RealClimate logo


Friday round-up

Filed under: — group @ 24 July 2009

Two items of interest this week. First, there is an atrocious paper that has just been published in JGR by McLean, de Freitas and Carter that is doing the rounds of the denialosphere. These authors make the completely unsurprising point that that there is a correlation between ENSO indices and global mean temperature – something that has been well known for decades – and then go on to claim that that all trends are explained by this correlation as well. This is somewhat surprising since their method of analysis (which involves taking the first derivative of any changes) eliminates the influence of any trends in the correlation. Tamino has an excellent demonstration of the fatuity of the statements in their hyped press-release and Michael Tobis deconstructs the details. For reference, we showed last year that the long term trends are still basically the same after you account for ENSO. Nevermore let it be said that you can’t get any old rubbish published in a peer-reviewed journal!

Second (and much more interestingly) there is an open call for anyone interested to contribute to setting the agenda for Earth System Science for the next couple of decades at the Visioning Earth Science website of the International Council for Science (ICS). This is one of the umbrella organisations that runs a network of committees and programs that prioritise research directions and international programs and they are looking for ideas. Let them know what your priorities are.


533 Responses to “Friday round-up”

  1. 101
    L. David Cooke says:

    Hey All,

    Just a bit curious. Recently I have been trying to understand the basis of the estimated 7% of re-emission of insolation in regards to specific heat flow in the Earth’s Surface Energy budget. Looking over the Internet I have found a few papers such as Tian, Zhang, Ramanathan 2001 and MacPhaden, Hayes 1991 that begin to offer a little insight. However, when I look over the recent Shell, Somerville 2005 I see something that concerns me. In their model, at the time, it appears to not include several important parameters. Though I understand the RC concerns over the most recent paper, an idea appears to be forming and I was hoping to get some independent insight.

    Generally, my concern is related to how well we understand the specific heat flow in the atmosphere. If as has been recently suggested (About 2005/06) there was a discussion regarding the reduction in the thickness of the Stratospheric region and an expansion of the Tropospheric region. Has anyone attempted to establish a measurement data base for Specific Heat flow?

    If we look seriously at the Jet Stream latitude meander and the equatorial insolation/ground station indicators, it appears to me, when studying the cloud movement of the temperate zone, that the down burst leg at 35 Deg. of the Hadley Cell used in most models seems a misnomer.

    Looking further it would appear that the Jet Stream may be a very good indicator of the variation of the Hadley Cells heat conduit and the polar inflow on the return flow. In short, the N/S variation of the Jet may be driven by the specific heat flow between 0 and 70 Deg. N/S.

    If this were true, I wonder how much the current models take into account the Jet Stream deviation and the assumed value for Specific Heat? Part of this question extends to trying to understand how much the surface oscillation features are in essence large scale eddies of the specific heat flow.

    This then leads to the next question; If the specific heat flow does invoke these eddies and there is a recent indication that there has been more stable barometric eddies erupting in the temperate zone, does this then suggest that there has been a change in the latitudinal specific heat flow, which can also be tied to the altitude of the Tropopause/Stratosphere interface?

    Of course this then would appear to lead to the next question. how much of global warming could be tied into these large scale weather patterns? Which then leads to the next question of what percentage of the added fossil fuel CO2 results in the change in the specific heat flow we are seeing and can a correlation be established between the various participants and the latitudinal specific heat flow?

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  2. 102
    Chris Dudley says:

    Gavin,

    Paged comments may not be needed but if they are, a link to the end of the discussion would be good. To see one new post in “Two Degrees” I needed to click through eight pages.

    [Response: Good point! (should be better now) - gavin]

  3. 103
    Steve Reynolds says:

    92Doug Bostrom: “To me, in the face of contrary evidence accusations of cogent arguments being thrust into the bit bucket ring a bit hollow, smell of being conveniently not subject to test. …Then go there, though why you’d be asking me for a suggestion is a mystery.”

    I guess you misunderstood the point. If you are interested in discussing evidence or testing this hypothesis, we need to discuss elsewhere. You apparently don’t like my suggestion of an alternative site, so you need to suggest one (if you have interest in evidence).

  4. 104
    Abi says:

    Gavin, (if you’re there)
    The right hand bar is still covering parts of the main blog. It’s not as far left as it was yesterday, but it still blocks about 25% of the text. I’m using Firefox.

  5. 105
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Steve Reynolds 27 July 2009 at 9:20 AM

    How dogged you are.

