### The true meaning of numbers

Filed under: — rasmus @ 2 March 2017

Gavin has already discussed John Christy’s misleading graph earlier in 2016, however, since the end of 2016, there has been a surge in interest in this graph in Norway amongst people who try to diminish the role of anthropogenic global warming.

I think this graph is warranted some extra comments in addition to Gavin’s points because it is flawed on more counts beyond those that he has already discussed. In fact, those using this graph to judge climate models reveal an elementary lack of understanding of climate data.

Fig. 1. Example of Christy’s flawed evaluation taken from Comparing models to the satellite datasets.

Different types of numbers
The upper left panel in Fig. 1 shows that Christy compared the average of 102 climate model simulations with temperature from satellite measurements (average of three different analyses) and weather balloons (average of two analyses). This is a flawed comparison because it compares a statistical parameter with a variable.

A parameter, such as the mean (also referred to as the ‘average’) and the standard deviation, describe the statistical distribution of a given variable. However, such parameters are not equivalent to the variable they describe.

The comparison between the average of model runs and observations is surprising, because it is clearly incorrect from elementary statistics (This is similar statistics-confusion as the flaw found in the Douglass et al. (2007)).

I can illustrate this with an example: Fig. 2 shows 108 different model simulations of the global mean temperature (from the CMIP5 experiment). The thick black line shows the average of all the model runs (the ‘multi-model ensemble’).

Fig. 2. Global mean temperature from ensemble simulations (CMIP5) and the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis 1 (baseline: 1961-90). (Figure source code)

None of the individual runs (coloured thin curves) match the mean (thick black curve), and if I were to use the same logic as Christy, I could incorrectly claim that the average is inconsistent with the individual runs because of their different characters. But the average is based on all these individual runs. Hence, this type of logic is obviously flawed.

To be fair, the observations shown in Cristy’s graph were also based on averages, although of a small set of analyses. This does not improve the case because all the satellite data are based on the same measurements and only differ in terms of synthesis and choices made in the analyses (they are highly correlated, as we will see later on).

By the way, one of the curves shown in Fig. 2 is observations. Can you see which? Eyeballing such curves, however, is not the proper way to compare different data, and there are numerous statistical tests to do so properly.

Different physical aspects
Christy compared temperatures estimated for the troposphere (satellites and balloons) with near-surface temperature computed by global climate models. This is a fact because the data portal where he obtained the model results was the KNMI ClimateExplorer. ClimateExplorer does not hold upper air temperature stored as 3D-fields (I checked this with Geert Jan van der Oldenborgh)(correction: ‘taz’ is zonally integrated temperature as a function of height but does not take into account the differences between land and sea. Nevertheless, this variable still does not really correspond closely with those measured from satellites)

A proper comparison between the satellite temperature and the model results needs to estimate a weighted average of the temperature over the troposphere and lower stratosphere with an appropriate altitude-dependent weighting. The difference between the near-surface and tropospheric temperature matters as the stratosphere has cooled in contrast to the warming surface.

Temperature from satellites are also model results
It is fair to compare the satellite record with model results to explore uncertainties, but the satellite data is not the ground truth and cannot be used to invalidate the models. The microwave sounding unit (MSU), the instrument used to measure the temperature, measures light in certain wavelength bands emitted by oxygen molecules.

An algorithm is then used to compute the air temperature consistent with the measured irradiance. This algorithm is a model based on the same physics as the models which predict that higher concentrations of CO2 result in higher surface temperatures.

I wonder if Christy sees the irony in his use of satellite temperatures to dispute the effect of CO2 on the global mean temperature.

It is nevertheless reassuring to see a good match between the balloon and satellite data, which suggests that the representation of the physics in both the satellite retrieval algorithm and the climate models are more or less correct.

How to compare the models with observations
The two graphs (courtesy of Gavin) below show comparisons between tropospheric mean temperatures (TMT) that are comparable to the satellite data and include confidence interval for the ensemble rather than just the ensemble mean. This type of comparisons is more consistent with standard statistical tests such as the students t-test.

The graphs also show several satellite-based analyses: the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS; different versions), University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH; Different versions), and NOAA (STAR). All these curves are so similar (highly correlated) that taking the average doesn’t make much difference.

Fig. 3. Comparison between the evolution of the global mean tropospheric temperature (TMT). From Gavin.

According to Fig. 3, the tropospheric temperature simulated by the global climate models (from the CMIP5 experiment) increased slightly faster than the temperatures derived from the satellite measurements between 2000 and 2015, but they were not very different. The RSS temperatures gave the closest match with the global climate models.

Fig. 4. Comparison of global mean tropospheric temperature trends where the satellite estimates are shown with confidence intervals. Trends for each model run also have similar error bars (not shown), but the trend statistics for the ensemble is presented through a histogram. From Gavin.

Fig. 4 shows a trend analysis for the 1979-2016 interval where the satellite-based temperature trends are shown with appropriate error bars. The trends from the satellite analyses and the model results overlap if the confidence limits are taken into consideration.

The story behind the upper tropospheric warming
The biggest weight of the troposphere temperature trends come from the tropics because it accounts for the largest volume (half of the Earth’s surface area lies between 30°S and 30°N due to its geometric shape), and they are therefore sensitive to conditions around the equator. This is also where large-scale convection takes place that produce bands of high clouds (the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone – ITCZ).

Cloud formation through convection and condensation is associated with release of latent heat and influences the temperatures (e.g. Vecchi et al., 2006). It is part of the hydrological cycle, and a slow change in the atmospheric overturning, moisture and circulation patterns is expected to have a bearing on the global tropospheric temperature trend estimates.

This means that the picture is complex when it comes to the global tropospheric temperature trends because many physical processes have an influence that take place on a wide range of spatial scales.

Hard evidence of misrepresentation
Despite the complicated nature of tropospheric temperatures, it is an indisputable fact that Christy’s graph presents numbers with different meanings as if they were equivalent. It is really surprising to see such a basic misrepresentation in a testimony at the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology. One of the most elementary parts of science is to know what the numbers really represent and how they should be interpreted.

