Case closed: "Climategate" was manufactured

By Phil Plait | August 24, 2011 10:04 am

It’s not often you can actually say "case closed", but in this case it’s literally true: climatologist Michael Mann has been cleared of all wrongdoing by the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation.

Did I say "has been cleared"? I meant has been cleared once again, since there have been several investigations into his research and Dr. Mann has been cleared of all charges every single time (like here and here). All of this stemmed from the "ClimateGate" nonsense of the past couple of years, where leaked emails were taken hugely out of context by the press and climate change deniers, and used to smear scientists. Dr. Mann was at the center of the whole manufactured controversy, being the biggest target of the people who want to deny the Earth is warming up.

This latest, and hopefully last, investigation into Dr. Mann’s research (PDF) again shows he is not guilty of misconduct. A couple of the report conclusions are worth pointing out:

We found no basis to conclude that the [Climategate] emails were evidence of research misconduct or that they pointed to such evidence.

That’s clear enough, I think. They also said:

There is no specific evidence that [Mann] falsified or fabricated any data and no evidence that his actions amounted to research misconduct.

A big claim by the deniers is that researchers were using "tricks" to falsify conclusions about global warming, but the NSF report is pretty clear that’s not true. The most damning thing the investigators could muster was that there was "some concern" over the statistical methods used, but that’s not scandalous at all; there’s always some argument in science over methodology. The vague language of the report there indicates to me this isn’t a big deal, or else they would’ve been specific. The big point is that the data were not faked.

What does this mean for global warming? A lot of these attacks can be traced back to the famous "hockey stick" diagram, showing how Earth’s temperatures have been increasing rapidly in recent times. This graph is what really clinches the idea of man-made global warming, and so has been the epicenter of the manufactroversy. The fact that Dr. Mann has been cleared again, and that his data are good, shows that this graph is even more solid — or at least is not as weak as so many would lead you to believe.

And what does this mean about "ClimateGate"? That’s clear enough: all the outrage, all the claims of fraud and fakery, were just — haha — hot air.

Not that this will stop or even slow down the denial machine. Politicians from the Virginia State Attorney General to members of the House of Representatives have been on what I would characterize as witch hunts. Dr. Mann has been vocal in his opposition, and I applaud him. Still, needless to say, the attacks will continue.

Here are the facts: the Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.

Those are simply the facts. It’s not hard to connect them, as long as you stick to reality and don’t let ideology sway you.

Tip o’ the thermometer to DeSmogBlog.


Related posts:

The global warming emails non-event
Global warming emails followup
Exclusive: Michael Mann responds to Rep. Barton
New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up

Comments (237)

Links to this Post

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  1. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    The hockey stick is ridiculous because, if the temperature had gone up, the ice would have melted, and the game would have been called off. Refuted!

  2. WJM
  3. Liliana

    Case closed? Really?… i don’t think so.

  4. Mark T

    @Naked bunny – I was about to rant @ you but then re-read your post and can see it was humour… nearly made a fool of myself! :)

  5. Jess Tauber

    If we were dealing with frozen CO2, what would be the volume of all that mass? If one were to create orbital mass drivers to cast chunks, say, towards the properties of deniers, would the dry ice survive as a solid all the way to the ground, or explode like the Tunguska trajector? Gods I need a vacation…. :)

  6. Das Boese

    manufactroversy

    I nominate thee for word of the year!

    But yeah, not news for anyone with their head screwed on right, unfortunately it will not shut up the paid denialist shills and crackpots and their many mindless followers who don’t know the difference between science, faith and politics.

  7. Carey

    Yeah, but who needs facts when you’ve got a “conservative” narrative to sell?

  8. Counting down to a great deluge of crazies arguing that black is white and global warming is a fraud because Al Gore is fat. 3, 2, 1…

  9. DanVeteran

    I have asked a question of the believers for a number of years and no one can give me an answer, so I will ask it here. What is the accuracy of the the instruments being used to measure the data? The chart listed as “Data from thermometers” lists data from 1860 to present. What is the accuracy of the thermometer from 1860? If one looks at todays industrial thermometers the accuracy is “Below -100 °C: J, K, E, and N-types: ±[0.20% + 0.3°C]* T-type: ±[0.50% + 0.3°C]” (http://www.fluke.com/fluke/usen/Electrical-Test-Tools/Thermometers/Fluke-50-Series-II.htm?PID=56085). To me the accuracy spans almost the entire range of the temperature readings from the chart. Not being a scientist, I may be comparing apples to oranges. Can someone please enlighten me on this subject?

    Thank you.

  10. Daniel J. Andrews

    It is worth pointing out that the hockey stick graph has been confirmed numerous times by other researchers using new methodologies and new data since the original graph made in the 1998 paper. Mann and team also redid the graph quite a few years later taking into account new statistical techniques, new proxies, and removing some of the proxy data that critics didn’t like. In fact, if you take the original graph, remove the data the critics did not like (e.g. some tree ring proxies), you still get hockey sticks almost identical to the original.

    Yet for some reason, deniers are fixated on the 1998 graph. Umm…that’s 13 years ago, science has moved on, you know. Next time someone says, “The hockey stick is broken”, ask them, “Which one?”. Chances are they don’t know there’s enough hockey stick graphs to outfit a hockey team or three.

    It is also worth pointing out you can toss every single hockey stick graph into the garbage, and there’s still overwhelming evidence the planet is warming. Knowledge of what is happening to this planet is not dependent upon the hockey stick analyses, and while the 1998 paper was included in the IPCC undue weight was not put on it. E.g.

    New analyses of proxy data for the Northern Hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely (66-90% chance) to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years. It is also likely that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year (Figure 1b). Because less data are available, less is known about annual averages prior to 1,000 years before present and for conditions prevailing in most of the Southern Hemisphere prior to 1861.

    from
    grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/005.htm

    For a good overview of the subject, see
    skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

  11. Theron

    Attacking Mann, or Gore for that matter, is classic authoritarian thinking. If the leader (perceived or real) can be discredited, then the whole operation must be wrong. Since they take marching orders, they think everyone else does, too. Mann could be a huge liar and Gore fatter than Kansas and global warming would still be real — because it’s the mountains of data, not the pronouncements of leaders, that matter.

    And the authoritarians will never understand this.

  12. Slugger

    Graph human population and it’ll look like a hockey stick too. Correlation doesn’t not um… ugh… forget about it.

    Wonder why animal agriculture is rarely mentioned in conversations about global warming. We tend to focus primarily on the machinery of everyday life.

  13. Allison

    I’m gonna have to go with the guy who put science into his post instead of the one who has consistently been a proponent of man-made global warming as an ideology.

    http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm

    The fact that you didn’t even mention the sun as a reason for the increase is kind of telling. As a scientist you must know that nothing is ‘case closed’ in science unless it’s a Law. The fact you are ready to slam the door shut is proof positive that what you are pushing is personal opinion and not science.

    I’m just surprised at all those who don’t seem to call similar errors to the carpet.

  14. Mark

    Scientists can be attacked.

    Science can’t.

    Interpretations can be debated.

    Facts can’t.

    But hey, look on the bright side: once we run out of fossil fuels, we won’t be able to dump any more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere! That’s good, right? … right?

  15. Allison (13): You may have noticed I put in many, many links in the above post. Those explain the science so I don’t have to clutter my own post and dilute my point.

    The Sun is clearly not the cause of global warming. The cycle we see is barely measurable in the data, and insolation has not changed measurably over time. Here are more links:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/02/27/here-comes-the-sun-again/

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2007/04/29/is-global-warming-solar-induced/

  16. Theron, Gore bought a $4million condo within walking distance of San Fransisco Bay. Does that sound like someone who believes Al Gore?

  17. Studying worst case scenarios isn’t a crime.
    Studying the effects instead of the causes of a climate crisis that hasn’t happened isn’t a crime.
    Being a lab coat consultant and calling yourself a saintly scientist isn’t a crime.
    Hyperbole isn’t a crime?
    Exploitation isn’t a crime?
    Being paid to have a conclusion isn’t a crime?
    Condemning billions of children to a CO2 demise just to get them to turn the lights out more often isn’t a crime?
    Climate Blame wasn’t a lie or a hoax. It was thankfully, a tragic exaggeration.

  18. Gareth

    Ah yes, but the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation is clearly in on the conspiracy… ;o)

  19. Grand Lunar

    Nice to see good news on this issue, Phil.
    I suppose those that accept reality suspected as much on this issue.

    I just hope this isn’t going to turn out to be a case of beating a dead horse in the future.

    Someone should show your post to Rick Perry. Not that he’d read it….

  20. truthspeaker

    DanVeteran – thermometers in 1860 were pretty much the same as thermometers today. The technology hasn’t changed much, other than most modern thermometers use alcohol instead of mercury.

  21. The font in the NSF report is too large… why is NOBODY addressing this?? Clearly global warming is a hoax! Wake up and smell the Postum, people.

  22. DanVeteran

    Truth Speaker – I know technology of thermometers in 1860 were essentially the same as today. My question is what was the accuracy in 1860, 1920, or 1950? If the temperature read 25 degrees C on the thermometer, was it really 24.5 degrees or 20 degrees.

    I believe Earth is warming, I just like to have answers to questions that enter my non-science brain.

    Dan

  23. Allison

    @ Phil – For a start there is a difference between agreeing that there is climate change [which I do] and putting the burden solely, or primarily, on man. Which you have done in posts prior.

    As to the sun, I’m seeing no references to Maunder Minimums and the Little Ice Age. As a scientifically minded community, must not all aspects be thoroughly considered before any declarations are issued?

    A history of 30 years is not enough to declare a fact, especially when the ‘coming ice age’ was declared in the 70’s. Such a relatively small amount of evidence is simply not enough to jump the gun and declare a ‘case closed’ on man being the cause of what is commonly agreed to be the recurring warming/cooling cycle of the earth.

  24. truthspeaker

    DanVeteran Says:
    August 24th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Truth Speaker – I know technology of thermometers in 1860 were essentially the same as today. My question is what was the accuracy in 1860, 1920, or 1950? If the temperature read 25 degrees C on the thermometer, was it really 24.5 degrees or 20 degrees.

    The accuracy was the same, because the technology was the same.

  25. Anonymous

    Dear Global Warming Deniers,

    Travel to any other country and check out among local population if temperatures have been rising or not.

    Then accept facts or shut up. Thanks.

  26. adam

    Phil says: “Here are the facts: the Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.”

    Yes, and this TOTALLY justifies the use of measures which, given our limited understanding of global climate and factors, at best make a cursory dent in the problem and at worst do nothing other than to carve even more holes into the world economy and cripple third world productivity.

    And here I thought liberals were sensitive to the plight of the poor.

  27. Jeff

    Regarding insolation… where are the records of sun intensity from the ’50’s? How about the 1800’s? How about the solar wind? We know very little about solar flares and how that impacts our climate. Hardly case closed. Bigger issue is pollution and habitat destruction, and as long as we remain distracted by the “threat” of losing our beach houses in 100 years, that can go on unabated.

  28. Phil in Oly

    @Allison: I will point that, while Phil is stating that climate change is fact, as well as the human influence on it, the “case-closed” seems to be referring to the case against Dr. Mann specifically in this post. In addition, I would point out that you can say that facts are facts without having to make something a new scientific law.

  29. Lindsay

    Plait’s Theorem:

    “The Sun is clearly not the cause of global warming.”

  30. Theron

    Hey Ed, thanks for proving my point!

  31. Dave R

    DanVeteran:
    >Can someone please enlighten me on […] accuracy of the thermometer

    See web.archive.org/web/20080402030712/tamino.wordpress.com/2007/07/05/the-power-of-large-numbers/

  32. Daniel J. Andrews

    Dan…are you asking a serious question or is this a talking point? Forgive me if I’m a bit cynical but you say you’ve asked this question of a number of believers. That “believers” raises red flags as to your motives.

    However, the short answer is there is variability in individual temperature readings, but this is extremely well-known and is taken into account in many ways, one of which is using not one temperature reading, but thousands to tens of thousands of temperature readings. The more data sources you use the more likely your results will reflect reality.

    This does not mean a single instrument can’t be used to measure temperature trends. If it reads slightly higher than what the temp really is, this doesn’t hide a long-term upward trend (or a long-term downward trend, or no long-term trend at all). It just means the trend will be slightly biased in one direction so if temps go from 15 C to 16 C over 30 years, the thermometer might read it as 15.7 to 16.7 degrees. This basic idea is covered in first year statistical texts, often using the analogy of shooting at a target–Google precision vs accuracy and look at Images.

    As said above though, you use more than one thermometer or even a few hundred in one localized area. In some places, temps will actually drop or stay the same. You have to take as wide a range (i.e. global) as possible. You may have to fill in areas where there aren’t any records (e.g. the temp set from East Anglia shows less warming because they don’t try and fill in the areas where there’s less or no data, like the Arctic. Other data sets show more warming because they do try and use the Arctic data, which has been warming a great deal faster than the rest of the planet, known as Arctic amplification).

    So given the thousands of locations used, the many thermometers used in each of those locations, the global extent of the measurements, any variability in individual thermometer readings is going to be smoothed out when all the data is graphed.

    Keep in mind the actual temperature data is just one small part of knowing the planet is warming. There are also proxy data sets from tree rings, stalagmites, sediment cores, ice cores, satellites (they use proxy data to determine temps too), and even some pretty cool fossil proxies (number of stomata on fossilized leaves…they increase during times of low CO2, decrease during times of high CO2). And as mentioned in my previous post, get rid of all the temperature and proxy data sets if you don’t like them, and there is still overwhelming evidence we’ve heated the earth from melting ice, meltwater pulses from glaciers, changes in freeze-up and thaw times, migration of birds, fish, movement of animals toward higher latitudes and higher elevations, just to name a few. See also human fingerprint on climate for things like a shrinking ionosphere.
    skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html

  33. TMB

    @26 adam: I applaud you – that’s where the argument *should* be occurring! What is the best way to deal with climate change? Can we make a significant dent in the outcome, or do we need to spend all of our effort on strategies to mitigate the effects on humanity? How can we pursue whichever line we take in an efficient manner that does not cripple people’s lives in the short term?

    These are all important questions that people on different parts of the political spectrum will have different answers to. And this is the political debate that should be occurring. What shouldn’t be occurring is a *political* argument about whether climate change is occurring. That is a *scientific* argument, and it has already reached its conclusion.

  34. Composer99

    Allison, do you really think climate scientists don’t think about things like solar minima & past climate?

    Here’s some reality for you: they do.

    The existence of AGW was suggested as early as the turn of the 20th century (per Svante Arhennius) and confirmed as early as the 1950s.

    The limits of your understanding of climate science are not the limits of professional climatologists’ understanding.

    I suggest reviewing either the peer-reviewed literature or third-party documents which can be shown to be accurately & honestly representing the literature on the subject before drawing such conclusions as you appear to be doing. In particular, you should find there is a lot more evidence than you seem to think exists, and there is little to no evidence of warming/cooling cycles which can be expected to constrain AGW in a reasonable time scale (orbital wobbling operating on the scale of tens of millennia compared to the decadal progress of AGW).

  35. Daniel J. Andrews

    A history of 30 years is not enough to declare a fact, especially when the ‘coming ice age’ was declared in the 70′s.

    Allison, you are repeating long debunked nonsense. Most scientists by the mid-70s agreed it was going to warm. Check that out on skepticalscience.com, or see short video here.
    climatetv.tv/climatetv/archive/TyVCOSVFNQ==/In+the+70s,+Scientists+worried+about+Ice+Age

    Now ask yourself why you are repeating such easily debunked nonsense…to many of us here, it shows you haven’t done the slightest bit of research on the issue and that anything you say can’t be taken seriously. So when you say 30 years is not enough to declare a fact–even if it were true which it isn’t because 1. it is far more than 3o years, and 2) 30 years is a trend and no-one came up with a fact just from that one trend, which are things you’d know if you’d done some reading–no-one is going to believe you. Stop mindlessly repeating dittohead and Faux News talking points lest we think you have a bad case of D-K syndrome.

    Edit to add: I don’t mean to be rude. If you have questions, then ask them, but please don’t come onto a science website and make unsupported non-scientific claims as if you know what you’re talking about. That makes you part of the problem.

    As said above, we should be discussing what we’re going to do about this and come up with solutions. In a recent talk by Scott Denning at the Denier-palooza (Heartland Institute meeting), he said in his slides

    Effective solutions:

    -decent quality of life for all

    -Energy for all

    -Free market needed

    -Who will advocate?

    Do you think Greenpeace will advocate for these? Is that what you’re waiting for? Evidently!

    If free-market advocates shirk their responsibility, others will dictate policy.

    Is that really what you want?

