Climate Dead Enders

By Keith Kloor | October 28, 2011 12:53 pm

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously coined the five stages of grief:

1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, 5) Acceptance

Anthony Watts appears to be stuck at stage 2. Oh sure, he’s still very much in denial over this, but make no mistake, he’s also fuming and furiously spinning. It is highly doubtful that any amount of peer review–when that final threshold is crossed–will be enough to get him through the final three stages of grief.

So Watts, his WUWT minions, and the Moranos, will always be the hold-outs. As Donald Rumsfeld would say, they are the dead-enders.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/ William M. Connolley

    That Watts post is wonderful! I can’t wait to take the piss out of it. Thanks for the link.

  • Keith Kloor

    You are such a wind-up artist. I thought I was bad.

  • EdG

    #2. In this case you are simply being a “wind-up artist.” Boring.

  • Tom Fuller

    Wind-up toy is more likely for #1.

    I’ve been wearing Levi’s for more than 40 years. Once every decade I find I’m in style again. The rest of the time I’m a dead ender, I guess.

    Watts has got some things stuck in his head that are clearly wrong. He’s not the only weblogger on climate issues that has that problem. There are clear analogues for Watts and Morano on the other side of the fence.

    On the one hand, we praise people who stick to their convictions when the going gets tough. On the other hand, we look on aghast when they decide to go down with the ship. And again, we see examples on both sides of the fence.

    The inability to assimilate new data and new interpretations is fairly common and not limited to the climate debate. Being the target of daily attacks does not exactly make it easier. I’m sure that’s just as true of Joe Romm as it is of Anthony Watts. And I’m well aware that Romm has a better understanding of the science than Anthony–which only makes his mistakes and attack-dog mentality more irritating.

    Having a vested interest in the outcome of a policy position also makes it hard to adapt to reality. And I’m sure that is just as true of Marc Morano as it is of Romm.

    I think pairing up these operators is actually a better way of exploring this type of issue. 

     

  • Dean

    @4

    “On the one hand, we praise people who stick to their convictions when the going gets tough. On the other hand, we look on aghast when they decide to go down with the ship.”

    There are principles that are solely value-based and there are principles that can be contradicted by facts. If a politician refuses to use negative ads, even if it means they lose an election, we will generally respect them. This kind of respect doesn’t apply to people whose principles are more tied to objective facts where those facts contradict them.

    I have occasionally used the issue of birds having evolved from dinosaurs as an example. At first the holdouts may seem a bit contrarian, but they are the folks who hold other’s feet to the fire. But as more evidence builds, they just become cranks if they don’t give in.

    If in the coming years, a longer temperature record validates existing IPCC sensitivity estimates, will Lindzen and the low-sensitivity crowd eventually give in to the weight of evidence?

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, Dean, it may work the other way. Seems those models are running hot. Do you visit Lucia’s site?

    Will Gavin, James and Michael give in to the weight of evidence if it shows low sensitivity? 

  • sharper00

    WUWT was founded on the surface temperature record being unreliable with a healthy dash of “manipulated” mixed in. Outside of that the site simply has nowhere to go and if temperature records are reliable it has little to report on. 

    Most commenters appear to go there to have their preconceptions strengthened rather to learn about science or climate.  

    #5

    If in the coming years, a longer temperature record validates existing IPCC sensitivity estimates, will Lindzen and the low-sensitivity crowd eventually give in to the weight of evidence?”

    In 2020 Lindzen or his successor will writing holo-blog posts about how it’s been cooling since 2014.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    The oldest comments I can see at Tony’s were in 2006:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2006/ 

    Note the WP trick. 

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Strange.  It works when you tedit the URL by hand.  Yet another WP glitch.

  • Sashka

    willard et al:

    What needs to happen so that you admit that you were wrong?
    What do you think need to happen so that Gavin admitted being wrong?
    Hansen?
    Gore?
    Romm?

