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Not the IPCC (“NIPCC”) Report

Filed under: — mike @ 28 November 2008 - (Italian)

Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt

Much in the spirit of the Fraser Institute’s damp squib we reported on last year, S. Fred Singer and his merry band of contrarian luminaries (financed by the notorious “Heartland Institute” we’ve commented on previously) served up a similarly dishonest ‘assessment’ of the science of climate change earlier this year in the form of what they call the “NIPCC” report (the “N” presumably standing for ‘not the’ or ‘nonsense’). This seems to be making the rounds again as Singer and Heartland are gearing up for a reprise of last year’s critically…er…appraised “Conference on Climate Change” this March. Recently some have asked us for our opinion of the report and so we’ve decided we ought to finally go ahead and opine. Here goes.


The fact that the very title of the report summary (“Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate“) itself poses–at best–a false dichotomy is not an auspicious start. The fact that the fonts and layout are identical to the real IPCC report is another indication that this isn’t quite on the level (and reminiscent of the infamous fake PNAS paper that accompanied the first ‘Oregon Petition’).

Reading the table of contents, the report has eight chapters (in addition to an introduction and conclusions chapter). Five of these, quite remarkably, have titles which are simply untrue. The remaining three chapters pose loaded questions which are disingenuous and misleading, if not outright dishonest, with ‘answers’ provided by the authors. In fact this is such a massive regurgitation of standard contrarian talking points and discredited canards, it’s obvious that reviewing this would be a herculean task (which is presumably the point – if you can’t convince people with actual science, bludgeon them).

However, precisely because most of these points have been made before, there exists a large body of work pointing out the flaws already. So instead of regurgitating these counterpoints, we will simply link to an index of these rebuttals. As some of you may know, we have a set up a resource to do precisely this; the RealClimate Wiki. Let’s see how this works…

Chapter 2 “How much of modern warming is anthropogenic” throws out the standard, itself now discredited, “the hockey stick is discredited” claim, and adds in the old favorite “CO2 doesn’t lead it lags”. We also get ‘observations and model predictions don’t match’, ‘the warming doesn’t coincide with the greenhouse gas increases’, and of course ‘the instrumental record isn’t reliable’. Naturally, we were a bit disappointed not to encounter the granddaddy of all contrarian talking points, But they predicted global cooling in the 1970s!.

On to chapter 3, “Most of Modern Warming is Due to Natural Causes”. The short answer to the title of the chapter is, of course, “ummm, no, its not”. The chapter draws in equal parts from the twin canards that its all just natural cycles, and ‘its the sun!.

If you’re growing impatient for model-bashing, no fear; there’s a whole chapter for you (Chapter 4: “Climate Models are Not Reliable”), which offers up the usual mix of straw man descriptions of how climate models actually work, and red herrings about supposedly missing feedbacks and processes. Fortunately, RealClimate wiki provides some one-stop rebuttal shopping.

The falsely-titled chapter 5 (“The Rate of Sea-Level Rise is Unlikely To Increase”) rests upon incorrect claims that sea level rise projections are exaggerated, and or that the IPCC supposedly lowered their projections of future sea level rise. Chapter 6 (“Do Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases Heat the Oceans?”), if we take it literally, asks a rather embarrassing question (‘No grasshopper! The greenhouse gases are ‘gases’. They heat the atmosphere and surface and a warmer atmosphere transfers some of that heat to the ocean below. You still have much to learn.’). Chapter 7 (“How Much Do We Know About Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere?”) answers the question it asks with the usual nonsense about how the increase in CO2 is probably natural, or that we can’t trust the CO2 record, and that CO2 isn’t rising as quickly as projected anyhow. And chapters 8 and 9 offer the requisite disclaimer for contrarians that, even after you’ve debunked everything they’ve said so far, and come to the inescapable conclusion that anthropogenic climate change is (1) real, and that (2) future changes will be profound if we continue with business as usual, ‘it will be good for us anyway’..

In concluding, We’d like to level with our readers. Some of us thought that the “NIPCC” report was so self-evidently nonsense that we shouldn’t even give it the benefit of any publicity. But it does give a great opportunity to give the RealClimate ‘wiki’ a test ride. We hope to expand this resource in the future, and we’d actually welcome some additional outside help. (In fact, much of it is already due to some dedicated volunteers. Thanks!). So if you have a desire and the time to help organise this effort, drop us a line and we’ll set you up.


