Thoughts on the Weblog awards

By Phil Plait | November 8, 2007 10:24 pm

Lengthy thoughts. Strap in.

First let me say that the votes are still being audited, and I imagine they can flip-flop around. No matter how this turns out, note how close the two sites are in voting, separated by far less than 1%, closer even than last year’s, I think. I think that’s pretty funny. Note also that this is strictly a popularity contest, and not a fair one, either. I am quite sure there are science sites out there better than both Climate Audit and Bad Astronomy; better than any on the finalist list. But if they don’t have many readers, or don’t post on controversial subjects, they get lost in the noise.

If I get more votes, or CA does, it hardly matters as far as real earning of trust and readership goes. Even if this weren’t a popularity contest, such a close finish means the race is a dead heat. And in the end, it means one guy gets to put up the “Best Science Blog” picture, and one doesn’t, but as far as the readers go they should share it. If I win, as I have said, I will use it to shill my book, and that’s about it. I understand that this does not mean I would actually have the best science blog, of course.

That’s why I wasn’t going to play up the award this week.

But then things changed, and it led to an unfortunate series of events. Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit said some incorrect things about my blog, and confused my commenters with me. I pointed this out on a post, and he revised what he said. That’s fine, and that’s the way things should be. Had the positions been reversed, I bet the same thing would have come down (and I have some experience here; please search my blog for the name Shannon Malloy). I did take him task for saying one commenter of his was "spirited", when I thought it was insulting, but that’s about as bad as things were.

But then things got a bit icky at that point, mostly because sites I disagree with strongly, like Junk Science which in my opinion is horribly biased and actively anti-science, threw in their support for CA. At the same time, a bunch of other sites backed me, and it became a AGW/antiAGW sort of thing. A lot of awful things were said by both sides about the other side, though I note that those things were not said by either me or Steve McIntyre. There were sideswipes made by both of us, but nothing I think we can’t handle, and nothing really horrible. I imagine he has withstood his measure of slings and arrows much as I have.

Did this bias me? It’s hard for me to say. I saw a lot of shrill right-wing propaganda about me, and that didn’t put me in the best of moods. But I have been insulted and yelled at before, and I think I have learned, at least a little, not to let it under my skin.

So what about my saying CA is antiGW?

As far as I can tell, the only accusation I have made about CA is that it’s a global warming denying website. I said this because I read several posts and that does seem to be the direction of the site. I went through CA looking for posts analyzing where bad science, bad statistics, and bad math are used by antiGW people, and found none. If they are there, then I will stand corrected.

There is a comment on CA where McIntyre says he doesn’t look into antiGW claims because policy is made on mainstream claims. The problem I have with that claim is that we have many Senators pushing back hard on policy using clearly bad science, and that “evidence” needs looking into as well, just as strongly. Ignoring it implies (though it does not prove) a bias on the part of the investigator.

I understand McIntyre is doing this on his own, and honestly — very honestly — I am happy when anyone looks into claims made by someone else. For example, I think it’s fine that people investigate the Apollo missions to see if they are real, because this means they want to weigh the evidence. My problems comes in when they don’t weigh the evidence for the Moon landings fairly or correctly.

Looking through Climate Audit, I see him only investigating that one side, and that sets off alarm bells in my head, as it should anyone.

Now, the flip side of this, obviously, is my looking into the claims made by people supporting the idea of human-caused GW. When I looked into this a year or two ago, I felt that the evidence I saw was pretty good. A lot of scientists whose work seems legit from what I have read (and that includes James Hansen) agree that GW is partly if not mostly caused by human activities.

I did post an extensive discussion on the new temperature numbers as published by McIntyre. The method of calibration by him or Hansen is not something I am qualified to comment on; however, how those numbers were used is something I could, and did, comment on. I still think that without error bars, any claim made about which particular year is hottest is silly, and took several sites to task for that. However, there is trending, and the trend for the last 20-30 years is up, and more so than it was in the 30s. It is interesting that Hansen has not released his methodology, but as I pointed out in my earlier post on all this, it’s not necessarily an indication of foul play. Many scientists don’t release their methods for a variety of reasons, and I won’t cry foul until needed. Having said that, I have not seen an explanation from Hansen or anyone else on why the methodology has not been made public. Again, if someone has a link to that information, I’d like to see it very much. I’m curious, of course.

McIntyre has also worked extensively on the Mann hockey-stick diagram. However, his work has been argued against strongly by climate scientists as well, most strongly perhaps at Real Climate.

This brings us to the heart of the problem: I am a scientist, and I understand a lot of the methods used to analyze data. However, this does not make me an expert on all data. I would have to spend a large amount of time plowing through what McIntyre did and what the folks at Real Climate say to see what’s what, and even then I cannot know for sure, because I am not an expert in this field.

And there you have it. How do any of us interpret these crucial findings when we are not experts? We have to rely on other experts. In this case, the overwhelming number of experts, truly overwhelming, say that GW is anthropogenic. That doesn’t mean they are right, but it does mean it’s the way to bet. And I encourage people to look into the studies on both sides of this. Science is all about keeping people honest.

About the science, though: I refuse to get sucked into any debate over “sound science”, because that uses science’s own strengths — tentative results constituting evidence and support, but not “proof” — against it. You can always wait and try to get more data, but there are times when you have enough. In my opinion, we have enough.

Again, let me be clear: I applaud McIntyre’s efforts to work through this. He has clearly done some good, and I have said so in previous posts. An argument can be made that my use of the term “denialist” for him may be too strong, but it still does seem to me after reading more of his site that he comes at this from the angle of trying to tear down arguments made for anthropogenic GW while not going after the antiGW claims.

That’s where I stand. I wish this hadn’t become such a foofooraw, but there you have it.

So: tomorrow or the next day the votes will be tallied, one of us will take the prize, and that will be that. Good.

I have learned quite a bit from this, as I’m sure others have as well. For my own part, I will try to be even more diligent about categorizing others. I have also been exposed to a whole slew of sites I didn’t know about, which is an obvious side effect of this whole awards thing, and that’s good. And maybe when this all blows over we can go back to trying to figure out what’s real and what isn’t.

And now I will go back to finishing my dang book.

Comments (133)

  1. Good on ya, Doctor. Very fair, methinks.

    Actually, I think you and Myers and McIntyre should get together, agreeing beforehand never to mention global warming at all, and knock back a few whilst swapping raunchy stories and getting properly hammered.

    We have to remember that, above all else, we’re all human.

  2. David

    This may not be of interest:
    Wednesday, November 07, 2007
    Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’
    Intro by Joe D’Aleo, Icecap, CCM
    I was privileged to work with John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel in the year before it became a reality and then for the first of the 6 years I was fortunate to be the Director of Meteorology. No one worked harder than John to make The Weather Channel a reality and to make sure the staffing, the information and technology was the very best possible at that time. John currently works with KUSI in San Diego. He posts regularly. I am very pleased to present his latest insightful post.

    By John Coleman

    It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

    Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmentally conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minute documentary segment.

    I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, i.e. Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.

    I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

    In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend. See John’s full blog story here.

    Posted on 11/07 at 10:56 AM
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  3. Argh. Copy-paster, go away. This is a time for healing.

  4. Steve Huntwork

    Science is all about keeping people honest.

    Phil, that is all that we have ever asked.

    As I have said so many times, Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit are two of my favorite websites and I must read each and every day.

    Each of you have done an outstanding job this year in teaching people about science and how it should be viewed.

    The fact that today, both of my favorite scientific websites are in the competition for the best blog of the year, is a compliment to both of you.

    YOU HAVE BOTH DONE GOOD!

  5. Phil,

    Well said, good luck with your book. And if you really want to understand why AGW skeptics refuse to go along with the consensus, read this PDF that just became available from David Holland.

    http://homepages.tesco.net/~kate-and-david/2007/Holland(2007).pdf

    Since you’re short on time, I’d recommend starting at page 7.

    It’ll give you greater insight into what Steve McIntyre is up against and why RealClimate isn’t your best source for unbiased info on AGW.

  6. G-man

    You say: ” In this case, the overwhelming number of experts, truly overwhelming, say that GW is anthropogenic. ”

    Where has this “overwhelming number” been documented ?

    The reason I ask is that there are about 2500 scientists who are part of the IPCC – these are the “pro” climate change scientists.

    There are 19,000 scientists who have signed the Oregon Petition who are calling Anthropenic Global Warming a hoax ?
    http://www.oism.org/pproject/

    Overwhelming number yes – but against AGW.

    Also, many of the most elite scientists of the field are “deniers” as you say. Last year, 60 of them signed a letter to Canadian PM calling on him not sign Kyoto. Just have a look at the names and qualification of the people who signed it. I have never seen a list of pro-AGW scientists that come closes in “eliteness” of these people :
    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=3711460e-bd5a-475d-a6be-4db87559d605

  7. Steve Huntwork

    “…sites I disagree with strongly, like Junk Science which in my opinion is horribly biased and actively anti-science…”

    Phil:

    Not tonight, but in time, I WILL return to this subject. Hopefully, you can find some factual documentation to support this statement?

    No problem, I will give you a month or so to get your facts together.

  8. Bruce

    The close margin by which you beat CA is analogous to the close margin by which 1934 (1933?) was hotter than 1998 in the US.

  9. Steve Huntwork

    Bruce:

    There was a huge increase in American temperature records after the year 2000. Thanks to CA, that error was corrected and the climatology records are much more accurate today.

    A side effect of having this major error being corrected, is that the 1998 and the 1934 temperature peaks became almost equal.

    To dismiss the major error of the post 2000 temperature records, with the results after the correction, is not being very honest.

  10. Duane Johnson

    Perhaps the best outcome of the best client blog poll would be the declaration of a tie between BA and CA. Years ago, I was strongly influenced by reading Martin Gardner’s “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”. I think that BA continues in that good tradition.

    In recent years, I became aware of Steve’s work at CA, and I think it is in exactly the same tradition. You two have very much in common in that regard.

    You have raised the issue of CA not offering equal criticism of the anti AGW point of view. But the fact of the matter is, I’m not aware of any anti AGW works that have risen to the level of influencing governmental policy and affecting societal decisions on such a shaky basis as have Hansen, Mann, Jones, et. al., and their adherents. In my opinion, their views represent a current “fad” with a good probability that they are “fallacies” that deserve serious scientific scrutiny.

    I’d like to see true science prevail, and I’m sure BA feels the same way.

  11. astronowanabe

    let me be the first to congratulate you on your narrow victory and gracious manner

  12. papertiger

    From the heights to the troughs. Oh well – at the very least many fresh eyes which wouldn’t have otherwise, are perusing Climate Audit and Bad Astronomy.

    I will always relish that exultant moment when I got to reprize Al Micheals immortal call.
    Thank you all for an enjoyable week.
    (and I’ll be back to check out the space pictures- shhh don’t tell anybody)

  13. Anthony

    Hm. Just looked at the Oregon petition above. As far as I can tell, it admits that global warming is happening, it just says that (a) it’s not necessarily caused by humans, and (b) it’s not harmful.

    In any case, the basic reason I’m inclined to believe the AGW hypothesis is very basic chemistry and physics:

    1) For any system, if you add a new source of a chemical, and you don’t add a new sink, the concentration of that chemical will increase. Typically, the system will come back into a new (higher) equilibrium at some point (the absorption of various sinks is often dependent on current concentration).
    2) For a system (such as a planet) that is in thermodynamic balance, if you reduce heat emissions, it will warm up until emissions come back into balance; if you reduce heat absorption, the system will cool until once again it comes back into balance.
    3) Greenhouse gases reduce heat emissions.