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @8,9 willard”

    Watts’s old blog is http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/ . It goes back to November 2006: http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/2006/11/welcome_to_watts_up_with_that.html

  • Keith Kloor

    Sashka,

    So this is a shining example of why these threads become so infuriating. The post is about the inability of Watts et al to concede that Muller is right. It’s obvious why he/they can’t do this.

    Yet, you want to play tit for tat. Well, I’ve done posts focusing on Romm, Hansen, Gore, etc.

    This one is about Watts. Still, you and others want to ignore that or change the subject.

    That’s why these debates are so infuriating. Nobody wants to give ground.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    thingsbreak,

    So this would be Tony’s first post:

    http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/2006/11/welcome_to_watts_up_with_that.html

    Right?

    If that’s the case, here’s Tony’s first impression:

    > The idea here on this blog is somewhat “gee-whiz” in nature. I’ve always been fascinated by useful trivia, i.e. things that make you think rather than pointless things like Britney’s and KFed’s latest celebrity gossip.

    In any case, many thanks! 

    * * *

    Sashka,

    I’m deeply sorry, but I have no time or interest in rehashing this or that. 

    But many thanks for your question! 

  • Sashka

    Keith,

    The fact that Watts is unable to concede is quite apparent. There is nothing to discuss here, right? Unless you count WC’s comment as discussion, which I honestly doubt.

    In such cases it is quite natural that discussion gets broader. Tom fairly mentioned other people who are even less likely to concede anything than Watts. Note that it wasn’t a partisan comment b/c Tom mentioned two people Romm and Morano. Then Dean comes over and takes a shot not just at Lindzen (who is a fair game in this context) but also at “the low-sensitivity crowd” as a whole. What do you expect after that? Why is your rebuke addressed to me, not to Dean?

  • sharper00

    December 2006 Scientists Predict Large Solar Cycle Coming

    “So, with a big sunspot cycle in the next few years, we can expect many record high summer temperatures and warmer than normal winters. We’ll see melting sea ice, retreating glaciers”

    Warmer winters not so much but we did get the other things despite a solar minimum, you’d think that would focus some minds on what might be going on. 

    March 2007 California Heating Up, a new NASA/CSU study finds, but data questionable

    “What is troubling about this study is that many of California’s historical climatological stations, when done on a 100 year trend, rather than a 50 year trend, show a net cooling over the period, or a reversal of trend.”
    [...]
    “but the fact that I’ve been able to find and plot in a couple of hours, several places that don’t match the trends in the NASA/CSU study calls their methodology into question.”
    [...]
    The inescapable conclusion is that the NASA/CSU study is plotting the effects of urban heat islands, and applying that trend to the entire landmass of California to reach the conclusions they have mapped onto the state map of temperature trend they present.”
    [...]
    For the most part, “urban warming” has dwarfed “global warming” in its magnitude, a fact that is lost on some who look at temperature data from weather stations worldwide and treat them all equally in the quest to prove a theory.”

    Ah how far we’ve come. Or not.
     

  • Tom Fuller

    Keith, that was my bad–don’t blame Sashka. 

    I don’t want to paint a picture of false equivalence, but I do think if you’re going to jump on Watts for resisting Muller’s findings, it might be well to remember how many people resisted Muller’s seeking.

    It’s hard to move off the dime. 

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @14 Tom Fuller:
    it might be well to remember how many people resisted Muller’s seeking.

    From my perspective, the concerns with BEST were generally twofold:
    1. In the narrow sense of pushing back against “skeptic” beliefs re: the surface instrumental record being significantly wrong, it was unnecessary, and thus a waste of time and effort that could be better spent doing other things.
    2. Muller’s past wrong claims/Koch-funding/whatever meant that the results might not be honest.

    Concerns for many re: point 1 were dispelled relatively early on, when the novelty of some of the studies anticipated results was explained (e.g. better regional data).

    Point 2 seemed to be a much bigger worry for the Think Progress/Climate Progress crowd, who tend to be far more concerned with Koch funding in general.