251 Responses to “Not the IPCC (“NIPCC”) Report”

  1. 1
    rpauli says:

    pecked to death by ducks

  2. 2
    Viriato says:

    Very nice work, and that wiki well, it can get bigger and bigger and out of control !!! LOLL .Only I think that there are not enough arguments in the universe to stop climate skeptic from repeating over ‘d over again the same old sound bites.

  3. 3
    Jim Redden says:

    In the Singer Heartland report, one particularly egregious out of context citation is the quoting of Kevin Trenberth on pages 14-15, where it is implied that Trenberth concludes that climate computer models are in no way useful to predict future climate–very much contrary to his actual and publicly stated views.

    In this instance, Trenberth is actually articulating the difference between a scenario and prediction (i.e., since future climate will resolve as a function of anthropogenic emissions yet to be determined, in strict terms, a prediction of future climate is not possible, but in the context of stated numeric future greenhouse scenarios, A,B, or C, useful and revealing climate estimations can be made).

    For Singer to quote this out of context reveals his intent to distort and avoid the truth. This kind of courtroom style hooey that flies in the face of truth seeking is frustrating in the least…if there is a Hell, Singer has surely paved his way to it…

  4. 4
    Steve Pranulis says:

    There are a few lines from the Arthur C. Clarke’s 1965 book of essays, \Voices from the Sky\ that say a lot about Singer. Clarke was writing about his experiences in the 1950’s trying to generate enthusiasm for space flight, and he wrote a few paragraphs about\…Fred Singer, then a science attache with the U.S. Office of Naval Research. He had already done notable work with rocket probes in the upper atmosphere, but was somewhat skeptical about space flight. However after a few brainwashing sessions, he became wildly enthusiastic, and we soon had to hold him down lest he start galloping all over the solar system.\ Ever a malleable skeptic?

  5. 5
    John Mashey says:

    Viriato @2
    Nothing will stop repetition of soundbites, forever.

    But good information helps those who are either uncertain, or need scientific information to counter those soundbites.

    ==
    Michael: I was up at PSU late October, but email kept bouncing, so I guess you were away. I was over at IST & stopped by Walker, but no luck. Maybe next time…

  6. 6
    Steve Easterbrook says:

    Can you build on the work already done over at Grist, with their “how to talk to a skeptic” series? No need to invent the wheel. However, I think that their series could do with beefier references into the literature, raising the level of scholarship. Perhaps that’s what realclimate folks could add?

    [Response: In our main posts, we do try and do that, but as you correctly state there is a lot of material out there and no need to re-invent the wheel. Thus the RC Wiki is mainly an indexing that sends you to where these things have been discussed in more depth already. It should help identify where more technical work is needed though… – gavin]

  7. 7
    rpauli says:

    Although bothersome, this should not be ignored. This is more dreck from a renown denier/agitator S. Fred Singer who seems too be drawn to contentious fights. He has a long history with the tobacco industry.

    Wikipedia has his bio, but their back discussion offers a far more interesting and extensive discussion than their front bio entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Fred_Singer
    Perhaps this latest NIPCC gambit will be added. Wikipedia has some struggles in this area – it may be appropriate to put effort into a RealClimate Wiki.

    Elsewhere are other well referenced history of Singer’s misdeeds:
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Singer-Seitz.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Singer-Nightline.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Singer-1993-1994.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Stohrer-Singer.html
    http://www.ecosyn.us/adti/Hazeltine-Singer.html

  8. 8
    Alder Fuller says:

    Michael & Gavin,

    This is one of your best efforts yet for challenging the misinformation campaigns.

    I’d like to offer one minor suggestion that may improve clarity of your otherwise well-written {even entertaining :-) } post.

    It took me a minute to parse the following sentence:

    “Chapter 2 ‘How much of modern warming is anthropogenic’ throws out the standard, itself now discredited, ‘the hockey stick is discredited’ claim, and adds … ”

    It was the “itself now discredited” phrase used as an adjective that tripped me up. I get it after rereading a couple of times, but it seems cumbersome & could probably be smoothed out a bit.