    Thus, unless a compensatory mechanism can be identified, very basic science says that human CO2 emissions _must_ be heating up the planet. This doesn’t mean some other human activity isn’t cooling the planet (anything that increases the albedo of the planet will do the trick; until we got serious about acid rain, sulfur dioxide was having some effects in that direction), but it would have to be something that’s increasing as fast as the effects of CO2, and I’m not aware of anything like that. If a global warming skeptic wishes to propose a cooling mechanic, I’m perfectly happy to listen, but the current curve of temperature certainly averages up.

    This leads to one additional factor:
    4) I’m not sure how harmful global warming actually is, but I do know we only have one planet, and I’d rather not discover problems the hard way.

  14. Christian Burnham

    Looks like congratulations are going to be in order!

    I liked the tone of this post rather more than some others’ take on things.

    I think ‘denialists’ are wrong, but they’re not comic-book Nazis bent on world domination (at least not all of them).

    The science behind GW involves a lot of really tough disciplines, computer simulations, atmospheric science etc. It’s quite easy for honest people to be grossly mistaken (even some scientists).

    I feel very humble in the face of all the thousands of papers, arguments, counter-arguments and simulations. There appears to be a reasonably strong consensus behind GW, but I personally can’t decide when it comes to some of the more subtle differences in opinion. It doesn’t worry me at all that some ‘fringe’ scientists are arguing over the statistical niceties of the hockey stick graph. If they’re wrong- they won’t be the first or last scientists to have argued on the losing side.

    What does worry me is when ‘denialists’ turn out to be shills for big oil or for right-wing think tanks etc. It also worries me that the right in this country seems interested in manufacturing a controversy where in reality a consensus exists.

  15. Anthony,

    Check out this graph on my flickr site:

    http://tinyurl.com/yrqrkk

    You’ll see that over the last 600 million years, CO2 levels have gone from 7000 ppm to the 300 ppm of the present day while temps have remained within a 12 to 22 degree C band. Also, historically the Earth has had warmer temps and much higher CO2 levels than today. The last time it was this cold with CO2 levels this low was 300 million years ago. We’re in a trough and it can’t last forever, whatever humans do!

  16. I was rooting for and campaigning for Climate Audit. Not because I have anything against BA – in fact I really like what I have been reading here – but rather because of the importance of supporting a healthy skepticism in the face of the “consensus”.

    Steve and his crew like looking at numbers. They like sifting through data – when they can get it – and examining methodology. They look at the papers produced by the “consensus” scientists because those are the papers which are, at present, influencing policy. And that policy has very real costs associated with it. Economic costs but also huge opportunity costs; a dollar spent on carbon sequestration is a dollar not spent on anti-malaria programs or producing clean water.

    Governments are relying upon the correctness of the studies which have underlain the reports of the IPCC. These studies – while peer reviewed for the most part – need to be subjected to really serious, independent, verification. An audit if you will.

    Pretty much on his own, Steve has been revisiting the date, recoring the Bristlecones, filing Freedom of Information requests, asking for proper data archiving, reconstructing the undisclosed modeling techniques of the climate scientists and, generally, testing the actual science which underlies the claims of AGW.

    Where those claims do not stand up to such scrutiny Steve reports it.

    Now, were the IPCC a scientific rather then political body, before it published its reports it would have its own “tiger teams” doing due diligence on the basic soundness of the science it was relying upon. After all, the IPCC is making recommendations which will cost in the trillions of dollars and, because that money will be diverted from other uses, almost certainly kill millions of people who are alive right now. It is not unreasonable that those recommendations be based on research which has been independently tested.

    When Climate Audit sank the “hockey stick” it did so by exposing behaviour which, had it occurred in a business context would have seen people fired at best and convicted of criminal offenses at worst. The IPCC should have caught Mann’s data manipulations long before it relied on such a shoddy piece of work.

    Climate Audit certainly has an agenda: Steve wants transparency, full disclosure and due diligence as well as independent verification of the research which underpins the radical departures the AGW people want to impose upon the world.

    All of which is why I thought it was important to use this web contest to get the Climate Audit message out to as many people as possible. No matter how the voting turns out Climate Audit’s vital message has reached many more people. More will listen skeptically to the Al Gores of the world, more will resist accepting unproven assertions, more will demand to see the data and the analysis.

    In so far as Bad Astronomy has given CA a fantastic race you have helped bring forward the day when real science will test the religious dogmas of the AGM believers. So thank you. And, as well, thank you for bashing the real flat earthers with your own finely tuned skepticism. Realistically, you very much belong over at CA trashing bad numbers and demanding clear, transparent, honest research.

  17. Chris R.

    At least a couple of commenters have noted that CA only investigates AGW claims because they are currently affecting policy. And antiAGW data and claims are not? To quote Phil in the above post,

    There is a comment on CA where McIntyre says he doesn’t look into antiGW claims because policy is made on mainstream claims. The problem I have with that claim is that we have many Senators pushing back hard on policy using clearly bad science, and that “evidence” needs looking into as well, just as strongly. Ignoring it implies (though it does not prove) a bias on the part of the investigator.

  18. tacitus

    John Coleman deserves about as much attention from real scientists as Michael Behe and William Dembski does from evolutionists — i.e. none at all. Calling serious science (even if it turns out to be wrong) the “Greatest Scam in History” is not a debating point worth anyone’s time.

    Even if you are unsure about the veracity of Global Warming, the fact that ID’s supporters, en masse, appear to be aggressive deniers of global warming (not to mention their whole weird HIV-causes-AIDS denial) should give you pause for thought.

    You know what, even if by some miracle GW does not happen, the world will be better off for the debate, and the progress made towards greener technology and better environmental policies. If the deniers had had their way from the beginning, none of this would have happened, none of it at all.

  19. papertiger

    Jay Currie is great at this reconciliation stuff.

    That is the way to do concession speech.

  20. Rasputin

    Something I frequently see stated by those who believe whoeheartedly in AGW is the “Even if we’re wrong, going green is good!” sentiment.

    It ise true that reducing particulates and so forth is desirable. I’m all for it.. but FORCING that on people using theories to push legislation is wrong. It’s not scientific.

    If you want to “go green” go ahead, I applaud you. Just don’t attempt to force others to do the same “just in case”. If the faithful really believed the future of the planet hinged on carbon on the atmoshpere, why do they drive/fly/eat meat/reproduce at all?

    Cheers and peace.

  21. Steve Huntwork

    This is why I have returned back to the basics.

    The Sun illuminates one side of the Moon and the Earth illuminates the other side, at the quarter Moon phase.

    When you take the ratio of the dark and light portions of the Moon, that is a direct measurement of the Earth’s albeto.

    This is something that every amature astronomer can perform many day each month.

    My quest is to get enough amature astronomers together, so that 24 hour coverage of the Earth can be documented for the next 11 year Solar cycle.

    There would no longer a debate about what source of data is right or wrong. This would be an abolute measurement of the Earth’s albeto, and all other proxy data must agree with it.

    This is what amature astronomers are fantastic at doing. Taking the raw data, because they simply enjoy helping out.

  22. Greg

    Hi,

    I’m new to your blog and found it through the ClimateAudit link. I like the way you write, so I’m subscribing. :)

    I’m also a skeptic. Not that some warming hasn’t happened, or that humans haven’t had some small part in it, but about the whole catastrophe thing, which seems to me to be a total sham.

    By the way, the Russians think we’re entering a cooling phase. But they’re Russians. What do they know, right? ;)

    Your post about the Pols doing a science debate was hilarious. I can just see the Pols from both sides debating and a panel of real scientists rolling eyes, wiping faces…

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your stuff, especially since the CA blog is frequently over my head (I only have an ancient BS in Biology.)

    And congratulations on winning (or tying, or whatever!)

  23. cce

    A few points:

    1) Hansen et al have described their methods in several papers, the last of which was published in 2001. Of course, the details provided just weren’t good enough for the auditors, so NASA obliged and released the source code. The auditors are creating their own software and methods, and so far all they’ve accomplished is replicating NASA’s results (for the US). But, never fear, there’s a few more thousandths of a degree in there, and they’ll find it eventually.

    2) 1998 and 1934 (lower 48 states only) were statistically tied before the “Y2K” correction and they remain statistically tied after the correction.

    3) The National Academy of Sciences has repeatedly endorsed AGW for the past 30 years. The AAAS endorses AGW, as does the AGU, as does the AMS. The premise of the “skeptics” is that everyone except a handful of skeptics are incompetent, or part of a vast conspiracy. “On the one hand, we have the National Academy of Sciences, on the other hand we have . . .

    4) . . . the Oregon Petition.” I can see that they’ve recently changed the page. It used to flatly deny that global warming was actually happening. It was actually cooling, don’tcha know. It used to declare that global warming was a hoax cooked up by “population reduction advocates.” Baliunas has since bailed, and Robinson has swapped sons, but reliable 96 year old Fred Seitz’s letter is still there, endorsing any and all conclusions (and future conclusions) they might come up with.

    5) With regard to the signatories, Scientific American randomly picked 30 with PhDs in climate-related science (we’ll call it an “audit”), and only 1 out of the 26 they could identify was actually practicing climate science. In other words, a lot of armchair quarterbacks pooh-poohing somebody else’s work.

  24. tacitus

    It is true that reducing particulates and so forth is desirable. I’m all for it.. but FORCING that on people using theories to push legislation is wrong. It’s not scientific.

    In case you haven’t noticed, governments do nothing use disputed theories to force things on people. The whole mess in Iraq is the result of a neocon theory that toppling Saddam Hussein would quickly produce an oasis of democracy in the Middle East, and we all know how that turned out.

    But for any sensible attempt at improving our longterm environment requires government intervention. It doesn’t have to be heavy handed, but it does have to happen. CEOs from many different industries have expressed a willingness to be greener, but cannot do so without the government setting up an even playing field, otherwise the companies that continue to pollute (i.e. who do not divert funds to invest in cleaner technology) will drive them out of business.

    If you want to “go green” go ahead, I applaud you. Just don’t attempt to force others to do the same “just in case”. If the faithful really believed the future of the planet hinged on carbon on the atmosphere, why do they drive/fly/eat meat/reproduce at all?

    Ah, the “if you’re not a tree hugging hippy then you’re not really doing anything about global warming” canard.

    But, why not use the current impetus AGW is giving to help clean up our act. It is a win-win situation. If AGW proves to be incorrect, we’ve still started heading towards being self-sufficient in energy, cleaner air, cleaner water, healthier environment, healthier kids. The only throats unhappy to receive that lot are the industries who are afraid that pollution controls and greener energy will cut into their massive profit margins. Cry me a river.

    Really, if we don’t do it, someone else will, and will eventually reap the rewards that America could be poised to gain.

  25. mccall

    The poll definitely had a political hijacking influence:
    Left: DeSmogBlog & DailyKos & Huffington
    Right: FreeRepublic

    Couldn’t find anything from MoveOn or Rush… but all of these are left & right politics, science-free blogs. Any others PoliBlogs? I don’t include Pharyngula & JunkScience, even though they are highly polarized politically?

  26. Alan

    David the copy-paster wrote: “In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, ***polar ice cap melting***, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted…”

    Maybe it’s just nitpickish of me…but isn’t the ice cap melting thing already objectively, no hand-waving-way-of-explaining-it-away happening?

  27. Looks like both websites and parties are starting soften up. Let’s hope this is a memorable lesson about …………… I don’t quite know, but I think I learned my lesson about staying neutral on things.

  28. owlbear1

    I’m still not sure how somebody can honestly claim; that Billions of tons of Carbon that has been locked out of the atmosphere for Millions of years will not cause any problems when its re-introduced back into the atmosphere in 100 years.

  29. PK

    Phil, congratulations! I think you truly deserve this award, and I am looking forward to your book. May your sales multiply by seven times seventy…

  30. Bill H

    Whether you or Climate Audit win it will be good for science, however beware of hanging chads and recounts.

  31. Phil,

    Nice post. I hope that everyone who takes a “political stand”, no matter what that “stand” may be, will step back and learn something from your entry. Then again I won’t keep my hopes up.

