Website News

So I’m back again after another layoff… What was I up to? Well aside from returning to the algore secret world headquarters for new orders and getting my brain-washing topped up, I was enjoying a warm (too warm I tell myself ominously) month of summer training and racing in triathlons. I was also helping, in a small way, run the Toronto International Film Festival.

Of course Anthony Watts and friends have been busy without me. Unsurprisingly, they’ve said absolutely nothing new. The Arctic sea ice has continued to recede despite their daily protestations and crowing about momentary tiny reversals. They still darkly accuse reality-based scientists of being money-grubbing communist liars. They’re still finding phrases to work themselves into a lather over, with “global climate disruption” being the latest definitive evidence that “warmers” are slippery-tongued con artists. Apologies and retractions, as long after the fact as possible, as still trickling out of the deceived mainstream media. “Lord” Monckton is still threatening to sue anyone that criticizes him. Fox News cobbled together another collection of denialists to explain it all to their viewers.

What’s new? There have been some entertaining developments, randomly selected.

  • Judith Curry, the “climate scientist” who changed teams (err, tribes), has started blogging with the kind help of our friend Anthony Watts. The results are naturally mixed but perhaps the process will restore blood-flow to her brain.
  • Bjorn Lomsberg is now pretending that he never doubted global warming, he just wanted us to solve it with tech. Nice fig-leaf.
  • Anthony is trying to diversify into protecting Australian farmers from municipal gubmints. Good tie-in for the gubmint haters.
  • Steven Goddard has left his post (for “personal reasons”) at Watts’ Up With That’s Department of Arctic Sea Ice is Thicker Than Ever after he started snapping at his teammates again in his ferocious self-defense of factual ignorance. Never mind, Thomas Fuller is warming up in the bull(shit)-pen.
  • Anthony tells us once again that nothing man can do can have any impact, so why the fuss? Just ask any former professor, they’ll tell you that global warming is simply a “corrupt social phenomenon.”
  • Thomas Fuller tries to tell everyone that he’s just an open-minded guy who really does believe in global warming, just not that much. I guess Climategate slandering isn’t paying the bills after-all. The Way Things Break gives him a big hug.
  • Anthony gives some more support to right-wing think tank-er Indur Goklany’s kooky mantra that we should be fighting malaria with DDT (and Rachel Carson was a murderer) theory. This brought a snort of derision from Tim Lambert at Deltoid.

So much fun I’ve missed out on! Well time waits for no man.

I can make a small contribution here though. There were two films at Toronto International Film Festival that touched on climate change. Cool It was an uncritical documentary about Bjorn Lomberg and his ideas on climate change. I really wanted to catch a screening, but my schedule didn’t allow me to get to it. My contacts tell me that it was very poorly attended, but I would have loved the chance to see some of the local denialists bouncing around the 75 seat theater chosen to screen it in. The documentary Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, was also playing, it won the Cadillac People’s Choice Documentary Award. So much for the tide of public opinion turning against the “climate change alarmists”.

Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan

Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan. Anthony Watts returns to a favorite dishonest pastime – mocking environmental reports. The Petermann Glacier in Greenland has calved an “ice island” four times the size of Manhattan into the Nares Strait.

Petermann Glacier calves an ice island! Source: U. of Delaware.

The last time something similar happened was in 1962. If something has ever happened before it can’t be happening now because of Global Warming. Is that the message Anthony? After all, there were no SUV’s back then, right?

Climate Craziness of the Week: NW Passage open “first time in history” and all that…

Climate Craziness of the Week: NW Passage open “first time in history” and all that… Anthony Watts fires before aiming yet again. Apparently the archaeologists finding the British naval ship HMS Investigator proves that the Northwest Passage was navigable back in the 1850’s. Therefore, there has been no Global Warming. Or, it’s all natural. Both are good.

HMS Investigator sailing the open Northwest Passage? Source: Wikimedia

Years ago I visited the site where the ships the Griper and Hecla spent the winter of 1820 ice-bound off Melville Island, within sight of the western end of the Northwest Passage. Here are two reading comprehension pointers for Anthony’s.

  • The HMS Investigator was stuck in the ice for two years before the crew abandoned it.
  • The wreckage was easily discovered this year because the sea ice has melted away from the search area.

So how is this “Climate Craziness”? Oh, by the way, the claim that this “shows Arctic Sea Ice conditions similar to 1853″ is just another denialist blogger making things up.

Analysis of NSIDC August 4 News

Analysis of NSIDC August 4 News. Steven Goddard still thinks that he can use Photoshop to disprove Global Warming! Friendly advice for Anthony Watts: I know Steven helps fill your blog with denialist arguments of varying quality, but his premises are invariably based on either stubborn ignorance or deliberate analytical flaws. Although perhaps you don’t care?

So what’s Steven’s “analysis” this time? He claims that the NSIDC’s (National Snow and Ice Data Center) Sea Ice News has a deceptive chart of Arctic Sea Ice Extent because his pixel counting from an NSIDC map shows 10% more ice now that in 2007. That’s not what the chart shows! Although it goes right over Steven’s head, Dr. Walt Meier of the NSIDC charitably explains;

Our sea ice maps are not an equal area projection. Thus one cannot compare extents by counting grid cells – this is probably the reason for the 7.5% vs. 3% discrepancy. Steve has been alerted to this issue in the past, but seems to have forgotten it.

Photoshop also proves that Arctic multi-year ice is doing just fine, sort of, even though the NSIDC says that it is melting in the southern Beaufort Sea. So there.

