RealClimate logo


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. 51
    dhogaza says:

    I feel like I’ve entered a parallel universe…..

    Yes, you’ve entered Bizarro World, where 1 = 1 and 2+2 = 4. I know these bizarre concepts are causing a conflict with your 2+2 = 3.141 world view, but it can’t be helped, and won’t be cured until you leave our Bizarro World where reality and rationality combine in useful ways.

  2. 52
    John Ransley says:

    Thank you for your excellent Wiki website. You have Michael Duffy and Frank Devine but Miranda Devine is missing! In her latest Sydney Morning Herald effort dated 27 November 2008 titled “Beware the church of climate alarm” she runs with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Ian Plimer: http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/miranda-devine/beware-the-church-of-climate-alarm/2008/11/26/1227491635989.html
    Curiously enough, the SMH didn’t publish any letters to the editor about this article.
    Can you please add her to your Wiki site?
    John Ransley

  3. 53
    Harmen says:

    The latest Singer propaganda vehicle just premiered in Amsterdam…The ultimate spin docter strikes back..

    Better be warned…A lot of garbage coming your way..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHMOEVRysWE

    Thanks for building this knowledge base for the connected but never underestimate the power of the Public Relations and media…

    A media battle for the hearts and minds is going on..

    I think science must and will prevail in the end..
    But then it might be to late…

    Keep debunking!

  4. 54

    Went down the RC Wiki list “by author” and searched their names over on http://exxonsecrets.org . You’d be suprised how many showed up either on their “factsheets” (which usually means they have received money from Exxon, or their organization has), or Inhofe’s infamous list of 400 “climate” scientists. No telling how much they may have received from other interests — other oil companies, then there’s coal, etc.

  5. 55
    Andrew says:

    Page 5 of NIPCC report by Fred Singer and the Heartland Institute claims that all climate models predict a unique finger print for global warming from greenhouse gases. In particular, they claim that there should be a warming trend increasing with altitude in the tropical troposphere, the region of the atmosphere up to about 15 kilometers. Furthermore, it is stated that solar variability or other known natural factors will not yield this characteristic pattern.

    Personally, climate science is just a hobby for myself. However, this statement strikes me as being very wrong in more than one way. First since greenhouse gases (GHG) warm the earth thru their insulation properties as opposed to greater heat input, then the most distinguishing feature would probably have to be the relative rise of nighttime and wintertime temperatures as opposed to daytime or summer temperature. As I understand it, this has been well established, documented and verified.

    Furthermore, if there is any truth at all to Singers claim, then it is also surprising that he points to the tropics. While it is understandable that GHG should result a warming trend up to the tropopause, it would probably be wrong to look for it initially in the tropics. The tropopause in the tropics is at extremely high altitudes and driven to those heights by strong convective currents with lots of water vapor. Rising GHG should have relatively little affect on the strength of convective currents. On the other hand, GHG should have a greater affect near the polar regions where convection is minimal. As I understand it this has been found to be true in the northern hemisphere. At the south pole, this has not been found due to the loss of ozone canceling out the impact of rising CO2 levels.

    I can imagine that climate models probably do predict some warming of the tropical troposphere. I suspect that Singer is cherry picking and exaggerating as opposed to providing meaningful criticism.

    Lastly, if the warming was from increased solar input, then it would seem to me that there would be more convection in the atmosphere and the tropical tropopause would trend towards higher altitudes more so than the polar regions.

    Appreciate any corrections or suggestions.

  6. 56
    Chris Colose says:

    Andrew (55)

    You’re mostly correct. The amplification of the tropical troposphere relative to the surface is in fact expected with rising greenhouse gases, but it’s also expected with other forcings as well (such as changes in solar insolation); any implication that the ‘fingerprint’ is unique to humans is wrong. The reason has to do with the fact that the troposphere roughly stays on a moist adiabat (which is indeed set by convection) rather than anything specific with GHG’s. In fact, because climate models produce a lapse rate feedback that is negative due to the enhanced tropospheric warming, any lack of such a trend would likely translate into a heightened surface warming. That would mean a higher climate sensitivity, although it probably wouldn’t be that big.

