Himalayan Sherpas as climate proxy

Himalayan Sherpas as climate proxy. (May 1, 2011) Anthony Watts reposts a “Bishop Hill” (Andrew Montford’s pseudonym) blog item mocking researchers for asking Himalayan Sherpas about changes in their environment (Biology Letters, April 2011). Anthony ‘piles on’ with a link to a twenty year-old anthropology book.

As reported by Richard Black of the BBC, apparently only about half of the villagers questioned reported that summers were starting earlier than they did ten years ago. This means the other half couldn’t be bribed to lie by the corrupt researchers I guess.

Their top line conclusions are that villagers are noticing signals suggestive of climate change.

Warmer weather, drying water sources, the advance of summer and the monsoon, new insect pests, earlier flowering of plants… all consistent with the basic idea of a warming world.

Anecdotal evidence is a favorite denialists talking point, but only when it goes their way. They like to report one person recalling that the beach height is exactly the same as when they were kid, but not when 250 people report about when flowers bloomed. Just a few days ago Anthony and his teammates were touting an opinion poll.

Selective as always, Anthony tells us about an imprecise research method but fails to mention that ways of successfully using it exist. Weak “remembered data” is better than a lack of data. Social anthropologists and social scientists live in that sphere and know how to use it with caution.

Why windmills won’t wash

Why windmills won’t wash“. British motor-mouth buffoon Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (not a guest at William and Kate’s recent wedding) guest-posts a stream-of-consciousness conversation with himself on Anthony Watts’ blog. The apparent subject is a primary school wind turbine and its implications for mitigating global warming (which, of course, isn’t happening, but would be natural if it was happening). Apparently “the warming the Birmingham Bat-Batterer [one of Monckton’s varying pet names for his chosen scapegoat wind turbine] will forestall over the next 20 years will be rather less than 0.0000000000007 Celsius.”

If one backyard wind turbine won’t stop, say, at least half of the global warming why do anything? Seems sensible.

Also, since the lonely little 33-foot high Midlands primary school wind turbine only generated 209 kilowatt-hours of electricity in its first year, the Thanet Wind Farm, consisting of one hundred 3 MW wind turbines, will be useless too. All you need to do is take a hostile economic evaluation from a denialist buddy (in this case the Daily Telegraph’s reliable Christopher Booker) and give it an extra “twist”.

Monckton spews out great swaths of bogus economics gobbledygook in his arguments here and refers to “smidgens” and “tads” when trying to obscure his assumptions. He’s learning to avoid those concrete details that keep tripping him up and stick to the cocktail party clowning that he’s actually quite good at. The estimable Viscount finishes his ‘calculations’ thus:

So there you have it. After the biggest and most expensive propaganda campaign in human history, leading to the biggest tax increase in human history, trying to stop “global warming” that isn’t happening anyway and won’t happen at anything like the predicted rate is the least cost-effective use of taxpayers’ money in human history, bar none – and that’s saying something.

Now that’s what I call climate science! Like most denialists for Monckton, after all the verbal dancing, it boils down to taxes.

World Opinion on global warming: not so hot

World opinion on global warming: not so hot“. Anthony Watts tells us that a Gallup poll result means that we don’t have to worry about global warming! Whew, saved by public ignorance.

It turns out that if ordinary folks don’t notice climate changes then they didn’t happen. Here are the global poll results that Anthony thinks prove there is no global warming (evidence be damned).

The question was “Temperature rise is a part of global warming or climate change. Do you think rising temperatures are”:

  • Result of human activity – 35% (54% of Canadians believe this, but only 34% of Americans)
  • Result of natural causes – 14%
  • “Both” (i.e. some human causes) – 13%
  • Don’t know/refused – 2%
  • Not aware of global warming – 36%

Anthony Watts prefers not to dwell on the fact that of the “aware” respondents, 48% think human activity is contributing to global warming and 14% don’t. Instead he invokes the ‘noble savages’ argument that more primitive people are more aware of their environment (which is weather, not climate…) and the “not aware” respondents here are keenly insightful.

Also, people in the western world are poisoned by the mainstream media.

Tell us Anthony, how are people supposed to notice a less than 1°C rise over several decades amidst a variety of much larger daily, seasonal, and locale changes?