    Suggestion: add hyphens to the adjective phrases, & include both in quotation marks for consitency: “How much of modern warming is anthropogenic” throws out the standard “itself-now-discredited”, “the-hockey-stick-is-discredited” claim, and adds …”

    Further, I’ll confess that I must not have been paying attention, because up ’til now, I’ve missed your RC Wiki. Wow. What a great resource. I hope to participate in that in coming months.

    Thank you very much for your fantastic efforts. I am engaged as an educator about climate change in the context of systems sciences (at Euglena Academy), & actively challenging obfuscators & deniers in my community.

    The two web sites that I use most(& recommend to students & clients) are Spencer Weart’s website, The Discovery of Global Warming, & Real Climate. Dr. Weart lays out the relatively linear, narrative history, you folks address the current issues in substantive fashion.

    Add Fred Pearce’s book With Speed & Violence – and another one I’ll mention another time – and one has a great symbiotic combination.

  9. 9
    Ron Crouch says:

    NIPCC. Nobel Prize for Fictitious Humor.

  10. 10
    jaynicks says:

    “No Grasshopper!” ? ? ?

    Could we have a poll to see how many of we readers recognize that
    Obscure non-Literary Reference?

    The series *ended* within a year of the founding of the venerable
    Costeau Society ~ ~ wayback! lol

    Awwe never mind. If you wanna know it is @
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kung_Fu_(TV_series)
    or
    http://tinyurl.com/yu6zo9

    Anyway I think my cousin has it right, GHG deniers are actually aliens
    who need a desert planet before they can move in, hence the constant
    denial of observed data. Of course she is also almost convinced that
    Henry Kissinger, who has not aged in forty years, must be a vampire and
    points out that at least her models fit the data while others’
    explanations require assumptions of insanity or miracle.

    Have a nice Holocene,

    J

    [Response: I’m pretty sure that this phraseology has passed into the canon by now… – gavin]

    [Response: The term is defined in the online urban dictionary, which seems adequate justification for this sort of useage :) -mike]

  11. 11
    Donald Oats says:

    Your choice of topic is timely.

    Sadly here in Australia, the national rag “The Australian” continues to promote the so-called debate on whether climate change is human caused or not. The editors have perfected the art of specious framing of the scientific question, which is not about climate change, but is about anthropogenic global warming as a (major) contributor to current and recent climate change.

    The usual suspects of Carter, Pilmer, Evans, Bellamy, Kinnimonth etc, are publishing articles in the Australian in what seems to be a coordinated effort to keep the ridiculous dross in the public’s face. They also get free rein in the letters-to-editor section of the newspaper as well. Unfortunately I suspect their attempts to change the public opinion on AGW are working – real working scientists can only respond so often to these opinion pieces. The more often these guys get their debating points in print, the weaker the scientific blow-by-blow rebuttal of their points seems.

    On a different note: keep up the good work with this site; it’s a great resource and a needed one. I have a request though – could more of your posts be on the science and the progress being made?

  12. 12
    tamino says:

    could more of your posts be on the science and the progress being made?

    Personally, that’s what I’d prefer. But the need to counter the spread of fear, uncertainty, and doubt is too great.

    So I say, keep debunking. Not only does it get the truth on the record, it helps the rest of us fight the good fight.

    [Response: Having said that, there are interesting new developments which need contextualising as well. Unfortunately, that takes more time to prepare – we’d be happy to get suggestions for guest posts on such topics though… – gavin]

  13. 13
    Esteban Siadora says:

    Good work.

    Barry Brook over at BraveNewClimate came to much the same conclusion as you guys and set up a series (currently 5 parts) called ‘Spot the Recycled Denial’, which attempts the same refutation-by-link approach (with some parenthetical comments):

    http://bravenewclimate.com/spot-the-recycled-denial-series/

  14. 14

    I forwarded your email to Alternet.org tips. I hope that they will reprint your web page this time instead of Singer’s.

  15. 15
    Alan says:

    “Some of us thought that the “NIPCC” report was so self-evidently nonsense that we shouldn’t even give it the benefit of any publicity.

    I for one am glad you went ahead. Yesterday I replied to someone on slashdot and mentioned that I thought Singer had been consigned to the dustbin of dishonest scientists since I had not heard much of him lately, I also recommended your site and linked to the front page. At the time I linked the top story was “Mind the gap”, I checked the site today and low and behold there’s Fred!