    Again, with all forcings, the climate response is greatest at higher latitudes (i.e., there is a reduction in the pole-to-equator temperature gradient). The ice-albedo feedback is one mechanism that works as long as you change the ratio of light to dark surface (the cause is mostly irrelevant). The climate response in the vertical is similar with all forcings until you get to the stratosphere, which cools with GHG’s and warms with increased solar trends. You are also correct that GHG’s should decrease the diurnal and seasonal temperature gradients.

    A recent interesting paper that RC might comment on is Lean and Rind (2008) who state a mismatch between models and observation in terms of the latitudal response to anthropogenic forcings (i.e, anomalies increase steadily from from 30 N to 70 N in simulations)

  7. 57
    Chris says:

    Re: Arctic ice in ~1945 vs ~1985

    Here’s Arctic temperatures for the 10 years up to 1945:
    http://tinyurl.com/636s4o

    And here’s Arctic temperatures for the 10 years up to 1985:
    http://tinyurl.com/5g3ykq

    Just as in the Russian Arctic, temperatures were obviously lower in the second period across the rest of the Arctic, from Alaska through the Canadian Archipelago to Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. Thus it seems a very reasonable assumption that there was more ice there as well, towards the end of the second period, than towards the end of the first.

    Considering summer minimum ice extent in particular, if we compare September for each period (the normal month of minimum extent), the cooling on all sides of the Arctic is just as clear.

    http://tinyurl.com/638mma
    http://tinyurl.com/697l3p

    In my non-”Bizarro” [ref. #51] World, cooler x water = more ice.

    Apparently, in “Bizarro” World, cooler x water = ~2 million km2 less summer ice across the Arctic, even while in the Russian half it increased by ~0.25 million km2 and both halves got cooler.

    As for recent history, I note that in the non-Russian half of the Arctic, the western side had ~normal ice coverage from 2000 to 2006, and 1998 remains the year of minimum ice coverage. A return to ~normal in 2009 seems absolutely plausible.
    http://tinyurl.com/585jmc
    On the eastern side I note that it is only 2006 which has significantly eclipsed the most ice-free years of the 70s and 80s. Again, a return to (close to) ~normal in 2009 seems absolutely plausible.
    http://tinyurl.com/55sx3u
    It’s a shame those graphs don’t go back to the 1930s and beyond of course.

  8. 58
    Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Chris writes:

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

    The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as the average regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more. If you don’t understand the difference between one point and thirty points, you need to take a class in basic statistics.

  9. 59
    Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Rod B — I followed your advice and explained the units in my gas database. Thanks.

  10. 60
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Andrew #55,

    You’re on the right track. The matter you are referring to (and apparently slightly misunderstanding) is discussed here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/tropical-tropopshere-iii/

    and links therein.

  11. 61
    captdallas2 says:

    WRT “It’s the Sun Stupid”:

    The notion that increasing Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) significantly contributed to circa 1900 to 1940 global temperature is based on obsolete data. More resent TSI reconstructions do not show significant variation in TSI over the past century. The Lean 2000 study was a good first effort, unfortunately it over estimated variability.

    FWIW

  12. 62
    Chris says:

    #58

    Well in the fig 2 I linked to -
    http://instaar.colorado.edu/meetings/AW2008/abstract_detail.php?abstract_id=51
    - the 30-year prior moving average would have continued to fall until ~1975.

    However, was the Russian ice decreasing in reality between 1955 and 1975?

    A 30-year centred moving average would be more appropriate (this would have turned around ~just before 1960). I’d be happier to call this *the* trend.

    And until we get data for the next 10 to 20 years, we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole. To omit to specify/quantify these uncertainties when talking about Arctic ice trends could even be described be lying (see Mark and error bars….) Especially in relation to descriptions such as “accelerating downward trend”.

    “…you need to take a class in basic statistics…” Shame yours clashed with the class in basic politeness?

  13. 63
    Hank Roberts says:

    Chris, you seem to be working up an argument against the existence of the Arctic oscillation without mentioning the evidence for it.

