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Climate scientist bashing

Filed under: — stefan @ 7 April 2010

A new popular sport in some media these days is “climate scientist bashing”. Instead of dealing soberly with the climate problem they prefer to attack climate scientists, i.e. the bearers of bad news. The German magazine DER SPIEGEL has played this game last week under the suggestive heading “Die Wolkenschieber” – which literally translated can mean both “the cloud movers” and “the cloud traffickers” (available in English here ). The article continues on this level, alleging “sloppy work, falsifications and exaggerations”. By doing so DER SPIEGEL digs deeply into the old relic box of “climate skeptics” and freely helps itself on their websites instead of critically researching the issues at hand.

As a scientist I do not have the time to dedicate a whole day to one article and to do much research on it, which is why I here discuss only a few of the most obvious flaws and distortions of facts in this story.

Temperature data

Cynically and inhumanely the article sets off with remarks on our British colleague Phil Jones. The authors extensively revel in sentences like this:

He feels a constant tightness in his chest. He takes beta-blockers to help him get through the day. He is gaunt and his skin is pallid.
Jones is finished: emotionally, physically and professionally. He has contemplated suicide several times recently.

And this is the result of a media campaign consisting of precisely such poorly researched and fact-twisting articles as this one, for which Marco Evers, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter are responsible.

What is first greatly hyped is then gleefully destroyed. According to DER SPIEGEL “the entire profession” of climate science “based much of its work on his [Jones'] research” and “almost every internal debate among the climate popes passed through his computer”. Now it happens that I, most likely not an untypical example, have never worked with Jones’ data and have only exchanged a handful of emails (out of tens of thousands every year) with him, although I do probably count as part of the “profession”. There is a whole set of other data of global temperature, e.g. the data from NASA which is based on weather stations (and which I prefer for various reasons) or data from NOAA or the satellite data from RSS or the UAH. As is always scientifically useful, important conclusions are based not on one single set of data but on the fact that a whole range of competing scientific groups find consistent results, using different methods (see Figure).

Global mean temperature (annual means) according to the 5 most often used data sets. The graph shows the deviation from the mean of the last 30 years, as well as the linear trend over the last 30 years. The data from the Hadley Center, NASA and NOAA use measurements from surface weather stations, each with its specific method of quality control (e.g. correction for heat island effects) and interpolation and spatial integration. Independently, the satellite data from RSS and UAH (available from 1979 onwards) provide two different analyses based on the same microwave raw data. These measure the temperature of the middle troposphere, the variations of which can differ from those of the surface temperatures on short time scales. The record El Niño year of 1998 is an example. It has caused a greater temperature anomaly in the troposphere, presumably as warm air rising in the tropics spread in middle altitudes. The climatic trends, however, do not differ significantly since on longer time scales the surface and tropospheric temperatures are closely coupled due to turbulent mixing processes.

The quality of raw data from worldwide weather stations and vessels is indeed often unsatisfactory, especially if one goes further back in time – after all they were gathered to help forecast the weather and not to determine long-term climate trends. However, the error margin has been carefully analyzed – as is standard in science – and is shown in the temperature graphs on the Hadley Center´s website as well as in the IPCC report, and to date there is no reason to assume that the actual temperature evolution lies outside these error margins – the more so as the satellite data correspond well with the ground data. Whether the global warming trend was 0,15 or 0,17°C per decade in the past decades is of no relevance to any practical concerns.

IPCC-Figure of global mean temperature 1850-2005 (Fig. TS6).

According to DER SPIEGEL Jones has erased raw data and is “an activist or missionary who views ‘his’ data as his personal shrine” who “is intent on protecting it from the critical eyes of his detractors”. However, Jones is neither the producer and owner nor the archivist of these data – it is simply data from the national weather agencies, who also are responsible for its archiving or for the question to whom and under what circumstances they may be passed on. The majority of these data is freely accessible online. However, some weather services do not allow their data to be passed on because they sell such data. Other scientists have compared the CRU-data with freely available raw data from weather stations. And at NASA one can find the computer algorithms which are used to calculate the global mean temperature, publicly available for everybody. There is hardly any other scientific field in which more data and computer codes are freely accessible than in climate science (e.g. also codes and data of my current papers on sea level rise in Science 2007 and PNAS 2009). Do for example economists, on whose advice many political decisions depend, disclose their raw data and the computer codes of their models?

The British House of Commons has just published the report by the committee which has been appointed to examine the accusations made against Phil Jones. The report concludes:

The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. [...] The scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact.

The fact that Jones has been rehabilitated will be welcomed by all those who know this decent, always helpful and universally well-liked scientist. For the general public the conclusions on his scientific findings will be even more important:

Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available-which they mostly are-or the methods not published-which they have been-its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.

The ever-popular “hockey stick” discussion

DER SPIEGEL resurrects one of the oldest shelf-warmers of the “climate skeptics”: the hockey stick debate and a series of flawed accusations with it. The so-called “hockey stick” is a temperature construction for the Northern Hemisphere for the last millennium published by Michael Mann, Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes in 1999, of which DER SPIEGEL writes that the Canadian Steve McIntyre unmasked it as “a sham”. (And this is the only clue within the whole article pointing to the alleged “falsifications”). This is not true. Even a committee of the National Academy of Sciences looked in 2006 at the accusations made by McIntyre and has cleared the authors of all suspicions.

Raw data and computer codes of the “hockey stick” are online and publicly available, and independent scientists have recalculated everything years ago using their own codes (also available). The current IPCC report from 2007 shows in Fig. 6.10 these reconstructions together with a dozen more which have meanwhile been added; the Copenhagen Diagnosis published in 2009 shows some even more recent ones in Fig. 19 (page 43). All show consistent results, not in detail but in their fundamental aspects. This is why the conclusions drawn in the IPCC report of 2007 were stronger than back in 2001, when the “hockey stick” had been shown for the first time. The IPCC report 2007 concludes:

Palaeoclimatic information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years. [Summary for Policy Makers, S. 9]

In the third report from 2001 such a statement had been made only for he last 1000 years.

All reconstructions – with or without using tree-ring data – agree that the temperature in the Northern Hemisphere (for the Southern Hemisphere insufficient data existed until recently) is higher today than in medieval times. DER SPIEGEL simply claims the opposite:

There are many indications that in medieval times, between 900 and 1,300 A.D., when the Vikings raised livestock in Greenland and grape vines were cultivated in Scotland, it was in fact warmer than it is today.

No scientific evidence in support of this claim is mentioned. Locally – in the North Atlantic region – climate reconstructions do indeed show higher temperatures than today (see Fig.); hence there is no contradiction to the anecdotal evidence about Greenland and Scotland.

Temperature difference between the middle ages (years 950 to 1250) and the modern period (years 1961 to 1990) according to a reconstruction by Mann et al. 2009. The grey shadinghatching shows regions with statistically significant results.