## References

1. G.A. Vecchi, B.J. Soden, A.T. Wittenberg, I.M. Held, A. Leetmaa, and M.J. Harrison, "Weakening of tropical Pacific atmospheric circulation due to anthropogenic forcing", Nature, vol. 441, pp. 73-76, 2006. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature04744

### 138 Responses to “The true meaning of numbers”

1. 51
Gordon Shephard says:

Here’s the scenario:

Scientist A says, “See, the models show that the climate is warming, so to prevent disaster y’all are going to have to pay more for gas.”

John Q Citizen: “Jeez, I can barely save enough for my kid’s education, now I gotta pay more for gas?”

Scientist B: “It really isn’t that bad, just look at these graphs, see…not so bad.”

Scientist A: “But you’re misusing the statistics.”

B: “No I ain’t”

A: “Yes, you is, and here’s why.” (Explanation follows.)

John Q: “Huh??!! Can you ‘splain this to me in a way I can understand?”

Sci A: “No, you’re going to have to go back to college for five years before you could possibly understand me.”

Populist Politician: “See how he’s disrespecting you. Vote for me and I’ll throw the bum out.”

JQ: “Yeah, Scientist B says it ain’t so bad, and he’s the kind of decent guy who doesn’t disrespect you. I mean, he’s got graphs and everything. I’m voting for Mr. Pop Pol, and Scientist A can just go to blazes.”

Pop Pol and Sci B shake hands…”Job well done,” PP says. SB smiles, and says, “Don’t forget my funding.”

(Perhaps a bit extreme, but maybe you get the point?)

2. 52
zebra says:

Gordon Shephard #51,

No, you aren’t making a point that reflects any reality I know.

Consider this. Half the people at least in the USA do not accept the Theory of Evolution. At the same time, probably 100% of the people accept DNA evidence in cases involving paternity, or in criminal cases.

Can you explain that with your “scientists are condescending or whatever and don’t know how to communicate to the regular guy”?

I’ve often made the point that we who comment are indulging in the fantasy that there are these (objective) lurkers out there hungry for education and understanding. There probably are some, people just getting interested in this topic, but seriously, the vast majority has made up its mind already without our help, and is unlikely to change.

So yes, scientists could do a better job of communicating. But your hypothetical “regular guy” votes the way he does because of his personality and group identity for the most part. He resented scientists and others long before anyone ever mentioned climate change.

Anyway, how all this came about is too long a story for one of my comments. Maybe Thomas will fire off a string for you.

3. 53
Lauri says:

RE #1 RATPAC

I didn’t notice a reply to this question. I think this issue is substantial. I have looked into RATPAC B (radiosonde) data and the values have increased by 0.6 degrees C since 1979. Look what Christy has in his graph: 0.3 degrees! What a “mistake”. Insert the real radiosonde values and you see that the simulations match pretty well. By the way, this radiosonde trend of about 0.14 degrees/decade is rather consistent from 850 mb up to 400 mb height (a faster trend at surface).

Also notice, that Christy displays a satellite trend of 0.09 whereas the RSS report 0.14 (the same as radiosonde).

4. 54
Jim Eager says:

I’m sorry, but for John Q Citizen there is no shortage of easy to understand succinct explanations of the basics of the science and of the potential dangers of ignoring it. The problem is John Q just doesn’t want to hear the message, no matter how easy to understand or how succinct, he wants to hear Scientist B and Populist Politician tell him don’t worry, everything will be ok. As the saying goes, you can lead John Q to knowledge but you can’t make him think, especially if someone else is telling him that he doesn’t have to.

5. 55

BPL:

Between gerrymandering and voter suppression, and the fact that of people who were able to vote, 65 million voted for Hillary and 62 million for Trump, it’s not really accurate to blame Trump on the US electorate.

The underhanded machinations you cite may well have been decisive, but what about the 62 million who actually voted for Trump? Can we blame them?

Many of them were, in fact, my neighbors and coworkers. I assume, without hard data, that at least some of them were misled by the frothing flood of disinformation from Trump’s backers in America and elsewhere, that overwhelmed all channels throughout the campaign. But I try to pay attention to the man behind the curtain, shouldn’t I expect my neighbor to do the same? Every voter has the responsibility to distinguish truth from falsehood. Otherwise, popular sovereignty won’t work even in principle, and what’s the alternative?

6. 56
MA Rodger says:

M Passey @50.
You say that the commenter James C. Wilson @17 asks what “seems like a reasonable question.” It would be worth asking which particular question @17 you refer to as there is a lot more than one question being asked by James C. Wilson @17.

Sticking to the main thrust of #17 and addressing Q1: whether Fig 4 presents data that “does not seem to be much different than the claim that Christy makes.” It should be made very plain that Christy is flat wrong claiming that CMIP5 models are running at a “rate three times that of the real world,” or even a couple of months later saying “the models overwarm the atmosphere by a factor of about 2.5.” You could perhaps argue that there is 70% more warming being shown in the models (as do Santer et al 2017) but there remain outstanding questions as to whether this is no more than inexact forcing data plus the variation of ENSO from the levels predicted in the models.
After Q1, the comment @17 descends into little more than a rant, so I’m not inclined to waste time typing out a longer rebuttal of it.

7. 57
Thomas says:

48 Ray Ladbury “You don’t understand how science works.”

ROTFLMFAO

Ray, you do not know how ‘people work’! But hey, that’s OK, for we all have our limitations. (smile)

8. 58
Thomas says:

Barton Paul: “In Wisconsin, for example, 130,000 people were turned back from the polls. Trump won that state by 17,000 votes.”

OK. So Trump could have won Wisconsin by as many as 147,000 votes then! Unless you are now claiming to be a psychic mind reader of 130,000 people’s intention, as well as my own 24/7?

Please don’t cry on my shoulder about your nation’s long term electoral problems and flaky pseudo-democracy Barton. Go fix ’em and you’ll fix US GHG emissions by default at the very same time. Kill two birds with the one stone? (smile)

BPL: “However superior you want to feel about Commonwealth countries…”

That’s a from a guy who labels me “insane” and calls himself a “scientist”? Bah Humbug! If there was an award for frivolous non-sequiturs you’d win an Oscar every year! And here I thought scientists could really ‘focus’?

Didn’t ~50% of eligible voters stay at home?