    When will you stand up and offer solutions to these problems? Are you cowards?

    Video here.
    initforthegold.blogspot.com/2011/08/conservative-cowardice.html

  36. Yojimbo

    @23 Allison

    Oy! Criticizing the BA for not putting “science in his blog”, and then stating

    A history of 30 years is not enough to declare a fact, especially when the ‘coming ice age’ was declared in the 70′s.

    You should offer everyone free replacements for all the irony meters you just fried.

  37. @Slugger: “Wonder why animal agriculture is rarely mentioned in conversations about global warming. We tend to focus primarily on the machinery of everyday life.”

    Animals themselves are not contributing to the problem; the carbon they emit* is drawn from the atmosphere (via plants) and so does not increase overall atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Factory farming does contribute to AGW because the machinery needed is fueled by “fossil carbon”, carbon that came from the atmosphere long ago and was sequestered underground in the form of coal, oil, or natural gas. However, that’s not exclusive to livestock; all forms of modern agriculture rely heavily on fossil fuels.

    — Steve

  38. ” Michael Mann has been cleared of all wrongdoing by the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation”

    but but… isnt that like having the catholic church clearing a pedophile priest of all wrong doing?

    hehe, I’m really just fooling around, this is good news.

  39. DanVeteran

    Daniel J. Andrews – Thank you for the explanation. It makes sense to me now. I understand the law of large numbers and the smoothing affect of them.

    I use the term “believers” to mean those that have swallowed Global Warming without question and without looking at the data. As I said earlier, I do believe Earth is warming, but I want to be informed about the research and the science behind the studies.

    Thank you.

  40. @ #16, No he didnt. You are confusing “Ocean view” with “walking distance to water”. “You think Ocean view means ocean front. Check out the view. He is making the wise investment that hs ocean view will become ocean front.

    http://reddpill.com/images/news/155/al-gores-oceanview-mansion.jpg

    @23 allison,
    All your questions answered here
    http://www.skepticalscience.com

    Are you really making the silly supposition that climatologists are unaware of known cycles that you can find in basic childrens books on climate? Everyone knows about Maunder and little ice age. Its not contraversial. Everyone knows the sun cycles, the earth cycles, thre is water in the atmosphere and is a greenhouse gas. These things were identified and addressed decades ago. Time to move on.

    @26 Adam, You are cliaming that finding alternative technologies and energy sources will hurt the economy? You are claimng the recycling and reusng and conserving will hurt the economy? Get real.

    @36 anton,
    I think it is a bit more complex than that. Animals and factory farming are a problem because the population of these animals increase with the increase of the human population. Factory farming is more efficient than organic farming. As an energy play, I would take factory farming any day. The reason that prices for food that has been factory farmed is lower is because in the end it uses less energy per pound of food. The quality of that food, and the taste of the food, and the ethics of the way the animals are treated s a different story.

  41. another physics guy

    @Dan – I cannot speak to the thermometers, but both graphs in the article link indicate the experimantal uncertainty – in the first graph with error bars and in the second the grayed region above/below the line to two standard deviations (the 95% confidence interval). The later is a very generous error range (one stn dev is usually sufficient). The uncertainty is a combination of both statistical and systematic errors that are part of the data collection/analysis process. Notice how the “spread’ of the uncertainties gets narrower as we get into more recent times.

    In a related stab at your thermometer question, the results would not rely upon one thermometer. Instead, they are an average of many different thermometers – averaging out the systematic errors associated with calibration. There is more, but trying to give you some insight.

  42. itzac

    Daniel J. Andres, thanks for answering DanVeteran’s question so thoroughly. I was wondering if anyone was going to address it. I think you also put your finger on why people might hesitate to answer such a question. It is oddly phrased and hints at a peculiar bias. Kudos.

  43. Mason

    @#13 Allison: Nothing in science is a Law, unless that’s how it starts. I have a feeling you’re one of those “it’s just a theory” people, and you’re right. Theories are theories, and laws are laws. Theories do not become laws, ever. Theories and laws serve two completely different purposes, and so they are two different things.

  44. Greg Dorais

    Phil: Awesome, as usual sir!

    3. Liliana:
    16. Ed Minchau:

    Explain please.

    26. adam:

    So, your opinion is that we should just quit and give up because you believe that the problem is not solvable?

  45. Composer99

    I should add that thermometers themselves are, strictly speaking, proxies of surface temperatures since they rely on the expansion/compression of specific fluids due to known temperature-dependent behaviour rather than a direct measurement of surface air temps.

  46. DigitalAxis

    @23 Allison:

    People have studied that question for years, and the repeated answer is: the Sun is not responsible for the global warming trend we’re seeing. Also, we have temperature and sunspot records that go back more than 30 years to test these hypotheses with.

  47. @Techskeptic: “Animals and factory farming are a problem because the population of these animals increase with the increase of the human population. Factory farming is more efficient than organic farming.”

    All of which is true, but none pertains to the question of animals contributing to climate change which was the question I was answering. “Organic” farming (is there such a thing as inorganic farming, the culturing of tasty silicas or something?) is vastly less efficient than factory farming in terms of calories harvested vs. calories expended, but more of those calories expended are coming from carbon already in the carbon cycle and so the process is closer to carbon-neutral.

    That being said, I too support modern agriculture over the old style given that there’s no way we could support our population in any sort of comfort without mechanisation. I’d like to see less fossil carbon used in the process, but I certainly don’t advocate giving that process up.

    — Steve

  48. ” more of those calories expended are coming from carbon already in the carbon cycle and so the process is closer to carbon-neutral”

    just to be clear, at this point im just conversing with you, not trying to stand on some sort of soapbox.

    dont think this is the case. all farming requires tractors, vehicles to supplies to get in and out and so forth. Further due to land size requirements for non-factory farming of animals I would think that these vehicles would all have to drive further for a given set of calories consumed. Moving manure around certainly uses more fuel from a tractor than dusting a field with fertilizer. In both case, the fossil fuels consumed are larger for the non-factory method.

    I think the right answer is if energy for farm vehicles came from biofuels such as ethanol from unused portions of the plants. Then the carbon used would already have been in the cycle and not be new. I htink ths has been attmpeted but the energy cost of creating that biofuel is still too high.

  49. Bob

    @Allison where did you get that new ice age stuff? Time magazine? Please link actual peer reviewed papers from that time period stating an ice age is coming’

  50. Venture Free

    Allison: God, what is causing climate change?

    God: My dear Allison, it’s being caused by humans.

    Allison: Oh my God! I had no idea!

    God: Yes dear. I know how disappointed you must be.

    Allison: The conspiracy goes so much higher than I ever imagined!

    God: Yes, free will has allowed humans to…wait, what?

    (with apologies to the many people that have used this joke in so many contexts)

  51. Chris

    @Dan….I think I understand where your thermometer question is geared towards: Over the past 150 yrs, we see an average temperature rise of about say 1.8 degree Celsius http://www.environmentabout.com/27/how-earth%E2%80%99s-temperature-is-changing-past-150-years-history

    We also know that the thermometers were replaced over time. If the instruments varied in their precision, how can we believe that the average temperature rise was 1.8 degrees and not, say 1.4 degrees? There is an assumption that the older instruments were less precise. This is less critical of the mercury tube than it is of the material used for the graduated markings. Mainly wood in the early days, could expand and contract, just as window casings, siding, etc. of the same era. Can we trust the precision of the instruments back then, or are we currently using more significant figures than we should be?

    The graph, to me, looks like an incomplete Sine wave, where the full period is not quite seen. I question if we have enough data to make a bold conclusion. 150 yrs worth of data can hardly be extrapolated out to 4 billion years to make a conclusion worth believing in. It’s almost like taking about 225 people and finding out that half of them are blond, and then coming to the conclusion that half of Earth’s entire population has blonde hair. While that may very well be true, the conclusion is not supported by the evidence. The sample size is simply to small to determine.

    I also question the people that says the sun is not a significant source to global warming. SERIOUSLY? Let’s face it, if we have no sun, we go cold. If we believe in the laws of physics, then we must believe that any reaction can not create energy. The sun is continuously adding energy in the form of light and heat into our Earth. Some of it is reflected back into space, some of it is absorbed and some of it is reflected into the atmosphere and bounces around. Wasn’t that the main theory behind Global Warming in the first place? That light from the sun gets trapped in the atmosphere? So, how can the sun NOT be contributing to global warming, as it seems to be the only external energy coming into our planet…and without it, we have no vegetation and no food. It’s energy feeds Earth. Plain and simple. It has to be part of the equation. The sun’s intensity is changing constantly, as is our earth’s orbit (and therefore distance) to the sun.

    I also question how global warming can be 100% entirely the fault of man. If global warming did not occur naturally, then how did the first THREE MAJOR ICE AGES melt off BEFORE THE EXISTENCE OF MAN? How did the Midwestern United States become inhabitable? The river valleys and rolling hills were carved by the glaciers. If the climate didn’t heat up, they would still be sitting there. It’s not like they just sat there until we figured out that if we burn coal, we get more heat than if we burn wood.

    Also, there is the idea that CO2 sequestered in the ground is OK, but that the plants that grow is “new” CO2 and therefore burning newly dead trees, or eating live plants is “carbon neutral”. How is this possible? Don’t the roots of plants get the nutrients from the soil? And if that soil is acidic due to decomposed plants and animal bones releasing CO2, then wouldn’t burning that “new growth” also be burning some of that “old CO2?”

    And the final problem I see is that those that blindly accept global warming as man made…I haven’t heard one person complain about CO2 in their alcoholic beverages or in their sodas or in their paintball guns or in their fire extinguishers. I haven’t heard anyone complain about the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere by companies whose sole job is to create CO2 for the sole purpose of selling tanks of the stuff to eateries and bars for mix in fountain drinks. While we talk about the CO2 emitted from cars and power plants, no one is really concerned that the Shuttle (and any rocket launch, including for those satellites) was emitting TONS of the stuff DIRECTLY INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.

    So, I question positions based on how an entire group seems to just overlook (or simply ignore) certain rationalizations that would otherwise jeopardize their earnings potentials. And yes, if you think fossil fuels is backed by big business (and it is), realize that the biggest manufacturer of solar panels is also one of the world’s biggest oil companies (BP). All of this “Green” environment is big business, just as the opposition is.

  52. Chris

    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
    – Doctor Who

  53. Regner Trampedach

    DanVeteran @ 9 etc: I found a medical paper on the differences between readings with modern digital and “old fashioned” mercury thermometers and the standard deviations between them (for 100 readings) was 0.296’C – rather small. Coupled with what Daniel J. Andrews posted @ 32 we get a rather high accuracy of the Global mean temperature record. Furthermore, thermometers are easily calibrated against ice-water and boiling water (remember to account for local air pressure).
    “I use the term believers to mean those that have swallowed Global Warming without question and without looking at the data.”
    So most of us here at the BA’s blog are “knowers”.
    Cheers, Regner

  54. shunt1

    Fantastic!

    Now all of the raw data (previously denied even after FOIA requests) has been provided to all other interested researchers and they can now reproduce the exact same results?

    “Climategate” was always about the ability to reproduct the scientific results by other researchers. That was impossible, because the raw data was never released.

    But some people never understood why that was so important. Instead, they chear when data is hidden and can not be reproduced.

    In the next two weeks, my wife and I are moving to Fort Collins. I was hoping to get a job with UCAR in Boulder, but my wife is now returning to an RN position after 10 years and her job search had priority.

    She had a horrible auto accident in 2000 and nursing became impossible for her. She has recovered, but after 10 years, had to be certified all over again. In the last few months, she obtained her certification, and I am so darn proud of her.

    Someday, I hope that Phil and I can share a meal together as friends.

  55. McWaffle

    Maybe the reason you’ve never heard anybody complaining about the CO2 output of carbonated beverages is because that’s moronic, and most morons are on your side already.

    But, your point that, without the sun, it would be cold outside… now that’s novel. I’d never considered that. Really turns modern environmental science on its head. Well, back to the drawing board boys (and girls)!

    Plus, come to think of it… If global warming were true, why are there still monkeys? Were you there? This could only mean… It was a controlled demolition set up by Big Pharma!

  56. QuietDesperation

    What is the best way to deal with climate change?

    A healthy economy that can fund R&D (both government and corporate) that leads to cleaner technologies.

    Anything else is noise.

    For my part, I just got a bunch of color settable LED night lights.

    Of course, there were no incandescent night lights there before, so I’m not actually saving energy. I just decided recently that I wanted different rooms of my house to glow different colors at night. I minimized the increase, however. :-)

    I’m getting really weird as I age. I own four neon wall clocks. Who owns four neon wall clocks? I’m also designing a digital grandfather clock. What’s the point? And yet I design.

  57. fletch

    @ Chris 55 Hah the rest of that quote goes:

    “Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

    Pretty accurately describes Michael Mann, 98% of all climate scientists, and us folks who defend their claims. Especially here on the internets :-)

  58. psweet

    Techskeptic, Anton — one of the problems I have with the discussions I read about the effects of farm animals (not the subsidiary energy used, as you pointed out) is that the impacts of humans on wild populations over the last few centuries is ignored. Do 60 million cows really have more of an impact than 60 million bison? With plants, though, we have another issue, in that overall productivity of farmland is often lower than the systems that it replaced. Which means that a cornfield probably soaks up and keeps less carbon than the tallgrass prairie that would otherwise be there.

  59. M

    ““Climategate” was always about the ability to reproduct the scientific results by other researchers. That was impossible, because the raw data was never released.”

    Yeah. A small portion of one English dataset wasn’t released. Of course, you could use the raw data from the US dataset. Or the Japanese dataset.

    Which was really just another sign that the “skeptics” weren’t serious: they did nothing with the gigabytes of available data, but it was always that one bit of data they didn’t have that was the key data without which they couldn’t disprove anthropogenic global warming. Kind of like creationists and the “missing link” – “what, you found fossil B, the link between fossil A and fossil C? But… now there are TWO missing links, between A and B, and between B and C!”

    Also, Chris? Can you not tell the difference between humans being responsible for recent warming, and humans being responsible for all warming throughout history? You’d be the kid sitting with the empty gasoline can and the empty box of matches in front of the forest burned to the ground claiming, “but… forests have always burned down!”

  60. shunt1

    Climategate was all about a group of scientists trying to hide the raw data. Even when legal Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests were filed, these scientists collaborated together to hide their data from other researchers.

    Climategate was about leaked internal documentation of how these scientists attempted to hide their raw data and how they accomplished it.

    Any scientist that thinks that this was acceptable behavior, should never be allowed to received government funds again. Their actions were unethical and no honest scientist should allow such a thing to happen again.

    This has nothing to do with your personal belief in climate change. It has always been about research ethics!

  61. chance

    DanVeteran is a classic case of trying to find problems where none exist. I understand people not wanting to agree humans cause climate change, but when you guys reach on things like this, it makes the rational community that sees the obvious positive correlation to man’s industrialization of the planet cringe at the thought that such irrational humans walk the Earth.

  62. chance

    @shunti…

    you clearly have no idea what your talking about. And can’t comprehend what this blog post is referencing. Mann and his colleagues never did anything to hide their data or fake it. You deniers are missing the point…you want so badly for there to be something wrong, everything is wrong. Everything Mann has done has been to the most respectful way a scientist can do it. And the science haters have been making his life a living hell for doing his job and being a great human being!

  63. Kevin

    ^shunt1, the whole point of this review was research ethics and nothing was found to be at issue. What more do you want? Scientists are under no obligation to share all of their data with the world, especially when it might impact their ability to do research in the future.

  64. ND

    shunt1,

    It’s my understanding that the majority of the raw data was already publicly available because the sources of that data did not put any restrictions on it. The issue with FOI was about a small subset of data for which the researches had to sign a document regarding redistribution. I don’t think that the researches in the “climategate” fiasco owned or generated the raw data. A third party did and I don’t think anyone one was prevented from getting that data from this 3rd party themselves.

    Please correct me on this but that’s what I remember. If so then you’re making factually incorrect statements.

    Edit: Just noticed that M said the same thing.

  65. David Vanderschel

    As a rebuttal to Rick Perry’s recent outrageous statements on the subject, my local newspaper (in Austin, Texas) published the following:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/aug/22/rick-perry/rick-perry-says-more-and-more-scientists-are-quest/

    It struck me a being fairly brave of The Austin American Statesman to go against our governor in this way.

  66. Then there’s always this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_633970&v=H7wdKg8rYL0&feature=iv
    Actual climate scientists talking (well, rapping) about climate change. What a novel idea.