Incidentally, looking at the forcings, it would be surprising if it had been warmer in medieval times than now. Forcings are the factors which affect the global radiation budget of the Earth, such as variation of solar activity, volcanic eruptions or changes of the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If we compute the temperature evolution from the known forcings over the last thousand years, the result is consistent with the temperature reconstructions mentioned above. Merely one (in the meantime corrected) model simulation by Zorita and von Storch is an exception. These model calculations (18 in total) are compiled and compared with data in the IPCC report in figures 6.13 and 6.14 .

Only by looking at the forcings can one draw conclusions about the causes of global warming – the fact that currently it is unusually warm does not by itself tell us anything about the causes. If only natural and no anthropogenic forcing existed it would be much colder now than in medieval times.

The hockey stick debate exemplifies how the „climate skeptics“-lobby has tried to discredit an inconvenient scientific finding over the course of many years, without success. The scientific conclusions have proven to be robust.

Tropical storms

Under the subheading “The Myth of the Monster Storm” the SPIEGEL article reports on a “hurricane war” amongst US climate scientists:

The alarmists, using the rhetoric of fiery sermons, warned that Katrina was only the beginning, and that we would soon see the advent of superstorms of unprecedented fury. Members of the more levelheaded camp were vehemently opposed to such predictions and insisted that there was no justification for such fears.

Sadly, no example for the “rhetoric of fiery sermons” is quoted. “Levelheaded” is the well-worn SPIEGEL-parlance for describing anyone who downplays climate change, regardless of whether their claims are scientifically well-founded.

Then a recent study from Nature Geoscience is cited which allegedly announces “the all-clear signal on the hurricane front” and which signifies “another setback for the IPCC”. This is because “the IPCC report warned that there would be more hurricanes in a greenhouse climate”. Let us simply quote from the abstract of the new study:

Future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2-11% by 2100. Existing modelling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6-34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modelling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre.

Long story short, fewer but heavier tropical storms can be expected. By the way, the potential destructiveness of storms increases more steeply than the wind velocities; a 2-11% higher speed means a 6-37% higher destructiveness. (Emanuel 2005).

And what did the IPCC report have to say on this topic?

Based on a range of models, it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical sea surface temperatures. There is less confidence in projections of a global decrease in numbers of tropical cyclones. [Summary for Policy Makers, page 15.]

Long story short, fewer but heavier tropical storms can be expected, even if there was still less confidence about the first aspect at the time. The WMO, whose expert group has published this study, consequently describes the result as follows:

Substantial scientific progress has led the Expert Team to raise their confidence levels on several aspects of how tropical cyclone activity may change under projected climate scenarios.

This means: there is no reason for speaking of a “setback” in a “war”; rather the early findings of the IPCC report have been given a higher confidence level. The SPIEGEL story on this issue falls into a category of false allegations against IPCC mentioned by us already in February, namely those which can be falsified by simply reading the report (in this case even a quick look at the Summary for Policy Makers would have sufficed).

IPCC mistakes

According to DER SPIEGEL “more and more mistakes, evidence of sloppy work and exaggerations in the current IPCC report are appearing”. We already investigated this and came to the conclusion that of the mistakes discussed excitedly in the media, nothing much remains except for the Himalaya mistake. The SPIEGEL does not have anything else to offer either – it counts “Jones’ disputed temperature curve” as one of them; apart from that “the supposed increase in natural disasters” – wrongly so as we have already showed (in German) reacting to an article published in Die Welt which claimed the same.

DER SPIEGEL elaborates on the story of the alleged “phantom graph” by Robert Muir-Wood which we have explained there as well. According to DER SPIEGEL, Roger Pielke “tried to find out where the graph had come from” and “traced it” to Robert Muir-Wood. This must have been hard indeed, given that Muir-Wood, who provided the graph, is named by the IPCC in the figure caption. The only difficult thing is to find this graph (which incidentally is correct but not very informative) at all: other than DER SPIEGEL claims, it is not in the IPCC report itself but only provided as “supplementary material” on its website, where the IPCC publishes such background material. Although on the 3,000 pages of the report there was no space for it, the graph now seems to be important to SPIEGEL readers for reasons unknown.

What is it all about?

SPIEGEL defames some of the best scientists worldwide, who not least for this reason have become prime targets for the “climate skeptics”. If you look at publications in the three scientific top journals (Nature, Science, PNAS), the just 44-year-old Mike Mann has already published 9 studies there, Phil Jones 24 (comments, letters and book reviews not included). In contrast, DER SPIEGEL always calls upon the same witness, the mathematician Hans von Storch, who has published only a single article in the prime journals mentioned (and that was faulty). But he says the politically wanted thing, even if without any supporting evidence from the scientific literature: in his view we can easily adapt to climate change. He also publicly accuses the vast majority of his colleagues who disagree with him of alarmism, calls them “prophets of doom” or “eco-activists” who indoctrinate the public. He also insinuates political or financial motives for disseminating horror scenarios. In this article he says things like “unfortunately, some of my colleagues behave like pastors, who present their results in precisely such a way that they’ll fit to their sermons”. This quote matches the article´s inflationary usage of the words “guru” “popes” “fiery sermons” “missionaries” and so forth. And he goes on: “It’s certainly no coincidence that all the mistakes that became public always tended in the direction of exaggeration and alarmism.” The following statement would have probably been more correct: it is certainly no coincidence that all the alleged errors scandalized in the media always tended in the direction of exaggeration and alarmism.

It is obvious that DER SPIEGEL does not care about science. This really is about politics. This year will decide about the future of the German climate policy: in the fall the government will announce its new energy strategy. This will decide whether the energy transformation towards a sustainable electricity supply, increasingly based on renewables, will be pushed forward or thwarted. In a global context the issue is whether global warming can be limited to a maximum of 2 ºC, as the Copenhagen Accord calls for, or whether this opportunity will be lost. The power struggle on this issue is in full gear. The energy transformation can best be prevented by creating doubts about its urgency. The fact that scandal stories about climate science have to be invented to this end just proves one thing: good, honest arguments against a forceful climate policy apparently do not exist.

p.s. (26 April): It’s just a curiosity, but telling: DER SPIEGEL calls Pachauri’s novel “Return to Almora” an “erotic novel”. The novel follows the life story of Sanjay Nath, from a childhood in the 1950s in the Himalayas through decades spent in the US building up a chain of meditation centers, until his final return to the Himalayas at age 60. The 400-page book contains a handful of love scenes, only gently hinted at in a few sentences. Calling this an “erotic novel” is devious; it can only serve the purpose of letting Pachauri appear in a dubious light.