  16. 16
    P. Lewis says:

    Climate Trek: The Idiot Generation

    Episode 1: Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

    [Voice over by Captain Twerp] “Climate change… the strict limits. These are the stalling voices of the contrarian bandwagon Indolence. Its continuing mission: to not explore the real science, to seek out incredibly contorted explanations, to selectively quote where no contrarians have gone before”

    [Direction: Run title sequence; selective quote, p. i]

    Nothing in this report should be construed as reflecting the views of the Science

    [Direction: proceed to the Introduction, selective quote, p. 1] The Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate report says:

    …it is far from being a reliable reference work on some of the most important aspects of climate change science and policy. It is marred by errors and misstatements, ignores scientific data that were available but were inconsistent with the authors’ pre-conceived conclusions, and has already been contradicted in important parts by research published…

    [Direction: proceed to the Conclusion, selective quote, p. 27]

    …the reported warming (since 1979) is very likely caused by the human emission of greenhouse gases

    [Roll credits]

    *******
    There we have it then, selective out-of-context quotes to “prove” … what? We all know!

  17. 17
    Aaron Lewis says:

    Even well intentioned non-partisan groups do not seem to be able to properly read the IPCC. Consider the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). In a recent report on California’s water situation (http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_1108JLR.pdf ) they state:

    “Many of California’s water managers are now working with projections of a one foot rise by mid-century and a three to four foot rise by 2100, slightly above the levels projected in the higher emissions scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). . .”

    What the IPCC really says is that such estimates exclude “future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow ”
    See: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf section 3.2 &
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter4.pdf page 367.

    Thus, the IPCC numbers set a range for the minimum sea level rise rather than bracketing total sea level rise. The difference is important for policy and engineering purposes.

    The PPIC report was passed to me from a senior manager in a large federal agency with large inputs to all water policy, so apparently the PPIC report is being read by policy makers, who apparently did not read the full text of the IPCC reports.

  18. 18

    #12 , Completely agree with Tamino. I have so many suggestions, but my #1 idea is MSU troposphere temperature vs Radiosonde DWT’s. Today 247 K troposphere in the High Arctic is +7 K above last years average for November (warmest year in History for the NH), yet I keep on reading MSU’s data being much colder.. something is just not quite right.

  19. 19
    Lawrence McLean says:

    Re #11 Donald Oats,
    It is not just the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald is also promoting the works of local denialists: Carter and Pilmer via the opinion piece by Miranda Devine. Ironically, Devine presents the likes of Pilmer and Carter as true open minded scientists and every one else (such as the contributors to this site) that are not “skeptical” like them as followers of “climate alarm dogma”! I cannot believe that that it is co-incidental that all of these denial articles are appearing at the same time.

  20. 20
    Lawrence Brown says:

    The statement in the NIPCC that ‘observations and model predictions don’t match’, indicates that some people will remain anti AGW no matter what the evidence shows to the contrary. A good example, among many, showing a close match between model projections and data since the date of the model’s projections is summarized in a May 2007 post by Gavin on Hansen’s 1988 projections. This clearly demonstrates that model forecasts can come pretty close to observed data.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/hansens-1988-projections/

  21. 21
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 11,12,18 –

    One thing that might be helpful (at least to me) is a post explaining about multidecadal trends in AO/NAM.

    I was in a discussion on another website and the topic came up; I started educated myself more about Rossby waves and how they propagate, but I don’t really know where to go with that yet – one idea I came across was that the changing temperature distribution in the y,z plane would change the zonal wind shear, etc, ?? and that would reduce planetary wave propagation into the stratosphere and thus lead to stronger stratospheric polar vortex which could then feed back into the tropospheric circulation (by regulation of planetary wave propagation?). But I also saw another paper (sorry I don’t have time to post references just now) which suggests that the theory that planetary wave propagation would be so altered is wrong and also that the evidence suggests the EP flux hasn’t changed. I think it pointed the finger at direct radiative forcing within the stratosphere causing changes in the polar vortex. But without circulation feedbacks, I don’t get how AGW cools the winter polar (lower) stratosphere more than the rest of the (lower) stratosphere – it’s easier to understand how ozone depletion and solar forcing (lack of recent trends aside) would do that, although this paper chose a time of year such as to rule out spring-time polar ozone depletion contributions … Anyway, I was wondering if it might just be the same Brewer Dobson circulation acting on changed zonal winds – bringing in greater momentum from lower latitudes – or, if it might just be that enhanced low-level polar warming produces a climatological thermal low and that is what is going on – I don’t know???????? – or is part of the answer in gravity wave drag?