    “If you are interested in discussing evidence or testing this hypothesis, we need to discuss elsewhere.”

    You’ve failed to establish the former assertion though I’m sure at this point everybody is favor of the latter suggestion. “We” being the “you” of “us”.

    “You apparently don’t like my suggestion of an alternative site, so you need to suggest one (if you have interest in evidence).”

    I didn’t ask for a suggestion. You’re the hobbyist whose little train does not run on these rails. Pack it up and go elsewhere if you’re unhappy.

  6. 106

    Just FYI, in case you’ve missed it, in 800 by 600 the sidebar is firmly planted in the middle of the screen.

  7. 107
    Richard Steckis says:

    Response to my previous post:

    [Response: "radioisotope" means 14C - and fossil fuels have none (unlike other sources of biogenic carbon. - gavin]

    My apologies I should have paid closer attention. I should have noticed BPL said radioisotopes rather than stable isotopes.

  8. 108
    Richard Steckis says:

    Although, I understand that GCRs also play a role in changes in atmospheric 14C.

  9. 109
    Ron Taylor says:

    I have been reading and rereading this post and the comments, but still find the whole thing strangely puzzling. It seems to me that any good first year calculus student should be able to quickly find the fatal flaw in the methodology as a way of explaining temperature change (as opposed to temperature variability, since it discards any secular component). So I thought they were being really clever by making a valid correlation of SOI with temperature variability, then subtly changing the language to temperature variation. Many people, including journalists, would conflate temperature variation and temperature change, with no further effort required on the part of the authors. It looked like an example of: “If you can’t convince them with facts, then dazzle them with footwork.”

    But then they claim in the press release that it actually explains temperature change, and they do so with no apparent embarrassment. Unless I am really missing something it seems incomprehensible that anyone in the scientific community would take this paper seriously.

  10. 110
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #3 and those 50 contrarian physicists worried about climate alarmism, I say they should keep their noses to their frictionless pucks gliding across their frictionless surfaces, and let us social scientists worry about human behavior connected with climate change. I’m keeping vigil at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Lowes, I have yet to see any shopping cart collisions near the compact fluorescent bulb shelves, or any killer stampedes there. But I’ll let you all know the minute I spot any climate alarmism, so we can start heading for those 60s bomb shelters.

    As for el nino causing the warming…..I have a reverse theory that global warming causes increased el ninos. It used to be when I was a kid 5+ decades ago, they used to talk about el ninos coming about every 7 years, and now they’re talking every 3 to 5 years. Of course, after all the water is boiled out of the oceans, we might not be able to prove that conclusively.

  11. 111

    A reply to several:

    “Martin Vermeer says:
    25 July 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Burgy товарищ,

    I know for a fact that you are way too pessimistic there (and your interpretation of the IPCC position not quite correct)… but even if you were right, if historically we had ignored threats proven real to less than 100%, we’d likely be having this discussion in Russian :-)”

    No disagreement from me, my friend. But I am puzzled how my interpretation of the IPCC reports might be incorrect. Can you enlarge on that?

    46dhogaza says:
    25 July 2009 at 1:51 PM
    George should stick to baseball!

    Newsflash to Burgy, he ain’t that good on baseball, either :)”

    OK, I’ll bite. Baseball is a consuming pastime with me and friend wife. Where has Mr. Will gone wrong? I really want to know. My email (since this is way off topic is Hossradbourne@gmail.com.

    47Steve Reynolds says:
    25 July 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Since it does not match your personal experience”

    But it does, my friend!

    and you seem unaware of the experience of many others, I guess you cannot assume that.

    I did though. I see lots of gorp appear here. If I were moderator, I’d maybe be more severe!

    You might be well served to check the facts before casting aspersions on me though. I have personally had many comments ‘moderated’ away (maybe some for good reason, but most not, IMO).

    I have no way to test the veracity of your statement. You may be right. But the data does not support the claim.

    Burgy

  12. 112
    Ron Taylor says:

    Lynn, I appreciate your comment about El Ninos (105). When I read a comment suggesting that the warming is caused by increased El Ninos, my immediate question is: So just where did the increased heat of those El Ninos come from? El Ninos do not produce heat energy, they only redistribute it.

  13. 113
    Gavin (no not that one) says:

    Richard Steckis #107 – I wouldn’t worry, the original blog article by Roy Spencer contained more than enough evidence to show that the long term rise was anthropogenic anyway (a plot showing that the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 was generally only half the level of anthropogenic emissions), directly refuting the conclusion!