    Try reading and citing some of the comprehensive reviews that have been published, instead of picking pictures to argue from — that way you can check the references; you can use Google Scholar to see which papers are most often cited, forward and back in time, and get an idea which information is reliable. Any reference librarian can give you far more help with this than people blogging. The result could be a decent school paper and a start at understanding the area, and could lead you to go deeper.

    If you are working through references you’re not mentioning — it will help your credibility to say what you’re relying on. Right now, looking at what you point to, I don’t see that kind of review and reference.

    Try this search (vanilla Google; Scholar’s server is hiccuping this morning, though the results there would likely be better)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=arctic+temperature+eastern+western+cycle

    That will get you, on the first page, this EOS article (Google’s link is unparseable, so I’m not going to paste it in). It’s one good summary of the back-and-forth changes across the Arctic. EOS is a weekly newspaper (comes with a $25 annual AGU subscription, well worth the money); the references in the articles there are a good place to start.

    Natural Variability of Arctic Sea Ice Over the Holocene
    Eos, Vol. 87, No. 28, 11 July 2006

    “… Results from the eastern and western Arctic indicate opposite trends in sea ice cover: increasing in the east while decreasing in the west (Figure 2b).Both regions experienced
    successions of warm and cold intervals. Changes in regional fresh water input in conjunction with millennial-scale extraterrestrial cycles (e.g.,the 1800-year lunar cycle) may explain such trends. Long sediment cores collected in 2004 and 2005 in the Beaufort Sea, the Northwest Passage, and Chukchi-Siberian seas will better define the regionalism of Holocene sea ice history.

    … The history of sea ice shows strong regionalism. Marine animals that depend on sea ice survived the early Holocene by adapting and migrating.At the height of the warmth,which was but three degrees warmer than now, the Pacific and Atlantic bowhead whales could visit each other through the Northwest Passage. Future Arctic warming is expected to be considerably warmer than this,and the free passage of biota and ships is certain. More open water in summer means more area for freezing winter sea ice. Hence, less summer ice can increase the rate of winter brine expulsion. North Atlantic bottom-water formation rates feed back into the climate system. Since climate feedbacks are often not linear, one could expect surprises.”

    If instead you are interested in making bets about the 2009 ice, there are several scientists taking such bets if well stated. You know how to find them.

  14. 64
    tamino says:

    Chris:

    Here’s the northern hemisphere sea ice extent data from NSIDC:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/nhext.jpg

    Here’s the ice extent anomaly:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/nextanom.jpg

    Here’s the ice extent for September:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/sepext.jpg

    Study them carefully, then tell us whether you still maintain “until we get data for the next 10 to 20 years, we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole.”

  15. 65

    Re#64: I suggest Tamino should have shown this up to date AMSRE Sea Ice extent, which gives not overwelming cause for concern…

    [Response: Only if you don't look at the trends. (NB, I filled in the site I think you were trying to link to). - gavin]

  16. 66
    Eric Swanson says:

    Gavin,

    Singer in his “NIPCC” report used data in Chapter 2, Figure 3, which was the source of a long discussion last December. I’m sure you recall the fallout from the critique of Loehle’s 2007 paper, including unkind comments on McIntyre’s site.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/past-reconstructions/#more-506

    Also, Singer’s Chapter 2, Figure 2 has a caption which begins with “Temperature values from the GRIP ice-core borehole”, which is false. The figure is lifted from a paper in SCIENCE and is the output of a model. Singer later goes on to disparage the use of models. Singer’s a funny guy…

    E. S.

    [Response: To be fair, the borehole temperature plot is a very simple model fit to the measurements, it's not from a GCM. - gavin]

  17. 67
    Sekerob says:

    Francis, it was just awaiting to happen after Tamino posted just September monthly extent. Try visiting Cryosphere Today (CT). They’ve got a seasonal up. NSIDC also publishes seasonal data (calendar). Plot them out and discover. Personally extent is nice, but I much prefer area and volume and a ratio of area/extent which could be a vague indication on how well the ice holds together. Novembers ratio looks interesting… extent lacking and area.

