“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”.

Antarctic Ice Cores: The Sample Rate Problem

Antarctic Ice Cores: The Sample Rate Problem. Geologist David Middleton returns to tell us that those Antarctic ice cores that seem to support the climatology conspiracy consensus can’t be trusted. After-all, the ice doesn’t permanently capture the CO2 level at the exact instant it begins to form. Also, maybe CO2 got sucked out of the old ice. And everyone knows that only second-by-second CO2 samples can be trusted.

Actually, David is suggesting that the ice CO2 levels blend a bit. He wants us to think that maybe there have been large fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 that have been blurred together and are no longer seen in the ice samples, maybe the modern CO2 trend just happens to be an ordinary large natural swing in CO2, and that we just happen to be at the peak of one of those “swings”.

Although, if the ice cores chanced to suit denialist wishes I’m sure they’d be just fine. In this case the erratic plant leaf stomata CO2 proxy values (sotto voce: does David know that they are a computer model?) are praised because they show large fluctuations that can be used to “prove” that there has been wide variation in the modern era and hence today’s CO2 levels are perfectly natural.

This puzzling quote comes from one of the apparently supporting papers, CO2 diffusion in polar ice: observations from naturally formed CO2 spikes in the Siple Dome (Antarctica) ice core (italics mine):

“Smoothing of the CO2 record by diffusion is one to two orders of magnitude smaller than the smoothing by diffusion in the firn at the depth of 287m (gas age = 2.74 kyr BP) in the Siple Dome ice, and so does not degrade the record.”

So… scientists know about this crazy diffusion thing and have been able to assess it as being insignificant. So what’s David really trying to do?

New paper – “absence of correlation between temperature changes … and CO2″

New paper – “absence of correlation between temperature changes … and CO2″ Anthony Watts proclaims the deliciousness of a new paper by Paulo (not a climatologist) Cesar Soares in the brand-new International Journal of Geosciences, part of the Scientific Research Publishing “empire” (click on that link!), where all the cool papers will now be published. Warming Power of CO2 and H2O: Correlations with Temperature Changes tells us that no correlation exists between CO2 and global temperature, so it must be… something else. Why? Because the response to CO2 variations isn’t instant.

Temperature went up... because there was more water in the air. Or did something happen? Thanks for the blog science, IJG.

Is Soares really trying to tell us that the “correlation” proves that increased atmospheric water is producing warmth? If Anthony buys it, well, maybe we should stop picking on the little rascal…

I’ll leave today’s rebuttal to Greenfyre’s Flimsy post:

For any that think it matters, the paper basically correlates regional weather with solar variation, PDO etc, and then calls it climate.

It’s really too silly to waste any time on, so naturally the Denialosphere will be announcing it as “the final coffin nail” (again).

2010 – where does it fit in the warmest year list?

2010 – where does it fit in the warmest year list? Christmas Guest pudding from Geology Professor Dr. Don Easterbrook. Apparently 2010’s record temperature is “really much to do about nothing.” After-all, if you go back 10,000 years you can find plenty of warmer years. I guess the denialist leg-puller about only needing to look at the last 15 years is out of favor now that 2010 can’t still be brushed aside.

What strikes me in all of Easterbrook’s sloppy “data” is that, at a time when the Earth should now be following a pronounced cooling trend it is emphatically not. Wiggle your way out of that one, Professor.

There are enlightening insights into Easterbrook’s scholarship at Only In It For The Gold (Garbled Reasoning at WUWT) and Hot Topic (Easterbrook’s Wrong (Again)), but I’ll leave the technical criticism to this comment in the Watts Up With That post by “BillD”:

Where is peer review when you need it? This post conflates the global climate record with regional records for the US and Greenland. Then it fails to point out that “present” only goes up to 1905. Over the last 21 years, I have been the editor or reviewer for over 600 manuscripts submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals (I need to keep a record for my employer). I have to say that I have never seen a submitted manuscript with such blatant errors as in this post. Even submitting a manuscript such as this would be damaging to one’s career and would certainly cause the loss of all credibility with the journal’s editor and the reviewers if any (In most cases the editor peruses a manuscript to check it’s suitability for the journal and to decide on expert reviewers. These kinds of errors and misleading comparisons would almost certainly lead to rejection by the editor, without even sending the ms. out to reviewers).

