Monday, July 09, 2007

Ponder the Maunder

UPDATE: Those of you coming in from Climate Audit and Science Blogs might like to take a look at our post on AlGorithms, Himalayan glaciers, Strawmen (new New NEW) and the good Ms. Byrne after reading this.

Tony at Deltoid points to a web site put together by a young lady, Kristen Byrnes, in Portland as a refutation of the IPCC AR4.

I'm disappointed no one talked about "Ponder the Maunder", the extra credit assignment of a 15-year-old student that rips one in the global warming scam. It just goes without saying that a school project is far more trustworthy than anything coming out of the IPCC. James Hansen is paid lots of money!
Richard Tol is a great fan thinking her more accurate than the Stern Report and Inconvenient Truth.
If a 15-yr-old can punch tiny holes, then all credibility is gone. Anyone who does not want to believe Al Gore's message, just has to point to Kristen Byrnes and say "ha ha, he cannot even hold his own against a school kid". Debate over.
Ms Byrnes is now using her new found popularity to establish the Kristen Byrnes Science Foundation. This being the case, google first lead Eli to the Kristen Byrnes Science Foundation review of an Inconvenient Truth, as good a place to start as any. A key point in Ms. Byrnes' argument is that
Al then shows global temperatures for the past 100 years using a graph similar to the one below. “In any given year it might look like it’s going down but the overall trend is extremely clear” I’ve added the green line, which is CO2 . What Al does not show you is that most of the warming started before the CO2  increase. He also fails to mention the cool period between 1944 and 1976 does not correlate with greenhouse theory; the globe should have been warming at that time

Each of the large divisions on the right of Ms. Byrnes' graph would correspond to about 20 ppm CO2 . Now that green line looked awfully familiar to the bunnies, a flat line with a little bump to the left and a sharp rise to the right, so we started looking for graphs of CO2  concentrations as a function of time, and we found this one in a pretty good presentation by Steven Schwartz (PS it is also in the TAR, but not nearly as prettified.)The shape of the CO2 mixing ratio that Ms. Byrnes added is the same, the only problem is that her curve starts in 1880, using the data from 800. A millenia among friends is not a big deal, but if you look at the curve immediately above you see that the CO2 mixing ratio actually started to rise ~ 1800 not at 1940 as in Ms. Byrnes' addition, which she specifically says she added by herself.

UPDATE2: By popular (and unpopular) demand, Eli has been asked to plot the NOAA temperature anomalies and the CO2 mixing ratios on the same figure. The temperature data is that from NOAA contained in an ftp file. The CO2 information comes from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. The Mauna Loa CO2 measurements are shown as a purple line. The Law Dome ice core CO2  measurements are shown as brown triangles and the Siple ice core measurements as green squares. The reader can see this figure more clearly by clicking on it.

Jules Virdee (and also here) and Judith Curry gave good advice in a very nice way at Climate Audit and Eli held off to see if it would be accepted, but sadly no, they got junior high attitude just as Eli did.

It is worth spending a minute or two with the actual CO2  rise. The first part of the rise comes from land use changes, particularly the settlement of the American west, and parts of South America and Australia. Industrialization only starts to bite about 1850-1900, a point that is often lost.

Finally we can look at the relationship between CO2 mixing ratio and global surface temperature anomaly in a figure from the Pew Center on Climate Change

So unfortunately we are left with a number of questions about the source of this error, upon which the edifice is built and is this astroturf?

For a discussion of Ms. Byrnes' cherry picking on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, there can be no better read than Ray Pierrehumbert's discussion of tropical glacier retreat.

UPDATE: Hans Erren rightly points out that Eli, lazy Rabett that he is, has copied graphs showing the concentration of CO2  to compare with global temperature anomalies rather than the CO2 forcing which is proportional to the logarithm of the concentration. Bad bunny. Steven Schwartz's presentation linked above has the appropriate information


Anonymous said...

re: Kristen Bytes (sometimes Kirsten):
Google: kristen byrnes global warming
gets 73K hits.

Did you look at her page on Hansen? now widely quoted?

This is astonishingly good marketing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I read the piece on Hansen and I feel sorry for her.

I have to admit that I'm pretty cynical about things in general, but it took me quite a while to get that way -- and I'm still nowhere near as cynical as she is:

"what did he [Hansen] do to get the quarter of a million dollars? Was it the price for switching his political standing from “independent” to democratic when he later endorsed John Kerry for President? Was it payment for interpreting his department’s data in a way that would benefit his political friends?"

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

For reasons best correlated with global dementia, your post recalled this simulacrum of a story we used to read to my kids.

Little bunny foo foo,
hopping through the forest,
scooping up the Kirstens,
and bopping them on the head.

Zeke said...

A winner of the youth cherrypicking league if I've ever seen one. I browsed through her site a few weeks ago after someone linked it, noticed a number of glaring errors and unsupported editorializing in the first few paragraphs, and wandered off to read something more interesting.

Still, its impressive for a 15 year old. Glaringly incorrect for the most part, but clearly she put a lot of work into digging up support for her preconceived notions.

Anonymous said...

Eli, You should plot the logaritm of CO2 concentration. Otherwise you fall in the Al Gore trap.

Anonymous said...

Yet another astroturf dupe in the Phillip Morris crusade to blur the public's perception of science. Of course, if the PhilMo complex can dupe Harvard Med School grad Crichton into supporting the tobacco campaign (attack AGW science>attack science>attack and deny the science that tobacco is a problem), what chance does a 15 year old have of staying off the denialist cherry picking truck (even if she's not home-schooled in a fundamentalist household)?

EliRabett said...

Hans, when you are right you are right. See update.

Anonymous said...

I believe there's a corollary to that isn't there?

bigcitylib said...

This is a bit like beating up your little sister but Ms. Byrnes predicted the end of the Australian drought in late May;

Steerike one!

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is very sad.

This girl is being egged on by all the usual suspects and has no appreciation for the fact that what she is saying on her website might have a profound impact on her future.

People can say "Look, a 15 year old is challenging James Hansen" and direct attention to her website where she is saying all the things (eg, about Hansen's motivations) that they would like to say but are afraid to say for fear that it will make them look stupid -- or worse.

There is little or no downside for them. If she is proven wrong, who is going to hold them to account for anything?

And even if someone did hold them to account, they can always retreat to the position that "You know, I never really looked at her website carefully. I just thought it was cute that a 15 year old had the guts to challenge James Hansen" and wash their hands of the whole matter.

And if you look at the "support" that some are giving her, it is qualified at best.

Just look at the way Richard Tol has worded his "support" for Kristen Byrnes:

If a 15-yr-old can punch tiny holes, then all credibility is gone. Anyone who does not want to believe Al Gore's message, just has to point to Kristen Byrnes and say "ha ha, he cannot even hold his own against a school kid". Debate over.

Anonymous said...

She also incorrectly claims that CO2-induced global warming must monotonically increase, and is therefore incompatible with the mid-century cooling. Both natural and anthropogenic forcings are necessary to explain the observed trends. This is quite clear in the IPCC SPM; I wonder if she bothered reading it.

Most of the site reads like an enumeration of every denialist argument ever seen. We've got the "water vapor warms more so CO2 can't be important", we've got the "it's all the Sun", we've got the "CO2 lags temperature", the whole works. I wonder if she has read any of the counterarguments.

That being said, she did correctly find some problems with the movie (e.g., I think some of the ecological effects in the movie are not clearly attributable to climate change).

I saw that site a while ago before it became as widely popularized, before she set up the scholarship fund, etc., back when it was just a school report (the original pages from 3/29). I've noticed that since then it has become full of overt ridicule; it was originally written in a fairly neutral school report format, although its reasoning had the same flaws it does now. I guess she has received a lot of encouragement since then from the more paranoid skeptical fringe.

bigcitylib said...

Tol already has enough to answer for with his hair like that.

Anonymous said...

Of "Ponder the Maunder"
Denialists couldn't be fonder,
Who could ask for a better way,
Attacks on Gore to launder?

Marion Delgado said...

It IS sad. And she is being used, but I doubt it will harm her future. For all we know they mean her well, in a sense. There's nothing but gold in denial, being a poster child thereof.

Now, I know the sound science skeptics use ... graphs the eco-demons have called faked (I call them clarified), but then again, the sound science advocates have questioned whether weather stations are really honest and accurate. Hence, there are accusations on both sides. Is it too little to ask to teach the controversy?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, she refers to graphing

"The adjusted tempurature"

in purple.