    The Svensmark and Friis-Christensen example I noted seems less clear cut, I would be interested in the views of someone who knows the issues better than I do!

    It does seem to be a minor theme in such papers (detrending two datasets and making an assertion regading the trend based on an observed correlation in the residuals), there being at least three such instances. Can anyone give an example of a warmist using the same methodology?

  14. 114
    Hank Roberts says:

    Steve, use teh google. You’ll find every complaint anyone ever made about being “censored” at RC posted somewhere. It won’t take you long to read them, look up the context, and see for yourself.

  15. 115
    dhogaza says:

    OK, I’ll bite. Baseball is a consuming pastime with me and friend wife. Where has Mr. Will gone wrong? I really want to know.

    OK, it’s really off-topic, but I’ll just post one little thing for you to think about, Burgy:

    He loves the DH.

    That’s enough for me! :)

  16. 116

    Mark says:
    26 July 2009 at 3:56 AM
    “Burgy, maybe the 5% chance of being wrong is “we’re wrong: it’s much worse than we thought”. Ever considered that?
    Or is the ONLY WAY “wrong” can go is in your favour?”

    AS I read the IPCC reports, the 5% seemed to be be that the reports might be overstating future warming. Perhaps I read them wrong. In any event, your closing sentence is way off the mark (sic). except in the narrow sense that if the IPCC IS found to have overstatd the problem, we will all be the better for it.

    Based on the feeble, often incorrect and sometimes lying articles written by most anti-AGW people (not all), the case AGAINST AGW is incredibly weak.

    Were I to argue against the IPCC thesis, I would focus on the climate models as being inconclusive. Even this argument is weak, but it is the only one that might carry the day for the denialists. They would have to come up with their own climate model(s) as rebuttals, of course. Searching the net, I find none at this point.

    OK dhogaza. I am not enthused with the DH either. But I think I understand those who are. I cannot fault Will on that score.

  17. 117
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Burgy #111:

    No disagreement from me, my friend. But I am puzzled how my interpretation of the IPCC reports might be incorrect. Can you enlarge on that?

    Long story… not completely incorrect, but oversimplified. The SPM of AR4 WG1 tells the story.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

    Page 3 red text: this is about the confidence IPCC has that theory actually predicts significant anthropogenic forcing between 1750 and today.

    Page 10 red text: this is about the confidence IPCC has that anthropogenic increase in global mean temperatures (since 1950) actually shows up in the observations.

    Two different things, but note that both refer to what has already happened. If you want to get an idea of their confidence in what is going to happen, look at Table SPM.2 page 8, rightmost column. What we are seeing today, and what theory predicts for today, is just a foretaste… global temps didn’t come out of the noise until end last century.

    There is a lot more that can be said, but you get the idea. The 90% figure refers to various pieces, not the whole puzzle.

    A story for illustration:

    Someone is arrested suspected of murder. The murder weapon is found in his home, he has a criminal record, a motive and no alibi. And then there is this smudged fingerprint found at the scene, which experts say is his with 90% confidence.

    What do you think a jury would find? What if you were on the jury?

    BTW you mis-characterise yourself as a sceptic — except in the sense in which every scientist is a sceptic :-)

  18. 118
    sidd says:

    Re: technical issues

    1)In some browsers, one finds the ‘Style’ menu under the ‘View’ menu. Selecting ‘No Style’ makes the block obscuring the text go away

    2)How much CPU, memory, disk and bandwidth is needed for this site ? I have some access to these resources and would be glad to help.

  19. 119
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Conspiracy-minded anti-physics hobbyists brew up their own “birther” plot, launch it on Slashdot:

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/07/27/0520216/Temperature-Data-Wants-To-Be-Free

    Slashdot, forever young…

  20. 120

    Re Ron #109:
    ” It seems to me that any good first year calculus student should be able to quickly find the fatal flaw in the methodology as a way of explaining temperature change (as opposed to temperature variability……”

    I certainly agree. Tamino has cleared away the smoke from their argument in “Open Mind”.(The link in the main post).

    Also:”It looked like an example of: “If you can’t convince them with facts, then dazzle them with footwork.”

    The way I heard was ‘If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance,then baffle them with your B—S—.’