    I don’t think anyone on the “climate concerned” side of things had any objection to the idea of a fair, independent reexamination of the surface record while the general focus remained on areas where significant uncertainty persist.
    Just my anecdotal perspective. Obviously, other people’s MMV.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    First post at Tony’s about Global Warming.  Here is a first quote:

    > Actually, NewScientist is wrong. CO2 is not the biggest “gorilla” of
    greenhouse gas on planet earth. It’s water vapor.

    Here is a second one:

    >  As I’ve always said, the earth’s atmosphere is such a complex
    system, that pinning its change on just one thing is not good science.

    http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/2006/11/greenhouse_gas_stablizes_on_it_1.html 

    A lukewarm archeological discovery. 

  • NewYorkJ

    TF: I don’t want to paint a picture of false equivalence, but I do think if you’re going to jump on Watts for resisting Muller’s findings, it might be well to remember how many people resisted Muller’s seeking.

    That would indeed be a false equivalence.  Most of us questioned (and still do) the need for all the hype about “seeking” something that has already been and can easily be found, lead by an individual funded partially by Koch who’s uttered various nonsense about climate scientists, presumably justifying the “need” for an “independent” analysis.  Little of that has changed.  Oh look…he’s re-discovered the wheel.  It’s not news.  As Romm put it tongue-in-cheek, “hot dog!”  We still look at Muller and Curry with a skeptical eye.

    What is news is watching deniers squirm over the results, in an epic about face, from Watts getting involved with and hyping the effort from the beginning, stating “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.” to the idiocy and hypocrisy he and others are enaged in now.  Consistency is not their strong suit.

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/20/349544/berkeley-temperature-study-results-confirm-global-warming/

  • http://scienceblogs.com/stoat William M. Connolley

    Indeed,many of us just couldn’t see the point of BEST, if it were done honestly (e.g. http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/04/muller_is_rubbish.php). That remains largely true. They have done some new things, and some science, but nothing that would count as more than minor fiddling from the results so far. The only thing they have done to justify the publicity is to upset the septics who relied on them; that is deeply funny. Watts current set of lies is priceless.

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    KK, regardless of the patent, despicable odiousness of Watts et al., adopting Rumsfeldian rhetoric would seem to me to be not recommended.  (Supposed ‘dead enders’ kept the Iraq insurgency going for years…)

  • Tom Fuller

    buh-buh-but we tought he wuz a bad ‘un, Sergeant

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    “Muller is rubbish”: is that an ontological claim? 

  • Nullius in Verba

    The Rumsfeldian rhetoric achieves its aim. I think that was exactly the parallel being drawn.

    I find the BEST results intriguing, and I’m a little surprised that others are taking such a relaxed attitude to them. I thought their result that urban warming is negative to be most interesting. We know that big cities can be several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside – that’s a simple experiment to perform. We know that cities are generally bigger today than they were in 1800. And yet, the claimed effect of 27% of measurements being taken in cities is to cool the record. That’s remarkable!

    Of course, observation takes priority over theory, so if there is some reason why the building of cities around the thermometers has led to a general cooling of their readings, then we do want to know. However, I think it is a bit premature to treat this result as if it was already definitively settled. The results have only just been released. The data and methods have not yet been independently checked, or even peer-reviewed. And sometimes it has taken years for the flaws in peer-reviewed papers to be found.

    The idea of doing a new reconstruction, using full and open transparency, state of the art statistics, and going back to the raw data without all the adjustments and exclusions was and still is a good thing. That’s just the right response. Holding a press conference the moment it is out the door to crow about how it proves the sceptics wrong, especially when it does no such thing, is a disastrous, catastrophic move. That is to build a bridge, invite those others onto it, and then set fire to the thing just as they get near the other side.

    That move just cost you whatever credit BEST might have bought you, and virtually guaranteed its rejection. There was no point to BEST to persuade the already converted – the whole aim of it was to change the minds of serious sceptics by taking their concerns seriously. The aim was to turn the tide of mounting scepticism and public distrust of climate science by fixing what was wrong with the way it had been done before. All that effort has just been destroyed by this ill-considered PR move.