The true meaning of the numbers suggests that 130,000 possible voters in Wisconsin makes no difference here.

“…. with about 241 million people of voting age in the United States (200 million of those were actually registered to vote in this election), the number is likely to settle somewhere around the 51 or 52 per cent mark.”

So, Voter turnout was at a 20-year low in 2016! ~80 Million Registered Voters did not vote – THEY won the Election beating both Hillary and Trump! (smile)

And all up ~120 Million potentially Eligible Voters did not vote.

9. 59
MA Rodger says:

Further to Lauri @53, the plot you ask for is here with the black trace showing RATPAC-A running about twice as hot as the red trace plotting UAH TLTv6. And note that RATPAC-A is the correct version of RATPAC in this analysis. “Use RATPAC-A for analyses of interannual and longer-term changes in global, hemispheric, and tropical means.”
I’m not sure I would agree with the baloon trend of 0.014ºC/yr quoted @53 altough that is the correct trend for RSS TMTv4.0 1979-to-date. Of course, the different baloon & satellite data sets can become quickly bewildering. And also be mindful that the recent El Nino results in a significant change in calculated trends.
In saying that, I calculate RATPAC-A to the end of 2015 (when Christy was spouting off) was running at 0.0159ºC/yr. This figure will be reported higher with the inclusion of later data, eg 0.0172ºC/yr here and with yet a few more months 0.0191ºC/yr here.

There remains the outstanding question of what those prize numpties Spencer & Christy are doing to get such tiny tiny trends from the baloon data.
In his rant following the publication of Mears & Wentz (2016), Woy plots out an R-squared comparison graphic (what form of Coefft of Determination this represents is not clear) for various balloon data & satellite data. RATPAC is shown with what appears to be a trend value of 0.063ºC/yr. Quite how such a low trend is obtained is a mystery. As for the 0.079ºC/yr for “Ave 4 Baloon datasets” shown in Chrity’s graphic Fig 1 in the OP above, you would have to select only the lowest of the “datasets” trends from Woy’s graphic (which may also be dodgy like the RATPAC trend given) to come up with an average value of 0.079ºC/yr.

10. 60
Grant Schaumburg says:

Rough estimate of trends of revised chart shows models increase at 3.5 degrees per century and data 1.2 degrees per century. Histogram shows that only 3 of the models are in the right ballpark vs the data series.
So, the models are running at a rate about 3 times that of the real world and the models overwarm the atmosphere by a factor of about 2.9.

11. 61
Grant Schaumburg says:

Histogram shows that only 3 models are similar to the actual data.

12. 62
M Passey says:

MA Rodgers @56. Yeah, sorry, I meant his Q1. I just meant that visually the model to data discrepancies are in the same ballpark. E.g,on the Christy left upper graph the difference is around a magnitude of 2 (more in some of others). In Figure 4 the histogram mode to data means difference is about that magnitude. You say a magnitude of 1.7 (70%) is the most accurate. I just meant Q1 was reasonable in that Figure 4. still leaves the “outstanding questions’ that you addressed.

13. 63

Gordon Shephard…

Well, the problem isn’t about “arrogant” scientists. On the science side of it, it is as Jim Eager says; the basic science is well established and accessible to anyone willing to invest the time. The scenario you describe basically involves both people who are busy and distracted and on the other hand, resentful people who are intimidated by complication, difficulty, and the sharp minds of others. For those two groups, there is indeed a gap caused by an agressive and constantly updated campaign of disinformation.

But that gap has two sides to it. Propaganda works on people who lack the skills and vigilance to put it in its place. This isn’t about the science, it is about the general tools of citizenship, due diligence, and in this case, a basic understanding of how science works. And by the way, that goes for the functioning of all of the institutions upon which society is based. Ignorance is no excuse.

That said, I think there is a problem in addressing the relentless day-to-day, verbal pollution of professional obfuscaters. If Darwin had his Huxley, climate science needs an army of Huxleys. If you think it’s an easy matter, perhaps you should volunteer — or at least give it a try in order to get a measure of the magnitude of the problem.

———-

Mal, BPL, Gordon Shephard, whomsoever…

This might be interesting, even if it only scratches the surface:
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-02-13/how-america-lost-faith-expertise

14. 64
metzomagic says:

The article that Radge Havers linked to in #63, ‘How America Lost Faith in Expertise’, is IMO well worth reading (free registration required, though). Some thoughts to take away FTA:

“Like anti-vaccine parents, ignorant voters end up punishing society at large for their own mistakes.

Too few citizens today understand democracy to mean a condition of political equality in which all get the franchise and are equal in the eyes of the law. Rather, they think of it as a state of actual equality, in which every opinion is as good as any other, regardless of the logic or evidentiary base behind it. But that is not how a republic is meant to work, and the sooner American society establishes new ground rules for productive engagement between educated elites and the society around them, the better.”

15. 65

Dudes
First, two words: error bars. Look at them.

Also, anyone who insists on using JUST the satellite data is either a fool or dishonest.

16. 66

Th: If there was an award for frivolous non-sequiturs you’d win an Oscar every year!

BPL: I’m beginning to get a handle on Thomas. In his view, everybody else has only part of the picture, and a distorted part at that. He is in the center, the complex, well-rounded individual who can see around everybody else–in the world but not of it, a cool observer of the world’s follies. People who take him to task for his behavior, or disagree with his views, are enemies.

In short, one of the many forms of clinical paranoia. So let’s all ease up on the guy, okay? If he wants to post a lot, let him. We should try to reply less often, unless he posts something that’s obviously wrong and would mislead people. I know I’m one of the chief offenders in this regard, but I’ll try, as much as possible, not to respond to him at all from now on.

17. 67
Susan Anderson says:

Chuck Wilson @17 is a colleague from NYTimes responses to DotEarth nonsense (and elsewhere), so I’d like to join in requesting that somebody look at his query and answer it. He’s not a denier so a closer look might produce information that might be useful to somebody backed into a corner by clever nonsense. I don’t have the science for it, but he will likely understand your reply.