  67. MartinM

    Which was really just another sign that the “skeptics” weren’t serious: they did nothing with the gigabytes of available data, but it was always that one bit of data they didn’t have that was the key data without which they couldn’t disprove anthropogenic global warming. Kind of like creationists and the “missing link” – “what, you found fossil B, the link between fossil A and fossil C? But… now there are TWO missing links, between A and B, and between B and C!”

    Interestingly enough, one of the UK inquries took the HADCRUT data which was publically available, along with papers published by the CRU team explaining their method of processing it, and reproduced the CRU’s results. In a couple of days. A skilled coder could have knocked it out in a few hours; indeed, several have. Oddly enough, the sceptics didn’t bother even to attempt this before harrassing the CRU and accusing them of fraud based on…well, nothing.

  68. Mark Schaffer

    Chris wrote this bit of irrational nonsense: “I also question the people that says the sun is not a significant source to global warming. SERIOUSLY? Let’s face it, if we have no sun, we go cold. If we believe in the laws of physics, then we must believe that any reaction can not create energy. The sun is continuously adding energy in the form of light and heat into our Earth. Some of it is reflected back into space, some of it is absorbed and some of it is reflected into the atmosphere and bounces around. Wasn’t that the main theory behind Global Warming in the first place? That light from the sun gets trapped in the atmosphere? So, how can the sun NOT be contributing to global warming, as it seems to be the only external energy coming into our planet…and without it, we have no vegetation and no food. It’s energy feeds Earth. Plain and simple. It has to be part of the equation. The sun’s intensity is changing constantly, as is our earth’s orbit (and therefore distance) to the sun.”
    The simple response is that unless the insolation at the TOA has been increasing to match the increase in temperatures in the lower troposphere and this hypothetical increase is greater at the equater than the poles the argument fails. Guess what? The argument fails because no measurements have shown this. See here Chris and stop propagating an argument that is completely nonsensical:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

  69. John

    Well, I have read some of the leaked mails and they speak for themselves. What was in them did not need to be taken out of proportion. These so called scientists were simply lying, cheating and completely twisting evidence to fit their agenda.

    So shame on anyone who cleares them of their blame, the evidence opposing the global warming theory is overwhelming. Above all, the scientists who doubt global warming want to debate but are not given any opportunity to present their evidence. In true science, debate is crucial, but here those who have a different opinion or view are called “deniers” and ridiculed. Since “everybode agrees”, well apparenty not.

    It has been estanblished long ago, and the evidence still stands that higher CO2 emissions are the result of warming, not the cause. After all, there wes no industry and no 8 billion people of the planet in the middle ages when it was warmer than today.

    So what does your gut tell you?
    Global warming is a hoax to get us to pay taxes for the CO2 we exhale. In other words, it is the perfect scam, tax life itself.

  70. KH

    @54: Take a look at that graph you’re linking to again. The numbers are messed up, temperature has actually increased by around 0,8 degrees centigrade since late 19th century, a little more than half of which has occured since the 70’s.

    Here’s what some of the controversy of the ‘hockey stick’ is about, as explained by Richard A. Muller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk. I’m not questioning global warming, but I’m totally dismissing that particular graph, even if it’s technically made up of real data.

    Whole presentation here, quite interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbR0EPWgkEI.

  71. amphiox

    Yes, and this TOTALLY justifies the use of measures which, given our limited understanding of global climate and factors, at best make a cursory dent in the problem and at worst do nothing other than to carve even more holes into the world economy and cripple third world productivity.

    Evidence requested in support of statement made in bold, please.

  72. MartinM

    Well, I have read some of the leaked mails and they speak for themselves. What was in them did not need to be taken out of proportion. These so called scientists were simply lying, cheating and completely twisting evidence to fit their agenda.

    False. Provide evidence for your slander, or retract it.

    So shame on anyone who cleares them of their blame, the evidence opposing the global warming theory is overwhelming. Above all, the scientists who doubt global warming want to debate but are not given any opportunity to present their evidence. In true science, debate is crucial, but here those who have a different opinion or view are called “deniers” and ridiculed. Since “everybode agrees”, well apparenty not.

    On the contrary, the very few scientists with relevant expertise who doubt global warming are free to present their evidence in exactly the same place everyone else does; the peer-reviewed literature. They rarely do so, however, and what little they have published has utterly failed to convince their peers.

    It has been estanblished long ago, and the evidence still stands that higher CO2 emissions are the result of warming, not the cause.

    Nonsense. We’re putting 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, and the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is about half that. Do you really expect us to believe that an increase in atmospheric CO2 which started around the time we started emitting the stuff, and of a size consistent with being caused entirely by our emissions, just happens to be purely coincidental? Then what exactly is happening to the 30 gigatons per year we’re responsible for?

    Global warming is a hoax to get us to pay taxes for the CO2 we exhale. In other words, it is the perfect scam, tax life itself.

    That’s utterly ridiculous. The CO2 we exhale is part of the carbon cycle, and is removed by plants which are then eaten either by us or the animals we eat. It’s a closed cycle, and cannot contribute to the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

  73. Chai

    It’s really sad, but some of our “prestigious” publications like the Scientific American and Discover are in on the global warming game. (The Scientific American has Vinod Khosla, an entrepreneur and proponent of bio-fuels, on its board). It’s also sad a well known fact that a “revered” institution like the NSF is in cahoots with the IPCC.

    The sad part that the agenda of these institutions and agencies is based on politics, not fact.

    As one other poster put it, the NSF clearing Michael Mann is like the Catholic Church clearing a pedophile of wrong doing. And we now have EPA intent on regulating CO2 as a “pollutant”. Here in Canada we’re already paying Carbon taxes.

    It’s still clear to me that Mann “hid the decline”. The emphasis is not on the “trick”, but the hiding of the decline in his proxy data. How is the proxy (i.e., tree ring) data reliable until 1960, but strangely NOT reliable since 1960 (where the proxy data showed a decline and Mann replaced it with some recorded temps)?

    No one doubts that the world temps did increase by 0.75C in the twentieth century. But global temperatures have indeed flatlined since 1998. The IPCC forecast is already off by 0.5C.

    It’s only a matter of time before the global gang of liars and thieves are exposed for what they are.

  74. MartinM

    Here’s what some of the controversy of the ‘hockey stick’ is about, as explained by Richard A. Muller:

    Muller is talking nonsense, I’m afraid. He’s conflating several different issues and making false statements which strongly suggest that his knowledge of this issue comes from listening to deniers without bothering to factcheck it.

  75. Yojimbo

    @John

    In true science, debate is crucial, but here those who have a different opinion or view are called “deniers” and ridiculed.

    Son you’re all confused. In science data is crucial. Not debate – data. Got any? “True science” doesn’t deal with opinions, it deals with facts and information. And nobody gets called a “denier” for disagreeing – you get called a denier for denying.

    Above all, the scientists who doubt global warming want to debate but are not given any opportunity to present their evidence.

    Sorry, can’t accept that without some of that nasty data. I know – depressing isn’t it.

  76. Hermann von Helmholtz

    How are climate scientists able to determine that a casual relationship exists between man made greenhouse gas emissions and climate change? I understand that the start of the upswing corresponds to the beginning of the industrial revolution and that the manner in which greenhouse gasses can trap heat is well understood (I think), but how do we go from that to establishing causation. Clearly we can’t run a trial in which we take hundreds of identical Earths, subject them to different levels of emissions, and note the outcomes. Do the data just fit a model of human involvement best? Even if that is the case, it still seems to me that we could never really establish causation, only that human activity is the most likely contributor.

    Sorry if I’m coming off as ignorant, I’m not a climate scientist so the primary literature is likely over my head. I just just want to better understand this issue.

  77. Chai

    Here’s another interesting video on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWVXarkPOAo

    (Unlikely Skeptic: A Liberal Environmentalist challenges Global Warming Theory )

  78. Juice

    The big point is that the data were not faked.

    You’re going to have to convince this guy at Berkeley that no data was misrepresented.

    “They deceived the public. They deceived other scientists.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk

  79. James Mayeau

    NSF resurrects Piltdown Man.

    We found no basis to conclude that the [Piltdown] bones were evidence of research misconduct or that they pointed to such evidence.

    That’s clear enough, I think. They also said:

    There is no specific evidence that [Dawson] falsified or fabricated any data and no evidence that his actions amounted to research misconduct.

    Well, I guess that settles it. The Medieval Warm period is just a rumor.
    Trees are accurate thermometers, except for the last fifty years where they diverge from actual thermometers or, in the case of prehistoric tree line studies, where they point to the Medieval Warm Period being more that a rumor.

    Case closed.

  80. James Mayeau

    We note that the University never received any formal allegations; rather, the University developed
    these allegations internally
    based on publically released documents. Consistent with our Research
    Misconduct Regulation (45 CFR §689), we referred an inquiry to the University.

    What do we call it when a party initiated an investigation without allegations from a second party, then declares themselves innocent of wrongdoing, which they were never accused of in the first place?

    Why that’s the perfect definition of a strawman argument, no matter at how many investigative layers removed.

  81. Mike Mangan

    You must be so proud of yourselves, resurrecting such a tattered reputation. Do you have some objective you’re trying to achieve? I would think that if you had some overwhelming proof of serious danger you might be able to convince some politicians. I’m thinking the Democrats would probably have been the right party to reach out to. After all, they held the House, Senate, and Presidency for two years. Weren’t they receptive to your overwhelming scientific proof? So few of them even mention it. Come to think of it, some of them ran from it like they were scared last fall. What happened?
    Of course, I’m probably wrong, it couldn’t be as serious a threat as I’ve imagined. I’ll just have to assume you are content with being Right! on the internet.

  82. jeff

    I wrote this a few years ago but it seems appropriate.

    The headline in my newspaper of Saturday Feb. 3, 2007 said, “GLOBAL WARMING- If nothing is done to combat greenhouse gases, extreme weather could kill 1 million people by 2100…

    I am greatly concerned about the “global warming hysteria” that is being foisted upon the public. I recall a news caster six weeks before saying that Europe had just experienced the warmest autumn in 500 years. Do you realize what that means? It means that 500 years ago it was warmer, and that human activity had nothing to do with it! It is well known to some historians and scientists studying climate that the period from 900 to 1100 AD was also warmer than today by about three degrees, and human activity had nothing to do with that either! I have also read that Mars is getting hotter. I can’t wait to be told what part of my lifestyle is causing the Martian heat wave!

    There are mammoths frozen in the Siberian tundra with flesh still intact, and tropical vegetation in their mouths. When discovered in the 1800’s, the meat was still edible! The stuff in my freezer isn’t fit to eat after five years. So, how old can these animals be? Clearly, Siberia was a tropical climate in the recent past. That warm period likewise cannot possibly be the fault of the human race.

    Hundreds of scientists worldwide know these things I’m saying here to be true, but they are being threatened to shut up about it. There are many scientists who disagree with the hypothesis that we are causing global warming, but they are becoming less vocal as they consider the loss of funding and loss of career if they continue to say what they really believe. Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel recently said that any weather person who did not believe in “global warming” should be fired! The coercion continues!

    In the late 70’s the media was scaring us with predictions from reputable researchers about a coming ice age. These scientists were not idiots. Why has this concern reversed itself in the past 20 yrs? Perhaps global warming is more conducive to a power grab than an Ice Age would be.

    Is there some kind of agenda here? There sure is! With our public school children forced to watch Al Gore’s stupid movie over and over again, and his recent rant before Congress, he has herded the US leadership and general population into a vulnerable position. He can now, with his established business enterprises, extract billions of dollars from gullible people by selling them bogus carbon credits!

    We are being told that we must reduce our production of greenhouse gases, including CO2. CO2 is not a pollutant. Every creature exhales it. All plants and trees love CO2. They must have it to survive. They are starving for it! They would grow much faster if CO2 levels were two or three times higher. Nursery people know this and they inject CO2 into their green houses to dramatically increase growth rates.

    CO2 is the natural byproduct of combustion. It is a direct measure of a civilization’s prosperity; the more controlled per capita production of CO2, the higher the standard of living. For us to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by conservation, we must dramatically reduce our lifestyle, quality of life. If we all did this, the resulting downward spiral of the world economy could ultimately cause more death and destruction than “global warming”.

    Through the ages the sun heats up, the sun cools down, and there is nothing we can do about it. If the sun burps, we burn; if the sun sneezes, we freeze. We have recently experienced a natural warming trend that peaked in 1998. It is arrogance to think we caused it. If we are too puny to cause it, then we are definitely too puny to fix it. We shouldn’t live in fear. As long as God has His hand on the sun’s thermostat, we will be alright. But, we live in an age where much of the world’s leadership believes that we ourselves are all the god we have, and all the god we need.

    We cannot save civilization by dismantling civilization. When humans endeavor to solve god sized problems by our own inadequate efforts, we can only expect to create for ourselves a hell on earth. As the global warming issue finds its way into the legislative process we are on the verge of making some really bad laws that will hurt all of us.

  83. Grand Lunar

    @86 Jeff,

    Are you trying to be funny?

  84. Muzz

    All these laws and taxes and trading schemes are going to destroy civilization as we know it, but no one really bothers to explain why.

  85. Menyambal

    Jeff @ 86: You are wrong in so many ways:

    “GLOBAL WARMING- If nothing is done to combat greenhouse gases, extreme weather could kill 1 million people by 2100… Well, that is probably true. Extreme weather kills a heck of a lot of people now–it will be hard to say exactly what is “extreme” and what is caused by global warming, but I’ll bet you a dollar that there are going to be more than a million weather-related deaths between now and 2100. You can’t show it won’t happen and that it won’t be GW related.

    You are greatly concerned about the “global warming hysteria” that is being foisted upon the public. Fine. I am greatly concerned about the “no global warming hysteria” that is being foisted upon the public by you and your *hundreds* of scientists. (I can find a hundred people in this small town that believe aliens cross the universe to probe their sphincters.)

    “Europe had just experienced the warmest autumn in 500 years. Do you realize what that means?” It means Europe had just experienced the warmest autumn in 500 years .. at a time when climate scientists say the earth is warming. Dude, a one-in-500-year event may be a fluke–what with random variations–but a steady increase is not. Plus, about 500 years ago, Europe was burning wood and clearing forests–you can’t say humans weren’t a factor.

    I could go on (tropical mammoths?!?!), but I’m just going to say that as an engineer, I know that we can reduce CO2 and make money in the process.

    You babble about hysteria. You are hysterical. Not hysterical funny, but hysterical raving.

  86. Bruce

    Well, that settles it. The debate is over! Wait, where have I heard that before…

  87. Chris

    Gotta love watching the deniers start to jump on tree ring proxies. Only a small number of tree ring proxies diverge (a fact that isn’t kept secret at all), most still correlate with thermometers just fine. And those are the ones that are used in contemporary studies.

    But I suppose the “hurr durr tree ring proxies are unreliable so global warming is a conspiracy” argument works best for people who don’t care about the truth. ;)

  88. tim Rowledge

    Aww, sweet! How cute is it that these ‘concerned, impartial, non-partisan’ plain-old members of the public actually seem to believe that a group of well educated scientists, working had to dig out the facts and build a decent theory to explain them, simply forget some totally obvious factoid – and one that plain-old-joe-schmo happens to know, at that. And yet evidence (as in many, many articles, blogs, postings etc) shows that a huge portion of the same people will accept that an avowedly partisan group of political and/or religious persons somehow know more than said scientists.

    Oh, wait. That’s not cute. It’s stupid beyond reasonable tolerance. It’s “please, someone invent a tv show that is on 24/7 that is utterly irresistible to these people so that get they quietly remove themselves from the body politic”

  89. Gilead

    I do believe that there is anthropogenic contribution to global warming, but nonetheless I tend to get condemned by both sides when I venture my perspective in this extremely vituperative and politicized “debate.”

    Based on my own review of the evidence, I think that Mann made some decisions in the presentation of his data that were less than objective. He was driven by strong motivation to present a certain – not entirely unwarranted – conclusion as forcefully as possible. I see no evidence that he actually “falsified” anything.

    All that being said, and while the conclusions of this “investigation” may be correct, its methods were extremely perfunctory and biased, its findings worthless. It is so abundantly clear to anyone who will look at it objectively that they had prefigured their conclusions and that the Inspector General was presiding over a strange sort of inverse kangaroo court that would simply ignore anything presented to it that might weigh against the “defendant.” There were not even any trappings of objectivity or validity, and appealing to the outcome for anything is merely an appeal to authority.

  90. ND
  91. Don

    For those out there that truly have questions (such as what about contributions from the sun, volcanos, cow farts, etc) you should search for videos by Richard Alley. He did a series about global warming that answers all these questions. He explains very well and doesn’t just spit out the accepted data and facts, but he answers questions like a scientist would when considering all possible sources. So he will actually address questions about sunspots or volcanos and explain in layman’s terms why those phenomena cannot be the source of the warming that is being seen.

