UPDATE: 8/20/12 3:50 PM PDT The Governor’s office changes the page – see below.
I’ve been sitting on this one quietly for almost a week now, and nobody seems to have caught this glaring error in California Governor Jerry Brown’s new climate “denier slamming page” put together by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
Like some government work I’ve seen, they didn’t seem to worry about quality control. My impetus for deciding to share the error today comes from Michael Tobis, of Planet 3.0, a warming advocate who I thought sure would have caught it. He writes:
Somebody working for Governor Jerry Brown (of whom, let me be quick to say, I am a fervent long-time admirer) has slapped together a page about climate denialism as part of an official State of California website about climate.
I would like to say that I think it gets the whole situation wrong and may do more harm than good by being polarizing and superficial.
Good for him. “Slapped together” and “wrong” pretty well sums up the governor’s effort. If I made a dumb mistake like this one below in a time series, Tamino and his Lord of the Flies followers would be all over me, pointing and jeering stoopid! Have a look:
Note the trend is 1.9°F/century ( 1.055°C/century) in the graph shown on Brown’s “consensus page”. That’s waaay too high. More on that in a bit.
The graph they show for the USA is for only one third of the US climate data, from January to April. WUWT?
It seems that if you follow the footnote on the graph that says: “Source: NOAA.”
…you discover that whoever put the web page together wasn’t smart enough to choose the entire year for the NCDC plotting page, or maybe they chose January-April for effect:
When you choose January and the Year to Date Average, you get the whole 12 months worth of data, as it should be presented in the context of global “consensus”:
Note the trend of 1.25°F/century or 0.694°C/century. While it is a US value only, it is fairly close to the generally agreed upon ~ 0.7°C/century trend for the globe as cited by the IPCC.
If the reverse had happened, such as some “denier” plotting just a few months of the surface record from 1895-2012 without a caveat as to why it was presented, perhaps showing a cooling, the alarmosphere would have a collective “denier” cow.
Laughably, nobody seemed to have noticed it when Moonbeam did it.
Further, since this was put together by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, you’d think they could have researched this given the IPCC references on that page. Clearly, they were using the IPCC as the authority for their argument.
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis
Direct Observations of Recent Climate Change
Eleven of the last twelve years (1995–2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850). The updated 100-year linear trend (1906 to 2005) of 0.74°C [0.56°C to 0.92°C] is therefore larger than the corresponding trend for 1901 to 2000 given in the TAR of 0.6°C [0.4°C to 0.8°C]. The linear warming trend over the last 50 years (0.13°C [0.10°C to 0.16°C] per decade) is nearly twice that for the last 100 years.
But what the hell do I know? By pointing out such things, I’m just a “denier” according to Governor Brown.
I wonder how long it will take for them to fix that page, and if they dare give me credit for pointing it out? A better choice would have been a global graph, perhaps one from the IPCC, since they reference that so much. For example, here’s figure 2-3A from the IPCC Third Assessment Synthesis Report:
Or if they were trying to stick to the USA, since California is part of it (at least as of this writing) with a little research, they could have used this resource from NCDC:
Or if they wanted to focus on California, since that’s the state of Moonbeam’s influence, they could have shown this NCDC plot output:
Nah, not alarming enough, especially with 2011 being at the normal temperature line.
But, any of those alternate graphs I’ve shown, using the whole year, not just 4 months of data, would have been acceptable for Governor Brown’s “denier slamming page”.
I find it to be exquisite irony that a “denier” (by his definition) has to point this out.
Even though he didn’t spot the wonky graph, I’ll give Michael Tobis credit though. With incomplete misleading graphs like the one they used it sure does look “slapped together”.
UPDATE: Tamino agrees:
UPDATE2: I have a response from the director of Governor’s office of Planning and research:
From: Ken Alex
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 9:08 AM
To: ‘Anthony Watts – TV Weather’
Subject: RE: Your page on climate has a glaring error
Thanks for the comment. We will check it out.
From: Anthony Watts – TV Weather
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 8:45 AM
To: Ken Alex
Cc: Web Master
Subject: Your page on climate has a glaring error
Dear Mr. Alex,
I want to bring this failure to properly research this page:
To your attention:
The graph only uses 1/3 of the yearly data, and exaggerates the trend. I’ve offered alternatives for you. Perhaps less focus on “denial” and more on the actual science would suit you better. The Orange County Register seems to think so.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dear Mr. Watts
Thanks again for reviewing our “Climate Change: Just the Facts” website. We followed up on the issue that you raised and discovered that, as you pointed out, one of the charts on our website shows only one scenario, while the tool we link to can provide a range of scenarios for data from 1885-2012. Rather than show one data set, we have instead decided to remove this chart and link directly to the resource. We hope people viewing our website will explore this resource to see wealth of climatic data that has been collected.