    And Morano, I’m quite sure, couldn’t be happier about that.

  • EdG

    Seems to me that the Rumsfeld quote most relevant to the AGW story is his explanation that there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

    The BEST press release and (according to Singer) the papers being reviewed for more legitimate publication confirm that.

    So, I always get a bit of a laugh when people jump on something - “Muller is right” so eagerly, when there remains so many unknowns. And given what that BEST study actually did ‘conclude,’ this is particularly amusing in this case.

    Back to Watts… what exactly is he allegedly upset by? What exactly did Muller PROVE or at least adequately demonstrate that Watts or any skeptic is supposed to be upset by? I just don’t see the soap opera.

    Meanwhile, lots of blogosphere peer review going on and it will be interesting to see what unknowns remain after the resulting papers get published. 

    After all, change is the only constant, in all things.

  • Keith Kloor

    NiV (24)

    You get points for being such a polished dead-ender.
     

  • Nullius in Verba

    #26,
    Thank you. I think I can guess what you mean.
    Seriously, I did have high hopes for BEST, that it seemed the best chance in a long time for your side to change my mind. This outcome, it seems to me, does nobody any good.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @EdG
    The BEST press release and (according to Singer) the papers being reviewed for more legitimate publication confirm that.
    So, I always get a bit of a laugh when people jump on something - “Muller is right” so eagerly, when there remains so many unknowns. And given what that BEST study actually did “˜conclude,’ this is particularly amusing in this case.

    Please, elaborate. You wouldn’t have happened to have been snookered into thinking BEST “concluded” that anthropogenic warming was overstated due to AMO, like so many “skeptics”, would you?

    Because you do realize that the line was taken out of context by Singer and others, and that the BEST paper in question explicitly did not even attempt to analyze that question, much less “conclude” it was true, right? And that other analyses actually have examined the relative contributions of anthro vs. natural variation in North Atlantic SSTs and found the AMO has a lot of natural variability, but no longterm trend, and thus answers the question in the negative, right?

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @22 Tom Fuller:
    buh-buh-but we tought he wuz a bad “˜un, Sergeant

    In terms of him saying things that are wildly off-base, Muller still is. And that is assuredly not restricted to anthro climate issues.

    Oh, and the only one of the four papers that looks like it needs significant revision is the one Muller is the lead author of. Probably just a coincidence though…

  • EdG

    #28 – thingsbreak

    All BEST did was confirm the post-1800 warming trend. They did not and could not reach any valid conclusions about whether or not AGW is overstated because, as Rummy would say, that is a known unknown – despite the insistence by some that it is not.

    Global climatology is a baby science. There are more known and unknowns and unknown unknowns, That’s why the debate is only beginning. Too bad it is put in those terms. It is really an enquiry into the complex story of climate change, outside the CO2 box.

    In the meantime, that BEST graph sure looks like the rebound out of the LIA to me. And it all looks like another blip in Vostok.

  • Nullius in Verba

    thingsbreak,
    You say that other studies “found the AMO has a lot of natural variability, but no longterm trend”. Isn’t that contradicted by BEST’s conclusions? What’s “long term” here?

    I presume you were referring to this bit.
    “Given that the 2-15 year variations in world temperature are so closely linked to the AMO raises (or re-raises) an important ancillary issue: to what extent does the 65-70 year cycle in AMO contribute to the global average temperature change? (Enfield, 2006; Zhang et al., 2007; Kerr, 1984.) Since 1975, the AMO has shown a gradual but steady rise from -0.35 C to +0.2 C (see Figure 2), a change of 0.55 C. During this same time, the land-average temperature has increased about 0.8 C. Such changes may be independent responses to a common forcing (e.g. greenhouse gases); however, it is also possible that some of the land warming is a direct response to changes in the AMO region. If the long-term AMO changes have been driven by greenhouse gases then the AMO region may serve as a positive feedback that amplifies the effect of greenhouse gas forcing over land. On the other hand, some of the long-term change in the AMO could be driven by natural variability, e.g. fluctuations in thermohaline flow. In that case the human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.”

