Over at WUWT, Anthony Watts has gleefully announced to his climate conspiracy mob that a Canadian judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Tim Ball. What Anthony didn't (and probably won't) tell his readers, is that the judge dismissed the complaint because:
Simply put, a reasonably thoughtful and informed person who reads the Article is unlikely to place any stock in Dr. Ball’s views, including his views of Dr. Weaver as a supporter of conventional climate science.
Now we know that no-one who is a fan of WUWT is a "reasonably thoughtful" or "informed person". And we also know that about 99% of them won't bother reading any judgement, and most don't read DeSmogBlog (or HotWhopper) either. Still, I thought it might be useful to spread the word, thanks to Richard Littlemore - who wrote about this first.
If the argument put by the judge is extended, it means that he regards most fans of Anthony Watts' wattsupwiththat blog as unreasonable, lacking in thinking power, and distinctly uninformed. He also holds a large minority of the US population in contempt, the ones who still believe anything their authoritarian idols tell them to believe.
Another key quote was how the Judge found Tim Ball intended to harm then climate scientist Andrew Weaver:
The judge agreed, saying, first of all that Ball’s intent to injure was adequately established in the evidence: “These allegations are directed at Dr. Weaver’s professional competence and are clearly derogatory of him. Indeed, it is quite apparent that this was Dr. Ball’s intent.”
That's why I think Andrew Weaver stands a chance if he chooses to appeal. Even though I agree with the judgement in its essence, it's also not unreasonable to argue that something like 30% of the US population might be "reasonably thoughtful" despite being wrong about climate science, and are instead merely "uninformed". (That's not the case for probably most WUWT commenters. The long term fans can only be considered as unscrupulous disinformers who deliberately spread lies, or are wilfully ignorant, because they've had ample time and means to find out the facts for themselves.)
As an aside, sorry for being tardy in getting back to blogging. Other commitments mean articles will be a bit slow coming for a little while yet. Sorry about that. I shall return in full swing shortly.
Today at WUWT there's a rambling, indecipherable article about some bet that a science denier called J. Scott Armstrong unsuccessfully tried to make with Al Gore way back in 2007. It's a tale of a failed denier prediction, and worse. Having failed so spectacularly, J. Scott Armstrong is doubling down and betting on a drop of up to 4.5 °C in global temperature over the next decade.
Armstrong was wanting to bet that there'd be no change in global average surface temperatures between 2008 and 2017. He figured, wrongly, that Al Gore would bet there would be warming. Al Gore didn't take the bet. Why would he deal with a nincompoop denier like J Scott Armstrong.
Armstrong's first draft of the bet was a bit weird. The essence of it was this:
Al Gore is invited to select any currently available fully disclosed climate model to produce the forecasts (without human adjustments to the model’s forecasts). Scott Armstrong’s forecasts will be based on the naive (no-change) model; that is, for each of the ten years of the challenge, he will use the most recent year’s average temperature at each station as the forecast for each of the years in the future. The naïve model is a commonly used benchmark in assessing forecasting methods and it is a strong competitor when uncertainty is high or when improper forecasting methods have been used.
Specifically, the challenge will involve making forecasts for ten weather stations that are reliable and geographically dispersed. An independent panel composed of experts agreeable to both parties will designate the weather stations. Data from these sites will be listed on a public web site along with daily temperature readings and, when available, error scores for each contestant.
Starting at the beginning of 2008, one-year ahead forecasts then two-year ahead forecasts, and so on up to ten-year-ahead forecasts of annual “mean temperature” will be made annually for each weather station for each of the next ten years. Forecasts must be submitted by the end of the first working day in January. Each calendar year would end on December 31.
The criteria for accuracy would be the average absolute forecast error at each weather station. Averages across stations would be made for each forecast horizon (e.g., for a six-year ahead forecast). Finally, simple unweighted averages will be made of the forecast errors across all forecast horizons. For example, the average across the two-year ahead forecast errors would receive the same weight as that across the nine-year-ahead forecast errors. This unweighted average would be used as the criterion for determining the winner.
Terms of the challenge can be modified by mutual agreement.
Version 2 of Armstrong's "bet" from 2008 The following year, after it was clear that Al Gore wasn't playing, he changed it to this, where he made it clear he was basing the bet on the Hadley Centre data:
Al Gore is invited to select any currently available fully disclosed climate model to produce the forecasts (without human adjustments to the model’s forecasts). Scott Armstrong’s forecasts will be based on the naive (no-change) model; that is, for each of the ten years of the challenge, he will use the most recent year’s average temperature at each station as the forecast for each of the years in the future.
Details on the 10-year bet would be handled with discussions between me the Hadley Centre. I would ask an independent board to aid in this process of finding an appropriate design and to monitor the progress of the bet. You would be kept up to date, and you would have the right to ask the board to consider changing aspects of the design.
Version ? of Armstrong's "bet" from 2016 More recently he changed it from surface temperature to lower troposphere temperature as recorded by UAH. I don't know exactly when he decided to give up surface for lower troposphere, but it was very recently going by Wayback Machine records, some time between 15 September 2015 and 2 March 2016, probably January 2016.
Never mind. J Scott Armstrong and his ally in denial, Kesten Green, didn't do at all well with their bet that there'd be no change in global temperature, whether surface or lower troposphere. Here are some comparisons.
Not the best bet First of all, here is what would have looked like if Armstrong had chosen NASA's GISTemp. The brown lines are what was observed since 2007 and the red line is the "no change" from 2007:
Figure 1 | Global average surface temperature from 2008 to 2017 inclusive. Data source:GISS NASA
The linear trend for the ten year period is 4.35 °C/century. The actual difference between 2008 and 2017 is 0.38 °C.
Below is the same plot for HadCRUT, Armstrong's initial choice.
The linear trend for the ten year period is 3.68 °C/century. The actual difference between 2008 and 2017 is 0.28 °C.
Then there's the 2016 revision of the "bet" that wasn't. The change in UAH lower troposphere temperatures over the period. Version 6 of UAH was released in April 2015, and it's the only version that covers the period from January 2007 to December 2017. Version 5.2 would have been the current version at the time the bet was conceived, and it looks as if that was last published in 2010. Version 5.6 stops at July 2017.
