Monthly Archives: December 2012

It’s in the literature

Climate deniers are a funny mob. Mention to them that the peer-reviewed literature overwhelmingly demonstrates a consensus that AGW is real and they will launch into a diatribe about how the peer review system is corrupt and climategate proves it blah blah blah, but as soon as they see a peer-reviewed paper that allegedly supports their position, the blog headlines will highlight the fact that said paper is peer-reviewed. Apparently peer review is only legitimate when it’s on their side. I’m not going into how stupidly hypocritical that position is. What I would like to do is extend just little on a post at desmogblog by guest poster James Lawrence Powell.

Long story short James, along with some help from John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli, undertook a similar study to that of Naomi Oreskas where he searched Web of Science for papers with the key terms “global warming” or “global climate change”. He then sorted them into those accepting the consensus position and those rejecting it. I won’t repeat the criteria he used. You can check it out for yourself at the link I provided. Here, however, is the graph of his results

 

Powell-Science-Pie-Chart

 

 

That is pretty striking and devastating for denial. What I am interested in though is the citation side of things. Powell thankfully checked this out and reports…

The 24 articles have been cited a total of 113 times over the nearly 21-year period, for an average of close to 5 citations each. That compares to an average of about 19 citations for articles answering to “global warming,” for example. Four of the rejecting articles have never been cited; four have citations in the double-digits. The most-cited has 17.

I decided to look into these 113 citations to see what sort of papers were citing these 20 papers. I employed a similar methodology to Powell by just searching the citation list for each article using Google Scholar. Of the results I examined, only the citations that were from journals were counted. This was because occasionally Anthony crybaby Watts’ blog would appear. Just between you and me, that’s not a great place to get factual information let alone peer-reviewed factual information. I then sorted these citing papers into three categories. Those that endorse the consensus position, those that reject it and those that are neutral. So, what did I find?

For a start, I found that there were 119 citations. This may be due to several new articles appearing in the short time since James produced his results or differences between Google Scholar and Web of Science. Some of the papers had more citations and some had fewer. Now, I’m not a big fan of producing Excel graphs for anything more than simple counts so that’s all I’ve done. Here is what I found.

Proportion of 119 papers cited by James Powell's list of 24 peer reviewed AGW denial papers that either accept, reject or hold no position on the consensus that humans are resposible for recent climate change.

Proportion of 119 papers citing by James Powell’s list of 24 peer-reviewed AGW denial papers, that either accept, reject or hold no position on the consensus that humans are responsible for recent climate change.

This is interesting in itself in that there are more papers accepting or having a neutral position on AGW than rejecting.  Where it gets even more interesting though is when you look at whom is citing who in the denier side as well as the quality of journals represented. In the list provided by Powell here, Scafetta’s two papers are cited 18 times between them. I found 21 citations. Of those 21 citations, 3 papers accept AGW, 8 are neutral, leaving 10 rejecting the AGW consensus. Of those 10 papers, Scafetta was an author on 8, leaving just 2 papers written by anyone other than himself. Similarly, Khilyuk, for whom I could find 25 citation across his 3 papers, 5 papers accept, 2 are neutral and 18 reject AGW. Of those 18 though, only 6 are not written by himself and many of those 12 are doubling and even tripling up (sometimes the same paper will be published in multiple journals with a slightly different title and the author order changed) just in case anyone reading this gets the idea that he is a prolific author. So what does the pie chart look like if we take out self-citations?

The same as the other graph with the self-citations removed.

The same as the other graph with the self-citations removed.

That red area is looking a lot smaller. Finally, what is interesting is that every single paper cited that rejects the AGW consensus comes from questionable journals like Energy & Environment or obscure journals in languages other than English or journals associated with polluting industries. There certainly aren’t any from Science or Nature. The good news to come out of this also is the age of many of the papers. There are very few from recent years and some citations are more than twenty years old. Denial is dying and a good thing too.

