NOAA says – Hottest (Warmest) March on Record

NOAA says – Hottest (Warmest) March on Record“. Anthony Watts pastes in some weather info from NOAA, but prefaces it with this sullen complaint:

I’m sure the press will make this into a much bigger story. This today from NOAA News. The choice of “hottest” in the title is interesting. We should ask our Canadian friends if it was “hot” during March, since Canada seems to be leading the world in “hotness” according to the NOAA image.

NOAA Global Temp. Anomalies. Yes, it was "hotter than average" in Canada.

Guess what, Anthony? It was a “hot” March up here. To quote NOAA, “Temperature anomaly is the difference from average“. This is not a story, this is evidence. Deal with it.

‘Hockey stick’ graph was exaggerated – McIntyre gets props

‘Hockey stick’ graph was exaggerated – McIntyre gets props“. Anthony Watts pastes an article from the noted denialist newspaper The Telegraph entitled ‘Hockey stick’ graph was exaggerated. “Exaggerated” being their way of edging around the fact that the ‘hockey stick’ has still not been disproved. Dr. Mann’s out-dated (but influential) 1998 paper has of course been reproduced with improved data and methods since then.

Professor Hand is head of the Royal Statistical Society and apparently praised climate curmudgeon Steve McIntyre for “uncovering the fact that inappropriate methods were used which could produce misleading results” (emphasis mine). Pretty thin gruel, because the results have actually proven correct.

No mention of the Oxburgh Report’s description of Steve McIntyre as “selective and uncharitable“.

More denialist Fail from Anthony: the top graph is global, the bottom one just "europe". Can you can spot the other two obvious boners?

Results of the Climategate Paliamentary Inquiry in the UK

Results of the Climategate Paliamentary Inquiry in the UK“. (Yes, Anthony Watts can’t spell “Parliamentary”) Looks like Climategate isn’t the “final nail in the coffin of Global Warming” after all. Sorry Anthony, you’re going to have to keep bellowing. But perhaps the next few days are good ones for keeping a low profile.

The House of Commons press release is here. Click here to read the full report, The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. [Update: Volume II, the oral and written evidence is also available. There is some entertaining denialist posturing contained within!]

About “sharing data.” (all italics mine)

On the accusations relating to Professor Jones’s refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.

About the “trick”:

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails-”trick” and “hiding the decline”-the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.

About accusations of “dishonesty” against Dr. Phil Jones (this was particularly nasty and unfounded):

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

About the  FOI requests:

On the mishandling of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, the Committee considers that much of the responsibility should lie with the University, not CRU.

No doubt Anthony or Steve McIntyre will find something to get outraged about, but this looks like a clean sweep for Dr. Phil Jones and the Climate Research Unit. This is a good day for science.

Grasping at Straws

Grasping at Straws“. Charles Rotter (the “Moderator”) posts a newspaper article from USA Today called Scientists misread data on global warming controversy. The “data” in question is not temperature records or CO² levels, its opinion polls that show dropping public concern over climate change.

The article suggests that public confidence in ‘scientists’ is actually quite high, presumably excluding the denialosphere, and that people are simply focussed on the harsh short-term economic situation. The concern of climate scientists is that political resistance and misinformation are obscuring the highly probable negative consequences of AGW and encouraging dangerous inaction.

Charles’ entire insight is “If you try really really hard to ask questions a certain way, then you’ll get the answers you want.” He’s trying to spin this two ways. Firstly, he’s implying that the mainstream is trying to position the bad news of a drop in public concern over AGW as an understandable and temporary matter. Secondly he’s implying that climate scientists are panicking over losing funding. Them Ferrari’s ain’t gonna buy themselves!

However his odd remark seems more like advice to fellow denialists. Their anti-AGW positions are often the result of looking at a particular fact or set of data from every possible angle and finding one perspective that if they squint just right looks like it supports their desired conclusion, regardless of how crazy or dishonest it is. Then they discard all the other rational perspectives.

That’s why, for instance, denialists have lately latched onto the “no warming since 1995” claim. We posted on this back on February 16th. The 1995-2009 temperature rise happens to be short enough and modest enough that it falls just short of 95% statistical probability. This can be used to maneuver honest scientists into “admitting” that considering only that arbitrary period, there has been no statistically conclusive warming. Proof!

Jones may submit a correction to his 1990 paper – Keenan responds

Jones may submit a correction to his 1990 paper – Keenan responds. One of Anthony Watts’ outraged blogging buddies demands recognition!