The linear trend for the ten year period is 4.48 °C/century. The actual difference between 2008 and 2017 is 0.48 °C over the period.
So, by whatever measure, J Scott Armstrong lost his would-be bet. I wonder why Anthony Watts posted that strange article, given he's a global warming denier. His article had a question as the headline: Tipping point 10 years on: Who won the Armstrong-Gore ‘bet’ on the climate?
Observed change is higher than IPCC's 2007 projected per century trend The WUWT article kept referring to an "IPCC 3°C-per-century projection". The IPCC report of 2007 (the year Armstrong tried to make the bet) listed different projections, depending on what scenario we humans chose to follow. If we were to follow the scenario preferred by deniers, the best estimate of temperature change was projected as 4 C higher in 2090-2099 relative to 1980-1999. If we were to follow the scenario preferred by the other 90% of the human race (no change in atmospheric CO2), the best estimate was projected as 0.6 °C higher in 2090-2099 relative to 1980-1999. This is from the AR4 2007 IPCC report:
I guess that J Scott Armstrong and Kesten Green (his partner in crime) were expecting somewhere between the A1B scenario and the A2 scenario.
Implausible simulations from the denier duo Quite weirdly, despite the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2, the article at WUWT claimed that there was a 70% chance that there wouldn't be any increase in global temperature over the past ten years or so. I don't know who did the simulation, but I wouldn't give them any prizes:
A 150-year simulation of the bet suggested that his chance of winning was only about 70%.
Shifting goal posts wasn't wise The WUWT article also claimed:
In the end, the bet was offered, and monitored, on the basis of satellite temperature data from the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH).
As I pointed out earlier, the "end" looks to have been about eight and a half years after the original ten year bet was proposed. Some sad end :( He should have stuck with HadCRUT, because that showed the smallest increase and the lowest trend over the period.
The article waffles on about cumulative absolute errors and other gumph, and the most telling part was this graphic inserted somewhere near the bottom of the article:
Figure 4. Graphic from WUWT showing just how bad the Armstrong projection turned out to be.
I wouldn't trust it a great deal, given it's from WUWT. However even if it were an accurate representation of what it purports to be, the chart shows that UAH temperature is pretty close to the 3 °C per century trend. (As shown in Figure 3 above, the linear trend for UAH v6 is substantially higher than 3 °C per century, at 4.48 °C/century.)
It can only get worse for J. Scott Armstrong Even more weird is that apparently J. Scott Armstrong is going to hang out for significant global cooling over the coming decade. From the WUWT article:
Longer is better for assessing climate forecasts, and so theclimatebet.com site will monitor the “bet” in line with Scott Armstrong’s offer to extend the challenge for another ten years by sticking with the original 2007 annual average global temperature as the starting point. Extending the bet is intended to help further publicize the important role of scientific validation of forecasts that influence public policy. Policymakers should reject forecasts that fail to reduce errors compared to an appropriate no-change benchmark.
From the WUWT comments Nick Stokes injected some comments that attempted to help Anthony's fans work out what the article was trying to explain. Nick wrote in answer to someone's question:
February 6, 2018 at 1:41 am “who, if anyone, would have won the bet?” See below. The UAH slope for the period was 0.45°C/Decade. Armstrong/Green would have lost on any accounting. By a mile.
After more of Nick Stokes' explanatory contributions, paqyfelyc made a very odd comment. I can only deduce that paqyfelyc didn't understand the first thing about the WUWT article or changes in global temperature:
February 6, 2018 at 2:25 am @Nick As usual, you are writing before thinking. Do you believe anyone in his sane mind really cares what you write? Not even your fellow warmunist cultists do.
knr doesn't know that Al Gore didn't make any bet with J Scott Armstrong:
February 6, 2018 at 12:50 am All good points which mean ‘nothing’, for the author is fighting on the wrong battlefield. St Gore claims were very about science nor facts, they never are. It’s PR and BS all the way, that and ego with personal enrichment. And the really bad news is, he won those bets.
What WUWT article would be complete without a "thought" from one of Anthony's pet conspiracy theorists. toorightmate wrote:
February 6, 2018 at 4:15 am Kesten Green, Be very careful. Look what has happened to the late Bob Carter, Jennifer Marohasey, Prof Peter Ridd, Willie Soon, Judith Currie and numerous other wise people who have strived for the truth to be told and for the science to be objectively debated. This left wing monster is something to be very fearful of.
This reminds me of Donald Trump, always wanting to magnify his magnificence and making a fool of himself in the process.
Anthony Watts is over the moon with excitement that he came top of the class in the weather blog category of some award. The "award" looks to be a way of getting clicks to a content reader/gatherer called Feedspot, which was set up a few years ago - back in 2013 from the look of things.
It's weather, not climate, Anthony!Well, I've got news for Anthony Watts. He probably didn't know that Feedspot also had a top 40 global warming category. That's because WUWT isn't in the top 40. It didn't make the list, as of this writing. The top website in that category is SkepticalScience.com.
HotWhopper is in the Top 40, too. It came in at No. 12, but didn't accept the "award" when it was offered last year. In fact when I get these emails from Anuj Anjar, I write back and explain why it's meaningless. His list is a mixed bag of climate science and climate conspiracy blogs, with some climate disinformation websites thrown in for good measure. (Obviously my email is as much a waste of time as the award lists are a waste of space.)
Today I've made an exception and up top I've posted the image emailed to me of award given to HotWhopper. (I've not linked the award image back to Feedspot :D).
Exploding heads? WUWT didn't make the Global Warming Top 40 Poor Anthony. His ego is clearly feeling in need of a nudge because he wrote this exuberant headline:
Oh gosh, this is going to cause some heads to explode
Anthony does get a little bit hysterical from time to time. Though maybe that's as fake as his blog articles. Given how much extreme weather there's been lately, it could be he hopes to distract his readers by boasting about a meaningless marketing effort.