 

 

 

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Anthony Cox, well, what can I say? ppffftttttt

I have been avoiding visiting the official blog for the Climate Sceptics Party lately for the sole reason that I really dislike facepalming. It is a completely involuntary reaction I have when I read stuff written by….well….idiots. However, I do like it when my favourite climatologist…oops I mean non-climatologist who once lied about being a climatologist, Anthony Cox, writes something. Sure, there are plenty of facepalm moments but he is an excellent source of entertainment because he  inevitably gets stuff monumentally wrong.

Today, I am going to pick apart his post and I will be focusing on some of the really basic stuff he’s fucked up. It may seem petty at times but bear in mind that his overall assertion is…

If the premier body supporting AGW is so wrong with its original predictions why should we take its new predictions seriously?
Well I say, if someone who lies about being a climatologist and claims to have a law degree can’t even handle really basic stuff, why should anyone take anything he says seriously? So here we go.
Today at the official blog of the Climate Sceptics Party, the party secretary Anthony wrote a piece in response to an opinion piece  appearing in the Newcastle Herald entitled Dreams and schemes no magic climate fix. I urge you to read it. In a nutshell, the authors Kerryn Brent and Jeffrey McGee examine a couple of geoengineering ideas for mitigating the effects of AGW, namely stratospheric particle injection and ocean fertilisation, and go on to explain why they are bad ideas and why reducing emissions is more important. So, to Anthony’s article. He says

You have to wonder about a scientific theory which proposes such solutions as changing the refractive index of the atmosphere to block the sun’s rays; or dumping billions of tonnes of iron ore in the ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide [CO2].

But that is what man-made global warming, AGW, suggests. I suppose we could get used to a pink/white sky and the Australian iron ore industry would like the ocean dumping idea.
On reading this one has to wonder how a theory proposes anything? Anyone with an ounce of scientific training knows that a scientific Theory is essentially an explanation of some sort of natural phenomenon based on multiple lines of evidence obtained using multiple methodologies and surviving all attempts at falsification. Now, no doubt the odd denier that pops in here occasionally can pick on the usual things they can get from that statement if they want to demonstrate their ignorance. What is interesting in Anthony’s statement though, is his use of the word “theory”. Is he actually elevating the AGW hypothesis to a Theory or is he merely showing us his ignorance of scientific convention? Ignorance of scientific convention would be very strange for a climatolo…..oops, that’s right. I’m guessing he is using “theory” in the generic sense as  in “idea” or “hunch” much like the way young Earth creationists fail to understand evolution by natural selection when they say “It’s just a theory.” Anyway I guess Anthony means it’s what scientists who are researching geoengineering are suggesting. Although he then goes on to suggest that AGW itself, not the theory but the actual process, suggests it as a course of action. Hang on, I thought he didn’t belie…. nevermind. I am just being picky but that is some pretty sloppy and lazy writing there….much like his approach to science and research really. For example, a bit of research into the idea behind fertilising the ocean with iron, would reveal that it’s not the iron itself that absorbs CO2 but rather the phytoplankton that would bloom as a result. You see, apparently phytoplankton thrives when there is plenty of iron available. It’s actually pretty interesting stuff when one makes the effort to do a bit of reading. Still, a bad idea. Finally, his assertion that stratospheric particle injection would result in a “pink/white sky” has no basis and is completely over the top. I guess if you can’t make an argument that stands on its own merits you just make shit up I guess… a bit like qualifications.
He then goes on with the next lot of ….. I’m not sure what to call it. Anyway, here it is.
 At least Kerryn Brent and Jeffrey McGee in their article on AGW don’t agree with such alarming proposals. However they do subscribe to the latest alarming predictions that AGW will cause temperatures to rise by 4 to 6 degrees.
No confidence at all can be given to such temperature predictions. The reason for this is that the Intergovenmental (sic) Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] could not even predict temperature trends from 1990 to 2012.
The first IPCC report, FAR, came out in 1990. That report predicted a temperature increase ranging from 0.2 to 0.5C per decade depending on the level of CO2 increase, with the highest predicted trend of 0.5C per decade occurring with the highest rate of increase in CO2 levels.
The rate of increase in CO2 has exceeded the predicted highest increase in CO2 made by the IPCC in 1990. However the actual temperature increase has been either 0.14C per decade as measured by the leading land based temperature record, HadCrut, or 0.17C per decade as measured by the satellite service, UAH.
According to the IPCC the temperature increase should have been at least 0.5C per decade when in fact it was 0.14-0.17C per decade, which is less than 30% of what it should have been.
If the premier body supporting AGW is so wrong with its original predictions why should we take its new predictions seriously?
Even the new IPCC report which has had its draft, AR5, released, shows that the original temperature predictions were wrong. Figure 1.4 from AR5 clearly shows predictions about temperature made by the IPCC in 1990, and indeed in all the following reports, have been above actual temperatures:
He then includes this graph from the leaked AR5 draft report…
ipcc_leak_fig1
Now rather than go into too much detail myself when it has been done so eloquently elsewhere, I will just direct you there. Tamino explains it beautifully and you can read it at your own leisure here.
What I would like to point out are the things that climatol…oops I mean non-experts like Anthony Cox often do.
1. They rely on short time scales. Anthony criticising a 1990 report that didn’t accurately predict the following 22 years of temperature rise is really just a cheap shot. Hang on, I’ll go and ask my 12-year-old daughter a question or two…..
Q1. When it comes to predicting global temperature trends, what would you suggest is a suitable time frame? Answer: 50 years.
Q2. That’s a long time. Why 50? Answer: Because there are too many other things going on that make it go up and down a lot from year to year.
Q3. Like what? Answer: What are those Spanish words? The ones that mean the ocean is warmer some years and cooler others?
She’s a smart cookie, my daughter. Smarter than Anthony Cox. Now as for his figures, I’m not sure where he is getting them from. I have read FAR and this is what I have found in the relevant chapter….

