Where Consensus Fails – The Science Cannot Be Called ‘Settled’

Where Consensus Fails – The Science Cannot Be Called ‘Settled’. Anthony Watts gives us another entertaining guest post by his Steven Goddard replacement, Thomas Fuller. Thomas tells us that back in 2008 Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch surveyed 379 “climate scientists” online. How would you answer a question like: “Some scientists present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public. How much do you agree with this practice?” Well, you’re obviously a smart scientist who knows that AGW is all made-up!

To quote the report itself “The survey employed a non-probability convenience sample.” This is a sort of admission that the survey is completely untrustworthy. Just the kind of evidence Anthony Watts finds the most useful.

By the way, who is it that keeps claiming that believers in AGW say that “the science is settled”? Denialists do, that’s who, so they can claim imaginary victories over a straw-man. Informed participants know that we are constantly learning more about the historical evidence and mechanisms of Global Warming. It’s just that what we learn keeps agreeing with the AGW proposition…

Surprise: Peer reviewed study says current Arctic sea ice is more extensive than most of the past 9000 years

Surprise: Peer reviewed study says current Arctic sea ice is more extensive than most of the past 9000 years. A blogger discovers a paleoclimate paper by McKay, et.al. in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences from 2008 and Anthony Watts is on it like white on rice. “Peer reviewed!” “More ice now than ever!” “Natural!!!!”

Oh, it’s only referring to a bit of the western Arctic. Oh, they’re only comparing to Arctic Sea Ice extent of a decade ago, when there was in fact rather more sea ice. Oh, they aren’t suggesting that such low ice extents were common. Oh, dinocyst proxies are a bit dodgy. Oh, the paper is merely titled Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chukchi Sea, not “there’s more ice than ever now!”

Botanist claims to overturn established ocean phytoplankton theory – cites global warming as a concern for new theory

Botanist claims to overturn established ocean phytoplankton theory – cites global warming as a concern for new theory. Whew. Anthony Watts can sleep again. Global warming has been disproved! Again. Somehow. In a paper by an Oregon State University botanist (Abandoning Sverdrup’s critical depth hypothesis on phytoplankton blooms). So Anthony instinctively copies and pastes the press release.


Eurekalert has a press release about Dr. Behrenfeld’s research, which suggests that phytoplankton blooms occur at a greater range of depths and seasonal than previously recognized. Well that settles it!

Uh oh, Anthony didn’t even understand the for-dummies press release:

The critical depth hypothesis would suggest that a warmer climate would increase ocean productivity. Behrenfeld’s new hypothesis suggests the opposite.

New paper: Tropical cyclone response to solar UV

New paper: Tropical cyclone response to solar UV“. Anthony Watts posts parts of a Geophysical Research Letters paper, Daily tropical cyclone intensity response to solar ultraviolet radiation by three geographers at Florida State University, about cyclone intensity over the Caribbean and an inverse relationship to the number of sunspots (full copy here). The “compelling” hypothesis is that it is changes in UV radiation that are significant and not Total Solar Insolation (TSI). No real-world physical model is offered to explain it.

Here’s the quote from the conclusions that Anthony likes, because it can be waved about to suggest that climate change is all due to the sun:

a tropical cyclone can act to amplify the effect on the Earth’s climate of a relatively small change in solar output.

More local evidence used to infer global meaning. More grasping at straws for a random theory to magically “prove” humans aren’t contributing to Global Warming. Anther shiny thing to swing back and forth in front of Anthony’s readers.

New ground truth: soil microbe negative feedback

New ground truth: soil microbe negative feedback“. Another month, another “game-changer” claim from Anthony Watts. Yes the denialist “game” does indeed keep changing.

In this case, Anthony has found a press release from the University of California, Irvine titled Soil microbes produce less atmospheric CO2 than expected with climate warming. Here’s a quote that sums up the findings:

The new simulations suggest that if microbial efficiency declines in a warmer world, carbon dioxide emissions will fall back to pre-warming levels, a pattern seen in field experiments. But if microbes manage to adapt to the warmth – for instance, through increased enzyme activity – emissions could intensify.

Fungi to the rescue! We’re saved, Anthony! Saved! Saved… Saved?

Anthony’s grasping at straws again. Yes, microbial contributions to the carbon cycle are significant. No, their potentially steady-state contribution isn’t going to magically offset human CO2 production.

Next “game-changer” coming in… one month.

Climate Change and the dinosaurs

Climate Change and the dinosaurs“. Anthony Watts has found a press release from Plymouth University. Geological evidence from Norway suggests that during the Cretaceous period, characterized by substantially higher CO2 levels than today, there were several abrupt temperature drops:

over a period of a few hundred or a few thousand years, ocean temperatures fell from an average of 13 degrees centigrade to between eight and four degrees.

Anthony’s implication is that this kind of ancient temperature change shows that there are potential natural drivers as strong as the theorized current man-made changes. So it mustn’t be our fault this time either.

Of course the study found evidence of sudden temperature drops, not rises.

Another indication of MWP and LIA being global

Another indication of MWP and LIA being global“. Suddenly Anthony Watts likes temperature proxies because here they seem to go his way… In this case he’s been pointed toward a juicy Letter in Nature back in August of 2009 that proves that the Medieval Warm Period was global. At least in one place. OK then, what do we really have?

The denialist CO2 Science website (aka “Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change”, founded by a Peabody Energy operative) posted their own summary and “adapted” figure from the Nature Letter “2,000-year-long temperature and hydrology reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific warm pool.” It used Oxygen18 isotopes from planktonic foraminifera to estimate historical temperatures.

Strangely neither Anthony or CO2 Science provide a quick link to the claimed proof, but you can read the abstract here. Perhaps their coyness was triggered by the last sentence of the real abstract (emphasis mine)?

A companion reconstruction of delta18O of sea water—a sea surface salinity and hydrology indicator—indicates a tight coupling with the East Asian monsoon system and remote control of IPWP [Indo-Pacific warm pool] hydrology on centennial–millennial timescales, rather than a dominant influence from local SST variation.

Although the authors also state that “Reconstructed SST was, however, within error of modern values” that doesn’t stop Anthony’s buddies from slapping a ruler on the “adapted” figure and declaring “we calculate that the Medieval Warm Period was about 0.4°C warmer than the Current Warm Period.

ACS: going veggie won’t impact global warming

ACS: going veggie won’t impact global warming“. Anthony Watts’ latest copy-and-paste  irrelevance is an American Chemical Society report by an air quality expert says that eating less meat and dairy products won’t have major impact on global warming. Well that’s conclusive, right? Whatever, Anthony.

“We certainly can reduce our greenhouse-gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk,” said Mitloehner, who is with the University of California-Davis. “Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.”

Funny, I thought that in a general way that turning grain into meat was a provably inefficient (but delicious) way of producing food. This Wikipedia entry says as much:

In tracking food animal production from the feed through to the dinner table, the inefficiencies of meat, milk and egg production range from a 4:1 energy input to protein output ratio up to 54:1. The result is that producing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits for direct human consumption.

You know that when a report contains unsubstantiated statements that can be “pwned” by simple trip to Wikipedia that you can bet that someone’s going to be sent to bed hungry!

We’re should still force Anthony to eat tofu, just to watch his face.