Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Hide the Incline

Eli's pals, Pat Michaels, Chip Knappenberger and Ollie Frauenfeld, although not necessarily in that order, and Eli would not bet his bottom carrot on their being friends, although he might sip a beer with Chip, have a new paper "A reconstruction of annual Greenland ice melt extent 1784-2009" J. Geophys Res Atm 116 doi something long (2011) in which they reconstruct the history of the Greenland ice melt.

Now, some, not Eli to be sure, might think that this is a platform for deviltry soon to appear in World Climate Report the house organ of Pat Michaels astroscience empire, or perhaps an erasure or two, or something being not under the shell in a game of three iceberg Monte, but, give credit where due, this starts with a useful reconstruction of the annual Greenland ice melt.

to which one of the spurned referees, Jason Box, took considerable exception, enough that he blogged his review, and, of course the usual suspects engaged in ritual pearl clutching, and even more of course the suspects did not mention Box's reasons (there really was only one)

I rank the paper: “Good” because the paper’s methods seem solid. Yet, depth with regard to examining causal factors is missing. Further, the paper’s main point, as it seems, that recent warming is not without precedent, may already be obsolete because 2010 was such an extreme melt year AND that more warming in Greenland is likely simply for Greenland to be in sync with the northern hemisphere. The paper thus, in the very least, requires a revision that includes consideration of 2010 data. Yet, consideration of causal factors of cooling and warming and treatment of the Box et al. (2009) prediction, which for 2008-2010 has been accurate, would give the paper the depth consistent with JGR’s standard.
In other words FKM hid the incline, something AnyBunny, or if you prefer the more traditional, EveryBunny, can see. (Readers get their choice of eminem or death, which some would say is not a choice, but Eli would never rickroll his adoring readers) And, it is a twofer, because not only is there observational evidence that the incline is increasing at an ever faster rate, but, as Box shows in a follow up (there is another but it is denser), the number of degree days is increasing

Comparing the two graphs, it is clear that FKM are up to little good. As a matter of fact, the incline is currently increasing strongly in the degree day chart, emphasizing Box's point that FKM were, let us say, being economical when they say
We make use of these relationships along with historical temperature and circulation observations to develop a near‐continuous 226 year reconstructed history of annual Greenland melt extent dating from 2009 back into the late eighteenth century. We find that the recent period of high‐melt extent is similar in magnitude but, thus far, shorter in duration, than a period of high melt lasting from the early 1920s through the early 1960s. The greatest melt extent over the last 2 1/4 centuries occurred in 2007; however, this value is not statistically significantly different from the reconstructed melt extent during 20 other melt seasons, primarily during 1923–1961.
Still, gotting this into print provides a platform for Pat to hide the incline at his usual haunts and for Lucia to cluck approvingly


Anonymous said...

Scaredy Mouse says: Well, it's typical isn't it? The conclusion that the correlation between positve degree days and net loss of ice holds up between the earlier melt period and the current one is useful. One can now argue that Greenland's Ice has been on a hair trigger for much of the 20th century and that it was pulled around 2000. That's interesting.

It's bad, but I probably find use in an article's reported data while tossing its conclusions more often than not these days (I'm an ecologist, not physicist).

CapitalClimate said...

The idea that any of this science would be used for political purposes is, of course, quite out of the question:

Climate Coup: Global Warming's Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
4:00 PM

Featuring Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT; Bob Ryan, Fellow and past president of the American Meteorological Society and meteorologist for WJLA / ABC 7 News; moderated by Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and editor of Climate Coup.

jyyh said...

I'd expect the ice that has more CO2 in it's pores to melt faster than the ice formed during the glacials, so when the melt reaches that depth in an ice sheet, the melt might actually slow down a bit... an insignificant amount, no doubt, but anyway a physical reason one might grasp to delude oneself a bit further into denialism. Some Chilean glacier had already lost layers formed in Roman times.

William M. Connolley said...

Hmmm, I'm dubious. A paper is submitted in summer/autumn 2010 and the reviewer insists that 2010 data be included? That doesn't seem reasonable.

Martin Vermeer said...