Tempura, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hans

I hadn't realised just how little difference doing it 'properly' made.

Dano said...

I repeat here a standard Dano phrase: they got nothin'.

If they're referencing a 15-year-old, they got less than nothin'.




EliRabett said...

Big CL, it's a feature not a bug.

Anonymous said...

(sorry if duplicate)):

Portland High School exists, and it does have Earth Science course, taught by 3 teachers. has a picture, but that site has a clear viewpoint as well, so who knows where that picture came from?

Does anyone have any independent objective evidence that:
-Kristen Byrnes is a real 15-year-old student?
-And she actually did put this together herself for a class?
-And she did write the rest of the blog?

I am curious, due to finding:

In which Kirsten-B introduced herself as Kristen Byrnes (and later explains the mis-spelling: someone in another country created the name for her :-), and says:

"If I can offer an inside view on how this poll would look if scientists were responding, my guess is that it would look like this:

Yes 10%
No 10%
Leaning yes: 25%
Leaning no: 10%
The other 45% would not answer the poll due to fear of being bothered by one side or the other.
Government scientists such as those with NASA JPL or GISS gave me the okay to acknowledge them in my paper that would be turned in to my teacher, but would not approve of the same in the on-line version."

Does any of that seem likely? Did a 15-year-old poll scientists? Did she actually talk/email GISS people?

Anyway, at this point, I have no clue whether she even exists, or if so, why a 15-year-old spends her time writing anti-Hansen polemics.

Anyway, any independent evidence?

Anonymous said...

Eli: Great post. Glad that you picked up on my sarcasm (not everybody did over at Deltoid).

Dano: That's what I thought too -- I mean, touting the work of a high school student? If we boosted a high school project that purported to show how denialists were getting paid by energy interests, sceptics would rip right into it. And they'd be right, too.

I mean, not to get all ageist on people, but there's a good reason child prodigies are in 'abstract' fields like maths or music.

And may I say that while it's not polite to beat up on kids (although John Mashey may have a point: is she really a kid?), her talk of "injecting common sense" into the debate -- as if this quality has been missing until the sceptics showed up -- is delusional.

Anonymous said...

Pehraps I am more cynical than Ms. Byrnes, because it is obvious to me that her Republican daddy did the "research" and perhaps wrote all sentences without an "lol" or "whatever."

Dano said...

her talk of "injecting common sense" into the debate -- as if this quality has been missing until the sceptics showed up -- is delusional.


because it is obvious to me that her Republican daddy did the "research" and perhaps wrote all sentences without an "lol" or "whatever."

gets at the issue, methinks.

These are key phrases that should raise red flags. They are the ideations of wingnut welfare origin.



Anonymous said...

Two questions, one smaller, one bigger: 1) In the graph labelled "Jan-Dec Global Mean Temperature over Land and Ocean", how did the NOAA logo get on it unless there was some funny business going on with some manipulations of graphics, cut and paste, false attribution, etc ?
2) Since what Ms Byrnes wrotes as her "report" was originally for a science class, why are her citations so uneven--lots about glaciers, not much about atmospheric physics? Jeez oh day, don't they have science-type standards about the protocols of this stuff at Portland High? Cite Richard Lindzen, cite Pat Michaels, cite Soon and Baliunas..but cite somebody, darn it! Otherwise it looks suspisciously like Ms. Byrnes' musings were a denialist hiding behind her 15-year-old skirts. This will echo around talk radio for months.....

Anonymous said...

This is interesting:
The Kristen Byrnes Science Foundation may use no more than 25% of contributed funds. The purpose of this foundation is to allow Kristen to continue studying and promoting quality climate science. She may also use these funds to issue grants to scientists and institutes that are involved in climate studies.

Does that mean she could donate money to CEI? Sounds like it.

EliRabett said...

Hi, the NOAA graph is real. You could, for example find a copy at the the encyclopedia of the earth, Kevin Vranes version of Wms version of the Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

> Portland, Maine, USA

Whew, not Oregon then. Maine, I can believe.
I _know_ science teachers in Portland Oregon.
_They_ check references before approving work.

Anonymous said...

Eli, if you send her an email pointing out some problems in her work, please make sure it can't be mistaken for "enviro-terrorism" -- as her step-father (poor girl!) says all "enviro-terrorism" will be reported to the FBI.

Anonymous said...

Eli: I never said that Kristen Byrnes's piece is "more accurate" than An Inconvenient Truth or the Stern Review. All three contain basic and unnecessary errors, but I did not count them and I did not compare them.

That said, Byrnes is at most 4 person-months worth of effort, while Stern is at least 50 person-years. I don't know about Gore, but I guess he had a few PhDs working for him for a while.

If you scale quality with effort ...

Anonymous said...

Richard Tol said "All three contain basic and unnecessary errors, but I did not count them and I did not compare them."

You must be one careful researcher.

Anonymous said...

"If you scale quality with effort ..."

What is this? Some kind of affirmatrive-action for the lazy? Why are you defending the denialist industry?

I should also point out that those of us grounded in reality on climate change are not swooning to Gore or Stern, but point to the IPCC as the ultimate source. Meanwhile, you have Climate Audit--which likes to think of itself as part of the scientific community--linking to Byrnes' site. You have Republican blogs in an ecstacy over the 15-year-old who outdoes the IPCC, NASA, et. al. It's a kind of Ragged Dick story for the ignorant. The denialosphere has bought into Byrnes 100%. Just as they did with Monckton, Chilanagar, Michaels, McIntyre, Svensmark, and on and on and on....

Anyone who cites a 15-year old on climate science deserve derision, scorn and laughter.

Anonymous said...

I can see I did not have to wait long for the confirmation on my above statement

"If she [Byrnes] is proven wrong, who is going to hold them [people who mention her] to account for anything?
...even if someone [like Eli] did hold them to account, they can always retreat to the position that "You know, I never really looked at her website carefully."

Well, here's what Tol just said above:
"I never said that Kristen Byrnes's piece is "more accurate" than An Inconvenient Truth or the Stern Review. All three contain basic and unnecessary errors, but I did not count them and I did not compare them."

I don't know if they have the expression in German, but in English, we call that "weaseling out".

Anonymous said...

"If you scale quality with effort ..."

So, if someone is 99.9% right, but it takes them 100 times the effort/time to get the result as someone who is 1% right, the value of the outcome is comparable in both cases?

Wow, all this time, I had it backwards. I thought getting it right was the main thing, not the time it took.

But I will never wonder again why so many of the things I own are constantly breaking down -- or never worked right to begin with.

Anonymous said...

How many people here have heard of Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek? They have been referred to as the "fake persuaders". Seems to me that there is a very good chance that Kristen Byrnes may be another of these fictitious people.

Ian Forrester

Anonymous said...

I doubt she is fictitious, but whether she was "inspired" and/or "helped" with her little endeavor is another matter entirely.

But, if she were fictitious, then I'd say someone would probably be guilty of fraud (asking for donations under false pretenses).

In fact, the latter fact makes it unlikely (though not impossible) that she is fictitious.

It's should be easy enough to determine, at any rate. Call up Portland High School (Portland, ME) where she attends (and be civil or you may have the FBI after you if the step-father's message is any indication)

Anonymous said...

as I posted on "stoat" -- if anyone is truly outraged a simple message to the IRS (I'm sure she's raking in a bundle from right-wing "supporters") should help.

On a "nicer" side -- I suggest some scientific body or institution put up a free trip for her to attend AGU & EGU, and have her meet 1-on-1 with scientists (confronting Jim Hansen would be nice) to see the error of her ways. From the "enviro-terrorism" msg from her stepdad, it's pretty obvious that the poor girl is surrounded by right-wing nutters (odd since Portland Maine is a nice & fairly liberal place).

PS -- I looked on the Portland High School website, figuring she'd be on there as award winner etc between this climate work and her stepdad claiming she has a 98% avg & 4.0 grades, but didn't see anything (they listed other people who won awards, math club etc, but she isn't in them).

Anonymous said...

"I suggest some scientific body or institution put up a free trip for her to attend AGU & EGU, and have her meet 1-on-1 with scientists (confronting Jim Hansen would be nice) to see the error of her ways.'

I'd say there are probably more deserving students who have done a similar thing, but probably much more carefully and accurately, but who don't go around badmouthing legitimate scientists like Hansen.