From the WUWT comments Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the "award" as Anthony is. He mentioned how Roy Spencer came in to the weather blog category at No. 2. Well, his was the first comment on Anthony's blog:
Kip Hansen is happy enough that WUWT at least made the weather list, even though it didn't rate in the global warming list :(
January 12, 2018 at 3:14 pm Anthony ==> #1 — Weather Blog…… It has taken a lot of perseverance on your part to see this thing through — but if nothing else, the Climate Alarm Team is not fooling itself — it knows who their real opposition is: WUWT. I’ll buy ya that beer (and I’;m a tee-totaller!)
Extreme Hiatus thinks weather and climate are two different things. Well, that's not quite right, is it.
January 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm Congrats Anthony! Well deserved. To think it all started with a change of paint! But… I thought weather and climate were two distinct things, except hot weather of course.
PiperPaul responds and points out that it's a way of generating clicks:
January 12, 2018 at 6:45 pm He wants a reciprocal link from WUWT because WUWT gets a lot of traffic. “you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog” That “badge” will be a link back to his website.
Anthony Watts has kindly pointed out that the scientific consensus on climate change is changing. He wrote the very strange headline: "‘The 97% climate consensus’starts to crumble with 485 new papers in 2017 that question it". Apparently some drongo (who does this every year IIRC) has only managed to dig up 485 "papers" that he claims " in some way questioned the supposed consensus regarding the perils of human CO2 emissions or the efficacy of climate models to predict the future."
I expect that, as in past collections, many of findings of those 485 don't dispute climate change, and many probably support the fact that human activity is causing global warming, but I haven't bothered checking (because that's not the point of this little article). What struck me was that 485 was a pretty small number, given the vast number of peer-reviewed publications on climate change these days.
If you go to Google Scholar and search for the term "climate change" and select "2017-2017", you'll find there were "About 115,000 results". Now 485 is 0.4% of 115,000, so even if all those 485 papers disputed the greenhouse effect (which they don't), it would still mean that one could argue that 97% has become 99.6% :D
Now that even beats the 98.4% of WUWT-ers who deny straightforward science. Who'd have thought! Thanks, Anthony Watts, Breitbart, Pierre Gosselin and Kenneth Richard.
The latest conspiracy theory from science deniers at WUWT is that the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is up to something nefarious. (Seeing nefarious intent in the most innocuous actions is one of the hallmarks of conspiratorial thinking.)
All the fuss was about a new version of NSIDC's Sea Ice Index. It's gone from version 2 to version 3. In the latest version, monthly averages are calculated in a different way. The new version only affects monthly averages, not anything else. From the analysis report:
The Sea Ice Index has been updated to Version 3 (V3). The key update in V3 is a change in the method for calculating the numerical monthly averages of sea ice extent and sea ice area data values; that is, the data distributed in .csv and .xlsx format. This change impacts only the monthly data values in the Sea Ice Index time series and not monthly sea ice extent and concentration maps that accompany the data product, that is, the .png, .tif, and shapefile archives. Daily data are also not impacted, nor are any current conclusions drawn from the Sea Ice Index data set about the state of sea ice in either the Arctic or the Antarctic. This change is being made in response to questions raised by users of the product concerning how the monthly average ice extent and areas are calculated.
The difference between the version in calculating monthly averages is explained in the report. The previous version worked out the 15% threshold (for ice extent) for each grid cell after getting a monthly average from the daily data. The new version works out the 15% threshold each day before averaging data. This means that now daily data is not included for any grid cell that doesn't have 15% ice, whereas previously it may have been included. Here is how NSIDC describes it:
Monthly averages of numerical ice concentration data can be calculated through two different methods:
summing ice concentration data at each grid cell throughout a month, dividing by the number of days within a particular month to get average concentration for that grid cell, and then applying the 15 percent concentration threshold to the gridded field of average ice concentrations before deriving monthly area and extent, or
applying the 15 percent concentration threshold to the daily gridded field of concentration data before deriving that day’s area and extent; and then simply averaging those daily values over the course of the month.
The former method is the basis for the numerical algorithm in V2, while the latter describes V3.
If you're wondering how this affects the rate of change in sea ice extent in the Arctic, the report has a table for that. The only month affected to any great extent is October, when ice is rapidly forming:
Multiple conspiracy ideation criteria Climate conspiracy blogger Anthony Watts came up with the headline: "Bad Science: NSIDC disappears Arctic sea ice extent going back years". He claimed:
From the “Arctic is screaming louder thanks to Mark Serreze and his adjustment shenanigans” department, I don’t think this is going to fly. Some of the adjustments are as much as 1.2 million square kilometers of sea ice, which is as much as some yearly variations. -Anthony
I've written previously about criteria used to identify and define conspiracy ideation. Obviously, given the "adjustment shenanigans" there are questionable motives and undoubtedly nefarious intent (criteria no. 1) because "nothing occurs by accident" (criteria no. 4). And since Anthony doesn't think "this is going to fly", he figures others will also think "something must be wrong" (criteria no. 5). Well, it "flew" back in October last year and Version 3 of the index is still "flying", so what's the bet that Anthony's "don't think" loses out.
I don't know what he's referring to with his 1.2 million sq km. Here is Table 5 from the analysis, showing the change in climatology (1981-2010) for each month, between v2 and v3 of the sea ice index.
Maybe he was talking about the difference in the minimum for the month of October, in Table 14 of the report:
Even if he got the 1.2 million sq km from that table, I'm still puzzled by his "which is as much as some yearly variations". There is a huge monthly difference between extent in September and that in November (which straddle October, if you're wondering why I chose those months). Since 1979, the difference ranges from 3.17 to more than 6 million sq km, using the previous version, which is a lot more than Anthony's 1.2 million sq km. There's a reason October shows the biggest change - it has the biggest change. (See below.)
Since Anthony hardly ever puts digits to keyboard these days, the rest of the article was from a denier-baiting "guest" called Tom Wiita - presumably meaning Tom works for Anthony for free (is there any other way?).