  32. Climate Audit is better then most antiAGW sites IMHO… my problem with it is the amount of posts that just tries to cast doubt over published papers on AGW. Why do I mind that? Because he never publish anything really good himself, and that really don’t look like a good “Science” Blog to me.

  33. scienceteacherinexile

    Freiddie:
    Have you seen the thread-jack over Pharyngula?
    I don’t think everybody is calming down.

  34. Appointment with Fat Lady cancelled

    Why congratulate him, yet? You know when the polls officially closed, CA were ahead by nearly 2000 votes. Then hours after the voting had ended, BA still kept getting votes. This is now known to have been a bug that was being exploited by someone. There were also earlier irregulaties, on both sides, equally. It’s such a mess of cheating and fraudulent voting, that they won’t name the “winner” before Monday.

    Just for fun, eh? :D

  35. The Sun illuminates one side of the Moon and the Earth illuminates the other side, at the quarter Moon phase.

    When you take the ratio of the dark and light portions of the Moon, that is a direct measurement of the Earth’s albeto.

    Yikes! BA, you still have much work to do.

    (Another) David

  36. Johnhas Doubts

    I read this seo blog and this is what I just found on RSS : http://www.tellinya.com/read/2007/11/09/science-blogs-2007-anatomy-of-a-break-in/ . It appears their security was a smoke wall!

  37. Not to poison the well or anything, but it would seem that CA had some interesting supporters for a science blog.

    Newsbusters: “We encourage voting for Stephen McIntyre’s Climate Audit as Best Science Blog.”

    Junk Science: “We’d like to suggest you consider a vote for ClimateAudit.”

    Small Dead Animals: “Science blog- Climate Audit of course!!!”

    Free Republic: “Please Freep this Poll. Vote for Climate Audit. Fighting Global Warming nonsense.”

    Just sayin’.

    Kisses

  38. Appointment with Fat Lady cancelled

    Quite convincing, John has Doubts. Both sides cheated so badly that perhaps they should cancel the whole award. Not a credit to anyone.

  39. Mike M.

    Phil, you were aware that the winner of the poll has to buy beer for all the losers, right? About that Arctic melting, NASA has a new study that shows how “unusual atmospheric conditions” are primarily responsible for the melt. That would be the Arctic Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation both being in positive phase for several years. It’s a good read…
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html

  40. ganos

    “The hacker needs some proxies and then can attack the voting sequence at his will on any poll on anyone. The more proxies he has the better. I have full respect for both Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit which both gambled the system, as many say, and this proves that Science blogs do know science and good al-gore-ithms!”

    Yes. Cheating by getting internet mass votes. No real credit for the final result, people with talent overlooked. Irony. Anyone remember the PRQ contest yet?

  41. I was thinking (yes, I know, mark your calendar) about something that would be darkly funny. What if due to voting irregularities both BA and CA were disqualified, so PZ would win again?

    Maybe that’d cheer him up, at the very least, but then I’d be struck by a mighty case of TANJ.

  42. steven mosher

    Hi,

    One or two corrections and an explaination.

    You note that hansen has not made his method available. This is incorrect. After McIntyre discovered the first error we began to Press Hansen to “free the code.” A few weeks passed. During that time
    another error was discovered principally having to do with “scribal” records. ( search for hansen’s bias method) At this time the demand to Free the code got a bit more intense and finally Hansen released the Code. ( search for Hansen frees the code on CA) Subsequently, Hansen changed his data source without notice, confounding comparisions, but that too has been cleared up. The issue is it should not take threats of FOIA to release code that calculates the average temperature of the USA and the rest of the World. The hadley centre in England, until recently, would not even release the lists of stations they get data from. That has been released because of FIOA, and the effort to get that code released goes on.

    A high percentage of what Steve McIntyre does is directly related to Hockey stick studies. And the connections are pretty clear. Hockey stick studies rely on temperature records and proxies. tree rings, Bulloides, ice cores. There is also a pattern of people writing in the area to not archive data. So, Lonnie Thompson has refused to archive ice core data that has been around for 20 years. Confounding efforts to duplicate his work, or extend it. The same holds for some tree ring data, and methodologies.
    there is also a tendency to misuse certain statistical methods. So if you trudge through CA postings you will see the connections. There have been a few occasions when some “denialist” papers have been examined.
    The last I believe was a paper on hydrology in australia. You’ll see the statistics fellows on CA take the paper apart in short order. Denialist stuff about C02 and sunspots etc get relegated to “unthreaded” discussions, and really dont have enough substance to even comment on.

    the discussions and people in the discussions range from proponents of AGW, some prominant scientists like Dr. Curry, to denialists. With all shapes and sizes in between. A good portion of people believe in GW but not AGW. Some believe in AGW, but dont agree with certain policies.
    These proportions are not balanced of course.

  43. steven mosher

    Paper on CA covering sunspot cycles and hydrology on CA.

    Have a look at the comments by RichardT ( a regular) and Kenneth Frisch ( a regular) RomanM ( a regular)

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1791

    So, the regular stats crowd has no trouble taking down papers on both
    sides.

  44. Steven mosher

    Phil,

    One criticism you have of CA is that they don’t attack “denialist”
    papers. I’ve provided the link to an example of that. For a good portion
    of us there we see no point in taking apart papers that have no credibility.
    Our interest is in testing what has been accepted as fact.

    I looked at bad astronomy. Attacking nonsense and stupidity ( folks who
    dont believe in lunar landings) is always fun, but it’s rather like shooting fish in a barrel. Same with astrology. It’s fun to take this stuff down, but not really challenging. What would be challenging and interesting is questioning ‘accepted’ science using accepted methods. Can you point me to that stuff on your site?

  45. Lance

    Well I’ll have to give the folks here at Bad Astronomy, including Phil, credit for being gracious winners (uh, losers, tiers?) compared to PZ and his fan boys over at Pharyngula. Talk about a melt down.

    I think any reasonable person that spends anytime going through the archives at Climate Audit will quickly come to realize that Steve McIntyre is trying to keep people honest. As Phil says above in his post this is what science is all about.

    From my admittedly quick perusal of this site it seems that Phil is picking some fairly low hanging fruit when he goes after moon landing skeptics, ID proponents and creationists. While it can’t be fun and rewarding to debunk these “anti-science” movements, where is the challenge in that?

    Steve McIntyre has challenged some of the underpinnings of a currently “consensus” theory and done so under the withering scrutiny of the NAS, congress, much of the IPCC, the popular press, and of course unhinged left wing bloggers of PZs ilk.

    He has not done so for political reasons, at least none that he has ever stated, but simply because something didn’t smell right.

    So keep up the good work fighting the lunatic fringe, but don’t make unwarranted claims that Steve McIntyre is part of the “tin foil hat” brigade.

    Best regards,

    A new reader.

  46. Stu

    This “bit of fun” has all gotten far, far too serious and political, in all senses of the word.

    Jeez, it’s not rocket science. If you like this blog – or any blog – more than others, vote for it. Simple. But vote cos you want to, not cos you feel obliged to, or pressured to, or are guilt-tripped into it.

    We live in a fascinating, violent, beautiful universe that beggars imagination, and in just our corner of it we can look up from our teeny wet dirtball of a planet and see astronauts repairing torn space station solar panels, strange new worlds whipping around bizarre, alien stars, comets exploding in our skies and galaxies ripping ragged candyfloss streamers of stars off each other. This… discussion, debate, argument, whatever the hell it’s turned into is just noise. I’ll be glad when we get back to talking about things that matter – or that don’t matter, but are simply amazing and beautiful. :-)

  47. strangeangel23@

    Yes we left wingers are in your CA supporters’ kitchen, eating your ice cream.

    That being said, until we know more about CA, it’s author, it’s motive and it’s backing …we should regard this site as truly suspect. It seems to me when the press got hold of this guy “poking holes” in NASA climate surveys…it has become a Mecca and a safe haven for GW denialist, making it far more popular than it should be. On the other hand, the BA site attacks an audience from all backgrounds, values and beliefs…therefore, making it far less skewed than CA. And to that, a blog maybe as good as it’s supporters. But none of the less, Phil should not capitulate on his core beliefs because CA got more attention than maybe it should…or even than his own site. That is not evidence.

  48. strangeangel23

    *atracks an audience from all backgrounds…

    Edit: Fraudian typo.

  49. steven mosher

    Lance,

    I’ve havent sent enough time here to judge BA fairly. But Phil gets several things wrong about CA and some of the issues. First of course is the Issue about Hansen and his methods. A simple search of CA will reveal that CA did in fact get Hansen to reveal his methods for computing averages. CA also got the IPCC to live up to its promise to provide reviewers’ comments PUBLICALLY. Before we sent our FOIA requests into NOAA, the IPCC refused to provide the “reviewers comments” in a public archive, even though their rules required it. Now, anyone can go on line and view the comments that the reviwers made about specific chapters inthe IPCC report. You will stupid comments and smart comments. You will see probing questions ignored. You will see suck ups and cranks. In short you get to see the authors of the chapters interacting with the reviewers. THE ONLY REASON you can view this stuff online is that CA readers flooded NOAA with FOIA.
    I noticed that Phil did a little “study” of the ill named “y2k” problem and he
    gets a good portion of that wrong, ( especially in the trend analysis)but that’s old ground.

    Fundamentally there is no FUN and challenge in disproving the art bells of the world. Here is a better challenge and an example of why I like CA.

    Since the 1800s people have recognized that urban centers tend to have
    warmer temps and warming TRENDS. This is an accepted tenet of climate science. And thanks to Geiger, and Oke, and studies of major metropolitan centers around the world ( see the Bubble study) we have an understanding of the causes. The work establishing the fact of the URBAN HEAT ISLAND, is vital to making our cities more energy effiecient and more liveable. So. UHI is an accepted consensus fact. ( witness for example the rise in daily minimum temps in las vegas over the past ten years and you will understand the heat storage capacity of concrete)

    NOW, UHI is real. However, there are keystone papers in climate science that claim our measurement of the land surface temperatures is not impacted by this UHI BIAS. Notably parkers study and petersons study.
    Both parker and peterson compared RURAL stations to URBAN stations.
    They found no difference. Even though other studies showed differences up to 5C. They explained that there was no difference because the
    URBAN Sites were in “cool parks” That is, areas inside a city that just happen to be cool.

    PROBLEM: they never looked at the sites to confirm this. So, CA set out to do this looking. That’s fun and challenging. In the end what we found was that no urban sites were in cool parks. So the puzzle remains.
    Maybe the RURAL sites are contaminated? So we looked at that. That work is still going on. The fundamental issue is this. On one hand
    climate science tells us that the Urban Heat Island is a big problem. We have Infrared studies, boundary layer studies, green roof studies. On the other hand, we have this temperature record that says UHI does not
    bias the historical record. A puzzle. We like puzzles.

    It’s much more challenging to find the hidden asumption in accepted science than it is to find the flaw in art bell science. I watched some old tapes of the great Randi the other day. As a kid with a scientific bent I grew up watching and reading him. But seriously, spending brain cells on debunking astrology is a waste of grey matter. If one feels threated or challenged by the fake lunar landing crap, then I suppose it’s a challenge.

    Finally, the piltdown man existed as a hoax for 40 years or so. Were All the people who challenged that bad science anti evolutionists?
    The hockey stick is the result of a bad method. “bad method+right result = bad science” same with Piltdown, same with hockeystick.

  50. Peter

    I’ve heard many people talk about “hockeysticks”…unfortunately I don’t understand the referrence…could someone elaborate for me please?

    Pete

    PJE

  51. Peter:

    They’re sticks of wood a little more than a meter long that usually have a sharp turn or ‘paddle’ at one end. One holds the straight end and uses the crooked end to bat small objects (balls, flat cylindrical pucks, wads of paper, oranges, roundish stuffed animals) around.

