High level clouds and surface temperature

High level clouds and surface temperature (2011-10-06). Anthony Watts thinks that winemaker Erl Happ is S-M-R-T, so he posts his long explanation of why global warming, which isn’t happening, is all because of clouds.

Although tamino has a different opinion of Erl’s science, I’ll just say that I think Erl’s complete quotation of Wordsworth’s poem is the most convincing, and useful, part of his argument.


New peer reviewed paper: clouds have large negative cooling effect on Earth’s radiation budget

New peer reviewed paper: clouds have large negative cooling effect on Earth’s radiation budget (2011-09-20). Har, har. The word “feedback” is present in the URL of this post by Anthony, but no longer in the title… This is as close as Anthony gets to admitting he has once again jumped in with both feet, in haste and seeing only the conclusion that suited him.

Anthony’s certain that a new (peer-reviewed!!!!!!) paper by Richard Allan proves, once and for all, that clouds cause climate. So everyone can relax, those scientists were lying all along. Anthony claims that according to the paper:

a combination of satellite observations and models [show] that the cooling effect of clouds far outweighs the long-wave or “greenhouse” warming effect.

When the paper’s author, along with climatologist Bart Verheggen and even Roy Spencer point out that Anthony’s conclusion is not supported by anything in the paper, his fundamental response is a truculent “I saw things differently.” But why should he ‘fess up? Doctrinaire commenters such as ‘Roger Knights’, ‘Tall Bloke’, ‘RockyRoad’, etc will always praise his erroneous interpretation.

Bart asks:

Could you please point out where in this paper it is mentioned that “clouds have large negative-*feedback* cooling effect on Earth’s radiation budget”?

Roy Spencer says, with what must be considerable pain given his ‘my science serves my [denialist] politics’ perspective:

Bart is correct. This paper is not about cloud feedback…it is about the average effect of clouds on the climate system, which the IPCC, Trenberth, Dessler, et al. will all agree is a cooling effect. It is an update of the early estimates from ERBE many years ago.

Richard Allan, the paper author, comments:

I was surprised that this paper was mis-interpreted as suggesting negative cloud feedback. This is a basic error by the author of the post that has been highlighted by many contributors including Roy Spencer.

Even the contrarian Steven Mosher had something interesting to say about the motives of Antony’s “skeptical” supporters (emphasis mine):

it is also fascinating because of what we dont see. usually you will see a whole crew of commeters pounce on the word “model”. This time they didnt.

They didnt because they thought the paper supported spencer. But it was on an entirely different topic. That misunderstanding kinda silenced the usual “models are bad” crew.

Thanks to my commenters for drawing this entertaining post to my attention. It’s a classic example of Anthony’s enthusiastic ignorance. I’ve been overloaded with work and with supporting the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival and would have missed this…

Bastardi: Science and reality point away, not toward, CO2 as climate driver

Bastardi: Science and reality point away, not toward, CO2 as climate driver” (2011-08-12). You know when Joe Bastardi guest-posts on Anthony Watts’ blog you’re in for a chuckle. Here he’s trying to expand on (spin?) his whopper-fest on Fox News a few nights ago.

With the coming Gorathon to save the planet around the corner (Sept 14) , my  stance on the AGW issue has been drawing more ire from those seeking to silence people like me that question their issue and plans. In response, I want the objective reader to hear more about my arguments made in a a brief interview on FOX News as to why I conclude CO2 is not causing changes of climate and the recent flurry of extremes of our planet. I brought up the First Law of Thermodynamics and LeChateliers principle.

“Brought up” in the sense of vomited, I guess. Joe has no clue what the First Law of Thermodynamics is (hey, Joe, the greenhouse effect doesn’t create heat) or LeChatelier’s principle (how a chemical equilibrium responds to changing conditions). In the first paragraph alone of his Fox News commentary everything he says is provably false. Five sentences, five boners. (Thanks tamino for holding your nose long enough to spell it out so clearly.)

After years of smack-downs he’s still pushing the “since 1997” lie, still trying to fake it. Here’s an example of Joe Science.

The Bastardi supercomputer works overtime providing detailed statistics.

There’s an outraged analysis at Scientific American titled Fox Commentator Distorts Physics, and Climate Progress gives us Joe Bastardi Pulls a Charlie Sheen on Fox News, Pushing “Utter Nonsense” on Climate Science.

Anthony assures us that “a follow up post – more technically oriented will follow sometime next week.” So don’t pick on poor Joe! Presumably his “follow-up” walk back most of his wild errors…

2011-08-16 Update.

Still waiting for Joe’s re-explanation, although he does add his own meandering comment that suggests we wait 30 years to see that he was right all along. Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait scrutinizes Joe’s so-called arguments at Big Picture Science: climate change denial on Fox News.

There are some real whoppers in the Watts Up With That comments, but this early one really caught my attention for self-serving justification (stunned italics mine):

Ryan Maue says:

@Chris_Colose: you have to pick your battles a little better. Joe Bastardi is not an academic researcher but a private sector meteorologist. He is an advocate for his point of view based upon the knowledge he accumulates. He is putting out his opinions for public consumption but there is no accountability implied…

REPLY: Yes, this is the same silly claim that comes up again and again, one one hand when a they lose a point in an argument they’ll claim “but he’s not a climate scientist, so his opinions don’t matter” then when they feel they have the upper hand we’ll hear, “he’s not scientifically rigorous enough, his arguments pale in comparison to our best climate scientists”. – Anthony

So… ignorant or deceitful “advocates” should get a free pass? Also, please show me a climate science argument “won” by someone like Joe, Anthony. Shorter version of Ryan and Anthony’s argument: “We don’t know anything, but every time we flap our gums we win. Unless the other guys cheat.”

2011-08-18 Update.

