Friday, July 27, 2012

Rumor has it that climate change is real

According to Ron Bailey at Reason.com

Stress - this is a rumor. However, the rumor says that next week Richard Muller will release the latest Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature analysis of surface temperature data going back as far as the 18th century. Muller, once skeptical of the temperature records that showed considerable global warming in recent decades, set up BEST to reanalyze that data.
and
The rumors say that new BEST reanalysis will show that global average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times and will suggest that most of the warming since the 1950s is the result of increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.


Watch out for the look over there act from the usual characters.  The Pielkesphere is parsing furiously.  Rumor has it that Tony Watts has gone into full lockdown mode, that Steve McIntyre has sold all his penny stock and will be flying back from England with the CRU server, but more importantly, Tuesday is the last day to have papers considered in the next IPCC report. 

62 comments:

notjonathon said...

Rumors abound. I've even heard rumors that Greenland ice is melting, and that North American temperatures are the hottest in recorded history. But there are more important issues to worry about. What with the drought, the wildfires, the freak storms, the tornadoes and the heat waves, we don't have time to think about global warming.

Tom the Dancing Bug

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Ain't no rumor, Tony really is in full lockdown mode. Probably trying to figure out how he'll spin denying this one.

However, for the full on denial triple lindy I give you Pat Michaels latest missive. In this bit, Pat denies that there is any connection between changes in the environment (and that includes climate, Pat!) and Polar Bear evolution, and by extension, evolution in general. That's a tough row to hoe, Pat.

Anonymous said...

"Ain't no rumor, Tony really is in full lockdown mode. Probably trying to figure out how he'll spin denying this one. "

At some point in the near future we're going to see some of the Denialati requesting asylum. The question is, should it be granted to them, or should they be allowed to sink with their ship?

Here in Australia, in the non-metaphorical version of the situation, we grant refugee status to those who are genuine refugees, and we refuse entry to those who are trying to come in under the radar, but who are in fact attempting simply to profit from a move, or who are trying to avoid responsibility for crimes across a spectrum all the way up to those involving the causing of harm, terror, and other serious illegalities.

I think that it would be a good model to apply to climate change denialism.

"Pat denies that there is any connection between changes in the environment... and Polar Bear evolution, and by extension, evolution in general. That's a tough row to hoe, Pat.

Ah, so he's a bat-shit crazy, industrial-strength science denier.

Good to know just how reality-free Michaels' position is.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Just to demonstrate what a mendacious little grub Michaels is, the last paragraph of his post to which Rattus linked is:

"*Note that the brown bear and the polar bear are not separate species, at least in the classic sense. Mate the two and you get viable cubs that are reproductively competent. That's the definition of what comprises a species."

Michaels carefully invokes the "classic" definition, but fails to mention that biologists have recognised at least from the time of Darwin that clearly-separate species could interbreed to produce fertile young. So the "classic" definition is most certainly not the definition of a species, and if he'd deigned to check everyone's favourite clever-pants he'd have seen that he was speaking from his posterior:

"In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are often used, such as similarity of DNA, morphology or ecological niche."

[Emboldened emphases mine.]

Of course, if Michaels doesn't believe in ecology or evolution then all those greater precisions in understanding are just fiddlings in his book - which isn't surprising if he subscribes to readings and acceptings of fairytales over empiricism.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Bernard, I was just about to make the same point, but you beat me to it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if Michaels takes exception to the tag "mendacious" I will happily replace it with "incompetent" if he elects to post here to clarify that his misrepresentation of the biological understanding of a species was not deliberate.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

"Bernard, I was just about to make the same point, but you beat me to it."

Rattus, what do you think the chances are that Michaels will correct his post in view of his misrepresentation of what a species is?


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Dan Moutal said...

1.5 degrees Celsius is large enough a number that we should all be very skeptical even if it is announced by BEST next week.

My prediction is that somewhere in the rumor mill things got muddled, and the real number that BEST will announce is 1.5 Fahrenheit.

William Connolley said...

> and will suggest that most of the warming since the 1950s is the result of increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

BEST? Doesn't sound plausible. They do temperature series, not attribution.

GSW said...

I'm rather dubious about this. The "new" part is the extension of the instrumental record to pre 1850. The problem has always been a lack of reliable data and coverage before this period. That can't have changed? There are no new marine (70% earths surface) data sets circa 1800 I'm aware of.