  21. 121
    MarkB says:

    Regarding the McLean et al paper, it’s worth pointing out that you could replace “Southern Oscillation” and “tropopsheric” with “tilt in the Earth’s axis relative to the Sun” and “hemispheric” and pretty much say the say thing. Then Bob Carter would say to the media:

    “The close relationship between the Earth’s tilt relative to the Sun and hemispheric mean temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions.”

  22. 122
    Steven T. Corneliussen says:

    Lynn Vincentnathan in comment 110 offers sarcasm about those 50 contrarian physicists. Thing is, now the 50 have a letter in Nature, a forum with worldwide reach for conveying messages not only beyond the climate-science cognoscenti who mingle here at RC, but beyond science itself. (It was Nature’s endorsing editorial that originally boosted RC to prominence.) And 50 is a lot to pass off as outliers, especially when the group includes only physicists, including physicists of some stature, and does not include the usual science administrator who reads the Wall Street Journal plus a biologist who watches Fox plus some adamant guy who once read a book about meteorology and works for a high-tech company. That’s why I’m wondering what serious response, if any, climate scientists might be preparing — and why RC is silent. The 50 physicists’ open letter to the American Physical Society appears at http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/open_letter.html . If I understand this situation right — and I’m ready to be corrected if I don’t — this presents a challenge that will require a lot more than sarcasm. Thanks.

    [Response: The APS has more than enough expertise to see through this letter. As for a letter to Nature - is this what you are referring to? That is not an editorial or an article and does not imply any support of Nature for their point of view. In fact their only statement is simply to call Nature's coverage 'alarmist' with no specifics that would allow independent consideration of their claim - which of course is probably the point. It seems that Singer et al consider any discussion of possible future climate change 'alarmist' almost by definition. - gavin]

  23. 123
    Paul Klemencic says:

    Site instructions: To the comments complaining about the side bar placement, I can move it out of the way, simply by enlarging the window. This works both in Safari and Firefox.

    [Response: I'll have this fixed as soon as I can get round to it, but this works in the meantime. - gavin]

  24. 124
    MarkB says:

    Re: #122,

    Steven,

    There are around 50,000 APS members. A letter with 50 signatures from this organization (0.1%) isn’t particularly notable. 500 wouldn’t be all that surprising either. Even among published climatologists, a few percent doubt the significant human impact.

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    Among the 50 in this list, there are several of the usual contrarians that show up on nearly every skeptic list (Singer, Scafetta, West, Douglass) along with many others of uncertain credentials with regards to climate science. Example:

    Andrew Kaldor
    Distinguished Scientific Advisor
    Manager of Breakthrough Research
    ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)
    Fellow AAAS, Member ACS

  25. 125
    Steve Reynolds says:

    111.Burgy: “I have no way to test the veracity of your statement. You may be right. But the data does not support the claim.”

    Is this the data and logic you are using?
    data: ‘some comments questioning RC viewpoints make it through moderation’

    implies the conclusion: ‘all (or even most) good comments questioning RC viewpoints make it through moderation’

    If so, your logic is faulty.

    114Hank Roberts: “…google. You’ll find every complaint anyone ever made about being “censored” at RC posted somewhere. It won’t take you long to read them, look up the context, and see for yourself.”

    I have done that. Some complaints are valid; some are not.
    I also have my personal experience with being censored.

    If either of you wants to discuss evidence, suggest a way to do that elsewhere.

  26. 126
    Brian Dodge says:

    “…20th-21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent…” like the Arctic summer sea ice, Larsen & Wilkins ice shelves, or Kilimanjaro glaciers will return to their former glory anytime soon.

    …the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today,” like the PETM and its associate mass extinctions.

    there is extensive literature that examines the beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide…” like lower nutrition levels in forage, C3 weeds outgrowing C4 crops, coral no longer able to make reefs, and plankton unable to make shells.

    “… a variety of natural processes… can account for variations in the Earth’s climate…” if you think a paper like McLean et al is about the trend, or get the fundamental physics wrong like Gerlich and Tscheuschner, or if the fluctuation in GCRs actually had more than a 2 % effect on cloud cover, or any of a number of other debunked denialist “causes” other than anthropogenic greenhouse gases. I wonder what most physicists, instead of a college dropout like me, think of this “Open Letter to the APS”?

  27. 127
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Steven Corneliussen,
    The letter is written by the same wingnuts who have always espouse this sort of messy product of normal biological function. Getting a letter to the editor published in Nature carries no more political weight in the scientific community than getting one published in the Debuque Puppy Trainer. These guys are merely sciestutes–they’ll say anything you pay them to.