  92. T.E.O.

    Does anyone know of a well written paper (an extensive paper, not issue specific) or book that presents (as best as possible) a full on point/counter point analysis of global warming? The information in the comments above is great, but a bit scattered for one who, admittedly, understands only the basics. Thanks.

  93. bad Jim

    People will think what they want to think for reasons of their own, and most will find conspiracy theories more convincing than plain old boring science (leaving aside the assumption that most ignorant people have that they understand science perfectly well). An honest, even-handed evaluation simply isn’t convincing to people who have a vested interest in their beliefs.

    Maybe we ought to go back to ridicule. Not only are nearly all creationists also global warming deniers, but most global warming deniers are creationists — look at the polls! Here’s another nasty side effect: white racists are also almost always sexists, creationists and deniers.

    This can be taken too far, of course; although Hitler wasn’t actually a vegetarian, he did hate smoking and loved dogs.

  94. Andreas H

    When climate scientists are too scared to talk about what they don’t know yet, the deniers have already won.

    The climate is warming up and humans play a part in it. That’s not debatable. But what is debatable is the question how much humans influence global warming and even more importantly what action on our side would have what effect!

    There is not a single climate scientists that can answer this incredibly elementary question:

    If we reduce human caused emission of green house gases to the level of 1900 by the year 2025, how will the climate change until 2050?

    Will the earth start to cool? Will the mean temperatures stabilize at the 2025 levels? Will the earth still heat up but slower, and if slower how much slower? Will mean temperatures adjust to how they were in 1900?

    The point is we have not a single predictive climate model that delivers any kind of useful information. All our climate models are constantly adjusted to fit our collected past data and have absolutely no predictive capabilities.

    So please get real in this discussion! Global warming is happening and humans are definitely a part of it. We should take action to reduce greenhouse emissions to protect natural CO2 converters and to use sustainable and renewable energy sources!

    But we have to be honest and open about what we know and what we don’t know. The whole “climate gate” scandal only gained so much attention because climate scientists working in a field existing roughly 75 years were talking down on everybody as if they knew exactly how climate works. That’s not even close to where we are at right know. As long as we are not able to create a predictive climate model we are very far away from any “case closed”…

  95. Soliton

    John #73 wrote: “It has been established long ago, and the evidence still stands that higher CO2 emissions are the result of warming, not the cause.”

    Ah yes, the old Eachus’s Folly is trotted out yet again:

    #127 of another much earlier thread . Lonny Eachus Says:
    “What you seem to be missing here is that all of our data of the historical PAST shows no cause-effect between temperature and CO2 concentrations. Actually, that is not true either… there is a strong correlation, but it is the other way around. In the past, temperature variations were followed about 800 years later by CO2 concentrations. All the evidence we had showed that temperature drove CO2, not the other way around.
    So it is the idea that CO2 can cause temperature shifts that is actually the extraordinary claim, and the claim that goes against all PAST evidence.”

    So have you found out why it is labelled Eachus’s Folly?

  96. Robin

    @Hermann von Helmholtz (#80):

    In short, the determination is done by accumulation of data and factoring in new data and new factors as instruments evolve and data sets become more complete. It’s the application of scientific method wherein after you’ve made an observation; formed a hypothesis that might explain that observation; make predictions based on the hypothesis; and have tested that hypothesis, you look at your results and modify (if necessary) the original hypothesis. Then that process is repeated over and over again by the scientist and other scientists around the world.

    Just before the turn of the century (late 1890’s), Svante Arhennius suggested that increases in CO2 levels could have led to the ice ages. Call that, for the sake of the argument, the initial hypothesis. He tested his hypothesis using data on the absorption of IR spectra in CO2 and water vapor. Call that the initial data set. New theories require extraordinary proof, and his theory and data were rightfully challenged. New tests were done. New data was found. Tests were done again. Technological innovation increased the amount of data and the number of potential degrees of freedom in the emerging theory. Tests evolved: degrees of freedom were ruled out or confirmed. They theory was refined. That process continues to this day.

  97. MartinM

    There is not a single climate scientists that can answer this incredibly elementary question:

    If we reduce human caused emission of green house gases to the level of 1900 by the year 2025, how will the climate change until 2050?

    I doubt anyone’s bothered to run simulations of such an unrealistic scenario. However, climate scientists most certainly can answer the question of what effects our mitigation efforts will have. They’ve been answering it repeatedly for quite some time, in fact.

  98. Brent Stone

    According to your statement, without warming, the average temperature now would be below freezing, would that have been better for us and the earth? What would things be like now if we couldn’t grow food? Is warming helping or creating a catastrophe? Perhaps we should know some of those answers before declaring an emergency. What needs to be done now?

  99. C777

    A STUDY OF THE LINK BETWEEN COSMIC RAYS AND CLOUDS
    WITH A CLOUD CHAMBER AT THE CERN PS

    http://cloud.web.cern.ch/cloud/documents_cloud/cloud_proposal.pdf

    Cosmic rays ,well they are definitely not Mann ,pardon the pun, made.

    CERN ?

    Hmmm, not a bunch of quacks or “deniers” either are they.

  100. Messier Tidy Upper

    Request please for all those climate contrarians who keep repeating the old long debunked canards. Check the videos here :

    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/climate-denial-crock-of-the-week/#sense

    Plus here :

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=potholer54+climate+change&aq=3&oq=Potholer

    and examine the list of arguments here :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    Before commenting here? Please?

    Because most of the standard talking points arguing against the scientific consensus – arrived at by the overwhelming majority of expert climatologists who have concluded after lifetimes of careful peer-reviewed study – that we are currently facing a real and serious problem of Human Caused Global Overheating have been examined and refuted there already.

  101. Messier Tidy Upper

    For instance, the whole “climategate” beat-up is covered very well here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFjDMUFPxMs

    & here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sf_UIQYc20&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=59&feature=plpp

    is the one debunking the idea it’s all our Sun’s fault whilst here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5hs4KVeiAU&feature=related

    is the clip that shows why we know Global Warming isn’t all just natural and is related to our CO2 emissions.

  102. hobokenbob

    Dr. Mann will go down in history as our day’s Galileo. It’s just too bad we have to have one at all.

  103. MartinM I believe some zero-emissions scenarios are available. It would take rather a long time to get over all the effects of global warming.

  104. Andreas H

    @MartinM
    How about we reduce the human caused emission to the level of 1990 by the year 2025, how will climate change until 2050?

    the point is not about zero emisssion scenarios but about the fact that there is not a single even remotely reliable predictive climate model available.

    If you would know of a peer reviewed model making any predictions about climate change effect according to mitigation efforts i would very much welcome a source. The truth is that there are some broad estimates that frankly are not much more than guesswork.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt the overall findings of climate scientists. Global warming is real, humans play definitely a part in it and we should support all mitigation efforts as they not only help with climate problems but also bring other benefits.

    But the “know it all”-approach from a lot of climate scientists is actually hurting these efforts a lot. Science is just as much about what we know as it is about we don’t know (yet).

  105. MartinM

    You’re right, I misread Andreas’ post. Thought he was suggesting reduction of CO2 concentration to 1900 levels by 2025, not emission. There are indeed zero-emissions scenarios; IIRC, warming stops in fairly short order, but it takes a substantial period of time to see any significant decline in global temperatures, and sea level rise continues for a good while.

  106. Messier Tidy Upper

    Good to hear Mann has, yet again, been cleared of wrong-doing. :-)

    Sadly I doubt very much this particular witch hunt is finally over yet. As entirely unjustified as it is, I’m sure Cuccinnelli & other climate contrarians will keep on trying to dredge up this and the supposed, long refuted Hockey stick graph problems until .. I don’t know when. :roll:

    After the Arctic gets an ice free summer or three and every year sees worse heatwaves in the US and elsewhere for umpteen years maybe? :-(

  107. M

    Andreas H asks “If you would know of a peer reviewed model making any predictions about climate change effect according to mitigation efforts i would very much welcome a source.”

    See Figure 6 in the following report from MIT: http://globalchange.mit.edu/files/document/MITJPSPGC_Rpt180.pdf. There are many other examples, I like this one because it explores uncertainty in a rigorous way. Note that the temperatures are smoothed over decadal averages: there would be wider bands for yearly average temperatures.

  108. Jason

    Wow, he was cleared by the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation? Yeah, that’s a check and balance.

  109. Bill Wheaton

    Cleared once again… but that’s not really the point is it? It doesn’t matter how many times he was cleared really. You see, the wing nuts don’t care about science. Science does not agree with them, ergo, it’s wrong and must be defeated at any cost.

    The scientific community simply does not get that telling the truth and expecting something to be done about it simply will not work. I’ve never understood that.

    But here is what is going to happen. The right wing, who is in charge, and will be for a very long time, will ignore this minor repeated revelation. They will again block any kind of legislation from our weak President Obama and the ‘centrists’. They will again get into the presidency, either in 2012, or 2016 and really gut anything having to do with global heating, the environment and sane energy.

    That’s the facts, jack.

    Nothing will be done to alleviate the global heating problem, and everything will be done to hinder other countries efforts. And in another 30 to 50 years when we they can no longer deny the problem, after several revolutions and rebellions and mass starvation and disease, it will be too late. And that will be pretty much it for a long time.

    I hate it.

    But we are s c r e w e d. It doesn’t much matter if you agree or not. Not much does. The only consolation is that some remnant species might likely survive for another day.

  110. BMD

    What I think is funny about the whole “controversy” about global warming is how little people seem to know about it when they try to refute it. I have friends who don’t believe in it and, when I asked them about it, all that they said either consisted of “It’s cyclical, it’s called summer,” “It’s all a plot by Al Gore to sell hybrid cars” [no joke, someone said this to me with a perfectly straight face] or “It’s just some liberal thing.” When I ask for their sources for the last two reasons (it’s hard to deny that summer does, in fact, make the earth hot so I just smile at them when they say that) it generally consists of “well…I heard from my dad who heard from his friend who I guess knows Glenn Beck who was talking to a scientist about it and they said…” or, they try to make it political and say something like “scientists can’t fix the economy or agree on evolution, why should we trust them to know about global warming?”

    I used to be one of those people who just listen to secondhand sources and take it at face value, until I realized how silly it makes me look when I can’t explain how I came to my conclusions.

  111. Gary

    Dr. Mann is guilty only of using bad data (upside down proxy records), statistically invalid methods (analyses that look for hockey stick curves and using data the National Academy of Science advised him to reject), and trying to suppress dissent from his views on climate change. He didn’t commit fraud in a obvious way (by fabricating actually data), but his research is sloppy and he has acted badly when challenged. As for exoneration, well, NSF has something to gain by declaring “not guilty” and all of the so-called investigations have been by vested interests. Not one has been truly independent and all were limited to narrow questions that ignore the real problem of bad scientific practice.

    The hockey stick diagram has been shown to have such large confidence limits prior to 1880 that it says nothing conclusive about prior warm periods. The recent temperature rise section is surface temperature station data grafted on without adequate notation that the source data is different. Contrary recent proxy data has been removed to “hide a decline.” In short, it’s a public relations diagram. And to think that it really “clinches the idea of man-made global warming” is a logic-fail of first order. Really, Phil, c’mon. There is nothing about it that clinches the argument. Using that same logic you would have to say that the worldwide growth in the number of churches clinches the idea that God exists. May be true, but the premise is insufficient.

  112. Gordon

    Atmosphere – 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.038% carbon dioxide + other trace gases. Human contribution to CO2 is, maybe, 5%.

    CO2 is one of the four ingredients necessary for life – Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Sun light and Water. Plants breathe CO2. A warmer climate would lengthen the growing season for fruits and vegetables.

    Algore said global warming would cause a massive rise in sea level. Why then did he buy a multi-million dollar seafront mansion in California last year? How convenient that Algore also owns a carbon credit company designed to profit from legislation that would force companies to buy carbon credits to do business.

    “There’s a sucker born every minute” – PT Barnum

  113. MartinM

    Dr. Mann is guilty only of using bad data (upside down proxy records)

    False. Firstly, you’re dredging up an issue that has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Hockey Stick paper, which didn’t use the Tiljander proxies at all. Secondly, the algorithm used by Mann et al (2007) was insensitive to the sign of those proxies for which the relationship between proxy and local temperature could not be specified a priori, which was true for the Tiljander proxies. Thirdly, Mann et al were well aware that the Tiljander series, as well as a few others, were problematic, and performed a sensitivity analysis leaving out those series. It made no appreciable difference to their results.

    statistically invalid methods (analyses that look for hockey stick curves and using data the National Academy of Science advised him to reject)

    False. Short-centering made no appreciable difference to MBH’s results. The NAS report was made after the paper had been published, and Mann followed their recommendations in his future work. The NAS report also confirmed that the effect of short-centering was minor.

    and trying to suppress dissent from his views on climate change.

    Your evidence for this claim?

    He didn’t commit fraud in a obvious way (by fabricating actually data), but his research is sloppy and he has acted badly when challenged. As for exoneration, well, NSF has something to gain by declaring “not guilty” and all of the so-called investigations have been by vested interests. Not one has been truly independent and all were limited to narrow questions that ignore the real problem of bad scientific practice.

    Yes, of course, everybody’s in on the conspiracy.

    The hockey stick diagram has been shown to have such large confidence limits prior to 1880 that it says nothing conclusive about prior warm periods.

    False. The Hockey Stick only goes back to 1400AD, well after the end of any claimed prior warm period.

    The recent temperature rise section is surface temperature station data grafted on without adequate notation that the source data is different.

    False. Temperature data is clearly identified as such in the relevant graph.

    Contrary recent proxy data has been removed to “hide a decline.”

    False. The proxies used in MBH98 do not suffer from the divergence problem. Indeed, Briffa’s series, the one actually associated with the ‘hide the decline’ meme, was published at roughly the same time.

  114. Scott Weber

    I read enough of the ClimateGate emails to form my own conclusion, regardless of what this propaganda piece claims. I advise everyone do the same.

  115. ND

    Seriously, are people getting paid to come to this blog and and make bad arguments against climate research?

  116. Daffy

    Anyone who parrots the ridiculous ad hom “Algore” (coined by Rush Limbaugh) has no opinion on this subject worth listening to in any way—right out the gate they show their only interest is in furthering the right wing agenda, without the bother of even examining it.

  117. mea

    i got into the anti carbon emissions thinking in 1969. when the big global warming movement came around i was distressed because of the fickle and lengthy time factor related to such a measuring system to quell emissions. sure enough along came conflicting data and we will always have that. instead of relying on climate change as a measuring stick i think a broader approach relating to money and health should be considered as primary. money especially is what the right understands and health issues go hand in hand. climate is fickle and it might be we are in a contradictory stage of climate that will hide our emissions problem.

  118. MartinM

    I read enough of the ClimateGate emails to form my own conclusion…

    I highly doubt that, since in context, it’s pretty tame stuff.

  119. Daffy

    Would bet my grandmother’s pension that “I have read enough…” means either none at all, or only the cherry picked bits Glenn Beck said to read.

  120. papertiger

    107. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    and examine the list of arguments here :
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
    Before commenting here? Please?

    Why don’t you examine this one.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-on-mars.htm
    Note the first comment, which happens to blast John Cross’ propaganda out of the water. Left him speechless, right up to this day. Even after multiple rewrites he still has no answer.
    Reality is like that.
    So you go ahead and mainline the pixie dust if you want.
    The rest of us know what this is.

    O.J. Simpson cleared of all charges!

    Extra. Extra. Read all about it at Discover Magazine.

  121. Wzrd1

    Phil, I’m sorry, but once the neo-Luddites have taken the bit, fact is fiction.
    Just as Al Gore’s “invented the internet” thing STILL gets quoted, yet the original speech (still online) has the FULL “INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE”, which is TRUE.
    So, they’ll continue telling us all, every scientist on the planet is a liar, every thermometer on the planet is lying when averaged together and it’s all part of the grand conspiracy of the space aliens or something.
    For, once their excuse for leadership decides something, they’ll believe it to the end. Even if it’s where their leaders tell them the sky is always brown and you show a blue sky, they’ll say it’s brown and believe it.
    Orwell was right, people CAN believe that 2+2=5 and know the truth.

  122. M

    Phil, I do disagree with one statement of yours: “This graph is what really clinches the idea of man-made global warming”: Actually, this graph actually was only a minor supporting player. It just makes for a good iconic image. I’ll quote the National Research Council 2006 report on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 2000 Years on this:

    “Surface temperature reconstructions have the potential to provide independent information about climate sensitivity and about the natural variability of the climate system that can be compared with estimates based on theoretical calculations and climate models, as well as other empirical data. However, large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years are not the primary evidence for the widely accepted views that global warming is occurring, that human activities are contributing, at least in part, to this warming, and that the Earth will continue to warm over the next century. (NRC, 2006)”

  123. I love arguments about climate change almost as much as arguments about religion, but not quite as much as arguments about politics!