    And when done, compare CT and NSIDC…CT seems to show a somewhat more acute drop.

    Links:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/timeseries.1870-2008
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/

    Hank Roberts noted “… can increase rate of winter brine expulsion”. Maybe he could explain that. New ice, higher salt content, bigger chance of it melting next summer season I understand. Brine I take as pre freeze. Where is it expelled to… Atlantic?

  18. 68
    Chris says:

    #64: Of course that’s what I maintain. I am familiar with the various graphs (and how much/little they can tell us – or perhaps “scare” us depending on scale, context etc). I would have been extremely surprised if the warming in the Arctic since the 80s hadn’t produced a significant dip in ice extents. But your assumption that the past trend will continue is just that – an assumption. A similar assumption could easily have been made in 1944, the year Larsen sailed straight through the Parry’s Channel (i.e. deeper northern route) of the NW Passage – but as you will know, it would be 63 years before the ice extent in that major segment of the Arctic would reach the same low anomaly (i.e. 2007; the Parry’s Channel did not quite open in 2008).
    What makes you so sure that this time, not only will the previous decline fail to turn around, stop, or even slow down, but will continue relentlessly and even accelerate?
    Even the strongest cases can be overstated……..

  19. 69
    Hank Roberts says:

    > brine
    That’s quoted from Google’s html cache version of this paper:
    http://www.geotop.uqam.ca/downloads/adv/Fisher_et_al-EOS-2006.pdf

    As sea ice freezes it is at first porous and the gaps contain brine; as the ice gets older the brine is pressed out and the surrounding water is thus denser — so freezing of sea ice is a factor in thermohaline circulation, as I read the article.

  20. 70
    tamino says:

    Re: #63 (Chris)

    So you still maintain that “we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole.” The numbers make a liar out of you.

    And I have to wonder if you’ve looked at any of the available data for sea ice in those past time spans you obsess over. I have.

  21. 71
  22. 72

    “What makes you so sure that this time, not only will the previous decline fail to turn around, stop, or even slow down, but will continue relentlessly and even accelerate?”

    A) Nobody made that claim, and B) radiative physics gives good reason to expect the current trend to continue in the same general fashion, subject to the usual “noise.”

  23. 73
    tamino says:

    Here’s the link I meant to supply in the previous comment.

  24. 74
    Chris says:

    #70 Go back to #62 and remind us what I was referring to when I said “this trend”. Then retract the word “liar”.

    “And I have to wonder if you’ve looked at any of the available data for sea ice in those past time spans you obsess over. I have.”
    And have you explained how the summer ice can have decreased by 2 million km2 between the 1940s and the 1980s while ALL SIDES of the Arctic got cooler?
    (c.f. my earlier post #57)

    #70 and #72 combined:
    So I’m a liar for saying we can’t be sure of the trend of the 30-year centred moving average, yet no one is making a claim they are sure of?

    Have any of you guys considered how ridiculous and frankly astounding this kind of one-sided hostility seems to someone like myself? It might make sense if “skeptics” (for want of a better word) were some kind of sub-human demons, but speaking for myself if you met me in any other context I’d venture to say you’d find me a nice, reasonable sort of person who you wouldn’t accuse of being a “liar” etc if I disagreed with you on something topical.

    I’m not claiming the moral high ground, or claiming to always be “right”. But I do know that I make some valid points which add to the debate.

    Anyway, let the debate go on……sorry to distract :)

  25. 75
    Eric Swanson says:

    #67 Sekerob,

    The rejected brine can sink, especially over the relatively shallow coastal shelves. Then, the salty water will follow the terrain to lower depths in either the Arctic Ocean or the Norwegian Sea. It’s part of the THC, as near as I can figure, as the sinking water displaces water above in the Arctic Mediterranean, thus increasing flows over the sills along the Greenland-Iceland-Scotland Ridge. There is a flow of waters at mid-depth from the Arctic Ocean into the Greenland Sea via the Fram Strait, which has a sill depth around 2600m. The flows thru the Fram Strait appear to be rather complex, with surface currents both entering and exiting the Arctic in addition to the deeper current.