Since it’s on another page here is a repeat of his ask in full. I’ve added in his missing returns as well:

I am looking for help in understanding this.
My eyeball sez that Fig 4 shows that the trend in the satellite-derived temperatures is clustered around a number that is a little less than 0.01 C/yr and that the CMIP5 models are clustered around a number that is a little more than 0.02 C/year. It does not seem to be much different than the claim that Christy makes. (Q1: Right? or Wrong?)

If, in fact, the CMIP5 results represent surface data, then the whole thing is knocked into a cocked hat (what ever that means – my grandfather used to say it a lot – try bullsh*t.) But if both sets are indeed properly weighted averages of the tropics from 0 to 50 kft, then it seems proper to say that CMIPS5 foresees a warming trend of this air mass that is twice what the satellites are telling us took place. Don’t we have to ask what this discrepancy means? (Q2: Right? or Wrong?)

If the surface comparison shows a smaller discrepancy, then this implies a larger discrepancy at altitude. And shouldn’t this matter since the radiation to space comes from higher air (around 5 km in some mean sense). Does this suggest something about the way the models get the surface temperature? Maybe ice clouds are improperly parameterized and result in an energy balance that ‘works’ bu
t fails to capture physics reflected by upper tropospheric air temperatures?
What to think or say about the trends from Figure 4 and from Christy’s upper right plot? Aren’t they consistent?

18. 68
Thomas says:

66 Barton Paul Levenson

Well it’s nice to know you do agree with me on at least one point. I didn’t think it would last very long. I was right again. :-)

Barton you are incompetent as a mind reader and as an amateur psychologist making fraudulent diagnoses of other people on an internet comments board. Stick to Venus and Astrophysics or whatever it is you’re qualified to do.

Because the only thing you’re doing now is showing the world what an abusive insulting overly opinionated jackass you are Barton. Your comments are delusional and completely wrong which are making you appear like an idiotic troll.

You wanna make a joke. Fine. Do that. But don’t lose your sense of humour or intelligence or humility or basic respect for others in the process, is my best advice atm.

RE: “unless he posts something that’s obviously wrong and would mislead people.”

Yeah, you do that. From memory it’s yet to happen once. And I’ll continue to slam dunk every misleading, abusive and wrong comment that you and a handful of others keep making about my comments. As per the above.

19. 69
Thomas says:

66 Barton Paul Levenson says: “We should try to reply less often..”

Excellent realization there. If you all stopped telling lies about me and talking crap that requires endless correcting and rebuttal then my monthly posting numbers would fall to under 20 consistently.

What a time saver that would be for me and every reader of this site.

So stop it!!!

20. 70
MA Rodger says:

Susan Anderson @67,
Regarding James C. Wilson @17, do note my response to his “Q1” @56.
I should perhaps add to that comment a link to Risbey et al (2014) which shows the large effect the variation between modelled and actual ENSO have on CMIP5 models.
And do not ignore the particularly strange numbers Christy provides with the other string to his bow, the balloon data, which I address @59.
And final piece of recent news – after pratting around for months with the toy UAHv6.0betaX, the publication of Spencer et al (2017) at last puts UAHv6.0 on a scientific basis. Note this also means UAHv5.6 is now obsolete although this doesn’t mean that UAHv6.0 is suddenly become a good record of atmospheric data. All it means is that Spencer & Christy have stopped pratting about and put their science where their mouth is. (Of course their past record of providing atmospheric data free from monumental errors that other have to sort out for them: that record is absent.) Their work arrives at a time when RSSv4.0 is giving rates of warming for the troposphere of +0.014ºC/yr & +0.018ºC/yr (ie RSS TMTv4.0 & TTTv4.0) while Spencer et al’s spanking-new UAH TMTv6.0 is showing over the same period just +0.083ºC/yr. It is an ‘interesting’ position Spencer & Christy find themselves in.

21. 71
Eric Swanson says:

MA Rodger #70 – The new UAH v6 paper by Spencer, Christy and Braswell is behind a paywall, but Spencer has provided a copy of their last submission for those of us with limited funds.

After a quick look, I’ve several questions. Again, they’ve not provided a detailed description of the method used to arrive at the LT equation which is used to calculate the LT from their MT, TP and LS series. It’s all theoretical, of course, and without a statement of the method, I think they are being insincere (not that this would be unusual).

Then, there’s talk about the differences between land and ocean measurements, mentioning the different emissivities, but no where is there mention of the emissivity difference between ocean and sea-ice. Wouldn’t the decline in Arctic sea-ice impact the measurements counted as ocean? Heck, I pointed to that back in 2003. They do speak to the influence of the high elevations of Greenland, but there’s no note of the same problem with the high elevations over the Eastern Antarctic Ice Sheet. With the old single channel TLT computed using MSU 2, they warned about the effects of precipitable ice, aka, hydrometeors and their analysis removed scans suspected of such impact, but there’s nothing about that now that I could see, which would be necessary as they lump the scans into monthly averages.

I need to read the paper again to try to gain further understanding…

22. 72
Alastair McDonald says:

Ray,

No one is only believing the satellites. The radiosondes are also showing that the models are wrong. Of course you can broaden the error bands from the models so that they fit with the radiosondes, but that is not needed with the satellites. When the models match the real data from the radiosondes then we can trust the models.

Professor Karl Angstrom and Dr John Koch showed that Arrhenius’s model was wrong, yet it has been resurrected. The CO2 band is saturated, so the greenhouse effect only operates in the boundary layer, not in the upper troposphere where the satellites measure. There is little warming there!

The correct model was described by Guy Callendar. The back radiation increases as CO2 increases, and the surface warms. This alters the planetary albedo by melting snow and ice sheets. Hence the rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice which the models are also unable to simulate.

When the Arctic sea ice vanishes, we will get a rapid warming similar to that which happened at the end of the Younger Dryas when the sea ice in the GIN (Greenland, Iceland and Norwegian) Seas disappeared.

23. 73
Doug Schaefer says:

An interesting distinction between UAH (RSS) and surface thermometers is the former show much higher global year-to-year variability. Even without ENSO extremes. How can this be explained?

24. 74
Vendicar Decarian says:

39 “It would be nice, though, if the scientific community could avoid alienating the hoi poloi so deeply that they vote in someone who cuts ALL their funding.”

These “hoi poloi” are offended by any reality that does not mesh with their politial ideology.