Also, BEST compile aggregate data, so there's nothing they do to determine an attribution for the warming since 1950 - no "what if" model runs etc.

A couple of related points. Firstly if the 1.5C is correct, and GW "kicked in" about 1950 with ~0.5C warming, then that means there has been about ~1C of natural background warming over the period (?).

Secondly, earlier datasets will have a natural bias towards NH records and the NH LIA recovery is known to be the dominant signature over this time.

Anonymous said...

"GSW said...

I'm rather dubious about this.
"

Eh? Don't you accept multiple independent proxies, or hard empirical evidence?

You're being very Michaels about it all.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Leaving Tony Watts out, how will Judith Curry spin it?

Isn't she still on the BEST team?

Toby

JCH said...

Muller is definitely interested in attribution. His most interesting comment in front of congress was that attribution could exceed 100% if aerosols are (temporarily) suppressing AGW. This was when Judy was still holding out hope inclusion of oceans would save the day for skeptics.

Anonymous said...

The 1.5 C is already their conclusion going back to 1800. That result has significant uncertainty bars +-.5C. HadCRU starts at 1850 and has a .8C rise.

grypo

GSW said...

@Bernard,

It's a rumour Bernard, read the post. A dubious one IMO.

@JCH

I'm sure Muller is interested in attribution, we all are. Muller's work says nothing about attribution, he may have a personal opinion, but that is not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Tony will announce that he starts a new globalsurfacestations project and until he's done, all temperature analyses are unreliable or worse.

Anonymous said...

Tony will announce that he starts a new globalsurfacestations project and until he's done, all temperature analyses are unreliable or worse.

I think this Anon is right. Most likely Watts' lockdown is to distract from Muller's announcement, not to piggy-back on it.

Don't forget this is a sideshow withing a sideshow. The temperature record was pretty clear before BEST, still is.

It may be a lot in the frenetic and crazy world of climate science denialism, but in the real world, it does not make much difference.

Toby

b. j. edwards said...

It could be that Tony thinks he is Jesus and is preparing for his own "Second Coming" even though the first one failed miserably.

Russell said...

WUWT seems less in the lock-down than the Sad when the great ship went down mode

ob said...

Before 1850, BEST is a sophisticated paleo-recon. BEST before 1800 is ... a sophisticated paleo-recon. 1.5K since 1750 is "huge" coming out of a relative solar maximum.

I'm skeptical about and fascinated by the BEST-skalpel but they are trying to get a global / hemispheric number out of stations only in Europe - or did they include the oldweatherreports?

...

well ...

Anonymous said...

WUWT is a pathetic freak show for the credulous and gullible presided over by a two-bit carny huckster.

carrot eater said...

I also didn't think BEST was in the attribution business. Maybe they'll come up with another inventory of external forcings, but that's only part of the story. Unless they are collecting other people's model results.

As for WUWT - does it really matter what they do down in their intellectual abyss?

caerbannog said...

Regarding the BEST "back-stabbing" of Watts, this is my attempt to "twist the knife" just a bit.

I created a little zip package with 3 pix that demonstrate the amazing robustness of the GHCN temperature network, along with a (hopefully) plain-English README file that explains what I did to generate them, and uploaded it to Google Docs.

Basically, I tried to put together a little "eye-candy" package that might help non-technical folks appreciate how robust the NASA global-average temperature results are, and how bogus the Wattsian attacks on NASA have been.


Linky here: tinyurl.com/globaltemperatureresultsV2

The first image shows the official NASA/GISS "meteorological stations" results vs. what you get when you use raw data from fewer than 70 rural stations scattered around the globe.

The other images are "Google Earth" perspectives of the locations of the GHCN stations used by NASA vs. the locations of the stations used to produce the "68 rural stations" results.

IMO, the images provide a nice visual demonstration of how you can get good global-average results from an incredibly sparse temperature network.

They knock the legs right out from Watts' claims about warming depending on UHI (I used just rural stations), or station "homogenization" (I used raw data).

The results also demonstrate that a darned-simplistic approach gets you results very similar to the results that the "pros" get. The "99 percent of the answer from 1 percent of the effort" rule definitely applies here.

Go ahead and pass the zip-file around to friends/family/co-workers if you think it will do any good -- and ask them whether they should trust global-warming skeptics or "their own lying eyes".