    In climate science, in the most basic of terms, temperature analysis shows (with some dispute, see above) a sharp jog upwards in the modern era, looking like a hockey stick. This is due to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The statistics used to derive the ‘hockey stick’ are disputed (again, see above) and whether or not that’s a black eye for AGW in general depends on who you ask and what their angle is. Me, I don’t think it’s critical as the hockey stick is only part of the overall support for AGW.

  52. steven mosher

    Hi Angel.

    “That being said, until we know more about CA, it’s author, it’s motive and it’s backing …we should regard this site as truly suspect. ”

    This is called the appeal to motives. It does not go to the truth of the matter and is a logical fallacy. Simply, if exxon pays me to say that 2+2=4, you should not disbelieve me. Mr. McIntyre has made his background public. In fact he is more open with his background than the scientists are with their data. He is self funded and gets donations from his readers. In contrast, REALCLIMATE recieves indirect support from Fenton communications who run and pay for their servers and bandwidth.
    Fenton is Soros backed. Still, that doesnt make RealClimate wrong. The issue is McIntyre looks at data. The climate scientist says “here are my results” and McIntyre asks the simple question of science. ” can you provide your data and methods so we can replicate the results?”

    NOW, why do we replicate results? Well one reason is to diminish charges of observer bias. If a scientist will not share his data or methods then we cannot eliminate with confidence other factors: instrument bias,
    random chance, observer bias, incorrectly applied methods. One good example of this is the correction of satillite measurements of temperature.
    The studies showed a cooling. When the authors released the data and methods a simple math error was discovered. McIntyre simply asks that scientists archive their data, and make it available for others to study.
    It’s Open science.

    Then you wrote:

    “It seems to me when the press got hold of this guy “poking holes” in NASA climate surveys…it has become a Mecca and a safe haven for GW denialist, making it far more popular than it should be. ”

    Well, he’s been around awhile before then a few years. He didn’t poke a hole in NASA climate surveys. He found a simple error in which data files
    were being used by NASA. Since NASA would not release its code
    ( eventually they did ) finding this error was a lot harder, but in the end science was served. Why? because now the NASA scientists have to take more care in setting up their software systems and testing what they do.
    Further, there is no safe haven for GW denialists. Most readers at CA
    do believe in GW. That is, we do believe there are good arguments for saying that the various records show some warming. Our questions.

    1. How accurate are these records.
    2. Error bars please
    3. Cause?

    Finding regime changes and attributing causes in red noisy data
    is interesting and hard.

    “On the other hand, the BA site attacks an audience from all backgrounds, values and beliefs…therefore, making it far less skewed than CA. ”

    here is what a CA person would say. That is an interesting claim.
    How would you prove that? Plus I don’t think you meant “attacking”
    an audience, you meant addresses an audience.

  53. Good Job, Phil.

    You know, I noticed from Wednesday to Thursday, there was a steep increase in votes for both BA and CA. It was the last day of voting, but, the possibility of freeping seemed quite likely for the rapid increase.

    Also, in reference to the post above about freeping and voter fraud (Free Republic apparently hates democracy, how ironic), the post-close votes don’t necessarily mean that bots were voting. My computer was apparently able to cast a vote after the “official” end of the voting process, and I figured that it was allowing my computer to have its last vote of the day. (I was vote # 20679 for BA) Hopefully, after the dust settles, BA will arise the official winner, and no one freeped the contest. Hopefully.

    I think they should have captchas to make the voting more secure.

  54. >> My computer was apparently able to cast a vote after the “official” end of the voting process, and I figured that it was allowing my computer to have its last vote of the day.

    The software reason for this is that apparently cached copies of the .swf allowed people to vote. The cached copy then sent the signal to the central server, which kept adding despite the time check not working out (as the time check is done on the voting frontend and not the counter backend). That’s probably one of many reasons that the final results won’t be out until Monday.

    I agree with the captchas, though. Now that the awards people are realizing how politics and the concomitant zealots of all stripes are seeping into everything (*sigh*), they’ll know to code more robustly for next year.

  55. Sam Urbinto

    To the voting and that link on the hack thing. I am wondering if they’re going to find out who shoved in 1400ish votes 4ish hours after the thing closed. I hope it’s not one of the readers or posters from CA or BA that did it. (This is assuming the people running the thing didn’t add the votes, which is of course possible you must admit) I’d like to think some unaffiliated wacko out there couldn’t stand the thought a site they didn’t understand would win. And shoved in enough votes to make sure it didn’t win. (I also wonder how long whatever programs were running. . I hope they find the rat and make it eat cheese.

    On the voting itself, I watched the patterns in the totals, and it was very bursty. I believe it was a mix of them stopping the displays while they checked some aspect of the voting, groups of people waking up or learning about the vote at once, the server setup, the other votes going on at the same time in other categories. While some stuffing could have been going on in the same manner the entire time, of course, a jump of 1400 is pretty bad, I can’t see how that could be normal. Hopefully the vote people have an explanation.

    In any case, regardless, it’s basically a tie, and it doesn’t really matter. I just don’t like mysterys. :)

  56. Sam Urbinto

    To add to mosher’s observations on “the code”, after months of bickering, obfuscating, and the like (and hundreds of posts in the discussion on it over at Real Climate), (and what I’d guess is pressure from above) Hansen released the code. Steve had to keep asking for it to audit it, and they kept telling him their verbal explanation was sufficient to create his own code. Two problems with that: A) Steve didn’t want to run a replicated code, he wanted to check that their code did what it was supposed to do, but they kept using the excuse that it was a waste of time to do that (like they care if Steve wastes his time?) B) It later turned out that the verbal explanation wasn’t sufficient. (It took John V (who disagrees with Steve on most things btw) the original code to build his replacement.) So once the code was released. All the programmers over there that tried to make it work couldn’t. A replacement had to be made. Some of the code though that they could understand had math errors or other issues, something like that. Add to that, as soon as it was released, methods were changed, why? Why at all, and why at that time? Certainly, that doesn’t prove anything was being done wrong, but it makes one wonder, no?

    In any case, who wouldn’t think making sure things are correct is a good thing? Sure, the correction to the temp record was minor, had little impact on the world since it was only for the 48 states, and almost everything stayed as it was, basically ties between “warmest years” (whatever meaning that has). The point is the problem that there was an error, which hadn’t been seen by the people producing it, that there was an error in there at all. No matter how big and how small. Why do you audit? To find errors. Right? I don’t understand how anyone doesn’t get that — to make sure things don’t have errors, you look at them to see if they have errors. “Why do you want to look under my car hood to check the oil and brake fluid, you’re just trying to find an error!”

    And for those of you confused on the statistical analysis of the MBH graph, the experts found that the statistical methods were improper. There was agreement on that, they were improper. That’s all Wegman and North found. It says nothing about AGW nor that the results are wrong. Wegman was also asked about the culture that produced the work (decided how to do the statistics) and he pretty much said they’re a click subject to groupthink and that’s how it happens (not that it’s good or bad) but that it was the reason. I don’t know why they keep using the same methods, but that’s another issue, another story.

  57. Sam Urbinto

    And the last topic. Steve looks at both sides of papers (although he won’t look at papers that are not credible, hence there are hardly any “antiAGW” papers looked at), keeps politics and religion off the boards, for the most part keeps people from ranting, and usually keeps the threads on-topic. If you read the FAQ he makes no statement either way about the AGW part of things. The topics are all mainly looking at the data and methods used to create these papers, or the confounding lack of transparency or assistance from the authors, or about the fact that the authors are all part of a clique peer-reviewing each other.

    The last part, coupled with the investigation of main-stream papers (which are of course almost 100% “proAGW”), and adding who uses the results and how they use them, plus the people that endorse Steve sometimes, leads many to believe he’s got a viewpoint of some sort strongly against AGW. It just seems a guilt by association argument mostly.

    Steve has stated a couple of times in posts in topics that he mainly agrees with what the IPCC says, and I think you’d find it difficult to find him doing anything that disproves he’s pretty much neutral on the subject of AGW itself. He’s also said if he were “in charge” he’d use what the IPCC puts out. I have no reason to doubt him.

    Look at who he links to, it’s “both sides” of this. Would a “denier” link to Connolley, Tamino, Real Climate, Rabett Run, do you think?

    I just don’t think the evidence supports the conclusion.

  58. Brian

    I was just over to the Weblog Awards site, and whwn I clicked on “Best Science Blog” it said the following:
    “RESULTS ARE NOT FINAL FOR THIS POLL! This poll is still being checked for excessive voting from individual machines. If excess voting is found it will be noted and the votes will be removed. The winner should be announced Monday.”

  59. Brian

    I was just over to the Weblog Awards site, and when I clicked on “Best Science Blog” it said the following:
    “RESULTS ARE NOT FINAL FOR THIS POLL! This poll is still being checked for excessive voting from individual machines. If excess voting is found it will be noted and the votes will be removed. The winner should be announced Monday.”

  60. mccall

    re: Newsbusters (for the right)

    Thanks, Ms JanisBelle … forgot them.

    I ignored SmallDeadAnimals (rightish), and blogs like Deltoid (leftish) and others that do spend a lot of time on science &/or math in their content.

    =====

    Re: other reasons for unprecedented polar melt – agree. And there was also a study of 1993-2003 Greenland Ice Sheet shows net gain (massive interior gain, overwhelms smaller fringe coastal loss), over the (supposedly) “warmest NH period in a 100 years?”

    SIDE NOTE: at the other (Antarctic) pole, a 1979-present ice area maximum record was reached this winter on 26-SEP-07! This was after a premature record was declared on 10-SEP, then rescinded/corrected on 18-SEP. The net cooling and ice growing Antarctic just kept on increasing and broke the ice area record anyway…

  61. Magnus Andersson

    “[McIntyres work on] Mann hockey-stick diagram … argued against … most strongly perhaps at Real Climate”.

    Eh? Yuo forgot to mention that Real Climate was set up as a site to defend the hocke-stick graph? They probably still defend it, yes, although NAS has debunkked it as a misleading diagram and the scientific society — thanks God — don’t use it anymore.

  62. Sailor

    “A side effect of having this major error being corrected, is that the 1998 and the 1934 temperature peaks became almost equal.”

    Sure and that is why you could easily sail round the northwest passage in 1934, and all that ice melted now was melted then – oh but it wasn’t. Some of you guys need to get your face out of computers, and spend a little more time outside. Anay gardner on a latitude between New York and Canada can tell you things are warming at a fairly astonishing degree. Is it going to be disasterous? Who knows, but does it make sense to keep turning up the thermostat?

  63. Steve Mosher

    Like sam U said, Steve McIntyre doesnt waste his time with denialist dreck. Good example, a fellow named beck in germany turns out a bunch of garbage and can’t even the axis right on graphs. If I want to read somebody takedown a nut, I will go to RealClimate or Tamino or Rabbetrun or James Annans blogs. They make regular fare of the denialist dreck. It’s easy work. So, I read Realclimate ( an AGW BLOG) to read the takedowns of denialist stuff and I read CA to read the takedowns of “mainstream” stuff. Then I get to decide. The latter is more challenging and mentally stimulating. It’s also fun when leading researchers in particular areas ( like Dr. Curry in the hurricane feild) come in to discuss their approaches and opinions. The AGW blogs tend to block
    people who don’t toe the line. That makes the discussions kinda boring.
    Kinda like preaching to the choir.

    Anyway, I WANT TO THANK PHIL because something on his blog gave me a great idea for a cool addition to some product stuff I am working on. UTTERLY unrelated to climate science.. more of an astronomy thing.
    I’ll let you know if it works out, but for now thanks for the random idea I found on your blog.

    Peace out

  64. “..but does it make sense to keep turning up the thermostat?”

    Depends on where you live and what outdoor activities you like.

    Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

  65. Eds

    Phew.. finally rationality returns to the scientific blagosphere.