Correction: As Roger Pielke has pointed out to us, the Supplementary Material to the IPCC reports is not only available on the IPCC website, but also on a CD-ROM distributed with the printed books.

[This piece is a translation of an article that originally appeared in German on the KlimaLounge weblog.]

References

Emanuel, K., 2005: Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature, 436, 686-688.

Knutson, T. R., J. L. McBride, J. Chan, K. Emanuel, G. Holland, C. Landsea, I. Held, J. P. Kossin, A. K. Srivastava, and M. Sugi, 2010: Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nature Geoscience, 3, 157-163.

Mann, M. E., R. S. Bradley, and M. K. Hughes, 1999: Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: inferences, uncertainties and limitations. Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762.

Mann, M. E., Z. Zhang, S. Rutherford, R. S. Bradley, M. Hughes, D. Shindell, C. Ammann, G. Faluvegi, and F. Ni, 2009: Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly. Science, 326, 1256-1260.


517 Responses to “Climate scientist bashing”

  1. 101
    Jim Steele says:

    Gavin 96 and Hank 97, What are you arguing? I am repeating what Landsea said. How is my timing confused? or saying that it hadn’t happened? Read his resignation from the link. Most of his anger was against the press conference that Trenberth held and was introduced the IPCC lead author. I hear arguments that Landsea overstated his case because Trenberth was talking as an individual not for the IPCC. But that is a bit disingenuous, as Trenberth’s importance to warrant a press conference was due in part to his IPCC status. I can’t comment on Landseas recent paper not having read it. But other evidence led me to believe the DS was more or less correct about AGW not being correlated to increased cyclone activity. And Hank your link to the Stoat’s take on Landsea was nothing more than “bashing a scientist” simply because he is a skeptic. Please lets talk evidence.

    To put my argument in context, I had gone to the IPCC site to see their exact wording on cyclones, etc. but when I searched for hurricanes or cyclones, and although the drop down menu suggested 100+ document, the search said there was no match. So if anyone has a link to the hurricane section I’d appreciate it, or post the IPCC’s statement. The more common belief and the one which I am assuming, is that AGW predicts more hurricane activity and more intense hurricanes.

    But measures of that activity such as the ACE index http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/ have shown the the ACE index is at a 30 year low. Ryan Maue also states the number of major TCs during the 1980s was 149, 1990s was 179 and 2000s was 165. The overall trend is not significant during the past 30-years. ” It doesn’t take much to see that there is no correlation of ACE and increasing CO2. So whether the IPCC predicted more cyclone activity or less, neither prediction seems relevant as there is neither a positive or negative correlation with ACE index. Now may be some models make different predictions but the observational evidence contradicts any association with CO2. So I can easily see why DS made such an interpretation. If anyone has evidence that shows a significant correlation with CO2 I’d love to see it. If DS ignored that evidence then I will agree they are liars.

    And from another skeptic so bash away, but Pielke Jr posted a 2006-2009 summary of hurricane damage which is way below historic averages. http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/11/evaluation-of-rms-hurricane-dmaage.html So I am skeptical for a reason.

  2. 102
    Walter Manny says:

    86, 87, 88, 92, 99

    Let’s say you’re writing and/or editing the DS article. Clearly, you should not write “finally disproves” to substitute for the scholarly, “these improvements have encouraged us to raise our confidence levels concerning several aspects of cyclone-activity projections. These include our assessment that tropical cyclone frequency is likely to either decrease or remain essentially the same…” (from the conclusion of the study, not the abstract).

    Nor should you write, “However, future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2–11% by 2100. Existing modelling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6–34%.”

    You are writing for DS readers, not scientists, so you substitute for the 6-34%, “The study concludes with the assessment that “tropical cyclone frequency is likely to either decrease or remain essentially the same.” To cover the 2-11%, you then quote the controversial Landsea (more interesting to the lay audience given he quit the IPCC), “Top wind speeds could increase somewhat, says Landsea, but the changes would ‘not be truly substantial.’”

    I can understand, then, why the passionate RC reader, well-informed in many cases, doesn’t like the DS treatment of science, reducing an already reduced abstract or conclusion from a formal paper, giving it a brief paraphrase and trying to fit it into a more general narrative. I can even understand the urge to state, “They lied, pure and simple.” But nothing in this subject is pure, nor is it simple, satisfying though it would be if it were the case. Calling people liars is fun, but not particularly illuminating.

  3. 103
    RaymondT says:

    Do the climatologists at Real Climate agree with the following statements in the der Spiegel article: 1) “The IPCC should openly admit its mistakes and correct them. It is imperative that trust in the work of the IPCC be restored as quickly as possible” (German Environment Miniter Norbert Rottgen on page 3), 2) “Unfortunately, there are more and more scientists that want to be politicians” (Reinhard Hutti on page 3), 3) “When you adjust for the growth in new buildings, road and factories being built in hurricane regions, there is no longer any evidence of an upward trend” (in hurricane activity with increasing global temperatures) (Roger Pielke Jr on page 9), 5) “All computer models show that nothing will change at all outside the tropics. (in terms of the strength of storms). In the future, we will see neither more nor stronger storms gathering over our heads” (Jochem Marotzke on page 9), 6) “The two degree (limit) is not a magical limit – it’s a political goal. The world will not come to an end right away in the event of stronger warming, nor will we be definitely saved if warming is not as significant. The reality, of course, is much more complicated” (Hans Joachim Schellnhuber on page 12), 7) “The 2 degree target has little to do with serious science. It’s no coincidence that all the mistakes that became public always tended in the direction of exageration and alarmism. Fearmongering is the wrong way to go about it. Climate change is not going to happen overnight. We still have time to react” (Hans von Storch on pages 12 and 13).

    [Response: OK, I'll bite. First, (1) Yes, of course. This is a straw man thought, because no one has ever said that IPCC should not do this. (2) WHo are these scientists that want to be politicians? This is simply made up. (3) I think you are misquoting Roger -- he was probably talking about the *impacts* of hurricanes, which is his expertise; in any case many people disagree with him so on balance NO; (5) Nope. Not true. (6) Of course. So what? Who ever said "2 degrees was 'magical'? (7) Nope. Lots of reasons that it is 2 degrees and not 3. We can all agree that fearmongering is wrong. The question is who is doing the fearmongering here?. Saying 'climate change isn't gong to happen overnight' is dramatic, but meaningless. How can a gradual process happen 'overnight'. I agree with von Storch here, but again it is a straw man, because the mainstream community is not saying that.

    Summary: I didn't see a #4, so out of those 6 items, I would say that 5.5 of them are misleading at best, wrong at worst. Not a very good batting average.--eric]

  4. 104
    Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    Stefan-

    There are 3 errors of fact in the following:

    “Roger Pielke “tried to find out where the graph had come from” and “traced it” to Robert Muir-Wood. This must have been hard indeed, given that Muir-Wood, who provided the graph, is named by the IPCC in the figure caption. The only difficult thing is to find this graph (which incidentally is correct but not very informative) at all: other than DER SPIEGEL claims, it is not in the IPCC report itself but only provided as “supplementary material” on its website, where the IPCC publishes such background material.”