They find facts offensive, and as evidenced with the amount of deceit coming from the white house, lie with every breath.

That is what they are.
That is what they do.
You can not reason with the mentally ill, or congenital liars.
Republicans are both.

25. 75
Vendicar Decarian says:

58 -Thomas – “OK. So Trump could have won Wisconsin by as many as 147,000 votes then!”

LOL! The probability for that is zero. You must be a Faux news viewer.

The very link you post to support your position, does the exact opposite.

“Clinton’s took 88 percent of African-American votes to Trump’s 8 percent, Obama defeated Romney among African-Americans by 93 percent to 6 percent, exit polls showed.”

“Fourteen states installed new restrictive voting laws, which have historically targeted minorities, before the 2016 election, including in Wisconsin and Ohio. And this general election was the first since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 that required federal approval on any state election law.

Neil Albrecht, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, said voter identification laws hurt turnout in the city’s high-poverty districts this month, noting that 41,000 fewer people voted there in 2016 than in 2012.”

It is very common for Republican kooks to produce links that argue agaist their own stated positions.

Often they feel that no one will follow the link and expose their dishonesty.

Sometimes they don’t unerstand what they are reading, and other times they are so distanced from reality that they simply ignore that which contradicts them.

26. 76
Thomas says:

“You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they’re good, but just to not back down.” – Choderlos de Laclos

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

27. 77
Jim Eager says:

Alastair McDonald wrote: “The radiosondes are also showing that the models are wrong.

No, they are not. See figures 6,7 and 8 comparing the RATPAC balloon radiosondes data to HadAT2, uahTMT and rssTTT here: https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/which-satellite-data/

AM: “The CO2 band is saturated

No, it is not because of 1) pressure broadening, and 2) because effective emission altitude is increasing.

AM: “so the greenhouse effect only operates in the boundary layer, not in the upper troposphere where the satellites measure.

No, the greenhouse effect operates at the tropopuase as it rises and therefore final emission takes place at a lower temperature.

28. 78
MA Rodger says:

Eric Swanson @71,
That is a useful link to the full paper. I am mindful that Spencer has been waving his new v6.0 without publication for a whole two years now (which is surely not how it should be done) so I would expect a well presented paper. But is that what we find?

A quick scan and I see the same tired old graphic appearing as his Fig 2 and used to illustrate the following:-

As seen in Fig. 2, the new multi-channel LT weighting function is located somewhat higher in altitude than the old LT weighting function, which could make it sensitive to cooling in the lower stratosphere that might potentially mask global warming effects (Fu et al.,2004). To quantify this, we applied the old and new LT weighting functions in Fig. 2 to the vertical profile of average global temperature trends from two radiosonde datasets, RATPAC (Free & Seidel, 2005) and RAOBCORE (Haimberger, 2007), also shown in Fig. 2. The resulting net difference between old and new LT trends is small, less than 0.01 C/decade. This is because the slightly greater sensitivity of the new LT weighting profile to stratospheric cooling is cancelled by greater sensitivity to enhanced upper tropospheric warming, compared to the old LT profile.

This is surely a shoddy description. Given the trends in this v6.0 data, an adjustement of ”less than +0.01 C/decade” is only saying ‘less than10%’. The amount of the TLTv6.0 signal with temperature trends lower than the bulk of the troposphere is far far smaller than 10%. Ditto the upper troposphere. Count the squares on this older version of Fig 2. (A more accurate measure of Fig 2 yields an identical result. The difference v5.6 to v6.0 – the stratosphere reduces the trend -0.002K/decade and the upper troposphere warms it by +0.002K/decade.) So they do balance but the ”resulting net difference between old and new LT trends is” something like 0.0002K/decade which is indeed ”less than +0.01 C/decade” just as it is ”less than +1,000 C/decade.”

The other use of Fig 2 is to pronounce the radiosonde data as providing trends that match those of UAH TLTv6.0. One of the authors is being accused of dodgy trend comparisons in the OP above. So what does Spencer et al (2017) say on the matter?

Even though the old and new LT weighting profiles are significantly different, we see from Fig. 2 that application of those weighting functions to the radiosonde trend profiles (average of the RAOBCORE and RATPAC trend profiles, 1979-2014) leads to almost identical trends (+0.11 C/decade). These trends are also a good match to our new satellite-based LT trend, +0.11C/decade, providing mutual support for the Version 6 satellite and radiosonde-based trends.

And that is why I would say the +0.11K/decade quoted by Spencer et al (2017) appears “dodgy.”

29. 79

Alastair: “The CO2 band is saturated, so the greenhouse effect only operates in the boundary layer, not in the upper troposphere where the satellites measure. There is little warming there!”

I would just note that 1)That is a mighty lonely position among actual scientists; and 2)The reason why it is a lonely position is that it is demonstrably wrong. The very fact that we have stratospheric cooling demonstrates the primacy of CO2 above the clout tops.

You’ve been peddling this crap for over a decade, Alastair. All you’ve managed to demonstrate is that you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

30. 80
Dale says:

If you go back to the 80’s you’ll find that right wing science deniers were extremely vicious over what the science was telling us about AGW. Most people at the time who had followed the issue hadn’t realized that it had run up against the utopian idea of unfettered capitalism.

I listened to Rush Limbaugh nearly everyday back then, not because I was a fan but because I was troubled by his rife anti intellectualism and wanted to see how far he might drive his followers towards fascism, which they had already been inclined toward.

Rush had former Washington Governor, Dixie Lee Ray (“I’m a scientist, believe me I know”) who had found a home with Rush and was being funded by him and his friends to attend Rio conference, as I remember. Her job had been to report back on the “junk science,” that was coming out of the conference so Rush could warn his listeners of the socialist plot to destroy capitalism.

Back then I don’t believe scientists had any idea that this phenomena was rearing it’s ugly emotional head. Out of the blue researchers who were just doing the science were under attack.

Since those days we’ve had the hacking of emails at East Anglia. The wildly out of context claims where taken by the deniers and used to obfuscate the issue anyway they could. We know how Michael Mann, Jones and other researchers were constantly menaced by vicious attacks on their person and their professional expertise.

