Briggs schools the “Bad Astronomer” on statistics

The Saturnian moon Mimas, photographed by the ...

The AGW Alliance Death Star - cratered from continuous bombardment - Image via Wikipedia

That letter signed by 16 scientists saying there’s “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” to the Wall Street Journal has caused a great disturbance in the farce. At last count there were no less than  19 blog rebuttals plus one new WSJ op ed piece trying to convince the alliance that all is well. It didn’t work.

But, they know the AGW Alliance Death Star has been compromised before its mission can be completed, the Rebellion has seen the plans and the Alliance knows it is only a matter of time before “the consensus” blows apart. Reports are that “Michael Mann has been tweeting furiously“, but the reinforcements he’s bringing in may not be able to stop the Rebellion as its ranks swell with ordinary people.

Here at WUWT, we had our best day ever on January 31st with 229,000 views from ordinary people, exceeding the heady days just after Climategate 1 and Copenhagen. People are coming in out of the cold to embrace the warmth and declare it good, while laughing at the folly of the alliance.

Meanwhile, the Bad Astronomer (Phil Plait er, not Jim Hansen) has been spinning in low orbit trying tell alliance forces that the past 10-15 years of stalled temperature rise are just a statistical illusion.

William Briggs, Statistician to the Stars, schools Plait on what statistics really is and writes:

Remember when I said how you shouldn’t draw straight lines in time series and then speak of the line as if the line was the data itself? About how the starting point made a big difference in the slope of the line, and how not accounting for uncertainty in the starting date translates into over-certainty in the results?

If you can’t recall, refresh your memory: How To Cheat, Or Fool Yourself, With Time Series: Climate Example.

Well, not everybody read those warnings. As an example of somebody who didn’t do his homework, I give you Phil Plait, a fellow who prides himself on exposing bad astronomy and blogs at Discover magazine. Well, Phil, old boy, I am the Statistician to the Stars—get it? get it?1—and I’m here to set you right.

The Wall Street Journal on 27 January 2012 published a letter from sixteen scientists entitled, No Need to Panic About Global Warming, the punchline of which was:

Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of “incontrovertible” evidence.

Plait in response to these seemingly ho-hum words took the approach apoplectic, and fretted that “denialists” were reaching lower. Reaching where he never said. He never did say what a “denialist” was, either; but we can guess it is defined as “Whoever disagrees with Phil Plait.”

The WSJ‘s crew said, “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.” This allowed Plait to break out the italics and respond, “What the what?” I would’ve guessed that the scientists’ statement was fairly clear and even true. But Plait said, “That statement, to put it bluntly, is dead wrong.” Was it?

Plait then slipped in a picture, one which he thought was a devastating touché. He was so exercised by his effort that he broke out into triumphal clichés like “crushed to dust” and “scraping the bottom of the barrel.” You know what they say about astronomers. Anyway, here’s the picture:

Global warming

See that red line? It’s drawn on a time series—wait! No it isn’t. Those dots are not what Plait thinks they are. They are not—they most certainly are not—global temperatures.

Read the whole rebuttal here, well worth your time.

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156 Responses to Briggs schools the “Bad Astronomer” on statistics

  1. As shub noticed at BH, the graph is from skepticalscience.com, IMNSHO the last refuge of the scientifically incompetent.

  2. “Reports are that “Michael Mann has been tweeting furiously”,”

    What a desperate bunch of fools in a fools dream. Why all the fuss if the science is settled? Proof it is not the science but the gold coming from ignorance while ignorance lasts.

  3. pittzer says:

    “Somewhat amusingly, Plait ends his semi-random venting by telling us that Michael Mann has been “tweeting furiously” about this. Good grief! This isn’t helping his case. Mann’s understanding of statistics may be likened to an overly enthusiastic undergraduate who left the lecture early.”

    Ouch. Love it.

  4. pat says:

    One of the more obvious places for an astronomer to fix his focus in the AGW debate is the atmospheres of the planets beyond earth (Venus is a special case and Mercury has no stable atmosphere, having to be constantly replenished). All have demonstrated warming and cooling, much more enhanced than that of Earth, corresponding with the solar cycles. This leads the vast majority of them to conclude…….?

  5. James F. Evans says:

    It’s the Sun.

    Now, who on this website, with a high profile as an expert, has continuously stated, “it’s not the Sun”?

  6. Chris D. says:

    Shub also noticed what Briggs failed to mention which is the graph is labeled Global LAND Temperature Anomaly. Naughty Astronomer.

  7. Eimear says:

    The Bad Astronomer is horribly annoying and it is so funny that he has messed this up because that is a guy that can’t handle being wrong, which wouldn’t make him a scientist and goes against everything he preaches.

  8. Leon Brozyna says:

    Yep … Drudge sure pulled ‘em in. You’ve got a real hockey stick at Quantcast:

    http://www.quantcast.com/wattsupwiththat.com

    The results from Alexa ought to be in tomorrow … it looks like they run their figures on GMT, while Quantcast seems to run on Pacific time. Hope some of those first time visitors stick aroundand get their eyes opened.

  9. James F. Evans says:

    Regarding Phil Plait: He is a corporate hack, who makes his bread keeping the cattle in line (That’s how the Elite view the average folks — as cattle.) I kept up with his website for a while and he is a big self-promoter, self-important hack (I’ve rarely seen a website operator who boasts about his personal activities on a supposedly science oriented website as Plait does). After I came to that conclusion, it was no longer necessary to keep up with his website.

    Sadly, his readers (or accurately, his commenters) swallow the bilge he constantly trots out.

    No wonder. astronomy as a science is fixated on “pink unicorns”.

  10. Wade says:

    “Reports are that “Michael Mann has been tweeting furiously”.
    “Plait in response to these seemingly ho-hum words took the approach apoplectic, and fretted that “denialists” were reaching lower.”

    Methinks they doth protest too much.

  11. kim says:

    It is a good sign that the alarmists depend more and more upon the meme that ‘the last decade was the hottest on record. Increasingly, they are counting on ignorance to carry the day, and as people wise up they will simply marginalize themselves further.

    There are three problems with it. It completely dodges attribution, which is something important. It tries to make a point about something which is a truism, that the last decade of a warming trend will be the hottest. It fallaciously diverts from the flatness of the last decade. And, it’s not as hot as it was at the height of the Minoan, the Roman, and the Medieval Warm Periods, which are themselves a decline curve.

    Hey, that’s four. There’s probably even more bad logic in the thought processes, but this will suffice. It demonstrates desperation. Who the Hell do they think they are trying to fool with this?
    =========================

  12. John Peter says:

    Readers should also visit http://www.thegwpf.org/the-observatory/4868-the-mail-on-sunday-the-met-office-and-the-temperature-standstill.html
    There is a very good breakdown by Dr David Whitehouse of HADCRUT3 in five year bits to show that actually the last five years have been cooler than the preceeding five and most of the recent warming can be found in 1996-2000. Definitely worth reading.

  13. Mikey says:

    Well I am a new viewer brought in by Drudge and I plan on sticking around.

    Kudos to you on the awesome site!

  14. Eimear says:

    Well said James.

  15. David L. says:

    highflight56433 says:
    February 1, 2012 at 9:05 am
    “Reports are that “Michael Mann has been tweeting furiously”,”

    What a desperate bunch of fools in a fools dream. Why all the fuss if the science is settled? Proof it is not the science but the gold coming from ignorance while ignorance lasts.
    _____________________________________
    I live in Eastern PA. Mike recently tweeted:
    “MichaelEMann Michael E. Mann
    NEWS FLASH: Groundhog Day cancelled! Phil says he’s pretty sure spring *already* arrived in western PA, preempting tomorrow’s event.
    2 hours ago

    It is true that it’s fabulously warm today; almost 70F. And I assure you, I can’t find anyone at lunch, at work, on the streets that is upset about it. Traffic is crazy…everyone is out and about, some with the windows down. Nobody is crying that it isn’t 14F today as usual. And the record for all this nice weather (it is weather not climate that we are experiencing this week, Mike????) was set back in 1916. So why was it so warm back in 1916? Maybe it’s the same reason it’s warm today?

  16. Nikola Milovic says:

    How the scientists can establish any hypothesis in this domain , when they don’t know radical and right causes of these phenomena.
    All what today’s science allege about this appearance isn’t right true.The magnetic fields are in question, but it needs know what and who gowerns with them.It is simple thing and therefore it didn’t interesting for big intelligence.
    Who wishs a collaboration with me, can help to resolve these phenomena for all times!

  17. Ben of Houston says:

    Don’t get too personal against Phil. He did do good work once, and he even led the JREF for a while until the AGW problem came to a head. His refutation of the moon hoax nonsense is still the best I’ve even seen.

  18. DesertYote says:

    When I was in the service many years ago, I was stationed at a base that hosted a mock POW camp used for pilot survival training. When we went in to repair equipment, we were dressed in Badguy uniforms, and were instructed to not speak with any of the students. Doing so would ruin the illusion, which would ruin the training. Just like the WSJ letter ruining the AWG narrative. The propagandists need to maintain complete saturation.

  19. Muller et all, originators of the dataset, do in fact display their uncertainty range here:

    http://berkeleyearth.org/faq/#stopped

  20. Markus says:

    Poor Michael Mann, he sat on a hockey stick, and he’s on the way to the hospital for an extraction. :-)

  21. Frank K. says:

    David L. says:
    February 1, 2012 at 10:03 am

    “And the record for all this nice weather (it is weather not climate that we are experiencing this week, Mike????) was set back in 1916. So why was it so warm back in 1916? Maybe its the same reason its warm today?”

    I’ve made this point before – if we exceed a temperature “record” by a tiny amount, is it really a big deal?? After all, if the record was set back in 1916, as DavidL said, this current weather pattern is certainly NOT unprecedented…

    I’m enjoying it!! :^)

  22. Stacey says:

    “Reports are that “Michael Mann has been tweeting furiously”

    Sorry Mr Moderator a couple of typos the above should read
    “Reports are that “Michael Mann is a twit constantly”

    Let the farce be with you :-)

  23. Larry Geiger says:

    William Briggs, Statistician to the Stars is a treasure!

  24. Chaz Williamson says:

    I love this quote from the “climate scientists” rebuttal in the WSJ.