    1. The reference provided by IPCC to Muir-Wood et al. 2006 was not where the graph came from. The IPCC intentionally miscited the graph, as Muir-Wood has admitted.

    2. The graph is not “correct.” Several IPCC reviewers correctly identified it as “misleading.” Muir-Wood has explained that the graph should not have been included for this very reason and it has never appeared anywhere (peer reviewed or grey literature) other than in the IPCC report.

    3. The supplementary material was indeed included with the hard-copy of the report (inside the back cover) and was referenced in the main text. To say that it is only on the website is simply incorrect.

    You may view these issues as insignificant, but you should at least report them accurately.

    [Response: Roger,

    1. I did not say the graph came from that paper; I merely pointed out that Muir-Wood is named in the figure caption, so that finding out about the origins of the graph would have required nothing more than an email to him. By the way, there are other graphs in the IPCC report where references point to the data sources while the graph itself is original to the report. I just don't see any reason to get excited about that, as long as the data are graphed correctly.

    2. Someone finds it potentially misleading, but does this mean it is incorrect? As far as I know the graph shows two data curves which show the data correctly - at least I have not heard anyone claim that the curves don't show the data correctly. The concern that it could be "misleading" appears to be due to the fact that some people might interpret the two data curves being shown together as a proof of a causal link between the two. However, in order to be misled in this way one would have to (a) know nothing about the subject and (b) not read the accompanying IPCC text. I think that is unlikely for anyone who penetrates as far into the subject as to look at the supplementary material.

    3. Thanks for pointing this out; I did not know the WG2 supplementary material was also in the printed volume. I'll correct that in the post as soon as I'm back in the office to confirm it.

    Stefan]

  5. 105
    MapleLeaf says:

    Jim Steele, the Arctic sea ice has not “recovered”. Please look at these maps,

    Trends March extent:
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png

    The Arctic ice extent in January and February 2010 were also lower than the extent in 2008 and 2009, and December 2009 was lower than 2008. Anything but a recovery.

    Additionally, extent is misleading, what really counts is the extent (and volume) of thick multi-year ice and whereas that covered about 35 % of the basin in the early 80s, in 2009 less than 10% of the basing had multi-year ice (2 years or older).

    Like the temperature record, the Arctic extent displays marked interannual variability. Do not expect a monotonic decrease.

    The paper the Guardian reported on, if I recall correctly, failed to point out that the authors stated that weakened and thinner ice on account of years of much above normal temperatures had preconditioned the ice, so when a number of factors came together in 2007 the stage was set for dramatic loss. So the ice is less robust than it used to be and is susceptible to dramatic losses should the wind regime etc. be unfavourable. This map shows the impact of warming on the number of melting days in the Arctic warm season, not the dramatic increase– temperatures/warming definitely play a role,

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=42456

    The fact that winds also play a significant role in modulating interannual and even intra-annual variability in the Arctic sea ice is nothing new.

  6. 106
    RaymondT says:

    Post Scriptum. Of course in my last comment in 3) I meant “there is no longer any evidence of an upward trend IN NORMALIZED PROPERTY LOSSES due to increasing global average temperature”. By the way stefan, how significant is an increase of 2-11% in tropical storms given the uncertainty of the climate models ?

  7. 107
    MapleLeaf says:

    Walter, we are not quibbling. This is pretty serious stuff and not to be taken lightly. I sense some desperation when you start making a straw man argument like “Well Gore did it”. This has nothing to do with Gore, it is about Der Spiegel. And the DS series comes on the heels of reporters like Leake, Rose, Pearce, Corcoran etc. brutalizing the science and defaming scientists. So scientists, understandably, have had enough of their research being distorted and manipulated. Contrarians neglect to mention that the IPCC was too conservative on important metrics such as Arctic sea ice loss, ice loss from EAIS and Greenland, and sea level rise.

    If you don’t already know Landsea and Knutson don’t exactly see eye to eye. The fact that they published this paper together is remarkable, and it also probably means that some of the deductions were tempered towards the conservative side. For example, several studies (using satellite data) have found an increase in the number of strong (cat 4 and 5) tropical storms globally (e.g., Webster et al. 2005, Science; Hoyos et al. 2006, Science). That does not mean every year will have more activity than the previous year, or that there will not be periods when activity slumps b/c of internal climate variability.

    Walter this is still pretty early days yet in this experiment and there are already fairly dramatic changes evident in the biosphere. That said, people expect the scenarios for 2100 to be being realized now, yesterday even.

  8. 108
    Jim Steele says:

    Jim G 3100,

    Let me first say that I think humans have altered the landscape and have taken a heavy toll on many biological species. Hunting, overgrazing and disruption of the natural hydrology would top my list. I see the biggest issue to confront is wetlands and stream channelization and have worked to have a watershed restored in the Sierra Nevada.

    But your collection of “climate driven” changes are nothing more than a lot of “just so “ stories. Yes species respond to changes in temperature and climate, they have evolved to live in varying climatic conditions. You might say that evolution has put a premium on dispersal be it wings or the pappus of a dandelion, because climate is naturally changing. That is different than attributing it to rising CO2.

    One article on a paper in Oikos about birds evolving smaller due to global warming just made me laugh. First of all, of all the measurements, wing chord is the most variable. It depends on how you press down on the wing, and the angle of the wing. There has been a trend for banders to use the relax wing chord where before people use to push down on the wing. Weight measurements have changed from using spring loaded Pesolas to digital. Wind can cause measurement to fluctuate by several grams. So first I want to see how much variation was measured and what the standard errors were.

    Conditions during molt, which happens just before migration in most species, can effect feather length. A meadow that is drying out may lack the food supply to promote full feather growth. And a lot of meadows are drying out, not due to CO2 warming, but channelization from other human activities.

    Second most of that banding records mentioned came from migration monitoring stations. Changes in weather and pressure systems can move populations hundreds of miles off course. So you have no control over what populations are being measured at migratory stations. If the studied used breeding sites it would be more robust. My 19 years of data at breeding stations shows no such trend.

    Finally to attribute these questionable changes in birds wing length to warming caused by CO2 is another can of worms. Your article simply mentioned Bergman’s rule and then assume causation.

    Changes in snow pack, precipitation, as well as human caused changes in hydrology can change phenologies as much as if not more than 1 degree average warming. In the Sierra I have observed quite a bit of variability and I highly doubt this varying climate can generate any directional selection. Using the global average temperature in many cases is a misapplication.