    I think that the decline in Arctic Sea-ice at the end of the melt season will result in more sinking from this mechanism, since there can still be a large maximum extent. The result may be a shift in the location of some of the THC from the Nordic Seas into the Arctic Ocean.

    E. S.

  26. 76
    tamino says:

    Re: #74 (Chris)

    You said (and I quote) “we can’t be sure what this trend is currently doing for the Arctic as a whole.” Now you want to hide behind the fact that you will only accept what a trend is “currently doing” if it’s based on a 30-year centered moving average for “currently.” In other words, you will only accept a “trend” if it’s based on future data. What a wonderful recipe for denial!

    And when the data for NH sea ice extent from decades ago contradict your claims, you ask for an “explanation” in what can only be interpreted as a refusal to accept the data.

    So you won’t accept a trend without future data, and you won’t accept the data that exists. That’s not “making a valid point” or even trying. You’re so deep in denial you’ve abandoned all connection with rationality; you hardly deserve the name “skeptic.”

  27. 77
    Jim Cross says:

    RE #$73

    Tamino,

    The article you cite which is self-referral is from 2007.

    The NH sea ice is subject to a lot of variation other than that caused by AGW so I am not clear what your point is by focusing so much on sea ice. Currently the sea extent is up and approaching the 1979-2000 mean.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

  28. 78
    Chris says:

    #76

    Sophistry: “subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation”
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sophistry

    I respect the quality of the statistical analysis in your blog, but your last post is dead wrong and your attitude….. leaves a lot to be desired (I had to stop myself using stronger language there)

  29. 79
  30. 80

    Chris, you’d think you make a good point with Larsen in 44??? Again like others have cited, you only quote what fits your antagonistic contrarian “know it all” stance.

    “As a result, Larsen decided to try to complete the passage without having to winter in the Arctic. Traveling west along the coast of Alaska, the St. Roch found itself in a battle against the ice as it tried to reach Bering Strait ”

    Note ice North of Alaska, right near the coast in September:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/ARCHIVE/20070918.jpg

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=09&fd=19&fy=2008&sm=11&sd=29&sy=2008

    See any ice next to Alaska? Hey? A gentleman as you pretend to be, fears not the facts.

    #77, Jim, yes it is, but as with the link you gave so it was in 2007. Even with no ice in the summer extent will be quite large, as large as the long night, for many years following, until it gets too warm. Ice Thickness…. Volume is prime… Your point is meaningless without volume being identical to all time average.

  31. 81
    tamino says:

    Re: #77 (Jim Cross)

    The article you cite which is self-referral is from 2007.

    The NH sea ice is subject to a lot of variation other than that caused by AGW so I am not clear what your point is by focusing so much on sea ice. Currently the sea extent is up and approaching the 1979-2000 mean.

    The link to examination of pre-satellite sea ice data is from 2007, but I don’t think the pre-satellite data has changed since then. The graphs I linked to in an earlier comment are complete through October 2008, the most current monthly data available. The most recent monthly value is three quarters of a million km^2 below the 1979-2000 mean.

    Re: #78 (Chris)

    Sophistry: “subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation”

    When Ray Ladbury mentioned that “the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice,” you replied “Time series filters are great: you can take the prior moving average, call it *the* trend and spin increasing ice out of existence!” This is an incredibly snide, insulting, arrogant remark; you insulted time series analysis even though you have no idea how Ray reached his conclusion (which I very much doubt had anything to do with the “prior moving average”), and you personally insulted Ray with the implication that he’s just “spinning” the result. You didn’t even ask his basis for that statement — you just shot from the hip.

    Shame on you! But clearly you’re shameless because rather than have the guts and the honesty to take responsibility for your own statement, you have tried to claim the “moral high ground” while showing us the epitome of a condescending attitude. All you’ve shown is that Hamlet was right: one may smile, and smile, and be a villain still.

    Newsflash: time series filters, and time series analysis in general, are outstanding tools to help us get closer to the truth. They’re far from infallible and they’re not a “crystal ball,” but they’re a whole heckuva lot better than any “analysis” I’ve seen come from any of your comments.