    “And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean.”

    Where’s the missing heat? We found it in a model. Now we just need to go verify what we already know.

    The reason so many people pan climate science, as has been pointed out effectively so many times on this site, is that the so-called climate scientists do everything bass-ackwards. Every climate model is a multiple regression analysis. They do a pretty good job of predicting past temperatures at the time they’re written, but not a one has been able to predict future temperature trends with anything approaching an acceptable degree of accuracy. Until they can, claims that AGW (or ACC, ACD or whatever the flavor of the month is) is “settled science” is nothing but a bunch of hooey. When it comes to climate science, I don’t even trust the “real world” data. Too often, I’ve seen the press releases for a new climate study stating what they expect to find, followed up in a few months by another press release exclaiming “It’s worse than we thought.” Confirmation bias, anyone?

    Frankly, I trust analyses of climate data conducted by statisticians and economists more than I do climate scientists. They, at least, understand how to apply statistics, and understand the limitations of statistical analysis. Furthermore, they understand risk and cost-benefit analysis . . . a perspective that seems to be completely missing from climate science.

  25. Marko of Helsinki says:

    I used to read Phil’s blog until he started evangelizing about AGW, calling it settled science, naming anyone that does not agree with his beliefs and doctrine as deniers (along with the usual unnecessary name calling). Phil is truly one of the worst AGW zealots out there. He even believes he can dictate who is a real scientist and what real science is (as he does in his last BA post). He will not be swayed in his religious AGW fanatic beliefs. And because all scientists other than the ones “Phil-approved” are deniers that work for the oil industry, it will be impossible to ever prove him wrong. Convinient really, eh?. He is a sad delusional little man.

  26. Richard says:

    I’ve just discovered that Phil. is Phil Plait of Discover Magazine – Bad Astronomy. Well well, sarcy Phil. is getting a taste of his own medicine. I wouldnt be surprised if it leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

  27. Stephen Richards says:

    Mikey says:

    February 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Wellcome to sanity.

  28. Ric Werme says:

    Mikey says:
    February 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Well I am a new viewer brought in by Drudge and I plan on sticking around.

    Welcome!

    That Quantcast link interesting – normally some 20K people visit per day, yesterday 125K did. If a small fraction hang around, that 200 million page-view event may happen before the planet gets very cold and we don’t need WUWT any more. :-)

  29. old engineer says:

    One of the things William Briggs points out, is something I continually forget. That is: that the monthly global temperature anomaly is NOT data- it is the output of a model. The raw temperature measurements from individual sites are the data. It is so easy to look at a graph with points on it and think the points are data. And as he points out, if we are using the model to predict the future, we are not interested in the error of the model, but rather the error of the prediction.

    Then of course there is the commandment that so many WUWT commenters have emphasized: “Thou shalt not use a least squares linear fit on time series.”

  30. Karl Zimmerman says:

    I noticed the same things as James F. Evans and Marko: Phil Plait stopped doing science a long time ago to become a Bill Nye-type “star scientist”. He succeeded, unfortunately. I won’t even read his blog for astronomy issues because I don’t trust it. What turned me off wasn’t so much the AGW stuff (which was both irritating and insulting) but his mindless and unquestioning following of others. I’ve referred to him as the High Priest of the Church of Randi, out to perform the Inquisition of Science on everyone and everything. There’s skepticism, and there’s utter closed-mindedness, and I think he’s gone to the latter category, which is sad, given the Moon Hoax and other earlier refutations that were good. From the point where your mind closes…an Italian poet said it best: “Abandon all hope ye who enter this place.”

    Sic transit Bad Astronomer…

  31. Matt says:

    Great stuff! My favorite post since the CERN CLOUD results.

    William Briggs is the man.

  32. Robin Hewitt says:

    Are you lot saying he looked through his graphs, picked one with an upward slope then published it assuming we would take it to be global warming?

    That’s actually quite clever. He got me for a moment until Anthony put me straight, as usual.

    Long live the amazing Mr Watts!

  33. Werner Brozek says:

    Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.”…. But Plait said, “That statement, to put it bluntly, is dead wrong.

    This is then followed by a LAND only graph which covers 29% of the earth. And the graph shows an increase from 1973, which is THIRTY EIGHT years. How does that discredit “the lack of GLOBAL warming for well over TEN years now:?

    Am I missing something?

    The trend for the last decade using the average of the four main data sets is negative as shown below.

    WoodForTrees Temperature Index
    #Mean of HADCRUT3VGL, GISTEMP, UAH and RSS,

    #Time series (wti) from 1979 to 2012
    #Selected data from 2002
    #Least squares trend line; slope = -0.00343579 per year

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:2002/plot/wti/from:2002/trend

    I realize the slope is very small. However I do not see how anyone could be accused of stretching the truth by claiming a “lack of global warming”.

  34. GregO says:

    What he says:

    Chaz Williamson says:
    February 1, 2012 at 10:45 am
    I love this quote from the “climate scientists” rebuttal in the WSJ…

    and:
    old engineer says:
    February 1, 2012 at 11:22 am
    One of the things William Briggs points out, …

    My thoughts exactly and better said than I could add to.

    If there is anyone reading here that has not bookmarked Briggs site: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/
    please consider doing so now. This man is on a relentless search for truth and his site is a gold-mine for all things statistical as well as a range of other fascinating topics.

    As far as the crowd drawing straight lines through temperature data noise and concluding anything too dramatic – naughty-naughty! But, heck, I do it myself if only just for fun. It is good to recall that as “old engineer” stated above – it isn’t data in the strict sense but a model of data. Not a bad thing in itself, but consider trying to pull an actual signal of man-made warming from the small delta signal we see is clearly a stretch. Know what? Better data collection would really be a step up (see surfacestations.org). How ’bout we cut off about half the funding for computer modeling and three quarters off the boondoggles, and maybe seven eighths off the propaganda budget and put it into temperature sensors? Just a suggestion. We could get kids in school involved and do some actual measurements. What fun.

  35. Matt in Houston says:

    Something I haven’t seen pointed out yet here is that the use of the anomaly also lends itself to an exaggerated display of the rate of increase….until one looks at the scale of course, but how many average citizens have had the wool pulled over their eyes by this type of rubbish.

    Data presentation is an important communication tool and engineers usually pay extremely close attention to this and it is usually where our BS meters start making a lot of noise.

    Cheers to Mr. Briggs

  36. Bryan A says:

    Perhaps if Phil Plait emptied the Phull Plait of his preconceived notions he could do some real statistical science

  37. Joel Shore says:

    Sorry but I don’t see where Briggs has “schooled” anybody here. Phil Plait was objecting to the sentence, “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.” In response, Briggs basically makes arguments that the data is not “raw”, is imperfect, has uncertainties, etc. But, then that begs the question: If the data is so imperfect, how can those scientists in the WSJ op-ed conclude that there has been a “lack of global warming for well over 10 years now”.

    If it is simply an issue of there not being enough confidence to say what the trend has been over such a time period, then one has no business making the claim that there has not been global warming over that time period.

    There are other problems with Briggs’ diatribe:

    (1) He makes no evidence to back up his assertions as to how uncertain he thinks the data is.

    (2) He ignores the fact that the satellite temperature records also come to the same basic conclusion regarding warming since the record began in 1979.

    (3) He argues that the plot does not show “global temperatures” because it is not simply raw data. So, does he apply this standard across the board? After all, the UAH (and RSS) satellite temperature records are even further from being raw data than the surface temperature records are; there is lots of analysis involved. It seems to me that there is a double-standard applied by AGW skeptics whereby data that doesn’t support their preferred conclusions is not trustworthy but if there is a piece of data that does support their preferred conclusions then, no matter how what is known concerning problems with that data, it nevertheless must be believed and shows that all the models are wrong and anybody who says otherwise believes in untested models over real world empirical data!

  38. Actually, temperatures could stay the same for 50 years and a linear regression such as he did would still show warming. If it didn’t warm for 50 years, would it still be warming? Apparently Phil Plait thinks it would be if a linear regression starting in 1973 has a warming trend. Some charts illustrating this are available as pdf files here:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?zu53lj75477oa4g

  39. There are two kinds of skeptics. Some believe in the scientific method, others not so much. The latter group find it necessary to defend “science”, mistakenly believed to be whatever scientists do. Plait and Nye belong to that group, and are unwittingly destroying the science they’re so keen to defend.

  40. Arch Stanton says:

    Just a Star Wars nerd suggestion: the “AGW Alliance” should be the “AGW Empire,” under siege from the “Rebel Alliance.” It even fits better IMHO – the Empire projects a monolithic view with any internal dissent stifled, while the skeptic alliance is more of a ragtag band, uncontrolled by tyranny of thought but yet bound together in the search for truth. Or something like that…

  41. Joel – where were you when Skeptical Science wrote about a “dampening” and “pause” of global warming?

  42. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    February 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm
    There are two kinds of skeptics. Some believe in the scientific method, others not so much. The latter group find it necessary to defend “science”, mistakenly believed to be whatever scientists do. Plait and Nye belong to that group, and are unwittingly destroying the science they’re so keen to defend.
    ===================
    There are not two kinds of skeptics. There are ‘science fan boys’ who defend the authority of experts even when, which is often the case, the experts are not very competent. (Medicine prior to the 20th century might be a good example, although 21st century medical practice still has its issues to resolve). This group, unfortunately, identify as skeptics but are anything but. And then there are actual skeptics. Genuine skeptics are not just critical of synthetic claims but are also continually testing the positions they currently hold.

  43. Juice says:

    The two camps are talking past each other on this issue.

    Camp one: “There hasn’t been global warming for the past 10 years.”

    Camp two: “This graph shows the general trend for land temperatures over the past 40 years and it points up. So you’re wrong.”

    Camp one: “What the hell does that have to do with what I just said? The past ten years are flat.”

    Camp two: “But the 30 years before that pointed up. So you’re wrong.”

  44. Smokey says:

    It’s been obvious that Mr Bad Astronomy has had sour grapes since his blog did so poorly compared with WUWT.

    I can understand sour grapes, but posting a faked Skeptical Pseudo-Science graph indicates either ignorance or dishonesty. And I don’t think Phil. is ignorant. Matt Briggs writes, “See that red line? It’s drawn on a time series—wait! No it isn’t. Those dots are not what Plait thinks they are. They are not—they most certainly are not—global temperatures.” We’ve seen enough temperature charts here to know that chart is not what it purports to be.