Nearly 40 years ago nearly 50% of all researchers in all fields of science claimed the Republican brand. In the last PEW survey in 2009 that number had fallen to 6% and my guess is their next survey will find even fewer. When people with the least amount of science information turn science into a political issue and then they win the political day then we all have to dwell in their, Fool’s Paradise.

I think Thomas is tilting at windmills believing these folks who are so emotionally tied to their failed ideology can be brought around. It’s obvious from lurking here everyday that when facts fly in the face of what “Skeptics,” believe they simply seem to put their fingers in their ears and close their eyes.

31. 81

Ditto Metzomagic:

The article that Radge Havers linked to in #63, ‘How America Lost Faith in Expertise’, is IMO well worth reading (free registration required, though).

FWIW, I didn’t run into any registration rigmarole.

The article’s author, one Tom Nichols, has nicely collated and expanded on my own viewing-with-alarm about the explosion of “skepticism”. I haven’t decided whether he’s exactly right about everything, or he’s just confirming my biases skillfully.

I especially liked this:

Information technology, however, is not the primary problem. The digital age has simply accelerated the collapse of communication between experts and laypeople by offering an apparent shortcut to erudition. It has allowed people to mimic intellectual accomplishment by indulging in an illusion of expertise provided by a limitless supply of facts.

Too many wannabes who don’t wannado the work of trying not to fool themselves.

32. 82
Hank Roberts says:

MA R’s “swanky browser” link has a trailing quotation mark in it that breaks it.

33. 83
Alastair B. McDonald says:

Jim,
I have had a look at figures 6, 7 and 8 on Tamino’s post https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/which-satellite-data/ None of HadAT2, uahTMT and rssTTT are models. HadAT2 is from balloon ascents and the rest are from satellites. They all roughly agree unlike the results from models. See John Christy’s Misleading Graphs at the top of thread, especially the two lower ones, for how far out the models are from the radiosondes RatPacl and HadAT2, and from each other.

Pressure broadening causes the CO2 band to be saturated in the lower atmosphere, so the fact that it is not saturated above is irrelevant.
According to models the effective altitude is increasing and is in the troposphere, but there are no measurements to confirm that. It is just theory, but I ask you is it more likely that outgoing long wave radiaiton from the top of the atmosphere originates in the troposphere or from the top of the atmosphere?

Susan asked (in another thread) whether we are clever enough to avoid self destruction. It seems not, when even the scientists are more concerned to explain away their models’ failings than to listen to simple truths.

34. 84
Vendicar Decarian says:

80: Dale

Global Warming denialism really started when corporations switched from Ozone hole denialism just after the Montreal protocol was signed in 1989.

The same groups and many of the same individuals denying ozone depletion (idso family, Singer, etc). The principle origin of Ozone Depletion denialism came from the same pro-corporate propaganda, Libertarian “think tanks” that dispense today’s Global Warming denialism.

You may not remember the claims being made by the Ozone Depletion denialists of the period, but they claimed that banning CFC’s would cause the immediate deaths of over a billion people.

And yes, Limbaugh repeated that claim often, usually combined with a repitition that “the liberal media” are lying to you.

Limbaugh and others have been repeating that mantra for the last 40 years, and their constituents have purchased into that world view.

The problem that Scientists and American Scientists in particular now find themselves in is literally decades in the making. The trund was obvious, and the resistance of American scientists to counter the threat has been largely ignored.

Sure there has been a greater emphasis on scientific outreach during that period. But it isn’t working. And it hasn’t worked for the last 30 years. Every year that the scientific evidence has grown more iron clad, there have been more defectors to the denialist side.

American scientists have countered with more of the same. A failing strategy of repeating what isn’t working.

American scientists have expected Americans to act and think rationally. Denialist proponents on the other hand have designed their propaganda to appeal to the emotions and ignorance of their audience.

They win because non-thinking has increasingly become epidemic among the American population.

Perhaps now, American scientists will finally accept the obvious fact that the American people have grown so stupid and detached from reality that they no longer have the intellectual capacity to govern themselves.

It isn’t as though the American scientific community has not had adequate warning. This problem has been obvious for the last 30 years at least.

What the American Scientific community has done is largely ignore the problem. Hoping that Americans would somehow grow some sensibility while the enemies of reason continue to pour poison into their ears.

I have seen others, and been subject to active censorship myself for leaving comments warning of these things, on this forum and others.

A hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, philosophy has been in play in the scientific community for an equal number of decades.

I first suggested a national strike among American scientits 15 or 20 years ago, and did so on multiple occasions. Virtually every suggestion was deleted, not only on this forum but others. Other methods of gaining national attention were suggested also deleted.

Now the chicken has come home to roost, and it is too late to save your jobs, and may be too late to save your careers.

By refusing to act to bring the politics to a head years ago, American scientists are largely complicit in the plight they find themselves in today.

In effect, Science rolled over and took it up the backside for 30 years with the quaint idea that eventually the buggery would stop.

Well guess what…

Surprise!

At this point, even organization and protest can not save you, as it will be easily spun by the enemy, that you are just protesting to save your jobs.

Through complaciency – the same kind shown by Clinton in the last election – you have utterly lost the war.

What do you plan on doing about it now?

35. 85
Chris O'Neill says:

#47 BPL:

the example of Australia should show you that even Commonwealth country voters are sometimes stuck with unpopular governments that wreak great havoc

I don’t know which example you’re referring to but the last time an unpopular government was elected to the Federal lower house in Australia was in 1998. This has happened 4 times since 1901 IIRC. We’ll see if Trump wreaks more havoc than those governments but he’s off to an outstanding start.

36. 86
Chris O'Neill says:

#47: BPL:

A great number were turned away by “voter ID laws” that are actually voter suppression laws.

Indeed and I imagine that voter suppression still happens a lot in Southern States which have an absolutely appalling history of voter suppression:

“The effect in North Carolina was the complete elimination of black voters from voter rolls by 1904. Contemporary accounts estimated that seventy-five thousand black male citizens lost the vote.[34][35] In 1900 blacks numbered 630,207 citizens, about 33% of the state’s total population.[36] The growth of the thriving black middle class was slowed. In North Carolina and other Southern states, there were also the insidious effects of invisibility: “[W]ithin a decade of disenfranchisement (sic), the white supremacy campaign had erased the image of the black middle class from the minds of white North Carolinians.”

