Fabricating Climate Doom – Part 1: Parmesan’s Butterfly Effect

Addendum by Anthony:

This graph is an eyebrow raiser.

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The infrastructure at Yosemite has increased to handle increased tourism, and the weather station records this by a reversal of the Tmin and Tmax relationship.

In this case, the heat sinks are a road, a building, and stacked metal pipe and beams surrounding the station, which release stored heat from the day at night as shown in the photograph of the Yosemite NP USHCN weather station from 2003 by Surfacestations volunteer Dave Hart:

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Even supposedly “pristine” areas are affected by the encroachment of heat sinks.

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Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

The pioneers of chaos theory coined the term “butterfly effect” to suggest that a hurricane’s formation could be affected by such unpredictable influences as the flap of a distant butterfly’s wings that changed the winds’ direction weeks before. Ironically, it was Dr. Camille Parmesan’s 1996 seminal Edith’s checkerspot butterfly paper titled “Species and Climate Range”1 that became the model for future peer-reviewed papers that blamed climate change for driving species northward and upward and causing species extinctions. Featured on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website, Parmesan echoed Dr. Jim Hansen’s catastrophic predictions that global warming was already forcing global ecological collapse, “The latest research shows clearly that we face the threat of mass extinctions in coming years,” she says.

“My hope is that we will be able to reduce emissions enough so that assisted colonization

Euphydryas editha in Olympic National Park Image: Wikipedia

efforts can be successful, because at the higher ranges of scientists’ projections of warming trends, frankly, we’re sunk.” For promoting global warming theory, she subsequently earned an invitation to speak at the White House and became one of just four biologists to partake in third global climate assessment by the United Nations’ Nobel-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By 2009, Parmesan ranked as the second-most cited author of papers devoted expressly to global warming and climate change.2

Einstein said, “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” and the fanfare given Parmesan drove me hazy. Detailed studies by butterfly experts and conservationists dedicated to saving the butterfly from extinction had all blamed habitat destruction and sought habitat restoration. In contrast Parmesan blamed global warming and argued for reduced carbon emissions. She had blamed “global” warming even though most maximum temperatures in California had not risen significantly.3 More disconcerting the butterflies never migrated northward or upward, as claimed. Yet she now seeks funding to support an ecologist’s worst nightmare, assisted colonization. Parmesan wants to create her own Noah’s ark shuttling animals northwards and upwards so they can escape the supposed rising tide of warmth predicted by models, despite the fact that introducing species into new habitat brings disease and disrupts the established ecological balance.

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To her credit Parmesan had diligently spent four years of extensive and laborious fieldwork revisiting locations where the butterfly had been observed earlier in the century. However after verifying that more populations had gone extinct in the southern extremes and at the lowest elevations of the butterfly’s range, Parmesan enthusiastically claimed her results were consistent with global warming theory. In 2010 she summarized her work: “it was a bloody obvious change. These butterflies were shifting their entire range over the past century northward and upward, which is the simplest possible link you could have with warming. I was expecting some incredibly subtle, sophisticated response to warming, if at all. What I got was 80% of the populations in Mexico and the Southern California populations were extinct, even though their habitats still looked perfectly fine.”2 But as I discovered later Parmesan always knew the butterflies had never migrated further north or to higher elevations.

Hansen’s global warming theory had predicted that the increasing maximum temperatures would push animals northward and upward, however Parmesan failed to mention that most of California’s maximum temperatures had never exceeded the highs of the 1940s as seen in Yosemite National Park. In fact her paper never analyzed local temperatures at all.

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Parmesan relied on the political global warming bias. Parmesan was speaking globally, but butterflies always act locally. Ask any university ecology professor. They would not hesitate to harshly criticize an undergraduate term paper that used a “global average” to explain a local event; yet that was her only climate “evidence”.

Furthermore Parmesan failed to address the fact that higher temperatures enhanced the butterfly’s survival. Warm microclimates are critical for its survival. Caterpillars living in cooler microclimates develop more slowly, while those actively basking in the direct sunlight digest their food more quickly and grow more robustly. Cool rainy years often extirpated local populations.