    [Response: There are some good discussions of this in Miller et al (2006) and Shindell et al (2003, JGR) – both downloadable from the GISS website. – gavin]

  22. 22
    Patrick 027 says:

    ..”evidence suggests the EP flux hasn’t changed”…
    well, at least that the EP flux divergence from planetary waves doesn’t seem to have changed significantly…

  23. 23
    Patrick 027 says:

    … or is any AO/NAM trend driven partly by changes in storm track positions themselves being forced by other changes besides specifically AO/NAM (reduced static stability at higher latitudes, reduced lower tropospheric temp gradient, increased gradient in upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, increased humidity, variations in all those with latitude and longitude…) ??

  24. 24
    Danny Bloom says:

    Finally the news it out:

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    REUTERS: US$1 billion lawsuit against world leaders for global warming

    http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2008/11/28/sue-world-leaders-1-billion-for-global-warming/

    Aaron Gray-Block reports from Reuters today:

    Tags: Environment, climate treaty, crimes against humanity, global warming, greenhouse emissions, international criminal court…James Lovelock, James Hansen, Mark Lynas, Fred Pearce, Tim Flannery, Sharon Astyk, James Howard Kunstler

    AMSTERDAM — In a global stunt, a U.S. environmental activist is poised to lodge a $1 billion damages class action lawsuit at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against all world leaders for failing to prevent global warming.

    Activist and blogger Dan Bloom says he will sue world leaders for “intent to commit manslaughter against future generations of human beings by allowing murderous amounts of fossil fuels to be harvested, burned and sent into the atmosphere as CO2″.

    He intends to lodge the lawsuit in the week starting Sunday, Dec. 6.

    The prosecutor’s office at the ICC, the world’s first permanent court (pictured below right) for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, says it is allowed to receive information on crimes that may fall within the court’s jurisdiction from any source.

    “Such information does not per se trigger a judicial proceeding,” the prosecutor’s office hastened to add.

    The question is: will or should the prosecutor take on the case?

    One might argue in defence that world leaders are in fact trying to impose climate-saving measures. In Vienna last year, almost all rich nations agreed to consider cuts in greenhouse emissions of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Talks on a new climate treaty will be held in Poznan, Poland, from Dec. 1-12.

    Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Climate Panel, says the cuts are needed to limit temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, an amount seen by the EU, some other nations and many environmentalists as a threshold for “dangerous” climate change.

    Granted then that there is growing consensus that climate change poses a real threat, is it not only world leaders who are failing to prevent global warming?

    Perhaps the global collective of individuals, governments and industry is to blame and the ICC lawsuit a valid publicity stunt in the constant battle to raise awareness and prompt action?

    Because it’s action we need — and now, right?

  25. 25
    Patrick 027 says:

    … and of course changes in zonal wind distributions and thermal effects affecting excitation of quasistationary planetary waves, and all the feedbacks with stormtracks, etc… ??

  26. 26
    Chris says:

    #18 “…my #1 idea is MSU troposphere temperature vs Radiosonde DWT’s…..I keep on reading MSU’s data being much colder…something is just not quite right…”

    I don’t see it, at least for 2008. Global LT radiosonde and MSU (UAH/RSS) data appear to have converged at just under +0.1C anomaly wrt 1981-90 (while it is the surface anomaly that has diverged at more than +0.2C anomaly wrt 1981-90)

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadat/images/update_images/global_upper_air.png

    My personal opinion (for what it’s worth) is that SH SST anomalies (2008 so far coldest since 1996 and certain to finish that way) are one of the best early indicators of how the global temperature trends will turn out for the second half of this decade

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadsst2/diagnostics/hemispheric/southern/

    I predict that 2009 will be an even busier year for debunking :)

  27. 27
    Maya says:

    Love the new wiki! Very nicely laid out.

    One small change I’d like to see, though, is to make the rebuttals for the newspaper articles appear on the page for the newspaper. I know, that probably doesn’t parse – let me use an example: on the Wall Street Journal page, the first article listed is “Global Warming as Mass Neurosis Bret Stephens Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2008″. In order to find the rebuttal to that, I have to click on the author’s name. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s perfectly fine, but for the other citations I see, the rebuttal link is right there; you don’t have to click through the author’s name. So, it seems like the rebuttal link should also be here on the Wall Street Journal page, as well as on the author page.

