SkepticalScience Now Argues Against Foster & Rahmsorf (2011)

SkepticalScience recently produced a YouTube video which claimed to show that the rate of global warming has not slowed in recent years. See their post here, which states:

This replicates the result of a study by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) under slightly different assumptions.

I later produced a video that explained one of the flaws in their approach. Basically, I’ve illustrated and discussed why they cannot use linear regression analyses to remove the effects of El Niño and La Niña events.

Now blogger Clyde informs WattsUpWithThat that SkepticalScience is saying they will be removing their video because it does “…not represent a consensus in the peer-reviewed results…” See the SkepticalScience post Has the rate of surface warming changed? 16 years revisited. (Thanks, Clyde.)

In the recent SkepticalScience post they note:

The video was based on an approach pioneered by Lean and Rind (2008) and Foster and Rahmstorf (2011), by determining the contribution of known influences on global temperature to best explain those temperatures. However this approach can give misleading results if significant influences on temperature are missing from the analysis, or if wrong influences are included.

They’ve also overlooked the other factor that I’ve been arguing for years: that El Niño and La Niña events are integral parts of the surface temperature record and that ENSO indices do not represent the impacts of El Niño and La Niña events on global temperatures—that there are ENSO residuals. This was briefly mentioned in the closing remarks of Trenberth et al (2002):

Although it is possible to use regression to eliminate the linear portion of the global mean temperature signal associated with ENSO, the processes that contribute regionally to the global mean differ considerably, and the linear approach likely leaves an ENSO residual.

Those ENSO residuals are blatantly obvious in the sea surface temperature anomalies of the Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans, and they present themselves as upward shifts in the sea surface temperature anomalies there. I’ve been presenting those shifts for years using satellite-era sea surface temperature data. Refer to the above video and my illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” [42MB].

SkepticalScience has also conveniently overlooked Compo and Sardeshmukh (2010) “Removing ENSO-Related Variations from the Climate Record, which.  I’ve noted in the past that Compo and Sardeshmukh (2010) is a step in the right direction. Compo and Sardeshmukh (2010) state (my boldface):

An important question in assessing twentieth-century climate is to what extent have ENSO-related variations contributed to the observed trends. Isolating such contributions is challenging for several reasons, including ambiguities arising from how ENSO is defined. In particular, defining ENSO in terms of a single index and ENSO-related variations in terms of regressions on that index, as done in many previous studies, can lead to wrong conclusions. This paper argues that ENSO is best viewed not as a number but as an evolving dynamical process for this purpose.

That aside, SkepticalScience goes on to discuss the factors that they believe are important, but that they have not considered in their video, and just as importantly, that are not considered by Foster and Rahmstorf or similar papers.

SkepticalScience begins their conclusion (my boldface):

Where does this leave us? In order to reliably interpret surface temperature variations we need a good idea of all the causal factors, including El Niño, solar irradiance, volcanic eruptions, observational biases, changes in ocean circulation and possible long term oscillations. Fitting the surface temperature record is attractive because surface temperatures are easy to understand, and the calculations are easily reproducible by non-specialists. However it may be that the surface temperature record is simply too complex to analyse in this way.

I will agree with the author of the SkepticalScience post. The surface temperature record is too complex to analyze in that way. The sea surface temperature and ocean heat content data must be broken down into subsets to show the natural causes of the warming.

SkepticalScience continues:

The more direct measure of global warming provided by measuring the energy content of the climate system avoids many of these problems, although the observational record is shorter and less complete (e.g. Church et al 2011).

SkepticalScience fails to consider that there are natural explanations for the increase in Ocean Heat Content as well. Refer again to my essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge”.

The final paragraph of the SkepticalScience post reads:

There will undoubtably be new developments in the measurement and attribution of short term trends over the coming months, and we will report new results as they are released. The ’16 years’ video still contains useful material for showing how natural influences impact global temperatures and so we aim to produce a new version in future. However the conclusions of the current video do not represent a consensus in the peer-reviewed results, and thus we will be withdrawing the current version.

I, on the other hand, will not be withdrawing my video.

CONCLUSION

SkepticalScience have clearly stated why they believe papers like by Lean and Rind (2008) and Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) are flawed. Will SkepticalScience be correcting all of their past posts that reference those papers, and the numerous other papers with similar results, in an effort to reflect their change in opinion? If they don’t, their readers will be even more confused.