This whole thing is absurd -- stupid really, especially the fact that people like Tol are referring to her.

She should not get one more second of attention, which is what this is really all about, of course.

Anonymous said...

Lacking data, it is hard to have a strong opinion on the degree of fictitiousness in this. There 's not enough info in the Portland High website to make me believe that the non-mention is meaningful. School is out, which makes contacts there a bit hard, although I did find the names of 3 teachers of Earth Science there, and one or more of them would certainly know.

There's no mention of this in the local Portland paper (Press Herald). The bank location is real.

There appears to be a Kristen N Byrnes in Portland or Westbrook (next door), are several Michael Byrnes, but no identical addresses, and in any case, since he claims to be the step-dad, the name may not be Byrnes.

I have passed this to some environmental folks in Maine, and if you know somebody in Portland who might be interested, you might alert them. The Web is useful, but there's no substitute for local contacts.

Anonymous said...

If there's any truth to this story, then the pimps of climate denialism oughta be prosecuted for statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl for hiring her to work in their prostitution ring!

bigcitylib said...

There is a picture of Kristen at newbusters 9reproduced at my site), so I would assume she is a real kid.

Anonymous said...

It would simply be foolish to fabricate her existence (and not just because of the possible tax fraud implications)

It's just too easy to discover if a person actually exists.

Then again, people have done dumber things, so I would not rule fabrication out entirely.

EliRabett said...

A long time ago Eli decided that there was little point figuring out who was whom on USENET, although on the other hand it is occasionally useful to be someone, which is why he is Eli and on the other hand, Richard Tol, to borrow a visitor's name is Richard Tol, the mice are the mice and very nice and S.Fred Singer, well, Fred Singer is damned.

Still, the bunnies tried to be firm, but gentle about Ms. Byrnes because, if nothing else, no one should beat up on a kid, and she might be one and this might be a learning opportunity. She would be in deep doo doo if she had submitted the review to us at Rabett U for a grade because of that graph. Lots of the text would be good jumping off points for deeper thoughts.. . .

As Eli said, the INTERNET is a costume party. Her papers are but mirrors, a melange if you will, quoting papers, but if you read the papers, you find that she either did not, or did not follow up (the stuff on Kilamanjaro and tropical glaciers is a good example, go read her paragraphs and Real Climates discussion.)

What is scary is how this has been adopted as something worthwhile by others and the exploitation inherent in the "Science Foundation", that speaks of a true lack of perspective. Kind of Diplom Beck like.

Anonymous said...

no one should beat up on a kid, and she might be one and this might be a learning opportunity."

There is a time for everything, but it seems to me that she should have done her learning earlier on.

She had many chances to learn before she ever put her diatribe up on the internet.

What I wonder is:

Where were her teachers on this?

Did they play some part in it?

Or did they not even know what she was up to?

Did they even read what she was saying?

Do they know so little about climate science that they did not feel qualified to question anything?

Were they afraid to speak up?

Were they too lazy to check her "facts"?

Why didn't they at least suggest that she read a little more widely on the subject of ice mass balance and other subjects before drawing conclusions?

Teachers can't tell their students what to write and what not to write (that would be censorship and I don't advocate that at all), but they sure can give them advice and they sure should be able to tell when someone is cherry picking 9whether they know anything about climate science or not)

You know, I think this says as much about her teacher(s) (at least her earth science teacher, who I would assume at least read the original paper) as it does about the people who are quoting her -- and linking to her site.

Her teacher(s) seem(s) to have done a very poor job in this case.

They have failed her, if you ask me .

Anonymous said...

ok, so some are mad I suggested she get a free trip to an AGU or EGU to meet the scientists she's bashing, and hopefully get steered in the right direction. there are probably, I dunno, 100 kids in the US who are precocious and who did good global warming honor's earth scientist projects, but of course (esp in the right-wing blogosphere) "man bites dog" is what gets the press.

so we should say send 10 precocious agw kids and Kristen to EGU to meet college students, postdocs, scientists etc, maybe have a little debate between Kristen & a precocious AGW kid etc? Sounds like a win-win situation to me.


EliRabett said...

Carl, that would be really cool, esp since AGU is in San Francisco just before Christmas

Anonymous said...

"send 10 precocious agw kids and Kristen'

Actually, my primary problem with sending Byrnes has nothing to do with whether she is an AGW "believer" in or not.

It has to do with her attitude.

Carl, in all seriousness, do you think that she should be rewarded for her personal attack on Hansen?

Give her trip?

You've got to be kidding.

There are so many more deserving kids in this country -- ones who are just as, if not more capable -- that it's a no-brainer.

Besides, with all the money she rakes in on her website, let her finance her own trip to AGU if she wants to go.

Anonymous said...

Right now, we do *not* really know what's going on. We do *not* know if Kristen:
- is a real person
- actually did this work
- actually gave this work to teachers
- and if she did, at least for the project, perhaps she was led into Ruddiman's "alternate universe" in which "CO2 does not cause any climatic warming at all."

If anyone thinks that a single picture on the Web proves that someone exists ... watch Lord of the Rings (NZ is just brimming with orcs who love to act ... really, we have lots of pictures of them. :-))

As yet, we have no useful objective evidence, but absence of evidence is not usually evidence of absence, especially this early.

Hence, strong speculations (about who to blame) seem premature. Better we try to acquire real data.

Anonymous said...

well maybe she doesn't deserve a free trip, but I think it would be nice for some sort of "junior scientists" (i.e. UK 6th form/US high-school level) for an AGU/EGU thing (which I don't think they have now). I could probably get in touch with some people to try and get the ball rolling (can't guarantee things of course!)

And she probably does have a nice chunk of change with these illegal tax-free donations she's been getting. But anyway I think it would be an important lesson for her to meet Hansen and other scientists. She did accuse him of some pretty bad stuff i.e. the "illicit payments" which is ironic considering her & her stepdad are surely raking it in.

And a friendly debate between her and other precocious kids (who may or may not share her views) would hopefully expose her to scientific debate, rather than what seems to be her current "start with stepdaddy's views and justify it as much as possible without modifying the initial hypothesis."

if she really exists, she's no dummy, and it would be a shame to waste a kid's mind because she's brainwashed into some sort of social situation with adoring praise from dittohead daddy & his co-horts. (for instance googling shows she only seems to showup on "skeptic" sort of blogs & sites, i.e. I don't see that she ever asked anyone on realclimate anything).

I imagine we would need to go via the Portland High School as I wouldn't be surprised if the stepdad doesn't consider inviting her to an AGU conference as "enviro-terrorism!" ;-)


Anonymous said...

I don't take much stock in conspiracy theories, but to those who are not sure whether she is a real person, I'd simply have to say that the legal ramifications for asking for money for a nonexistent person are probably enough to discourage the vast majority of people from trying such a scam (ie, it ain't very likely).

Other than that, you are right. Speculation about this is a waste of time. Actually, the whole thing is a waste of time.

Personally, I could not care less whether she exists or not. It's really meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Having spent my share of hunting for AGW deniers through Google, I've also come to the conclusion that it's a waste of time (unless they rise to substantial media attention).

In my case, I was jousting with a commenter on a NZ libertarian site who kept bragging that his knowledge of computer modelling was vastly superior to 99% of the modellers represented in the IPCC. Really.

That argument from authority s**t can really bite if someone is wont to "take a position and firmly never budge" (to quote Prof. Higgins) AND you don't know enough about what they're talking about. Your BS detector can be blaring like a foghorn, but gut feelings don't cut it in the sandpit of Teh Blogs.

So, I started looking for his name in Google Scholar, ISI, etc. No hits. I thought I had him (Ha! You sir, have published nothing!), but I forgot to factor in how perfectly his fingers were able to plug up his ears while he sang LA LA LA CAN'T HEEEAR YOU.

That's why it's a waste of time. Delusionists have too much invested in their delusions; you'll never change their minds through reason.

Anonymous said...

I probably have been giving her too much the benefit of the doubt. I imagine she is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame and just trying to get an easy grade & please her stepdad. Considering I can only see refs to her on right-wing sites & first-person posts are only on denialist websites & blogs, I can only assume she's not really interested in the science, just in supporting her pet viewpoint from her indoctrination by a Republican stepdad! :-)


Anonymous said...