    I also looked to see if your collection included the Edith Checkerspot, and I am glad it didn’t. Amazingly the California Academy has it on display as an example of butterflies moving north due to warming. It is a species that has been touted as proof of warming because a few populations were extirpated in southern California. Statistically this moved them north. If you read Parmesan’s explanation for their extirpation, it is clear was caused more by cold and drought than AGW.

    “The first catastrophe occurred in 1989 when very low winter snowpack led to an early and unusually synchronous adult emergence in April (as compared to the usual June flight). So early, in fact, that flowers were not yet in bloom and most adults died from starvation. Just one year later another relatively light snowpack again caused adults to emerge early. Adult butterflies,
    adapted to summertime conditions of warmth and sun, suffered many deaths during a “normal” May snowstorm. Each of these events decreased the population size by an order of magnitude. The finale came but two years later in 1992 “when (unusually low) temperatures of −5°C on June 16, without insulating snowfall, killed an estimated 97% of the Collinisa (host) plants. . . . The butterflies had already finished flying and left behind young (caterpillars) that were”

    http://www.agci.org/dB/PDFs/Publications/05S2_BAMS_TerrestrialBiota.pdf

    If your collection is meant to just create despair, so be it. If you want to generate critical examination, I suggest you post the methods and statistics that go with those just so stories.

  9. 109
    RaymondT says:

    Thanks eric for your reply to my question. Why do you disagree with: 1) Roger Pielke Jr about increased normalized property losses with increasing global temperatures, 2) Jochem Marotzke about storm intensity outside the tropics, 3)Hans von Storch about 2 degrees not being critical ?

  10. 110
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Jim Steele says: 8 April 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Jim, this year’s ice extent has reached and passed its maximum and is now declining as per the usual schedule, having undershot the typical level of 30 years ago by some 1 million square kilometers or about 6%. No “Victory in the Arctic” has been won this year. I’m fairly certain the very fact you’ve piped up here tells us you already knew that.

    Regarding the paper you mention investigating how winds influence ice extent, I’m also fairly sure you’re aware that it ascribes something like 1/3rd of the missing ice to variability having to do with weather and makes a point assigning the bulk of missing ice to other factors, specifically highlighting climate change.

    If you’re not aware of those things, you should step back into the line of rejectionista recruits bearing wooden rifles and put some more bootblack and wax on your weapon as it’s not presenting a very convincing illusion at this moment.

  11. 111
    Richard Steckis says:

    Stefan,

    Your article is very comprehensive with two figures showing regression lines. My question is: have you taken into account the fact that there is a significant auto-correlation in climate anomaly data (as Tamino is so fond of reminding me)? Therefore what regression type did you use to provide those regression lines or if you did not generate them, did you verify that auto-correlation was taken into account from the originating publisher of those figures.

    Secondly, have you taken into account any breakpoints in the time series (David Stockwell has verified numerous breakpoints [http://arxiv4.library.cornell.edu/pdf/0907.1650v3] as have I). The existence of breakpoints makes the validity of long time series regressions problematic as they may be influenced by factors other than just temperature change due to GHGs.

  12. 112
    Slioch says:

    Stefan, TYPO:

    “The grey shading shows regions with statistically significant results.” in figure of “Temperature difference between the middle ages …” should surely be, “The grey shading shows regions without statistically significant results.”

    A most useful article. Thanks.

    [Response: I meant grey hatching if this is right word; sorry. stefan]

  13. 113
    wilt says:

    “El Niño (peaked in Dec 2009) will reach its maximum influence on global temperature. The calendar year 2010 may be colder than 2005 because a La Niña may be developing soon.” (Andreas #99)
    A question for Andreas, and others: I notice that the 2009-2010 El Nino did not peak very high but lasted rather long, about a year. When compared to a shorter El Nino with higher peak value (e.g. 1997-1998) would one expect more effect on global temperature, or less, or about the same? In other words is intensity the major factor, or duration, or “area under the curve”?

  14. 114
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “101
    Jim Steele says:
    8 April 2010 at 10:34 PM

    Gavin 96 and Hank 97, What are you arguing? I am repeating what Landsea said. ”

    How about trying to understand, rather than just repeat?

    After all, if you’re just repeating, how can you be argued against? You’re just accepting what he said and repeating it.

    Might as well repeat what the IPCC say. After all, what THEY have said is the consolidation of thousands of papers, rather than just one.

    So go ahead, repeat what the IPCC say.

  15. 115
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “So maybe Spencer’s analysis is based on scientific merit. As other have noted he reports the satellite data whether or not it supports his skepticism.”

    But the headline and the take-home point at the end refuses to report what the satellite data says and instead confirms his skepticism.

    This is still lying.

  16. 116
    TomS says:

    Previous comment:

    “Perhaps it is possible to find different ways of working, or alternatively to push for legislative reform, so that climate scientists can be exempted from FOI laws.”

    That is the funniest thing I’ve read at RC in a month. Nobody here disagrees with this?

    Here’s a way: Don’t take public money, and don’t publish in journals that require disclosure. but then don’t act surprised if people are skeptical of what you claim.

    Requiring disclosure upon request for the entity that is funding your research is not unreasonable. There seems to be a prevailing attitude with some that they owe nothing to the public taxpayer, and that this is an entitlement.

    NASA just received $2.5B of funding for climate research. Your welcome. (as if anyone was thankful…)

  17. 117
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “If measured land temperatures are not completely accurate because of an UHI effect they should be corrected. ”

    Problem is the denialotropes then bleat on about how the data has been fudged and therefore PROVES AGW is a hoax.

  18. 118
    Sebu says:

    This abysmal low point of science reporting at the Spiegel does not come as a surprise to anyone inside. It is caused by three structural problems that have a history going back many years, one of which Rahmstorf has correctly identified in his article.

    1. Der Spiegel has a long-standing anti-renewables stance, caused by its long-time chief editor owning a horse farm outside Hamburg where he did not like the view spoilt by wind turbines on the horizon. Two of the best Spiegel journalists resigned in protest over this in 2004, Gerd Rosenkranz and Harald Schumann. We never recovered from this blow.

    2. Der Spiegel for many years has relied mainly on one frustrated scientist who at 60 is approaching the end of his career without having made it into the first tier of climate science, and whose media claim to fame is not based on scientific achievements but on increasingly shrill political statements.

    3. Olaf Stampf.

  19. 119

    wilt (67),

    re the UHI:

    Böhm, R. 1998. “Urban bias in temperature time series: A case study for the city of Vienna, Austria.” Climatic Change 38, 113–128.

    Changnon, S.A. 1999. “A rare long record of deep soil temperatures defines temporal temperature changes and an urban heat island.” Climatic Change 42, 531–538.

    Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Sato, M., Imhoff, M., Lawrence, W., Easterling, D., Peterson, T., and Karl, T. 2001. “A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change.” J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23947–23963.