    But my favorite arguments of all are about which flavor of smart phone is best! Android or iPhone!

  124. donhuangenaro
  125. M

    “I read enough of the ClimateGate emails to form my own conclusion”

    I would suggest going to this document to see the emails placed into their appropriate context: http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/petitions/volume1.html.

  126. MartinM

    Note the first comment, which happens to blast John Cross’ propaganda out of the water.

    A paper which derives climatic cycles from a single photograph of Martian ice of unknown deposition rate, using an underspecified method. Well, OK then. You certainly live up to your username.

  127. MartinM

    Phil, I do disagree with one statement of yours: “This graph is what really clinches the idea of man-made global warming”: Actually, this graph actually was only a minor supporting player. It just makes for a good iconic image.

    Agreed. You could throw out pretty much all of paleoclimatology and global warming would still have a solid foundation. Consilience is the hallmark of robust science.

  128. MartinM

    “…HIDE THE DECLINE…”

    That video was posted upthread. It hasn’t become any more correct since.

  129. papertiger

    You could throw out pretty much all of paleoclimatology

    Amen, brother.

  130. Chai

    I came from a position from being an AGW believer, having watched “An Inconvenient Truth”, being scared sh**less and all, to the position of a skeptic. Please don’t label me a “denier”.

    I live in Vancouver, and during the 2010 “El Nino” Winter Olympics, we had to truck in and chopper in snow from higher elevations because there was not enough snow in the ski slopes. We were told at that time by our local tree hugging society (aka, the David Suzuki foundation) that this warm 2009-2010 winter was due to global warming.

    Then, around June 2010, I was flabbergasted to hear Joe Bastardi, then at Accuweather, predict a very cold 2010-2011 winter.

    But it turned out Joe was on the ball and spot on. The 2010-2011 winter was the coldest the Pacific NW has seen in decades, as it was in UK and other places in Europe. We did not experience summer until the first week of August, and our local farmers have had a six-week delay to the start of their growing season.

    I then began to do some of my own investigation on the phenomenon of global warming, reading up on climate gate and both sides of the argument. As a mechanical engineer I am troubled with the argument made by AGW proponents that the Earth is warming due to an increase in 1 part per 10,000 in CO2 (i.e., from 0.03% to 0.04%). It’s not the CO2 per se, per their argument, but the “forcing” (i.e., minor amount of warming due to CO2 causes more water to evaporate, increasing the density of water vapor which is a bigger greenhouse gas).

    Seriously, we are talking of an increase from 3/100 of 1 percent to 4/100 of 1 percent. Can someone explain to me how 1/100th of 1 percent increase makes such a difference? Has “forcing” been empirically validated? What about the negative feedbacks? And what about other contributing factors, like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) being in its warm phase, Sunspot activity and Volcanic activity?

    Can someone here explain to me objectively how such a small increase in a trace gas can have such an impact in the computer models, while none of the above – the PDO, Sunspot activity and Volcanic activity, don’t play a role?

    If this is so important to us, why can’t the IPCC release the computer models for review by the public?

  131. Rik van Riel

    To Anonymous in comment #25: interestingly, the HadCRUD project has recently released all the temperature readings around the world. It turns out that about 1/3 of the meteorology stations show a cooling temperature trend, over the lifetime of the station.

    Since the original hockey stick graph was published, a lot of other warming and cooling factors have been discovered. It would be good to inventory all of them and figure out just how much of the warming is due to CO2 and how much is due to those other factors.

    By now everyone has realized that pinning 100% of the warming (or even more) on CO2 is just not realistic. The reason for doing this is quite simple: other causes for global warming may need other solutions than just “reduce CO2″. If people are serious about climate change, those other causes need to be addressed, too.

  132. Grand Lunar

    @139 Chai
    “If this is so important to us, why can’t the IPCC release the computer models for review by the public?”

    What would be the point? To give them pretty images to gawk at?
    Do you think the public will know what those computer models represent?

  133. wolfwalker

    @139 Chai: “I came from a position from being an AGW believer, having watched “An Inconvenient Truth”, scared, sh**less, and all to the position of a skeptic. Please don’t label me a “denier”.”

    Waste of time, Chai. They already have.

    My opinion, like those of most of the commenters here, counts for nil since I am not A Degreed Scientist Who Accepts The Consensus … but as a long-time veteran of numerous debates between science and cranks, I have reached two conclusions about “anthropogenic global warming:”

    1) there are cranks on both sides of the debate

    2) there are, as far as I can tell, scientists on only one side — and it isn’t the side with all the degrees.

    I’ve seen a number of bloggers – bloggers, f’pete’s sake, complete amateurs doing this stuff in their spare time – look at the data published by degreed scientists and find numerous flaws therein. Then they post or publish these findings and are met, not with interest or with rational discussion, but rather by furious assaults on their reason and their integrity. Examples include Anthony Watts’s SurfaceStations survey, and another blogger’s discovery that over the last thirty-odd years the global thermometer network has lost hundreds of reporting stations, and a large fraction of those have been in higher-altitude and colder regions of the planet. The thermometers that remain are biased toward lower altitudes, which means warmer temperatures. But mention this around a crowd of AGW believers, and you’ll get buried in hate-speech and screamed demands for “evidence” that you, I, and they all know they’ll always find a reason to dismiss. It’s like trying to discuss the fossil record with a creationist.

    InstaPundit is fond of saying “I’ll believe there’s a crisis when those who say there’s a crisis start acting like there’s a crisis.” Likewise, I’ll believe AGW is science when those who say it’s science start acting like it’s science. So far, I haven’t seen that.

  134. Chai

    Grand Lunar,
    One reason for releasing the computer models – transparency!

    Why leave lingering doubts?

    My own investigation leads me to believe that the IPCC has been anything but transparent. If you want me to believe you, then show me the proof.

  135. MartinM

    Then, around June 2010, I was flabbergasted to hear Joe Bastardi, then at Accuweather, predict a very cold 2010-2011 winter.

    But it turned out Joe was on the ball and spot on. The 2010-2011 winter was the coldest the Pacific NW has seen in decades, as it was in UK and other places in Europe. We did not experience summer until the first week of August, and our local farmers have had a six-week delay to the start of their growing season.

    And? One cold winter is weather, not climate. It’ll take a hell of a lot more than that to overturn the clear warming trend of the past few decades.

    I then began to do some of my own investigation on the phenomenon of global warming, reading up on climate gate and both sides of the argument. As a mechanical engineer I am troubled with the argument made by AGW proponents that the Earth is warming due to an increase in 1 part per 10,000 in CO2 (i.e., from 0.03% to 0.04%). It’s not the CO2 per se, per their argument, but the “forcing” (i.e., minor amount of warming due to CO2 causes more water to evaporate, increasing the density of water vapor which is a bigger greenhouse gas).

    So far, we’ve gone from about 280 ppmv to about 390 ppmv. That’s an increase of roughly 40%, not ‘1 part per 10,000′, and it’s all due to anthropogenic emissions.

    Has “forcing” been empirically validated? What about the negative feedbacks? And what about other contributing factors, like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) being in its warm phase, Sunspot activity and Volcanic activity?

    The PDO’s been trending down for the past few decades, and there’s been little to no change in solar or volcanic forcings. These factors are already included in climate models.

    Can someone here explain to me objectively how such a small increase in a trace gas can have such an impact in the computer models, while none of the above – the PDO, Sunspot activity and Volcanic activity, don’t play a role?

    They do play a role. They’re demonstrably not the dominant factors now, though. As for ‘trace gas’, 98% of the atmosphere is transparent to IR, making CO2 pretty damn important.

    If this is so important to us, why can’t the IPCC release the computer models for review by the public?

    The IPCC doesn’t produce any computer models. It’s a review body. If you want to play around with a real GCM, ModelE is freely available somewhere on the GISS website. It’s also pretty advanced. A simpler option is EdGCM, which is a simpler model designed for educational purposes. That one you have to pay for, though.

  136. MartinM

    I’ve seen a number of bloggers – bloggers, f’pete’s sake, complete amateurs doing this stuff in their spare time – look at the data published by degreed scientists and find numerous flaws therein. Then they post or publish these findings and are met, not with interest or with rational discussion, but rather by furious assaults on their reason and their integrity. Examples include Anthony Watts’s SurfaceStations survey…

    Watts spent ages accusing other people of fraud because he was sure there must be a warming bias in the US temperature record. Even when a group of scientists studied Watts’ own dataset, because he’d failed to actually do any analysis, and found that no such bias existed, he insisted that their results couldn’t be trusted. Eventually, after several years of innuendo and slander, he published his analysis, which concluded that…there was no warming bias in the US temperature record. And you wonder why nobody takes him seriously.

    and another blogger’s discovery that over the last thirty-odd years the global thermometer network has lost hundreds of reporting stations, and a large fraction of those have been in higher-altitude and colder regions of the planet. The thermometers that remain are biased toward lower altitudes, which means warmer temperatures.

    This is pretty conclusive proof that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Absolute temperatures are not used to determine temperature trends. It doesn’t matter whether the stations are warm or cold. It matters whether they’re warming or cooling.

  137. Chai

    MartinM,
    “So far, we’ve gone from about 280 ppmv to about 390 ppmv. That’s an increase of roughly 40%, not ’1 part per 10,000′, and it’s all due to anthropogenic emissions.”

    The 35% increase still accounts for an actual difference of 1/10,000 of the gas composition of air, i.e., we are going from 3/10,000 to 4/10,000. Even if you double it, CO2 is still a trace gas.

    What I’m trying to get at is, combined with all the other things that affect climate, are the computer models so sensitive that they can account for this small difference? Also, isn’t it a fact that as CO2 concentration increases, its ability to trap heat decreases on a logarithmic scale?

  138. MartinM

    The 35% increase still accounts for an actual difference of 1/10,000 of the gas composition of air, i.e., we are going from 3/10,000 to 4/10,000. Even if you double it, CO2 is still a trace gas.

    So what? So is ozone. Even at its thickest, the ozone layer only reaches a concentration of a few parts per billion. And yet it manages to screen out all UV-C and almost all UV-B.

    What I’m trying to get at is, combined with all the other things that affect climate, are the computer models so sensitive that they can account for this small difference? Also, isn’t it a fact that as CO2 concentration increases, its ability to trap heat decreases on a logarithmic scale?

    Yes, and yes. Look, we’ve had several different satellites observing the spectrum of radiation escaping the top of the atmosphere over the past few decades, and they’ve observed a decrease in the amount of energy escaping in precisely those bands where increased CO2 would be expected to operate. We know that our emissions are altering the Earth’s energy balance; it’s an empirical fact.

  139. Teresa1111

    My question is: If climate change is not ‘real’, why was there an attempt to slander the research?

  140. JoeJP

    >>>>>
    Gary said: “Dr. Mann is guilty only of using bad data (upside down proxy records), statistically invalid methods (analyses that look for hockey stick curves and using data the National Academy of Science advised him to reject), and trying to suppress dissent from his views on climate change. He didn’t commit fraud in a obvious way (by fabricating actually data), but his research is sloppy and he has acted badly when challenged. As for exoneration, well, NSF has something to gain by declaring “not guilty” and all of the so-called investigations have been by vested interests. Not one has been truly independent and all were limited to narrow questions that ignore the real problem of bad scientific practice.”
    <<<<<

    Well said, Gary. Moreover, the so-called "Climategate" was not just about Mann- anymore than it was just about falsifying experimental data.

    But Phil still insists that it's "Case closed" on Climategate as a whole.

    As much as I have admired Phil for his past work, he's clearly functioning as an ideologue here. Phil has left actual science far behind.

    It’s sad.

  141. Consilience

    JoeJP wrote:

    “Well said, Gary. Moreover, the so-called “Climategate” was not just about Mann- anymore than it was just about falsifying experimental data.”

    Well said Gary.You just showed us all that you’re out of the loop regarding reality, as are most other liars and deniers.

    “But Phil still insists that it’s “Case closed” on Climategate as a whole.”

    Not only Phil, but many proper investigation teams. But the deniers have nothing else to lie about, so they desperately cling to their imagined conspiracies long ago debunked.

  142. ligne

    @139 Chai
    “If this is so important to us, why can’t the IPCC release the computer models for review by the public?”

    they can’t release the source code, because they don’t own it. many of the development groups have though. see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/#GCM_code for instance. more links here: http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=667 . even a simple google search would have got you an answer: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ipcc+model+source+code

    though since you didn’t even expend 10 seconds of effort for a google search, i get the strange feeling those links are going to remain unclicked.

  143. ligne

    “another blogger’s discovery that over the last thirty-odd years the global thermometer network has lost hundreds of reporting stations, and a large fraction of those have been in higher-altitude and colder regions of the planet. The thermometers that remain are biased toward lower altitudes, which means warmer temperatures.”

    no, no NO! the surface temperature records are calculated from temperature *anomalies* (ie. the difference relative to the long-term average at that point), not from absolute temperatures. because the people who have been studying the topic for years had — *shock horror* — already realised that could be a problem, and taken steps to avoid it.

    if you run the numbers, you’ll find that this has absolutely no effect on the trend: http://clearclimatecode.org/the-1990s-station-dropout-does-not-have-a-warming-effect/

    chiefio was either too lazy, stupid or dishonest to check that his accusations of fraud had any factual basis.

  144. ligne

    “The 35% increase still accounts for an actual difference of 1/10,000 of the gas composition of air, i.e., we are going from 3/10,000 to 4/10,000. Even if you double it, CO2 is still a trace gas.”

    true. but the vast majority of the atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, etc) is infrared-transparent, so it’s irrelevant to the greenhouse effect.

    “What I’m trying to get at is, combined with all the other things that affect climate, are the computer models so sensitive that they can account for this small difference?”

    uh, yes. of course. they model the radiative transfer processes in the atmosphere. that’s why they show warming when CO_2 concentrations increase.

    “Also, isn’t it a fact that as CO2 concentration increases, its ability to trap heat decreases on a logarithmic scale?”

    well yes. this has been known literally for *decades*. it’s discussed in every introductory atmospheric physics textbook out there. it’s the reason climate sensitivity is defined for a doubling of CO_2, without requiring a baseline concentration.

  145. MartinM

    As much as I have admired Phil for his past work, he’s clearly functioning as an ideologue here. Phil has left actual science far behind.

    Says the guy who just completely ignored the detailed refutation of the comment he claims was ‘well said’.

  146. Anom

    Look at it this way: when we’re living in a mad-max style apocalypse, all the deniers will be to stupid to survive and die off!

  147. MartinM

    chiefio was either too lazy, stupid or dishonest to check that his accusations of fraud had any factual basis.

    That’s a very generous assessment. I’d have left out the either/or.

  148. AllenJ

    Go ahead and blame/tax mankind like volcanos never existed!

  149. Andrew Kerber

    Well no, actually it isnt. The problem with the hockey stick is that there are warmer and colder periods that have been identified independently using many other means that simply dont show up on the graph. This shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the conclusions drawn by it are simply invalid. Specifically, the medieval warming and little ice age dont show on the ‘hockey stick’ graph, even though numerous studies using valid methods have shown that the temperature changed dramatically in those time periods. Since the hockey stick graph doesnt show these warmer and colder periods, there can be little doubt that the whole theory of using tree rings is invalid.

  150. MartinM

    Go ahead and blame/tax mankind like volcanos never existed!

    Did you even read Phil’s post? Our CO2 emissions outstrip those of volcanos by two orders of magnitude.

  151. MartinM

    Specifically, the medieval warming and little ice age dont show on the ‘hockey stick’ graph

    MBH98 doesn’t show a Medieval Warm Period for the very simple reason that it doesn’t go back that far. MBH99 goes back to 1000AD, and does indeed start off with temperatures comparable to those of 1950. Both show lower temperatures during the LIA.

  152. Little Mikey

    Al Gore is so convinced that he increased his carbon footprint, buying house in ritzy Santa Barbara neighborhood for a tidy sum of $8,875,000 an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms. At least he’s doing what he can. Michael Mann being cleared by the scientific community is akin to Charlie Rangel being cleared of ethics charges by fellow democratic congressmen.

  153. uhhmmmm

    Note that there’s no mention of how the temperature data from NASA satellites isnot jiving with the global warming models predictions at all…..hmmm, you think maybe those guys had a reason to cover their butt cheeks and exhonorate this guy?…. nawwww, them govt types always want US to know the truth, right….ok, when do we get our new global government id cards now?..lol..freeking globalists…peace, truth, justice and prosperity for US all, in-spite of them.