Not s single black voter in North Carolina in 1904. You just can’t make up suppression like that.

37. 87

ABM 83: Pressure broadening causes the CO2 band to be saturated in the lower atmosphere, so the fact that it is not saturated above is irrelevant.

BPL: It is not irrelevant. Every layer affects every other layer. Here is a mathematical demonstration:

http://bartonlevenson.com/Saturation.html

The saturation argument was consensus after Arrhenius and Koch’s 1901 paper, but was disproved empirically by high-altitude observations in the 1940s.

38. 88
Chris O'Neill says:

#83: Alastair B. McDonald

I have had a look at figures 6, 7 and 8 on Tamino’s post https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/which-satellite-data/ None of HadAT2, uahTMT and rssTTT are models. HadAT2 is from balloon ascents and the rest are from satellites. They all roughly agree

UAHTMT and RSSTTT roughly agree? You must be looking at a different Tamino post from the one I’m looking at: https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/which-satellite-data/ If you look at the 4th figure in that post then its UAHTMT and RSSTTT are 4 standard deviations apart. Hardly “roughly agree”.

39. 89
Chris O'Neill says:

#60: Grant Schaumburg says:

Rough estimate of trends of revised chart shows models increase at 3.5 degrees per century and data 1.2 degrees per century.

The data for surface global warming has been 1.9 degrees C per century since 1974: https://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

It is a complete mystery how you come up with a figure of 1.2 degrees per century. Don’t know where you get the 3.5 degrees per century figure from either.

40. 90
Eric Swanson says:

Alastair B. McDonald #83 – Your comparison to Tamino’s blog post and your following comment misses the fact that the RSS TTT (Graph 7) matches the RATPAC data wheres the UAH MT v6 (graph 8) does not, which is clear evidence of the problem regarding Christy’s graphs. The balloon data shown by Christy is actually a simulation of the Christy MT v6 product, so those curves are not actual measurements, which probably explains the contrasts in comparison with Tamino’s graphs. Furthermore, Christy et al. haven’t published their work, so we don’t know which emissions scenario(s) they used for their AOGCM models, which I suspect included the RCP8.5 high rate scenario runs from the KNMI Climate Explorer.

Of course, in the troposphere, much of the outgoing energy flow occurs via convection of sensible and latent energy. All the TOA outgoing energy is infrared and much of that originates above the tropospause, i.e., in the stratosphere where there is little pressure broadening. And, there is actually quite a bit of warming in the upper troposphere, which is what’s shown in the corrected TMT (RSS TTT) and the RATPAC curves of Tamino’s graphs #4 and 7.

41. 91

It seems not, when even the scientists are more concerned to explain away their models’ failings than to listen to simple truths.

Splorff! So far you have only demonstrated your lack of understanding of the science, and a propensity for believing convenient misrepresentations. Simple truths indeed! Humanity has no hope if the majority prefer ideological-convenient lies to facing reality.

While BPL has tried to demonstrate the problems with your understanding of CO2 saturation, do you accept that your understanding of the process and text book physics understanding of the process lead to differing predictions of the measurements of both surface radiation and outgoing radiation? Furthermore, do you accept that if the measurements agree with standard science and not with yours, that you reject your hypothesis? If not, then there is no hope.

42. 92
Alastair McDonald says:

Chris re 89,

Tamino explains why the UAHTMT is less:

“The UAHTLT data are warming faster than the UAHTMT data simply because the lower troposphere seems to be warming faster than the mid-troposphere. But that raises the question, why is this reversed for the data from RSS? That’s because the RSS data for TMT are their latest version 4, but they haven’t yet published a version 4 for TLT, that’s still on the older version, v3.”

The upper troposphere is warming less, as I am saying it will. It is the lower troposphere which includes the boundary layer where the greenhouse effect is strongest, unlike that predicted by the models.

But this is not the only feature the models do not replicate. As I mentioned earlier, the speed of the Arctic sea ice melt is another. And for Mars and Antarctica the emissions in the CO2 band are greater than those from the surface – a negative greenhouse effect! See Wallace and Hobbs amongst others.

43. 93
Hank Roberts says:

> a complete mystery how you come up with …

No mystery: alternative facts.

44. 94
Alastair McDonald says:

Eric Swanson,

I am not saying that the UAH results are perfect. Only that they were the first to highlight a problem which has been confirmed by the radiosondes. The upper troposphere is not warming as fast as the models predict, e.g.

“Finally, all models may be missing some fundamental climate process such as a nonlinear response to forcing. As discussed by Santer et al.[2005, 2008] it is not clear what this could be or why models and observations agree on short timescales but potentially differ on long time scales, given samefundamental physical processes. There may be natural processes that modulate
behavior on decadal timescales that are not captured by any climate models. But with highly uncertain observations it remains most likely that residual observational biases underlie the disagreements with the models. However, if
the models lack a basic process, then it urgently needs to be understood and incorporated”

Thorne, Peter W., Philip Brohan, Holly A. Titchner, Mark P. McCarthy, Steve C. Sherwood, Thomas C. Peterson, Leopold Haimberger, et al. “A Quantification of Uncertainties in Historical Tropical Tropospheric Temperature Trends from Radiosondes.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 116, no. D12 (2011): n/a–n/a. doi:10.1029/2010JD015487.

I am saying that the infrared radiation emitted by the surface is absorbed in the boundary layer, so it does not affect the OLR at the TOA. Radiation balance there depends on planetary albedo. In other words, the greenhouse warming is secondary effect from changes in ice cover as the surface warms or cools.

By warming the surface the snowline is raised, both in altitude and latitude. Hence the melting snows of Kilimanjaro, and the retreating sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.

45. 95
Thomas says:

84 Vendicar Decarian – Kudos!

The principle origin of Ozone Depletion denialism came from the same pro-corporate propaganda, Libertarian “think tanks” that dispense today’s Global Warming denialism.

CHECK

And yes, Limbaugh repeated that claim often, usually combined with a repitition that “the liberal media” are lying to you.

CHECK

Limbaugh and others have been repeating that mantra for the last 40 years, and their constituents have purchased into that world view.