Since the 1950s, Stanford University’s Paul Ehrlich and his colleagues had made detailed observations throughout the checkerspot’s habitat on the Jasper Ridge Preserve. They determined that the caterpillars must raise their body temperature an additional 18-21°F above ambient air temperatures. To raise their body temperature, caterpillars shuffled across the hillsides seeking life‑giving hotspots.4,5,6 Any global warming, natural or anthropogenic, should have been a benefactor, not an executioner.

Parmesan’s observations of extirpated populations were not new. Conservationists had sounded the extinction alarm years before her “global warming study”. Butterfly populations had diminished so quickly that the checkerspot’s apparent fate was compared to the rapid ruination of the extinct passenger pigeon. Scientists working to prevent extinction had always warned that the suburban sprawl from Los Angeles to San Diego had devoured the butterfly’s critical habitat and extirpated most populations.7,8 When the checkerspot’s southern California Quino subspecies was finally listed as endangered, conservation scientists wrote, “The basis for the listing was habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, recognizing additional negative effects from fire management practice. All factors are the results of intensive human economic development of ever diminishing resources.”60

The conservationists’ detailed studies also reported that most extinctions observed in southern California had already transpired by the 1970s, before any purported CO2 warming had significantly developed and furthermore populations were now recovering. In 2003 researchers wrote, “although we now know that the butterfly likely disappeared from Orange County thirty years ago, it was rediscovered in Riverside County in the early 1990s, and in San Diego County at several formerly occupied sites soon after.”8

Nor were extinctions limited to the southern end of the butterfly’s range. Rapid urban development entirely extirpated the Canadian subspecies (the Taylor checkerspot) from the coldest northern end of the butterfly’s range. But because there was a greater preponderance of extinctions in southern California, the “average statistical center” for the species migrated northward. There was never any evidence of any real migration due to warming. There was never an apocalyptic flight to cooler lands. Parmesan’s climate claim was solely a statistical fairy tale. Still Parmesan’s unscientific climate claim was published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals with one of the highest rejection rates, Nature.

How did Parmesan deal with the multitude of contradictory factors? Instead of a more detailed study, she simply argued, “the predicted effects of climate change will come, not from attempts to analyze all possible confounding variables in single studies such as this one, but from replication of this type of study.”1 In essence, by arguing that confounding factors were no longer important, she suggested we throw out the foundation of good scientific analyses. To demonstrate the negative impacts of climate change, all anyone needed to do was demonstrate that populations were dwindling in the south more than in the north, or dwindling more at lower elevations than at higher elevations. Implausibly, the prestigious journal Nature supported this “new climate science.”

Defying the Experts

The evidence against any CO2 connection was overwhelming, but I was no butterfly expert. Needing a reality check, I talked with my friend Dr. Paul Opler, one of North America’s top butterfly experts. If you have ever spent any time with Paul, you quickly realize that no one has a greater love for butterflies. If there was the smallest threat, he would be the first to speak out. In 1974, he was hired as the first invertebrate specialist for the United States Federal Endangered Species program. Virtually every butterfly species now listed as endangered was listed under his watch. To my great good fortune, he agreed to teach a course, “Butterflies of the Sierra Nevada” (which he still teaches), for my environmental education program each year. When he visited, I expressed my doubts about the legitimacy of Parmesan’s claims and my bewilderment at all the media hype, and I asked if he had seen any supporting evidence.