    Keep up the great work!

  28. 28
    Chris says:

    I would also suggest that now the extra latent heat of this autumn’s fast Arctic ice recovery to ~normal has started to fade (i.e. mostly radiating away to space), Wayne won’t be able to claim many more “warmests in history” for a long time. I say this because here in Central England at 52N, the surface trend is not lagging too far behind the SH SST anomalies I referred to in my last post. The cooling trend didn’t start to bite properly until well into this year, but the cooler anomalies have become a permanent fixture since the start of summmer. Summer/autumn combined for 2008 CET are due to come out at ~12.75C, which is the coolest since 1993 (coolest since 1988 if you don’t include post-Pinatubo 1992 and 1993). The 120-year snowfall event at the end of last month was of course a tangible sign of this (see e.g. http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/news/Surrey-enjoys-October-snowfall-121-years/article-435799-detail/article.html )
    I would suggest that if “something is just not quite right” in Resolute, and for that matter Moscow, it’s that these are in key regions where extra warmth is being siphoned off – so to speak – as the globe cools.
    What goes around, comes around, in terms of atmospheric circulation, and the cooler anomalies will get to Resolute and the high Arctic sooner or later – sooner IMO.

  29. 29
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Chris, Thank You for the weather report. Given your interests, might I suggest you check out weather.com. This site deals with climate issues–and there the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    #29

    Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!

    Not taking the bait is also great, because it allows me to spend my time more usefully while both the weather and climate will speak for themselves in any event.

  31. 31
    Hank Roberts says:

    Danny, one way companies can and do establish a legal precedent to protect the ability to go on doing something is to arrange a court case that they can win, that will set the precedent they want, making subsequent challenges harder. It’s not a “valid publicity stunt” if you establish a precedent by having your attempt rejected or, worse, accepted then losing the case by failing to have all the arguments well formed. You have to pick these battles very carefully or you help the side you think you’re attacking by giving them precedent in their favor.

  32. 32
    JeremyC says:

    Thanks for the continued work guys.

    Let me echo some of the other posts here re the energy the denialists (I won’t apologise for using this descriptor) deploy in rubbishing the science on climate change (particularly in my very conservative country Australia). I find this worrying and feel climate scientists and policy makers can’t be complacent in thinking that the argument has been won over global warming. Don’t forget for denialists they fight for their worldview, they believe their core beliefs are being challenged and they will not stop fighting for such beliefs. This is far far different from debating an analysis of primary data.

    I remember the upsurge of confidence and boldness amongst the denialists after their conference in New York Last year organised by the Heartland Institute and as we know another one is coming up for March 2009 (perhaps it would useful for a number of us to attend). Here in Australia last years conference resulted in a whole spate of articles across the press denying climate change, though mostly in the Australian (which is funny because its owner, one R. Murdoch, has believed for a while that climate change is happening). I worry they could win, not just in Australia but across the world because the science and policy communities generally do not engage with belief related matters head on in mass media and denialists handle the media very well (look at the ex journalist Lord Nigel Lawson). Don’t get me wrong websites like Realclimate et al are invaluable weapons but we have to deploy these weapons and the battleground has shifted back to the mass media and I think we could be on the backfoot.

  33. 33
    Jim Eager says:

    Re Chris @30: “Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!”

    While you insist on predicting a ‘trend’ based only on recent events.

  34. 34
    caerbannog says:

    Take a look at Heartland’s roster of “global warming experts” at http://www.heartland.org/about/globalwarmingexperts.html

    It includes such luminaries as:

    AIDS “skeptic” Bruce Ames
    Sallie Baliunas
    “Resume polisher” Tim Ball
    E&E editor Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
    John Christie
    San Diego tv weatherman John Coleman
    Freeman Dyson
    CEI’s own Myron Ebell
    IPCC expert reviewer William Gray
    Craig Idso
    Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus
    Richard Lindzen
    Bjorn Lomborg
    Hockey-stick smasher Ross McKitrick
    Mr “Junk Science” himself: Steve Milloy
    Aspiring British Royalty member Chris Monckton
    Naomi Oreskes’ most feared critic Benny Peiser
    Fred Singer (of course!)
    Willie Soon (of course, again!)
    Roy Spencer
    Mr. Surfacestations himself: Anthony Watts

    All in all, quite an impressive list!