  66. Eds

    Phew! Finally rationality returns to the scientific blagosphere.

    And there was much rejoicing.

  67. >> Who knows, but does it make sense to keep turning up the thermostat?

    My mom always told me just to wear a sweater.

    Then again, I had a distinctively blue-collar (green-collar, given both my parents were NCOs?) upbringing, so maybe I’m just odd that way.

    Reminds me of why my friends always say they prefer cold days to hot ones: “you can always bundle up, but you can only strip down so far.” Warming the climate is child’s play. Cooling it is somewhat trickier…

    Hmmm. I am thinking of an idea to make artificial cirrus clouds using airplanes and thus increase albedo (it’s had a definite cooling influence on flyover country). I usually try to solve problems with airpower, so this doesn’t surprise me.

  68. Katrina

    It’s over. They declared a tie.

  69. Momentary research relegates my dreams of stratospheric solar-powered zeppelins saving the world to the wastepaper basket unless they operate only during the day during summer.

    Unless there’s a difference between ‘clean’ contrails and ‘dirty’ contrails (the latter including exhaust products, which are of course to be avoided)…

  70. Brian

    Congratulations, Phil. It’ll be great seeing that “Weblog winner” graphic.
    Some commentators are correct: to some extent, this was a “popularity contest”.
    Well, heck. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with being popular.

  71. MrPete

    Simple request for the dubious: please find any journal-published anti-AGW paper that has some material in need of a Climate Audit.

    I’m sure the list will be be of great interest over there.

  72. >> It’s over. They declared a tie.

    Also known as “aw, frakkit, we give up.”

    Nevertheless, congratulations, Doctor! You are truly one of the best out there, and keep up the good work.

  73. Spence

    Sure and that is why you could easily sail round the northwest passage in 1934, and all that ice melted now was melted then

    The northwest passage was first navigated in a single season by the Canadian Mounted Police Ship St. Roch in 1944. Must have been reasonably melty for that to happen!

    Pretty impressive achievement given the limited technology available then.

    Congrats to Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit, a tie was probably the most sensible thing to agree, and is a nice way to round off this event.

  74. bernarda

    Yes, it maybe 1%, but after the polls closed a few hours ago, you were ahead by some dozens of votes. I know because I tried to vote but it was closed and with the results: 6000 something to a little less 6000 something.

    Now both of you are credited with 20000 votes.

    Why they want CA to be the winner, I don’t know.

  75. >> Why they want CA to be the winner, I don’t know.

    If they wanted CA to be the winner, they could’ve thrown it. As it is, there’s a tie. My read on this decidedly limited data was that the irregularities were so severe that they couldn’t really tell what side cheated more while both pulled staggering numbers of legitimate votes. In that opportunity, they had three options:

    1) Call the victory for BA. Politically sound, but with certain calls of match-throwing by the CA/right-wing crowd.

    2) Call the victory for CA. Politically dangerous and with certain calls of match-throwing not only by the BA/left-wing crowd but the scientific consensus as well. Nothing says “I’M A BUSH SCHILL” to the zealots like opposing the Truth (I do think AGW’s true, but I’m loathe to consider much capital-T Truth).

    3) Stop bothering, declare a tie, go home early and get hammered. Middle-ground in terms of political risk (bias can be asserted but not easily proven), probably reducing calls of match-throwing to the fringes of each side, with the added benefit of being the path of least resistance.

    Methinks they went with option 3. Assuming them to be mainstream, option 1 probably would’ve been more ideologically sound, but then again, they probably wish to be perceived as being fair (lest their award mean nothing) and so 3 is the safer option, especially with a race that was… what… 20836 to 20863 by the time the cached entries stopped? If they went with the readings right at the deadline, CA would’ve won, and that’s politically untenable (especially with a close race) and match-throwing claims would abound.

  76. KaiYeves

    I couldn’t vote from those flippin’ laptops I borrowed at camp.
    If you loose, it’s my fault, you can ban me.

  77. Kai, he didn’t lose. The organizers declared a tie.

  78. Hank Roberts

    Favorite 2 posts from this thread:
    ________________________________________________________________
    #
    # Bruce on 08 Nov 2007 at 11:16 pm

    The close margin by which you beat CA is analogous to the close margin by which 1934 (1933?) was hotter than 1998 in the US.
    #
    # Steve Huntwork on 08 Nov 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Bruce:

    There was a huge increase in American temperature records after the year 2000. Thanks to CA, that error was corrected and the climatology records are much more accurate today…..
    _______________________________________________________________

    Bravo.

  79. Brian

    Great decision, the tie. BA won an award, and he deserves it. I really enjoy the BA site.

  80. Langdon Alger

    “Why congratulate him, yet? You know when the polls officially closed, CA were ahead by nearly 2000 votes. Then hours after the voting had ended, BA still kept getting votes. This is now known to have been a bug that was being exploited by someone. There were also earlier irregulaties, on both sides, equally. It’s such a mess of cheating and fraudulent voting, that they won’t name the “winner” before Monday.”

    I assume now’s when CA calls in the Supreme Court to fix things.

  81. strangeangel23

    Hi! Mr. Mosher…that’s strangeangel, not just Angel. And because I am truly strange.

    1st point: “Appeal to motives.”

    Yes if that’s what you call it, then sure. However, it’s not a is a logical fallacy. It’s considering the source of the claimant. That is, the question is not only what the person is saying by why they are saying it. And if so…is it fair and balanced approach. This simply forces the claimant and his/her support to give account.

    Though I do agree with you that if the person making the claim is correct, then give credibility where it’s due. But one should not ignore the motive of the claimant. That in itself would be a fallacy.

    2nd point: “Poking Holes”

    I have no issue of anyone pointing out errors in reputable studies and such. I encourage that they should do. It keeps everything honest (hopefully). But that’s not my point. The NASA contention did get a lot of coverage…unusually so for site that was likely obscure before the discrepancies where blared in the headlines of several notable publications I read…such as the Toronto Star, The Guardian, etc. I suspect others. And I bet Mr. McIntyre got a lot of hits and new found loyalties that day…and I strongly suspect from a crowd of GW deniers looking for a new hero. But yes…I am speculating a bit on that.

    3rd point: “Attacking Audience”

    I am actually not…but simply questing the audience which that site attracts…and who it doesn’t attract. For an extreme example, if a Holocaust denial site existed…it would attract an audience that would likely agree with it. You and I are unlikely to be patrons of it. Conversely, I come to BA site because I am interesting in astronomy…not because Mr. BA holds like minded political views. I suspect many others do. So I am basing this on probabilities. That is, a significant audience that support CA would likely be GW deniers…even if Mr. McIntyre as he claims didn’t intend it to be that way. They wouldn’t be patrons to sites that would whose facts and research suggest global warming is happening…unless they have a bone to pick. In that case they would be just trolling.

    And yes, please forgive me for butchering the English langauge…writing/typing are not my finer points.

  82. Brian

    Langdon Algeron 09 Nov 2007 at 4:56 pm

    “they won’t name the “winner” before Monday.”

    They have announced the decision: they have declared the poll for “Best Science Blog” a tie between BA and CA.

    I’m happy for BA.

  83. Jan Pompe

    declared the poll for “Best Science Blog” a tie between BA and CA.

    Congratulations to both

  84. Saborlas

    Just popping in to say that the poll was posted to Fark.com, and it hit the main page. We have people on both sides of the political fence, and it’s quite popular to “Fark the vote” (we won “Best Blog Community” despite not actually being a blog, simply because we all showed up to vote… we were behind Wil Wheaton’s blog winning one as well). I fear our influx of votes on both sides may have contributed to the irregularities (or at least made things look worse than they actually were).

    I’m not really authorized to say anything on behalf of the website, but I personally apologize if any Farkers engaged in dodgey voting practices. Count yourself lucky: had a link to this blog hit the main page, your server would’ve melted. It’s one of the reasons I pay for TotalFark… I can check out a submitted link BEFORE the liters effectively DDOS it (without meaning to).

    tl;dr : Oops. Yeah, this tends to happen. Please don’t hate us.

  85. Mike M.

    Too funny! Here’s a breakdown of how the voting system was hacked…
    http://www.tellinya.com/read/2007/11/09/science-blogs-2007-anatomy-of-a-break-in/

  86. Steven Mosher

    Congratulations BA!!!

  87. steven mosher

    Hi angel stranger.

    Thanks for being so cordial. Most of of folks from CA are not accustomed to this when we visit other blogs.

    you wrote:

    “1st point: Appeal to motives.

    Yes if that’s what you call it, then sure. However, it’s not a is a logical fallacy. It’s considering the source of the claimant. That is, the question is not only what the person is saying by why they are saying it.”

    I’m sorry but you are mistaken. The appeal to motive is a subspecies of the ad hominum argument. Often described as the circumstantial ad hominum.

    As I noted exxon can pay me 1 Billion
    dollars to say “2+2 =4″ . The REASON, the CAUSE of my utterance
    has nothing to do with the truth value of the utterance. However, if I say that 2+2=5, THEN you might be interested in what caused me to be wrong. The appeal to motives gets it backwards by rejecting the claims out of hand based on potential bias. That is, YOU substitute BIOGRAPHY for science. Science would tell you to test Mr. MCIntyre’s claims. If they are correct, they are correct. Even if he is the devil’s spawn. A non scientific approach would suggest that you investigate the persons background before their claims. This makes truth dependent upon the observer. The scientific method does the opposite. We take the observation and try to duplicate it to remove observer bias. Think of it this way. Once upon a time people thought women were hysterical and emotional and could not be scientists.

    Here is a nice little explaination I found for you.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/circumstantial-ad-hominem.html
    http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/skepticism/blfaq_fall_circumstantial.htm

    You can of course look it up for your self in any dictionary of philosophy.

    I’ll address your other mistakes later if you like and if I have time.

  88. Duane Johnson

    A tie is what I said would be desirable in a post here last night. I think it’s wonderful that two sites who are openly skeptical of “extraordinary” science are the winners.

    Congratulations to both BA and CA!

  89. surly

    tacitus,

    “the fact that ID’s supporters, en masse, appear to be aggressive deniers of global warming (not to mention their whole weird HIV-causes-AIDS denial) should give you pause for thought”

    Does the fact that communists, en masse, appear to be aggressive supporters of AGW give you pause for thought? Are the satellites that show no atmospheric temperature change since 1998 also deniers? Or maybe IDers? Or perhaps they’re inaccurate because they’ve come down with non-HIV-caused AIDS?

  90. cce

    It was said that, if NASA had released the source code earlier, the error would have been discovered earlier. The problem was the data fed to the program. The only way anyone could have discovered the problem (which was, in reality, a miscommunication between NASA and NOAA) was exactly the way it was discovered: by comparing the output to the raw temperature data. That doesn’t require source code, and it doesn’t even require a description of the methods.

    There is a before and after plot of the “Y2K” problem on the GISTEMP website (which I cannot access right now for some reason). I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if it resulted in a “huge increase in American temperature records.”

    Regarding polar ice, Tamino has an excellent post on this, which should be required reading.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/08/sea-ice-north-and-south-then-and-now/

    Antarctic Sea Ice has been flat during the satellite era. The Antarctic maximum sea ice area was reached this September, but not sea ice extent. This new “maximum” was 0.9% above the previous maximum. In contrast, the Arctic Sea Ice minimum shattered both area and extent records, the former by 27%.

    Current conditions in the Arctic have not been seen since records have been kept, be them satellite or observational. For Antarctica, a significant collapse of sea ice occurred from mid century into the ’70s, but has been flat since then.

    The point of the “Northwest Passage” is an easily navigable route appropriate for shipping. We had that this summer for a few weeks. Previously, it was whatever route people could find, regardless of how impractical it was.

    And finally, NASA, Hadley, UAH, and RSS, all show a positive linear trend from 1998 to the present.