He carefully stated that from all the data he had perused, he had seen absolutely no evidence that any butterflies had ever moved northwards, nor had they been pushed to higher elevations. He added the checkerspot has now been discovered further south in Baja, Mexico. He too couldn’t understand the public fanfare and echoed my thoughts that “only her statistical averages moved, not the butterflies”. Due to his expertise, Opler had been invited by the Fish and Wildlife Service to comment on the proposed recovery plans for the subspecies in southern California and wrote:

The lengthy space given to Camille Parmesan’s study and the suggestion that newly found colonies are the result of global warming is highly speculative. Her study did not find new northern, or higher populations of the species. Her results were a statistical artifact of the purported loss of low-lying southern populations (emphasis added). Her surveys that showed the absence of butterflies in some population areas could have been carried out in relatively bad years when the species was present only as diapausing larval clusters. (Diapause is a period of dormancy similar to hibernation)

Opler was not the only expert to dissent. Other scientists, armed with detailed studies aimed at insuring the butterfly’s recovery and survival, also disagreed. “Our observation that human impacts were almost always involved in local extirpations in southern California (even for those areas that may seem to still have “suitable habitat”), the role of global warming as the proximate cause of extinction must be carefully evaluated. We suspect that warming is perhaps an exacerbating factor, but that increased extinction rates in southern California are primarily caused by more direct anthropogenic forces.”7

So I decided Parmesan’s landmark climate study needed to be replicated with a more critical eye on the contributing land use factors. However, when I looked for her methods section there was none. Her study had been published as a correspondence, and in Nature, a correspondence doesn’t require a methods section that allows for independent verification. That also explained how her paper survived a gauntlet of disagreement by leading experts. A correspondence is not typically peer reviewed. It is published simply based on the advocacy of Nature’s editors.

Withholding the Evidence

“We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.” -Dr. Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize in Physics

I emailed Dr. Parmesan and asked for the locations of the extinct populations. After months without reply, I called. Caught off guard, she initially refused to share any data, but after more discussion offered the possibility of collaboration. She said she needed to hang up but promised to send some data. More than three years later, I am still waiting. So much for Feynman’s good scientist “trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible.”

Her husband eventually responded to a follow-up email I sent a year later in which I expressed my frustration with their failure to allow independent verification. Her husband, Dr. Michael Singer, is a checkerspot expert who had shared in her research. Singer unintentionally confirmed Opler’s criticisms, “Her study did not find new northern, or higher populations of the species…There are no ‘new’ northern populations in Parmesan’s study. The study consisted entirely of re-examining populations known from past records and assessing which of them was currently extant or extinct. No ‘new’ populations were sought or found (emphasis added).” Trying to discourage my replication efforts Dr. Singer wrote, “But I do remember writing to you to say that E. editha has been increasing through the 2000s and that many of the populations that Camille and I recorded as extinct in the 1990s have been recolonized….So, any new census of Sierra Nevada populations would show a reduced correlation between elevation and population status, perhaps no longer a significant correlation.” Singer and Parmesan illustrate a glaring problem when limiting debate to peer-reviewed journals. Contradictory evidence is simply never published.

So why haven’t they published this good news of the butterfly’s recovery? Why did only her erroneous climate gloom and doom bring worldwide acclaim? Despite a wealth of evidence that contradicted global warming predictions, her faulty “Climate and Species Range” went viral and is now cited by over 580 articles. In contrast just 17 have cited the paper detailing conservationists’ efforts that actually saved the butterfly, “The Endangered Quino Checkerspot Butterfly”. Parmesan wrote subsequent papers blaming extreme weather and climate change for population extinctions and again withheld evidence of the species’ success. Likewise her half-truths were immediately embraced and published by our leading climate scientists and then cited by more than a thousand articles. That deception however requires a future essay.

Literature Cited

  1. Parmesan, C., (1996) Climate and Species Range. Nature, vol. 382, 765-766.
  2. Science Watch Newsletter Interview of Camille Parmesan. (2010) http://archive.sciencewatch.com/inter/aut/2010/10-mar/10marParm/
  3. Cordero, E., et al., (2011) The identification of distinct patterns in California temperature trends. Climate Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0023-y.