    Falsifying data is a hallmark of the alarmist crowd. They do it because they can’t make their case otherwise. Phil. forfeited his credibility when he posted that bogus graph. Turns out that Phil. is just another CAGW propagandist.

  45. Markus says:

    Joel Shore says;

    “”If the data is so imperfect, how can those scientists in the WSJ op-ed conclude that there has been a “lack of global warming for well over 10 years now””.

    Are you for real? Stick ya head out the window and have a look.

    You nailed your flag to the wrong mast.

  46. Charles Bruce Richardson Jr. says:
    February 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm
    Actually, temperatures could stay the same for 50 years and a linear regression such as he did would still show warming. If it didn’t warm for 50 years, would it still be warming? Apparently Phil Plait thinks it would be if a linear regression starting in 1973 has a warming trend. Some charts illustrating this are available as pdf files here:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?zu53lj75477oa4g
    ==================================
    This is an excellent point and not even hypothetical. When Steig’s Antarctic paper did the front cover of Nature, “proving” continued warming of the Antarctica, he had to use 50 years of data because the shorter 30 years of data would not have shown a warming trend.

    I note only the inconsistency in logic here. Warmists wish to argue for accelerating trends – for which they need to then focus on the most recent data. However, if the most recent data provides the “wrong” answer, then through an interesting contortion of logic, using the most recent data is ‘wrong’ to be emphasized.

  47. DesertYote says:

    Looks like WUWTs native trolls are embarrassed to have Bad Astronomy on their side.

  48. Camburn says:

    Joel Shore says:
    February 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    A very simple question:
    1. Has there been statistical warming since 1998 based on the temperature charts except for GISS, as there are serious questions being posed as to its reliability. ( One which is, the divergence it is expressing verses UAH/RSS data)

    That is the crux….is it warming?

    Data shows it is NOT warming.

    How hard is that to accept? It is reality.

  49. Camburn says:

    Joel Shore says:
    February 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Using your Logic Joel: It could drop .7C and you would think it is stilllllll warming as a trend line from 1892 to present would show warming……even after it cooled .7C.

    I think you realllllly need to have a reality check soon. The dipstick on reality is running low for you.

  50. “Are you for real? Stick ya head out the window and have a look.”

    Hmm. That’s not an especially sound way to do science. But it’s amusing that you say so right now.

    I take it you are not in New York City, where the current temperature is 61 F (normal high for the date is 38 F). And you’re not here in Austin, where it’s 83 F (normal high 62 F). In fact pretty much the whole US except California and Alaska appears quite warm, and in some places extraordinarily warm, today.

  51. Neo says:

    Just so I can get on the same page, can anybody cite the definitive peer-reviewed study that incontrovertibly ties man to current climate warming ?
    (Al Gore’s books and movies don’t qualify, neither do IPCC reports which are mostly put together by politicians.)

  52. Has there been statistically significant cooling since August. You betcha. So?

  53. Joel Shore wrote:
    “It seems to me that there is a double-standard applied by AGW skeptics whereby data that doesn’t support their preferred conclusions is not trustworthy but if there is a piece of data that does support their preferred conclusions then, no matter how what is known concerning problems with that data, it nevertheless must be believed and shows that all the models are wrong and anybody who says otherwise believes in untested models over real world empirical data!”
    ==================
    Joel your position is a perfectly reasonable one. The way I interpret your argument is that the data could be too noisy to say anything about recent trends (with recent trends meaning anything in the last 30 years or less). This could be due to errors relating to what is being measured, which is small, superimposed over the background of natural variability.

    However, it is not hypocritical for skeptics to use the same tools and methods of the warmists to reach an opposing conclusion. In fact, it is necessary for skeptics to do this. If their criticisms turn out to be indefensible, then that is good outcome for the warmists.

  54. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Just a repost of what I put up for Briggs. I notice WUWT has copied his bit of plagiarism.

    So what exactly are you doing Mr Briggs? You take an ANIMATED GIF that is meant highlight how climate skeptics tend cherry pick short periods vs climate realists preferring to look at the big picture then try to make some point about the statistics of an illustrative diagram! You even went to the trouble converting the GIF file into a JPG, just to make sure no-one would be able to see the real image. Then remove the caption at the top to change what it appears to be so you can misrepresent it to people.

    There are names for that sort of behaviour and most of them have legal conotations.

    For those who are interested in the real graph try this

    Or if embedding it didn’t work, go here
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/SkepticsvRealistsv3.gif

  55. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    A further update. I posted the same at Bishop Hill and it has already been moderated off.

  56. George E. Smith; says:

    Well William; Statisticator Extraordinaire, I’m here to tell you, that I can bloody well do statistics on any set of numbers I want to. I mean the mathematical rules for statistics are pretty straight forward; any government agency can even do it.

    So if I want to do a global statistical analysis of the number of animals per acre/hectare/m^2/whatever, I can do that; animal being anything as big as an ant(or bigger).

    So I can count termites, rabbits, gnus, grasshoppers, whatever, and it is all good statistics. Now the problem comes if I try to tell you, or WUWT, WSJ, US Senate, UN, whatever; that my results actually mean something.

    Take GISStemp for example. Hansen et al keep updating it regularly; specially the old ancient reported data, which still changes routinely, just like the weather changes.
    BUT even so GISStemp is probably a very good representation of; well GISStemp, is what it represents; so if Hansen wants to change what GISStemp is, why should YOU care.

    So long as he doesn’t call it the Global Mean Temperature or something totally outlandish like that, I don’t mind what he does.
    I do object to him spending MY tax dollars revising old GISStemp data, every now and then.

    And if you start off your daily routine scanning the latest value of GISStemp before getting on with your life, then you need to get a hobby. I suggest something other than statistics.

  57. Owen in GA says:

    Glenn,
    What is the trend if you chose 1958 as the start rather than 1973. As long as we are taking endpoints, we could just as easily choose any point, though maybe about 60 years ago is the right point (if one accepts a 60 year cycle as dominant one should trend from like points on the cycle). Then there is the question of: are you using the data as it existed then or are we confirmation bias adjusting it colder to make now look like we want (for probable propaganda purposes.)?

    I don’t know the answers to the above questions because I haven’t looked at it. I suspect the slope would be much flatter than the one starting in a trough.

    Just my two cents.

    Owen

  58. Glenn Tamblyn says:
    Or if embedding it didn’t work, go here
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/SkepticsvRealistsv3.gif
    ========================
    The ‘real’ graph is rather silly, don’t you think? Towards the end, as it becomes increasingly impossible to show any periods of cooling, the constructor of this gif had to start using overlapping trend lines. It would also have been less questionable to use land and ocean (global) and not just land here. Anyway, this misses the point of contention, which is that there has been no global warming trend for 10 years or so. It seems to me it’s ok to argue, “Yes there has been no warming trend for a decade but this is not significant because…” and then offer one’s best explanations… Rather than obfuscate and argue the claim is untrue. Besides being an impossible to accomplish task, such tactics make the general public suspicious.

  59. George E. Smith; says:

    “”””” Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:

    February 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Joel – where were you when Skeptical Science wrote about a “dampening” and “pause” of global warming? “””””

    I suggest that “dampening” is only loosely connected with global warming. “Dampening” tends to be a local weather phenomenon, generally associated with rainfall, or maybe spray from waterfalls.

    On the other hand, when you have some erratic cycling phenomenon, like Temperatures going up and down, one could talk about some possible “damping” of those events, which really isn’t related to rain or mist at all.

  60. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Actually Will Nitschke, the graph is quite serious in highlighting the absurd arguments used by skeptics along the ‘It hasn’t warmed for the last … years’ of which kindly offered an example. The point when looking at data is to know what time scale one should be looking at for the conclusion one wishes to draw. For Climate the timescale is 25-30 years. The graph is highlighting how skeptics cherrypick data either by convenient selection of startpoint or length.

    The very nits you are picking are the exact point the graph is making. It is highlighting the faulty reasoning shown by many skeptics. So thanks for providing an illustration in support.

  61. Foursquare says:

    Glenn Tamblyn,

    It has already been directly pointed out to you on William Briggs’s site that it was Phil Plait who, in your words, “plagiari[zed]“, “cherry pick[ed]“, and “misrepresent[ed]” the graph in question. Briggs’s post was in direct response to Plait’s use of the graph.

    You might want to reconsider the wisdom of copying and pasting your comment to multiple public websites, especially after you’ve been made aware that the claims you are making are both false and malicious.

    There are names for your sort of behaviour and most of them have legal connotations.

  62. Coach Springer says:

    When the leader of the US party of central government changes the subject to CO2 is “dirty,” you’ve definitely lost momentum with an audience that would love to use you.

    Tweeting furiously may look like you’ve been found cheating while confirming one’s longing for the good old days of Lysenko. And – at long last – your appearance would resemble the truth.

  63. Dave N says:

    Regardless of what the dots are, the red line is also a strawman in terms of temperatures stalling for the last 10-15 years.

  64. George – I understand the joke but “to dampen” can actually mean To depress; to check; to make dull; to lessen.

    So for once, SkS correctly used a verb. A day for the history books!

  65. James Sexton says:

    Glenn Tamblyn says:
    February 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Actually Will Nitschke, the graph is quite serious in highlighting the absurd arguments used by skeptics along the ‘It hasn’t warmed for the last … years’ of which kindly offered an example. The point when looking at data is to know what time scale one should be looking at for the conclusion one wishes to draw. For Climate the timescale is 25-30 years. The graph is highlighting how skeptics cherrypick data either by convenient selection of startpoint or length.
    =================================================
    Glenn, first of all, it was Plait who copied the graph. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/01/30/while-temperatures-rise-denialists-reach-lower/
    Briggs was illustrating what Plait was babbling about. What would you have preferred him do? Describe it? I believe you owe Briggs an apology.