John Mashey, I suspect that your reference to Ruddiman should be to Reid Bryson.

Anonymous said...

Steve Bloom:

Ruddiman, Plows, Plagues & Petroleum, p.186.

Sorry for the ambiguity: I certainly didn't meant that he believed in this universe. The full paragraph is:

'This alternate universe is quite amazing. in it, you can "learn" that CO2 does not cause any climatic warming at all. You can find out that the world has not become warmer in the last century, or that warming that has occurred results from the Sun having grown stronger, and not from rising levels of greenhouse gases. One way or another, most of the basic findings of mainstream science are rejected or ignored.'

I just liked the "alternate universe" phrase, in which many people might reside, but wouldn't call it that.

Anonymous said...

Eli, did anyone explicitly fix her graph for her? I saw you posted a lot of useful information that could be used, but I didn't see an explicit "this is what you meant to post" image. Could've missed it, there must be a pony here somewhere; catching up after 3 weeks in the woods!

EliRabett said...

Not that I know of. The last graph in the post shows it pretty well. I suppose I will take a shot at it after the weekend. Eli and the divine Ms. R are up in Moravian country at a B&B

Anonymous said...


Any ideas about the reason for the drop in temperature right before 1945 ?

The forcing went down slightly around that time, but it does not seem that that would have had caused such a relatively large drop in the temp.

I looked into major worldwide volcanic eruptions, but could not find any around that time (as there were at the beginning of the century when the temperature also dropped).

Obviously there was a war going on! and lots of bombing and cities burning, which undoubtedly put large amounts of soot into the air which might have led to cooling throughout the world, but I don't know.

Are you aware of any studies regarding the cooling around 1945 or do you know off hand what the reason is?

I have also wondered what effect the atmospheric nuclear testing (which began right around the time in question) might have had on worldwide temperatures.

I understand that nuclear explosions in the atmosphere can produce prodigious amounts of nitrogen oxides (5000 ton per megaton explosive yield), which act as greenhouse gases that can lead to warming (the opposite effect from what occurred, of course).

But when such nitrogen oxides are injected into the stratosphere by an atmospheric nuclear explosion, they cause the breakdown of ozone, itself a potent greenhouse gas.

Between the US and Soviet union, there were several hundred such atmospheric tests, one as large as 50 Megaton.

So it is not clear to me what the over all effect would be from such tests -- warming or cooling.

Perhaps you know something about this subject?

I am sure that someone must have looked into this, but can't seem to find anything definitive on the web.

-- Horatio Algeranon

Anonymous said...

I'd certainly go look at ENSO events for part of the explanation. There was a strong El Nino in winter of 1940/41, which would boost temperatures, and then they would drop, i.e., like after 1998.

- land-use changes due to war?
- less good measurements in some places?

I couldn't draw draw strong conclusions.
let's not restart nuclear testing to find out...

Anonymous said...

Thanks john

The bit about El nino makes sense. It looks like the 98 el nino raised the temp a good .3 (perhaps even more) above the general upward trend for the few preceding years and then dropped it again.

That's just about the magnitude of the peak around 1943-44, although the actual peak does come a little later than 1940-41 when the El Nino occurred.

There was also an el nino in 1946 (though it might have been a smaller one), which would have happened when the temperature was dropping.

I'm not suggesting restarting atmospheric testing -- just wondering what effect it might have had. It's hard to believe it had no effect.

I read somewhere that the detonation of 1000 1-megaton yield bombs in the N hemisphere could reduce ozone levels by 50% or more.

It is estimated that the total yield of all the atmospheric nuclear weapons tests conducted is 438 megatons and most of that testing was carried out in the 50's.

So it is certainly plausible that the atmospheric testing had a not insignificant effect on ozone and that it may have been fairly long term since nitrogen oxides can stay aloft many years and each molecule can catalyze the breakdown of multiple ozone molecules.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of potential tests (I don't know), here's more on the El Ninos:
ENSO influence on precipitation in Chile
"Between 1922 and 1940 there occurred eight events: two very strong episodes (1925 and 1926), two strong episodes (1932 and 1940) and one moderate episode (1939). Between 1940 and 1950, three events occurred: one strong (1941) and one moderate (1943)." I don't know when there were La Ninas during that period, and one would want to know that also.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Surely truth is more weird than fiction. I wondered what ever happened to Tol after he vanished from the Quiggan site where he had swaggered around a bit bullying others. Now here he pops up behind a 15 year who comes on like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland while Tol, with that startling hair do, is a sure ringer for the Cheshire Cat.
It is too good to be true. I love it.

Anonymous said...

I've read the comments on this site. All I can say is that I am glad that there are a lot of very nasty people contributing comments here.

Anonymous said...

> ... nasty ... here ...

It keeps us off the tubes, and we can do it here without scaring the horses' ....

I see Kirsten has come back from vacation now, and perhaps is just noticing the error in the chart she published --- it's only fair to give her some time to check her sources and correct the chart. Eli's certainly provided all the information she needs to do that, and cites so she can check what he says.

I'm betting she fixes the problem --- and is aiming for a better college than say Bob Jones University, so wants to do it right.

Anonymous said...

> nuclear testing

I recall that being discussed at RC a while back, and I believe the bottom line was that hurricanes put far more energy in motion and far more water vapor into the stratosphere than the nuclear tests did. The 'nuclear winter/nuclear autumn' scenarios are tied more to events like the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks (and perhaps also the Dresden and Tokyo and other chemical firebombings, and perhaps also the very large forest fires, the Kuwait oil well pyromania, etc.) --- large firestorms consuming most of an area fast, lifting huge amounts of soot into the stratosphere (where it could circulate globally) as well as downwind in the troposphere from the people and property burned up.

Note there's a clear signal in the Law Dome and other ice cores marking the surface and atmospheric nuclear test events, where the fallout is detectable in the ice. I'd guess that if it's not classified information, it'd be possible to specify a lot of the individual bomb residues by the particular mix of radioisotopes found, for that matter --- that 'd also give a good index of how far each single year's signal is spread out. Likely it's been done; all I have access to is abstracts.

Anyhow, if there's a clear climate change showing right alongside and shortly after the fallout layer, in any proxy from oyster shells to icecap cores, someone's probably noticed it and published it. My impression is nobody's noticed such a thing.

Anonymous said...

"I believe the bottom line was that hurricanes put far more energy in motion and far more water vapor into the stratosphere than the nuclear tests did."

Actually, it's not water vapor, energy or even soot I'm wondering about (and I realize "nuclear winter, from the soot, etc is a whole other ball of wax, but that's not what I'm thinking about, at any rate)

I'm interested in the net effects of the nitrogen oxides that are injected into the stratosphere by a nuclear (particularly thermonuclear) explosion that catalyze the breakdown of ozone, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Ozone accounts for 3-7% of greenhouse warming, which, if you assume overall warming is 33C, equates to from 1C - 2.3C of warming.

It is at least possible that reducing ozone by a significant fraction -- by half or even a quarter, for example -- (even just in the northern hemisphere) might have a not insignificant effect on the total amount of greenhouse warming caused by ozone.

Of course, nitrous oxide is itself also a strong greenhouse gas, but it is possible, at least that the amount of warming produced by the injected nitrogen oxides (from the atmospheric testing) might have been small compared to the cooling resulting from the ozone depletion that was catalyzed by the nitrogen oxides.

it is not clear (not to me, at least) that the cooling would necessarily be balanced by warming, particularly given the fact that the nitrous oxide is a catalyst for ozone breakdown and stays aloft fairly long. That means that one molecule can affect many molecules of ozone, which means there may actually be an imbalance in the direction of cooling.

but I don't know, which is why I am essentially asking if anyone knows of any specific studies.

EliRabett said...

Anon 5:14, You should be clearer about whether you meant trop ozone or stratospheric ozone. As Eli understands it atmospheric nuclear explosions would blow a hole in the stratospheric ozone, which would not have a huge effect on the greenhouse warming, being much higher than the level at which the atmosphere radiates to space on average. OTOH, a bunch of NOx in the troposphere could increase trop ozone. It might also spike OH. I've never heard those points discussed.

EliRabett said...

One thing large nuclear tests made for was great sunsets.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:56 AM said:

"All I can say is that I am glad that there are a lot of very nasty people contributing comments here."

Spare us the self-righteous indignation, will you?