Climate Progress piles on: Joe Bastardi is ‘Completely Wrong’ and ‘Does Not Understand the Very Basics of the Science’, Climatologists Explain

“Earth itself is telling us there’s nothing to worry about in doubled, or even quadrupled, atmospheric CO2″

Earth itself is telling us there’s nothing to worry about in doubled, or even quadrupled, atmospheric CO2 (June 2, 2011). According to Anthony Watts, Pat Frank writes excellent essays on climate science. The beaming Anthony helpfully offers a new example of his excellence, copy-and-pasted from his echo chamber partners at The Air Vent: “Future Perfect“, which asserts this comforting “fact”:

Spread the word: the Earth[‘s] climate sensitivity is 0.090 C/W-m^-2. [This of course begs the question: how did the Earth ever enter or leave an Ice Age in the geological past?]

Anthony Watts and his readers embrace Frank’s dim-witted numerology wish-fulfillment with surprisingly open arms. Frank’s conclusion (based on his intuitive grasp of climatology?) is that all this alleged warming is somehow merely the recovery from the Little Ice Age and that we can pump out as much CO2 as we like.

Once again Excel is put to good use, disproving those dang climatologists and their thinkin’. Nothing like invoking from thin air a “combined cosine function plus a linear trend” to explain everything, without the bother of actually explain anything. If Frank could actually explain why his magic squiggle occurred, he’d actually have something. Sadly, it’s clear that he simply pecked away at Excel until he stumbled across an equation that sort-of matched the historical record.

More of a citizen-scientist’s mind at work: “The rest of the analysis automatically follows.”

Pat Frank discovers that Excel can draw flat lines.

My “technical analysis”: Frank has discovered that if you subtract a bunch of numbers from themselves you get zeros!  You’ll aways get a flat line when you plot a squiggle that’s a pretty close fit to the data and then remove the squiggle.

Tamino at Open Mind lays out how a sentient person might respond to such nonsense, first with the quick double-take post Circle Jerk and in more detail with Frankly, Not.

Some nuggets from the keenly skeptical comments at Anthony’s blog:

  • Andy G55 – “This is the sort of REAL analysis I love to see. propa science !!! well done, mate !!”
  • Shaun D – “I agree. This is real science. But I have no idea what it means.”
  • Alan the Brit – “Sound, common sense, well thought through, & logially applied, so it won’t be published in the MSM then!”
  • Ryan – “Fantastic post Mr Frank, very plausible and difficult to refute.”

Scientific American’s interview with Dr. Richard Muller

Scientific American’s interview with Dr. Richard Muller (May 23, 2011). Anthony Watts has long resented Scientific American’s general scientific rationality. Just a few months ago they labelled his blog as a “well-known climate denier site” after-all. However, as we have seen across the popular press, the pretense of “balance” sometimes enables sloppy reporting of controversial topics to allow anti-scientific positions to gather support. Popular support fpr the disproven claim that the MMR vaccine triggers autism offers an excellent example.

Here we find Anthony practically wriggling like a puppy over his mention in Michael Lemonick’s lazy Sci Am interview of physicist Dr. Richard Muller about climate change science.

Both Steve McIntyre and I are mentioned prominently in the article, and once again Dr. Muller thanks us for our contributions to the debate.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress covers the Scientific American article at length, exposing Muller’s statements for their lack of both knowledge and integrity.

The otherwise inactive Dr. Muller injected himself into the Global Warming debate when he started the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. Denialists licked their chops at the thought of a temperature reconstruction that appeared impartial but came from a politically aligned source, but howled of betrayal when Dr. Muller’s first analysis reluctantly confirmed the existing science.

Still, Dr. Muller enthusiastically embraces the irrelevant nitpicking of citizen-scientists such as Steve McIntyre (contradicted in Scientific American itself back in 2009 “Novel Analysis Confirms Climate ‘Hockey Stick’ Graph) and freely libels both long-standing climate experts such as Dr. Michael Mann and commentators such as Al Gore. Muller acknowledges the existence of “denialists” but fails to name any so it’s hard to know just how crazy you have to be for Muller to step back. You’re safe, Anthony!

It’s probably nothing*

It’s probably nothing*“. Anthony Watts tries to slide another stupid “Snow! Somewhere!” post by as just a little “humor“. Apparently busy denialist copy-and-paster Tom Nelson noted that there was lots (41 inches) of ice in Nenana, Alaska (which is in the Arctic you know) on April 21st this year. But the ice was all gone by that date in 1940! Therefore global cooling.

Nenana has held an annual draw to guess the date of spring breakup on the Tanana River for a century now, and this is Anthony’s new gold standard for global climate data.

Like most northern rivers, the Tanana’s spring ice breakup is almost entirely dependent on flow volume during the spring run-off. The ice broke up, at a thickness of 39″, just four days after this astonishing climate evidence was presented. Also at 64°N Nenana is below the Arctic Circle.

Willis Eschenbach accidentally undermines Anthony's "humor".

Anthony’s teammate Willis Eschenbach creates the real punchline by inserting a chart (above) that shows that ice break up on the Tanana River is clearly trending to earlier dates. Or maybe he just can’t understand his own work.

I guess Anthony’s readers aren’t subtle enough to follow Anthony’s attempt at humor; they’re reacting with stolid earnestness.

An Unexpected Limit to Climate Sensitivity

An Unexpected Limit to Climate Sensitivity. Climate scientists have struggled for decades to accurately determine the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to changes in atmospheric CO2. Citizen-scientist Willis Eschenbach thinks he’s figured it out. It’s not 3℃, if the cartoon version atmospheric model he’s using is right the sensitivity should be 9℃! Clearly those scientists don’t have a clue (this is what we call “foreshadowing”).

Oops. He was measuring the wrong system, and he forgot about “conservation of energy”.