This recent SkepticalScience post also appears to have established a precedent. Does their misleading escalator “represent a consensus in the peer-reviewed results”? Nope. Will SkepticalScience be withdrawing it?

It appears that SkepticalScience is just a confused as the climate science community about the recent slowdown in the rate of warming. But it’s very obvious what caused it. There hasn’t been a El Niño event since the one in 1997/98 that was strong enough to release a sufficient amount of naturally created warm water from below the surface of the tropical Pacific to raise global surface temperatures more than a few hundredths of a degree.

There’s one thing for sure: When an alarmist now attempts to use Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) or any similar paper in an upcoming discussion about global warming, a skeptic can now link to the recent SkepticalScience post that argues against the methods used. And to make it easy for you, here’s the address:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/has_the_rate_of_surface_warming_changed.html

27 thoughts on “SkepticalScience Now Argues Against Foster & Rahmsorf (2011)

  1. “… consensus in the peer-reviewed results … ” So what if Rahmsdorf et al. as purblind AGW Catastrophistis did cite “consensus”?

    For Rahmsdorf (and others’) information, so-called peer review –in Warmists’ case a mere mutual admiration society– is not a means of verifying a conjecture’s truth or falsity (only Nature can do that), but simply an administrative filter ensuring that (for example) scientific communities need not waste time-and-effort evaluating miraculous interventions, perpetual-motion machines, strange-but-true coincidences.

    “Nullius in Verba”, as Paul Nurse neglects to say.

  2. SkepticalScience has also conveniently overlooked Compo and Sardeshmukh (2010) “Removing ENSO-Related Variations from the Climate Record”, which I’ve noted in the past is a step in the right direction.

    I read that to mean that overlooking the paper is a step in the right direction.

  3. Skeptical Science: “However it may be that the surface temperature record is simply too complex to analyse in this way.”

    What percentage of certainty is that “may”? Would it fall within the IPCC’s “about as likely as not” (33%-66%) probability range? I think it should be replaced by “virtually certain” (99%-100%) instead.

  4. There hasn’t been a El Niño event since the one in 1997/98 that was strong enough

    Indeed. And that is in utter contrast, for example, to the predictions reported on in this BBC article from back in 1997:

    “It appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they’re going to become more intense and in a few years, or a decade or so, we’ll go into a permanent El Nino.”

    “So instead of having cool water periods for a year or two, we’ll have El Nino upon El Nino, and that will become the norm. And you’ll have an El Nino, that instead of lasting 18 months, lasts 18 years,” he said.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/25433.stm

    That no El Nino since 1997-98 exceeded its strength fits with the lack of additional warming over the past 15 years, overlapping with the time period when solar activity started to decline from having had previously a 3% chance in cosmic ray deflection (in terms of neutron count) for the cycles of 1976-1996 compared to the prior global cooling scare solar cycle.

  5. However the conclusions of the current video do not represent a consensus in the peer-reviewed results, and thus we will be withdrawing the current version
    ============
    So, following this logic, any paper that doesn’t follow the consensus should be withdrawn?

    Did Einstein’s papers in the early 1900’s follow the consensus? Didn’t they break with the consensus of the day? On this basis, shouldn’t Einstein’s papers have been withdrawn?

    How can science advance without papers that break with the consensus? If the consensus view is that the earth is the center of the universe and the sun circles the earth, how can anyone publish a paper that says otherwise?

    Skeptical Science, this is my question to you. How, if the consensus is that the earth is the center of the universe and the sun and planets circle the earth, how can anyone publish anything different if only papers that match the consensus are allowed?

    How is this any different than the days of the Religious Inquisition, when it was forbidden to publish any paper that was contrary to consensus? How can Science advance when it is slave to Consensus?

  6. RealClimate where Rahmsorf is one of the leaders in contributing and Foster frequent poster, the last contribution ‘The warming went into the deep end’ was on 26 April 2013, and the RC went into deep hibernation

  7. “However this approach can give misleading results if significant influences on temperature are missing from the analysis, or if wrong influences are included”.(SkS)

    Hmm…let them yap long enough and little truths eventually start popping out. So the influences on temperature are hardly known. The consensus has no idea what the significant influences are or if they are including wrong influences. So the models don’t even qualify as WAGs and there are, in fact, several or many significant influences – doesn’t this chop away at CO2 as a significant influence? At the very least, their explanation of the apparent flattening in the temp graph is that natural variation trumps CO2. You see, when you are committed to an immovable position, you don’t even notice what your own utterances mean.