    Secondly, 25-30 years? LMAO…. ok, we accept that CO2 has been exponentially increasing for the last 150 years or so, correct? And lately we’ve been hearing that it takes longer than 10-15 years to falsify the hypothesis that CO2 significantly effects our global temps. Consider it falsified. On 36, 50, and 70 year time scales. Using various starting periods. And I could include many more if you wish. Why is it so hard for you people to accept that the data says the Malthusian misanthropists parading as scientists lied to you?
    http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/30-years-is-needed-to-confirm-the-null-hypothesis/

  66. James Sexton says:

    Sigh, I’ve got a comment in the spam bucket….. thanks.

  67. In fact pretty much the whole US except California and Alaska appears quite warm, and in some places extraordinarily warm, today.And from the Department “The Sun Rises In The East” this message in many parts of EU it’s currently extraordinarily cold…yawn…

  68. kMc2 says:

    @Will Nitschke at 2:19

    Brilliant! I caught the twinkle of a Richard Feynman-like good humor and reasonableness in your point, and ever the quest for the good outcome…where truth leads. Bravo, and carry on, even in the face of the Darth Vader clones who have abandoned freedom and cannot see.

  69. jt says:

    Did’t Phil get the memo from Trenberth about consultations with dentists about coronary problems? Either he didn’t get it or he’s ignoring it or he considers astronomy part of climate science.

  70. JamesS says:

    Is it just me? I look at the far left side of that graph, around 1973 and I see an anomaly of 0.51 or so. Jump to the far right and it’s sitting at about 0.58. Disregarding all of the jumping about in the 39 years between, the actual difference right now is 0.07 — probably well within the error bars, which means that statistically it’s as warm now as it was back then?

    We’re supposed to get excited about this?

  71. Philip Peake says:

    You can forget all the temperature (or temperature anomaly) graphs.
    The only thing that matter is that the models predict a linear relationship between CO2 concentration and global temperature.

    That is not happening.

  72. Gneiss says:

    So I wonder, are there no actual skeptics here? Anyone curious enough to look up the original source and caption of the graphic Briggs copied? People who have worked with numbers enough to recognize that the data points he is calling model or predictions are basically just averages of temperatures? That were published by BEST on their website, along with uncertainties and a description of their methods? Anyone who would check for themselves how those uncertainties affect the trend, or whether 1973 really is cool for its period as he claims? Or who recalls that similar trends occur in other data including the satellite records?

    [REPLY: So many questions, no links. -REP]

  73. Ric Werme says:

    I left a couple comments at Phil’s blog this afternoon, and they’re still flagged as awaiting moderation. I see them as 182 and 184. Nothing earthshaking, and 184 is basically the UEA data I posted on the Rutan thread here. It is the only thing I see there that has actual data besides the graph of land temperature anomalies.

  74. Glenn Tamblyn says:
    February 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm
    Actually Will Nitschke, the graph is quite serious in highlighting the absurd arguments used by skeptics along the ‘It hasn’t warmed for the last … years’ of which kindly offered an example. The point when looking at data is to know what time scale one should be looking at for the conclusion one wishes to draw. For Climate the timescale is 25-30 years. The graph is highlighting how skeptics cherrypick data either by convenient selection of startpoint or length.

    The very nits you are picking are the exact point the graph is making. It is highlighting the faulty reasoning shown by many skeptics. So thanks for providing an illustration in support.
    ===================
    Glenn I don’t think this graph shows what you think it shows. The various negative trends towards the end of the series can be shown to be negative because they *are* negative.

    The earlier negative trends from circa 1988 to 1995 which you can produce using, say, GISS, is only possible because of the Mt Pintatubo volcanic eruption that depressed global temperatures for many years. You can even milk a negative trend for the earlier period because of the El Chichón eruption in 1982. Prior to that the trends *were* negative for several decades, so no surprises there.

    There have been no volcanic eruptions of similar magnitude since that time. This does require explanation. Of course, all of this does miss the point somewhat. Trends can shift positive or negative easily enough when the trend itself is tiny. This is the real ‘problem’. Fundamentally, the real issue is the lack of a stronger positive trend. The lower troposphere global trend for 30 years citing RSS is only 1.39C per century. That’s a trend that’s nearly 3 times less than what the IPCC has predicted. So we need to start seeing some accelerating warming trends soon for such a forecast to be plausible. If we’re still playing the warm/cool game with shorter trend lines in 10 years from now because the trend is so flat — well, there will be no way to continue to obfuscate on this issue by that stage.

  75. The graph is tagged by Plait as “skepticalscience_globalwarming”. The title of the image frozen by Plait was assigned by SkS as “How Realists View Global Warming”. It seems we have more than enough evidence to claim that according to Plait, the frozen image is evidence of global warming.

    The fact that the original was the “escalator” dynamic picture has nothing to do with Plait’s use of the frozen bit of it.

  76. James Sexton says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    So I wonder, are there no actual skeptics here? Anyone curious enough to look up the original source and caption of the graphic Briggs copied?

    Asked and answered. Read up.

    People who have worked with numbers enough to recognize that the data points he is calling model or predictions are basically just averages of temperatures?

    You need to read his posts referenced in the post we’re discussing. Gneiss, is this your first time here? They most certainly are not simply averages of temp readings. Homogenization, adjustments, corrections, and applications of algorithms distort them beyond recognition.

    That were published by BEST on their website, along with uncertainties and a description of their methods?

    BEST is a land only study and isn’t representative of global temps. Nor is it complete. Nor is the data up to date. It is laughable that any alarmist would reference BEST. I would imagine BEST put enough egg on their face.

    Anyone who would check for themselves how those uncertainties affect the trend, or whether 1973 really is cool for its period as he claims?

    You mean like this? http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1937/to:1973/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1937/to:1973/trend Oh, snap! That’s another 36 year period of time in which temps dropped and CO2 exponentially increased! Please note, I could have started the graph in at a warmer point and ended at a cooler point…… well ok, talked me into it. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1937/to:1977/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/to:1977/trend I dunno, does 57-63 look like a warmer period to you?

    Or who recalls that similar trends occur in other data including the satellite records?

    Yes, I’ve seen similar trends. For just over 1/2 of the satellite record. Oddly, the last 1/2 seems to be arcing in a different direction. So, tell me, do you ascribe to the thought that 30 years of temps not responding to increases in atmospheric CO2 is enough to confirm the null hypothesis? That atmospheric CO2 does not significantly effect our global temps?

    I’m wondering…… would you know an actual skeptic if he slapped some skeptical data right in front of you? And would you know what to do with it?

  77. Matt in Houston says:

    I hope the mods can forgive me here, but I must say:

    I would like to thank Mr Tamblyn for demonstrating either his ridiculous logic or gross ineptitude by joining in the conversation here. After all that is what science is about to him and his idiotic friends at skeptical junk science- demonstrating to skeptics how smart they are.

    Thanks for demonstrating to us how smart you are.

    I hope Mr. Rutan is here collecting more data for his social experiment with the CAGW chicken littles.
    This is good stuff.

  78. You can’t mess with reality, Here in the UK, EVERY day this month has been colder than the rest of the year!
    /whatever

  79. Joel, I tried reading “Tamino’s” article but I couldn’t get past distracting phrases using words such as “evil”, “denialist”, “stupidity”, plus the peculiar frothing at the mouth strawman rants. If he had good points to make (which is possible), I suspect they would be lost on any readership attempting an objective assessment.

  80. AndyG55 says:

    ONLY if your agenda is to link CO2 to global warming do you insist on a 25-30 year time frame.
    Even more recently, they have been insisting on looking ONLY at the 1976-2000 (+/- a year or so) as being the indicator.

    Looking at 2000 onwards does NOT suit their agenda.

    Extending the date back to te MWP.. does not suit their agenda.

    Extending to most of the last 10,000 years to look at the NATURAL, but somewhat chaotic cycles of climate, does not suit their agenda.

  81. TedK says:

    James F. Evans says:
    February 1, 2012 at 9:43 am
    …No wonder. astronomy as a science is fixated on “pink unicorns”.

    I object to that distasteful statement, (my emphasis added to highlight astronomy). I’m not personally aware of anywhere where astronomers are fixated on pink unicorns or any other kind of superstition or flights of fancy.

    See if you find any astronomers wondering where the unicorns are:
    http://www.amateurastronomy.com/index.htm
    http://www.cloudynights.com/
    Perhaps you’ll notice that astronomers, for the most part, are serious observers and are often skilled mathematicians.

    Perhaps you intended to slime astrologers and not the folks who gaze at and measure the celestial bodies.

    Great post Briggs! You’ve got the trolls howling and trailing their broken wings trying to divert the crowds.

  82. Mark T says:

    Well just wow… Phil. = Phil Plait. I had some reasonably intelligent discussions regarding waves with him back before he merged with U.T. He was actually interested in learning (I surfed then, and I’m an EE, so waves are interesting). Then he got all self righteous. Then Phil. demonstrated his lack of understanding of the basic mechanism of feedback (transients in particular… long story). At the time I brushed it off as arrogant climsci trying to claim that such a PhD granted knowledge of all things, i.e., Phil. = moron… I had no idea. Figures. Phil. never really presented any evidence of a uniquely keen insight into the workings of our universe… he got famous simply for pointing out the obvious flaws in moon hoaxes in one big collection. Shoulda stuck with that.

    Mark

  83. Gneiss says:

    James Sexton writes.
    “BEST is a land only study and isn’t representative of global temps.”
    No, it’s representative of land temps, as are the surface stations temperatures used in different subsets, with different processing, by NCDC, GISS and HadCRU. And yet all of them show similar trends.

    The global surface sets mix in SSTs as well. And the satellites estimate lower-troposphere temperatures worldwide. They all broadly agree too.

    “Nor is it complete. Nor is the data up to date.”
    BEST is not, the others are more so.

    “It is laughable that any alarmist would reference BEST.”
    No alarmists here. Are you just name-calling?

    “I would imagine BEST put enough egg on their face.”
    I don’t know how you imagine that. BEST put egg on the faces only of people who were sure it would contradict the others, but then it didn’t. It confirmed yet again (as others have too) that GISS, NCDC and CRU have been doing a good job. And the globe is warming.

  84. Mark T says:

    Damn, Joel, you’re an educated physicist yet you still think Grant “time series analyst” Foster really gets it? Sigh.

    Mark

  85. DesertYote says:

    Glenn Tamblyn
    February 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Just a repost of what I put up for Briggs. I notice WUWT has copied his bit of plagiarism.