4. Weiss, S., et al., (1988) Sun, Slope, and Butterflies: Topographic Determinants of Habitat Quality for Euphydryas Editha. Ecology, Vol. 69, pp. 1486-1496

5. Weiss, S., et al., (1987) Growth and dispersal of larvae of the checkerspot, Euphydryas editha. Oikos 50: 161-166

  1. Ehrlich, P., and Murphy, D. (1987) Conservation Lessons from Long-Term Studies of Checkerspot Butterflies. Conservation Biology, vol. 1, pp. 122-131
  2. Mattoni, R., et al., (1997) The endangered quino checkerspot butterfly, Euphydryas editha quino (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Journal of Research Lepidoptera 34:99–118.
  3. Longcore,T., et al., (2003) A Management and Monitoring Plan for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) and its Habitats in San Diego County. A Management and Monitoring Plan for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly

Adapted from the chapter Landscape Change not Climate Change in Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

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61 thoughts on “Fabricating Climate Doom – Part 1: Parmesan’s Butterfly Effect

  1. Interesting. In the Yoesmite (sic) National Park temperature record, the minimums start at around 39.5 and finish at around 41, having perhaps peaked at near 42 in the 1990s. Definitely warming! Say perhaps up 2 degrees. But, maximum temperatures started at around 69 and ended at 67. Definitely cooling! Down 2 degrees.

    Not very convincing is it? But, presumably the thermometer was not subjected to an Urban Heat Island effect.

    All in all, and perhaps I might be forgiven for this, it is all a bit cheesy.

  2. Dudley Horscroft says:

    July 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

    All in all, and perhaps I might be forgiven for this, it is all a bit cheesy.

    Yes, and quite grating as well.

  3. Thanks for the post. As usual, the reality trumps the pseudoscience and alarm.

    Another point – while it is unfortunate that species are lost through habitat destruction, exotic species/disease introduction and other human activities, there is nothing new or especially alarming about extinction. It happens to most all species and the response is always the eventual evolution of NEW species to fill the equivalent energetic niche.

    Alarm at the process of extinction is simply the result of short term thinking but the evolution of new species grinds on regardless of how we perceive it.

  4. Jim, I have read many books regarding “the warming” and yours is one of the best, (up there with Bradley’s energy books). 1000 references documenting the corruption that has completely taken over the earth sciences! What ever happened to the truth in science. We The People deserve scientists who are working on our behalf and explaining what is going on in the natural world. Instead, we have been taken over by thieves who simply want to take our money.

  5. Have the book. A good read. Had a chuckle with the lack of CO2 warming over the Antarctic pole where water vapour is unlikely to add much feed back.

  6. We see this pattern repeated time and time again.

    Scientists propose a hypothesis. One that is trendy and scary is best. They publish a paper in support. The paper receives huge publicity. Years later it is discovered that they knowingly left out the data the disproves the hypothesis.

    The damage done to society is enormous, as billions of dollars are poured down the drain, saving the world from problems that don’t exist. While ignoring real problems.

    You can almost always find data that supports any idea, no matter how wacky or far fetched. Eating pickles makes humans taller. There will be data in support. And there will be data that shows eating pickles makes humans smaller.

    However, if we only publish the first and suppress the second, then there will be a lot of future NBA players eating a lot more pickles. Which will indeed confirm that eating pickles makes you taller.

  7. Oh dear. More girlie science. I despair–for science, for America, for the westernized civilizations. What has happened to integrity and honesty? I’m going to bed to hide from stuff like this. When I wake up it will all be better.!!

  8. I’m so tired of this backasswards thinking….
    you can’t say they are limited by cold…
    …and not say they are recovering from the LIA

    The LIA drove them south…they are just returning

  9. The warmists claim that not one but a multitude of studies from disparate disciplines show the evidence that global warming is both anthropogenic in origin and catastrophic to the non-human biosphee (catastrophic to the human ones later, of course). In each or at least the majority, the evidence could be interpreted differently, but of course the benefit of the doubt in human affairs always goes to the desired outcome. Parmesan’s work is just one of such lines of evidence supporting what is already a desired outcome.

    The non-technical confuse soft data with hard data. Numbers as measured are hard; what Paremesan recorded was soft. Soft data is malleable, and while hard data may be wrong – the instruments may be faulty etc. – hard data cannot today be, for example, a 1 and tomorrow a 2. Parmesan’s extinct butterflies may be not extinct tomorrow (as her husband alluded was the case). The problem with confusing soft and hard data is that a multitude of soft data does not make any of it hard: the error potential of the group is equal to the error potential of the individual.