  28. 128
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Gavin,

    there have been several potentially embarrassing comments now by one Steve Reynolds on censorship here on RC. Surely you understand the importance of presenting a consistent story to the outside world? What do you think Mr Gore is paying you for? You should have zapped those comments as soon as they came up. Instead I see you tinkering with sidebars… please keep your eyes on the ball!

    [Response: Curiously enough, I have more interesting things to deal with. - gavin]

  29. 129
    James Killen says:

    #79 “[U]sing Safari, the brown box on the right side of the window has migrated left to cover some of the blog text. It does work OK in Firefox, though.”

    Using Firefox on OSX, perhaps. I’m using Firefox on Linux and the box obscures the text at least until I reduce text size. In general as I increase font size the box migrates to the left.

  30. 130
    Tom P says:

    And this paper is atrocious because…why?

  31. 131
    C. L. says:

    #130 “And this paper is atrocious because…why?”

    Because they took the temp record, bandpass filtered it to attenuate the low frequency component (climate) and the higher frequency component (daily, seasonal) and enhanced (gain > 1 in that band) the ENSO frequency amplitude (3-7 years) then took this ENSO enriched “temperature record” and found that it had a higher than previously reported coorelation with the ENSO related SOI index, and they then further asserted that there didn’t seem to be much left over that needed explaining in the attenuated low frequency region (climate). LOL!

  32. 132
    Chris Colose says:

    Gavin, is there a way to search for keywords the old way in the top search box (i.e., results show up as a list of all comments and author who said the key phrase exactly)?

    [Response: No. The site search should find the phrase if you know it, but you will need to find the actual comment on the page it returns. The old way was a rather laborious scan through the entire database and was one of things impacting performance. As we get back on track, I might add an advanced search feature that allows you to scan through the comments as before. - gavin]

  33. 133
    Hank Roberts says:

    Biofilm again:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/science/28ocea.html

    “… Scientists are now discovering that the top hundredth-inch of the ocean is somewhat like a sheet of jelly. And this odd habitat, thinner than a human hair, is home to an unusual menagerie of microbes. “It’s really a distinct ecosystem of its own,” said Oliver Wurl, of Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences.

    This so-called sea-surface microlayer is important, scientists say, in part because it influences the chemistry of the ocean and the atmosphere. “One of the most significant things that happens on our planet is the transport of gases in and out of the ocean,” said Michael Cunliffe, a marine biologist at the University of Warwick in England. The ocean stores a large fraction of the global-warming gases we produce; at the microlayer, the gases are pulled down….”

    “It’s the ocean breathing through its skin,” Dr. Cunliffe said….

  34. 134
    Doug Bostrom says:

    C. L. 27 July 2009 at 10:20 PM

    “And this paper is atrocious because…why?”

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/old-news/

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/07/surprising-conclusions-from.html

  35. 135
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Phlogiston enthusiasts betrayed by Ra?

    Guardian piece seems like a classic example of research over-touted by the press, as recently discussed by RC.

    For sure this tease is wrong:

    “New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Niño southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics”

    Now the tout:

    “The world faces record-breaking temperatures as the sun’s activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted for the next five years, according to a study.

    The hottest year on record was 1998, and the relatively cool years since have led to some global warming sceptics claiming that temperatures have levelled off or started to decline. But new research firmly rejects that argument.

    The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Judith Lean, of the US Naval Research Laboratory, and David Rind, of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

    The work is the first to assess the combined impact on global temperature of four factors: human influences such as CO2 and aerosol emissions; heating from the sun; volcanic activity and the El Niño southern oscillation, the phenomenon by which the Pacific Ocean flips between warmer and cooler states every few years.

    The analysis shows the relative stability in global temperatures in the last seven years is explained primarily by the decline in incoming sunlight associated with the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle, together with a lack of strong El Niño events. These trends have masked the warming caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

    As solar activity picks up again in the coming years, the research suggests, temperatures will shoot up at 150% of the rate predicted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Lean and Rind’s research also sheds light on the extreme average temperature in 1998. The paper confirms that the temperature spike that year was caused primarily by a very strong El Niño episode. A future episode could be expected to create a spike of equivalent magnitude on top of an even higher baseline, thus shattering the 1998 record

    The rest of the story:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/27/world-warming-faster-study

  36. 136
    Abi says:

    Paul Klemencic @ 123.

