“Detecting regime shifts in climate data – the modern warming regime ended in 1997“ (2012-07-03). Anthony Watts blindly publishes another piece of scientific nonsense. Sam Outcalt, Emeritus (naturally) Professor of Physical Geography (naturally) has screwed around with Excel and discovered you can turn pretty much any data trend into a parabola that suits your goals if you just rescale things and only plot cumulative sums of deviations from average.
“This short analysis indicates that an alternate model of climate change based on serial regime transitions rather than anthropogenic global warming is consistent with the results of the Hurst Re Scaling analysis.”
It’s so simple! Um, too simple:
“Cumulative sums can show very interesting behavior. They can also be extremelytricky to deal with statistically. That’s not a problem for Outcalt, his post doesn’t seem to have any statistics.” – Open Mind
This is what fake linear temperature trends look like when plotted along side real temperature the the way Outcalt did:
Looks like Dr. Outcalt’s dunce-cap methodology turns any linear trend into a parabola that can be presented as proof that the trend has reversed…
955 words and four references (do “personal communications” really count?) are all Outcalt needs to underpin his argument. I think Anthony’s denialist blog is the pinnacle of this “paper’s” trajectory. Outcalt is a retired permafrost guy, his last paper seems to have been in 1994.
‘Ads by Google’ helpfully suggests that “If you use a spreadsheet to manage work, you should watch this helpful 1 minute video.” Maybe the good Perfessor should take Google’s inscrutable advice?
Update: Here’s a real temperature trend, from 1800 to 2010. Notice the lack of “regime change” in 1997? This data is from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, in which Anthony placed great faith until it didn’t give the result he wanted.
“So what?” you say, another emeritus academic outside of his area of expertise who thinks he’s “proved” everyone else is wrong. Dime a dozen at Watts Up With That. Well… true. But every now and then (meaning several times a week) a classic example of Anthony’s tactics comes along and gives us a useful way to deconstruct Anthony’s method:
- He will publish literally anything with a “conclusion” that suits his agenda, even if he has no ability whatsoever to understand it. Perhaps especially if he doesn’t understand it.
- He will imply that any forthcoming criticism will be malicious so that his readers will think that Anthony has the intelligence to anticipate and dismiss factual scientific criticism:
“Great paper. Thanks for re-posting this Anthony. Hurst makes perfect sense and it is well defended in the paper. I think Tamino is over his head with a paper like this.
REPLY: Oh, he’ll try to shoot it down anyway. – Anthony”
- He posts new stuff so fast that by the time anyone intelligent can respond his mesmerized audience has forgotten about it other than a few unshakable rearguard commenters. Although they will all keep a vague memory of another perfect proof, probably contradicting earlier perfect proofs, that there is no global warming, which stopped in 1997 anyway.
- He counts on his denialist ditto heads to repost WUWT posts so that if any intelligent analysis infects the comments of his own posts and disrupts the head-nodding the copies will remain uncorrected and continue to deceive. (Of course he’ll never correct his own post either, so that readers that don’t mine the comments will remain unaware.)
censors “moderators” will always invoke (im)plausible deniability when Anthony’s caught and will pretend his readers are up-to-date in all the physical sciences anyway:
[REPLY: Anthony publishes lots of stuff, not all of which he agrees with. It is simply “interesting”. WUWT commenters are fully capable of critiqueing the work and have done so. Anthony is not a co-author on this article and is not required to justify or explain anything, especially to anonymous individuals using anonymous proxy servers. Check site policy regarding that. -REP]
Not particularly clever, but effective if you lack peripheral vision.
Update: Anthony re-applied his denialist french kiss to Outcalt’s fake technique one day later when Outcalt sends him some rigged solar data: “Another regime change indication – this time in solar data“. One day the climate switch flipped in 1997, the next day the switch flipped in 2005. Just pick one and stick with! This time Anthony gets called on it too fast to slip away and pulls an “as I expected”:
UPDATE: As I expected he would, Dr. Leif Svalgaard takes exception to this characterization of the identification of October 2005 being a regime changepoint, saying:
While I agree that the sun is going quiet, the ‘step change’ is spurious. It is mainly due to a sporadic, single magnetic storm in September 2005: http://hirweb.nict.go.jp/sedoss/solact3/do?d=2005%2c09%2c04 and here is the next rotation: http://hirweb.nict.go.jp/sedoss/solact3/do?d=2005%2c10%2c01 You can find many such steps.
Such step changes happens all the time: http://www.leif.org/research/Ap-1844-now.png They are just weather, not climate.
Of course Anthony takes as “skeptical” view of the opinions of actual solar experts as he thinks can get away with:
While I defer to Dr. Svalgaard’s overall superior knowledge on the dynamics of sun, and agree there are many sharp transitions in the Ap record, this looks to me to be a step change event of merit based on the factors listed above. I’ve yet to see a fully convincing explanation that this was a spurious event rather than a regime changepoint. But, I remain open to seeing such an explanation.