my patience treating these responses with the seriousness they’re fast not deserving. Calling it as I see it, you are both wrong and stupid. Stupid because you deliberately misread the site page, hoping no one would notice, when the shenanigans are as clear as a 100-foot billboard. You didn’t think anyone beyond a 3rd grade education would notice??? For the record the very first upfront and prominent commented result of Jürgen’s analysis is, and I quote,

    “…the author provided a source for his data – the HadCRUT3 data set. So I sat out to recreate the graph, and managed to do so. …First of all, while the used data did show a cooling trend, my linear fit (done with GNUPlot) produced a cooling of
    -0.00156427 °C/month.

    Extrapolated for an entire decade, like the author has done, this would translate into:
    -0.00156427*12*10 °C/decade = -0.1877124 °C/decade”

    This is not even half as much as the 0.4 °C/decade the author claimed….

    Your quote was a couple of pages and graphs down. If you have trouble seeing the above negative numbers or reading the graphs, go ask tamino or someone for help. I can’t do it.

    Jürgen then went into debunking Monckton’s thing, which I have never questioned.

    Sorry for the flame. Maybe I’m losing it.

    dhogaza (289), you try to refute my contention that I was not asking about “analysis”, just mathematical calculations, with the quote from my very first (and what I thought was pretty simple) post on this subject (#200), “Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis?”

    Boy! Sounds bad. Wonder why you tried to slide the whole post under the rug. It was:

    Adam (190), et al, is Monckton incorrect in his temperature analysis? I’m not asking if it is inappropriate, but incorrect. Nor am I asking about his opinions and assertions re interpretations or his other seemingly goofy comments — just his mathematical assessment of the temperature since 2000-1.

    You’re resting your religious tenants on a general use of one common word, which was immediately explained? Pretty chancy!

    I’m done.

  44. 294
    Rod B says:

    ps. that of course should have been tenets, not tenants. I care not who pays you rent ;-)

  45. 295
    Rick Brown says:

    Rod B (203 . . . “I’m done.”

    One can only hope.

  46. 296

    Re: #186 ad homs

    Gavin, I think you left out “rigorous arithmetic.”

    (Captcha fortune cookie: announce analyzed)

  47. 297
    Hank Roberts says:

    New question: can a solitary person posting on a blog have a temperature, or is a temperature only possible with interactions?

  48. 298
    John Mathon says:

    > #276 Rod, assuming your not trolling here and are really sincere–although that is becoming a harder notion to maintain–you need to understand that the answer to your question would have no validity. Validity in science is a VERY BIG DEAL, and you need to know that what you are asking for (a meaningful trend between 2002 and 2008, a mere six years) would have no validity (especially in the context of climate science)–it would be a meaningless–as Ray and others have been endlessly patient in trying to explain to you.

    This is so funny. 6 or 8 or 11 years is all totally insignificant but when Hansen went to congress in 1988 he had only 9 years of data to support his theory of AGW. He got a lucky move in 1998 when the El Nino came along making his scenarios actually look plausible. So, we’ve gotten 20 years of rising temperatures (preceeded by 30+ years of falling temperatures which was preceeded by 30 years of rising temperatures apparently caused by something else again.) We are down to 0.15 degrees / decade or 1.5K / century sensitivity for the last 30 years. For the temperature to get to Gavin and Hansens 3.0K / century (or doubling of CO2 I should say) we would have to have 0.4-0.6K/decade for the rest of this century.

    [Response: Try doing that with actual arithmetic (clue – it’s 0.32K/dec) – gavin]

    That is unprecedented and it would mean the NAO/AMO, PDO phenomenon would magically just disappear, that we would have no more unexplained pauses in temperature for the next 90 years as temperatures soared unlike ever before in recorded history.

    [Response: There’s no reason to think natural variability disappears – but yes, such a temperature change would clearly be unprecedented. Possibly that’s why people want to avoid it? – gavin]

    Excuse me if I don’t BELIEVE but need more than models which are unbelievable and which have failed every effort to validate them.