Even Dave Springer, a Watts Up guest author, comments unhappily (emphasis mine):

The new guest author program, which include myself as one of those new guest authors, appears to have fostered a greater need for internal peer review before the articles are published. Anthony and Willis and guest authors like Spencer and Lindzen didn’t seem to need much in the way of peer review but with this new influx of guest authors the comments are now stuffed with repetitious exposure of errors in the articles.

Is Prof. Easterbrook really so sloppy? Or his he more concerned with finding a story that he can enjoy telling?

Simple Physics – In reality my feather blew up into a tree

Simple Physics – In reality my feather blew up into a tree. Christmas Guest pudding from Barry Woods. Do you know that climatology theories are only correct under ideal laboratory conditions? After all, the cannonball and the feather only fall at the same rate if there is no wind (hence odd reference to feathers in the post title). This means that in the real world climatology theories can’t possibly be right! Actually, I think “simple physics” says that’s true if they are in a vacuum.

Barry’s hopeful and yet flawed logic lets him grudgingly admit that yes, CO2 can produce a greenhouse effect in glass tube, but continue to stoutly deny that it operates out here in “the real world.”

Too bad climatology principles are actually well-supported by empirical results.

How I learned to stop smoking and love Global Warming

How I learned to stop smoking and love Global Warming. Christmas Guest pudding from archaeologist Michael A. Lewis, Ph.D. Unlike most denialists, he believes in tree ring data. Good luck defending that in the comments! He also knows that modest Arctic warming a thousand years ago is proof of natural global warming in the same time period. Somehow. Funny, the Yamal tree-ring proxy chart he includes doesn’t particularly show that.

Lewis falls into the trap of seeing the forest and not the trees. He sees nothing worrying over the long timescales he’s used to thinking in, so why worry?

Two problems. First, the current rate of change is completely unprecedented, so his incurious lack of concern is ill-advised. Second, his own work on changing Arctic populations shows that climate change, whether natural or not, can have massively disruptive impacts. The existing Dorset Inuit disappeared and were completely replaced by the Thule Inuit. It must have sucked to be Dorset.

CO2: Ice Cores vs. Plant Stomata

CO2: Ice Cores vs. Plant Stomata. More Christmas Guest pudding! Geologist David Middleton takes on the “Warmista Junk Science”. I think he was a classmate. [Update: No, thank god] How depressing to see him parroting the decrepit “Hockey Stick” aspersions and casting about for excuses to prefer weaker data that ‘suggests’ results that suit his purpose.

Ironically David reflexively deplores “Mike’s Nature Trick“, which boils down to plotting temperature proxies over just the period for which they can be demonstrated to be reliable, but mimics it in his arguments. He tries to deprecate the widely accepted ice core data by combining sparse, erratic, leaf stomata temperature proxies and the insensitive (10 million year increments!) GEOCARB III geochemical model of Phanerozoic atmospheric CO2. This apparently requires lots of very busy charts to give the impression of analysis, but lets him simultaneously claim that ice cores don’t capture the variability the way the stomata proxies allegedly do and that the ice core CO2 is too low in CO2 when compared to the monotonic GEOCARB III data. Nice “trick”.

After all those charts, what is David’s compelling “analysis”? Wishful eyeballing.

In his conclusions David repeats the debunked denialist claim that the “carbon cycle lags behind the climate cycle and thus does not drive the climate cycle” and that “anthropogenic contribution to the carbon cycle since 1860 is minimal and inconsequential.” Yeah, the carbon cycle lag was true over geological time when organic productivity was linked to natural climate variation. The problem now is that carbon release by man has turned the feedback response into the driver and is proceeding at a rate that is an order of magnitude faster. Claiming that the anthropogenic contribution is minimal is just a baseless assertion. Plugging your ears and singing “lalalalalala” isn’t going to change these things.

This is just another case of a denialist who can’t find a successful argument resorting to fabricating one, and David has embraced as many old denialist themes as he can. Naturally he’s greeted by the usual thoughtful exclamations of his Copernican brilliance in the comments that will one day be embarrassing to read. I suppose that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, but why do so many of Anthony’s readers feel compelled to praise such pedestrian efforts? It seems like a hollow attempt at self-reassurance.

What argument could David have made about ice core data without exposing his bias? That they are not sensitive to short-term CO2 variations. Unfortunately this would lead to a new question: so what?