CHECK

The problem that Scientists and American Scientists in particular now find themselves in is literally decades in the making.

CHECK

But it isn’t working. And it hasn’t worked for the last 30 years.

CHECK

American scientists have countered with more of the same. A failing strategy of repeating what isn’t working.

CHECK
(the same thing happens on this site as well – A failing strategy of repeating what isn’t working!)

Denialist proponents on the other hand have designed their propaganda to appeal to the emotions and ignorance of their audience.

CHECK
(and despite the decades of cognitive bahavioural psychology science that details precisely why and how this is so … numerous science based links and studies and talks by experts have been repeatedly provided here by me for a very very long time – still ignored and trashed by ignorant clowns.)

They win because non-thinking has increasingly become epidemic among the American population.

CHECK
(note the American population!!! Home of and ground zero for climate science denialism and the Neoliberal religious cult within a corrupt and fraudulent political system)

…the American people have grown so stupid and detached from reality that they no longer have the intellectual capacity to govern themselves.

CHECK
(they are governed by corporations and the finance system who have hijacked the Republic and the democratic process and the 4th estate)

This problem has been obvious for the last 30 years at least.

CHECK

What the American Scientific community has done is largely ignore the problem.

CHECK
(Ignorance is bliss? Cowardice is safe?)

I have been subject to active censorship myself for leaving comments warning of these things, on this forum and others.

CHECK

A hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil philosophy ……

CHECK
(Be nice, be polite, don’t rock the boat …. don’t get your hands dirty)

Now the chicken has come home to roost, and it is too late to save your jobs, and may be too late to save your careers.

CHECK

By refusing to act to bring the politics to a head years ago, American scientists are largely complicit in the plight they find themselves in today.

CHECK

At this point, even organization and protest can not save you,

CHECK

Through complacency – the same kind shown by Clinton in the last election – you have utterly lost the war.

CHECK

What do you plan on doing about it now?

NOTHING

First they came for the poor and the unemployed, then they came for the drunks and the drug users with mental health issues, then they came for those on welfare, then they came for those without health insurance, and then they came for the Scientists … but I did not speak up because I wasn’t a Scientist, wasn’t poor, unemployed, on welfare, had my own house and my own health insurance, and my own solar panels and home insulation and my Prius car, and my Tesla Batteries … and of course my Tenure and my high income and my Retirement Savings all set up.

I couldn’t risk all that – hell no!

46. 96
Olof R says:

I see that people have asked for comparisons between Ratpac and CMIP5 models.
I have done such comparisons and produced a number of charts.

The three Ratpac layers vs models globally:

The same but 30N-30S:

And the vertical profile of trends for different zones

The observed warming in the troposphere agrees quite well with the model mean, but the stratosphere is cooling faster than expected by the models.
Hence, Christy’s comparisons of the observed and modelled TMT-layers is no proof of less than expected tropospheric warming, since TMT blends troposphere and stratosphere.

Due to the structure of the taz netcdf from KNMI Climate explorer, I cant subsample model data to mimic the coverage of Ratpac A, However, I have done a validation with UAH data, which suggests that Ratpac has a decent global representation, despite being based on not more than 85 stations:

47. 97
Thomas says:

Hi Dale @ 80 “I think Thomas is tilting at windmills believing these folks who are so emotionally tied to their failed ideology can be brought around.”

You’re right there because I have no confidence anything is going to change and the most likely short term future is civil wars and all out global wars for up to 2 decades. There’s more to this issue than climate science or denial of AGW/CC.

To help clarify re these folks – there are two camps the High Priests who promote the updated Neoliberal Belief System/Cult .. and the majority of “Folks” who have been suckered into to believing it.

When I mention the use of modern marketing, psychology and advertising techniques I am speaking about burrowing into the minds of the Faithful, not the High Priests.

You cannot change the beliefs of technically insane delusional people [the Wahhabi salafi islam who promote terrorism via ISIS Boko Haram etc, or Christian KKK / young earth leaders in the US for well known example] but you can extricate folks from disordered Cults and Cultic Thinking who have been manipulated and cajoled into these false beliefs and fraudulent ideologies. (again this is well known and explained in scientific historical studies etc but it’s ignored because Neoliberalism and Climate denial is not as yet spoken about truthfully of what it is.

Unfortunately it is still Out of Bounds to call out a Congressman or Senator or a Presidential Candidate (ie both Trump and Clinton and also McCain) for being a mentally ill delusional IDIOT. It’s not Kosher in the whacky world of American CULTural Norms.

So my ongoing position is singular – the knowledge and the techniques exist to change MAJORITY public opinion to become far more rational and science based – but it isn’t going to happen imho ….. but all out War is going to happen.

Maybe after that reason integrity empathy and responsibility will befall humanity again as if it’s mana from heaven. It depends.

Just planting seeds (smile) as I am not planning on being around to find out.

48. 98

#86–Indeed, Southeastern states have an appalling record of voter suppression, and the Perception of Electoral Integrity in that region is quite poor, as the PEI index of all American states shows:

https://www.electoralintegrityproject.com/featured-dataset/

Most of the region gets scores that are “in the same neighborhood as the governments of Cuba, Sierra Leone and Indonesia.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/north-carolina-no-longer-democracy_us_585db3e7e4b0de3a08f5699f

But it isn’t only the old South; the two worst performers on the index were Arizona and Wisconsin, with Oklahoma taking fourth spot and edging Tennessee into the ‘medals.’

49. 99
Alastair McDonald says:

Barton #87,

I’ve got some bad news for you :-( Your model needs the surface emissions to be greater than 100% of the surface emissions to work! In other words it goes against what Gavin showed in Learning from a simple model, that the maximum warming that can be produced by greenhouse gasses using the established model is 100%. Note that on Venus this is exceeded, more proof that these models are wrong.

50. 100

Th 95: I did not speak up because I wasn’t a Scientist, wasn’t poor, unemployed, on welfare, had my own house and my own health insurance, and my own solar panels and home insulation and my Prius car, and my Tesla Batteries … and of course my Tenure and my high income and my Retirement Savings all set up.

BPL: Yes, Thomas, scientists are the enemy. If only they had listened to you in time! But it was not to be.