Based on the IPCC Business as Usual scenarios, the energy-balance upwelling diffusion model with best judgement parameters yields estimates of global warming from pre-industrial times (taken to be 1765) to the year 2030 between 1. 3°C and 2. 8°C, with a best estimate of 2 .0°C This corresponds to a predicted rise from 1990 of 0. 7-1. 5°C with a best estimate of 1 .1″C.

Now, I don’t know about your maths but from my reckoning that is 0.175 – 0.375°C per decade with a best estimate of 0.275°C per decade. Now according to Anthony “dodgy data” Cox, temperatures have actually risen by 0.14 – 0.17°C per decade depending on the data set you use ( I suspect one of them was an unadjusted Hadcrut 3 set with its known cooling bias).  So, even with the slight slowing we’ve seen over the past couple of years due to the strong La Nina years, the original estimates weren’t far off the bottom end of that range, however, it will interesting to see how things look in another  20 years or so when an adequate timeframe for making these assessments has occurred.  Where did he get those figures?

2. They accept anything that supports their argument regardless of quality.

That graph is a perfect example. Again Tamino has an excellent piece in relation to that graph and what’s wrong with it. I would like to touch on the use of it to make an argument. There’s not a lot to say to Anthony other than IT’S A DRAFT YOU MORON. What the fuck is wrong with you? Get a dictionary and look up the meaning of “draft” as it applies to documents. Actually, don’t bother, I know you’re too lazy. Here’s one I found for you.

dictionary.reference.com  – Draft – a first or preliminary form of any writing, subject to revision, copying, etc.

Perhaps Anthony’s post should have been reviewed? I remember when I submitted my thesis, it was on about its 8th draft. For each of the papers I have published, numerous drafts were made and each one had adjustments made and mistakes corrected as a result of the review process. This of course is what the “reviewer” who leaked the graph was supposed to be doing. Reviewing it looking for errors. That is why he is called a “reviewer”. Perhaps Anthony Cox should look that one up as well. Clearly though, as Anthony isn’t a climatologist or even a scientist for that matter, despite what he used to tell everyone, he failed to spot the errors in the graph (as did the reviewer) and decided that he would just parrot the same crap every other non-scientific AGW denier blogger is, and accept it in its flawed form.Why? Because they know it’s a draft and because it appears to support their argument is proabaly flawed, and as such, once properly reviewed, will be fixed.