The biggest difference is in October for Arctic sea ice The months in which there is the greatest difference with the changed approach are the ones where sea ice is changing most rapidly. From the report:
There is a seasonality to V2 and V3 differences. In both the Arctic and Antarctic, the largest difference in monthly averages occur in the months when changes in the ice cover occur rapidly. In the Arctic, freeze up during the month of October is associated with the most dynamic changes in ice extent, and therefore the largest differences in V3 and V2 monthly averages. In the Antarctic, the quickly melting seasonal ice during the months of December and January is accompanied by the largest differences in V3 and V2 extent values. Overall, the southern hemisphere’s ice-ocean-atmosphere system produces a more dynamic ice edge such that V3 minus V2 differences (Figure 4) are larger than the Arctic (Figure 2) on average.
Changes were in response to user feedback There's one more point worth making, and that's that NSIDC made the changes in response to user feedback. After a section about how the monthly data had previously been prepared, the authors of the report wrote this (page 3):
The user community, which carefully fact-checks the monthly-average extent values presented in the popular Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis blog against data distributed through the Sea Ice Index was not able to come up with the same values. The discrepancy stems from the different averaging methods, and user questions prompted internal discussions on how averages should be calculated. Discussions concluded with a decision to present monthly average data based on the averages of daily extent values because this method made most sense to users.
You can see from the above para that WUWT deniers could in no way be part of the NSIDC user community. They don't "carefully fact-check" anything. They deal only in spreading disinformation. Facts are anathema to deniers.
Bringing Africa to the Arctic - the Serengeti Strategy There's still one other point I'll make, because it's typical denier behaviour. The chorus was dogwhistled by both Anthony Watts and Tom Wiita to take a shot at Mark Serreze, who is the Director of NSIDC. There was only one person I saw who responded to this particular whistle (so far). Singling out one individual to bash is known as the Serengeti Strategy and is widely used at WUWT.
Dr Serreze didn't write the report, however. The authors were Ann Windnagel, Michael Brandt, Florence Fetterer and Walt Meier. Incidentally, Walt Meier has in the distant past made every effort to help Anthony and his rabble learn something about sea ice. He hasn't written for WUWT in a long time - neither has any other reputable scientist, not since Anthony Watts and his lynch mob treated Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards so horrendously.
From the WUWT comments
Most people didn't bother reading the NSIDC analysis, they just weighed in because they want to believe that climate science is a hoax. What else could it be? After all, it's been very cold in much of the USA recently, and that proves something or the other. (Deniers would never accept that warmer waters mean heavier snowfalls, and maybe aided the meteorological "bomb", or that the changes in the Arctic could be causing the polar jet stream to meander a lot further south these days. (There are differing ideas among scientists about this - see this WaPo article by Chris Mooney. There's also a good article about recent US weather by Michael Mann.)
I bet many a rabid denier thinks of himself (they're predominately male) as Donald Trump just portrayed himself - as a "stable genius" (I don't think he means the horse kind), and "being, like, really smart" - oh my. The rabble at WUWT show as much decorum as the US President. Here's a sample.
Hard to tell if NME666 thinks that lying scientists earn more or less than the average liar:
ristvan seems to think that it was very clever of Tom Wiita to catch NSIDC red-handed secretly and nefariously discussing the change in version on the very public NSIDC website, together with a very detailed analysis. I think that falls under criteria 6, Self-Sealing Reasoning, or maybe criteria 7, Unreflexive Counterfactual Thinking. The other thing it shows is that Rudd Istvan doesn't like change (except, I guess, when it's UAH versions).
January 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm Caught red handed again. For another example, see my guest post here 2/17/17 concerning CONUS trends and NOAA’ s shift in early 2014 to NClimDiv. Typing NClimDiv into the search bar will take you there.
Jimmy Haigh knows for sure that 97% of the world is conspiring against him and his 3% in denial. It's humankind's biggest ever conspiracy in the whole wide world. He's as eloquent as his demi-god:
WR just knows that everything climate scientists do is nefarious. He wouldn't have it any other way.
January 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm Regardless of the merits of the change in method, the fact is that if it didn’t result in lower levels of ice and an accelerated decline then the change wouldn’t have been made. They know it, and we know it, just like with the one-way temperature adjustments. These “scientists” can’t even pretend to be unbiased observers.
Once again, Kevin Cowtan has brought his skills to climate science, working with Robert Rohde and Zeke Hausfather. They decided to explore those pesky ups and downs in the temperature record, which a lot of people (scientists mostly) have expressed concerns about. This new paper is largely addressing bucket bias in sea surface temperature and is very detailed. Taken with his other work on temperature records, this has to cement Kevin Cowtan's place among the "serious climate nerds" (h/t ykw!)
A hybrid check on sea surface temperature bias corrections The authors analysed sea surface temperature, the main source of the temperature blips, from a new perspective. Their analysis can be seen mainly as a check of the bias corrections used in other sea surface temperature records. Instead of reanalysing data from ships and buoys, they compared weather stations on the coast and on islands with the measurements taken on ships when they passed close to the coast. They subjected this to further analysis and called the result a hybrid SST (sea surface temperature).
I can only imagine how much work this must have entailed. There are hints in the paper. Not only did they get the temperature records from land and nearby sea, they made adjustments in their analysis to compensate for the fact that with global warming, the land surface is warming faster than the sea surface, plus more.
They used their results to assess the bias correction that needs to be made when the sources for sea surface temperature changed, such as from buckets to engine intake, and to buoys (see below). The end result was a different check on sea surface temperatures and additional evidence that:
Some of the odd blips in the temperature records were not what actually happened - particularly the upward WWII blip and the drop down around 1910
The NOAA sea surface temperature record from 1997 onwards is probably closest to reality. On the other hand, the Cowtan17 analysis indicates ERSST v4 is too warm in the earliest years (1860 to 1900 or so) and too cool in the early 20th century (1910 to late 1930s).
Climate models reflect reality even more closely than previous records suggest.
Challenges in the historical record of sea surface temperature The authors begin by pointing out that getting a record of sea surface temperature is more challenging in many ways than putting together land temperature records. The difficulty with sea surface temperature is that information sources change much more than those on land.