    They seem to think that land temperature is linked to AMO and that there have been long term changes in AMO. That doesn’t mean it’s not also driven by CO2, and correlation does not imply causation, but long term natural variability can’t be excluded, either. The question of whether the natural 70-year AMO cycle contributes to global warming is not addressed, but they do claim that there is a long term change. Are you saying that’s an error?

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    In the meantime, that BEST graph sure looks like the rebound out of the LIA to me. And it all looks like another blip in Vostok.
    I don’t think the uncalibrated eyeball inference from the BEST time series is merely ‘rebound out of the LIA’.   Not withstanding the recent slower warming in the latest decade,  the  appearance the temperature record since 1800 has faster warming near the end of the time series.  A pure rebound generally doesn’t have a rapid up-tick near the end.  One might more generally expect something more sinusoidal.
    To be sure, one might tweak the “rebound” notion.
    Nevertheless, if your only argument for rebound from LIS is “looks like [X] to me”, my response is simply “Doesn’t look all that much like [X] to me!”

  • Lazar

    Watts
    “The Earth is warmer than it was 100-150 years ago. But that was never in contention -  it is a straw man argument. The magnitude and causes are what skeptics question.”
    Watts and D’Aleo in 2010
    Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and uni-directionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century”
    Will this bit also be sent into the black hole, like their libelous claims regarding NOAA scientists?

  • Eric Adler

    EdG @30
    The “rebound from the LIA” is a meme I have seen repeated many times. No one has provided any mechanism to explain this as far as I know. Could you enlighten me if I have missed anything?
    The word rebound implicitly assumes that there is some kind of compressed spring that makes the global temperature up and down.  The mechanism that is responsible for the real ice ages is axial and orbital precession of the earth. Today, this mechanism would drive long term cooling, not warming, since the highest temperatures in the cycle should occurred about 7000 years ago.
     

  • Nullius in Verba

    #32,
    I’m not sure what you mean by a “pure” rebound, and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t expect the rate of increase to vary. If you had an AR(1) process that had a large random excursion into the negative numbers and then “rebounded” back to the mean, would you necessarily expect it to look like a nice smooth sinusoid? And are you assuming it has already completed its rebound?

    One of the curious observations I had on the reconstruction was that at a decadal level, the variation seemed much stronger in the 1800s, with some steep increases and decreases. The upward rise at the end seems to have been sustained for a bit longer, but I’m not convinced that it’s significantly steeper than 1820, say. It’s hard to tell with the uncertainties, though. Your observation may be correct when considered over some timescales, but to what extent is that cherrypicking?

    #33,
    The operative word there is “significant”.

    #34,
    “Rebound” is not a precise term. I would understand it to mean that whatever was happening to cause the LIA stopped happening – without being specific as to the cause.

    Mechanisms have been proposed – such as the Dansgaard-Oeschger/Bond interstadials every ~1500 years, or solar activity – but it’s not essential to propose a specific mechanism so long as one accepts that the LIA was unusually cold, rather than being “normal”.

    Not everyone does, of course.

  • EdG

    #32 – lucia (and #34 Eric).

    After writing this I just read #35 so a bit of redundancy here.

    “my response is simply “Doesn’t look all that much like [X] to me!””

    Different strokes for different folks. If your only criticism is that “A pure rebound generally doesn’t have a rapid up-tick near the end,” I don’t see any reason to change my opinion. That is pure speculation based on… what? What is a “pure rebound” and why would you suggest one from a glacial period should be smooth. Are you familiar with the climate record for the past 12-14,000 as we have rebounded out of that more major glacial period? Not smooth.

    In the meantime the CO2 story doesn’t explain anything, unless one chooses to believe it does. It certainly cannot explain why the recent warming started… or the one before that… or the one before that… etc.

    Moreover, BEST used adjusted data which is not exactly ‘gospel’ so the relative ‘smoothness’ of this rebound is debatable.

    And what about Vostok? There is nothing unprecedented about the current climate blip.