Anyway, it was an interesting little piece the secretary for the Climate Sceptics Party wrote on the party’s official blogsite. Do they really think people will vote for them? To do that I would need more than few drafts under my belt.

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What do these things have in common?

Ok, something a little different and being a Sunday, in honour of the Sabbath, I have decided to be a little bit lazy and just post one of my videos. Some may be offended by the title when they see the content and I am more than happy to discuss it and whether I think they personally are idiots or not.

I was prompted into this direction by some recent discussion here on my blog and others about the link between religion and climate change denial and about what constitutes pseudoscience. This video isn’t meant to be an educational thing in any way in that I have made it purely to generate discussion and to suggest that many of these things have something in common. None of them are grounded in science. I made this video some time ago and in hindsight would have included a lot more climate deniers because climate denial deserves a special place amongst the other crackpot beliefs I feature.

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Coral Reefs Could Be Decimated by 2100 – ScienceNOW

As usual, the scientists who are undertaking this kind of research and the people who write about it are using language that offers idiotic deniers a foothold for misrepresenting their work. In this case, it is the title of this article. By using the word “could”, they give lazy people the opportunity to go around saying, “they never said it will happen just that it could. These scientists aren’t sure about anything. That’s another reason not to trust them”. This conversation hasn’t actually happened yet but it will. Anyone reading any blog will see this sort of comment all the time. For these people, the title is all that’s required. No further reading is necessary.

So, why have they used the word “could”? Well, it’s because the researchers were modelling future scenarios based on current trends and in essence were leaving the door open for mitigation efforts because they did not include any social aspects to their study. Were they to model the current trends in human activities to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions as well as political attitudes towards environmental policy, they would inevitably come to the conclusion that anything we are likely to do will be too little too late for the reefs.

I think it is time for scientists, science writers and editors to start being more blunt. It is time to make lazy people read the papers or articles and report the results unequivocably. A much better title for this article would have been.

“Because policy makers are science laypeople and are reliant on noisy idiots and big business to maintain power, coral reefs will be decimated by 2100.” That is far more clear-cut and representative of what is really going on.

Coral Reefs Could Be Decimated by 2100 – ScienceNOW.

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Confession , I am in Denial

posted by john byatt

I have an admission to make; I am in denial, the science tells us that pre humans climbed down from the trees and began to walk upon the earth millions of years ago.

THAT we developed our tastes.

SWEET, because sugar gives us energy and an evolutionary advantage.

BITTER, because it gave us a better chance of not ingesting poisons

SALT, so we got the right amount rather than not enough or too much.

SOUR, again to prevent poisoning and waiting until fruit had more sugar.

Of course there is much more to it,

I reject all these things and probably always will. I reject that we climbed down from trees. I totally reject the now scientific acceptance of the Unami taste. I could write a pretty good article why I believe that carbon dioxide was the real reason that we ended up with a strong desire for much sweeter foods. I will not bore you with that but just affirm that that is my belief.

What I do not deny though is that the science is probably correct and that it is me who is wrong. I will still argue the toss however but will always concede to the science. If the science is on your side, you win.

It is possible then for us to deny many scientific understandings due to our own limited anecdotal musings but at the same time accept the likelihood that it is us who has got it all wrong? From my admission that is possible.

Can climate change deniers do that? Can they accept that their own denial is due to a limited understanding or even just a faith that an all powerful god and not humans will decide when and how we are exterminated? Can they even accept that they are the ones who are probably wrong?

Is denial a way for us to cope with an unwelcome prognosis, a self delusion which allows us dismiss it and get on with our lives, free from even needing to evaluate the total scientific database?

Obviously the denial of whether we climbed down from trees is not one that would have any dire consequences; the denial of Global warming however does indeed have serious consequences, not just for me and my grandchildren but for everyone’s future.

Would love to get a better understanding from people’s own perspective of why they reject the science, while requesting total honesty from them.