On the land, apart from getting as many records together as possible (thank you CRU and other early collectors, and more recently ISTI), the main issues to contend with are adjusting for changes in instrument design and location. Location changes can be identified from station records or inferred from abrupt changes in the record compared with neighbouring records. Technological change hasn't happened all that often in the past 150 years or so. The main ones include the introduction of the Stevenson screen way back, and the more recent shift to automatic weather stations with resistance probes replacing mercury thermometers.
On the sea, the problems include the different sources for temperature readings: buckets of differing materials being dipped into the sea, engine room intakes, sensors on the ships hull and, more recently, drifting buoys and satellites. Within all that, scientists have to account for things like changes in the height of ship decks, interruptions to the consistency of records caused by world wars (where the data source changed from predominately merchant ships to predominately naval vessels), and more. The marvel is that researchers have worked through all these difficulties and developed records of sea surface temperature going back many decades.
Questionable peaks and troughs in the SST records - WWII and all that One period about which most scientists who've worked on the subject have had most issue with are the years of the second world war (WWII). Some data sets show a peak in temperature that has not been easily explained by weather or climate change phenomena. In addition, previous records show a drop in the temperature around 1910 that looks a bit odd. In this paper, the authors did not find the spike that exists in ERSST v5 and to a lesser extend in HadSST3. Neither did they find the drop in temperature in the early 1900s.
In the top chart below, the hybrid record is shown in blue. The different series are a bit hard to distinguish so you might want to click on the image to enlarge it.
Figure 1 | Comparison of the coastal hybrid temperature reconstruction (using all coastal stations and fitting the global mean of the coastal temperature differences only) to co-located data from HadSST3 and ERSSTv5 for the period 1850-2016. Spatial coverage is that of HadSST3 for all of the records, with coastal cells weighted by ocean fraction.The shaded region is the 95% confidence region for the HadSST3 anomalies including combined bias adjustment and measurement and sampling errors. The lower panel shows the adjustment applied to the raw data in the HadSST3 and coastal hybrid records. A comparison with the ERSSTv4 ensemble is shown in Figure S7. Source: Cowtan 17 Figure 12.
To help see the difference, the chart below compares the Cowtan17 hybrid record with NOAA's ERSST v4 record. As discussed, the two are very similar in the most recent decades, but differ much more in the period prior to the early 1940s.
Figure 2 | Comparison of coastal hybrid temperature reconstruction to the ERSSTv4 ensemble. The dotted line is the ensemble median, while the shaded region is the 95% range of the ERSSTv4 1000 member ensemble from Huang et al (2016). DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0430.1 . Source: Cowtan17 supporting information Figure S7
The table below highlights further that the Cowtan17 analysis is closer to the NOAA data set for the period after WWII than it is to the Hadley record (HadSST3). The trend of HadSST3 is lower than that found in Cowtan17 and ERSST v4.
Figure 2: Trend in sea surface temperature since 1997. Source: Cowtan17 Supporting Information Table S2.
The analysis supports the CMIP5 models Another thing the analysis suggests is that there is less of a difference between observations and the blended mean from CMIP5 model runs. This is shown in the chart below, from Kevin Cowtan's briefing paper, where the green line is the CMIP5 blended mean.
Figure 3 | Comparison of global temperature records based on either the UK Met Office sea surface temperature record (HadSST3), or our coastal hybrid record. The smoothed records are compared to the average of climate model simulations from the CMIP5 project. The lower panel shows the differences between each set of observations and the models. Source: Kevin Cowtan's blog article.
Constraints and provisos The authors of Cowtan17 show a lot of restraint and go into quite a bit of discussion of uncertainties and provisos. They present their findings not as the be all and end all of temperature reconstruction, but as a suggestion of where to investigate further. Kevin Cowtan wrote in his briefing:
However we do not necessarily trust our new record, because of the assumptions we had to make in constructing it. The most important result of our work may therefore be to identify places where extra attention should be given to addressing problems in the existing sea surface temperature records. A secondary result is that caution is required when trying to draw conclusions about any differences between the models and the observations, whether it be to identify internal cycles of the climate system or problems in the models, because the differences that we do see are mostly within the range of uncertainty of the observations.
Just the same, this paper has a lot of merit, looks at the data differently, and shows that the spurious peaks and troughs from years gone by may indeed be out of whack. It also supports the records in recent times, which seems to me to add weight to their findings.
What deniers are saying about Cowtan17 Nothing. At least nothing at WUWT or anywhere else that I've seen. Either they all missed the paper because it came out in the holidays, or they haven't figured out what to say about it.
References and further reading Cowtan, K., Robert Rohde, and Zeke Hausfather. "Evaluating biases in Sea Surface Temperature records using coastal weather stations." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society (2017). DOI: 10.1002/qj.3235
Wishing everyone greetings of the season, whatever the season is for you - winter, summer, Christmas, new year or just an excuse for a holiday if you are fortunate enough.
If you've noticed I've been a bit distant this past few months, I'll be back in the new year and may even sneak in a couple of blog articles before then. Thanks for all your support this past year, and best wishes for 2018.
Anthony Watts has posted an article by a bloke called Larry Hamlin, which is a stark example of how confirmation bias affects visual perception. Larry is a climate science denying conspiracy theorist who has the occasional "essay" at WUWT.
He wrote about something he read in the LA Times. It was a recent announcement from the Chinese government that it is preparing to set up what will eventually be a nationwide carbon trading program. The article was by Jonathan Kaiman reporting, from Beijing, a news conference of the National Development and Reform Commission in China.
The article set out the timetable, which stated that it would be three years before transactions begin (my emphasis):
China’s carbon market will initially apply only to the power-generation industry but will later expand to cover seven other sectors, including petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, and iron and steel.
The Chinese government will spend a year building a nationwide registration system covering all companies participating in the market, the state-run China Daily reported. It will spend another year testing the system, and actual transactions will begin in about three years.
One doesn't need to be a psychologist to realise that Larry is suffering from denier blindness and conspiracy ideation, because he wrote:
Completely missing from the L A Times article was the rather critical point that the market isn’t actually starting and no ones [sic] when it will start ....