Finally, Steven lets us know that Sea Ice Extent is increasing in the Antarctic, naturally disproving Global Warming. Too bad Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is driven by ocean current patterns and glacial outflow and not temperature.

Goddard notes grandly that he has “alerted Dr. Meier to most of these issues by E-mail.” Another trophy for the lunch-room bulletin board I suppose.

DMI polar data shows cooler Arctic temperature since 1958

DMI polar data shows cooler Arctic temperature since 1958“. Frank Lansner joins Steven Goddard’s love-in with the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI). Their Arctic climate modeling in the 80° – 90° latitudes seems to show cooler average melting season (“summer”) temperatures than the GISS model. Thus proving that Global Warming doesn’t exist. Evil “garbage in-garbage out” “adjusted” computer models are just fine if they tell Frank and Steven what they want to hear apparently.

Why the difference between DMI’s estimates and those from GISS? It doesn’t seem to matter to Frank as long as he can wave one of them around accusingly.

Discrepancies In Sea Ice Measurements

Discrepancies In Sea Ice Measurements. Steven Goddard returns for the second time today to prove, via Photoshop, that climatologists are tricking us. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) Arctic Sea Ice Extent plots aren’t identical!!!!!

Because they use different modeling techniques that have different break points for ice/not ice. So what?

Of course Steven is really trying to avoid talking about Arctic Sea Ice Volume, which is much less useful for sowing denialist confusion. We’ll stick with extent though and post this image for Steven to chew on:

Average monthly Arctic Sea Ice Extent trend since 1979. Source: NSIDC.

Open Water At The North Pole

Open Water At The North Pole. Anthony Watts wants his followers to hear this news from him first so he can frame it properly. He scours the internet for useful “there was less ice in the olde days” tales and finds photos of surfaced nuclear submarines and some old speculative newspaper articles.

Yes, there’s open water near the north pole now. No, it’s not uncommon at the height of Arctic summer. Big whup. This is called weather. The real story, as always, is the long-term trend. But Anthony’s anecdotes apparently trump that.

Arctic Sea Ice Anomaly, August 3, 2010. Trend is... down. Source: Cryosphere Today

Wait, what’s this? Anthony reports:

The UIUC [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] seems to have “lost” their archive of ice concentration maps. It has been offline for two weeks now, so we can’t use that valuable resource for the time being. I wonder what’s up with that?

Yes! Conspiracy and hiding of data! Back to work.

GISS Polar Interpolation

GISS Polar Interpolation. Like the Wandering Albatross, Steven Goddard returns once more to complaining that because the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) doesn’t have 5000 weather stations on the Arctic sea ice their global temperature analysis is a lie composed of “incorrect, fabricated data”. James Hansen even admits that !

Steven cherry-picks June 2010 from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) model for comparison because it’s the only month he can use to “prove” that the Arctic is colder than GISS reports. Steven loathes any kind of “modeling” because they let scientists ‘manipulate the truth’, but the DMI model suits his purpose today so its OK I guess. The DMI model uses a different set of records and different assumptions, in particular with a cold bias due to inclusion of Arctic buoy readings, so naturally it gives a slightly different result. This is useful to Steven.

Daily mean temperature north of 80th northern parallel. Steven likes June 2010 here. It's the only month he can play games with. Source: DMI.

It’s always fun to work yourself up into a nice lather, but if data isn’t available scientists will try to find ways to compensate. It’s called research and it doesn’t involve playing games with Photoshop. Just because it suits Steven’s purpose doesn’t mean that, for example, rejecting the interpolation of temperature beyond 250 km is legitimate. GISS explains their choice clearly:

The correlation of temperature anomaly time series for neighboring stations was illustrated by Hansen and Lebedeff [1987] as a function of station separation for different latitude bands. The average correlation coefficient was shown to remain above 50 percent to distances of about 1200 km at most latitudes, but in the tropics the correlation falls to about 35 percent at station separation of 1200 km. The GISS analysis specifies the temperature anomaly at a given location as the weighted average of the anomalies for all stations located within 1200 km of that point, with the weight decreasing linearly from unity for a station located at that point to zero for stations located 1200 km or further from the point in question.

So what if there was a fatal flaw in the GISS temperature analysis? Well there are several different estimates of global temperature trends, based on different sets of temperature records and different assumptions. They all show a similar pattern of warming, so howling about the specific flaws of one or the other of these analyses is really just meaningless noise.

I can’t let Goddard’s final statement that “GISS Arctic anomalies are high by as much as 4 degrees, and yet he claims a global record measured in hundredths of a degree” go unchallenged. This is plain scientific ignorance (or the pretense of it). The significant digits of a result can be much higher than the accuracy of the individual measured values if the sample size is large. Guess what? In this case, it is.

Sea Ice News #15

Sea Ice News #15. Steven Goddard returns to his weekly “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” exercise in trying to explain away the Arctic Sea Ice trends. In this “report” he decides to talk about data coverage and not the data itself and about Arctic air temperature and not sea ice. Oh, he has some webcam photos as evidence too.

In passing, he mentions that “ice loss accelerated during the past week over the East Siberian Sea due to above normal temperatures.” But pay no heed to that!

Arctic Forecast Verification Update

Arctic Forecast Verification Update. Arctic Sea Ice Extent has ticked upwards a bit faster than expected, so Steven Goddard has returned to arm-waving about how everything’s back to normal, just like he predicted by drawing a dashed line on some real data. Or should I say re-predicted. Oh great sage, why do you yap so much about short-term weather variables?

Steven's analysis-by-graphics-editor Arctic Sea Ice Extent prediction, complete with fuzzy pixel deletions.