    So what exactly are you doing Mr Briggs? You take an ANIMATED GIF that is meant highlight how climate skeptics tend cherry pick short periods vs climate realists preferring to look at the big picture then try to make some point about the statistics of an illustrative diagram! You even went to the trouble converting the GIF file into a JPG, just to make sure no-one would be able to see the real image.

    ###

    WOW, One more data point demonstrating the state of the propaganda. I bet you even believe what you wrote! To say that lefties are delusional would be an understatement.

  86. Camburn says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm
    And the globe is warming.

    Shouldn’t that be….And the globe was warming?

  87. Gneiss says:

    OK, I just checked out the Tamino post being mentioned. There we find Briggs admitting that by model he meant “average,” and stating that an average assumes the data that went into it “is measured without error.” Seriously, he wrote that.

  88. James Sexton says:

    Joel Shore says:
    February 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Tamino has also weighed in on Briggs’s post: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/william-m-briggs-numerologist-to-the-stars/
    ======================================
    Hand-waving in its finest fashion. But, this is what occurs when you have people who don’t understand numbers and how they are suppose to be treated. Linear trends have no predictive power and they don’t prove much of anything except to show an “average” direction of where have gone (past tense). What they do is ask a question…….. Why?

    Tammy is disagreeing with Briggs about what the graphic means, but using the same methodology that went into the graphic, is the same methodology which shows us there has been no warming for “well over a decade.” So, we have to ask, which is it? Is Briggs right or are the WSJ fellows right. Tammy can’t really have it both ways.

    No offense to anyone, but…… I greatly appreciate honest statisticians. But, statisticians are lawyers of numbers. Law is to Justice as numbers are to Truth.

  89. GregO says:

    TedK says:
    February 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm
    “…Perhaps you’ll notice that astronomers, for the most part, are serious observers and are often skilled mathematicians.
    Perhaps you intended to slime astrologers and not the folks who gaze at and measure the celestial bodies.”

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/02/wsj-publishes-collective-letter.html

    Good point TedK…it gets a bit rough around here at times. No honest, competent scientific pursuit deserves ridicule IMHO. And yes, Briggs has them on the ropes. Big fun.

  90. James Sexton says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    No alarmists here. Are you just name-calling?
    ===========================================================
    Friend, were I name calling, I can assure you, you would have no question. I simply use that as a descriptive term for people alarmed by CO2 and global temps. I’m happy to hear you’re not an alarmist. So, you then agree with the central theme of the WSJ fellows? Their main thrust was there wasn’t much to be concerned with. I happen to agree.

    I haven’t the inclination to rehash the BEST fiasco, but, you are correct, it falls in line quite nicely with the rest of the rent seeking Malthusian misanthropists works. So, I gather you didn’t know he ran a side business with his daughter, prior to the study?…….. an advisory group of sorts on how best for businesses to deal with climate change as I recall. To my knowledge, they’re still at it.

    Oh, and what do they all show? http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/from:2002/plot/best/from:2002/trend That warming ended over a decade ago. If you can’t tell, that’s BEST’s data reflected in the graph.

  91. Smokey says:

    2010 – 2011

    2009 – 2012

    And then there’s this.

    Phil. is pegging the meter. We’re not buying what he’s selling.

  92. Gneiss says:

    Camburn writes,
    “Shouldn’t that be….And the globe was warming?”

    You’re right, Camburn. 2010 was the warmest year on record, but 2011 was cooler, so global warming has stopped.

  93. AndyG55 says:

    “I don’t know how you imagine that. BEST put egg on the faces only of people who were sure it would contradict the others, but then it didn’t. It confirmed yet again (as others have too) that GISS, NCDC and CRU have been doing a good job. And the globe is warming.”

    No.. It showed that the calculated value of the global land temperature, was increasing.

    The somewhat childish attempt at discounting UHI effects made it basically worthless.

  94. Gneiss says:

    James Sexton writes.
    “Friend, were I name calling, I can assure you, you would have no question. I simply use that as a descriptive term for people alarmed by CO2 and global temps.”

    [SNIP: You are pushing it. We DO mind. Refresh yourself with regard to site policy here. -REP]

  95. Allesandro Filipeppi says:

    Interesting to see the flood of Warmistas attempting to impose a misguided orthodoxy on long term readers of this blog after some negative press. Perhaps they are attempting to form a self-appointed Inquisition to stamp out heterodox views. Of course, their views are more religion than science. They even appear to have their own Question 96 of a Prima Secundae proofs based squarely on circular reasoning.

  96. Mr Lynn says:

    DesertYote says:
    February 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm
    Looks like WUWTs native trolls are embarrassed to have Bad Astronomy on their side.

    Point of clarification: As I understand the expression, ‘native trolls’ is an oxymoron. A regular commenter who contributes to the discussion, but holds a minority or contrary view, is not a ‘troll’. A troll is a drive-by trouble-maker who likes throwing grenades into a thread just to stir things up, an agent provocateur. By this definition, Joel Shore, for example, is not a troll.

    Now back to your regularly-scheduled discussion.

    /Mr Lynn

  97. James Sexton says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    OK, I just checked out the Tamino post being mentioned. There we find Briggs admitting that by model he meant “average,” and stating that an average assumes the data that went into it “is measured without error.” Seriously, he wrote that.
    ==================================================
    English your first language or interpretive skills a bit diminished?

    Here’s what he said, “Actually, of course, an average is a model—at least if you want to attach any meaning to it. It at least assumes the data that went into the model is measured without error.”

    You would have seen my comment there as well, but sadly after a bit of wait in moderation, my comment is now just well, gone. Maybe you can go and comment to Tammy and pass on a thought for me. ……. Intellectual cowardice isn’t very becoming a person who purports to seek scientific truth.

    Here’s what I wrote…verbatim.

    Lol, you know what is astounding? The hubris of alarmists believing they know more about trending, estimates, averaging, and modeling than a statistician.

    Briggs comments, and you just state, “wrong”, but you don’t state why he’s wrong. And he’s not wrong. Did you see any error bars on that graph? I sure didn’t. But then, I’ve often thought alarmists see a different world than reality.

    But, more to the point, this is a bunch of hand-waving. The posit challenged by Plait was that there hasn’t been any warming for over a decade or so. And, there hasn’t. Using the same methodology that went into SkS’ graph is the same that shows there hasn’t been any recent warming. So, you object to Briggs evaluation of the methodology, but you also object to what the people of the WSJ piece stated. Well, which is it?

    A simple question, really. But then, they are often the hardest to answer.

  98. Robert E. Phelan says:

    Gneiss says: February 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Only GISS thinks 2010 was the hottest on record. UAH and CRU seem to disagree:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_December_2011.png

  99. Camburn says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm
    Camburn writes,
    “Shouldn’t that be….And the globe was warming?”

    You’re right, Camburn. 2010 was the warmest year on record, but 2011 was cooler, so global warming has stopped.

    Finally, you are getting it….however……when you say 2010 was the warmest year on record, you had better qualify the data set, as it isn’t in other data sets other than GISS.
    And we do know that GISS has had a divergence problem with the nothern edges compared to satillite data.
    And the level of confidence, because of the extrapolation goes down, so….yah…..if you ignore statistics, you could say 2010 was warm according to GISS.

    HOWEVER……..with that in mind……was 2010 warm compared to the Holocene climate? No sir…it was NOT. So…….I hope you understand this please. After all, the Holocene Optimum had temps similiar to that hot 2010 for centuries on end. And sir…..it may have even had spikes much HIGHER than our current temperature.

  100. Gneiss says:

    AndyG55 writes,
    “No.. It showed that the calculated value of the global land temperature, was increasing.”
    Which pretty much every source of information we have has confirmed.

    “The somewhat childish attempt at discounting UHI effects made it basically worthless.”
    Except that so many other studies have reached the same conclusion.

    If you still believe UHI caused the BEST, GISTEMP, NCDC and HadCRU temperature increases you aren’t even reading this site. Fall et al. 2011?

  101. DesertYote says:

    Mr Lynn
    February 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    ###

    You are quite right. Thanks for pointing this out.

  102. Camburn says:

    Allesandro Filipeppi says:
    February 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    This site is a wonderful site. It actually allows discussion!!!!! Some other sites allow one way drivel, so they are basically worthless.

    Thank You Anthony for your policy.

  103. Gneiss says:

    rep49 writes,
    “Only GISS thinks 2010 was the hottest on record. UAH and CRU seem to disagree”

    No, NCDC agrees also that 2010 was hottest. CRU probably will too once the new version comes out, in which they finally add an arctic to their globe. As for UAH and RSS, the upper-troposphere estimates are batted around more by El Nino, so you’re right they still show that “super El Nino” year 1998 as a spike.

    BEST goes only to 2009 but as a land-only record it’s not much impressed by El Nino and ’98 is way down on the list.

  104. pouncer says:

    ‘The WSJ‘s crew said, “Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.” ‘

    Please note that “inconvenient” whether used by Al Gore or Burt Rutan is not term of art in science or statistics. The adjective characterizes the persuasive and political power of the fact. The fact is that for 10 years or so the best measure (or perhaps, estimates or models) of this concept called “global temperatures” has shown a relatively flat trend. This, while all the while the amount of CO2 (called “carbon” in the intended-to-be persuasive claims) have trended ever upwards. This is another divergence problem and is inconvenient to anyone who would like to assert that the simply basic incontrovertible physics is somehow settled.

  105. Gneiss says:

    James Sexton writes,
    “English your first language or interpretive skills a bit diminished?

    Here’s what he said, “Actually, of course, an average is a model—at least if you want to attach any meaning to it. It at least assumes the data that went into the model is measured without error.””

    Briggs is a terrible writer but my interpretive skills could be poor as well. Help me out here – in Briggs’ last sentence above, what do you think is the antecedent for the pronoun “it”? I think the antecedent is “average.”

    In many applications people actually use averages because things are measured with error. Briggs statement simply is false, unless it depends in some tricky way on what “it” means?

  106. Frank Kotler says:

    Glenn Tamblyn says:
    February 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm
    … The point when looking at data is to know what time scale one should be looking at for the conclusion one wishes to draw…
    —————————————-
    You just said a mouthful!

    If the question is, “No warming for ten years, true or false?”, the appropriate time scale is obviously ten years.