    You combine outright denial of the real trend, which is abundantly clear and undeniably statistically significant, with refusal to accept what the actual data show prior to the satellite era. You’ve also repudiated trends that aren’t based on a centered 30-year moving average — which would necessarily require 15 years of future data. I suppose if you were a physician, you’d insist that we can’t conclude the patient is really ill until 15 years after he’s dead. God save us from sophistry like that.

  32. 82
    Jim Eager says:

    “approaching the 1979-2000 mean”

    Oh really?

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  33. 83
    Former Skeptic says:

    #78 Chris:

    Please don’t give skeptics a bad name, dude.

    Based on your lack of statistical knowledge thus far, and continued insistence that you are right, despite all evidence to the contrary; combined with your snarky and deceptive comments claiming a supposed “high ground”…I have to ask you. Are you Roger Pielke Jr. in disguise?

  34. 84
    Patrick 027 says:

    THANKS!

  35. 85
    Chris says:

    #80 “This is an incredibly snide, insulting, arrogant remark”
    No it’s not, it’s a reasonable comment that happens not to suit your agenda, which is why you’re using such hyperbole to try and discredit me. Your absolute certainty about your righteousness destroys your sense of perspective (and sense of humour). You’re reading way too much into things, then working yourself up into a mock-offence frenzy.

    “…time series filters, and time series analysis in general, are outstanding tools to help us get closer to the truth…”
    Yes, I have not claimed otherwise. On a proper use of any kind of analysis, you can’t claim with certainty that the *current* trend in Arctic ice is down. Using the prior average then calling it *the* trend IS deceptive, and to pick people up on this is absolutely reasonable.

    “refusal to accept what the actual data show prior to the satellite era.”
    I have pointed to convincing reasons to question data which are in any event very sketchy with huge uncertainties i.e. in particular, the 10-year mean temperature cooled significantly on all sides of the Arctic between 1935-45 and 1975-85 yet the data shows the summer ice extent as dropping by 2 million km2!
    Look carefully at the purple line on the graph before 1950 -
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg
    - and tell me how accurate you think the dataset really is.
    Damn right I refuse to accept it as definitive, and that does take guts because it makes me an easy target for your simplistic character attacks. I would bet any money that 2 million km2 figure is an exaggeration. But that’s just my point of view. You can disagree with it vehemently and explain why; launching into an absolute attempt to discredit me is not a proportionate response.

    #79 “O rly?” Yes ~0.5 million km2 seems pretty close to me.

  36. 86
    Nick says:

    @everyone who is against Chris

    While my position currently is that I accept AGW is happening, I do think we ALL have to try and retain our objectivity and open-mindedness. And common decency.

    I have to say that I don’t feel the responses that Chris has been getting to his generally very reasonably-phrased points fits with that set of attitude objectives. The terms that come to mind to describe the reponses include arrogant, offensive, patronising, dismissive, angry and so on.

    Surely true scientists, possibly above all others, should be able to remain relatively dispassionate in exchanges of views? Otherwise what has happened to the concept of scientific debate? It becomes impossible if people start to aggressively defend their positions.

    I have to say that this type of response does more than anything else to cause me to question how truly scientific the position of the AGW-propounding community is. If you feel so aggressively defensive this just could be hiding some doubts about the position you have created in propounding AGW.

    I still accept the arguments for AGW, but my doubts are increased. Since I doubt whether this is what you want to achieve I urge you to collectively reconsider the tenor of the way that you respond to people like Chris.

  37. 87
    Barton Paul Levenson says:

    captdallas — I’ve been using the Lean 2000 results as more or less canonical, which I know is always a careless thing to do in science. I even have a web page listing the whole table. I think Wang and Lean published a revised table in 2004; do you know if there’s a later one? If not I really ought to replace my web page with the 2004 data.

  38. 88
    Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Chris writes:

    “…you need to take a class in basic statistics…” Shame yours clashed with the class in basic politeness?