The comments made here are not anywhere near as nasty as the comments that Kristen Byrnes made on her website about James Hansen

"Hansen claims that he is an “independent”, but he seems to be the only person who believes it. Readers may already be aware of this, but if not… James Hansen was granted a quarter of a million dollars from the Heinz Environment Award a.k.a. U. S. Senator and former Presidential Candidate John Kerry’s wife’s foundation. You know the old saying; “nothing in politics is free.” So my first question is: what did he do to get the quarter of a million dollars? Was it the price for switching his political standing from “independent” to democratic when he later endorsed John Kerry for President? Was it payment for interpreting his department’s data in a way that would benefit his political friends?"

The above comment has since been removed from her website (google cache is a wondrous thing, isn't it?). My guess is that she was probably threatened with a libel suit if she did not remove it.

If Kristen Byrnes (or whoever is responsible for writing such stuff and posting it on the internet) is going to engage in such stuff , then she should be prepared for the harsh criticism -- even if she is just a kid.

EliRabett said...

Well, this ain't a game of bean bag. OTOH, the mice can be a bit unruly, part of their charm IEHO.

I am curious that the essay on Jim Hansen has been changed.

Anonymous said...


I was referring to stratospheric ozone ,which is what is apparently affected (depleted) by the nitrogen oxides injected into the stratosphere by a large (megaton) nuclear explosion.

Carey Sublette talks about this in his Effects of Nuclear Explosions
"The high temperatures of the nuclear fireball, followed by rapid expansion and cooling, cause large amounts of nitrogen oxides to form from the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere (very similar to what happens in combustion engines). Each megaton of yield will produce some 5000 tons of nitrogen oxides. The rising fireball of a high kiloton or megaton range warhead will carry these nitric oxides well up into the stratosphere, where they can reach the ozone layer. A series of large atmospheric explosions could significantly deplete the ozone layer. The high yield tests in the fifties and sixties probably did cause significant depletion, but the ozone measurements made at the time were too limited to pick up the expected changes out of natural variations."

Perhaps I am mistaken, but it was my impression that the stratosphere is where most of the ozone is found and that NOx acts as a catalyst for the breakdown of ozone, as described in Ozone Depletion FAQ by Robert Parson

"In 1969, Paul Crutzen discovered that NOx could be an efficient
catalyst for the destruction of stratospheric ozone: [Crutzen 1970]

NO + O3 -> NO2 + O2
NO2 + O -> NO + O2
net: O3 + O -> 2 O2"

I have also assumed (perhaps wrongly) that reducing stratospheric ozone levels would lead to less greenhouse warming overall.

For example, it has been suggested that one of the results of the Pinatubo volcanic eruption, was that it depleted stratospheric ozone levels which this reference, at least claims would lead to "a little bit of a cooling effect":

"when we get ozone depletion, we get a little bit of a cooling effect because ozone normally acts as a greenhouse gas by trapping heat from surface-emitted terrestrial radiation; it also absorbs direct sunlight."

This NASA reference also talks about cooling (in the stratosphere at least) from reduced ozone:

"Ozone's impact on climate consists primarily of changes in temperature. The more ozone in a given parcel of air, the more heat it retains. Ozone generates heat in the stratosphere, both by absorbing the sun's ultraviolet radiation and by absorbing upwelling infrared radiation from the lower atmosphere (troposphere). Consequently, decreased ozone in the stratosphere results in lower temperatures."

But I am certainly no expert about any of this.

Perhaps reduced ozone in the stratosphere does not lead to reduced surface warming?

Or perhaps, as this reference that I just found implies this reference the atmospheric tests of the 50's (total estimated 438 megatons) would not have been enough to cause enough ozone depletion to lead to any significant effects (cooling or otherwise):

"What would be the effects of nitric oxides driven into the stratosphere by an all-out nuclear war, involving the detonation of 10,000 megatons of explosive force in the northern hemisphere? According to the recent National Academy of Sciences study, the nitric oxide produced by the weapons could reduce the ozone levels in the northern hemisphere by as much as 30 to 70 percent."

Anonymous said...

"I am curious that the essay on Jim Hansen has been changed."

It's been changed all right. It's been removed entirely from her site!

... but not from our sight, thanks to google cache :-)

Anonymous said...

Was this student awarded marks by her school for her project work?

There seems to be serious doubts about the authenticity of this student's piece of coursework.
It could be a serious case of plagiarism. So both the student and school's reputation are in question.

Standard procedure in such cases would be a thorough interview of the student. (That is if she exists)

I demand a public enquiry!

Anonymous said...

Well, I do begin to wonder if her teacher checked _any_ of her references. And in particular the scientists -- did she say "like those" working at NASA "or" GISS? --- she said gave her permission to include their names in the paper given to the teacher but not to post them on the website.

A phone call or two at least by the teacher wouldn't hurt. I wonder if those at least were verified.

Anonymous said...

Kristen's Hansen article is , unaltered, as far as I can tell.

Kristen made a couple of responses to Eli
over at CA. She appears to accept that the CO2 graph is wrong. She says LOL alot, so she must be 15.

Anonymous said...

Well, I found the answer to my question about possible cooling from nuclear weapons tests in a report of the National Academy. (Effects on the Atmosphere of a Major nuclear Exchange -- 1985)

They concluded that the ozone depletion from the tests would have been something like 4%, so I'd say any cooling (if it did occur) would have been very small.

"Effects on Ozone calf Past Nuclear Weapons Tests In accordance with the committee's estimates, the approximately 300 Mt of total bomb yield in multimegaton atmospheric bursts by the United States and USSR in 1961 and 1962 introduced about 3 x 1034 additional molecules of nitric oxide into the stratosphere. Thus one might ask whether these tests resulted in a depletion of the ozone layer. Using a one-dimensional model, Chang et al. (1979) estimated that these nuclear weapons tests should have resulted in a maximum ozone column depletion in the northern hemisphere of about 4 percent in 1963. Analysis of the ground ozone observational data by Johnston et al. (1973) showed a decrease of 2.2 percent for the period 1960-1962 followed by an increase of 4.4 percent in 1963-1970. Although these data are consistent with the magnitude of the ozone depletion expected, by no means is a cause and effect relationship established. Angell and Kor shover (1973) attribute these observed ozone column changes to meteorological factors. The ozone decrease began before most of the large weapons had been detonated and persisted for too long a period to be totally attributed to recovery from bomb-induced ozone depletion. Unfortunately, because of the large scatter in the ground-based ozone observational data and our lack of understanding of all of the natural causes of ozone fluctuations, one cannot draw definite conclusions about the effects of nuclear explosions on stratospheric ozone on the basis of previous tests of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere."

EliRabett said...

Plagiarism is not citation, one would have to show that substantial work was copied with only minor changes and without attribution. So far no.

Anonymous said...

I love how Kristen Byrnes is now being treated as some kind of climate science authority over at Climate Audit. (good lord, she's going to have a head bigger than her hero, Al Gore, before all is said and done)

And I also love her response to David Appel's post which points out Eli's critique of her graph:

"Kristen Byrnes’ science leaves a lot to be desired. I have been asking her for the data behind the 1880-1960 section of the green line for CO2 on her graph labeled “Jan-Dec Global Mean Temperature over Land & Ocean,” which appears on, and so far she has been ignoring me. This line is wrong, as Eli Rabbett has recently pointed out on . Global CO2 concentrations have been increasing since about 1800.

Kristen Byrnes says:
July 15th, 2007 at 11:36 am


That’s funny David, I just finished responding to your like 8th email before I read this post. To repeat, it is data from the Keeling Curve drawn over the NOAA graph by hand. But that is a moot point now since even the NOAA temperature graphs I used in all of my articles are pretty much invalidated by the photos being taken of the temperature stations. Now the only thing we have is satellite data that goes back 40 years."

[end quote]

In other words, instead of addressing the problem (in this case with her graph), she ignores it -- changes the subject. Isn't that what she has criticized climate scientists like Hansen of doing, ignoring the problems? (eg, with surface stations)

Hypocrisy apparently does not discriminate based on age.

Anonymous said...

re. Plagiarism

Not necessarily copied.

(Stuff lifted straight from a text book without attribution is often easily spotted)

But in that age group, there's often a lot of "help" given by older bros & sisters, parents and Tooters....

When interviewed, such students are usually exposed within 5 minutes.

Personally, I've never even met an 18 year old this arrogant and I must have taught over 3,000 16-18's in my time.