    Thanks for the tip. It works for me. It makes the text quite small, but I can live with this.

  37. 137
    Theo Hopkins says:

    Re the letter from 50 APS members in Nature.

    It’s behind a subscription wall.

    Can someone post it here on RC, please.

    First of all,I would like to read it.

    Secondly, if it is not in a public arena, the more crazy and paranoid commentators will say that Nature are hiding it from the public as it is so explosive.

  38. 138
    Mark says:

    re 129: I run linux and firefox. No problem. version 3.0.5

  39. 139
    Mark says:

    “I read the IPCC reports, the 5% seemed to be be that the reports might be overstating future warming. Perhaps I read them wrong. In any event, your closing sentence is way off the mark (sic).”

    Nope.

    Your wording indicates that you would consider “wrong” to be “therefore the denialists are right”.

    Yet there’s a good deal better than 5% chance that it would be worse than expected (it is already tracking at the top edge of the projections which are, by their nature, conservative in their statements).

    In which case, the IPCC report would be wrong AND SO WOULD THE DENIALISTS.

    But that was left out of your comment, wasn’t it…

  40. 140
    Alan says:

    Hi, I’ve just recently found this site, I’m finding it rather useful. I’m rather ashamed of this report being authored by fellow countrymen. I would also like to point out a recent book published here by Ian Wishart called ‘Air Con’. I have not yet had the opportunity to read it myself but the author’s pedigree speaks for itself. Simply put, he is a fundamentalist right-wingnut that appears to have built data sources to support his ideological position. I’m curious to know if any here know of it.
    Here is somewhere to get an idea of it’s content;
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/quirk-strangeness-not-much-charm/

  41. 141
    Steven T. Corneliussen says:

    Concerning the 50 contrarian physicists: Thanks, Gavin Schmidt, for the RC response appended at 122, thanks MarkB for 124 (and for the link to that informative, brief paper about quantifying the consensus), and thanks Ray Ladbury for comment 127. However, I don’t believe that any of you are engaging my actual question.

    Ray Ladbury declares that the letter in Nature from a delegation of six of the 50 contrarians carries no “political weight in the scientific community.” But I’m not asking about that kind of weight. Instead I’m asking, based on what I see among friends outside science, about the contrarians’ potential influence among the public worldwide.

    Gavin, yes, as I said in comment 3, I’m talking about the letter in last Thursday’s Nature, and yes, of course, a mere letter isn’t an article or an editorial. But letters in Nature get read around the world anyway, including by people outside science. I was once bashed for a letter in Nature by a columnist at the South China Morning Post.

    Gavin, you say moreover that in the Nature letter the contrarians’ “only statement is simply to call Nature’s coverage ‘alarmist.’” Only statement? In fact the Nature letter’s six signers say quite a bit more than that. They say they “are among more than 50 current and former members” of the American Physical Society “who have signed an open letter to the APS Council this month, calling for a reconsideration of its November 2007 policy statement on climate change.” Then they point readers to those materials: “(see open letter at http://tinyurl.com/lg266u; APS statement at http://tinyurl.com/56zqxr).” Then the delegation of six of the 50 say that the open letter to APS “proposes an alternative statement, which the signatories believe to be a more accurate representation of the current scientific evidence. It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas, to help prevent subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue. On 1 May 2009, the APS Council decided to review its current statement via a high-level subcommittee of respected senior scientists. We applaud this decision. It is the first such reappraisal by a major scientific professional society that we are aware of, and we hope it will lead to meaningful change that reflects a more balanced view of climate-change issues.” Gavin, that’s a lot more than just an indictment of Nature’s climate coverage.

    MarkB joins Gavin and Ray Ladbury in emphasizing the 50 contrarians’ lack of credibility among scientists who are well informed about climate. But again, I already know what scientists think. Despite MarkB’s solid point about 50 being only a tiny fraction of 50,000, and despite that hilarious Exxon example that he found among the list of 50 names, I’m asking about these 50 contrarians because my own sense, FWIW, is that they’ll be perceived outside the scientific community as speaking pretty authoritatively. If they do get perceived that way, it seems to me that it’ll be a mistake simply to ignore or disdain them, even if that’s what they deserve.

  42. 142
    Alan says:

    Oops, here is the actual review, sorry.
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/somethin%E2%80%99-stupid/ [hope that comes out ok]

  43. 143
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Mark #139,

    I suggest to pick your enemies carefully; Burgy is not the enemy. And rants may be fun to write, but they make tiresome reading.