    As to Eric’s question about what initiated the ‘rebound’ from the LIA… I don’t know. That is the big question. What are the drivers of natural climate variability? If the AGW project had not focused so much time and resources on simply looking for ways to prove their predetermined ‘CO2 did it’ story, we would no doubt know more about that by now. To follow my comment #25, there are plenty of known and unknown unknowns.

    P.S. Amazing coincidence:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/29/the-unknown-unknowns-of-global-warming/

  • EdG

    #33 – Watts raised the question about the problems of weather station sites. Since they are the basis of all the land temperature data, it is and was entirely appropriate to ask that. Based on what he and others documented, his concerns were (and still are) valid.

    In the process of scientific discovery many assertions and conclusions are raised which, after more information is available, are shown to be erroneous to some degree or completely false. That is part of the process. If you would like a list of all the false, grossly exaggerated, or just plain silly statements that have come out of the AGW industry there is a huge one available on the net. So why aren’t you equally upset about them?

    P.S. Would anyone care to explain why on earth they accept the way the GISS team extrapolates temperatures from a few sites to cover the whole Arctic (which is always warmer than expected, apparently). 

  • EdG

    #20. “Watts current set of lies is priceless.”

    What “lies” are you referring to?

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @31 Nullius in Verba:
    Isn’t that contradicted by BEST’s conclusions?

    No. The BEST study in question did not and cannot speak to any long term (i.e. longer than 15 years) trend, because of the way they performed their analysis.

    They seem to think that land temperature is linked to AMO

    And there are serious concerns with how their analysis was conducted. Out of the four draft papers, this is the one I expect to change the most due to review comments/blog scrutiny.

    and that there have been long term changes in AMO.

    Their study, by design, cannot speak to that. Other analyses (e.g. Ting et al., 2009) have been performed on North Atlantic SSTs and found that the AMO does not have a long term trend. Whereas human influence does.

    The question of whether the natural 70-year AMO cycle contributes to global warming is not addressed, but they do claim that there is a long term change. Are you saying that’s an error?

    There is a long term trend in the AMO data, however the AMO is only computed by removing any linear contribution from anthropogenic warming, and over the entire record, anthropogenic warming has been non-linear. Statistical and modeling analyses indicate that the AMO itself has no overall long term trend. So, yes, I am saying the characterization by BEST is incorrect. I suspect that they haven’t looked at other papers which have addressed the hypothetical that they posed.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    “Other analyses (e.g. Ting et al., 2009) have been performed on North Atlantic SSTs and found that the AMO does not have a long term trend. Whereas human influence does.”

    In case this is unclear-

    The AMO data do show a long term trend. However, any nonlinear contribution from anthropogenic warming will not have been completely removed from those data. By calculating the relative contributions to the North Atlantic SST data by anthropogenic and actual (rather than apparent) AMO variability, Ting et al. demonstrate that there is no long term trend in AMO influence on North Atlantic SSTs. Rather the existence of the long term trend is coming from an external (i.e. us) source.

  • EdG

    #40 – Really? A ‘long term trend’ in global climate is 150 years? 

    If we pretend that it is, this one, according to BEST et al, started generally upward about 1850. What human-related factors allegedly started it back then? Are we supposed to believe that as soon as they started burning coal that that changed the global climate?

    So I agree that this current trend is influenced by factors other than AMO but baffled by how you or anybody can argue with such certainty that they know what they are.

    The simplistic CO2 story just does not fit reality. 

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Statistical and modeling analyses”?

    “the AMO does not have a long term trend”
    “The AMO data do show a long term trend.”
    “actual (rather than apparent) AMO variability”

    Let me guess. This is like the way the actual temperature is still going up, accelerating even, while the measured temperature measured on, like, actual thermometers is not, yes? Any trend the AMO shows is caused by global warming, so you have to remove the trend to correct for global warming, and after doing that correction you find there is no trend.