I just don't believe in this.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:31

That's a good point about plagiarism.

I taught secondary science and I could judge pretty well when a student was writing in a "voice" that was not their own.

In this case, it's impossible to know without actually finding a specific example where she has taken something word for word without attribution. (or perhaps seeing some other samples of her writing, preferably on scientific subjects.)

There is also a cart/horse issue in this case that seriously confounds the issue because her paper has been so widely disseminated on the web.

Though a lot of people on the web have said things very similar to what she has said (a brief search on MSN turned up one anonymous post here [starting with "James Hansen is a scientist who admittedly uses scare tactics...] that is identical to a paragraph in her "critique" of Hansen), how do you determine who said it first?

How do you determine who is plagiarizing whom -- or even if plagiarism has indeed occurred?

It's very difficult. And in the case of an anonymous post, how do we know it was not actually posted by her?

We don't.

Finally, I would also point out that one can plagiarize even if one references the source. If I lift something out of a book and then use it verbatim (or even with little or no substantive change) in one of my own pieces without quotation marks or otherwise directly attributing it to the author, that is technically plagiarism. Though it is obviously very foolish to do so, journalists have been fired for that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

It's not just the technical question of paraphrasing other people's work, it's whether there is any genuine understanding of what's been produced.

I don't have much experience of school education, but enough to know that this project contains a level of sophistication that is almost non-existent at that age.

For instance, I've taught 17-18 year old students who were really excellent in science, maths and computing. But in virtually every case they would lack the experience or social skills to be able to make a case at this level.

The most able mathematically, often being the least articulate when it comes to stringing together a complex theoretical argument about ANY issue whatsoever!

So, I think the only way to resolve it is for some cub reporter from the "Daily Planet" to track down said Kirsten, accompanied by an external referee and give her an interview.

Preferably on camera.

It would be fun!

Anonymous said...

Who knows, such an interview might possibly even turn out like the Robin Williams movie "Mrs. Doubtfire."

"Yes Deary, climate science is a bit like cooking -- or bookkeeping -- or sometimes both combined."

Anonymous said...

1) Brilliant 15-year-olds exist and do great science projects:
Google: 15-year-old science project

Of course, that proves nothing one way or another about this one.

2) Concerns about Portland High School or its teachers are *really* premature under the circumstances. If PHS mentioned this in any way, then there might be reason for concern, but so far there is *zero* public data about PHS involvement.

3) When something seems unlikely, a rational skeptic checks it out, subject to to time limitations, first looking at the pattern of postings on the Web, using the Wayback machine, White pages, Intelius, etc ... but it takes a while:

- From afar, it is non-trivial to find the right Portland-local "cub reporter" or any reporter who would be interested enough to chase this, and even if such are found:

- School is out, and lots of people are on vacation and away.

- There are, *quite properly*, confidentiality rules that make 15-year-old girls hard to track down/contact through their schools. If you manage to locate a teacher's phone#, and they're not away, and you call them up out of the blue, *they* *are not allowed* tell you anything about Kristen, even whether or not she's a student there.

I've been at this a week, off-and-on, and there is progress, but it is slow. Since it is difficult to find independent evidence of "Kristen Byrnes" *before* this burst on the scene, it is harder to figure out what's going on, than it was for example, to understand the recent, slightly-similar Ed Moran/GSAAJ affair:

Adults leave a lot more tracks than 15-year-olds. If I had to pick someone who would be hard to track, would make a great story, and be likely to be treated gently ... it would be a 15-year-old girl.

Recall that my first reaction in this thread said "astonishingly good marketing". That might also have been a premature judgement as well, but we'll see.

Anonymous said...

Whoah, now she's going after Keeling?

Anonymous said...

Wait, that last one was me in a hurry, but with a couple of seconds of post-Enter-key thought --- how and where did she find a "Keeling Curve" starting in 1880 to copy?

"... the Keeling curve, one of the most recognizable images in modern science.... measurements show the steady rise of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere over a forty-seven-year period (1958-2005)."

That's what I thought. That's all I can find, the familiar upward-curving image. I searched for images and never found one claiming to include the earlier years under that name.

Where did she get her image that she copied?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, Judith Curry is doing a good job over at CA (found from the pointer and link above)

"Judith Curry says:
July 15th, 2007 at 8:20 pm


#55 Jules is basically correct on the CO2 plot and offers good advice. Fix the CO2 plot and modify your argument, move on from this.

Focus on the surface temperature stations .... I point out the sampling and bias issues in one of my papers There is much work to be done in sorting all this out.

Georgia Tech ... we are introducing a new statistics/data analysis course for earth and atmospheric undergrads next spring."

She's not let up on the people who are trying to 'audit' without understanding statistics. Nor is she flinching from the point that with weather stations put out all over the world over many decades past, some of them will look funny.

Good for her.

Someone else warned K. off of her suggestion that it'd make more sense moving all the weather stations into the nice shady trees, too. Good.

There's the usual gang of whackos, but some of the writers there are acting, at least, like they have a killfile working --- they're just ignoring the trolls. Commendable.

Anonymous said...

Is this why scientists are middle-age white guys?

How can her teachers let her question the experts? Science is about facts!

Anonymous said...

"how and where did she find a "Keeling Curve" starting in 1880 to copy?"

Actually, if you look carefully at that green curve, you will see that it actually starts a little before 1880 -- on June 25, 1876, to be precise.

It's a little know fact that while George Armstrong Custer was getting his little butt gored (with a small G) by Sitting Bull at the Little Bighorn (in 1876), Keeling was right there beside George, taking his CO2 measurements.

If you blow up the green graph, you can actually see where Custer breathed out his last breath, which shows up as an exceedingly brief "micro-blip", before the CO2 level dropped by a femto-nano-ppm after Custer and his men expired.

By the way, I bet you didn't even know that Keeling could measure so accurately, did you? He owes it all to Custer, whom he was using to calibrate his instrument. George had a reputation for being full of hot air (including CO2) and Keeling was simply making good use of this.

...and that's the memo.

Anonymous said...

By the way, that's also where the word "keeling over" comes from.

A journalist who interviewed keeling about Custer's last stand reported that "Keeling was over Custer trying to get his last CO2 measurement when Custer got an arrow through his back..."

...and "keeling over" was forever thereafter associated with collapsing.

As a post script, luckily, Sitting Bull, being a top notch climate scientist himself, allowed keeling to finish up his measurements and to escape with his data -- and scalp -- intact.

EliRabett said...


Anonymous said...

David Appel has been pestering the poor kid for her sources over at CA, and she's been coyly suggesting Eli would perhaps like to co-author her blog by providing a replacement for her artwork instead of herself having to come up with a correction as Dr. Curry has been urging you to do.

Regrettably Dr. Curry suggested she admit the error, fix the chart, and Move On, and by invoking the name of that notorious liberal organization, apparently has lost her credibility with the statistigullible cheering section over there.

Ware the rabbit trap, Eli -- if K gets you as coauthor, then she could audit herself and publish local photos of herself and her coauthor, and measurements of the hot air being produced. And there goes the last remnants of your fuzzy anonymity, gone with the wind.


No, wait, have I got that backwards?

Anonymous said...

Kristen Byrnes says the following in her Ponder Maunder piece:

"When you consider the effects of the 11,000 year solar high and the very positive phase in the ENSO in the past 30 years, you should start to see the real trend and exactly why temperatures changed the way they have in the past 30 years. And before anyone tries to say ENSO conditions are related to global warming or CO2, the NOAA says no it does not."
[end quote]
[emphasis added]

Actually, that's not quite what NOAA says (see below)

Based on what scientists currently know, it would probably be most accurate to say that the issue is "uncertain and unsettled" at this point.

Here's what NOAA actually says under Frequently asked questions about El Niño and La Niña on their website regarding this issue:

"What is the relationship between greenhouse warming, El Niño / La Niña and climate prediction?
There is a lot of confusion in the public about the interrelations connecting climate phenomena such as El Niño, La Niña and greenhouse effect. Is it true that a warmer atmosphere is likely to produce stronger or more frequent El Niños?

