The surfacestations paper – statistics primer

The surfacestations paper – statistics primer (May 12, 2011). Was Anthony Watts hiding his light under a bushel when he announced the surfacestations paper was in press? Is this post the meaty one, and the announcement mis-fire just rope-a-dope? Heres comes co-author Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon’s science! (Apparently John, a meteorologist who is the politically-appointed “Texas State Climatologist”, came on-board after Anthony’s own statistical efforts were tossed.) [Update: apologies for following Anthony’s misspelling of his co-author’s name.]

First of all John admits a “subtle point”. It turns out they “didn’t assess the differences in individual station measurements”, which unfortunately was what Anthony had been shouting about for years. Oh really?

John also admits that “NCDC’s preliminary analysis of siting quality used a gridded analysis, but we checked and our numbers weren’t very different.” (emphasis mine). Oh really?

Another curious admission from John is that “you have to work with anomalies or changes over time (first differences) rather than the raw temperatures themselves.” This seems strange, because the denialist howling has always been that only the raw temperatures can be trusted.

Fourth, John tells us that “a station should matter more in the overall average if it is far from other stations, and matter less if lots of other stations are nearby.” Isn’t weighting stations how the mainstream climate scientists rigged the numbers? Oh dear, there’s a pattern emerging. Regular science.

What was the ingenious analysis that pulled all this together into the final nail in the coffin of global warming? The “Monte Carlo approach”.

In fact, it’s so simple you don’t need to know statistics to understand it.  Given two classes of stations whose trends needed comparing, I randomly assigned stations to each class, while making sure that the total number of stations in each class stayed the same and that each climate region had at least two stations of each class.  I then computed and stored the difference in trends.  I then repeated this process a total of 10,000 times.

Then of course you cherry-pick the few comparisons that randomly show the trend you want to claim is real and ignore the other 9,990. This is what denialist statistician-to-the-stars Steve McIntyre did in his attacks on Dr. Mann’s temperature reconstructions, and was so ham-handedly reproduced by Dr. Edward Wegman.

So what’s left? Weak mutterings about how “many stations underwent simultaneous instrumentation and siting changes” in the 1980’s. Apparently no-one knew this (not).

This paper is sounding more and more like an ass-covering way to justify several years of wasted and misguided effort. The demonized scientific process has pinned Anthony and his team like bugs under a magnifying glass, holding them accountable for every squeak. The result? Laryngitis.

Stanford claims farmers “dodged impacts of global warming” in the USA, but you have to find it first.

Stanford claims farmers “dodged impacts of global warming” in the USA, but you have to find it first. (May 6, 2011). When Anthony Watts does his own posting you can be sure that it will be short and dishonest. Here Anthony disputes a Stanford University report on the impact of global warming on US crop production, which states:

Global warming is likely already taking a toll on world wheat and corn production, according to a new study led by Stanford University researchers. But the United States, Canada and northern Mexico have largely escaped the trend.

Anthony rebuttal is to slap together charts of US corn yield and US temperature to “prove” that noisy regional weather data shows no global warming. He also alludes to the comical “CO2 is essential for life” argument.

Yep, US corn yields are going up. It’s gotta mean something! Anthony grudgingly allows that “some of the gains seen below are likely the result of improved seed lines”, but the honest first approximation is that all of corn yield gains are “likely the result of improved seed lines”. After-all he’s pretty sure that there hasn’t been any change in the climate, isn’t he? Sez Anthony:

What global warming? The last two years of annual mean temperature for the USA (2009, 2010) is about the same as it was in 1980 and 1981, and lower than many years since.

So Anthony’s entire argument is to compare two years of the US annual mean temperature, 1980 and 1981, against the two most recent years and declare that since they are “about the same” this proves that there’s no global warming? Dude, you’re a frickin’ cherry-pickin’ idiot.

Anthony’s lame “we’ve seen exactly this before” deception is only faintly plausible if he deliberately removes the default trend line from his chart. We can fix that though (replicate it here, but ignore Anthony’s advice to exclude the trend line):

Anthony Watts took care to remove the trend from his version of this chart.

As usual Anthony’s also using several levels of cherry-picking to gin-up his “What global warming?” climate claim aside from the two-year comparison windows. The US Corn Belt is not the same geographic area as the continental US, so he’s not demonstrating anything at all about the Corn Belt climate. Likewise, the continental US represents only a fraction of the global record.

The Stanford article also mentions an US trend towards anomalously cooler summers, which coupled with the unequivocal rise in annual average temperature implies warmer winters. US agriculture has been partly insulated from global warming by keeping the growing season temperatures within the crop’s tolerance zone. Why didn’t Anthony address that? Hmmm.

The GISS divergence problem: Ocean Heat Content

The GISS divergence problem: Ocean Heat Content. Butter wouldn’t melt in citizen-scientist Bob Tisdale’s mouth, would it? He’s back with new proof that there’s no global warming and that them gubmint scientists is stupid. Anthony Watts approvingly notes the alleged “[denialist] reality versus [Goddard Institute for Space Studies] projection disparity” and declares “a GISS miss by a country mile.” Game over, yuck, yuck, yuck!