The Nature news item in question is primarily about the political assault Dr. Phil Jones is enduring from denialists… The possible “correction” refers to problems with the record keeping for some rural Chinese weather station records that used to assess possible temperature record biases due to the “Urban Heat Island” effect. The 1990 study concluded that there was there was no significant UHI bias, which undermines several popular denialist fairy-tales.

In 2007 “amateur climate-data analyst” Doug Keenan made a rambling accusation of fraud against Dr. Jones’ co-author Dr. Wei-Chyung Wang in the widely scorned journal Energy & Environment. Keenan stated that many of the Chinese weather stations had moved in contradiction to Dr. Wang’s assertion, and hence the conclusions were false. Thus ending global warming forever.

A scientific re-examination in 2008 with better data concluded that regardless of the original study’s record-keeping problems the conclusion was valid and in fact well-supported. Surprisingly, this part of the story is not mentioned on Anthony’s blog.

Paleo tagging past climate sensitivity

Paleo tagging past climate sensitivity is a classic “half the story” post by Anthony Watts. A new comment in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,Fossil soils constrain ancient climate sensitivity” basically confirms the conventional estimate of climate sensitivity to increases in CO2 that is the basis for concern about AGW. The authors state “the geologic evidence… is most consistent with long-term, future climate change being more severe than presently anticipated.

Anthony’s predictable response is to repeat the discredited position that this “still does not address the temperature/CO2 800 year time lag seen in ice core records“. Uh, the historical “800 year lag” thing is understood and irrelevant (the impact of cyclic warming due to of the Earth’s orbital mechanics on the ocean’s dissolved CO2 content) and Anthony knows it; he just hopes you don’t. So what if Al Gore didn’t mention it in his film An Inconvenient Truth? This quote from explains the concept [italics mine]:

When the Earth comes out of an ice age, the warming is not initiated by CO2 but by changes in the Earth’s orbit. The warming causes the oceans to give up CO2. The CO2 amplifies the warming and mixes through the atmosphere, spreading warming throughout the planet.

So there are two ways for global warming to occur: an increase in heat input or a decrease in heat loss. Slow “natural” global warming seems linked to increases in heat input that release oceanic CO2, which feeds back on that warming by decreasing heat loss until the natural trigger reverses. Rapid man-made global warming lacks the natural cyclic trigger; adding CO2 into the atmosphere decreases heat loss via the greenhouse effect and this warming will cause the oceans to release additional CO2. The distinction is real and significant, no matter how the denialists try to spin away from it.

I think Anthony would have been better served to keep quiet about this one, much as he likes to try to “position” facts for his credulous audience… By the way, the global warming we are experiencing shouldn’t happen for roughly 23,000 years based on Milankovitch cycle estimates.

Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?

In yesterday’s installment of As the Watt Churns, Anthony Watts suddenly found his lost homework, and denialist carpetbagger Willis Eschenbach proved that visiting a tropical atoll isn’t insightful if you don’t open your eyes.

Anthony’s calling his latest un-scrutinized printout, helpfully photocopied by the Science and Public Policy front group, a “compendium paper“. Well, it’s on paper I guess. Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception? even has that patented question mark in place. [All these question marks Anthony uses suggest to me that he’s subliminally admitting that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about…] I’m just glancing though it and the chuckles are coming fast and furious.

  • Firstly, it really is a century-long global conspiracy and from now on we must ignore anything that NASA or the NOAA say. Got it…
  • Secondly, this is not Anthony’s much-anticipated “analysis” of the US surface temperature station record. That’s waiting for the photocopier to cool I guess. Maybe he hasn’t been able to gather a full basket of cherries yet.
  • Third, his first two “Case Studies in Data Manipulation” are very recent debunked denialist failures (Darwin Airport, AustraliaWellington, NZ).
  • Fourth, this whole exercise is just a copy and paste job of the current failed denialist “proofs” gathered together, conveniently separated from their fatal critiques.
  • Fifth, did I just hear the ice cream truck?

Willis’ idle remarks about sea-level rise as it concerns coral atolls is more of the same. The fact that sea-level rise happens to have recently slowed apparently means that it has actually stopped; the freshwater lens that inhabitants depend on will somehow always float above the underlying saltwater no matter how much sea-level rises (which it isn’t); Darwin says that coral atolls always follow sea-level anyway (which isn’t rising).

Willis, Darwin was talking about a gradual natural sea-level change, not an abrupt, man-made one. Which is what the Climate Change kerfuffle is all about, really. The whole thing about how Man’s recent impact on the climate is different in both scale and time-frame from that of the many natural processes that are also at work. You should look into it sometime.

2010-02-15 Update: Anthony’s statistical and numerical “truthiness” is completely shredded by “Tamino” here.