    Jones, P.D., et al. 1990. “Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land.” Nature, 347, 169–172.

    Kalnay, E., and M. Cai. 2003. “Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate.” Nature 423, 528–531.

    Karl, T.R., H.F. Diaz, and G. Kukla 1988. “Urbanization: Its detection and effect in the United States climate record.” J. Clim. 1, 1099–1123.

    Parker, DE. 2004. “Large-scale warming is not urban.” Nature 432, 290.

    Parker, DE. 2006. “A Demonstration That Large-Scale Warming Is Not Urban.” Journal of Climate 19, 2882-2895.

    Peterson, Thomas C. 2003. “Assessment of Urban Versus Rural In Situ Surface Temperatures in the Contiguous United States: No Difference Found.” J. Clim. 16(18), 2941-2959.

    Peterson T., Gallo K., Lawrimore J., Owen T., Huang A., McKittrick D. 1999. “Global rural temperature trends.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 26(3), 329.

    Pa04: “Controversy has persisted over the influence of urban warming on reported large-scale surface-air temperature trends. Urban heat islands occur mainly at night and are reduced in windy conditions3. Here we show that, globally, temperatures over land have risen as much on windy nights as on calm nights, indicating that the observed overall warming is not a consequence of urban development.”

  20. 120

    Re #89,

    They’ve been keeping records of when the cherry trees blossom in Kyoto since 832 AD. Want to take a look?

  21. 121
    Geoff Beacon says:

    In reply to
    RaymondT (#103), Eric says

    Saying ‘climate change isn’t gong to happen overnight’ is dramatic, but meaningless. How can a gradual process happen ‘overnight’. I agree with von Storch here, but again it is a straw man, because the mainstream community is not saying that.

    Eric’s answers suggest that he is not one to be intimidated but one of my biggest worries is that the pressure from deniers is preventing considered judgements on dangers that lie ahead, which are not just “known unknowns” but “unknown unknowns”.

    Dangers are not certainties but we pay household fire insurance on risks that are far less likely than really bad things happening with the climate.

    We need a collective judgement mechanism for climate similar to the bets placed on stocks and shares – or even horse racing – so that we can put “our money where our mouths are” to use an old-fahioned phrase.

    I have just found http://www.theclimatebet.com – We need something like that but better and covering more topics, particularly ones that can be assessed in the short term – theclimatebet.org has just one bet which is decided in eight years time.

    The Sunday Times piece, “Arctic ice recovers from the great melt”, mentioned above suggests that the summer ice extent will not be near the recent minimums. I would like to bet it will be in the lowest three.
    But I can’t find any bookies that would take the bet.

  22. 122
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Tom S. says, “NASA just received $2.5B of funding for climate research. Your welcome. (as if anyone was thankful…)”

    Gee, ever read a science paper? Thought not. In said paper, you will find a section labeled Acknowledgements. Here you will find a “Thank You” along with the grant under which the research was performed.

    Also, you speak as if the government or American people were doing the researchers a favor by giving them research money. Last I saw, the American people seemed to be quite happy with all of the technology, added safety, etc. that was the result of that research. I am only sorry that you cannot appreciate the irony of using the Internet as a medium for broadcasting your ignorance.

  23. 123
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “That is the funniest thing I’ve read at RC in a month. Nobody here disagrees with this?”

    Well the scientists job isn’t to answer FOI requests.

    Neither can you FOI GSK’s email trails, despite government aid.

    Nor the banks.

    Or ISPs.

    When the law is being abused, then the law is broken.

    Or do you disagree and insist we keep a law that can and is being abused?

  24. 124
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Steele,
    When an otherwise competent researcher chooses to ignore massive amounts of evidence and even well established science, it is perfectly natural to look for an answer in their psychology. The fact that Spencer is content to look at 1.5% of the globe’s surface while ignoring what is going on in the other 98.5% of the planet is certainly curious, particularly when that other 98.5% would give him a very different answer.

    You also seem eager to dismiss “Just So” stories, and half a dozen or so independent temperature records and a couple of trillion tons of melted ice. I’d say we are right to wonder about your motivations as well.

  25. 125
    dhogaza says:

    Jim Steele says …

    But your collection of “climate driven” changes are nothing more than a lot of “just so “ stories.

    The ‘”just so” stories’ phraseology is a poach from the creationist world, used to describe in essence all evolutionary explanations of biological phenomena.

    I must say, Mr. Steele, that I’m immediately suspicious and put off by such phraseology.

    But your collection of “climate driven” changes are nothing more than a lot of “just so “ stories. Yes species respond to changes in temperature and climate, they have evolved to live in varying climatic conditions. You might say that evolution has put a premium on dispersal be it wings or the pappus of a dandelion, because climate is naturally changing. That is different than attributing it to rising CO2.

    No one suggests that these so-called “just so” stories attribute warming to rising CO2. Rather these so-called “just so” stories are additional evidence that the world is warming, as predicted by physics. Warming’s a prediction, we seek observations to support that prediction, we find such observations in the natural world as well as our own instruments, the physics underlying the prediction is vindicated.

    So much for your “just so” refutation of the world of science.

  26. 126
    Gilles says:

    CM #48 : I thought Jo’s post was ironical and that it only intended to show how ridiculous the general atmosphere of praising and admiring all these marvelous climate scientists has become (each new topics here is generally followed by a succession of posts celebrating how great their work is and so forth..). Well I have nothing against climate scientists and I really think most of them are honest (if it is necessary to precise it). But generally speaking, all honest scientists in the world try to do their best on complex issues. The state of science is such that a great part of what they say is hypothetic, with statistically poorly significant data, and will reveal eventually to be wrong. I stress that it is NOT a criticism of climate science but a general analysis of ALL modern science , from biology to particle physics. Just because all facts easy to interpret and all basic theories have been established a long time ago now and all issues that remain to be solved are complex and ill known. That’s life. Fitting data with linear regressions and simple differential equations is NOT a very complicated thing to do with modern computers : it’s rather funny to see bloggers, who are not climate scientists by themselves, reproducing all the basic elements of temperature curves with rather simple models , and then claiming that non special-ists are not allowed to criticize the “official science”.

    As far as I can judge, there is no revolutionary theory that has been invented by climate scientists (no theory of general relativity or quantum mechanics), there is no spectacular confirmation of their theories (no Halley comet, no deviation of light by the sun, no electron diffraction pattern), and the general quality of data is poor because of incomplete temporal and spatial coverage, and doubtful calibration methods. Again, this is not a fundamental criticism, they probably do their best with what they have. But generally speaking, this is more a (more or less) honest simulation of a very complex system with rather simple physics, with a lot of approximations, than the greatest scientific adventure of the XXth century. It has become the center of attention ONLY because of its political consequences – the same work on Venus or Saturn would have attracted much less passion of course.