  91. strangeangel23

    Mr. Mosher.

    I have already addressed that i agree with you if the claiment is making something that is correct then that person should be given credit where it’s due…even if the motivation is dubios.

    As for circumstantial ad hominum, I am not talking about circumstancial evidence here. I am talking about motivation of the claiment. If that is falacy to bring that up…then perhaps the definitions need to be changed and updated to bring it online with reality. Because in science there are no sacrifd cows. Everything is subject to its unbiased inquirey. That is why there is things souch double blind tests to seperate the claiment from the motive and biased. Sorry we disagree on that point. But I will continue to question the motivation of any claiment…since it’s asking the fundemental and all important question as to why. Or at least until I see the claiment coming clean.

    As for the other stuff I am sure I have made many mistakes. As I am sure you have. As I am also sure that you ‘ll find many more mistakes simpley because you disagree with me. So let’s agree to disagee.

  92. Robin Levett

    Surly

    Are the satellites that show no atmospheric temperature change since 1998 also deniers?

    This can mean one of two things; that 1998 was warmer than any of the succeeding years – which, given that that year experienced a temperature spike for well-understood reasons, isn’t surprising – or that the trend in atmospheric teme[pratures since 1998 has turned down, or at elast flat – which would be surprising. Assuming that you meant the latter, presumably you can cite a paper that says that – and to the post on Climate Audit auditing that result?

  93. Robin Levett

    Ooops – “teme[pratures”=”temperatures” and “elast”=”least”

  94. paul

    Robin Levitt,

    “Surly

    Are the satellites that show no atmospheric temperature change since 1998 also deniers?

    This can mean one of two things; that 1998 was warmer than any of the succeeding years – which, given that that year experienced a temperature spike for well-understood reasons, isn’t surprising – or that the trend in atmospheric teme[pratures since 1998 has turned down, or at elast flat – which would be surprising. Assuming that you meant the latter, presumably you can cite a paper that says that – and to the post on Climate Audit auditing that result?”

    This post gives an excellent opportunity to debunk this “but he only audits ‘pro-AGW’ research” argument.

    As you know the data so referred to here is in fact the RSS (satellite) temperature data which is freely available to all (unlike that of Hanson or Jones etc.). As a result it is in fact audited by other researchers (reference recent revision to data Univ. of Alabama Huntsville data to account for bias in satellite readings). Steve sees no hay in that area because the information is available to all and is openly and constantly audited and verified by others.

    Now move on to proxy reconstructions in particular and to other, land based, temperature data. It is not freely available, in fact it is jealously guarded by the “owners”. It is not available for others to use to replicate results that are then openly published and reported (by Hanson for one example). Same with the various algorithms used to “adjust” for many various imperfections. Add to that the fact that nobody, including the IPCC, Realclimate or Phil Plait ;-) seem bothered about checking the work of these people or wondering why it is not possible to replicate the results.

    So Steve sees the need for open data and replication of results in those areas.

    It is clear to see that Phil continues to be begrudgingly disingenuous by making claims that Steve doesn’t audit “Senators'” work. Phil fails to acknowledge (although I am sure he realises) that Steve has consitently audited work that is used to underpin policy by official bodies, not by domestic politicking. Naturally that means work that is predominantly held up by the IPCC, or peer reveiwed published work that continues to promote statistical practices and data use that his own published and peer reviewed work has discredited.

    I reckon I can guarrantee one thing about Steve. If said Senator managed to publish a paper in a peer reviewed journal with novel and important results, Steve would turn it over. If the data or methods were not fully archived or revealed it is almost certain he would push it to the hilt – sniffing a rat. If Phil can produce a seminal published paper (e.g. held up by the IPPC as important relevant research) that is “anti-AGW” that has not or can not be replicated and Steve has failed to audit, then please do. Otherwise, he should hold his tongue. Steve does not “do” popular media reports, political guff or the like. He looks at the underlying academic research. Apropos, recent posts on “An Inconvenient Truth” are not interested in the film per se. but of the origin of certain data claimed to be from noted researchers in the field (e.g. Lonnie Thompson). His interest is in verifying and replicating Lonnie Thompson’s peer reviewed and published work, not Al Gores. Similarly with politicians.

    Note I am note writing in any capacity for CA, just someone who has read both blogs and objectively assessed the views expressed by both Phil and Steve. Phil sshould stay silent on this matter and ask readers to read CA extensively (a hard task!) and make up their own minds, rather than offer his clearly tainted personal opinion. If he wants the limelight, Phil should use it responsibly.

    As an end a question for Phil to answer.

    Would he, in his own field of expertise, openly tolerate peer reviewed research that could not be replicated because authors would not release their data or methods?

  95. Tom

    Phil,

    While you persist in you damning of CA and Steve MacIntyre, you fail to consider one important opint, that I thought any scientist would.

    Does it really matter whether Steve MacIntyre concentrates it work on predominantly “pro-AGW” research (this is your concept, I find it a strange one myself).

    Surely the real point is HOW he does it.

    All the work of Steve that I have seen appears to be meticulous (so much so that it is unnerving). He is extremely open about how he conducts his work and everything is open and archived.

    Just for one example, go and look at his recent excersion to resample tree rings (bringing the proxies up to date). He announced this work on hs blog PRIOR to getting the tree rings analysed by a laboratory. He wedded himself openly to the results, whatever they might reveal, before they were known.

    What is more the data (actual not mysteriously filtered) is being openly published on his blog as it becoming available. I would fully expect it to be archived in full and available for download by any other researcher in the field that wishes to do so (ironically even by some who fail share their own).

    Science blogs and scientists are interested in the method and the method alone.

    Phil, you seem preoccupied with the motive in this field. Steve, with the method.

    Which is the science blogger? I have formed my own view, Phil should leave readers to make theirs on their own.

  96. Robin Levett

    Pawl:

    You didn’t say whether Surly’s point was that temperature still hasn’t got back to the El Nino produced spike in 1998, or that since 1998 there has been an overall cooling trend. If the former,it’s not inconsistent with an overall warming trend caused by anthropogenically-induced atmospheric CO2 increases. If the latter – then produce a cite.

    Incidentally, when you say that “as a result it is in fact audited by other researchers (reference recent revision to data Univ. of Alabama Huntsville data to account for bias in satellite readings)” are you referrign to “audit” by Christy and Spencer, or of them?

    More generally, if mainstream climate science is incapable of producing error-free research unsullied by concerns for their grants, why does CA rely upon their audit of anti-AGW publications? Conversely, why doesn’t CA rely upon the “audits” by people like S Fred Singer or Tim Ball of pro-AGW publications; it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of denialists (sorry, “skeptics”) out there to attack those publications? Shouldn’t CA be doing proper audits of all publications, so that their true quality can be judged? After all, CA is only concerned with the science…

  97. Phil,

    I wish to congratulate you and all people here with the shared (mini-Nobel) prize for best science blog, and especially with the tone of the thoughts at the introduction and of the participants here.
    I have been a few hours at Pharingula’s comments, but that was such a sad experience, no matter what the rest of the blog was about, I’ll never be there again…

    I am an irregular commenter on CA and RC (RealClimate), as far as not censored by the latter (about 1 in 4, not too bad). I believe in AGW, to a certain extent, but I hate exaggerations and bad science, no matter from what side it comes (and I have seen a lot of that in the past, not about climate but on different matters). I have had heated discussions about all the errors/exaggerations in Gore’s film (9 of them recently convicted by a judge in the UK) as good as that I have had heated discussions with some sceptics about the source of increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. Some sceptics doubt that the increase is man-made (but caused by warmer oceans), while there is such an overwhelming evidence for the human cause. This was a.o. on Steve’s blog, see http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=820 (look for Engelbeen vs. Courtney, unfortunately, the web page was truncated by moving the blog to another server). And I had heated discussions with Beck and others about historical measured CO2 levels “proving” that around 1940 the levels were higher than today. I react to some sceptics’ assumptions, as good as about the (lack of) cooling influence of aerosols as a whole on surface temperatures from warmers…

    Indeed one can see all kinds of people as commenters on CA. From the luke-warmer like me to the 100% denialist. It doesn’t bother me, as I am more interested in truth than who says it (indeed as long as it has strong foundations in science), so is Steve McIntyre too…

    Having said that, Steve does all the work alone (as a start), without any direct or indirect payment (sorry, no checques from Exxon), some others at his blog jump in and help him in different ways, but he can’t audit all publications about climate in the literature. Why he only/mainly looks at reconstructions? Simply because the first time he saw Mann’s HS, he saw a striking similarity with not so bonafide mining promotors about their newest ore finding… The similarity proceeds until today… From the HS to the reliability of the surface temperatures is a small step (ever tried to find a reliable rural station in Congo or the rest of the equatorial band – 50% of the earth’s surface?). Thus as one man, he simply can’t check everything… And if you have to decide, what is most challenging: auditing mainstream science, where data and methods are/were hidden or science from the other side, where everything is open to scrunity and errors are easely found…

  98. surly

    Robin,

    Read the first paragraph and see the first graph in this article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=FO0XZJYC3CTPNQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/04/08/nrclimate08.xml&page=2

    I know that the Bob Carter who wrote this article is a well known AGW skeptic (denialist, if you prefer the Holocaust-invoking term), but it remains to be shown that he’s also an HIV-doesn’t-cause-AIDS IDer, a la tacitus’ squinty-eyed ruminations.

  99. Robin Levett

    Surly

    That’s UAH Channel 2 figures graphed. Which version? Is it pre- or post-correction for the errors that Christy made (and which errors); and has CA audited it?

    Oh, and I do prefer denialist – not because it invokes the Holocaust – but because it accurately describes my view of the mentality of a number of the anti-AGW figures. It’s shorter than epistemological nihilist, and more accurate, since they do claim to think that evidence can “prove” something – it’s just that they cherry-pick the evidence.

  100. surly

    So someone like me, who looks at that graph and says, “What global warming?”, or who looks at another graph and says, “CO2 levels lag rather than lead temperature changes”, or who, looking at yet another graph says, “that’s an awfully close match between solar activity and earthly temperatures” is an epistemological nihilist? Would you have used the same term to describe those who, based on experiments that showed how easily one could implant false memories into people, raised doubts about the ‘recovered memory’ craze of the 80’s? People like me were called “child abuse enablers” back in those wonderful days.

    If the cherry you’ve picked proves that the tree in front of you isn’t an apple tree, then what’s wrong with cherry picking? The argument should focus only on exactly what type of fruit I’m holding.

  101. Robin Levett

    Surly

    Would you answer the questions, which I repeat below:

    “That’s UAH Channel 2 figures graphed. Which version? Is it pre- or post-correction for the errors that Christy made (and which errors); and has CA audited it?”

    So someone like me, who looks at that graph and says, “What global warming?”, or who looks at another graph and says, “CO2 levels lag rather than lead temperature changes”, or who, looking at yet another graph says, “that’s an awfully close match between solar activity and earthly temperatures” is an epistemological nihilist?

    No, for the reasons I mentioned above. You’d be a denialist, because (i) the graph does show global warming; (ii) if you consider that the fact that other processes kick-start the recovery from an ice-age is a strike against AGW you simply don’t understand the science even at a basic level (and I claim little more understanding than that); and (iii) you’re looking at the wrong graph – maybe the “dodgy” one from TGGWS – if you think that solar activity has been increasing with earthly temperature over the last 30 years when the evidence is to the contrary.

  102. Robin Levett

    Surly

    Sorry, missed one:

    If the cherry you’ve picked proves that the tree in front of you isn’t an apple tree, then what’s wrong with cherry picking? The argument should focus only on exactly what type of fruit I’m holding.

    If I’ve picked a bushel of apples from the tree, and can show you the piece of sellotape by which your cherry was attached to the tree, your evidence that the tree is a cherry tree looks rather less valid, doesn’t it?