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27 years and counting

http://www.itsbeen27years.com/

Any dickhead who keeps saying we’re cooling is living in a fantasy world where short term imaginary trend lines originating from cherrypicked data points constitutes good science.

 

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Brazilian bombshell Bündchen

Posted by john byatt

 Now that I have your attention, The post is about Models, just not the world’s top rating hot chili pepper of the title but rather the IPCC AR4 20C Models. I was prompted to write the post after a denier replied to the ABC Environment Opinion piece by Sarah Clarke, offering  up his ignorance of the IPCC Models

harry:
18 Dec 2012 5:55:19pm ABC Environment
“Well within the 95% (confidence range of opportunity)”?
What does that even mean? No such concept exists in statistics.
Most of the model ranges now lie outside the error bars, meaning that there is less than a 1 in 20 chance that natural variance is the reason that temps are outside the range predicted by the models. This actually means that it is now the case that there is less than a 5% chance that the models are correct, natural variance can no longer explain their divergence from measured data.
The figures in the actual report itself illustrate this.

The models are physics based not statistical based
statistical models aren’t much good for predictions if you know the underlying system is changing The ability of statistics to interpolate within the range of known behavior is impressive, but extrapolation into unknown territory is very risky business.

MODEL FAQ

• Short term (15 years or less) trends in global temperature are not usefully predictable as a function of current forcings. This means you can’t use such short periods to ‘prove’ that global warming has or hasn’t stopped, or that we are really cooling despite this being the warmest decade in centuries.

• The AR4 model simulations were an ‘ensemble of opportunity’ and vary substantially among themselves with the forcings imposed, the magnitude of the internal variability and of course, the sensitivity. Thus while they do span a large range of possible situations, the average of these simulations is not ‘truth’.

• The model simulations use observed forcings up until 2000 (or 2003 in a couple of cases) and use a business-as-usual scenario subsequently (A1B). The models are not tuned to temperature trends pre-2000.

• Differences between the temperature anomaly products is related to: different selections of input data, different methods for assessing urban heating effects, and (most important) different methodologies for estimating temperatures in data-poor regions like the Arctic. GISTEMP assumes that the Arctic is warming as fast as the stations around the Arctic, while HadCRUT3v and NCDC assume the Arctic is warming as fast as the global mean. The former assumption is more in line with the sea ice results and independent measures from buoys and the reanalysis products.

• Model-data comparisons are best when the metric being compared is calculated the same way in both the models and data. In the comparisons here, that isn’t quite true (mainly related to spatial coverage), and so this adds a little extra structural uncertainty to any conclusions one might draw.

QUESTIONS ABOUT MODELS

What is the difference between a physics-based model and a statistical model?

• Are climate models just a fit to the trend in the global temperature data? (Answer = NO)

• Why are there ‘wiggles’ in the output?
• What is robust in a climate projection and how can I tell?
• How have models changed over the years?
• What is tuning?
• How are models evaluated?
• Are the models complete? That is, do they contain all the processes we know about?
• Do models have global warming built in? (Answer = NO)
• How do I write a paper that proves that models are wrong?
• Can GCMs predict the temperature and precipitation for my home?
• Can I use a climate model myself? (Answer = YES)
• What are parameterisations?
• How are the parameterisations evaluated?
• Are clouds included in models? How are they parameterised?
• What is being done to address the considerable uncertainty associated with cloud and aerosol forcings?
• Do models assume a constant relative humidity? (Answer = NO)
• What are boundary conditions?
• Does the climate change if the boundary conditions are stable?
• Does the climate change if boundary conditions change?
• What is a forcing then?
• What are the differences between climate models and weather models?
• How are solar variations represented in the models?
• What do you mean when you say a model has “skill”?
• How much can we learn from paleoclimate?

ANSWERS HERE,

http://climate.uu-uno.org/topics/view/23892/

So Harry has spent his time following the distortions and  nonsense of the false sceptic blogs, had he instead spent an hour or less trying to understand the Model FAQ’s he would never have made such a goose of himself.

Plus I got to use the word Bombshell in a post

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