    So now they are crying that they are criticized with political arguments. But that is the price to pay of having sought for political support in their core activity. They have slipped from a pure scientific study to an economico-political endeavor aiming at changing the whole behavior of mankind – no surprise that the answer has been : are you so reliable and perfect to dare formulate such a demand ? you can’t claim both being entitled to ask people changing their life, and being protected from -sometimes rude, and maybe even unfair- inquiries to know if you really deserve it.

  27. 127
    Walter Manny says:

    107 Sir/Madam:

    “I sense some desperation when you start making a straw man argument like ‘Well, Gore did it’.”

    Well, I’m hardly desperate, but I concede that Gore has nothing to do with this. While it is ironic to note that when he was distorting the science the press ate that up and few RCers complained about it because he “had the basics right”, that does not justify DS following suit with any overstatements of their own. Students at my school will not be required to read the article, though they were required to see the film. In both cases, though, I still think “lies” is off target.

  28. 128
    Paul A says:

    # 116 TomS

    “Requiring disclosure upon request for the entity that is funding your research is not unreasonable. There seems to be a prevailing attitude with some that they owe nothing to the public taxpayer, and that this is an entitlement.”

    Speaking as a UK taxpayer, I resent my tax money being wasted following up FOI requests for data that is already publicly available, and FOI requests that are used purely as a time/resource wasting tactic by those who have no intention of doing anything remotely useful with the data. FOI legislation is a good thing, but let us not forgot that there around those who will abuse FOI legislation.

    ““NASA just received $2.5B of funding for climate research.”

    Source please.

  29. 129
    wilt says:

    Barton Paul Levenson (#119) published a long list of articles arguing against the UHI effect, in response to a previous comment I made (#67). This is remarkable, since I had written that if there was any UHI effect it would be limited to only a small percentage of the planet’s surface and would therefore not have a dramatic effect on the final global outcome. But now that he has taken the trouble to provide the publication list, let me briefly comment on one of those articles, Jones et al. Nature 1990 (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v347/n6289/abs/347169a0.html). It is remarkable that this one is included in the list, because there is serious doubt about the location or even the existence of many of the Chinese weather stations used for this publication. This issue has also been discussed in several quality newspapers in the UK, for instance the Independent and the Guardian:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climategate-scientist-hid-flaws-in-data-say-sceptics-1886487.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/01/leaked-emails-climate-jones-chinese

    Even more remarkable in this context is that Jones himself in a later article in JGR (2008) has written that “Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1°C decade−1 over the period 1951–2004” (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008JD009916.shtml).

  30. 130
    David Kidd says:

    Regarding “The Times” Everybody has to understand that it along with “The Wall Street Journal” and many others form part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. If they want a job the journalists probably dont have much choice. Mr Murdoch has a record of being a “Hands on” owner especially of Newspapers. Murdochs papers are most probably cross subsidised from his other media enterprises because they remain politically influential.

  31. 131
    Dappled Water says:

    #89 having studied bird populations in the Sierra Nevada for 20 years – you should be aware of the effect global warming has has on bird populations:

    http://210.193.216.98/cps/rde/papp/techAdvice:techAdvice/http://www.pnas.org/content/106/suppl.2/19637.full

  32. 132
    wilt says:

    Ray Ladbury (#124) apparently thinks that Jim Steele is ignoring evidence, and of course he is entitled to have his own opinion. But then he adds: “it is perfectly natural to look for an answer in their psychology”, and later on “I’d say we are right to wonder about your motivations as well.” Now I suppose that Jim Steele is perfectly capable of defending himself. But I want to propose that in this discussion we focus on scientific arguments and interpretations, and leave the psychology out of it. I do not suppose that mr Ladbury or any of the other discussants here has any training as a psychologist, and even if he did it is very doubtful that he could make a long-distance diagnosis based on a comment that someone makes at a blog. So, let’s talk science again!

  33. 133
    dhogaza says:

    Walter Manny sez …

    While it is ironic to note that when he was distorting the science the press ate that up and few RCers complained about it because he “had the basics right”

    More than the basics. AIT deserves a good A- grade, nothing to sneeze at.

    Unlike your own misrepresentations which would lead to a failing grade …

  34. 134
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter,
    The only things that is correct for the article in Der Speigel are the page numbers. This represents the shoddiest excuse for science journalism I’ve seen. They’ve single-sourced most of their contentions and those from scientists representing a minority view.

    I’d be surprised if something like this would even make it through the Wall Street Urinal editorial board! Sorry, Dude, but trying to write this off by arguing that “Al Gore is fat,” ain’t gonna wash.

  35. 135
    Dikran Marsupial says:

    Walter Manny @ 72 says:

    It’s impossible not to be sympathetic to Jones’ plight, but let’s not forget who said to Parliament, “I’ve obviously written some really awful e-mails”.

    Who hasn’t written some awful emails? I have noticed that electronic forms of communication, lacking as they are in non-verbal forms of communication that we have evolved to rely on, tend to bring out the worst in most of us from time to time. I suspect driving does much the same thing for the same reasons (i.e. depersonalization). I have both sent and received emails with contents that neither party concerned would ever have uttered face to face. You only need to look at a few blogs to realize that electronic forms of communication tend to be rather more “robust” than real life. There is also the point that flippant comments (“redefining peer review”) are a lot more easily detected verbally than in writing (even if emoticons are used). Let he who is without sin cast the first stone?

    If you think Prof. Jones has earned even a tiny fraction of the persecution (and that is exactly what it is) for having written a few harshly-worded, sometimes flippant PRIVATE emails under provocation, then I think your perspective is a little ill-calibrated.

    I watched the hearing on-line and the “I’ve obviously written some really awful e-mails” line stood out not for what Prof. Jones said, but for the fact that the person asking the question cut him off at that point, when it seemed clear that he (Jones) had intended to continue. It seemed to me deeply unfair, rude and disrespectful to cut someone off mid-sentence, when apparently expressing some regret and/or contrition and admitting their own faults (which I would classify as minor compared to say orchestrating a flood of vexatious FOI requests). The difference between science and rhetoric has rarely been made so apparent.

  36. 136
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “While it is ironic to note that when he was distorting the science”

    In what way was there distortion?

    Please give examples.

  37. 137
    José Larios says:

    A medida que nos acercamos a tomas de decisiones (COP16)aumentan los ataques a la ciencia del clima.
    As we approach decision-making (COP16) will increase attacks on climate science.

  38. 138
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Given Stefan’s remark,

    It is obvious that DER SPIEGEL does not care about science. This really is about politics. This year will decide about the future of the German climate policy:

    the following quote becomes relevant and on topic.