I'm aware that it is not recommended that one label deniers "nuts" or "stupid". However in my view that caution should be reserved for friends, relatives and real life acquaintances, not the crazed denialati in cyberspace :)
Incidentally, scientists have done research to better understand the visual perception problem brought about by confirmation bias.
From the WUWT comments I also noticed that so far, not one person expressing their "thoughts" under the WUWT article has picked up on Larry's blindness. Either they didn't read the LA Times article, or this visual perception problem is widespread among the denialati or, as likely, both.
This comment from Alan Tomalty is not atypical of the twisted thinking encouraged at WUWT:
December 21, 2017 at 10:22 pm Jerry Brown should be arrested for treason by signing a document with a foreign country that has as its stated goal to subvert every democracy in the world.
You may have heard that the EPA Secretary, Scott Pruitt, keeps promising to put together a "Red Team" to support him in his rejection of climate science. He's getting names from various unsavoury organisations, I gather. I doubt any of those organisations have suggested WUWT owner and promoter of "climate hoax" conspiracy theories, Anthony Watts. However, it looks as if Anthony is hinting he's on the team.
I stumbled across something at WUWT this morning that suggests this. It was in among a lot of self promotion as an AGU member "in good standing", some misogyny, and various other rantings from Anthony. (What are the criteria for good vs bad standing among AGU membership? If it ever decided to draw a line Anthony would never appear on the "good" side.)
Here's what Anthony wrote, implying that he is already on Scott Pruitt's "Red Team". He was writing how he dislikes New Orleans and doesn't think he'd get enough money from his fans to go this year, so he won't try (or something like that :D). (AGU17 is at New Orleans.) Then he wrote how it's not a bad thing he won't be going, saying:
On the plus side, as Gavin Schmidt points out, there doesn’t seem to be any climate skeptics [sic] presenting this year. So they likely won’t get harassed in person.
He then put up a tweet from Gavin:
Interesting point of reference for the climate "red team". As far as I can tell none of them are giving any presentations at next week's @theAGU - the world's preeminent meeting for climate science (20K+ attendees). Most I can find is one as a co-author.
I pointed out to Dr. Schmidt on Twitter that I’ve attended and presented on years past, but chose not to attend this year. No response. It’s a fair point to ask if part of the reason is that “red team” members don’t feel welcome, or perhaps they submitted talks, papers, and posters, but were rejected?
What a loaded and conspiratorial comment.
First of all Anthony is putting himself forward as being on Scott Pruitt's "Red Team". (His fans will probably end up being so disappointed.)
Secondly, why on earth should the Director of GISS respond to every weirdo who replies to one of his tweets?
Thirdly, Anthony's putting forward a false conspiracy theory that the AGU rejects "talks, papers and posters" submitted to the Fall Meeting. He hasn't given any examples and there are none that I know of, at least not for posters. There would be some constraints on papers and the main presentation sessions (as opposed to posters), such as they have to have some basis in fact. However as far as I know, AGU doesn't reject posters or endorse them. Heck, Anthony himself has been able to have a poster. Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenburger had a poster. Willis Eschenbach had a poster. And if those aren't bad enough, there have been the silliest, scientifically implausible, greenhouse effect denying posters presented in the past.
A "stalk free" AGU Fall Meeting this year Going back to the first quote from Anthony (above), about how fake sceptics will avoid harassment at AGU. When Anthony went to AGU I'm thinking he would have loved to have been harassed, instead he was mostly ignored. As for stalking, that's one of the lures he's used to get money from his fans in the past. On several previous occasions he's told his fans how he was planning to stalk scientists.
I hope to attend so that I can cover what is being presented in the world of climate science, while keeping tabs on the antics of people like Michael Mann, John Cook, Peter Gleick, and some of the other players.
The 2014 AGU Fall Meeting is coming up in just over a week, and I hope to attend so that I can cover what is being presented in the world of climate science, while keeping tabs on the antics of people like Michael Mann, Peter Gleick, and some of the other players.
The AGU fall meeting is coming up, and I hope to attend so that I can cover what is being presented in the world of climate science, while keeping tabs on the antics of people like Michael Mann, Peter Gleick, and some of the other players.
When a science paper about polar bears generates multiple articles on denier blogs you can see it has hit a nerve. This happened recently when a paper was published, with a classic illustration of how deniers reference each other to make out there is dispute about climate change impacts.
The paper was by Jeffrey A Harvey and a bunch of other leading scientists. When I say a bunch, there were fourteen scientists listed as authors, comprising rising stars and heavyweights in the climate science world.
It's fortunate I wasn't able to write about this paper when it was first released because it allowed time to see the numerous articles about it on denier blogs. However, before looking at deniers' various reactions, how about a quick summary of the paper. It's open access and is easy to read. It may help if you understand the analytical techniques used, though that's not essential.
The nuts and bolts of the research won't surprise anyone familiar with the antics of science deniers of any persuasion, whether it's evolution denial, HIV denial or climate science denial.
There are a number of characteristics that differentiate science blogs and science denying blogs. Two that were mentioned in the paper are:
Framing: Science blogs frame the scientific content in their articles so as to inform and educate readers. Science denying blogs frame science so as to mislead their readers. As the authors write: "scientific blogs provide context and associated evidence, whereas denier blogs often remove context or misinterpret examples".
Keystone dominoes: Science blogs will report science that interests the blogger and blog readers. Science denying blogs tend to pluck out topics that the public relate to easily. From the paper: "These topics are used as “proxies” for AGW in general; in other words, they represent keystone dominoes that are strategically placed in front of many hundreds of others, each representing a separate line of evidence for AGW. By appearing to knock over the keystone domino, audiences targeted by the communication may assume all other dominoes are toppled in a form of “dismissal by association.” Proponents of creationism and intelligent design use the same strategy..."
I'll add two more techniques, of the several others that I've seen:
Circular Self-Referencing: Science blogs are typically littered with links to scientific papers and other reputable sources of information across a wide spectrum. Science denying blogs typically link to each other rather than to scientific articles. In that way, the deniosphere is a self-contained echo chamber, with few linkages with real science.
