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.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Anthony Cox, well, what can I say? ppffftttttt

  1. john byatt

    The three dumbsters Cox Geoff and JohnM are regulars commenting on climate change opinion pieces at ABC unleashed.

    Not a clue between the three of them

    did you know that some clot actualy dumped iron into the pacific,
    about two months ago?

    http://www.livescience.com/24117-iron-fertilization-canada-controversy.html