    I prefer a much longer time scale – say 300,000,000 years or so. The planet is obviously cooling off and running out of CO2. Something must be done!

    What conclusion do you wish to draw, Glenn? Do you get my point?

  107. Andy Clark says:

    “disturbance in the farce” . . . brilliant!
    Keep up the good work, Anthony!

  108. Robert E. Phelan says:

    Gneiss says: February 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    No, NCDC agrees also that 2010 was hottest.

    Is this the source of your statement?
    http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201001-201012.gif
    Doesn’t look like NCDC agrees.

    CRU probably will too once the new version comes out, in which they finally add an arctic to their globe.

    Yeah, they’ll adjust those temperatures no matter what it takes.

  109. I think some people are losing sight of the actual sceptical position if they keep ‘reminding’ sceptics that 2010 was ‘the hottest year on record’. The majority of sceptics accept and expect warming in the .5C to 1.5C range, with a best estimate of probably 1C. So every decade or so most of us are expecting to see a record broken. (Although sceptics are not certain of this. There could be time spans of 30 years or longer where there is no significant warming or even a negative trend.)

    A reminder: it is perfectly consistent with the sceptical position that we cannot see any climate crisis occurring over the remaining 88 years. It’s consistent with the expectation that there will be long stretching of no warming, even cooling. It’s consistent with the notion that natural variability will tend to drown out the influence of CO2 over decadal time scales. So if some here want to remind readers that “2010 was the hottest” in the sense that it may have been hotter than 1998 by some statically insignificant amount, you are not affirming anything that most of us don’t already agree with.

    It would be preferable if warmists could attempt a defence of a claim that is actually in dispute…

  110. James Sexton says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    James Sexton writes,
    “English your first language or interpretive skills a bit diminished?

    Here’s what he said, “Actually, of course, an average is a model—at least if you want to attach any meaning to it. It at least assumes the data that went into the model is measured without error.”

    …….In many applications people actually use averages because things are measured with error. Briggs statement simply is false, unless it depends in some tricky way on what “it” means?
    ===========================================================
    Indeed. I interpret the “it” as to meaning averages as well. And, averaging does assume data is without error. For instance….. When I state the average of 9 and 17 is13, there are no errors in the input of 9 or 17. But, that isn’t what our temp records are doing, is it? In an extreme simplified hypothetical, our temp record is stating 1 (+/- 3) averaged with 3 (+/-4) is equal to 2! then the next year is 1.1 (+/-3) and 3.4 (+/-4) and that averages 2.2! So the trend is 0.2/yr!! And that, isn’t an average of anything. It isn’t a trend of anything. It’s madness. If you want a good example of this, go look at some dendro graphs.

    I believe that’s the thought he was trying to convey.

  111. James Sexton says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    James Sexton writes.
    “Friend, were I name calling, I can assure you, you would have no question. I simply use that as a descriptive term for people alarmed by CO2 and global temps.”

    [SNIP: You are pushing it. We DO mind. Refresh yourself with regard to site policy here. -REP]
    ==========================================
    Gneiss, honestly, I’m not using it as a pejorative. If you’ve another term descriptive of people alarmed by such, let’s hear it. I’m open to more apt descriptions. Truly, I don’t wish you to fall out of favor with our moderators. Provocative can be fun, but let’s ensure an open dialogue. Don’t feel bad, I’ve been snipped a few times myself.

  112. GregO says:

    Will Nitschke says:
    February 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    “I think some people are losing sight of the actual skeptical position…”

    Totally agree with your post with one caveat – I am getting less and less comfortable with reference to the term “natural variability” as it applies to climate; here’s why: It (I think) suggests that there is this thing in the climate system called “natural variability” and that when we use these words, we think we know something about that system.

    It’s a word/semantics thing and I think it masks a more clear description, that is, rather than “natural variability” I would suggest we make reference to “unknowns” in the climate system. We just don’t know why we have ice ages; mini ice ages; nice warm times like right now; and these climate parameter spaces shift for reasons we don’t fully understand; and the parts we don’t fully understand should have no name but “unknown” or, it is conjectured that…CO2 blah, blah or solar barycenter blah blah, or heck; we just don’t know.

    We have some pretty good ideas, some pretty good observations and measurements – no doubt, but we need to be careful of false certainty.

    Oh incidentally, not picking on you, I have been thinking about the “natural variability” term for awhile and I liked the wording of your post so I jumped in.

  113. Glenn Tamblyn says: February 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Just a repost of what I put up for Briggs. I notice WUWT has copied his bit of plagiarism.
    ————–
    No plagiarism. Nobody with more than an inkling of statistical comprehension would pretend that it was their work.

    Attribution was sufficient to identify the incompetent.

    Statistics is not just plotting points and drawing lines; but to understand when and if those points and lines mean anything real or are just a fiction; a construct of the imagination/self-deception.

  114. BTW: Briggsy’s blog is definite worth a bookmark. His blog is one of the few to which I link from my blog. Not that that means much to anybody but me.

    He’s enhanced (corrected) some of my thinking over the past year or so and provided sane commentary on the prevailing insanity supported by the inappropriate/careless ab-/use of statistics.

    As inappropriate as using a screwdriver as a chisel. It’s the wrong tool because the results are doomed to be poor and the screwdriver soon becomes useless as a screwdriver.

  115. Kevin Cave says:

    Michael Tobis says:
    February 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm
    “Are you for real? Stick ya head out the window and have a look.”

    Hmm. That’s not an especially sound way to do science. But it’s amusing that you say so right now.

    I take it you are not in New York City, where the current temperature is 61 F (normal high for the date is 38 F). And you’re not here in Austin, where it’s 83 F (normal high 62 F). In fact pretty much the whole US except California and Alaska appears quite warm, and in some places extraordinarily warm, today.

    *looks out of window*

    And yet here in Japan, we’re having a most brutal winter, with temperatures WAY below normal, lots of winter-related accidents and deaths, and some parts have houses buried in over 3 meters of snow.

    Here’s a picture I took of the view outside my window, for your benefit…

    Please send some of your alleged CO2-caused global warming over here – we need it badly.

  116. Kevin Cave says:

    I hate that WUWT is limited in how comments can have embedded photos in them or not… (thanks due to being hosted at WordPress).. here’s the picture…

    From my window right now…

  117. Christopher Hanley says:

    Dr Roy Spencer always adds a rider to his monthly UAH satellite reports that the 3rd order polynomial fit overlay has no predictive value — “… is for entertainment purposes only…”.
    Trenberth’s statement, variations of which have appeared a lot recently, that the past decade “..was the warmest decade on record..” is not inconsistent with the statement that there has been a “..lack of warming for more than a decade..”.
    “…climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade…” (Trenberth).
    Alarmists seem to be saying that the least squares linear fit for the past 30+ years does have predictive value.

  118. DirkH says:

    Gneiss says:
    February 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm
    “In many applications people actually use averages because things are measured with error. Briggs statement simply is false, unless it depends in some tricky way on what “it” means?”

    If people do use averages because they think it helps against the measurement error, they are right only insofar as the amplitude of the error is reduced by the root of the number of measurements; assuming a normal distribution of the error. BUT one would expect that they know that, mention it, mention the original error and the reduced error after the averaging, and I don’t recall ever having seen that.

    If scientists average such error-ridden measurements and then treat the average as error-free, and then come to a result that they also treat as error-free, it is up to you as the reader to ADD the error back in again in the end – in other words; treat the conclusion of such a paper as uncertain, erroneous, false, your pick. Because in that case, the authors simply forgot about that important last step.

  119. Sad isn’t it when one discovers people talk science without the faintest idea of what measurements are.

  120. Allan MacRae says:

    I like William Briggs – I think he is an honorable man and a capable statistician.

    He wrote this in 2008
    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?s=macrae

    Excerpt:
    The question we hope to answer is, given the limitations of these data sets, with this small number of years, and ignoring the measurement error of all involved (which might be substantial), does (Hypothesis 1) increasing CO2 now predict positive temperature change later, or does (Hypothesis 2) increasing temperatures now predict positive CO2 change later? …

    All I am confident of saying is, conditional on this data and its limitations etc., that Hypothesis 2 is more probable than Hypothesis 1, but I won’t say how much more probable.

    (end of excerpt)

    Mr. Briggs, for good reasons, looked only at annual (12 month) lags. My previous conclusion was that dCO2/dt changes contemporaneously with temperature, and atmospheric CO2 lags temperature by 9 months. I expect that Briggs conclusion would be stronger in favor of Hypo 2 (increasing temperature change now predicts positive CO2 change later) if he were able to accept a methodology that examined a 9-month delay rather than a 12-month one.

  121. John Brookes says:

    “I think some people are losing sight of the actual sceptical position if they keep ‘reminding’ sceptics that 2010 was ‘the hottest year on record’. The majority of sceptics accept and expect warming in the .5C to 1.5C range, with a best estimate of probably 1C. ”

    Come on! The “skeptical” position is to argue about everything, and never concede anything.

    If Anthony would like to put a post up here where the facts that “skeptics” agree on are listed, I would be most grateful. But I suspect the list would be too short to be statistically significant….

  122. Chris Wright says:

    I’m still not sure exactly how that graph was constructed, but it’s clearly not a graph of global warming. Compare it with the Crutem3 land global mean:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem3vgl/from:1970/mean:1
    I think the fact that many believers obstinately claim that the global temperature is still going up (or ‘going up fast’ as the New Scientist stated a couple of years ago) speaks volumes.
    The great tragedy is that the vast proportion of ordinary people will assume everything they hear from climate scientists is true.
    Or maybe not. Despite these endless lies the opinion polls show that ordinary people are becoming increasingly sceptical.
    Chris

  123. John Mason says:

    John Brookes says: “Come on! The “skeptical” position is to argue about everything, and never concede anything. If Anthony would like to put a post up here where the facts that “skeptics” agree on are listed, I would be most grateful. But I suspect the list would be too short to be statistically significant….”

    This is something I struggle with at times too. I think it boils down to:
    a) there is no global warming;
    or b) it’s warming a little bit but that’s nothing to do with us (sun, cosmic rays, even gravity (!!!));
    or c) it’s warming a little bit and it’s to do with us but the little bit is too tiddly to worry about (e.g. Monckton, WUWT posts passim)

    There are probably more but these seem to be the three main themes as argued on blogs like this one. Are you ever going to decide which one will do as a mission-statement, or is that not the point?