  103. Robin,

    The graph indeed is from UAH, but have a loof at Wiki, where the three temperature trends are plotted (including the corrected UAH temperature): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Satellite_Temperatures.png
    Thus Carter is right that there is no trend after 1998. If you take into account that the oceans need some 30 years to come into equilibrium, then we probably see now the end of solar warming, which is in a 8,000 years high. Of course, some warming from CO2 is involved, but how much that is within solar and internal variations, that still is an open question. I suppose that the next 5-10 years will be crucial, as many solar scientists expect a quieter sun for the coming cycle.

    As you can see, there is a no temperature trend after the 1998 El Niño and the 2000 La Niña. The difference in longer term trends between UAH and RSS is the interpretation of the difference between two (non-overlapping) satellites in the early period.

    The basics of CO2 warming require that the atmosphere should warm faster than the surface, especially in the tropics. But while the global trends are nearly the same, the tropics atmosphere shows less warming than the surface. This still is the case until now, regardless of the corrections made for the satellites, and the lack of correctionability of the surface temperatures (due to the lack of maintenance of rural stations there).

    Moreover, there is/was a negative trend in cloud cover over the period 1985-2003, in the (sub)tropics, which induces about 2 W/m2 more sunlight hitting the surface. This is a natural trend, not caused by GHGs. See: http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/publications/pub_exchange/Wielicki_et_al_2002.pdf and
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2002/2002_Chen_etal_2.pdf
    Some easier background:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/DelicateBalance/ and following pages.
    Compare that to the current theoretical 1.2 W/m2 from more CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution…

    Climate programs don’t catch the change in cloud cover in the (sub)tropics, neither the 1985-2003 trend, nor the change during the solar cycle, nor the change during huge events like the 1992 Pinatubo or the 1998 El Niño. See: http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/publications/pub_exchange/Allan_Slingo_2002.pdf

    If GCM’s don’t catch cloud variations (the difference between overcast and direct sunlight can go up to 200 W/m2!), what is their value for any “projection”?

    There was no need for CA to audit the UAH calculations, as that was done by a team from RSS + UAH. UAH provided their calculation program simply on request. That is the way they found, and corrected the error. Quite a difference with other climate scientists which refuse to release their data or methods, and if attended on the problems with their methods, refuse to correct them…

  104. And once again, tactical voting gives us another meaningless result. Please can we have a Condorcet-based voting system next time.

  105. Robin Levett

    FerdiEgb

    The graph indeed is from UAH, but have a loof at Wiki, where the three temperature trends are plotted (including the corrected UAH temperature): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Satellite_Temperatures.png
    Thus Carter is right that there is no trend after 1998.

    That Wikipedia article doesn’t support your claim. The three temperature trends plotted show that the two satellite interpretations bracket the surface temperature trend, crossing in c1994; and eyeballing the graph (not the best way, I accept) shows an apparent upward trend in temperature after 2000 in all three curves.

    The basics of CO2 warming require that the atmosphere should warm faster than the surface, especially in the tropics. But while the global trends are nearly the same, the tropics atmosphere shows less warming than the surface.

    That depends on the timescales considered, as I understand it; on short timescales there appears to be good agreement between measurement and model, while on longer timescales there isn’t. There is more than one potential reason for this, one being that there remain errors in the radiosonde data.

    Moreover, there is/was a negative trend in cloud cover over the period 1985-2003, in the (sub)tropics, which induces about 2 W/m2 more sunlight hitting the surface…

    From the Wielicki paper:

    “The missing variability in the models highlights the critical need to improve cloud modeling in the tropics so that prediction of tropical climate on interannual and decadal time scales can be improved.”

    Do climatologists say that they know everything yet?

    If GCM’s don’t catch cloud variations (the difference between overcast and direct sunlight can go up to 200 W/m2!), what is their value for any “projection”?

    Relevance over decadal timescales – or even monthly or interannual? Climatogists might not be able to model cloud variability very well, but they can model average cloud cover reasonably well; and the difference between that and the actual cover would be a small percentage of the instantaneous difference – your figures show 1%. That error also affects only a fraction of the earth’s surface.

    There was no need for CA to audit the UAH calculations, as that was done by a team from RSS + UAH.

    That doesn’t follow. CA’s self-imposed job is to audit climate science – why should it trust an audit of figures by a team which includes those producing the figures to be audited?

  106. Quiet_Desperation

    Much ado about nothing. Awards like this are pointless, just like the Oscar or Emmy or Grammy or whatever. We’re going to sit around and pick the one best member of a hugley diverse set? I’m sorry, but is there a purpose other than massaging human egos I’m missing here?

    steven mosher, I agree with most of what you have said, but I will defend Phil on one thing.

    Stuff like Moon hoaxers and astrology *are* easy targets… to you and me and Phil and most posters here. The problem is that the really stoopid stuff totally permeates our culture and acts to generate anti-science sentiment.

    (stoopid = REALLY stupid)

    I have heard people with *multiple* graduate degrees question the moon landings. I cannot figure out how that happens. I’ve read Dawkins. I’ve studied meme theory (which led me to realize rigid ideologies are a mental illness). I present these people with the facts (like clavius.org), but you can see them still having doubts no matter WHAT you show or tell them.

    This crap sticks to people’s minds, and it sticks harder than Groilla Glue. Someone needs to counter it.

    It’s “low hanging fruit” for skepticism, but also in the sense that it’s easy for the masses to consume.

  107. Robin,

    The problem with trends like these is that they are quite sensitive to begin and endpoint bias. For the long-term trend: if you include the 1978-1982 period, the satellite trends are much flatter, if you look at 1998-current period, there is a decreasing “trend”, if you start from 2000, there is a warming trend and after 2002 it is flat (and if one corrects for Enso events, the whole period 1998-current is flat, but on a higher level than the previous period)… Anyway, there is a cycling trend around the increase, probably linked to the solar cycle. Is the increase the result of more CO2? At least in part, but the models don’t show the decrease in clouds at all. The difference indeed is about 1% in cloud cover, but that is a difference of 2 W/m2 extra heat input for the 33N-33S band. That is, as far as I remember from highschool a long time ago, 50% of the earth’s surface. And of the same global order as the total influence of GHGs since the start of the industrial revolution.

    That models significantly don’t catch any (natural) cycle between 10-100 years is proven: see the graph S1 in Barnett ea. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/1112418/DC1/1
    Moreover, if you look at the increase of heat content of the oceans, the largest increase is at the subtropics, where the largest decrease of clouds is/was measured (there may be a recent reverse in cloud cover trend…). See fig.2 from Levitus:
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat05.pdf
    This again points to changes in cloud cover from natural (internal or external) origin. Direct influence of CO2 should be more evenly distributed over the latitudes…

    In the case of UAH/RSS, the two goups did independent calculations of each other, with different results. No better audit than two groups which try to catch the error the other has made… There still is an unresolved difference, but as said, that is from a difference in interpretation of the bias between two non-overlapping satellites. This will remain unresolved, but it’s influence will diminish over time.

  108. Robin Levett

    FerdiEgb

    The problem with trends like these is that they are quite sensitive to begin and endpoint bias.

    You don’t say! That of course is exactly why denialists choose 1998 as the starting point…

    …if you include the 1978-1982 period, the satellite trends are much flatter…

    Indeed – and the discrepancy with surface measurements is greater.

    …if you look at 1998-current period, there is a decreasing “trend”…

    See above; starting from a spike caused by known mechanisms is the obvious way for denialists to make their case. It doesn’t explain why we in the UK had the hottest year on record ending in April 2007, but presumably someone somewhere had an exceptionally cool year somewhere to balance it out – it’s only regional variation.

    …after 2002 it is flat (and if one corrects for Enso events, the whole period 1998-current is flat, but on a higher level than the previous period)…

    This is the bit I can’t see. I admit I’m eyeballing rather than crunching the numbers, but I can see warming in this period.

    …Is the increase the result of more CO2? At least in part…

    Have you actually thought through the implications of the current warming being only partially a result of anthropogenic CO2?

    In the case of UAH/RSS, the two groups did independent calculations of each other, with different results. No better audit than two groups which try to catch the error the other has made…

    This is the best bit. Presumably CA can pack up and go home then; or are you suggesting that these are the only two groups that check each others’ work?

  109. You are quite wrong to conflate the Climate Audit and Steve McIntyre website with the Apollo Moon Hoax. My local movie theater in Oakland The Grand (near 580) currently devotes half of their billboard to an attack on George Bush and praise for Al Gore on the global warming issue. Ten years ago he had a photo exhibit out front demonstrating that there were no satellites and man never went to the moon.

    It doesn’t bear directly on the scientific case for or against athropogenic global warming (AGW) but the connection between the lunatic fring and people involved in the climate contoversy is overwhemingly between AGW believers and wackos – not sceptics and wackos. As an exercise, Google “Global Warming UFOs”. There are millions of hits. In the fifties it was a popular myth that the aliens were visiting us to help us with nuclear war. Today those same kind of people think the lights in the sky are ships bringing us relief from global warming.

    Or listen to Art Bell’s radio show any evening (somebody else runs it now). I heard a discussion recently of UFOs, astral projection and global warming. Art Bell of course is the author of the book that the movie “The Day After Tommorow” was based on. Bell is the king of the loonies. He believes in Goat Vampires.

    Climate Audit is a very serious blog that addresses serious methodological issues. I used to teach statistics and I often have trouble with some of the posts. This blog seems to focus only on easy issues. It doubt if it would be very interesting to the core CA readership few of whom believe in ideas like creationism or the Apollo Hoax.

  110. Robin,

    “Have you actually thought through the implications of the current warming being only partially a result of anthropogenic CO2?”

    In short, yes a lot. Somewhat longer: I have read a book some 30 years ago about the impact of solar cycles on the earth’s climate. Had a huge impact on my interest in climate. Not that I believe that solar can explain everything, but I am pretty sure that solar has more influence than current models imply. See e.g Scott ea. about the probability that the HadCM3 model underestimates solar with a factor 2 (within the constraints of the model, like a fixed influence of aerosols):
    http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/StottEtAl.pdf

    “This is the best bit. Presumably CA can pack up and go home then; or are you suggesting that these are the only two groups that check each others’ work?”

    Sadly yes. In the Hockeystick case nobody ever had checked MBH’s work, nobody even asked for the data or methods used, which were necessary to obtain the endresult, before Steve McI asked for them. Even the data which were sent to him contained errors and the methods used were never revealed in sufficient detail to reproduce what was really done. Only with a lot of trial and error and approximations the results could be replicated with a minimum of difference… This revealed the odd statistic method Mann used and the influence of strip bark pines on the endresult. Mann never admitted that his method was wrong, neither that strip bark trees affect the results in that way that these are invalidated.

    The only way to have (real) scrunity by some of your colleauges, is if you differ in opinion with them (or especially with the mainstream). But even then, be careful: next time they can be the peer-reviewers of your article… In the case of RSS vs. UAH, UAH differed too much from the mainstream, thus must be audited by mainstream scientists. The same when ocean buoys present a cooling of the oceans (some error was quickly found). Or the radiosonde data which beg to differ with the ground stations. But have you heard of any official audit of the surface temperature network? That is good for amateurs, no interest from the official side…
    Please have a look at GISS and find something reliable rural in the whole equatorial band… http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/

    Ferdinand

    Btw, can html tags be used in this blog?

  111. In addition to what Pat said:

    In my neighbourhood a housewive saw Gore’s film and made a case in the media to gather more than thousand politicians, including the prime minister and the rest of the government to see the film. She succeeded with that and was interviewed on TV, newspapers and magazines all over the country.

    Later she declared that she was a fervent fan of ID, which is a near extinct species in Europe (should be protected as endangered?).