  154. Phishy

    Just for sh*ts and giggles, can you explain how quotes along the lines of:

    We must make the medieval warming period disappear
    We must HIDE the decline

    etc…

    could be taken out of context? Tell me again how warm the earth is as it snows in New Zealand. How can you ignore the sun, many scientists are quite perplexed as to how the sun, the major driving factor, is completely ignored.

    How about the fact that other planets in our solar system are also warming? I guess it must be martians.

    Oh, and let us not forget that humans breath out Co2, which plants CONVERT INTO OXYGEN.

    How exactly is Mr. Gores carbon tax going to help anything other than the people getting rich now will have a new income method, taxing our every breath.

    Yes, the environment is taking a hit, YES, we are having an impact. Taxing isn’t the answer, and looking at the other variables at play is just basic science.

    Obviously we can not affect the sun or any other driving forces, so it does make sense to try to conquer those within our grasp. Taxing my respiration is not the answer, it doesn’t solve the problem, it just allows certain people to profit from it.

    And lets not even begin to discuss the graphs that use data from temperature sensors in extremely odd locations. Like dead in the center of a hot city. Or directly in the hot air exhaust stream of an air conditioner.

    Case closed? Not even close.

  155. Chai

    ligne,
    Thanks for posting the source code links. I will check them out. I am looking for good documentation, assumptions, and some form of model validation that has already been done by comparing the model forecasts with actual global temps. If I find the documentation understandable and the source code usable, I will try to see if we could set the starting year to a past date, say 1999, and see how the model forecasts compare with actual global temperature means (or anomalies) since 1999.

  156. Chai

    A great place to look at actual temperature data and anomalies is Dr. Ryan Maue’s website:
    http://coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/weather/

    Look for the graphs under the heading. “NCEP GFS Surface Temperature Forecast: 8-day Composite Anomalies “.

    Based on this website, the current temperature anomaly from the 1979-2010 mean (14-days history from the NCEP CFSR 2-meter temperature) is 0.233C.

    One thing I find interesting, the Pacific 2-meter temps are indeed below normal, and so is a large part of the Atlantic, except in the Gulf of Mexico area and western coast of N. America.

  157. MartinM

    Note that there’s no mention of how the temperature data from NASA satellites isnot jiving with the global warming models predictions at all

    Possibly because it’s not actually true.

  158. MartinM

    Just for sh*ts and giggles, can you explain how quotes along the lines of:

    We must make the medieval warming period disappear
    We must HIDE the decline

    etc…

    could be taken out of context?

    Well, the first one is easy to explain; it’s pure fabrication. Nobody said it. As to the second, it’s rather amusing how every time you hear it quoted, nobody bothers to include the earlier section which mentions how the decline is hidden; by “…adding in the real temps…”. Quite how using observational data instead of bad proxy data is supposed to be deceptive, nobody’s quite managed to explain.

    Tell me again how warm the earth is as it snows in New Zealand.

    This is a joke, right? It’s a bit chilly outside in the UK right now, so I guess that whole ‘Summer’ thing is just a communist hoax.

    How can you ignore the sun, many scientists are quite perplexed as to how the sun, the major driving factor, is completely ignored.

    It isn’t. The Sun is included in all climate models. Its output has been more or less constant over the past few decades, however, so it’s not causing warming.

    How about the fact that other planets in our solar system are also warming? I guess it must be martians.

    Mars is warming because of a change in its albedo due to dust storms. Pluto is warming because it’s summer.

    Oh, and let us not forget that humans breath out Co2, which plants CONVERT INTO OXYGEN.

    Carbon cycle. We’ve already been over this. RTFT.

  159. John

    @ Yojimbo:

    “Son”…? I could be your grandfather you know. Take some time to research, you’ll find enough hard data freely available to see the hoax for what it is.

    To resond to your message: Data is obviously very important but can be misinterpreted, so it must be shared so other scientists can independently confirm their findings. If they cannot confirm their findings, than the initial outcome is simply not valid since it cannot be validated. So this part in science is crucial. One can claim the earth is flat, but can he prove it to others in a convincing manner?

    Apparently you believe that some have the right to claim that their insight is final and sharing their evidence to convince others would not be required. I do not agree.
    I believe this is fraudulent behavior and proves there something to hide. Maybe you do not recall that this was the reason of the leak? These “scientists” refused to share their data and debate their findings. Al Gore also claimed that “everyone agreed” since there was a complete consensus while many scientists strongly disagreed.

    So I am sorry that I am not handing you all data on a silver platter but please, do your homework. You can still download the collection of the e-mails and read through them…. Also there are tons of good and understandable documentaries like “The Great Global Warming Swindle” and the data presented by Lord Monckton.
    But above all, old and new data is out there and at your disposal.

    I am looking forward to your reply with best regards,

    John

  160. MartinM

    No, sorry, John. You don’t get to accuse people of fraud and then refuse to provide evidence to support your accusations.

    Data is obviously very important but can be misinterpreted, so it must be shared so other scientists can independently confirm their findings. If they cannot confirm their findings, than the initial outcome is simply not valid since it cannot be validated.

    But the results in question have been validated. Repeatedly. Even before McIntyre and co started harassing the CRU with frivolous FOIA requests.

    Also there are tons of good and understandable documentaries like “The Great Global Warming Swindle” and the data presented by Lord Monckton.

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

  161. Ron

    I buy that the Earth is warming and that it may be caused by human activity, but please don’t give me the “science is settled” stuff. Many physicists don’t even consider general relativity or quantum physics to be “settled” and those have immeasurably stronger foundations – strong enough that much of our technological society is built upon a framework of the theories. When our climate models incorporate water vapor (you know as in clouds) in a something resembling a decent manner, then start talking about it being settled. At this point the models are too poor to be used as claims supporting AGW. I’m more for going for decreasing carbon for scientific reasons, like carbonification of the oceans. That’s far more frightening. Part of the problem here is that the standard for claims in climatology is far weaker than for something like physics.

  162. MartinM

    Ron, throwing the models out altogether still leaves a bucketload of evidence for a substantial climate sensitivity.

  163. Ron

    Evidence is only data, not evidence, without an explanation. This sounds like the environmental scientist who told directly that the science doesn’t matter. I agree with your term “climate sensitivity”, but without a model that’s at least somewhat functional, it can’t say that it’s a man-made problem. If it’s man made and as dire as everyone claims, then we need radical , and mean really radical, solutions. Is everyone who owns a carnivore prepared to have it put down as they have a significant carbon footprint? Let’s see how strongly people believe it’s man made now? By the way, I do believe we need to get away from carbon usage and I will never own a dog.

  164. ligne

    #170, John.

    Monckton? isn’t that the guy who says he’s got a cure for HIV, MS, influenza, and herpes? and who keeps claiming to be a member of the House of Lords, despite them repeatedly telling him he’s not? http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2011/july/letter-to-viscount-monckton/

    yeah, that sounds like the sort of trustworthy person i’d go to for *my* science!

  165. MartinM

    We have an explanation, and one which happens to fit the data rather well. It’s a question of consilience, once again. And climate sensitivity in this context refers to the amount of warming caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration, so yes, we can say that it’s a man-made problem.

  166. Settled? Any scientist will tell you that the science is never settled. Science is never wrong, but scientists often are. Professor Langley settled the science, proving that heavier than air human flight is in fact impossible by flying his Aerodrome straight to the bottom of the Potomac. A short time later, a couple bicycle mechanics unsettled that science in a major way.

    Helium (atomic #2) was thought to exist but scientists couldn’t find it anywhere on Earth until spectrographic analysis revealed itself on the Sun, thus the Helios root of the word. Now, you can find helium at any birthday party in town.

    Until 1926, the world’s best astronomers really thought that the Milky Way was the entire limit of the cosmos, until newer telescopes and observations proved the existence of other galaxies outside our own, and the “size” of the visible universe multiplied a billion-fold.

    As for the evidence linking human activity and global warming, please refer to this classic example of the difference between correlation and causation:

    Fact 1: In the summertime, ice cream sales increase.
    Fact 2: In the summertime, incidents of vandalism also increase.
    Assumption: The more ice cream there is, the more vandalism occurs.
    Theory: Ice cream consumption leads toward vandalism.

    Nice theory, but it just doesn’t wash. The underlying assumption is incorrect. Truth is, the facts are accurate, but the real link is summertime. Summer is warmer, so more ice cream is sold. Check. Kids are out of school in the summer and are bored so they tend toward tom-foolery such as vandalism. Check. Summer heat causes more ice cream to be consumed. Summer boredom causes kids to do silly things with their time, including acts of vandalism. Check. Ergo, ice cream does not CAUSE vandalism.

    Same applies to AGW. Yes, the industrial age has brought about more CO2 emissions. Check. Global temperatures, as the data shows, have increased during this time. Check. But are coal fired power plants and SUV’s causing global warming, and if they do contribute, are they the ONLY cause? Well, haven’t the recent 11-year sunspot cycles been a little weird this last time around? Check. Are we cutting down rain forests (aka. the lungs of the earth, which draw in CO2 and emit oxygen) at an alarming rate? Check. Could it be that these and many other variables are also contributing factors to climate change? Check.

    Albert Einstein went to his grave unable to prove General Relativity and he despised the Quantum Mechanics of Bohr and Heisenberg. To this day, science is still trying to sort that out.

    The science is not settled. And this ridiculous debate, the leap of fanatical faith required to ‘believe’ in AGW, and the even more absurd ‘cure’ for AGW (trading carbon tax credits from a financial market in Chicago, really?) are perhaps the most unsettling of all.

  167. JoeJP

    “Climategate” involved over 1,000 emails and 3,000 other documents — and dozens of researchers:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

    It encompassed many issues, and was definitely not just about Michael Mann.

    For Phil Plait to pretend that “Climategate was manufactured” — based on this aspect of Mann’s involvement — is highly dishonest.

    Plait is functioning here as an ideologue, not a scientist- and it’s a shame.

  168. Gary Robinson

    Discover Magazine has just become officially a thing of the past. Big money investigating people they gave big money to and giving them a great big thumbs up is not something Discover magazine should give it’s time to. But you did…which means you are part of the problem. Discover Magazine “rest in peace”…

  169. JoeJP

    Sad thing is, I was able to reference the original “Bad Astronomy” blog when I was debunking some idiots claiming we never landed on the moon. Phil did great work there, and I was quite grateful for it. He was a bit like James Randi for me- a skeptical/rational voice I really could depend on.

    But now, Phil has devolved into cable-TV-talking-head-advocate mode. He has no more credibility, as far as I’m concerned. Just another Glenn Beck for the side he’s on.

  170. If global warming is caused by human industry…then how come there are STILL MONKEYS????

    ////

    P.S.
    To Penn & Teller,
    Love your show. Now get of your lazy Cato Institute butts and talk to NASA if you still “Don’t Know”. An honest episode about AGW where you help good science rather than act like a dead weight of malicious indecision would be nice.

    Those are simply the facts. It’s not hard to connect them, as long as you stick to reality and don’t let ideology sway you.

    Yes, what he said!

  171. Sad thing is, I was able to reference the original “Bad Astronomy” blog when I was debunking some idiots claiming we never landed on the moon. Phil did great work there, and I was quite grateful for it. He was a bit like James Randi for me- a skeptical/rational voice I really could depend on. But now….

    Yeah right.
    NASA didn’t lie to us about the moon-landings but…but…BUT they are lying to us about AGW!
    :(
    You don’t know how they “do it” but they are doing it.
    The actual details are permanently hazy.

    A global conspiracy involving every single scientific community on the planet.
    A water-tight global conspiracy using multiple, independent lines of evidence from every branch of the Earth Sciences going back many decades.

    Global conspiracy theories are a contradiction in terms. They collapse under their own weight.
    You are not a skeptic, you are a sucker.

  172. Gunnar

    Every single time Phil posts about global warming and I read the evidence and arguments presented by both AGW acceptors and deniers, the clearer it becomes to me that AGW is indeed supported by the evidence and the deniers either don’t understand what they are talking about or are simply being dishonest.

    As I see it, those accepting AGW are very handily winning the debate every single time! I hate the implications of AGW and dearly wish that it were nothing to worry about, but that does not diminish its reality. The fact remains that 97 to 98% of climate scientists with relevant expertise and research experience accept the fact of AGW, and only fools would ignore their conclusions.

    The fact also remains that reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, improving energy efficiency and developing renewable sources of energy makes very good sense–even if there were no danger of global warming. This makes the diehard opposition of the denialists all the more idiotic!

    It is very telling that many, if not most of the most vociferous AGW deniers are also anti-evolutionists and extreme right-wing religious fundamentalists with a very strong anti-science viewpoint. This in itself greatly damages the credibility of the anti-AGW movement. Time after time I have noticed AGW deniers repeating arguments that had just been devastingly refuted one or a few posts previously, without even attempting to address the refuting arguments that had just been posted, making it obvious that they did not even bother to read or honestly consider what had just been posted. This does not help your credibility, folks!

  173. Spence_UK

    Hmm. Not impressed by this post.

    Yes, “deniers” who argued that climategate showed data manipulation or tampering which disproved global warming are talking rubbish. There is no such evidence in the e-mails.

    Those who argue there is nothing to be concerned about in the climategate e-mails are equally delusional. It shows a host of “worst practice” from a number of climate scientists, ranging from prima facie evidence of breaking freedom of information legislation through to very bad practices when presenting data. Don’t take my word for it; many scientists have spoken out on this (including Professor Richard Muller’s commentary on hide the decline, which is reasonable scientific perspective and easily found on youtube; he makes one trivial error of attribution IIRC but his arguments are spot on).

    As for claiming this exoneration shows the hockey stick is sound, I cannot believe that Phil would post such a ludicrous non-sequitur. The hockey stick was debunked long before the climategate e-mails came out, by a slew of papers in the peer-reviewed literature, including:

    “Hockey sticks, principal components and spurious significance” by McIntyre and McKitrick, Geophysical Research Letters 2005
    “Are multiproxy climate reconstructions robust?” by Burger and Cubasch, Geophysical Research Letters 2005
    “Reconstructing Past Climate from Noisy Data” by von Storch et al, Science 2004

    I don’t think Mann’s faults are fraud, just plain old vanilla incompetence. The bigger question is why do so many people defend bad work? If you claim to be objective, following the data, then why are you doggedly defending bad studies – whether they support your claims or not? This is the behaviour of a peddler of pseudoscience.

  174. JoeJP

    >>>>
    Those who argue there is nothing to be concerned about in the climategate e-mails are equally delusional.
    <<<<

    Indeed. Or dishonest.

  175. MartinM

    Those who argue there is nothing to be concerned about in the climategate e-mails are equally delusional. It shows a host of “worst practice” from a number of climate scientists, ranging from prima facie evidence of breaking freedom of information legislation through to very bad practices when presenting data. Don’t take my word for it; many scientists have spoken out on this (including Professor Richard Muller’s commentary on hide the decline, which is reasonable scientific perspective and easily found on youtube; he makes one trivial error of attribution IIRC but his arguments are spot on).

    His arguments concern an image used for the cover of an obscure WMO report. It’s pointless nitpicking. I’ll agree that Phil Jones’ suggestion to delete emails was bad form, but it has nothing to do with the science. There isn’t a single thing in the emails which detracts from any of the actual science. Hence the pointless nitpicking, in fact.

    As for claiming this exoneration shows the hockey stick is sound, I cannot believe that Phil would post such a ludicrous non-sequitur. The hockey stick was debunked long before the climategate e-mails came out, by a slew of papers in the peer-reviewed literature, including:

    “Hockey sticks, principal components and spurious significance” by McIntyre and McKitrick, Geophysical Research Letters 2005
    “Are multiproxy climate reconstructions robust?” by Burger and Cubasch, Geophysical Research Letters 2005
    “Reconstructing Past Climate from Noisy Data” by von Storch et al, Science 2004

    I don’t think Mann’s faults are fraud, just plain old vanilla incompetence. The bigger question is why do so many people defend bad work? If you claim to be objective, following the data, then why are you doggedly defending bad studies – whether they support your claims or not? This is the behaviour of a peddler of pseudoscience.

    This is hilariously ironic. Both von Storch and Burger/Cubasch incorrectly implemented the MBH algorithm, detrending the data prior to calibration. Since it’s the long-term trend that is the signal of interest, with the short term variations around that trend being predominantly noise, this is absolutely guaranteed to screw up the reconstruction. McIntyre and McKitrick’s paper was laughably incompetent, and should never have made it through peer review. They too failed to implement the MBH algorithm correctly, in ways that should have been obvious to any reviewer who was paying attention. I particularly liked the part where, instead of using Preisendorfer’s rule n for PC retention, as MBH did, they used the rather less well-known ‘hey, two was good enough for those guys’ rule, thus excluding large chunks of signal. Including that chunk that was hockey stick shaped, by a strange turn of coincidence.