    CAGW is filled with soft data. Sealevel rise correlations to CO2, for example, are soft. The projected mid-tropospheric hotspot, on the other hand, is hard. As I said, a hard data may be wrong, in this case, global warming by CO2 does not cause such a heating event, but the hard data of a hotspot is either there or not, and validates or invalidates the theory as a result of presence or absence. This is the disconnect between honest technical and the honest non-technical: soft data indicates, hard data proves.

    In Parmesan’s case, she is also guilty of enjoying the collateral beauty of researching on the public’s love of “The Butterfly Effect”. It is a bogus concept except as a mathematical truth about very sensitive systems in which very small changes in initial parameters have large effects on the final situation. The living world is more accommodating than that. There are negative feedback effects, inertial and threshold factors that mitigate or annul small effects. In essence, the world exists with a non-linear, yes-there-is a threshold approach. Simply put, bad things cancel out overr time.

    But all this is preaching to the crowd. Buffers, counterevailing influences are part of the “hard” world. One thing leads to another to another to another until the universe is all effected is the way the soft world of the sensitive works. Ask any naturopath.

    Sometimes the world of people proposing and demanding makes me grind my teeth. In this case, with the good doctor hiding and avoiding, it just makes me sigh. But even exasperation of this low level can be very, very expensive and draining of one’s energy.

  10. Parmesans 1996 article is complete garbage. She misinterpreted metapopulation dynamics in her own way. Still she was backed up by the Finnish professor Ilkka Hanski who is a specialist on metapopulation theory. In the next article in 1999 I was to be a coauthor about northshift of European butterflies. I gave her all available data from Finland, tens of thousands of records. At last she wrote that none of the species had shifted southwards in any European country. It was very obvious that she falsified the records from Finland. Parnassius apollo, among others, had shifted southward about 400 km. I immediately withdraw my name from that article because the conclusions were her fantasies.
    I wrote at once an article of my own where I showed a completely different scenario of movements, also to Nature. It took about a half year before they decided to refute my article on the basis that I had a too limited data set. In fact my data on Macrolepidoptera was probably the worlds largest regional data set from 1890-1999 (about 1 million records). Parmesans article was delayed by about half year before it was published.
    Later I met with Natures biological editor on a climate meeting in Italy. I showed her my results and gave her the newly published Distribution Atlas of Finnish Macrolepidoptera. She promised to re-open the case in Nature. After some half a year I got to know that their referees had said that “they had heared that also Parnassius apollo had shifted northwards in Finland”. I would be interesting to know who had said that. In the Finnish data set there are no such records and nobody have been able to give further information on that case. I know that Ilkka Hanski has been one of the referees in these articles.
    Unfortunately the Finnish results on Lepidoptera and climate are still unpublished.

  11. The Correspondence dodge: bypass peer review, hide your data, let the citations roll in!

    It’s the Nature-al way to fame and fortune.

  12. Paul Ehrlich is involved. His track record on being correct speaks for itself. Right about being trendy, getting grants and promotions. Wrong about the science and predictions.

  13. I suspect it would take decades of field observation to determine the norm for any insect population. Other than cicadias, many moths, butterflies and other critters have cyclic populations. In Colorado, we have a boon of Miller moths some 5-10 years apart. Grasshoppers have years where their populations are exponentially above other years. In forty years I saw 3 or 4 Cecropia moths. In June of 2012 I saw 4, this year 1.
    Here are the Cecropia’s from 2012. They are in the giant silkmoths. The reddish one in the upper left is N. America’s largest moth, Hyalophora cecropia.

  14. Doug Proctor says:
    July 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

    In Parmesan’s case, she is also guilty of enjoying the collateral beauty of researching on the public’s love of “The Butterfly Effect”. It is a bogus concept except as a mathematical truth about very sensitive systems in which very small changes in initial parameters have large effects on the final situation…..