We don't know the answer to this question. It is certainly a plausible hypothesis that global warming may affect El Niño, since both phenomena involve large changes in the earth's heat balance. However, computer climate models, one of the primary research tools for studies of global warming, are hampered by inadequate representation of many key physical processes (such as the effects of clouds on climate and the role of the ocean). Also, no computer model yet can reliably simulate BOTH El Niño AND greenhouse gas warming together. So, depending on which model you choose to believe, you can get different answers. For example, some scientists have speculated that a warmer atmosphere is likely to produce stronger or more frequent El Niños, based on trends observed over the past 25 years. However, some computer models indicate El Niños may actually be weaker in a warmer climate. This is a very complicated (but very important!) issue that will require further research to arrive at a convincing answer. "

[end NOAA quote]

Here's another assessment on the same issue:

According to a recent(2006) assessment of the relationship, El Ni˜no Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and global warming

"The IPCC (2001) assessment of the scientific literature found insufficient evidence to suggest any direct attribution between increase in ENSO events that occurred in the last 20 to 30 years of the 20th century and global warming (IPCC, 2001)."

"assessments carried out since then (e.g. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
(AR4), in preparations) suggest El Ni˜no events have become more frequent, persistent and intense during the last 20 to 30 years compared to the previous 100 years. Attribution to global warming, however, remains highly uncertain. Efforts to simulate and model past, present and future behaviour
of ENSO under a warming world due to enhanced GHG concentrations produce conflicting results."

"More research is needed to further
enhance scientific understanding of possible teleconnections between ENSO and global warming. It is worth noting the IPCC AR4 due to be release in September 2007, would provide a more detailed assessment of ENSO and global warming than what is being covered in this paper."

-- Horatio Algeranon

Anonymous said...

It just puzzles me that Kristen Byrnes seems reluctant to fix her CO2 graph when a few others on Climate Audit said she was wrong and suggested she do.

In one post, Byrnes suggested to Eli

"I’ll make you a deal. You take the same graph with my hand drawn line and draw your own line and I’ll take a look at it."

In another she says "I’m sure Eli can do it in a second. If it looks good I’ll probably just post it. But it really needs to be on the same NOAA temperature with my green line."

That strikes me as very odd. Why would she not just say, "I now see that my graph is wrong and I will be happy to fix it"

By not doing so and by suggesting that someone else actually do her graph for her, she raises some questions (at least in my mind).

Why would she do that?
Does she understand what her mistake was?
Does she actually know how to fix it?
Did she actually do the original graph?
Does she know where the data on that original graph came from? (as David Appel kept asking her without answer).

What possible reason could she have for having Eli do the graph for her?
Does she wish to use that as some sort of sales pitch in the future? Does she think it will reduce criticism?

Her reluctance to just fix the graph is what I would call "a bit odd."

Finally, Jules Virdee clearly tried to help her with her graph when she said:
"Kristen #62, you’ve done such a good job of writing your report without anyone’s help - don’t give the alarmists the satisfaction of drawing your CO2 graph for you.

There’s little dispute over historic atmospheric CO2 concentration; I’m sure you can find a reliable source yourself, but if you want to be consistent with the temperature series you can use this graph from the NOAA website (up to 2000 at least - you can use the latest Keeling curve from Scripps after that):

You might also consider graphing the temperature against the logarithm of the CO2 mixing ratio, since any warming should depend logarithmically on CO2 concentration - another thing the alarmists will often forget to mention.
[end Jules Virdee quote]

It's not that I see a problem with getting help in this case (from Virdee or anyone else) but this along with the other stuff I mentioned above really makes me wonder just how much "help" Brynes received on this whole project.

Hank Roberts said...

Yep, or how much responsibility she's willing to take for learning what the correct figure should look at. Makes me suspect her original line came not from any database --- did she ever come up with a source? --- but from some authority figure in her life. Stepdad, preacher, teacher, whatever.

She's in a jam now, with people like Judith Curry saying it was a mistake, fix it and move on --- and either she doesn't know how to fix it, or expects to be caught in a crossfire if she does alter it and offends whoever gave her the info for the mistake. Or if she does it wrong again, or still can't find a source to rely on.

Poor kid. Must be time to attack someone else or change the subject, there's a whole repertoire of behaviors available if she's willing to settle for a political and rhetorical position rather than bucking for a scientific one.

There's always room in college departments claiming to teach "Political" Science, I'm sure. If she can't do the math stuff.

I hope she gets coaching from Dr. Curry, if it comes to that.

We do, in fact, need every brain available to get to a workable future. Training on the job is how it's got to happen.

Anonymous said...

What really gets me about this whole climate "debate" is that there is so much wasted effort -- and wasted brain power -- by people on both sides.

If people had started ten years ago working on the solutions to this problem and spent 1/10 the time they have arguing about this stuff, we would probably already have moved a long way toward workable solutions.

I believe Byrnes is simply wrong in her main conclusion regarding the climate, but agree with what she said at the end of her report (though I am not really convinced she believes it herself). She said that we are eventually going to have to move beyond a fossil fuel economy.

Many of the things that will allow us to do that (using energy and resources much more efficiently) will also reduce emissions-- and actually save money. So even if there were no such thing as global warming, there would be no logical reason not to do them.

Actually, the "wasted effort" comment applies on almost every front in this country. We are literally throwing away the future and unfortunately, our children and grandchildren are going to be the ones who are going to pay for it.

Anyone who believes otherwise need merely look at the nearly half a trillion dollars that was just spent on Iraq. What do we -- the American people -- have to show for it?

Half a trillion dollars could have hired 1 million new teachers at $50,000 and paid their salaries for ten years. Or it could have paid for 1/3 the estimated $1.6 trillion needed fixed the roads, bridges and rest of the broken down infrastructure in this country. or it could have funded a health insurance program for over 10 million kids for 10 years.

Wasting money and resources seems to be what we do best in this country.

Anonymous said...

Why would she not just say, "I now see that my graph is wrong and I will be happy to fix it"?

Perhaps she could see what the result would be - that the fit is rather good, and it undermines her argument (as well as questioning her competence).

When she does make a change (probably by dropping the graph altogether), she'll want the fact to be eclipsed by some startling new revelation. From her responses, she's desperate to move the focus onto the land-based temperature record (now "discredited", in CA speak).

In other words, "never mind the CO2 graph - the temperature record can't be trusted". Then there will be a problem with the oceanic measurements. And the satellite record. And the glaciers ...

Phil said...

Coincidentally, my 15 year old daughter asked for my help in fact checking Al Gore's movie. Less than an hour later we had shown most of its claims to be false or misleading.

Kids are a lot more savvy than adults give them credit for and they can spot a fraud a mile off.

The AGW side of the debate has too much Al Gore style propagandizing and not enough honesty about the issues, and it seriously damages your credibility among the young.

BTW, credit to Eli for pointing out the forcing is proportional to the log of the CO2 concentration. Although that CO2 forcing line doesn't look logarithmic to me.

Anonymous said...


As you say, the forcing is logarithmic as a function of CO2 concentration. The graph shows forcing as a function of time, which is not logarithmic, because CO2 concentration is not linear in time.

Anonymous said...

"Coincidentally, my 15 year old daughter asked for my help in fact checking Al Gore's movie."

Yes, what a coincidence.

"Less than an hour later we had shown most of its claims to be false or misleading." visiting this site, by any chance?

"The AGW side of the debate has too much Al Gore style propagandizing and not enough honesty about the issues,"

... and the people on the other side are all just Honest Joe Friday "Just the Facts, Ma'm" skeptics, right?

"and it seriously damages your credibility among the young."

...kinda like FALSE graphs that completely misrepresent reality and that lots of young people will end up seeing?

"BTW, credit to Eli for pointing out the forcing is proportional to the log of the CO2 concentration."

Too bad Kristen Byrnes has not yet taken his (and others') advice and simply fixed the graph (It has been days since Eli, Judith Curry, Jules Virdee, and others pointed out that error directly to Kristen, along with where to find the correct data to fix her graph -- on Climate Audit)

She has now admitted (under her graph) that it is "incorrectly drawn" and "I'll see if I can find someone who can draw with a mouse better than me", as if somehow, it's her artistic skills that are at issue.

But as Jules Virdee pointed out to Kristen Byrnes on Climate Audit, "it’s not just a matter of doing 'a better job of drawing it.' "
[end Virdee quote]

No, it's not that Byrnes draws poorly. Her graph is (still) just plain wrong!