Tisdale’s claim is that Ocean Heat Content (OHC) hasn’t risen as fast as an old GISS model projected (note that this was not a prediction). Why? Well, because he can slap a projected straight line (Bob still loves ’em) on a chart that rises faster than the observations. Therefore, warmists are liars and their computers are too. This handily side-steps the real issue: Ocean Heat Content is unquestionably rising. We call this global warming.

Except… Even Anthony has to give Bob a nudge in the comments for failing to admit that his citizen-science fair project is showing “anomalies” i.e. deviations from the trend and not the trend itself. Sure, the target man on the street won’t spot it, but it’s like plastering “kick me” all over your own back for the benefit of informed scientific observers like Tamino, to whom Bob’s posts are like candy to a baby. Tamino indulges his sweet tooth in Favorite Denier Tricks, or How to Hide the Incline.

So how does Tisdale think he’s proven that the alarmist GISS projection of increasing OHC doesn’t match the measured increase? By using the classic denialist trick of showing the projection over a very particularly chosen time period from on a very particularly chosen point. This allows him to imply that OHC is flat but the GISS projection is increasingly divergent from “reality”. Anthony is silent on the this half of Bob’s deception because in the denialist playbook cherry-picking is enthusiastically endorsed.

The following graphic collates Tamino’s deconstruction of Bob Tisdale’s game-playing. Perhaps Bob should submit his work to the National Science Fair’s Beeville branch?

New cherry-picking and tunnel vision from Bob "Magoo" Tisdale. Deconstruction by Tamino.

Are Gulf Of Mexico Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Near To Record Levels?

Are Gulf Of Mexico Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Near To Record Levels?” As Anthony Watts foolishly suggests in his one sentence contribution to Bob Tisdale’s guest post, “the devil is in the details.” He is indeed…

Bob is trying to dispute the claim by meteorologist Jeff Masters that the recent Midwest deluge [was] enhanced by near-record Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperatures. Although Jeff is talking about weather, Bob Tisdale recognizes the threat. This might mean that global warming really is happening! Of course it’s not, so he accuses Jeff of  a “contrived” claim and counters that “…over the past 80 years, there is no global warming signal in the Gulf of Mexico SST data.”

My blue trend is just eyeballing but it's a lot less contrived than Bob Tisdale's flat red line in this example from his "analysis".

Unfortunately for Bob any open-eyed reader will see that every chart he tries to use as evidence reveals that he has deliberately picked dishonest comparison points that minimize the increase and he has ignored everything in-between. Details, details.

Statistics, Bob. Look into ’em. There’s a reason scientists use ’em.

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.

Union of Concerned Scientists – Unwarranted Concern about the Northeast US

Union of Concerned Scientists – Unwarranted Concern about the Northeast US. A guest post by Alan Cheetham of Appinsys (an unskeptical version of Skeptical Science, with an interest in portraits of Mohammed). Did you know that the Union of Concerned Scientists, who are just washed-out librul anti-nuke gravy-train types, has been exaggerating climate change in the Northeastern USA? (Nothing to say about the rest of the world?)

[Across the globe, and] “here in the Northeast, the climate is changing. Records show that spring is arriving earlier, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. These changes are consistent with global warming, an urgent phenomenon driven by heat-trapping emissions from human activities.” – 2006, from climatechoices.org

“In fact”, there has been no trend in temperature change there in a hundred years, and sometimes the “record” was, like, years ago!

Cheat-sheet:

  • When denialists like Anthony Watts and Alan Cheetham want to present the illusion of a recent cooling period, they will reduce the number of years of temperature data until they can.
  • When denialists like Anthony and Alan want to hide recent (post 1975) AGW warming, they increase the number of years they present.
  • Denialists like Anthony and Alan will always cherry-pick a convenient location and claim that it disproves a global trend.
  • Denialists like Anthony and Alan will always fixate on an outlier if it suits their argument, the wilder the better.

Unfortunately for Anthony, in this case the “trick” is in plain sight. In all “flat” temperature graphs the trend from 1975 onwards is a rising one. Here’s an example, the “summer” temperature trend:

Alan Cheetham's "flat" temperature trend — of just the northeast USA because nothing else exists — with post-1975 trend indicated.

I guess we should listen to the Union of Unconcerned Scientists.

Are huge northeast snow storms due to global warming?

Are huge northeast snow storms due to global warming? Dr. Richard Keen, a buddy of denialist economist Roger Pielke, Jr., guest posts on Anthony Watts’ blog. Did you know that Philadelphia’s weather patterns are proof that lots of snow really does mean colder weather? Take that, Jay Lawrimore of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center! And of course one useful city is always a refutation of what’s happening over the entire planet.

Now Richard knows you nasty warmists are going to accuse him, again, of cherry-picking a convenient example. So he reminds readers that he chose Philadelphia because he grew up there. That totally lets him off the hook.