Attacking scientists instead of science: Science articles on science blogs tend to focus on research - observations and analysis - more so than personalities. Science denying blogs by contrast put little stock in evidence, or claim it is "fake". They often prefer to attack scientists as people rather than discuss the fruits of their efforts.
Analysing science and science denial blogs To illustrate how science denying blogs use framing and "keystone dominoes" to mislead their readers, the authors analysed 90 blogs that mentioned both polar bears and sea ice, 45 science and 45 science denial. (The 90 websites listed in the supplementary information were described as blogs, however there were a few that I wouldn't describe as a blog. Not enough to quibble over.)
Each blog was coded for stated positions on these two topics (Arctic ice extent and polar-bear status). The six codes identified were the following:
sea-ice extent is on average declining rapidly in the Arctic;
sea-ice extent is decreasing only marginally, is not decreasing significantly, or is currently recovering in the Arctic;
changes in sea-ice extent in the Arctic are due to natural variability, and it is impossible to predict future conditions;
polar bears are threatened with extinction by present and future AGW;
polar bears are not threatened with extinction by present and future AGW; and
polar bears will adapt to any future changes in Arctic ice extent whether because of AGW or natural variability.
We also collected every peer-reviewed scientific paper that we could find that investigated both polar bears and sea ice in our search process (92 papers) and scored their positions for the same six statements. The scores for both blogs and papers were analyzed, and a principal component analysis was used to visualize their relations.
If you're not familiar with principal component analysis, there's a neat article by by Victor Powell, with text by Lewis Lehe, which is illustrated with interactive demonstrations.
The diagram below is Figure 2 from the paper, and shows the results of the principal component analysis.
Principal component analysis of scores for six statements, three about Arctic ice and three about polar bears, and citations of Susan Crockford. Scores were extracted from 90 blogs and 92 peer reviewed scientific papers. The blogs were color-coded according their group in a cluster analysis using Manhattan distances and Ward's clustering. The papers were classified as controversial when they evoked critical comments and discussion in the peer-reviewed literature. The ellipses around the data points indicate 95% normal probability. The first PCA axis clearly shows the consensus gap, with fully separated positions for the scientific literature and blogs that deny problems with Arctic ice or polar bears. Science-based blogs, on the other hand, take positions that completely overlap with the peer-reviewed literature. Note that even the small number of more “controversial” scientific papers still exhibit less extreme positions on the first axis than those expressed in the majority of denial blogs. The second PCA axis represents a much smaller amount of variation that appears to represent the presumed adaptive potential of the bears. Source: Fig 2 Harvey17
What the authors found won't surprise you. Science blogs reported what the published literature reports: sea ice is declining and therefore polar bears are threatened. Denier blogs claims were inconsistent with scientific evidence, and reported that bears aren't threatened and sea ice isn't disappearing or if it is, it's natural, naturally).
What's more, rather than drawing on evidence from published scientific work, about 80% of the denier blogs promoted the writings of one person, Susan Crockford, who rejects the notion that polar bears are threatened, to bolster their denial. You'd think that remarkable given that many deniers appear to think that most scientist reject science (get your head around that). If you've spent any time on denier blogs you'll have realised that reliance on one person is not uncommon for science deniers. What is more remarkable is that Dr Crockford hasn't published anything in the peer-reviewed literature about the impact of declining ice on polar bears. (Her PhD thesis, which puts forward some, um, novel ideas about pulsating thyroid hormones and evolution of domestic vertebrates, mentions polar bears in passing.)
As I said, this promotion of a single source and rejection of evidence and the overwhelming majority of scientific research is one of the tactics science deniers use to misinform. Think Willie Soon and "it's the sun", Nils Axel-Morner and his sea level rise denial, and former resident WUWT pseudoscientist Bob Tisdale and his "it's El Nino". The former two have some publications on their subjects, unlike Susan and Bob.
If you want to know more about the study and its findings, I suggest you read it.
No support for the lone polar bear foe on denier blogs The protests from deniers came thick and fast. As usual, in writing their articles they amply illustrated the reliability of the findings.
In all the denier articles I looked at, not one of them provided any scientific support for the ideas promoted by Susan Crockford. Not one could find any scientist who agreed with her. Thus providing further evidence supporting the findings of the authors of Harvey17.
Slime from Anthony Watts at WUWT
At WUWT, Anthony Watts posted not one, not two, but three articles. In his first, he mostly ignored the lead author, skipped over the next eight authors, and chose to promote the 10th and 14th authors - Drs Stephan Lewandowsky and Michael Mann respectively. He adopted the "attacking scientists" technique I mentioned above. Anthony knew those two names would resonate with his readers, who haven't heard of most scientists. They are favourite "Serengeti strategy" targets at WUWT. (I swear that some of Anthony Watts readers think there are no more than half a dozen climate scientists in the world.) Anthony posted a photo of each of them, overlaid with the word "slimed", which is what Anthony does for a living (slime scientists).
Deniers are ashamed of their denial Naturally, it's all about Anthony. I can't for the life of me figure out why he's offended at his blog being called a denier blog. Deniers are his target audience, the more hard-core and conspiracy-theorising the better. You'd think he'd welcome the publicity. Perhaps he does. He wrote:
...for a science journal to use the word “denier” is quite troubling. It is mind-blowing to me that a journal would publish “denier” used as a pejorative label with a broad brush. They expose themselves to legal issues of defamation in doing so.
Anthony Watts, owner of the "the world's most viewed" climate scientist defaming blog, was worried about a journal exposing itself to defamation? For calling deniers "deniers"?
WUWT validates the results of Harvey17 The evidence Anthony Watts offered to show Harvey17 was all wrong in fact did the opposite. It corroborated Harvey17. His evidence was, you guessed it, Susan Crockford! Ha! the very same unpublished source that the authors said was the main source for 80% of the denier blogs they analysed! Her biggest complaint was that none of the authors had commented on her recent not peer-reviewed paper. In fact as I write this, only one person in all the world has made a comment under her paper. It strikes me that her paper was based on a flawed premise. What Susan was arguing was that because polar bears haven't yet shown a substantial decline in numbers (according to Susan), the estimate of their decline over the next 30 to 50 years won't happen.