    I want to make clear that the models are completely unproven and thus Monckton is perfectly right in questioning their results. The models have zero validity against past data because they were FITTED to that data. [edit]

    [Response: No they are not. If they were, they’d do a better job. Show me anywhere in (for instance) Schmidt et al (2006) and Hansen et al (2007) which describe the GISS modelE development and simulations where there is a piece of physics that is tuned to the changes in the 20th Century. Or the mid-Holocene, or the 8.2 kyr event, etc. – gavin]

    Monckton is simply pointing out that the best that can be concluded from the data is that feedbacks are probably mostly negative, not positive.

    [Response: This is neither what Monckton is doing, nor is it true. – gavin]

    This seems confirmed by the fact that so many pieces of data are not conforming to the models. I.e.

    1) lack of warming in the antarctic
    2) lack of ocean warming
    3) lack of tropospheric warming
    4) increased rain beyond model predictions
    5) lack of land temperature increases for 10 years
    6) ozone depletion not predicted

    [Response: Ah, and your analysis of the the models on short time periods demonstrating this can be found in which publication? And how is ozone depletion relevent? This was predicted ahead of time, but ended up being much worse than expected in Antarctica – how does this help your case? – gavin]

    The models also fail to model NAO and PDO phenomenon. They fail to predict as shown in a recent hydrology paper.

    So, the confidence in these models is very suspect. The feedback components are clearly in question as the chief of the IPCC AR4 has indicated he no longer believes cloud cover is related to temperatures as was modeled. He now speculates the connection between cloud cover and temperature is either non-existant or inverse. If the connection is broken then Moncktons analysis is exactly right.

    I want to re-iterate. Trying to defend these models of climate is a pointless exercise not worthy of any scientist. They clearly must be riddled with errors. It would be shocking if they weren’t so it is not surprising at all that 2 peer-reviewed studies published in the last 7 months have shown the models fail miserably at predicting short term or longer term temperatures.

    There is no basis to say science has proved anything more than a 0.6C/doubling of CO2 temperature sensitivity to CO2 forcing. This is why the APS did not bring a paper that even tried to scientifically justify the 0.6C figure let alone 2 or 3 degrees. It’s impossible to justify anything more than 0.6C through physics, Watts/cm2. That’s why they couldn’t produce such a paper. As Smith admitted the lack of such justification in essence is more of an attack on the significant AGW hypothesis than Moncktons paper!!!

    [Response: Monckton’s paper is not significant in the slightest. But we have all of paleo-climate history to demonstrate that the climate is sensitivity to perturbations – gavin]

    [edit]
    The argument by Smith to justify a 2C/doubling of CO2 using a curve fitting algorithm is just as bogus as any analysis I’ve seen. Reducing the complexity of climate to CO2 alone and ascribing all heating since 1750 to CO2 is more absurd than any other asssumption one could come up with. It is just as likely that walnut production worldwide is related to temperature in the same way and may be more efficient and predictive than a 2C/doubling curve fitting. The Vostok data alone would invalidate such an analysis on the face of it. With Smiths assumoption the planet should all have burned up 300 million years ago.

    The fact is that there is no scientific way to justify >0.6C / doubling of CO2 and therefore all this argumentation is pointless. If there was such a defense of the Hansen/IPCC theory of large feedbacks then APS could have found an author who could scientifically defend that hypothesis [edit]

    [Response: The FPS (not the APS) could have certainly found such people – or they could have just read the IPCC report. I recommend you do too. – gavin]

  49. 299

    This is giving me such a deja vu, taking me back almost 30 to the time my brand new colleagues at Elsevier Science Publishers handed me the newly arrived issue of the Journal of Irreproducible Results for my perusal.

  50. 300

    I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that this odd experience has included a trip to SPPI’s site, which is something out of the Twilight Zone.


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