Or, again quoting from Virdee
"Your CO2 graph doesn’t start rising until the 1950s - not too surprising if your source was the Keeling curve, which is based on direct measurements that only began in the late 50s. However, evidence from ice cores shows that atmospheric CO2 has been rising since the early 1800s - I hate to say it, but Eli’s right on this one (see his post above for graphical evidence)."
[end Virdee quote]

Perhaps I and others are to believe that Byrnes managed to put together that whole "Ponder the Maunder" report on her own and yet can not find the correct data and use it to produce a simple graph by herself?

Even after Jules Virdee suggested where she might get the correct data to fix her graph?

Incidentally, not that it has any bearing on your comments or anything, of course, but you wouldn't happen to be the Philip (B) who is a regular commenter on Climate Audit, would you? (including the thread wherein Kristen's incorrect graph was discussed)

What a coincidence that would be.

Anonymous said...

Is Kristen Byrnes going to fix her graph?

I wonder, given what she says underneath it:

UPDATE: The green line in the graph above is incorrectly drawn over the temperature graph. The temperature graph itself can no longer be trusted anymore [sic] because of the problems with the temperature stations (see follies in measuring global warming). Hopefully the problems with the temperature stations will be fixed soon and I'll see if I can find someone who can draw with a mouse better than me."

If Byrnes thinks the data shown by the NOAA graph are incorrect, she is entitled to her opinion.

But in that case, she should just put up the original NOAA graph by itself (with her comment underneath it, if she wants).

It is disingenuous (at best)-- for her to use her own expressed "lack of trust" in the temperature data as an excuse for keeping her own incorrect graph drawn on that NOAA graph.

Her CO2 graph is simply wrong and she knows it (she has been told by numerous people at this point) and the issue of the quality of the data that went into compiling the record that the NOAA graph shows is completely separate from the issue of her own graph being wrong.

Mixing the two issues -- ie, leaving the NOAA graph up there with her incorrectly drawn green line on it -- is only likely to confuse those who view her website.

Surely, she would not wish to confuse people (would she?)

Aside from the fact that her graph is wrong, Byrnes and others have certainly not demonstrated that the NOAA graph is incorrect -- with their pictures of a very limited number of surface temperature stations within the US.

Even if the problems they have found have introduced errors into the temperature record, there is no indication that they would have any significant effect on the record shown by NOAA.

That record comes from a compilation of data from literally thousands of surface stations throughout the world -- to say nothing of the satellite data, borehole data, ocean data, and other data that have gone into that record -- all of which indicate warming.

Scientists have considered every one of the possibilities that Kristen Byrnes mentions in her report -- solar variation, ENSO, cosmic rays and all the rest -- and Byrnes' claims notwithstanding, the warming over the past century and particularly over the past 3 decades can not be explained by solar variations, cosmic rays, Iris Effect or any of the other various and sundry possibilities that have been suggested to discount the greenhouse theory of climate warming.

Anonymous said...

(BTW, slip of the finger, sorry, the post that started "1) Brilliant 15-year-olds..." that was me, not another Anonymous.)
Graphs are often better than words.
My two climate favorites are:, Figure 2, which in particular highlights volcanoes, El Ninos / La Nina's. The little volcano icons are fun.,
which shows how good scientists try to account for the various effects, and then summarize them in one place.

Just understanding those two pages is worth a lot. These are very data-rich charts; Edward Tufte would be pleased.

Thank you GISS.

If someone asks "but wasn't 1998 hot?", once, they are probably just don't know.

If they keep banging away on it, they obviously don't want to know.

Anonymous said...

> 1998

Covers that pretty well from several angles.

Anonymous said...

The clever Rabett has digested,
The CO2 data as suggested,
Produced a graph with sources three,
Alongside temperatures, for all to see.

It looks to me like Kristen's wrong,
But whether she will change her song,
Remains in question at this time,
But I wouldn't bet a single dime.

Anonymous said...

Philip said: "BTW, credit to Eli for pointing out the forcing is proportional to the log of the CO2 concentration. Although that CO2 forcing line doesn't look logarithmic to me."

If you look at the entire GISS graph showing CO2 forcing from 1850 onward, the forcing (relative to 1850) is not logarithmic with time, for the reason given by ambitwistor.

But if you look only at the period from about 1980-1995, for example, the graph is logarithmic (if you blow it up, you can see that it's slope is decreasing with time -- ie, it's concave down).

Over that time, CO2 did increase approximately linearly with time (through about 1999), by about 1.5ppm per year (in reality, the increase over that time was a very slowly growing exponential, which is basically linear over a short time span, for all intents and purposes).

From about 2001 onward, the yearly increase in CO2 (which accounts for most of the greenhouse forcing) has averaged about 2ppm. the average yearly increase in the nineties was about 1.6ppm. (Though there is a certain amount of scatter from year to year)

The upshot is that while the whole forcing vs time graph may not look logarithmic, certain restricted parts do.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Kristen. Her original paper, submitted to an honors class at her school, was accepted by her teacher as original and unplagiarized. Surely her teacher was familiar with Kristen's writing "voice"! Furthermore, Kristen IS in an honors class. Can we accept the idea that she didn't just walk in?

As to her taking on the overly vaunted James Hansen, I'd refer you to Hansen's own website: and ask you to scroll down to Sep. 2005: Michael Crichton's "Scientific Method". Click on it. The first sentence destroyed all credibility Dr. Hansen might have had, all by itself. It's a lie. State of Fear does not purport to "use the scientific method". Name a novel written using the scientific method. The idea is laughable. Besides, Dr. Crichton never said any such thing, anywhere, about State of Fear. For sure, he discussed the scientific method in his book, but he certainly didn't say he wrote the book using the scientific method. Furthermore, Hansen diminishes only himSELF with his snide comments. This petty lie, from a so-called scientist, turns his scientific credentials to rubbish. Check out whom he cites as his peer reviews. I found an instance where he cited himself and dismissed him as a fraudulent person.

As to Michael Crichton, he graduated from Harvard summa cum laude, taught anthropology as a guest lecturer for a year at Cambridge, then, thanks to a scholastic award, he spent a year traveling doing anthropology. He returned to Harvard and entered medical school, reluctantly. He wanted to be a writer, but had read that only 250 people supported themselves as fulltime writers, hence medical school. Which in the end, served him well.

The funny thing about that is that he supported himself and his wife (also a student) by writing books that were good enough to be published and win awards. Even in medical school! Who knows another medical student with enough time and talent to do that? By the time Crichton finished medical school, he was more than out of debt. He had written The Andromeda Strain, and Hollywood had called. But he went to Jonas Salk's Institute where he worked as a post-doc fellow for two years. THEN, he went to Hollywood. So all the snide comments about Michael Crichton as a mere "entertainer" are very wide of the mark. He has a world class brain that ranges widely over many interests for his books and masters most, if not all of them. James Hansen should have been more careful about whom he slandered with his snotty, petty lie. He can't hold a candle to Michael Crichton who can run rings around him until the world really does heat up.

To quash any questions about any relationship I might have to Michael Crichton, I have never met the man, don't work for him, and haven't even written a fan letter....yet. Everything I said about him can be found on his website and in various interviews found on the internet. His life is an open book, if you'll pardon the pun.

EliRabett said...

Hi Lucy,

Evidently Michael Crichton is tall, handsome and rich. Married, Eli don't know about, but ignorant about climate and morally reprehensible he does.

Kristen Byrnes, otop, merely does not know much about climate, relies on dubious sources (much of what she wrote was a paraphrase of what can be found elsewhere on the net. Eli tries to warn his students that you can find everything on the net, and most of it is wrong) and would benefit by associating with the young people at It's Getting Hot in Here

IEHO of course

mcthfg said...

"Michael Crichton, he graduated from Harvard summa cum laude,"

Our president graduated from Harvard. He's not so bright, either.

Crichton is the Andrew-Lloyd Webber of lit. You can swap out any paragraph in any book for any other paragraph in any book. Low brow.

kenp said...

I've read that while in medical school, Crichton was already writing paperback thrillers under the name “John Lange” and Bennett was not surprised that he ended up a writer rather than a physician.

Unknown said...

ImMobileSpy LLC, a renowned company offering ImMobileSpy software is now providing 40 percent discount to clients from across the globe. The offer is available for a limited period and the rates are expected to be revised in the coming month. The product is a mobile spy app
that provides user with the ability to remotely monitor or hack cellphone’s incoming and outgoing text messages and phone log and phone book. It also allows one to track phone location and record audio surroundings among others.