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    #33 And events of ~60 years ago (amongst others)

    If it was now 1945, would you predict there to be more or less summer ice in the Arctic in 1985? (Given 40 years of increasing CO2 and CH4?)

    In the Russian Arctic the 10-year mean appears to have been 0.25 million km2 higher in 1985 – see fig 2 of:
    http://instaar.colorado.edu/meetings/AW2008/abstract_detail.php?abstract_id=51

    It was almost certainly higher in the rest of the Arctic too, given what we know about the history of the Northwest Passage and temperatures in Greenland and Iceland.

    However, the “consensus” says otherwise, as represented by the following graph which I hesitate to voice my opinion of:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg

    In simple terms, it seems to me that the -ve PDO shift of ~1945 marked the end of a decline in Arctic ice, and the -ve AMO shift of ~1960 marked the start of an increase up to the 1980s.

    Fast forward 60 odd years from the mid-1940s to the next -ve PDO shift, and another decline in ice appears to be coming to an end. (Coincidental with SH SST anomalies showing their biggest drop since….well….the mid-1940s)

  36. 36
    Hank Roberts says:

    > If it was now 1945, would you predict there to be
    > more or less summer ice in the Arctic in 1985?

    Yes.

    If you want to get into betting, there are several climate bloggers currently inviting this sort of bet. You know how to find them.

    > It was almost certainly higher …
    > However, the “consensus” says otherwise

    You’re claiming support for your almost certainty but you can’t cite any because … why?

  37. 37
    tamino says:

    Re: #35 (Chris)

    You left out the best part of the linked article:

    Our results clearly show that the Russian Arctic sea ice cover experienced a general retreat over the chart record and that the current sea ice extent in the Russian Arctic is unprecedented in at least 74 years. However, the retreat has not been constant and the record shows that the retreat in the early part of the record stopped around the 1950s when a partial recovery took place, which continued until the 1970s-80s. Furthermore, when we examine individual seas and seasons (Figure 3) we see that the early period of retreat was only evident in summer and autumn and only in some seas. By contrast the retreat in recent decades can be observed in all seas in summer and autumn and also in winter and spring in the Barents and Laptev Seas.

    I would suggest that “something is just not quite right” with your entire point of view.

    As for “time series filters,” I suggest you leave discussion of them to those who know something about the subject.

  38. 38

    #26, Chris, you barely understand what a DWT is, it is thousands of measurements averaged into one. Its not limited to one location, can be done anywhere… MSU is a mix of temperatures similar to DWT. Instead of arguing with your lack of understanding…. skip all that…. present me an MSU measurement of a troposphere at a given time and location anywhere in the world, and let see if your confidence in MSU still holds.

    There is a disparity between warm High Arctic upper air proven by a great melt of 2008 during mostly cloudy period, something you easily forget, the convenience of grasping at straws, and a continuance of reports showing a cool troposphere.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    And just what is happening over the Antarctic region anyway? RSS had Oct 08 as being the coldest Oct in the satellite era for its -60 to -70S zone (anomaly -0.696C) but judging from NOAA, Nov appears to be dropping off the bottom of the graph:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_07a.fnl.anim.html
    ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/monthly_time_series/rss_monthly_msu_amsu_channel_tlt_anomalies_land_and_ocean_v03_2.txt

    I don’t see SH SST anomalies recovering anytime soon; quite the reverse.

    As for the Arctic, I can’t argue with the pretty orange colours (given I’ve emphasised the deep blues over Antarctica); however, let’s see what happens to something tangible i.e. the ice and snow over the coming year(s).
    In any event, I suspect there would have been a lot of pretty oranges in the 40s as well. As suggested perhaps by:
    http://tinyurl.com/5vevz4

    #36 ……because……it’s obvious?

    #37 A block quote, which does not clash in any way with my point of view (unsurprising as we’re quoting from/referencing the same article), no explanation of how it is supposed to do so, and a put-down. Cheers.

    #38 You’re right, I barely understand a lot of what you say.

  40. 40
    tamino says:

    Re: #39 (Chris)

    … another decline in ice appears to be coming to an end …

    That is where your “point of view” clashes with the linked article. You have no evidence to back up this claim.