    Your point about two-sided vs. one-sided confidence bounds may have validity; I didn’t read the SPM with that in mind — but you could do so carefully, and summarize your findings here. That would be a useful contribution.

  44. 144
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Eh, the “comments pop-up” link still gives an old-style un-paged comment list from which it is impossible to successfully post (or preview). The new paged format looks great!

  45. 145
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Steve Reynolds July 2009 at 6:57 PM

    –Still– muttering about your selection as a uniquely special subject of abuse by RC’s proprietors?

    In sum, you claim to have some sort of “evidence” (of what you do not specify) but it’s being suppressed here at RC.

    If you have this mysterious “evidence” and it’s sufficiently important that you feel compelled to “discuss” it, and at the same time you are convinced that you cannot find a fair hearing on RC, why are you wasting your time pursuing the issue here? Why are you not exposing your “evidence” at one of the sites you prefer?

    Not to put too fine a point on it, you give every appearance of fabricating a grievance. Whether you genuinely believe in that grievance is a private matter for you, though it does not seem that any answer to that particular question will redound to your credit.

  46. 146
    Fred Staples says:

    Tamino says:

    “A valid way to estimate the impact of el Nino on global temperature is to use multiple regression on actual data rather than on estimates of time derivatives. One can include the impact of volcanoes, el Nino, solar changes, and greenhouse gases. When one does so, it’s clear that without the influence of man-made climate forcing it’s just not possible to explain the trend in global temperature.”

    And

    “the link they give is to mid-troposphere UAH data”

    The 30 year trend in the UAH mid-troposphere data is virtually zero.
    Are we to conclude, therefore, that without “the influence of man-made climate forcing” the “natural” trend would be strongly negative at about minus 3 degrees Centigrade per century?

    [Response: The MT data has a very significant contribution from the stratosphere (which is cooling) and so is not expected to be rising very substantially. This is the whole reason why MSU-LT and the Fu and Johnson approaches were developed. - gavin]

  47. 147
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Steven T. Corneliussen 28 July 2009 at 6:08 AM

    These signatories are a glorified version of our very own Steve Reynolds. They rely on vague accusations of corruption as a substitute for a meaningful contribution to science or public policy. They cannot produce any evidence of their claims, so instead they’re polluting discourse with asinine distractions.

    Ironically, these people are being gifted from the very establishment they attack with prominent public space to make their unfounded charges, belying their assertions of suppression even while being given a free pass on the little matter of evidence supporting their hypothesis.

    Nature and APS are making a serious mistake in entertaining these signatories with print space without first demanding and receiving factual information to back up their claims. Neither organization is in the habit of supporting unfounded “results”, yet they are according print space to indictments of multiple disciplines with a charge of corruption.

    I’m not sure who are more ridiculous, the signatories or the organizations witlessly supporting them.

    All that being said, –every– time folks such as those appearing in Nature appear, they should be hammered with demands for evidence of their accusations. The signatories’ and their like will then control their own credibility, to their detriment.

  48. 148
    Arthur Smith says:

    Nobody seems to have remarked on John McLean’s claim that 1900-1940 was “pre-CO2″. While the recorded warming during that period cannot be completely attributed to the CO2 increase during the period, I find it continually annoying that people seem to think CO2 increase is only a phenomenon of the late 20th century – by 1940 CO2 was already at 310 ppm up from a pre-industrial 280 or so.

  49. 149

    I think Ron Taylor’s account (#109) pretty much says all that needs to be said about the McLean et al paper.

  50. 150

    The open letter to NATURE may be seen at

    http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/open_letter.html

    and there is a link to the 50 people who signed it and an opportunity to add your own name to that list.

    Some on that list I recognize as credible people. Among these are my friend and ASA colleague

    Moorad Alexanian
    Professor of Physics and Physical Oceanography
    University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Others I recognize but have not personally met include:

    Laurence I. Gould
    Professor of Physics
    University of Hartford
    Member Executive Board of the New England Section of the APS
    Chairman (2004), New England Section APS

    Frank J. Tipler
    Professor of Mathematical Physics
    Tulane University

    Still in all — the letter reminds me of certain anti-evolution letters written 20 or 30 years ago by the Institute for Creation Research. Only the nouns have been changed.

    (Aside to Mark — I really don’t understand your recent post chiding me for something I don’t think I ever said)

    Burgy


Switch to our mobile site