William, yes, that seems a bit monomaniac. The real problem is of course that Greenland is not the world, and any temperature time series from there is a lot more noisy than a global one. And it is known that Greenland, and many other places on the NH, were exceptionally warm in the 1930s. So, not really new.

This is clearly what Box means by "causal factors"... an analysis of ice melt as relating to temperature is what he would have liked to see, to provide the "depth" that he is missing. But it would have undermined the simple story line of "yet another thing that contradicts warmism"... and it would have been extra work, quite a bit of it. So, Box offers an easy way out, which would also puncture the less-than-100%-honest story line.

EliRabett said...

What Martin said, besides which, roughly by the time Box got the paper, 2010 summer was over and certainly by the time he reviewed it. Michaels hid the incline, or maybe better put, he ignored it.

HR said...

From Box's website.

"While this Greenland climate data analysis remains in preparation for publication in an eternally-reviewed journal article"

Maybe he'd like to share with us the reviewer comments of his own as yet unpublished work? Or come final acceptance maybe he'd like to rework it to include 2011's data? Wjy not hold out for 2012?

I'm sure rabbits are good at sniffing out carrots, what they like with sour grapes?

Chip Knappenberger said...


I, speaking for myself, am never quick to turn down the opportunity to sip a beer!

I have spent a fair amount of effort over at SkepticalScience laying out the background of our paper prep/publication efforts, including links to conference presentations of this work dating back the to the 2008 AGU’s. Despite all the belief to the contrary, it was not part of a “documented campaign of climate change denialism” for us to lay in wait to spring this to publication immediately prior to some big melt year. I have I tried to explain over at SkepticalScience, I don’t think 2010 would alter our general observations/conclusions had we been able to include it.

As far as publically touting the results of a paper we had recently published, uh, that would make us different how?


Anonymous said...

SkepticalScience is also covering this. Chip makes an appearance and does a merry dance for all.

lucia said...

the suspects did not mention Box's reasons (there really was only one)

Huh? You linked my post. In the post you linked, I not only discuss Box's complaint the 2010 data were omitted but posted Chip's explanation why the 2010 data were omitted. The authors of FKM used melt data from 3 groups; 2010 melt data were not yet available. It seems melt data from those 3 groups are still not available (though maybe they have been published recently. )

EliRabett said...

Why Lucia, it's not that the 2010 data was omitted, it's that there is no discussion of the physical reasons for the rapid current increase and the increase in the 1930s, something Chip and Dale are dancing around. If you want speculation look at Scaredy Mouse, who is pointing out that weakening of the ice sheet in the 1920-1960 period could leave it vulnerable to the summer warming being observed today

lucia said...

Of Box's reasons you wrote "there really was only one".
You highlighted a reason in red. Sorry I jumped to the conclusion that you intended readers to think the reason you highlighted was in your opinion "the only" reason.

Having read the Box review in it's entirety, I can say that many people reading what he wrote would have been under the distinct impression he really, really, really wanted the authors to include the not-yet available 2010 data (which is still not available.)

EliRabett said...

Stop twirling the pearls Lucia, as Box said
The paper thus, in the very least, requires a revision that includes consideration of 2010 data. Yet, consideration of causal factors of cooling and warming and treatment of the Box et al. (2009) prediction, which for 2008-2010 has been accurate, would give the paper the depth consistent with JGR’s standard.

2010 is only important in that it reflects the casual factors and that is Box's only point.

willard said...

The causal factors are never casual, unless we're talking about mental causation.

Science is corrupt.

EliRabett said...

Stuff just happens

Anonymous said...

Bunnies, by the time of the last review (27 December into 2011) it was quite possible to include results for 2011. If it were your paper, wouldn't you have wanted to?

Pete Dunkelberg

David B. Benson said...

Eli is a very polite, well bred Rabett.

steven said...

et, consideration of causal factors of cooling and warming and treatment of the Box et al. (2009) prediction, which for 2008-2010 has been accurate, would give the paper the depth consistent with JGR’s standard

which means that the editor accepted something which box thought was below the "standard"

Bad editor. or maybe Box doesnt speak for the standard of depth.

Either way, having lost on the grounds of bad data you now switch to the grounds of... bad editor?