    The “take-away” of the Butterfly effect is that in a chaotic system the granularity of the data collection and the precision required to even contemplate dealing (projecting, predicting) with it is so fine (minute, tiny) that it is impossible under any circumstances. Even seeing every “sparrow’s fall” would be insufficient.

    As a side note, the butterfly’s flight is precisely controlled, not random or clumsy. The butterfly is taking scent samples with its oversized antennae in adjacent but sufficiently separated packets of air, in as close to simultaneous instants as possible, to home in on its preferred flowers.

  15. As regards the critter population estimates, wasn’t a fellow named Arrhenius involved in that way back when? Vaguely recall he has fingers in the roots of some other controversy, can’t quite bring it to mind at the moment. ;-)

  16. Jim,
    Thanks for the very interesting read. I have really come to enjoy the diversity of guest writing that has become WUWT recently. It makes this a site unlike any other.

  17. Larry Huldén says “Parnassius apollo, among others, had shifted southward about 400 km.”

    In her 1999 paper she said Parnassius apollo shifted northward but sites such as Goran’s Panassius of the world, show the butterfly contracting from all directions as shown i link. http://goran.waldeck.se/gw1.html

    I am looking for the paper but I believe it was a recent paper by Juha Poyry that reported most of the specie that Parmesan had reported being pushed northward in Great Britain had been retracting southward in Finland since the 1940s.

    Part 2 will document how conservationists saved a species from going extinct by improving landscapes. She then published that the butterflies recovery and expansion was evidence of global warming.

  18. @blackadderthe4th

    You linked to a newscast referring to a paper by CD Thomas who often works hand in hand with Parmesan. Thomas employed exactly the same low quality “meta-analysis” that Parmesan had and never accounted for landscape changes or local climate and concluded 60% of the species were approaching extinction. There is abundant evidence to debunk every claim.

  19. A classic case of facts getting in the way of the science in ‘climate science’.

    Grant addiction perverts real climate science and thus you end up getting stuff like this.

    Then there is the pal review process where the only relevant rule is: “i won’t look too closely at yours, if you don’t look too closely at mine”. Parmesan’s paper has obviously not been properly peer reviewed, is designed to be sensational to the gullible and was never meant to have its ‘facts’ checked.

    Somehow, this rubbish becomes fact and gets quoted all over the place.

    If I was a butterfly I would sue.

  20. Brian H says:

    July 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

    “As a side note, the butterfly’s flight is precisely controlled, not random or clumsy. The butterfly is taking scent samples with its oversized antennae in adjacent but sufficiently separated packets of air, in as close to simultaneous instants as possible, to home in on its preferred flowers.”
    ===========
    Are you sure the flight is not chaotic, in it self, in order to avoid predators ?
    Is the energy burned chasing a chaotic food source, worth the energy expended ?

  21. Kudos to you, Jim, for a fascinating voyage through the kind of garbage that passes for science these days. It seems that the magic words “climate change” are enough to entirely turn off the critical thought processes of far too many scientists.

    Well done, and well written to boot.

    All the best,

    w.

  22. “But I do remember writing to you to say that E. editha has been increasing through the 2000s and that many of the populations that Camille and I recorded as extinct in the 1990s have been recolonized…”

    Or was never ‘extinct’ in the first instance. We just figured that we would ignore everything we don’t know about this species and “go with the (GW) flow”.

    It will take ‘Science’ decades to recover from the current overuse of GW short circuit.

  23. Parmesan, her editors, and scientific readers were all aware that her checkerspot data showed no actual movement north or upwards. Parmesan did not mislead in this respect.
    It was the pro-global warming media that distorted the study and refused to print corrections to their exaggerated claims. My letters to Time, the Los Angeles Times (response to Robert Lee Hotz), the San Jose Merccury News (Gennda Chui) and others went unpublished. Despite my credentials as checkerspot butterfly biologist.
    Parmesan did not devote lots of time to trying to correct distortions. She and the media folks beleived they had gotten the main point right. Any time she had put in to such an effort would have reduced her ability to spend time (early in her career) doing science while having virtually no effect on the media or the public. That’s the world we live in. Raymond R. White

  24. Jim,
    Nice report. Thanks.
    Here is a link to a friend’s site:

    http://northwestbutterflies.blogspot.com/

    ~~~
    I spoke with a Lorquin’s Admiral just this morning – here on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains in WA State. She was a bit upset that the night was so cool and wanted me to do something. I suggested she move to CA but she just gave me a “you are pathetic” look and moved on.