  8. Thanks, Ferd, you took the thoughts right out of my head. How frustratingly wrongheaded of SS to question Foster et al on such a lucidly stated logical basis and then leap once again to the position that peer reviewed consensus is the only safe port in this storm! I guess it goes to show that social scientists are not incapable of reason, but that for them consensus is the ultimate form of truth. Need a truth, take a poll, any poll. This is postmodernism at its finest, and actually Climate Science at its finest, because it is ever more obvious that Climate Science is postmodern pseudoscience, not real science.

  9. I think SkepticalScience should rename themselves to DenialistScience since they seem to be the only ones in that crowd who are still in denial. Even the BBC accepted the current halt in temperature rise.

  10. Off Topic, here is a book that you might like: H. A. Dijkstra (2005) Nonlinear Physical Oceanography:
    A Dynamical Systems Approach to the
    Large-Scale Ocean Circulation and El Ni~no,
    2nd ed. (Kluwer Acad. Publishers, Dordrecht/
    Norwell, Mass.) 532 pp.

    I have not yet looked at it myself.

  11. Really SKS it took you this long to figure out that FR11 was BS? I thought it was obvious, the actuals didn’t match the IPCC projections so something had to be done to fix it. In comes a statistical method which if you hold your mouth just right will yield a trend that saves your fragile ego. Problem solved!

  12. In support of:

    vukcevic says:
    May 22, 2013 at 8:35 am
    RealClimate where Rahmsorf is one of the leaders in contributing and Foster frequent poster, the last contribution ‘The warming went into the deep end’ was on 26 April 2013, and the RC went into deep hibernation

    William:
    Hello and best wishes.

    I notice the lack of new material at RealClimate also. Open Mind displays a graph of Arctic sea ice appealing to the reduction in Arctic sea ice as evidence that the planet is still warming which is ironical as the fact that the majority of the 20th warming was in the Arctic, on the Greenland ice sheet, and in high northern latitude regions supports the assertion that the 20th century warming was the warming phase of a Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle rather than due to the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    I would expect the warmist scientists will start to abandon the extreme AGW theory as quickly as they can over the next couple of years, if as expected the planet starts to cool.

    It will be interesting to watch the warmist blogs and the media as the next climate change event unfolds.

    It is possible for Real Climate to ignore a lack of warming.

    Global cooling will however will require a response. The type of response will be directly related to the rapidity and magnitude of the cooling. It is difficult as we do not have personal experience with abrupt planetary cooling and a very, very, small percentage of scientist do research in that area, it is difficult seriously consider, to even imagine a relatively rapid, significant cooling scenario.

    As the warmists have anchored group think which shapes a person’s fundamental beliefs (your so called gut feelings) to a warming planet, it would seem the general public and most climatologists would say it is impossible for there to now be relatively rapid and significant cooling.

    There is no doubt, that significant, unequivocal, agriculture affecting global cooling would become the most discussed ‘weather’ topic in the media.

    The public and the media will suddenly become interested in paleo-climatology and the so called AGW climate consensus.

    Why was the public not informed about past cyclic abrupt climate change? Abrupt cyclic climate change was discovered roughly 15 years ago.

    The Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles are clearly evident in the Greenland ice sheet data.
    Why did no one propose that the 20th century warming was the warming phase of a Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle? (i.e CO2 warming is not reversible, the forcing mechanism that caused the D-O cycle is reversible.)

    How is it possible for there to be sudden and relatively rapid significant cooling?

    Did the warmists cook the books, make up a warming crisis?

    Why did the warmist scientists not explain that the AGW theory predicted that the majority of the warming should occur in the tropics, not high northern latitudes? The pattern of the 20th century warming does not match the CO2 forcing mechanism.

    The observational evidence and related analysis supports the assertion that the majority of the 20th century warming was caused by modulation of planetary cloud cover by solar magnetic cycle changes rather than by the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    The extreme AGW mechanisms require that there be tropospheric warming in the tropical region to amplify the CO2 warming. There is no observed tropical tropospheric warming. In addition, there is unequivocal analysis that is supported by surface temperature change records and by ocean temperature data that the planet resists forcing changes by increasing or decreasing cloud cover in the tropics thereby reflecting more or less short wave radiation off into space.

    Did no one notice that the regions of the planet that warmed in the 20th century (Arctic, Greenland Ice sheet, high Northern latitudes) are the same regions that warmed during the past warming phase of the past D-O cycles?