    After that, she declared in a womens magazine that the chemical industry was using lots of energy to make their products, as these need some 20,000°C in their processes, I have sent a letter to the editors of the magazine to check for the accuracy of this kind of remarks, as even the sun’s surface is not that hot…

  112. Robin Levett

    FerdiEgb:

    In short, yes a lot. Somewhat longer: I have read a book some 30 years ago about the impact of solar cycles on the earth’s climate.

    And what is your conclusion?

    BTW, which solar cycles are you talking about; the 11 year one doesn’t match the current warming, and solar activity generally hasn’t increased over the last 30 years.

    Btw, can html tags be used in this blog?

    I hope so, or all these blockquotes I’m using won’t work.

    …Later she declared that she was a fervent fan of ID…

    To match your single ID/AGW blend, I give you DaveScot and the Uncommon Descent crowd. Pure ID cut with pure AGW denialism. UD’s front page currently sports two posts on AGW; one, by DLH, entitled “Pathological consequences of Darwinism vs ID”, and one, by the one and only DaveScot called “Weather Channel Founder: “[Global Warming] is the greatest scam in history””. You wouldn’t like DaveScot’s views though – the last time I was paying attention, to what he was saying, his claim was that GW was caused exclusively by Black Carbon…

  113. Quiet Desperation

    > “Btw, can html tags be used in this blog?”

    Good lord, man, be scientific! Test!

    Now testing!

    HTML
    Bold
    Italic
    Underline
    http://michaelscomments.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/hello-kitty.jpg

    That other stuff with the square brackets
    [b]Bold[b]
    [i]Italic[/i]
    [u]Underline[/u]
    [img]http://michaelscomments.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/hello-kitty.jpg[/img]

  114. Quiet Desperation

    OK. Normal html works. IMG tags are converted to links. No underline.

    Headers?

  115. Quiet Desperation
  116. This is a pretty good explanation of why I both generally decline to vote in, and without exception completely discount the results of, these sorts of online popularity contests. It’s not like BABlog (or anyone else) is going to get thrown off the air, or refused a renewal, or some such other badness based on these results…Teh Tubes have many openings. I find collaborative filtering and trusted recommendations infinitely more useful than any “best of the web”.

  117. Declan Odea

    Phil, you are still doing Steve McIntyre an injustice. He has never argued on Climate Audit that GW does not exist, and he has never argued that it is not anthropogenic. Your claims on this are verifiably false. That’s not what he’s on about at all. In imputing these motives to him you are extrapolating beyond the data.

  118. Robin,

    About solar-climate relations:
    The short-term solar cycle (9-13 years) is visible in a lot of climate data, including temperature (+/- 0.1°C globally), sea surface temperature (+/- 0.3-0.5°C within a few years in the tropics), jet stream position, rain patterns (from the Mississippi delta to the Po in Italy and the Nile) and global (low) cloud cover. For the latter, see fig.1 in Kristjánsson ea.:
    http://folk.uio.no/jegill/papers/2002GL015646.pdf
    Low cloud cover induces cooling, high altitude cirrus clouds induce warming. The latter seems to be reduced in recent years. See:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071102152636.htm
    There is no correlation between the increase in GHGs and cloud cover found until now.

    For long-term changes: that depends of the reconstruction chosen. Anyway, we are now on a 8,000 years high of solar activity. See:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v431/n7012/abs/nature02995.html
    The different reconstructions all use slightly different ways to reconstruct solar activity of the pre-industrial past. Some use sunspot (group) number, some use cycle length or a mix of both number and length, some use cosmic rays isotope data. Although all show similar behaviour, there are differences in times when there is little change, like the current period. Even satellite data are difficult to interprete: one team find no increase in recent times, another team found a slight increase in minimum of the previous cycle, that would be enough to induce 30% of the most recent increase in temperature. See Scafetta and West:
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2005GL023849.pdf

    They tested two solar reconstructions in the HadCM3 model for attribution purposes. One of the reconstructions was made by Hoyt and Schatten and its shape closely resembles the previous century’s temperature record until 1993, including the 1945-1975 cooling, without the help of (highly uncertain) human-made aerosols or (more certain) GHGs. See 10xHS in fig.1 of Stott ea.:
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2005GL023849.pdf
    Of course 10xsolar is a way too high effect, but 3-5xsolar should give a near perfect fit…

    About the ID-AGW/sceptics connection:
    IDers are very rare in Europe, I don’t know of anyone at the sceptics side here. Things are pretty different in the US, I suppose, as the IDers are in both camps and the left/right divide is much sharper. Probably due to the Anglo-Saxon way of elections, where minorities have little chance to be elected. In most of Europe, there are much more possibilities for any minority to be heard…

    Quiet Desparation:
    Thanks for the lesson…

  119. Sorry, made a small error:

    Solar reconstructions were made for the pre-satellite era, not only for the pre-industrial history. Even then, it is quite uncertain if direct sunlight (TSI : total solar energy income at the top of the atmosphere) gives the best indication for solar induced climate changes. E.g. the change in ozone layer thickness and jet stream position/rain patterns is directly correlated to the amount of UV-B/C in incoming sunlight, which has a variation of +/- 10% vs. only +/- 1.5% for total solar energy. And (low) cloudiness may be connected to GCRs (galactic cosmic rays) which are inversely correlated to the sun’s magnetic field (still heatly debated…). Although there is a good correlation between TSI and the sun’s magnetic field/GCRs, that is not a perfect match…

    Ferdinand

  120. Robin Levett

    FerdiEgb:

    On solar-climate relationship:
    Of course thetre is a relationship between solar variation and climate; but that isn;t the issue. Your Nature referenece pointed out “that solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades”. Lockwood and Frohlich have published a paper In the Proceedings of the Royal Society, this year, shooting the idea down.

    On ID/anti-AGW
    You may be right, although I’d be surprised if our creationist evangelicals like McIntosh would accept AGW. One titbit I’ve noticed recently – Spencer, of Spencer & Christy, appears to subscribe to a particularly creationist form of intelligent design:

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=080805I

    To my previous question:

    “Have you actually thought through the implications of the current warming being only partially a result of anthropogenic CO2?” you answered “yes” – what conclusion did you reach?

  121. Robin,

    Again, the solar-earth climate connection largely depends of what type of solar reconstruction one uses… The Lockwood and Frohlich paper was questioned by other solar scientists, not at least because they based their conclusion on one way the different satellites measuring TSI were combined: they used the PMOD composite (calculated by Frohlich, which found decreasing minima), while the original calculations of the satellite measurements, the ACRIM composite, were done by Willson and indepently confirmed by my own good old KMI (not owned by me, but I pay taxes for them) which both find increasing minima.
    The SPPI (I know right-wing deniers…) has a good summary

    More comment from Svensmark and Friis-Christensen: http://www.spacecenter.dk/publications/scientific-report-series/Scient_No._3.pdf
    And from Shaviv:
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/07/nir-shaviv-why-is-lockwood-and-frohlich.html

    About your question: If the influence of natural variations is larger than now is incorporated in the models, that has as consequence that the influence of greenhouse gases is less than incorporated, and the influence of 2xCO2 is smaller and probably below the 1.5-4.5°C range of IPCC “projections”.

    I know that several climate scientists disagree. They believe that the sensitivity of climate for all types of forcings is near equal. But I am in good company. From:
    http://www.wsl.ch/staff/jan.esper/publications/QSR_Esper_2005.pdf

    So, what would it mean, if the reconstructions indicate a larger (Esper et al., 2002; Pollack and Smerdon, 2004; Moberg et al., 2005) or smaller (Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1999) temperature amplitude? We suggest that the former situation, i.e. enhanced variability during pre-industrial times, would result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in forcing temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of anthropogenic emissions and affecting future predicted scenarios. If that turns out to be the case, agreements such as the Kyoto protocol that intend to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, would be less effective than thought.

    I couldn’t have said it better…

  122. Oh, I forgot the middle point:

    I have read the article by Spencer too. Was highly surprised that he believes in ID. But as long as that doesn’t influence his science, I have no problems with that. The same for the houswive in my neighbourhood, but she has shown more not-so-intelligent believes…

  123. Robin Levett

    FerdiEgb:

    Just a couple of quick responses for now – time for bed after – I’ll try to come back again tomorrow.

    You and your colleagues argue that Climate Audit does a valuable job because even peer-revised science requires audit of the figures? And then you rely upon Svensmark (look at the history of his “solar causes warming” papers) – writing in a non-peer reviewed article? It is to laugh.

    You’ve drawn the wrong conclusion. Given that we have a reasonable fix on the science which produces climate sensitivities to CO2 in the region of 3K (starting with Arrhenius at 6K et seq), the implication of recent warming not resulting mostly from CO2 is that we’ve got a lot more to come than we thought. That wouldn’t be comforting, if it were true.

  124. Robin,

    The response of Shaviv, Svensmark and others are direct critiques of the original Lockwood and Frohlich article. That is a kind of real peer review (don’t know who did the original peer review), again, as the best peer review is by competing scientists. The most important point is that L&F used a different satellite composite than the original authors of the satellite software, which caused a lot of discussion. And important too is that a third (neutral) party, the Belgian KMI, has a similar conclusion as the ACRIM specialists, thus not confirming the L&F findings.

    About Svensmark: please read the response of Svensmark… He was attacked by Peter Laut about his galactic cosmic rays (GCR) hypothesis:
    soleil_031223_Laut_Solar_activity_climate_hypotheses.pdf

    Peter Laut, co-author of the article against GCR, has something personal against solar scientists and even discusses graphs he makes himself, but says that solar scientists have made them!

    From: http://www.dsri.dk/getfile.php3?id=290

    Then DL go on claiming that Lassen and Friis-Christensen (2000) (LFC) provided an update of their original paper. This is true, but it is certainly not the figure that DL show in their Fig. 1b! DL postulate that the figure is “an update as presented by LFC” and state that “they [LFC] arrive at a different curve (Figure 1 b)”. The figure is, however, actually produced by Laut himself (!) (see Laut (2003)), which makes the subsequent discussion by DL on what LFC “draw special attention to” in the figure and whether the curve “exhibits … the claimed agreement” an almost surreal experience to read.

    More in-depth reaction: http://tinyurl.com/24o93o

    I am not fully convinced of the GCR hypothesis, but there is some empirical evidence:
    http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/cag/publications/2006/harrison2006.pdf

    Anyway, whatever the pathway is, there is a clear influence of solar cycles on climate.

    About climate sensitivity: Arrhenius was wrong, see:
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/arrhrev.htm

    The sensitivity of 3 K for 2xCO2 is far from settled, and is mainly what current climate programs incorporate. There are different estimates for climate sensitivity, see: http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/howmuch.htm

    The base warming from CO2 doubling is less than 1 K, 1.2 K including water vapor feedback. Other feedbacks (especially clouds and aerosols) are very unsure, even their signs…

    Climate scientists like Hansen based the 3 K/2xCO2 on the ice ages, as he assumes that without CO2 feedback, the temperature change would be smaller. But there is no measurable CO2 feedback, neither during the end of the Eemian (the previous interglacial), nor at the LGM-Holocene transition. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/eemian.html and
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/epica5.gif
    The latter graph with thanks to André van den Berg.

    There is only one temperature record (as far as reliable) for the past century. If natural variability was more important, then the sensitivity for CO2 must be lower, or one can not reproduce the temperature record of the previous century without overshoot. That implies a lower sensitivity for CO2 than for other (natural) forcings. And that is exactly the discussion between Hansen/Mann/Schmidt at one side and a lot of European climate specialists at the other side…

  125. Sorry, forgot to close the quote from Svesnmark…
    Would be nice to have a preview…

    Ferdinand

  126. Again sorry,

    The page about “Empirical evidence for a nonlinear effect of galactic cosmic rays on clouds” has been moved to:

    http://secamlocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/dbs202/publications/2006/harrison2006.pdf

    Nothing as fast changing as the Internet…

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