    I think we would all be interested to know.

  124. banjo says:

    John Brookes says:
    If Anthony would like to put a post up here where the facts that “skeptics” agree on are listed, I would be most grateful. But I suspect the list would be too short to be statistically significant….

    I`m sure he could.
    However if it`s information you `would be most grateful for`(really?) you`re sitting in front of
    of a wonderful utility that could get you that information at the press of a few keys.
    Please feel free to waste as much of your time as you wish.Unless of course,as i suspect you were just being facetious.
    How many skeptics have you converted with that so far?

  125. banjo says:

    Maybe a better post would be “The Ineffectiveness of Trolls and Trolling`

  126. Chris says:

    Wow, Phil Plait is a bad man. He’s posted a rebuttal
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/02/02/a-case-study-of-the-tactics-of-climate-change-denial-in-which-i-am-the-target/
    using evidence, facts and logic to make us deniers look incompetent. Shame on him.

  127. Allan MacRae says:

    Kevin Trenberth, leader of “Kevin and the Thirty-Seven”, responded to the recent WSJ message by “The Cool Sixteen” who said “humanmade global warming was just not all that hot”, with this crock:

    Excerpt:
    “Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter.”

    Now honestly Kevin+37 – do you really want your names to appear below such obvious NONSENSE? Let’s examine your statements:

    1. Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. NONSENSE: Provably False, from the temperature records.

    2. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. NONSENSE: Immaterial, since it appears to be a plateau, Also, what record says it was “the warmest decade” – the past ~33 years of satellite data? The past few hundred years of thermometric data, with its warming bias? It was possibly warmer in the 1930’s, and certainly warmer during the Medieval Warm Period and Roman Warm Period.

    3. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter.” NONSENSE: Provably false, records indicate that temperatures this century are flat or declining slightly.

    Finally Kevin+37, you have demonstrated a near-perfect track record of negative predictive skill – not one of your scary predictions has materialized! Should we then, statistically, disbelieve everything you predict? It appears we should.

  128. Chris says:

    Phil Plait is a bad man. Did you see his latest post on Bad Astronomy? He’s using facts and logic to make us deniers look incompetent! Really is this what science has come to?

  129. Urederra says:

    Phil. the groundhog ewok contradicts Hansen.

    Michael E. Mann @MichaelEMann Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    NEWS FLASH: Groundhog Day cancelled! Phil says he’s pretty sure spring *already* arrived in western PA, preempting tomorrow’s event.

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/02/02/groundhog-day-2012-punxsutawney-phil-predicts-six-more-weeks-of-winter/

    Groundhog Day 2012: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

    He cannot even predict what was going to happen the next day. Pathetic.

  130. JPeden says:

    John Brookes says:
    February 2, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Come on! The “skeptical” position is to argue about everything, and never concede anything.

    Wrong! [Tee-hee...]

    Scepticism is at the heart of the practice of real science, which mainstream Climate “Science” is not!

    Right, John?

  131. Gneiss says:

    Dirk H writes,
    “If people do use averages because they think it helps against the measurement error, they are right only insofar as the amplitude of the error is reduced by the root of the number of measurements; assuming a normal distribution of the error.”

    Not so, look up the Central Limit Theorem. It doe not assume errors have a normal distribution, but rather proves that the under certain conditions they (approximately) will. For example, the sampling distribution of a mean becomes approximately normal as the size of random samples grows larger, regardless of whether the measurements themselves are normally distributed.

    “BUT one would expect that they know that, mention it, mention the original error and the reduced error after the averaging, and I don’t recall ever having seen that.”

    Where have you looked? It’s not hard to find error discussions in papers and data sites by scientists. For example, here are a few remarks regarding HadCRU:

    Annual values are approximately accurate to +/- 0.05°C (two standard errors) for the period since 1951. They are about four times as uncertain during the 1850s, with the accuracy improving gradually between 1860 and 1950 except for temporary deteriorations during data-sparse, wartime intervals. Estimating accuracy is a far from a trivial task as the individual grid-boxes are not independent of each other and the accuracy of each grid-box time series varies through time (although the variance adjustment has reduced this influence to a large extent). The issue is discussed extensively by Folland et al. (2001a,b) and Jones et al. (1997). Both Folland et al. (2001a,b) references extend discussion to the estimate of accuracy of trends in the global and hemispheric series, including the additional uncertainties related to homogeneity corrections.

    In the hemispheric files averages are now given to a precision of three decimal places to enable seasonal values to be calculated to ±0.01°C. The extra precision implies no greater accuracy than two decimal places.

  132. Smokey says:

    John Brookes says:

    “The ‘skeptical’ position is to argue about everything, and never concede anything.”

    Wrong, John.

    About a year ago I argued that the increase in CO2 was not due to human emissions. But Ferdinand Engelbeen convinced me with patience and facts, in a discussion that lasted several weeks, that much of the rise in CO2 was due to human emissions. I finally conceded that I had been wrong.

    I am a skeptic, John, therefore your assertion is wrong. It is not only wrong, but it is psychological projection on your part: attributing your faults onto others. As a matter of fact, it is the alarmist crowd that will never concede that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial. If they admitted that, they would have lost their entire argument. So they refuse to concede those two verifiable facts.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen has also stated that CO2 is not a problem. So concede here and now, John, that CO2 is harmless, and therefore not a problem. Admit that the rise in CO2 is beneficial to the biosphere, and that more is better. Admit it, because I don’t want you to be a hypocrite, John. Now is your chance to show that you’re a stand-up guy and a straight shooter.

  133. Gneiss says:

    Robert E. Phelan writes,
    “Doesn’t look like NCDC agrees.”

    Robert, you could look closer at the graph you linked, or you could look up the data and calculate for yourself. Either way, you’ll find that what I said is true: NCDC agrees with GISS that 1998 was not the hottest. And so will CRU, I’m guessing, once they too include the arctic. Then there’s BEST, which puts 1998 well down on its land-only list.

  134. With Plait joined by Greg “bin” Laden and Kim Jong-Foster, it seems we’re down to the definition of model, the meaning of error and the pause in global warming that can’t be named. A farce indeed.

  135. TallDave says:

    Laden’s post is hilarious.

    There’s more, but that should give you an idea of what we see here. Briggs is trying to make you think that this is a horrid data set that can’t be trusted with huge internal error, but in fact, this is one of the best data sets ever put together for anything.

    That has to be the stupidest statement ever displayed on the Internet. I mean, just wow — the ignorance implied therein is staggering. Yes, BEST did a marginally better job than GISS, but the raw data is absolutely horrible, as anyone who is remotely familiar with surfacestations, TOD, UHI and other issues already knows, and not remotely comparable to even some of the worst datasets gathered in respectable sciences.

    Wow, again. I tip my hat, sir.

  136. Allan MacRae says:

    My Summary – The “Mainstream” Catastrophic Humanmade Global Warming Debate:

    Conventional climate theory, assuming zero feedback, suggests that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would result in ~1 degree C of global warming. Warming alarmists say there are positive feedbacks (and build this assumption aggressively into their climate models) and climate skeptics say there are negative feedbacks.

    The skeptics easily win this mainstream debate, because there is no evidence of net positive feedbacks to increased CO2 in the climate system, and ample evidence of negative feedbacks.

    The probability therefore is that “climate sensitivity” to a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric CO2 is less that 1 degree C.

    Furthermore, I suspect that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is unlikely to happen due to human activity – so we can expect much less than 1 degree C of global warming.

    The above ASSUMES that one accepts the premises of the mainstream debate.

    BUT there is perhaps a bigger problem with the mainstream debate:

    Atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature at all measured time scales, from hundreds of years on a long cycle, to 9 months on a short cycle;
    SO
    the hypothesis that CO2 is a significant driver of global temperature, core to the mainstream debate, apparently assumes that the future is causing the past.

    The popular counterarguments are:
    a) The lag of CO2 after temperature is a “feedback effect”,
    OR
    b) It is clear evidence that time machines really do exist.
    Both counterarguments a) and b) are supported by equal amounts of compelling evidence. :-)

    This thorny point may not be resolved in my lifetime, but I’ll just remind you of some of the assumptions that are near and dear to the hearts and “logic” of the global warming alarmists:
    1. They apparently assume that the Uniformitarian Principle has been especially exempted for their particular brand of “science”.
    2. The also assume that Occam’s Razor can similarly be ignored, apparently again, just for them.

    The increasing desperation of the warming alarmists is evidenced by their evermore Byzantine explanations of the observed flat or cooling global temperatures in this century. What is it this week – aerosols, dust, volcanoes. the appalling scarcity of buffalo farts… the list of farfetched apologia is endless and increasingly pathetic.

    Earlier, there was Mann-made global warming, the “Divergence Problem” and “Hide the Decline”. The list of global warmist chicanery is increasingly long and unprincipled.

    Give it up, you warming dervishes, while you still can. None of your scary global warming predictions have materialized. You have demonstrated negative predictive skill. All your scary predictions have proven false. Why should anyone believe you now? I never did.

  137. TallDave says:

    “By the way, the plotted data are from the Berkeley project, and they included error estimates in their computation. They look like this:”

    Um, draw a straight line across the error estimates (which are NOT predictive anyway) at .7 or so. Now tell again me how we know for certain it’s gotten warmer.

    So, he took the wrong kind of error estimates and still drew the wrong conclusion anyway. Sigh.

    Even for Tamino, this is an uber-fail.

  138. Gneiss says:

    TallDave writes,
    “Um, draw a straight line across the error estimates (which are NOT predictive anyway) at .7 or so. Now tell again me how we know for certain it’s gotten warmer.”

    Tamino uses a method called “regression analysis” which is a reasonable choice for describing the trend in these data. The trend happens to go up. Regression doesn’t say that “for certain” but shows that the alternative hypothesis of no change is highly unlikely.

    Your idea of “draw a straight line at .7 and tell me” is not a statistical technique and produces nothing that even vaguely fits the data. A flat line at .5 would be a better guess because .5 is the mean temp anomaly for this period; but regression fits 39% better than that (p < .001).