    Greenland ice temperature, last 11,000 years determined from ice core analysis, Richard Alley’s paper.

    http://www.climate4you.com/

    There appears to be unequivocal observational evidence that the D-O cycle is caused by solar magnetic cycle changes. There is unequivocal evidence of an abrupt change to the solar magnetic cycle.

    The question was not if the planet will cool but rather when, There are now multiple observations that point to the start of cooling. Watch Arctic sea ice for the first indications of cooling.

    At the above site, the following graph, a comparison of the past solar cycles 21, 22, and 23 to the new cycle 24 is provided. That graph is update every six months or so.

    This is a graph, that is also located at the above site, that compares solar cycle 24 to the weakest solar magnetic cycles in the last 150 years.

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/74103.pdf

    The Sun-Climate Connection by John A. Eddy, National Solar Observatory
    Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate during the Holocene
    A more recent oceanographic study, based on reconstructions of the North Atlantic climate during the Holocene epoch, has found what may be the most compelling link between climate and the changing Sun: in this case an apparent regional climatic response to a series of prolonged episodes of suppressed solar activity, like the Maunder Minimum, each lasting from 50 to 150 years8.

    The paleoclimatic data, covering the full span of the present interglacial epoch, are a record of the concentration of identifiable mineral tracers in layered sediments on the sea floor of the northern North Atlantic Ocean. The tracers originate on the land and are carried out to sea in drift ice. Their presence in seafloor samples at different locations in the surrounding ocean reflects the southward expansion of cooler, ice-bearing water: thus serving as indicators of changing climatic conditions at high Northern latitudes. The study demonstrates that the sub-polar North Atlantic Ocean has experienced nine distinctive expansions of cooler water in the past 11,000 years, occurring roughly every 1000 to 2000 years, with a mean spacing of about 1350 years.

  13. I enjoy reading both Skeptic sites and mainstream sites. I am a skeptic as anyone following science should be.

    For some reason..Anothy Watts and Bob Tisdale give tremendous credence to the SkepticalScience site. I can not understand why.

  14. To Mr; Tisdale. Made it a good way through “The manmade global warming challenge” and thank you for all your work. Water and CO2 are my new best friends.

  15. Blue Sky says: “For some reason..Anothy Watts and Bob Tisdale give tremendous credence to the SkepticalScience site. I can not understand why.”

    Credence? I believe Anthony’s and my discussions of SkepticalScience posts show they lack credibility.

    Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. SkepticalScience has a greater reach than RealClimate…but much lower reach than WattsUpWithThat.

  16. “DirkH says: May 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    SkepticalScience might want to consider renaming themselves to RevisionistWeasels.”

    Why sully the weasels so? They’re just serving their place in the food chain as small predators.

  17. Blue Sky says: at 2:36 pm
    —————–
    Well perhaps it’s because they expose Sks’s denial of the farce of AGW in such a credible way that everyone is credibly aware of the incredibility.of Sks output…

  18. Shows Skeptical Science is fair in their appreciation of the science!

    (which is only reflected here in a minor degree by Bob’s selective quoting)

  19. William Astley says: May 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    In support of:

    vukcevic says: May 22, 2013 at 8:35 am
    “RealClimate where Rahmsorf is one of the leaders in contributing and Foster frequent poster, the last contribution ‘The warming went into the deep end’ was on 26 April 2013, and the RC went into deep hibernation”
    […]
    I notice the lack of new material at RealClimate also.

    Not that I want to be … uh … alarmist, or anything like that … but we may be experiencing the proverbial lull before the whipping up of the traditional pre-AR(5) PR scary storm.

    MOSCOW –The upcoming fifth climate change report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is believed to reveal new, and gruesome, scientific data: Natural and anthropogenic factors contributing to global climate change will escalate in the 2040s, causing ever more devastating effects on the planet. The “climate time bomb” is set to go off – unless humankind does something about it.[emphasis added -hro>

    Details at:

    WWF-Russia rolls out scare-machine in advance of IPCC’s AR5

  20. SS is beginning to find cures for “Skeptical Science Syndrome”. Their road to recovery will be bumpy but it is nice to see a start.

  21. Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Oceania has never ben at war with Eurasia.

  22. DirkH;
    OT, but I recall a post of yours some time ago about German water conservation Unintended Consequences. Pls email me brianfh01 at yahoo dot ca, as I’ve quoted it and been challenged, and wish to refresh my recollection.

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