That is also typical of science deniers. You'll recall WUWT from time to time has articles claiming that because [insert projection to 2100] hasn't yet happened, it will never happen.
I'll add that I cannot find where Susan got her hypothesis from. I've looked at the references she quoted but it doesn't stack up with what she claims. She seems to have got her basic premise wrong, by substituting a September Arctic sea ice average (or maybe even the September minimum) for summer Arctic sea ice average. She seems to be claiming that from 2007 to 2016, the sea ice area was what was projected for 2050 and polar bears haven't disappeared off the face of the northern Earth, therefore they won't. That's just silly - on all counts.
That sloppiness is typical of Susan apparently. In the self-defense she wrote at WUWT, she said (my emphasis):
The long list of co-authors joining in on this attack includes several psychologists, one of whom has written similar papers before, as well as serial-litagator [sic]/climate change champion Michael Mann:
Wrong. I don't know where she got the "several" from. I saw only one cognitive scientist in the list of authors. Most of the fourteen were scientists who do research in climate, ecology, or other environmental sciences. You'll also have noticed, if you were in any doubt, how that statement from Susan Crockford puts her fairly and squarely in the science denying camp.
Larry Kummer, dominoes, and the case of the wrong Crockford The second protest at WUWT was an article by Larry Kummer. He too was basing his protest on Susan Crockford and her "kill off the polar bear" meme. He too showed that the authors of Harvey17 were spot on. It seems that nobody at WUWT could find anyone to support Susan's notion that polar bears won't suffer when the summer ice disappears and takes their food supply with it. He too takes exception to the author's use of the term denier. Apparently deniers don't just deny science, they deny themselves (and prefer euphemisms).
The other thing that Larry does is just what the authors point out that deniers commonly do. He picked out some random predictions (not from scientific papers, but from media reports or blogs), and used them as "keystone dominoes" to imply that because someone once said something or the other in a newspaper article, all of climate science published in scientific journals can be rejected!
In trying to defend Susan's tattered reputation (when it comes to polar bears and climate change), Larry wrote:
Go on, follow the first link. The "details here" link shows that just as the authors wrote, Susan does not claim any peer-reviewed publications on the topic of polar bears.
Now follow the second link to the claimed citation through to its origin. It's not Susan Crockford's paper that was cited, it was authored by Nicola Jane Crockford of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds · International, and the paper has nothing at all to do with polar bears.
He also pointed out that the authors found what I found when I read her not peer-reviewed article that she put so much weight upon. He quoted them:
A primary approach of Crockford’s and other denier blogs is to frame uncertainty by focusing on the present and to question the accuracy of future predictions — implying that the rapid loss of Arctic ice recorded over the past 40 years induced by AGW cannot serve as a guide to future conditions.
Well, in my view the authors were being kind. As I wrote earlier, her work is basically arguing that because what is expected to happen over the coming several decades hasn't happened yet, it won't happen over the coming several decades.
Josh's trench warfare against scientists The third WUWT protest was a cartoon by Josh, who gets a bit of publicity by having Anthony Watts promote his efforts. It was something about trench warfare mixed with wishful thinking that research funding is going to stop. The misplaced argument he was making was that scientists are only in it for the money and will flee when it dries up. His cartoons depicted Professors Mann and Lewandowsky, using the "attack the scientists" fallback tactic of climate science deniers.
You'll notice Josh is very hung up on money. Fear of losing it is one of the main reasons stated for opposing science. (It doesn't make sense to me either, given that most of the wealth and well-being today is because of science, not in spite of it.)
Tom Fuller, sexism and the GWPF There have been other protests, but the only other one I'll mention is from a bloke of dubious reputation called Tom Fuller who used to pester people on science blogs. He chose the equally dubious Global Warming Policy Forum to promote his article. (It was originally posted on another dubious but more obscure and even sillier blog run by half a dozen adolescent types who erroneously fancy themselves as clever deniers.)
Tom apparently couldn't find anyone to support Susan's claims that polar bears don't need protection and will survive without sea ice. Instead he took a different tack. As you know, there has been a flurry of claims that prominent figures have a history of sexual harassment and predation and worse - some with basis, some probably without. Tom saw the bandwagon and decided to hitch a ride. Because Susan Crockford's work was found to be the main source of polar bear denial abounding in cyberspace, he would mount his trusty steed and gallop in to defend her honour. He alleged that the authors were guilty of sexual harassment.
What he's effectively saying is that women are the weaker sex and need big brave men like Tom Fuller, and the GWPF (and half a dozen puerile adolescents) to come to their rescue - but only if they are science deniers. (The GWPF must be one of the more sexist organisations around. Its Forum has no women on its board. The Foundation has no women on its 25 member advisory panel, and only one woman on its board).
It's all a bit rich, particularly given that sexist men are grossly over-represented in climate science denier ranks.
I must point out that Tom Fuller also uses a variation of the technique that the authors referred to - the "keystone domino". He picked out quotes various scientists and climate bloggers have made about the work of men and women - carefully selecting mild criticisms of male deniers and stronger criticisms of female deniers. (He included a quote from one climate blogger who was not an author of the paper for some reason. I guess he had to stretch to fill his silly article.)
Like the other articles, Tom claims the authors lied when they wrote:
Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears.
However, also like the others, Tom was unable to provide any evidence to the contrary. Susan hasn't done any original research on polar bears, or published any articles on polar bears in the peer-reviewed literature. Any polar bear research she has done is not published in any peer-reviewed journal, is based on other people's original research and only resulted in blog articles (fodder for science deniers) and one "not peer-reviewed" paper. (Even her PhD, which mentions polar bears very briefly and only in passing, is nothing more than highly speculative thyroid hormone notions in among a literature review.)
Deniers made me do it Frankly, I didn't intend for this article to focus on Susan Crockford. Deniers made me do it :)
It was quite unavoidable, given the way the denier blog articles spent so much time on Susan Crockford and her articles in an apparent attempt to disprove the finding that denier blogs predominately rely on Susan Crockford's blog and articles to bolster their case that polar bears should be left to rot. (You can..
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