    If someone fit a flat model anyway and showed a competent analyst the results (mostly negative errors through the first part of the data, mostly positive errors through the last) they'd know right away what you'd done wrong.

    "Even for Tamino, this is an uber-fail."

    Not.

  139. John Brookes says:
    Come on! The “skeptical” position is to argue about everything, and never concede anything.
    =======================
    Skeptics can be annoying, but, it is still preferable to those who believe everything and question nothing.

  140. The BEST data set can be the best there is and quite horrid at the same time. Likewise my best rendition of Layla isn’t good at all.

  141. Gneiss says:

    Will Nitschke writes,
    “it is still preferable to those who believe everything and question nothing.”

    I know many scientists, but zero of them are like that. They tend to be far more skeptical, and skillfully so, than most of the posters above praising Briggs’ fuzzy note.

  142. James F. Evans says:

    TedK, regarding your distaste for my reference to pink unicorns and astronomy:

    I referred to astronomy looking for “pink unicorns” because astronomy has been captured by an over reliance on reifying mathematical assumptions into physical objects that have never been empirically observed.

    So-called “neutron stars” have never been observed, rather, it is an assumption based on a supposed density of material that has no empirical basis in actual observation. What science does know from empirical observation is limited to various pulse rates of electromagnetic energy (which have real world laboratory empirical analogs that don’t require “super densities” of material (by the way, neutrons fly apart if packed together due to the ‘island of instability’ principle and that has been confirmed in the laboratory by empirical observation & measurement).

    So-called “black holes” also have never been empirically observed, instead it is a mathematical assumption: Near infinite density (whatever that means) in a near infinitely small “point” (again, whatever that means). Even by astronomers own theorethical description “black holes” can not be directly observed (nothing escapes, not even light). The best evidence based on empirical observation is that what is actually being empirically observed is a plasmoid, which is a concentration of material, ionized elements in rapid motion, confined by magnetic fields.

    So that is why I refer to astronomy looking for pink unicorns.

  143. As an aside, I’m curious to know if most of the warmists here are not bothered by the fact that an astronomer has picked a fight with a professional statistician over the interpretation of statistics, that their main reference sources seem to consist of an amateur global warming website and an anonymous blogger who doesn’t put his real name to his work, and another gentleman who’s main expertise seems to be in archaeology? (However, please correct me if I am wrong on this last point.)

    I raise this question because my observation is that most warmists tend to put enormous stock in arguments from authority, yet seem happy enough with dubious citation sources. (Phil Plait is perhaps the most guilty of this, and I suspect he has become a major embarrassment to some quarters of the sceptical community.)

  144. Mr Lynn says:

    GregO says:
    February 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm
    . . . I am getting less and less comfortable with reference to the term “natural variability” as it applies to climate; here’s why: It (I think) suggests that there is this thing in the climate system called “natural variability” and that when we use these words, we think we know something about that system. . .

    I too have often wondered about this use of ‘natural variability’ as if it were some kind of causative agent. In casual use it seems to mean ‘not-CO2′, or maybe ‘anything-but-anthropogenic-CO2′. But of course it has little or no explanatory power; basically it is shorthand for ‘Let’s not jump to the conclusion that CO2 controls the Earth’s thermostat’. Which is fine, but one has to wonder what is being claimed when hearing that X is caused by ‘natural variability’. As GregO says, better to be honest and ascribe X to ‘unknown’ factors—which is the proper answer anyway, unless we do know.

    /Mr Lynn

  145. Mark T says:

    Jame Evans: actually, the BH in the center of the Milky Way has been “seen” by way of observing the stars in orbit around it. Not only do they know its mass (Kepler’s laws), they know precisely where it is.

    Mark

  146. Bart says:

    Smokey says:
    February 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    “But Ferdinand Engelbeen convinced me with patience and facts, in a discussion that lasted several weeks, that much of the rise in CO2 was due to human emissions.”

    Say it ain’t so, Smokey!

    I still maintain that we do not yet know. It depends on too many poorly characterized quantities having to do with the extent and behavior of natural sources and sinks, and resulting residence times.

  147. beng says:

    *****
    Smokey says:
    February 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    About a year ago I argued that the increase in CO2 was not due to human emissions. But Ferdinand Engelbeen convinced me with patience and facts, in a discussion that lasted several weeks, that much of the rise in CO2 was due to human emissions. I finally conceded that I had been wrong.
    *****

    It’s a dang GOOD thing that we puny humans have been able to raise the CO2 level. It takes a global ICE-AGE to change CO2 levels by a similar amount (100 ppm). Only by increasing the CO2 level significantly does its partial-pressure rise enough to cause an increase in plant CO2/water use efficiency. 1000-1500 ppm CO2 would be ideal.

  148. Sparks says:

    The total land area of the world is about 29% (according to Wikipedia) then 71% of the globe is unaccounted for in that excel plot, the idea of adding one average temperature measurement to another average temperature measurement from different geographical locations to require anomalous data and then suggest that this anomalous data is an accurate representation of earths temperature is silly and embarrassing, that’s without even factoring in any anomalous data from the other 71% of the planet or an anomalous representation for other factors such as heat loss etc… and then to go further and suggest mans production of a trace atmospheric gas is the cause of any Chery picked trends within the anomaly is a bit dishonest, especially when major drivers of the actual temperature readings for the anomalous data aren’t even considered and are removed for any conclusions of having any effect on the data, yet minor factors like a trace gas are considered to be major drivers of the anomaly.

    Maybe I should publish hundreds of excel plots with various conclusions that do not include a trace gas as a major driver for any anomalous trend, if all it takes is an excel plot to make people like the “bad astronomer” believe something.

  149. Bart says:

    Sparks says:
    February 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Yes, that really is the bottom line. What has been done here is that, since the global temperature metric clearly shows a stall, they dug down and cherry picked some data which doesn’t. IOW, they are flailing.

  150. PorkNLibGirlz says:

    Nice!! Way to show that cowardly Lib whos the boss. im sick of all this socialist global warming claptrap and people trying to act scientific when they dont know science.

  151. flandestiny says:

    This place is truly fantasy land…I really can’t believe it. If any of you have such a slam dunk case against AGW, why don’t you try to publish it? I guess it’s the left wing conspiracy that’s keeping all your great papers out of the journals?

  152. Smokey says:

    flandestiny,

    You have no concept of the scientific method. Skeptics have nothing to prove, and the case for AGW is not proven. It is still in the conjecture stage. If AGW ever becomes empirically testable, it will advance to being a hypothesis. But it isn’t there as of now.

  153. David says:

    flandestiny says:
    February 6, 2012 at 11:06 am
    This place is truly fantasy land…I really can’t believe it. If any of you have such a slam dunk case against AGW, why don’t you try to publish it? I guess it’s the left wing conspiracy that’s keeping all your great papers out of the journals?
    ———————————————-
    No fantasy land, these are publications in the literature since 2009. None support CAGW
    CONCERNING HURRICANES
    A High-Intensity Hurricane Record Preserved in a Florida Sinkhole (25 January 2012)
    Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Trends Flat to Down (10 January 2012)
    Atlantic Warm Pool Influences on U.S. Land-Falling Hurricanes (28 December 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones: Their Future and Our Fate (20 December 2011)
    China’s Tropical Cyclone Potential Impact Index (9 November 2011)
    Fifty Years of Tropical Cyclones Impacting China (1 November 2011)
    Impacts of Tropical Cyclones on U.S. Forests (26 October 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones Making Land-Fall Over Eastern Australia (18 October 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones: The Models Project More of Them in Our Future, or is it Fewer (12 October 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones and Global Climate Changes (12 October 2011)
    Global Tropical Cyclone Activity (13 September 2011)
    Tropical Storms in the North Atlantic: Projections and Observations (7 September 2011)
    Damaging Tropical Cyclones of China (24 August 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones and Super Typhoons: Their Influence on China (23 August 2011)
    A Reassessment of Long-Term Atlantic Hurricane Statistics (5 July 2011)
    No Long-term Trend in Atlantic Hurricane Numbers (15 June 2011)
    Detecting the Footprint of Man in Tropical Cyclone Damage Data (7 June 2011)
    Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclones (17 May 2011)
    China-Influencing Typhoons (10 May 2011)
    Tropical Cyclone Activity in the Caribbean Sea (10 May 2011)
    Hurricane Activity Over the North Atlantic Ocean (10 May 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones of the North Indian Ocean (13 April 2011)
    Global Warming and Tropical Cyclones of the Western North Pacific (5 April 2011)
    Trends in Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Characteristics (22 March 2011)
    Cyclones of the Tropical South Pacific (22 February 2011)
    A Brief History of Northwest Australian Tropical Cyclones (11 January 2011)
    Tropical Cyclones Impacting China (22 December 2010)
    Paleotempestology: A Review of the Fledgling Research Field (23 November 2010)
    Tropical Cyclone Intensity Discrepancies (16 November 2010)
    The Ups and Downs of Tropical Cyclone Activity in the Western Hemisphere (3 November 2010)
    Tropical Cyclones Off the Northwestern Coast of Australia (27 October 2010)
    Global Warming and Atlantic Hurricane Intensity (27 October 2010)
    The Impact of Climate Change on Typhoon Activity (21 October 2010)
    A Century and a Half of Atlantic Hurricane Activity (21 October 2010)
    Tropical Cyclones of the North Atlantic (20 October 2010)
    Intense Tropical Cyclones in a Warming World (6 October 2010)
    Gulf of Mexico Coastal Hurricane Strikes (15 Sep 2010)
    The Global Warming-Hurricane Connection: A Far-From-Settled Science (22 July 2010)
    Fifteen Hundred Years of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones (7 July 2010)
    Global Tropical Storm Days (25 June 2010)

    Go ahead, pick another subject.

  154. Taphonomic says:

    flandestiny says:

    “This place is truly fantasy land…I really can’t believe it. If any of you have such a slam dunk case against AGW, why don’t you try to publish it? I guess it’s the left wing conspiracy that’s keeping all your great papers out of the journals?”

    That is kind of an interesting suggestion, as this whole kerfluffle is based on interpretation of the BEST data. BEST is a draft paper that has never been published in a peer reviewed journal. Is it a right wing conspiracy that is keeping it out of journals?

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