    By your own standards, that would appear to make you a peddler of pseudoscience. Though that was quite obvious anyway.

  176. Jeff

    Okay, say Global Warming is real and it is man made. What do you want us to do about it? Should China and India tell their citizens that they should forgo economic modernization because the world will warm a few degrees if they don’t?

  177. Spence_UK

    His arguments concern an image used for the cover of an obscure WMO report. It’s pointless nitpicking.

    The decline (truncation of Briffa’s reconstruction) was also “hidden” – albeit using different “tricks” – in a number of other articles, including the IPCC TAR. Or is the IPCC TAR an obscure dismissable report now?

    Hmm, seems like Dr Muller was right to make the case he did, and you were wrong. But hey, he is a highly regarded professor of physics at the University of Berkeley, it is no big deal for you to be shown to be wrong by him.

    Both von Storch and Burger/Cubasch incorrectly implemented the MBH algorithm, detrending the data prior to calibration.

    Ah, I wondered if you’d trot out the standard memes of the alarmists. Nope, the results of von Storch, Burger and Cubasch hold whether the data are detrended or not; and, as any statistician knows, if you use non-detrended data, you lose one of two important protections against spurious results from the regression; the second protection is lost by relying solely on RE as a figure of merit. This is explained in great detail in the following papers:

    “Response to Comment on ‘Reconstructing Past Climate from Noisy Data’.”, von Storch, Science, 2006
    “Climate reconstruction by regression – 32 variations on a theme.”, Burger, Fast and Cubasch, Tellus, 2006

    As for your smear against McIntyre and McKitrick, hilariously wrong on several levels.

    Firstly, on the application on Preisendorfer’s Rule N, it is immediately obvious that rule was not applied in MBH98, just by looking at the PC retention roster, which contains non-contiguous retained components (which is not consistent with applying Rule N)

    Secondly, the response regarding PC retention was a criticism of their earlier EE paper, not the GRL paper I referenced. The GRL paper discusses the consequence of the hockey stick moving to PC4, and how the resulting stick (whether PC4 is retained or not) fails significance tests.

    Even more entertainingly, Wahl and Ammann, finally getting published two years after submission, verify essentially all of McIntyre and McKitrick’s results, including the significance failure – and only “recover” significance by changing the test applied on ad hoc grounds, an absolutely shocking statistical error (conventional hypothesis tests only have meaning if they are defined prior to the test being applied, you may not change the test or the threshold on seeing the result, for obvious reasons).

    So far, MartinM, you’ve been wrong on…. everything. At least you’re consistent with your pseudoscience.

  178. Gunnar

    To those of you who think that Mann was guilty of deliberate deceit that was confirmed by Dr. Muller, please see the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/c/029130BFDC78FA33/4/tz8Ve6KE-Us

    As you will see in that video, Dr. Muller (whether deliberately or not) misquoted and apparently misinterpreted what Michael Mann actually said. But, to his credit, he also conducted an independent survey of the available evidence for global warming that (much to the dismay of AGW denialists) strongly confirmed the reality of AGW concerns.

  179. Gunnar

    Correction: I meant to say “…what Phil Jones actually said…”

  180. JoeJP

    Hey Spence_UK – Do you have a blog, Twitter, etc.? Interesting info you’re providing…

  181. Messier Tidy Upper

    @129. papertiger :

    107. Messier Tidy Upper : Why don’t you examine this one.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-on-mars.htm
    Note the first comment, which happens to blast John Cross’ propaganda out of the water. Left him speechless, right up to this day. Even after multiple rewrites he still has no answer.

    Really?

    Checks & sees :

    papertiger at 10:20 AM on 16 September, 2007
    Sediment cycles on Mars in resonance with Earth

    After computation of the astronomical Milankovitch cycles on deep sea cores for the last 2.4 Ma the same cycles revealed to exist in land sediment series: Long Term (last 2.4 Ma, Pleistocene) and Middle Term (last 127Ka, Last Interglacial – Last Glacial Time-span) Time Series after cycle computation with the newly developed ExSpect method. Moreover, the same calculation method proved useful for Short Term Time Series as well on sediments of the last 10.000 years (10Ka). The latter cycles as those obtained for ice and glacial lake deposits on Mars could also clearly be traced back in the planetary correlations computed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. This points to an extra terrestrial astronomical forcing of the origin of all these cycles on both planets Earth and Mars.

    Which begs the next question – how would they know this without taking a sediment sample on Mars?

    Answer: they got one with the the Mars orbital satellite.

    Hmm … Huh? If that’s what you’re refering to, then I’m not sure I get your point or see how it really connects with the Anthropogenic Global Warming phenomenon on Earth.

    I don’t think its clear or not whether Mars is warming – but even if it is I’m not sure how relevant it is to what’s happening on Earth which is a separate issue.

    One thing that is clear is that it isn’t the Sun’s fault.

    Not all the planets are warming and we have a good enough record of solar activity toknow it’s NOT the cause of Earth’s overheating.

    Reality is like that. So you go ahead and mainline the pixie dust if you want.

    What “pixie dust” are you talking about? The consensus of scientific experts in a number of fields esp. climatology that AGW is real?

    The rest of us know what this is.O.J. Simpson cleared of all charges! Extra. Extra. Read all about it at Discover Magazine.

    OJ Simpson is irrelevant tothis discussion. So for that matter is Al Gore.

    What matters is what the scientific observed evidence is saying and that is overwhelming supporting the idea of Human Caused Global Overheating. I wish it wasn’t – but it is.

  182. Messier Tidy Upper

    @170. John :

    Also there are tons of good and understandable documentaries like “The Great Global Warming Swindle”..

    Durkin’s T.G.G.W.S. is hardly a good documentary or reliable or credible source – see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2B34sO7HPM&playnext=1&list=PL36DD12D3AC5274E4

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boj9ccV9htk&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=51&feature=plpp

    ..and the data presented by Lord Monckton ..

    Talk about going from bad to worse! :-o

    Watch : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0ijKkgOdZ8

    Or do a few basic online searches yourself.

    Monckton is a notoriously deluded character with no scientific background and who has made some waa-aay out there claims. He isn’t – as he claims – a member of the House of Lords – and they’ve told him so. He wasn’t Maggie Thatcher’s science advisor or climate advisor and has no scientific qualifications – and his arguments have been repeatedly and conclusively debunked over and over again.

    But above all, old and new data is out there and at your disposal.

    Yes, very true. There’s a lot of data out there indeed – but you need to be careful and make sure you’re not being fooled by sources and people such as Durkin and Monckton who aren’t reliable and who are spreading misinformation that seems designed to mislead and confuse.

    Do check your sources and make sure they are legitimate scientists who know what they’re talking about – please. Otherwise you’ll end up looking very foolish. I should know, I was formerly a huge fan of Ian Plimer’s – another prominent (Aussie) climate contrarian whose claims have been widely and decisively shredded by real climatological experts.

  183. Messier Tidy Upper

    @142. wolfwalker :

    @139 Chai: “I came from a position from being an AGW believer, having watched “An Inconvenient Truth”, scared, sh**less, and all to the position of a skeptic. Please don’t label me a “denier”.”
    Waste of time, Chai. They already have.

    FWIW, I haven’t. I don’t believe in name-calling and esp. don’t believ in the “denier” tag.

    I for one wish to conduct a civil and reasonable debate that focuses on the facts and evidence NOT the personal or political.

    I’m sure I’m not perfect being a fallible human and all but I do try to keep things polite and calm. I urge everyone to do the same.

    My opinion, like those of most of the commenters here, counts for nil since I am not A Degreed Scientist Who Accepts The Consensus …

    Your opinion doesn’t count for nil but it if you’re not an expert on a given topic you have to expect your analysis of that topic to mean less than an experts.

    Who is best to diagnose medical problems – a guy on ablogor an actual doctor?

    Who is the best person for legal advice? Some guy at a pub or an actual lawyer?

    So who is the best person to get info onwhat our climate is doing? A Fox news commentator, a Republican politician – or an actual climatologist?

    Experts get to be experts by studying by experience, by having dedicated much of their lives to learning and knowing what they’re on about. There are good reasons why we should listen to the experts.

    but as a long-time veteran of numerous debates between science and cranks, I have reached two conclusions about “anthropogenic global warming:”

    1) there are cranks on both sides of the debate.

    So can you name three people you consider cranks on each side & briefly explain why then, please?

    2) there are, as far as I can tell, scientists on only one side — and it isn’t the side with all the degrees.

    Er.. What? :-o

    You mean to say those 97% of climatologists who accept the consensus that AGW is real and needs to be taken seriously aren’t scientists at all?>

    Please explain and justify that.

    I’ve largely come to a similar but opposite conclusion that the vast majority of the scientists are indeed on the one side – and it isn’t the Cliamate contrarians one.

    I’ve seen a number of bloggers – bloggers, f’pete’s sake, complete amateurs doing this stuff in their spare time – look at the data published by degreed scientists and find numerous flaws therein. Then they post or publish these findings and are met, not with interest or with rational discussion, but rather by furious assaults on their reason and their integrity. Examples include Anthony Watts’s SurfaceStations survey,

    See :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcxVwEfq4bM&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=48&feature=plpp

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wbzK4v7GsM&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=19&feature=plpp

    for more info. on Watts.

    Again he’s not the best source. For guidance on how to tell good sources from bad, I’d recommend you watch this :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp-iB6jwjUc&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=34&feature=plpp

    clip from one of my favourite sources – which also deals some more with climategate and Phil Jones in particular.

  184. Spence_UK

    JoeJP – no, I’m afraid I don’t follow this as closely as I used to so generally do not end up discussing it much. I followed the hockey stick wars closely from around 2003 through to around 2009, reading up the literature quite closely, so I’m familiar with the points made by both sides.

    I’d also point out I didn’t make any assumptions initially as to who was right and who was wrong – in 2003 I coded up a few parts of the MBH98 algorithm myself, understanding it and testing it. It quickly became clear that McIntyre’s observations into the problems with the reconstructions were accurate and insightful. Sure, there are many “deniers” out there spouting garbage (like claims the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, etc) but by lumping McIntyre in with that crowd, you do a disservice to science. The way McIntyre was treated by not only the climate science community but also the likes of Phil Plait was appalling. Which is a shame, because Phil does so much good work elsewhere.

    Incidentally, Phil Plait and Steve McIntyre had a run in as competing for the best science blog weblog awards in 2007, I think it was. McIntyre’s blog (ClimateAudit, now relatively quiet compared to those days) was smeared unfairly by Phil in the run up, although due to an error in the software running the awards, it was impossible to work out who won – they agreed to share the award.

    Steve McIntyre’s work was very much focussed on the issues around temperature reconstructions. My recommendation for the most interesting climate science being generated today would be to watch Professor Demetris Koutsoyiannis, who runs the Itia group of the National Technical University in Athens. A full list of his works can be found here:

    http://itia.ntua.gr/en/documents/?title=&authors=koutsoyiannis

    And a great starter presentation can be found here:

    http://itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/849/ (click through to presentation)

    Also, the presentation he gave on winning the Henry Darcy Medal award at the European Geoscience Union general assembly, “a random walk on water”, is worth reading:

    http://itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/896/ (click through to presentation)

  185. Spence_UK

    JoeJP – just to let you know, I have posted an answer to your question but it has been stuck in moderation limbo for the last half a day, probably because of links etc. Hopefully this one won’t suffer the same!

  186. JoeJP

    Thanks , but no luck on the links. Apparently links are filtered? Perhaps you could post them by obscuring the nature of the link- spelling out “slash,” “dot com,” etc etc… Thanks!

  187. JoeJP

    I created a “Spence_UK” Twitter account. Send a Twitter “at” message to that account, and I’ll see it. I’ll be happy to turn over the acct, and I think you might enjoy Twitter, if you’re not on it already.

  188. Spence_UK

    To those of you who think that Mann was guilty of deliberate deceit that was confirmed by Dr. Muller, please see the following:

    Gunnar, you’ve got to be kidding me. Muller was entirely clear in his videos, and that greenman video is not responsive to Muller’s key points.

    Muller’s criticism was of the WMO cover which was produced by Phil Jones, not by Mann. His criticism was clearly levelled at the UEA team, NOT Mann. That’s unambiguous in his presentation, and I don’t understand why you are distorting it to be something else. The only actual misstatement by Muller that I’m aware of is that he referred to the trick as “Mike’s nature trick”, which to be fair could be viewed as simply a quote from the e-mail. In fact, the technique applied was not identical to Mann’s method.

    The video is inaccurate in several ways. Firstly, it describes “Mike’s nature trick” as overlaying the temperature record as a separate line on the graph. This is one of Mike’s tricks, but not the one Phil Jones is referring to. When you look at the hockey stick graph (such as the one above), you see the smoothed reconstruction (the black line). The line bumps upwards from about 1910 to 1940, then dips down before the final uptick until it stops in 1980. But the original graph didn’t do this. In fact, it downturns at 1940 and doesn’t come back up. To make the *smoothed* version of the graph, the black line, uptick between 1970 and 1980, Mann padded the curve from 1980 to 1997 (the data available at the time), then smoothed the line (which introduces the uptick), but then truncates the graph back to 1980. The youtube video you link to is ignorant of these facts. In a dose of ironic satire, greenman3610 says “nothing was hidden” – what actually happened was something was hidden, but it was hidden so well greenman3610 was unaware of it. THAT is how well it was hidden.

    Greenman3610 goes on to insist that the people would be more interested in the real temperatures. This is a strawman, and clearly not the point that Muller was making. Muller pointed out that the reconstructions were, in fact, “all over the place” in the 20th century. He pointed out that isn’t surprising, they’re “all over the place” through the whole graph – what this tells us is the technique doesn’t work very well. He’s spot on about that.

    Greenman3610 goes on to say Briffa is an expert on “dendrochronology”, which he describes as the art of teasing temperature data from tree ring samples. Ermm, no, dendroCHRONology is the art of DATING trees, DendroCLIMATology is the art (sic) of deriving climatic data from tree ring proxies. The clue is in the names.

    Greenman3610 states that other temperature markers “stay consistent”. This is drivel. There are huge disagreements between reconstructions, for all manner of reasons (confounding factors, dating difficulties, etc). This is obvious from Muller’s video, and he clearly makes this point.

    Greenman3610 and others here create a strawman that it is about presenting the best data. It has nothing to do with that. It is about making the techniques appear believable and consistent when they are nothing of the sort. This is made clear by Muller, so greenman3610 is simply not addressing Muller’s argument at all.

    Greenman3610 then quotes from the ICCER inquiry, insisting it shows no dishonesty. Of course, his quote is quote-mined. And since we are testing Muller’s video, Muller made no claim of dishonesty. He claimed the graph was misleading – not how science is done. Let’s take the REAL quote about “hide the decline” from the ICCER report:

    On the allegation that the references in a specific e-mail to a “trick” and to “hide the decline” in respect of a 1999 WMO report figure show evidence of intent to paint a misleading picture, we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the IPCC Third Assessment Report), the figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading. We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data, but we believe that both of these procedures should have been made plain – ideally in the figure but certainly clearly described in either the caption or the text.

    So, in fact, the report largely concurs with Muller’s findings – that the graph was misleading. Being a scientist, Muller uses stronger language because he feels more strongly about how science should be done, but the findings concur. Greenman3610 selects a quote not related to the topic being discussed to create a false impression. What is it with these people and hiding stuff? Disgraceful.
    (long post cont’d)

  189. Spence_UK

    (long post cont’d)
    Greenman3610 then quotes people saying there was no conspiracy and that the science of climate change was sound. Again, that is not relevant to Muller’s points, since he made no claims in this regard.

    Ah. OK, about 10 minutes in listening to mistakes and drivel, he then claims that Muller misquotes the e-mail. But he really doesn’t: Mike’s trick to hide the decline is a contraction, but it doesn’t change the meaning of those words. What is more, Greenman3610 doesn’t even know what Mike’s Nature trick is – he got it wrong, as I noted above. And yes, Phil’s trick is different again, but in the context of Muller’s whole video, he refers to the “group that hid the decline” as the group who produce the CRU temperature series. There is no error here other than one happening in Greenman3610’s head.

    Greenman3610 claims the raw data was available for these plots. Yet again he distorts Muller’s claim. The data referred to here was not the data for MBH98, but data relating to Briffa’s charts, not all of which was available prior to climategate. This is described http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/26/new-the-deleted-data/“ So another false claim by Greenman3610.

    He then attempts to smear Muller by pointing out that he receives funding from oil industries (so did the CRU and Phil Jones, but apparently it is only an “ominous sign” for Muller, not for Jones, Mann and others). He then attacks Muller for praising some of the positive contributions of the sceptics. Ugh. Greenman3610 is not interested in science at this point, but ideology.