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Ted Kirkpatrick said...

Caerbannog,

Excellent educational tool! The code doesn't seem to be available at the moment, though.

Anonymous said...

Ted...

If the tinyurl link in the README-FIRST file isn't working, try this link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0pXYsr8qYS6RWl3ZUQ1RFJ4cGM/edit

The program ain't pretty, but it works for me ;) -- it crunches GHCN V2/V3, CRUTem V3/V4 and BEST data.

Output format is CSV, which is Excel/OpenOffice compatible.

I found that the BEST data, run though my crude gridding/averaging routine, produces "noisier" results than the other data-sets do in the early years. But all data-sets produce consistent long-term warming results.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Thomas said...

"As for WUWT - does it really matter what they do down in their intellectual abyss?"

As long as enough people use it as a source of facts, it does.

Didn't Watts write about putting up solar panels on his house a little while ago? Maybe he has quietly had a change of heart? Wouldn't that make some heads explode.

mk said...

I am shocked -- shocked! -- to find out that there's warming going on here! I'm making out the report now. ...

Ted Kirkpatrick said...

Caerbannog,

Thanks---the second link works. Impressive code, too. (You consider 3,700 lines of C++ "a simple project"? I'm humbled.)

When I used the first globaltemperaturecodeV2 link, Google just sent me back to GlobalTemperatureResults.zip.

mk said...

"As for WUWT - does it really matter what they do down in their intellectual abyss?"

Yes, very much so when it wins "best science blog" awards. A lot of people are in denial about the scope and importance of these sources of disinformation.

J Bowers said...

No longer a rumour.

New Global Temperature Data Reanalysis Confirms Warming, Blames CO2

"Our results show that the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, and one and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the most recent 50 years.
[...]
...With a simple model (no tipping points, no sudden increase in cloud cover, a response to gases that is “logarithmic”) I expect the rate of warming to proceed at a steady pace, about 1.5 degree F over land in the next 50 years, less if the oceans are included. But if China continues its rapid growth (it has averaged 10% per year over the last 20 years) and its vast use of coal (typically adding one new gigawatt per month), then that same warming could take place in less than 20 years."

Anonymous said...


Thanks---the second link works. Impressive code, too. (You consider 3,700 lines of C++ "a simple project"? I'm humbled.)


"Simple" is relative, I guess ;) -- compared to the work done by others (i.e Tamino, Nick Stokes, Nick Barnes, etc.) my approach is almost embarrassingly simple.

Also, it's single-threaded -- that alone makes it a lot simpler than other C++-based projects.

Most of the complexity in the code is "data housekeeping" stuff -- dealing with missing data, data gaps, varying station record lengths, multiple data formats, etc.

The basic algorithm really is quite simple -- if one took the time to create a toolkit/API that buried the ugly data-handling details, the procedure really could be taught to on-the-ball college freshmen.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Anonymous said...

Wow -- I just checked the download activity on my Google Docs page.

Currently, 8 others are viewing/downloading the material.

I'm glad that the material's stirring up a bit of interest, and I hope that it proves to be helpful to folks out there.


--caerbannog the anonybunny

dhogaza said...

Note it's 1.5F not 1.5C though, as suggested above.

Martin Vermeer said...

J Bowers said...

> No longer a rumour.

I would say still very much a rumour. I mean, reason.com (are you serious?) and no link to the supposed op/ed supposedly circulating on the intertubes.

carrot eater said...

So what exactly did they do, for attribution? Hopefully they'll publish something that lays out what they did, before the op/eds and press releases and whatnot are put out.

I wonder if he's learned his lesson - that just because he personally hasn't looked in detail at a field, doesn't mean he can dismiss the work in that field.

carrot eater said...

"I would say still very much a rumour."

Until it's properly published, yes, still a rumour.

dhogaza said...

"So what exactly did they do, for attribution?"

He says:

"The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect – extra warming from trapped heat radiation. These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as does carbon dioxide"

I expect Watts to seize upon this statement like a pit bull on a small child ...

dhogaza said...

WC:

"BEST? Doesn't sound plausible. They do temperature series, not attribution."

Muller's stating his personal opinion, which has changed, not claiming that BEST has done a formal attribution study. However he does state that nothing correlates as well as the rise in CO2 and that they tried a bunch of other "stuff" (unspecified).

carrot eater said...

dhogaza,
I read that too, and it doesn't tell me what they did. They made a curve of something, somehow, and compared it to something else. Great.

Assuming that something indeed is forthcoming from BEST (and that reason.com isn't just making stuff up), it'll be hard to say anything about it until we actually get a real report or publication to look at.

dhogaza said...

Carrot eater: yes, attirbution as described in the editorial is just hand-waving by Muller, in essence, which is why I made my snide aside about Watts.

It will be interesting to see what BEST has done, if anything, regarding attribution.

I don't think reason.com is just making shit up.

Marc Morono [sic] has a link up.

dhogaza said...

Actually the front page of climate depot is the place to be.

Full out attack mode ...

GSW said...

"Our Berkeley Earth approach used sophistical statistical methods developed largely by our lead scientist Robert Rohde, and which allowed us to determine earth land temperature much further back in time."

No thermometers then, just computer code. Temperatures And Relative Dimensions In Space.

I'd forgotten about BEST, they submitted 4 papers to JGR, Oct last year, any of them make it past peer-review? searched for the main one "Decadal variations in ..." couldn't find it published in JGR, anybody?

GSW said...

Can't help thinking we've been had. This been leaked anywhere other than reason.com? The text is so ridiculous it has to be wind-up.

William Connolley said...

> However he does state that nothing correlates as well as the rise in CO2

That is a joke, not an attribution.

I stick by my original assertion: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/04/05/muller-is-rubbish/ and raise you: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/07/28/muller-is-still-rubbish/

It looks like Morano is leaping on the same point. I doubt it matters, though.

Anonymous said...

GSW said,

I'd forgotten about BEST, they submitted 4 papers to JGR, Oct last year, any of them make it past peer-review? searched for the main one "Decadal variations in ..." couldn't find it published in JGR, anybody?

If the papers didn't make it past peer-review, it's probably because of the "Been there, done that, wore out the t-shirt" effect.

Papers that simply rehash what has been known for decades aren't likely to make it past peer-review, no matter how correct they are. The bottom line is, it just isn't very hard to confirm the published global-average temperature results -- see my first post in this thread for details.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Bob Brand said...

I think William is being a bit too harsh here.

It may not be news to us, but for BEST it does mark the final result of their independent and 'skeptic-led' reconstruction, including the ocean data as well.

It is not necessarily what Richard Muller is saying - it is mainly who's saying it: nothing is as convincing as the total, unreserved repentance of a former sinner! Especially if it is in an op/ed in the NYT. :)

The interesting part should be how they have come to their attributon results - if the only causative factor which can possibly match is log([GHG]}, then that is useful. We'll have to see their papers first.

mememine69 said...

Climate Blame

Well looky here Golly Gee
this-here headline says
all the scientists agree
They say our grandkids
they will fry
and why would lab coats and politicians
ever lie

Scientists are good and really have a clue
praise be the scientists are pure and true
But the deniers throw their lies from all sides
although scientists did give us pesticides

mememine69 said...

Not until the scientists say it is CERTAIN, not just MOST LIKELY, will I condemn my kids to the greenhouse gas ovens.
-Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by corporations.
-Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.
-Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.
-Canada killed Kyoto with a newly elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (death).

dhogaza said...

"That is a joke, not an attribution."

Well, I did say he's handwaving, and that I expect Watts to focus on that.

Morano's doing so probably is unimportant, and in the real world, so will Watts's doing so, but Watts's followers, well, you know what that will be like.

GSW said...

@bob

"if the only causative factor which can possibly match is log([GHG]}, then that is useful."

Yeah in the Disney edition for kids. If you don't take into account negative forcings, aerosols etc, then that is about as Mickey Mouse an attribution study that it's possible to do.

GSW said...

"But the deniers throw their lies from all sides
although scientists did give us pesticides"

nice ;)

Bob Brand said...

@mememine69: Nothing in science is ever CERTAIN, so do enjoy that thought: you may turn out to be immortal after all!

@GSW:

Aha, but they are going to have aerosols in there - and the kitchen sink as well:

"How definite is the attribution to humans? The carbon dioxide curve gives a better match than anything else we’ve tried. Its magnitude [..] an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as does carbon dioxide."

Of course, since there is no way to do a controlled experiment, the following will have to do (IPCC 2001):

Attribution of anthropogenic climate change requires:
• detection of a change;
• demonstration that the detected change is ‘consistent with the estimated responses to the given combination of anthropogenic and natural forcing’; and
• demonstration that the detected change is ‘not consistent with alternative, physically-plausible explanations of recent climate change that exclude important elements of the given combination of forcings’

Agreed? If not, please do supply your own definition.

kT said...

If you don't take into account negative forcings, aerosols etc, then that is about as Mickey Mouse an attribution study that it's possible to do.

Er ... negative forcings like aerosols, soot, albedo - that's already anthropogenic. Heck, even land use is included in the anthropogenic forcings. We're more or less in total control of the situation except for that pesky weather. Welcome to planet Earth.

bill said...

CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.


Read it and weep, 'skeptics'. He floats a couple of straw men - the 2035 BS again! - lower down in the piece, but this is one hell of a blow to you all.

Folks on our side, on the other hand, should just relax and enjoy the show.

That's a very appropriate icon you've got there mememine. Don't ever change it...

Bob Brand said...

kT: Yes, indeed. Volcanism, TSI and a bit of PDO/NAO are the other regression factors.

Granted, it will get a bit more interesting when comparing the spatial and temporal patterns of response - the 2D field of the temperature response - to the anthropogenic forcings as well as volcanism etc.

We'll see. :)

Steve Bloom said...

After all this, Little Anthony still has the Rs P in his corner.

Anonymous said...

He he. Steve Bloom said "arse pee"...

Moving on to no-more-serious topics, if the Muller piece is what all the fuss is about, it'll be interesting to see whether he wants, say, a Nobel for what Sheldon Cooper would call "derivative" work.

It'll also be interesting to see whether (boom, tish) Watts wants to have a bet each way and book a return trip to Damascus so that he can claim dibs on BEST, and hence on being the Ultimate Discoverer of Global Warming, even though it's-still-not-warming-and-if-it-is-it-wasn't-caused-by-CO2-and-if-it-was-it-doesn't-matter.

I'm sure that he'd want a gold pin...


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

One small step for science, one large step for mankind.

Pete Dunkelberg

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Heh, Bernard: you mean the Rs P still have diarrhea of the mouth (or is that keyboard).

J Bowers said...

@ Martin Vermeer
It's no longer a "rumour". (are you serious?)
Okay, whatever.

Anonymous said...

So, Watts has released his 'news' to tumultuous rapture from his sycophants, trying to convince us in his post that the US temperature record is biased, but with frequent admonishments to the cannon fodder to:

"[REPLY: Please read the paper. -REP]"

sprinkled through the comments section. It should give the numpties a hint about the disparity between hype and reality, but many are refractory to the clue. It'll be interesting to see whether this "pre-publication draft paper" survives scrutiny to actually limp to publication with anything resembling relevance or real new understanding.

I think Watts is just trying to get something in the grey literature for consideration for AR5. And if it's not included, well, he'll have years of conspiracy theory to milk...


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

WaPo’s “skeptic” actually has backed global warming for 30 years

... physicist Richard Muller of Berkeley — embraced the theory of man-made global warming 30 years ago. An online search easily disproved his claim of skepticism. He co-authored a book, “Physics For Future Presidents,” that explained climate change among other things. Now he has re-branded himself a former skeptic — the better to sell global warming.

... Richard Muller is not who he says he is. He is an advocate of the theory of man-made global warming.

... From Grist on October 6, 2008 (Note the title, "Author and physicist Richard A. Muller chats with Grist about getting science back in the White Hous" [sic] -- Ed.): "The bottom line is that there is a consensus — the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] — and the president needs to know what the IPCC says. Second, they say that most of the warming of the last 50 years is probably due to humans." ... "back in the early ’80s, I resigned from the Sierra Club over the issue of global warming. At that time, they were opposing nuclear power. What I wrote them in my letter of resignation was that, if you oppose nuclear power, the U.S. will become much more heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and that this is a pollutant to the atmosphere that is very likely to lead to global warming.

-----------------------------

Muller isn't a skeptic, unless skeptic means liar. Why the need to misrepresent? Does going from a denier, er, skeptic to believer, er, scientific fact based position make you more credible? If so, all the original believers who have changed positions should be just as influential in your mind.

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