    A photographer who claims to have worked for the magazine, Pavel Kassin, accused the magazine of propaganda and of taking a pro-American stance on the 2008 South Ossetian war. Kassin said he sent 29 pictures showing the devastation left by the Georgian military in South Ossetia to the magazine’s Hamburg headquarters, but was shocked to find that none of them appeared in the issue released the following Monday. Kassin had been working there for 18 years and had never before had any problems getting his photographs published. “Could it be that the most liberal, democratic and independent magazine has gone down the road of ideological one-sided propaganda?” he said. “In my view this is one of the rare cases when Spiegel has taken a pro-American stance.”[2]

    I am not concerned here with that particular piece of history, but to observe what this reveals about the standards which prevail in political journalism as practiced by der Speigel.

    [edit - OT and liable to derail the whole thread. Sorry]

  39. 139
    flxible says:

    wilt@113 “I notice that the 2009-2010 El Nino did not peak very high but lasted rather long, about a year. When compared to a shorter El Nino with higher peak value (e.g. 1997-1998)”
    You might wait until this seasons ENino is over before “noticing” how long it lasts, which will likely be just about the same length as 97-98, which is about average length for a Nino, one year – it’s actually the LaNinas that sometimes last “rather long”

  40. 140
    Hank Roberts says:

    > You might say that evolution has put a premium on dispersal

    In the current great extinction, with current rates of change, there’s nowhere to go. Adaptation fails. That’s why the ecologists are so worried.

    > leave the psychology out of it

    Wilful ignorance is the biggest part of the problem. Ignore that?

  41. 141
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Dappled Water says: 9 April 2010 at 7:17 AM
    > #89 having studied bird populations in the Sierra Nevada for 20 years –
    > you should be aware of the effect global warming has has on bird populations:
    > … http://www.pnas.org/content/106/suppl.2/19637.full

    That’s really good. Rate of change, illustrated.
    I hope we keep hearing from more biologists and ecologists here.
    This is key information many people don’t understand.

  42. 142
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re : #111 Autocorrelation.

    This is not my subject, but are you sure that you are not confusing the problem of estimating the trend line with estimating the error bars to be associated with it?

    Unless I have misread Tamino, his corrections for autocorrelation make very little difference to the estimated rate of warming of the trend line itself. This is especially the case considering that the modified error bars are large enough to swamp the slight changes in slope of the trend lines:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/22/autocorrelation/

    Wouldn’t the wording of the article i.e.

    Whether the global warming trend was 0,15 or 0,17°C per decade in the past decades is of no relevance to any practical concerns.

    actually be strengthened by a discussion which increases the size of the error bars?

  43. 143

    Why is it that some make claims about hurricane intensity based upon ACE values for three or four years?

    Variability, folks! You’re just not going to be able to tell anything about the long term trend based on such a short time.

    Almost as foolish as fussing over the recent spike in Arctic sea ice extent. (And it makes some look–well, naive at best–when they were at great pains to insist that 2007 was a “wind-driven event.” Apparently the only one ever!) It’s interesting weather. It was unexpected.

    But it isn’t a “recovery.” And the events of coming years will confirm or refute the WMO hurricane study.

  44. 144
    Jim Steele says:

    ray #124″ You also seem eager to dismiss “Just So” stories, and half a dozen or so independent temperature records and a couple of trillion tons of melted ice. I’d say we are right to wonder about your motivations as well.
    dhoagza #125 “The ‘”just so” stories’ phraseology is a poach from the creationist world, used to describe in essence all evolutionary explanations of biological phenomena.”

    Obviously I am a skeptic. I provided my evidence on glacial melt in the Alps as well as other scientists research. I looked at two stories attributing CO2 warming to ecological and evolutionary changes. You chose to ignore the evidence set forth, or the analysis put forth based on my own expertise. Instead you choose to “bash me” by saying I used a “creationist phrase” or I ignored evidence. Please I have taught evolution for 30 years! It is you who chose to ignore both the evidence and rationales I provided. So why is that?

  45. 145
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re my last comment:

    Line 5 up was ambigous. It should be ‘conclusion’ not ‘wording’

  46. 146
    Harmen says:

    Mike Donald nr. 80..

    >I’ve downgraded Der Spiegel to the German equivalent of the Daily Mail.

    I think the frustrating part of hyped hack gate is the complete failure of the so called “quality newspapers”.

    The Guardian? failed
    Der Spiegel? failed
    Monbiot? failed

    This is all very disappointing as i expected them to do better..

    but Daily Mail level?

    Naah..
    The Daily mail is in a bottom league of their own..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI

  47. 147
    Steve Newton says:

    I find it an indictment of this site, which purports to be scientifically and not belief based, to be unable to have a reasoned and thoughtful discussion without significant name-calling and seems to lack even basic graciousness in the dialog. Please note the contrast in this article and posts on a blog that most of you seem to absolutely despise:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/08/nsidcs-walt-meier-responds-to-willis/

    Notice that while there is great disagreement on the science, for the most part there is a graciousness to the discussion which those of us who are NOT scientists appreciate very much. Sure, in any open group of more than a couple people there will be idiots, but any objective observer will notice a stark contrast to the tone of the discussion versus what takes place here.

    Is that because reasoned debate does not help your cause but rather exposes the soft underbelly? If your science can stand on its own two feet then you have absolutely no need for vitriol and you have only succeeded in turning people like me away in droves by this sort of conduct. If you don’t have time to deal with the “ignorance” then why are you blogging in the first place since the purpose of blogging is to change minds? You certainly have changed minds but maybe not in the way you intended.

    [Response: I'm pretty sure that I'm reading the same websites as you, but if you think we are 'vitriolic' in comparison to WUWT, there is very little we can do. - gavin]

  48. 148
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside — pardon the geek interlude. Might be cautionary.

    In the post by ‘Dappled Water’ the link includes a weird string:
    210.193.216.98/cps/rde/papp/techAdvice:techAdvice/http://www.pnas.org/content/106/suppl.2/19637.full

    I truncated it to link directly to the correct PNAS paper when I quoted it.

    Looking into the weird part:
    Google finds the string cps/rde/papp all over the place:

    Results … about 10,300 for cps/rde/papp/

    Some of those links appear to take people to advertising sites.

    Dunno if it’s a bug or malware, but be a little careful; always look at the links (this is why I hate the practice of hiding links behind hilighted words, it makes it harder to see when there’s something weird in there)

  49. 149
    Fred Magyar says:

    Well, it is somewhat ironic that a magazine whose name translates to “The Mirror”, hasn’t taken a good hard look at its own standards.

    Then again the article was published on April first… ;-)

  50. 150
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Steve Newton,
    There is no science on WUWT. Any scientific fact that ventured into that dark domain would curl up and die of loneliness.
    In contrast, the purpose of this site is education. It’s where you come to learn the science.


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