This poll was about awareness of human activities as a factor, not whether people think temperatures are rising. Anthony has tried to spin both the question and the answers. Nice try.

RSS data: 2010 not the warmest year in satellite record, but a close second

RSS data: 2010 not the warmest year in satellite record, but a close second. Anthony Watts discovers that 2010 was merely the second warmest year on the satellite record, although his first version of the chart “proving” this was just a tiny bit exaggerated. Thus disproving Global Warming. Of course the declaration that 2010 is now warmest year was based on surface temperature records, not satellite observations.

Funny how a few days ago denialists were poo-pooing the slightness of 2010’s new record but are now hailing the slightness of their claim that 1998 is still the warmest.

So what was “the warmest year” in Anthony’s preferred dataset? Yes, 1998, the outlier year with a massive El Niño boost which has been the denialist “trick” for several years because it throws off short-term statistical significance. Look for this talking point to be quietly dropped over the year as moment

Pick your story from the satellite temperature observations.

It’s such a cold December: 2010 ends on a chilly note where people live

It’s such a cold December: 2010 ends on a chilly note where people live. Another Guest Post for Anthony Watts, by Ryan Maue, once again proving that there is no Global Warming. Did you know that December 2010 was cold in some places? It’s the final nail in the coffin the Global Warming myth!

However Ryan’s not going to talk about the inconvenient fact that the full year was actually rather hot until the “government temperature keepers” release their analyses. Nice side-stepping!

Instead we get a simplistic series of excuses:

  1. Mutterings about weather fluctuations.
  2. Invocation of “regional variation”.
  3. Casual dismissal of the places where there happens to be the most warmth (Ryan actually says, with an apparently straight face, that “You’ll hear a lot about the historically warm Arctic, but who cares at this point, no one lives there and it is still plenty cold.”).
  4. Allusions to governmental conspiracies (“It’s a foregone conclusion that the official government data from whatever nation or agency will show that 2010 was the hottest year ever.  It just has to be that way“).
  5. An attempt to minimize the factual record 2010 temperature by suggesting that it’s only slightly record-breaking.

So for Global Warming to be true the evidence has to be homogenous, continuous, and in large steps? How scientific.

NASA’s Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster

NASA’s Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster. Christmas Guest pudding from Ira Glickstein about NASA’s solar cycle predictions, who concludes with a statement that might have been a helpful opening sentence: “I am not any kind of expert on Sunspots”.

The current solar cycle has proven unusually quiet and probably influenced by anomalies in 2003, making NASA’s predictions, based primarily on observed geomagnetic precursors, erratic. Those stupid scientists, thinking that their careful observations and analysis would be any match for a crank with Excel on his PC!

Glickstein thinks that after the publicity for the Algore film An Inconvenient Truth solar scientists “felt pressured to please their colleagues and superiors by predicting a Sunspot doozy that would presage a doozy of a warm spell.” That is the dumbest conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard of.

Ira Glickstein's amateur assessment of NASA's sunspot prediction. What data is the amusing dramatic blue trend showing? None. What a mess.

Arsenic and post-haste: another example of the broken peer review process turned “science by press release”

Arsenic and post-haste: another example of the broken peer review process turned “science by press release”. A NASA news report made an eye-opening announcement about “an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” Arsenic-based bacterium were found by astrobiologists in Mono Lake, suggesting that we should widen our search criteria for extraterrestrial life. Turns out that the scientist’s conclusions may be flawed. They’re probably just a regular phosphate-based bacterium that can tolerate high arsenic concentrations. Interesting though.

Anthony Watts’ take on this? Maybe that the scientific publication process catches these kinds of problems? No. Maybe that results that aren’t approved by the existing, and oppressive, “consensus” can be published? No.

Anthony’s conclusion is that scientists are defensive egotists. And that “peer review” failed, somehow. Therefore scientific criticism of denialism must also be flawed.

Guess what, Anthony. That was science in action, not blog-blather. Scientists reported their discovery, other scientists examined it skeptically, knowledge was advanced. One “tribe” didn’t defeat the other. Publication of results isn’t the finish line, it’s the first lap.

Can Anthony really say that “NASA again has egg of [sic] their faces”? No. He’s just trying to opportunistically smear this minor controversy over to the field he’s trying to discredit NASA in.