    Greenman3610 points out that Muller’s results are similar to other groups – including sceptics who produced their own curves such as Jeff Id and RomanM. This is no surprise to anyone, let alone sceptics, but greenman3610 paints it as some kind of gotcha. I don’t think Jeff or Roman were surprised. Greenman3610 goes on to criticise Watts, but agree with Muller, so the rest of the video is not really relevant.

    So in summary. Greenman3610 clearly does not understand “Mike’s trick” … “to hide the decline”. He does not understand Mike’s trick, or Phil’s trick. He makes a number of factual errors in his discussion, about the availability of data, and quote-mines and misrepresents a number of Dr Muller’s statements. He builds a strawman, insisting that the truncations were about showing the best data, which was clearly not the point Dr Muller made.

    My synopsis: Greenman3610 needs to correct many of his own mistakes before taking on criticisms of Richard Muller. But as mentioned, this is hardly surprising. Greenman3610 is just some bloke on the internet. Richard Muller is a professor of physics. I’m just not sure why Gunnar is so quick to want to believe someone who gets so much wrong.

  190. Mark
  191. Hugo Schmidt

    Spence_UK, props….

    For Christ’s sake…

    Look, I expect this sort of thing from the no-talent hacks at the formerly named “ScienceBlogs”, now the even more self-importantly named “Free Thought blogs”, but not here.

    Let me break with form and take a look at what Nature has to say about this. You know, that far-right, wingnut publication Nature?

    “We roughly agree with the substance of their findings,” says Gerald North, the committee’s chair and a climate scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station. In particular, he says, the committee has a “high level of confidence” that the second half of the twentieth century was warmer than any other period in the past four centuries. But, he adds, claims for the earlier period covered by the study, from AD 900 to 1600, are less certain. This earlier period is particularly important because global-warming sceptics claim that the current warming trend is a rebound from a ‘little ice age’ around 1600. Overall, the committee thought the temperature reconstructions from that era had only a two-to-one chance of being right.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html

    Two-to-one is by no means the 95% that I’ve been taught to regard as iron-clad. The article goes on to say that this graph should not have been placed so central to the IPCC report.

    Furthermore, from what I read in the follow up, Mann was sitting on his data for seven years before he allowed anyone else to take a look at it. That stinks; “evidence” means that which is seen.

    Now, the whole argument against the Hockey stick is comes from the following line in the original paper:

    Monthly instrumental land air and sea surface temperature10 grid-point data (Fig. 1b) from the period 1902–95 are used to calibrate the proxy data set. Although there are notable spatial gaps,this network covers significant enough portions of the globe to form reliable estimates of Northern Hemisphere mean temperature, and certain regional indices of particular importance such as the ‘NINO3′ eastern tropical Pacific surface temperature index often used to describe the El Niño phenomenon. The NINO3 index is constructed from the eight grid-points available within the conventional NINO3 box (5° S to 5° N, 90–150° W).

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v392/n6678/full/392779a0.html

    Emphasis mine. In short, the whole argument hinges on whether or not they calibrated their proxies against the instrumental data correctly. This being so, an unwillingness to provide the data and explain how they calibrated it, is ridiculous. As the report notes, the earlier dates are not reliable.

    Note also, if you pay attention to the graph -better version on the recent Nature article – that the graph starts turning upwards at the exact moment instrumental records are incorporated. Now does that, or does it not, look suspicious? And why can I not find the obvious control in this – what it looks like if you plot the whole graph only with proxy data?

    Back to the first Nature article:

    The academy essentially upholds Mann’s findings, although the panel concluded that systematic uncertainties in climate records from before 1600 were not communicated as clearly as they could have been. The NAS also confirmed some problems with the statistics. But the mistakes had a relatively minor impact on the overall finding, says Peter Bloomfield, a statistician at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who was involved in the latest report. “This study was the first of its kind, and they had to make choices at various stages about how the data were processed,” he says, adding that he “would not be embarrassed” to have been involved in the work.

    I entirely agree with this. To be clear, I do not believe that Mann was dishonest, but he should have shared his data (Christ, I always hang on to mine in case someone wants to take a look). However, the way that this graph has been turned into a showcase – you cannot complain when a predictable response comes.

    I also think that Phil is entirely wrong to start complaining about “witch hunts” and whatnot. That’s politics for you, and this is what always happens in politics. It is worth remembering, and underlining, and underlining twice what certain members of the believer camp are not shy about proposing – suspension of democracy, trials for dissidents, human decimation, the works. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – you can’t have people talk like that and not get a ferocious response.

  192. Spence_UK

    Hugo, thanks for the thoughtful commentary. If AGW really is a problem, then we should be demanding the highest standards of science from our scientists, not defending sloppy/shoddy work. Ultimately, defending bad work backfires: it will be found out eventually, and it ultimately damages public confidence when it does. The sooner it is highlighted, the less damage that is done.

    We all have our individual bias, and it isn’t surprising that people hold strong opinions when it comes to stuff like AGW. But we owe it to ourselves to be as objective as possible, and call out bad science where and when it happens, whether it supports our own personal view or not.

    JoeJP – thanks for the offer, and I have considered this before, but I really do plan to lie low on climate change for a short while, and if I do get involved again at some point in the future, I think I’ll probably be looking into issues around natural variability and horizons of predictability in climate. But this will likely be a year or two off in the future.

  193. Hugo Schmidt

    Spence+UK,

    No problem. If you go to the DeSmogBlog posting crosslinked above, you’ll find my own links to a number of papers that show, quite clearly, that Mann himself acknowledges that this thing has been long due for an overhaul.

    It drives me nuts the way discourse about scientific matters goes to pot in the public sphere. There is no serious disagreement that AGW is real – and, anyway, if the world was getting warmer and it wasn’t caused by humans, we’d still have to figure out the impact and ways to handling it – but there is a big debate about how much, and what impact, and what we can do, and and so on.

  194. Chai

    Here’s an interesting paper:

    Long-term Variations in Solar Activity and their Apparent Effect on the Earth’s Climate
    K.Lassen
    Danish Meteorological Institute, Solar-Terrestrial Physics Division,
    Lyngbyvej,100, DK-2100 Copenhagen (2), Denmark

    Source:
    http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/lassen1.html

    Excerpts:
    “A distinct 10-12 year period in height and temperature of certain isobar sheets was shown to be phaselocked to the solar activity cycle during the last three cycles. Although many meteorologists rejected the association, careful statistical tests demonstrated that the probability of the effect being just a coincidence is less than 1%.”

    “In accordance with their conclusion we show in Fig.11 that the temperature data derived from the ice-core in Central Greenland like the variation of sea-ice extent at Iceland have varied in concert with the medium length solar activity during most of a 500 year period.”

    “70-90 years oscillations in global mean temperature are correlated with corresponding oscillations in solar activity. Whereas the solar influence is obvious in the data from the last four centuries, signatures of human activity are not yet distinguishable in the observations. “

  195. Gunnar

    @Spence+UK

    The fact still remains that, as Hugo Schmidt above confirmed, “There is no serious disagreement that AGW is real” (at least not among climatologists). Apparently, even Dr. Muller agrees with that.

    So why do you still seem to be arguing against that, especially since many of the proposals suggested to ameliorate that problem make very good sense even if AGW were not real?

    Also, you seem to accusing Phi Plait of talking about or supporting ” suspension of democracy, trials for dissidents, human decimation” and so forth. That is a very unfair characterization.

  196. Gunnar

    Speaking of trials for “dissidents”, no one seems more inclined to favor that than AGW contrarians like Senator Imhofe, who has actually seriously proposed bringing criminal charges against Climate Scientists who accept the fact of global warming.

  197. Spence_UK

    Gunnar,

    I have not got a clue what you are attributing to me there. Which line, specifically, do you think I contend that climatologists disagree over AGW? In which line do I accuse Phil Plait of all that stuff?

    Hugo pointed out that some activists have made such claims (such as the suspension of democracy), not Phil specifically. (Hugo’s words: “certain members of the believer camp”) I can get you some links if your google fu is that bad but such claims are not hard to find.

    If you’re going to ask questions, try to make them about what I actually wrote.

  198. Gunnar

    Spence, I apologize for mis-interpreting your position on the reality of AGW. In what way do you actually disagree with what Phil is saying?

  199. a Martin

    @Spence+UK

    You seem to know a thing or two… :)

    I’m wondering if it’s *not* scientifically proven that CO2 emissions by us humans affects the climate?
    Some people are arguing that we can’t be sure.

  200. Gunnar

    @Spence+UK

    I finally noticed this comment by you. ” There is no serious disagreement that AGW is real – and, anyway, if the world was getting warmer and it wasn’t caused by humans, we’d still have to figure out the impact and ways to handling it – but there is a big debate about how much, and what impact, and what we can do, and and so on.”

    I am embarrassed now about just how badly I misunderstood your position. Obviously, you do agree that AGW is real and that we need to figure out what to do about it. I’m sure you would also agree that increasing energy efficiency and striving harder to develop and utilize alternatives to fossil fuels would have to be an important part of the solution.

  201. Spence_UK

    Gunnar, why do I have to repeat everything I said above? I do not think my commentary is ambiguous. Hugo seemed to have no trouble understanding it.

    My main points were to do with Climategate and the UEA e-mails. Hopefully I made it clear that I did not think there was any evidence of data tampering or fraud in the e-mails (comment #185). But also that the behaviour demonstrated within the e-mails (such as prima facie evidence of breaking FOI laws, withholding of data) were not acceptable from scientists. I also agree with outspoken scientists Dr Muller (prof physics UC Berkeley), Dr Curry (climatologist, Georgia Tech) and Dr Jonathan Jones (prof physics Brasenose College Oxford) that “hide the decline” was an attempt to mislead and is not acceptable practice for a scientist. I also note the ICCER inquiry also concurred that the graphic was misleading.

    I note that the fact there is no data tampering or fraud within the climategate e-mails in no way makes the hockey stick “more solid”, as claimed by Phil, and in no way fixes the serious problems with that graph that have been highlighted in the peer review literature, some of which I cited above.

    I have stated clearly and unambiguously that if AGW is a serious problem, we should only accept the highest standards from our scientists and we should be calling them out when they fall short, even when their work appears to support action. And that supporting and defending bad work out is ultimately self-defeating and damages science in the medium term.

    I also noted that the video you linked above that supposedly found fault with Dr Muller’s presentation was, itself, riddled with errors and that Dr Muller’s presentation was considerably more accurate (although not perfect, as I noted originally, it contains one attribution error).

    That was my narrow and (I thought) fairly clear points as made in this thread.

    You now ask me a different question regarding climate change, unrelated to the above points I have been making. As has typically been my point of view, I agree that mankind influences climate in many ways, one of which is through greenhouse gases.

    My main criticism of climate science has always been related to the predictability horizon of climate modelling in which I take a view closer to that of the likes of Dr Timothy Cohn (USGS) and Professor Demetris Koutsoyiannis (NTUA) than the “mainstream” climate science view. I am aware that this is a minority view (at least within climate science) but I note that their position has been published in the peer reviewed literature; having reviewed the arguments carefully I find them compelling, and their claims have not yet been falsified. I provide links in support of this position in comment #197.

  202. Spence_UK

    Oops

    Firstly, 213 and 214 crossed (I hadn’t seen 213 on posting)

    Secondly, the quote in 213 is not mine, but Hugo’s. I think I see the problem. Hugo tends to bold my name when replying and at a glance may appear as if that comment is from me. Beware of this when quoting.

  203. Chai

    Pro-AGW proponents,

    Please explain this:

    Lower Troposphere Temperatures increased by an average of 0.143 degrees Kelvin/decade since 1980 (but have NOT increased since 1998).

    Middle Troposphere Temperatures increased by an average of 0.087 degrees Kelvin/decade since 1980 (but have also NOT increased since 1998).

    Troposphere/Stratosphere channel increased by an average of 0.001 degrees Kelvin/decade since 1980 (but have also NOT increased since 1998).

    Lower Stratosphere channel DECREASED by an average of 0.304 degrees Kelvin/decade since 1980.

    Source:
    http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#zonal_anomalies

    Look for the graphs under the heading “Global Brightness Temperature Anomaly”.

    Conclusion:
    There has been no temperature increase since 1998 in ALL FOUR atmospheric channels in this data set. Please review the graph).

    Explanations are sought from the Pro-AGW camp.

  204. Gunnar

    Thanks Spence! I hope we are cool now. :)

  205. a Martin

    @Chai

    Check out post 134 here: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/09/im-skeptical-of-denialism/

    ”How many times do I have to point this out? The “current stall in warming for the last 10 years” is not a valid argument against AGW. This is true for several reasons:

    1) Climate studies cannot use 10 year intervals. The solar cycle causes variability on an 11 year cycle, meaning climate studies must examine trends longer than 11 years to get rid of this expected variation. A 10 year interval is meaningless in climate science.

    2) The “stall in warming” isn’t an accurate way to describe the evidence. What you’re describing is a downward sloping trend line from 1998 to 2008. Why is that trend line downward sloping? Because 2008 was a convergence of a solar maximum and el nino and was thus way hotter than would be predicted by following the curve exhibited by the other data points. 2008 wasn’t very cold at all — one of the ten warmest years on record in fact. The “stall in warming” is the result of a well-known fact of statistics: an outlier. And the outlier isn’t even relevant in this case due in part to (1).”

  206. Chai

    aMartin,

    I find the following statement by DanL “The “stall in warming” is the result of a well-known fact of statistics: an outlier” (post #134 in the other thread to which you provided a link) to be plain wrong and a pretty lame excuse.

    What part is the “outlier”? The twelve years of observation past 1998 or the observation for 1998 itself? In statistics, an outlier is an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data, and is usually discarded.

    We have 12 years of temperature observations that are below 1998 level. Even if we discard 1998, the trend is still flat or downward since 1998 (in ALL four data sets, per my previous post).

  207. a Martin

    @Chai

    I’m not an expert in the field (but definitely interested in it), but it seems the ones who are says it’s because making a conclusion based on twelve years is cherry picking when it comes to examining the bigger picture of climate change.

    ”Objection: Global temperatures have been trending down since 1998. Global warming is over.

    Answer: At the time, 1998 was a record high year in both the CRU and the NASA GISS analyses. In fact, it blew away the previous record by .2 degrees C. (That previous record went all the way back to 1997, by the way!)”

    http://www.grist.org/article/global-warming-stopped-in-1998

    Also, here’s a graph for the temperature change over 1000 years: http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/LargerImages/OverviewGraphics/1000YrRecords.jpg

  208. JoeJP

    Spence_UK, I hope you’ll continue contributing to these discussions. It’s rare to see someone carefully circumscribe these arguments and then pursue them point by point.

    It’s a stark contrast to Phil Plait here, whose AGW style consists basically of taking wild, partisan swings at opponents (e.g. “Case closed”!). It’s a lot more like – umm – science.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, which is why I was curious to follow you elsewhere. I was also interested in your statistical critiques of Mann’s work. Unfortunately, my own statistics background is lacking here. Maybe I need to watch some Khan Academy videos….

  209. MC

    A scientist is cleared of wrongdoing in a very highly visible and politicized issue by the National Science Foundation.

    News, indeed.

  210. JoeJP

    Richard Feynman on certainty in science:

    It is necessary and true that all of the things we say in science, all of the conclusions, are uncertain, because they are only conclusions. They are guesses as to what is going to happen, and you cannot know what will happen, because you have not made the most complete experiments.

    […]

    Scientists, therefore, are used to dealing with doubt and uncertainty. All scientific knowledge is uncertain. This experience with doubt and uncertainty is important. I believe that it is of very great value, and one that extends beyond the sciences. I believe that to solve any problem that has never been solved before, you have to leave the door to the unknown ajar. You have to permit the possibility that you do not have it exactly right. Otherwise, if you have made up your mind already, you might not solve it.

    […]

    So what we call scientific knowledge today is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty. Some of them are most unsure; some of them are nearly sure; but none is absolutely certain. Scientists are used to this. We know that it is consistent to be able to live and not know. Some people say, “How can you live without knowing?” I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing.

    From “The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=DGiw7rxQLwwC

  211. Phil

    I have yet to see a credible (practical) “fix for global warming” from ANYBODY. Especially from those who are so excited and firmly believe that current century of warming is caused -100% -by humans (no room or discussion about natural + human causes). Do you really believe that fluctuations on climate are 100% human caused?, If you do how do you explain fluctuations prior to the industrial age). If you think that our current warming climate is solely the result of man, you are identical to the people who think that the climate isn’t changing. Clinging to a belief, and not science.

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