    I’ve had a quick look at Ting et al. and so far as I can see, they agree with BEST over the longer-term increase in AMO as part of the 65-70 year cyclic variation. The linear detrending is defined over a full cycle of the oscillation, and BEST’s decadal variation paper figure 2 shows that this detrending has already been done. They’re not talking about that, they’re talking about the multi-decadal (35 year) increase that is the upswing of one half of the AMO cycle. Ting et al., far from contradicting BEST, seems to agree that the AMO variation does contribute to the last few decades warming. Although as their method seems tantamount to saying that as climate models show no long term trend without the global warming contribution, so the same must be true of reality, I’m not that impressed. And in any case, it assumes AGW, so cannot be used to support AGW without using circular logic.

    Nevertheless, I do now see what you meant, and thank you for taking the time to clarify. That was helpful.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @42 Nullius in Verba:
    Ting et al., far from contradicting BEST, seems to agree that the AMO variation does contribute to the last few decades warming.

    Ting et al. find that there is no long term contribution from the AMO to North Atlantic SSTs, but that there is decadal variation. That there is no overall trend means that the AMO has spent just as much time offsetting (e.g. cooling from 1960-1990) as it has contributing to warming of the North Atlantic. The claim “anthropogenic warming is overstated due to AMO variability” is simply not supportable.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #43,
    I agree that the statement that it is overstated is unsupported; the statement that it might be is not. Ting et al. doesn’t contradict it because in the first place they assume the rise in global SST anomaly is caused entirely by AGW before subtracting it, and in the second place assume that the models fitted to the global SST anomaly by their particular AGW sensitivity are correct. Indirectly, they are assuming AGW causes all the rise, using models built on that assumption as a baseline, and then “correcting” away all the long term trend. The observed trend is input to the modellers, and the models used to subtract the trend. In other words, we don’t actually know whether there is any long term trend independent of AGW in the AMO.

    If the assumption is correct, then the correction tells us the real contribution of the internal variability better than linear detrending. Ting et al.’s correction shifts the phase and timing around somewhat, but they can’t say anything new about the size or causality of the centennial trend. All they’re really saying is that the models explain the whole rise with AGW, which we already knew.

    I found the paper useful, because I hadn’t previously realised that there was a trend in the original data that had been removed. I had seen detrended series like the one shown in the BEST paper, and assumed that while the upswing at the end of the 20th century would have contributed to the 1975-2000 rise (meaning the AGW component of it was smaller than it appeared), internal variability via climate oscillations couldn’t be the whole story. Now I’m not so sure.

  • Sashka

    @TB (39-40)

    the AMO does not have a long term trend
    The AMO data do show a long term trend.

    That’s pretty funny.

    however the AMO is only computed by removing any linear contribution from anthropogenic warming, and over the entire record, anthropogenic warming has been non-linear.

    Except we don’t know the contribution from anthropogenic warming. In reality, it’s the linear trend from whatever sources.
     

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @45 Sashka:
    That’s pretty funny.

    Why? Do you not understand the distinction?

    Except we don’t know the contribution from anthropogenic warming. In reality, it’s the linear trend from whatever sources.

    This is why it’s at times completely pointless to try to have a productive discussion with certain kinds of “skeptics”.

    While you and Nullius in Verba pretend that we have no idea what the general dimensions of the anthropogenic forcing during the period in question are, this is not something that is really in doubt. Sorry.

  • Sashka

    @ 46

    Do you not understand the distinction?

    Maybe I don’t, maybe I do but not the way you see it. Feel free to enlighten me.

    While you and Nullius in Verba pretend that we have no idea what the general dimensions of the anthropogenic forcing during the period in question are, this is not something that is really in doubt. Sorry.

    You should be sorry to resort to this sort of demagoguery. “No idea” is your words, not mine. WTF is “general dimensions”? I don’t question the reality of AGW and I’m pretty sure neither does NiV. That’s one thing. Pretending that you know the amount of anthropogenic contribution is something else.
     

  • J Bowers

    EdG — “Global climatology is a baby science.”

    But older than relativity and quantum mechanics by a couple of hundred years (Halley > trade winds > maps > British Empire).

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »