Thursday, November 26, 2015

Prebutting the lame denier excuses for 2015

With October being a record hot month during a record hot year that will easily beat the previous record hot year, 2014, we can anticipate some lame excuses from the denialists. I thought I'd address them now.

They come down to three categories:  El Nino, margin of error and satellite cherrypicking.

El Nino:

We already heard some of it right after the 2014 record, from the predictable Bob Tisdale at Watts Up.* The argument was that if you go into the annual dataset covering the entire planet, and for that one year you remove the large area that's the warmest (in this case the North Pacific), then the rest of the planet isn't as warm as it was in previous years. I have zero doubt that he'll consider writing something like that again in a few months.

Tisdale's trick is to remove the 20% of the planet's area that happened to be extra warm in 2014 and compare it to the rest of the planet with that same 20% area removed in previous years, but the problem is that same 20% wasn't the warmest part of the planet in those previous years. A better comparison would be to remove the 20% that was warmest from every year and compare. Tisdale didn't do that for obvious reasons.

He could've done something even more obviously ridiculous though, removing the North Pacific for 2014 and then comparing the planet minus the North Pacific in 2014 to the whole planet in previous years. I have zero doubt that for 2015, if that's what someone needs to do to claim the year is cooler than previous years, then that'll happen

Margin of error:

 We have Tisdale again, at the same post. The final temperature in any dataset has a middle figure that's commonly cited and then a margin of error on either side. 2014 was more likely to be the warmest year than any previous year, but it is possible some other year was the warmest.

The 2015 record is going to be significantly higher than previous years, and it will be very probable to be the warmest year. However, the coldest temperature within the margin of error will overlap, if only slightly, with the warmest temperature margin of error for previous years. We can anticipate squawking over this possibility, too.

What deniers will ignore is that the probability of the warmest year being 2015, 2014, or 2010 will be extremely high, nearly certain. If the warmest year was nearly certainly one of the more recent years, very likely to be one of the last two years, then their claims about a climate hoax just ring pretty hollow.

Satellite cherrypicking:

We saw Ted Cruz switch to satellite cherrypicking after 2014, from previously referring to no warmth in general to then narrowly referring to satellite measurements. And he's actually picking only one satellite dataset, RSS, as the basis for saying this. We will doubtless see the same thing happen after 2015 records come out.

The denialists will be narrowly cherrypicking one dataset out of many, and then narrowly cherrypick a short time period out of that dataset to deny there's a warming trend. Since 1980, the RSS dataset shows warming around .2F/decade (updated, corrected from .2C in the original post). It takes time for climate change to be measurable, and as the link shows, satellite data is difficult to use anyway.

An amusing part of this cherrypicking comes from our friend Chris Monckton and others at Watts Up, ignoring the vast majority of temperature measurements and saying no warming trend for X number of months using RSS data, and then carefully moving the start date forward as the temperature increases. They go from saying October 1, 2014 marks exactly 18 years without warming (with cherrypicked RSS) to saying November 1, 2015 marks 18 years 9 months without warming. Monckton had to drop 4 cold months at the earlier part of the dataset to keep up the impression that it wasn't warming. At some point this won't work anymore, and then they'll probably manipulate the dataset to find a longish period with a warming rate they'll describe as "minimal".

*I could swear I blogged about Tisdale's post earlier this year, but can't find it anywhere. Maybe I saw someone else's post.


Fernando Leanme said...

My analysis shows 2016 will be cooler than 2015 by 0.3 degrees C. This will mean the temperature is dropping as i predicted, starting on December 3 2015, thus making 2016 the coldest year in the last trienium. Extrapolation of the cooling tendency I am predicting leads to 2017 also being cooler than 2015. At that time we must start a campaign to save African elephants from the coming little ice age.

Bernard J. said...

As I recently observed at Sou's, with 2015 being significantly warming than 1998, and both being El Niño years, the Denialati will now have to explain how there's suddenly statistically significant warming of the planet occurring when there's apparently been a pause for the last 17 years... If they are to address this conundrum properly there will be some very fancy footwork to dance - or some denialist heads to explode.

Fernando, if there's any sincerity inherent in them at all, your predictions and their conclusions make me weep for the statistical competency of engineers. After all, you seem to be a big fan of telling us at regular and frequent intervals how well engineers are able to do science, even if it's not their area of training...

Or are you more inclined to simply blow your own ideological trumpet than to wield the scientific sword of cutting logic?

Oh, and you didn't show your working...

Lars Karlsson said...

This seems to be doing the rounds now:

German Professor: NASA Has Fiddled Climate Data On ‘Unbelievable’ Scale.

To be frank, this German professor seems to be a real nutter:

"Using the NASA data from 2010 the surface temperature globally from 1940 until today has fallen by 1.110°C, and since 2000 it has fallen 0.4223°C […]. The cooling has hit every continent except for Australia, which warmed by 0.6339°C since 2000. The figures for Europe: From 1940 to 2010, using the data from 2010, there was a cooling of 0.5465°C and a cooling of 0.3739°C since 2000."

cRR Kampen said...

Slander, Lars.
And make no mistake: the guy is not a nutter - that presumption of innocence is very inappropriately naive. He's just another climate revisionist thug.

Lars Karlsson said...

This can be compared to what NASA actually said in 2010 (summarizing 2009).

quantpalaeo said...

The pause is dead. Long live the pause.

Similarly motivated post coming soon over in my corner on the internet - just working through some analyses and waiting for November temperature update.

EliRabett said...

After the pause comes the SURGE.

Pass it on. Eli told you.

Brian said...

Lars - not only people but also glaciers around the world have been tricked by Nasa's data manipulation into thinking it's warmed up since 1940. Someone needs to tell them that decades of retreat were mistaken and have to be reversed.

Lars Karlsson said...

You just must take a look at the German professor's "Plot of unalterad data NASA GISS". This is like something straight out of Denial Depot!

metzomagic said...

This is like something straight out of Denial Depot!

No Lars, the stuff at Denial Depot is more believable than Prof. Ewert's plot. This is more like:

Ewert is trying to show that AGW deniers will believe anything that runs counter to the science, not matter how patently absurd.

EliRabett said...

On first glance Ewert missed the change btw NOAAs GHCN v2 and v3 in 2011.

Michael Hauber said...

In years such as 2007 and 2010 when recent data was quite warm there was little discussion in denial circles of temperature trends, and it was all about how the data had been adjusted. In 2008 we learned that deniers only need about 12 months of a cooling trend to start talking about global cooling and I remember the claim that 12 months of cooling from the start of 2007 to 2008 had wiped out over a century of global warming - the drop in monthly values was about 0.7 degrees, which was close to what was typically claimed as the long term trend in those days.

0^0 said...

I believe that change would amount to fraudulent data manipulation according to the professor.. Besides, I've learned elsewhere that actually the "pause" has been around 30 years or so since there was only a few years around 1997 when there was a temperature increase.. in satellite series.. that does not pass statistical tests but goes well in some denier circles, anything goes when clinging to the cherished fake pause..

barry said...

"Since 1980, the RSS dataset shows warming around .2C/decade."

I think you mean Fahrenheit, as in the Mother Jones article?

E. Swanson said...

Here's the latest denialist blast from Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:

NOAA’s climate change science fiction

There are several clear errors in the piece. I wonder whether he would change his tune if he was to learn of his errors, as in, calling off his witch hunt against NOAA climate scientists. Perhaps a rebuttal is in order...

E. Swanson said...

Rep. Lamar Smith is drilling even deeper into the denialist camp, with a full committee hearing scheduled on 1 December:

Pitfalls of Unilateral Negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference

The headline witness will be: Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, President, Copenhagen Consensus Center!!!

Nothing like getting the straight scoop from the horse's ***.

Brian said...

Thanks Barry, I've corrected the post.

John McCormick said...

It is a comforting feeling to know that I can sleep at night knowing Fernando has the global warming trend well in hand and in his mind.

With his expertise and experiences, in the field and wherever he is at the moment, explanations regarding any aspect of the hiatus, warming trends, cooling trends and Fernando trends, we are in good hands.

And, he is so confident of his extensive knowledge of all things climatic. Brer Rabett we have you to thank for making it possible for him to come into our lives.

John McCormick

E. Swanson said...

Looking again at Rep. Lamar Smith's impending hearings, the first witness will be Oren Cass, a "Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research". He has a new op-ed piece on Politico, in which he discusses some of the deep problems facing the delegates at the Paris Conference:

Why the Paris climate deal is meaningless

Mr. Cass presented a longer version of his point of view during a Senate hearing.

And, here's an even longer PDF version: LEADING NOWHERE: The Futility and Farce of Global Climate Negotiations

"Prior to joining MI, Cass was a management consultant for Bain & Company", Mitt Romney's old vulture capitalism outfit.

All the scientific facts out there are of no importance if the political side of the problem can't be resolved. As we are reminded every day, some people aren't going to be "rational". Some have suggested that the Paris Conference is the last chance to get some global agreement...

guthrie said...

Amusingly you can see Mike Haseler, "Scottish sceptic" in the comments, being wrong as usual.
Also I seem to recall that Eli himself had a nice post or two on the topic of the erroneous early atmospheric CO2 readings made before modern instrumentation. I can't remember when though.