    What was impolite about telling you you needed to take a course in basic statistics? You obviously do or you wouldn’t dismiss a well-vetted collection of methods like time series filters. What’s a polite way of saying you don’t know what you’re talking about? It would have been impolite if I had said something like, “You’re a babbling fool talking about something you’ve never studied and clearly don’t understand.” See the difference? Or, to use another example, it would be impolite to accuse perfect strangers of “spinning” data out of existence simply because you didn’t understand what they were doing.

  39. 89
    Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Chris writes:

    What makes you so sure that this time, not only will the previous decline fail to turn around, stop, or even slow down, but will continue relentlessly and even accelerate?

    The fact that the globe is rapidly warming? I.e., that we have a physical mechanism to explain what’s going on?

  40. 90
    Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Chris writes:

    Have any of you guys considered how ridiculous and frankly astounding this kind of one-sided hostility seems to someone like myself? It might make sense if “skeptics” (for want of a better word) were some kind of sub-human demons, but speaking for myself if you met me in any other context I’d venture to say you’d find me a nice, reasonable sort of person who you wouldn’t accuse of being a “liar” etc if I disagreed with you on something topical.

    You know, some of the responses to you have been a little intemperate. But you seem to think this is completely out of the blue. Are you not aware of how your introductory posts here sounded? The obvious implications of either incompetence or lying? Why do you see hostility on the part of others while apparently being blind to it when you do it? The people here aren’t mindlessly hostile to outsiders, I have seen a lot of polite and considerate responses to people with legitimate questions even when they came in supporting the deniers. The difference is, their posts were polite.

    Captcha words: “sizes histrionism”

  41. 91
    David Steven says:

    re NIPCC

    When I saw your post, I thought (hoped) that it was going to discuss an attempt to summarise developments in climate science since AR4. I was at a conference in Tokyo in the summer when Jim Hansen said that such an exercise was planned for publication at Poznan. Anyone know if anything came of that?

  42. 92
    Hank Roberts says:

    Chris, seriously, there’s a way to approach this that works.
    It’s spelled out. You could use it. You haven’t been. Try the best guide out there for asking serious people beginner questions:

    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html#intro

    —–excerpt——
    …. “Good question!” is a strong and sincere compliment.

    Despite this, hackers have a reputation for meeting simple questions with what looks like hostility or arrogance. It sometimes looks like we’re reflexively rude ….

    What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks — they take without giving back, and they waste time ….

    … our style of answering questions is tuned for people who do take such an interest and are willing to be active participants in problem-solving. … we filter ruthlessly….

    —–end excerpt—–

    You’re getting offers mostly from regular readers, much more tolerant, who are trying to help. You’re being offered help. If you don’t want it, you just waste people’s time.

    Yes, some people come here and to Tamino’s and other climate forums with that goal. Let’s go waste some AGW-believers’ time again today, that kind of thing. Some of us ordinary readers try answering so that wastes our time, not that of the working scientists.

    We learn ourselves — we look stuff up, we get corrections of our own errors, and sometimes a “Good question!” response from Gavin or another of the climatologists.

    You can do it. You need to want to do it. Think, man.

  43. 93
    Chris says:

    Barton Paul Levenson #87-#89:

    “Are you not aware of how your introductory posts here sounded?”

    My introductory posts were #26 and #28. These were polite.

    Then Ray posted the following at #29:

    “Chris, Thank You for the weather report. Given your interests, might I suggest you check out weather.com.”

    As well as being more impolite than anything I had said, this was particularly unfair given that I had been in part responding to Wayne at #18 in particular “Today 247 K troposphere in the High Arctic is +7 K above last years average for November”.

    My riposte to Ray about what can be done with time series filters matched his tone.

    And I didn’t dismiss time series filters. You’re buying into another poster’s spin. I referred to how a selective use of them can be misleading. If, for example, the ice extents of 2009, 2010 and 2011 were to mirror exactly those of 2006, 2005 and 2004 i.e. increasing ice over the next 3 year period, the prior moving average would continue downwards. This is where the certainty of statements such as “the trend in the Arctic continues toward decreasing ice” comes from. But that trend refers to the past – it does not guarantee decreasing ice in the future [the second part of the phrase], and the certainty of the implication is misleading. Only subtly misleading, but misleading nonetheless.