    … and a put-down…

    How about an apology for your snide put-down of the very field of time series analysis, just because it contradicts your desired belief — even though you don’t understand the subject. That field happens to be my specialty.

    Now you have the unmitigated gall to become indignant at a putdown? You’re a hypocrite.

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    #37 Re: this part of the quote: “Furthermore, when we examine individual seas and seasons (Figure 3) we see that the early period of retreat was only evident in summer and autumn and only in some seas.”

    Remember fig 3 only goes back to the late 1930s which had a couple of the warmest years in the Arctic in the past century.
    See e.g.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/ZonAnn.Ts+dSST.txt
    – at 64-90N the GISS land-ocean temperature index for 1937-8 reached an average anomaly of +1.29C, which was not surpassed again for a 2-year period until 2002-3 (+1.33C)

    In other words, the early period of retreat would have been evident more universally from an earlier date.

  42. 42
    Hank Roberts says:

    Chris, reread Tamino again.

    The bit you left out — that he supplied — is the context, the longterm trend, from which you cherrypicked a shorter period, ignorant of statistics, and claim as “obvious” your fragment of the picture, that isn’t supported by the published science.

    Focusing on short spans in a variable system is an easy way to fool yourself (or fool anyone who doesn’t understand how this works).

    The furry science bloggers are particularly good at explaining this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php#

    Another example of the same statistical issue:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_0HiXKAFhRJ4/SS9sQ-FB3xI/AAAAAAAAAos/ALAAc9nxWmU/s400/Tuvalu.JPG
    from:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/11/lying-figures-eli-recently-wondered.html

    as is Tamino:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/31/garbage-is-forever/

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    #40 “put-down of the very field of time series analysis”
    ???
    Do I really need to explain how my original comment did not do this at all? If I were to say “you can do amazing things with statistics” would that be a snide put-down of the very field of statistics?
    So much for not taking the bait…….anyway…..

    “Now you have the unmitigated gall to become indignant at a putdown? You’re a hypocrite.”
    I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe…..

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    #42 With the greatest respect, and forgive me for my brevity, but the following is simply a false characterisation:
    “The bit you left out — that he supplied — is the context, the longterm trend, from which you cherrypicked a shorter period, ignorant of statistics, and claim as “obvious” your fragment of the picture, that isn’t supported by the published science.”
    Also see #41.

  45. 45
    d. beck says:

    Actually, Singer is right about the IPCC report. It is not correct about climate science…… but in the opposite direction of Singer’s claims.

    It was based on science up to mid 2006, and since then there have been many studies which show acceleration of all indicators. All of its predictions are far too conservative.

    Here is a list of reports from scientists around the world of just the past two years (with links to each article at the bottom):

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/05/06/18497440.php

    Please note that NONE of these articles were ever published by a US corporate news service!

  46. 46
    Mark says:

    Chris, rather than get your panties in a bunch, what are your error bars?

    Bigger than your signal over the selected period (self selection period at that)? Then you’re lying by omission. Omitting the statistics of statistical error yet stating you’re USING statistics is lying too.

  47. 47
    Hank Roberts says:

    > It was almost certainly higher …
    > However, the “consensus” says otherwise

    Explanation lacking, please try again.

  48. 48

    Perhaps environmentalists and those concerned about life on planet earth now and into the distant future should have their own NIPCC on the other side — like “the IPCC is underestimating the problem of anthropogenic global warming.”

    Here’s a story for starters — re even a less than 2 degree rise might mean the meltdown of the greenland ice sheet & big rise in sea level — http://news.theage.com.au/world/two-degree-rise-could-spark-greenland-ice-sheet-meltdown-wwf-20081128-6k6j.html [I am aware the IPCC had a caveat re not including some important variables in their estimations.]

    Okay environmentalists, rattle your chains & tin cups. Don’t let the debate stay between scientists (who need 90 to 95% confidence AGW is happening before making claims) and denialists (who need 99% to 101% confidence AGW is happening before conceding it is).

  49. 49
    jcbmack says:

    Good post, the RC Wiki should be very useful to many bloggers and readers.

  50. 50
    Cat ^..^ says:

    #43 “I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe…”

    Ah, that explains it. Apparently you are from the parallel universe where global warming -doesn’t- exist. Welcome, then, to our reality, and hope you packed a cooler.


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