    However, thanks for acknowledging “You know, some of the responses to you have been a little intemperate.” – I acknowledge that there is some truth in “Why do you see hostility on the part of others while apparently being blind to it when you do it”.

  44. 94
    Chris says:

    #91 Hank.

    I agree with your emphasis on the word “Think”. I would also add “for yourself”. I learned the importance of this very quickly when debating Arctic ice this summer. Remember the grief I got for saying things such as:

    [North Pole Notes Continued #347 - 3 Sep] “….I’ve consistently argued that an earlier and stronger re-freeze than last year is very plausible…..No one has agreed with me, or even recognised that I might have a point. Well, let’s wait and see what happens….”

    Was I right to think for myself then? You bet

    I strongly resent being patronised, even if you are doing it in good faith.

  45. 95
    Sekerob says:

    Hank and others, thanks for the Brine info and links. Filled in some gaps and refreshed my aging memory (lame excuse) :D

    As for Sea Ice, please tell me I’m not on hallucinogens. Whoever concocts Whatever out of 2 year on year seasons of ice regrowth, my global view is that we are still in the bottomless tube that NOAA data tells me we are.

    September monthly mean: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/GlobalSIASIESeptember.png

    October monthly mean: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/GlobalSIASIEOctober.gif

    Note that I’ve labelled the differential from Area to Extent as Water. Can’t make more out of it. Maybe the saline levels could be used to predict the regrowth potential… think to have read it was up to cause a lowered freezing point of -1.77C

    November looks very very strange on the prelims I’ve cooked up… Extent Down, Area Up… not suited for unguided publication ;>)

    Poznan just starting.

    recaptcha: Foreign Texas… who knows is Texas foreign and sure it was to me when working there for a short stint ;>)

  46. 96

    Barton, Chris doesn’t understand what 247 K means, but he does understand how to create a stir
    not a debate. Besides he can’t explain:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    why its so warm now, but he can hide facts to create a fiction fit for a contrarian meeting, he reads the Telegraph too much…

  47. 97
    Julius St Swithin says:

    A group of medieval philosophers were arguing over how many angels could stand on the head of a needle when one of the angels fell off. Half the philosophers immediately said to the others “See – your number was too high”. The angel then flapped its wings and landed on the needle again. The second half now said “See –we were right all along.” That is the level of much of this debate.

    The facts are that since accurate satellite measurements of sea ice became available in 1979 Arctic sea ice has been declining at an average rate of 60000 km2 a year. Often there have been years when ice increased (82, 86, 92 and 96). Whether the 2008 increase is another isolated year or the start of an increasing trend is impossible to say. Similarly Antarctic sea ice has been increasing at about 25000 km2 per year. Given the smaller increase many more years have bucked the trend. The total average area of the polar ice caps is around 40 million km2 (24 sea ice and 16 ice above land). The loss therefore is equivalent to just under 0.1% per year.

  48. 98
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Whether the 2008 increase is another isolated year or the
    > start of an increasing trend is impossible to say.

    You want certainty? Math or religion offer certainty. Science doesn’t.

    But science and statistics are the tools available to help you assign a probability to the trend statistically — you have to use the same facts and the same numbers as everyone else has.

    This makes it entirely possible to say what’s likely.

    Science. Good for you. Try some today.

  49. 99

    #93, Chris at work again, “I’ve consistently argued that an earlier and stronger re-freeze than last year is very plausible”

    That didn’t happen, it still refreezing firstly, secondly, it refroze from a more scattered ice pack to start with. It wasn’t technically a stronger refreeze, but something like a quicker extent consolidation. Facts are so elusive!

  50. 100
    Julius St Swithin says:

    #98 Hank.

    I’m relatively new to this forum and my posting (#97) was an attempt to move on from the futile argument about whether the Artic sea ice trend has reversed. From your “tone” my posting seems however to rankled, to help me avoid problems in the future, could you perhaps explain why?


Switch to our mobile site