  25. Larry Huldén says:
    July 14, 2013 at 8:49 am
    “Later I met with Natures biological editor on a climate meeting in Italy. […]”

    Confirms my impression that Nature, the journal, owned by a German publisher, is a complete propaganda organ for everything that helps warmunism.

  26. Looking back and forth at the CO2 and surface temperature anomalous curves it seems to me the only threat of mass extinctions in coming years anybody imminently faces is the one of the inflated populations of climate terrories and climate bscientists talking B.S.
    Now it even looks like the way they want to fight this threat is play safe and talk even more B.S. to outbreak the populations for northern mountains colonization assistance just in case and that this climate bscience more and more clearly becomes a distinct type of devout genocidial terrorism – repent and give us the indulgence money and power to erradicate the bsin, or … we face the doom we inflict on ourselves.
    Or at least the butteflies.
    Problem of this apocalyptic powergrab strategy is that the church unity somehow doesn’t seem to perfectly thrive on flat or slant temperature trends and some of us already went out of the haze and realize their we means they as customary with sociopaths.

  27. Thank-you for this article.
    Best wishes,

    William

    I am 100% in support of an open honest discussion of the issues. It would be interesting to have a deeper one on one discussion with Parmesan. What motivates a person to do what they do? Is there a consensus effort to push an agenda with the resultant is that science is no longer the primary goal?

    There is a profound difference between a scientific error: a misinterpretation of data, incorrect analysis, and so on, from a white lie where the conclusion is propaganda used to push an agenda. When the truth is removed from the activity, the analysis and paper writing becomes a game where the challenge is to manipulate the data, to filter the data, and to cherry pick the data to support the propaganda conclusion with ‘science’.

    The first causality of the climate change war was truth and reason. Without reason, logic, and facts, public policy moves towards ideological Soviet type madness.

    Ironically a portion of the trillions upon trillions of dollars that have been spent on greens scams could have been used for habitat preservation which is the principal environmental issue rather than ‘green’ energy. Public funds are precious, limited. Environmental protection, health care, education, infrastructure, and so on all compete for limited funds. Rich countries have options. More money, more options.

    Green energy scams such as the conversion of food to biofuel has not reduced carbon dioxide emission (recent EU estimates that twice as much CO2 is released to grow palm oil to convert to diesel than to convert natural ‘fossil’ hydrocarbons to diesel for example, more than 40% of the US corn crop is now converted to ethanol, there is no net reduction in CO2 emission to convert corn to ethanol if all energy inputs are included, as people still need to eat the food to biofuel program will result in food wars if it is not stopped, as there is a delay in cutting down more virgin forest, the food to biofuel mandates are Stalin like ideological madness) which is not a problem anyway from either a ‘climate’ standpoint or a biosphere standpoint. Green scams have significantly reduced the amount of funds available to spend on all objectives.

    If anyone is interested in a deeper analysis of ‘climate’ change and environmental policy I would highly recommend ‘Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility’ by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger.

  28. Steve Schapel says:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm
    “Sorry, in my earlier post I put a URL that some people apparently can’t access. So I have now put the file here:”

    Ok, it’s the same book that I found, I simply googled for the PDF.
    Lester Brown’s a broken record. His claims are already debunked in Björn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist.
    Here’s another one of his books, Plan B 3.0 it’s called.

    http://www.earth-policy.org/books/pb3/PB3ch3_ss7

    And here’s a PBS video, Lester Brown’s “Plan B : Mobilizing To Save Civilisation” with Matt Damon as speaker, so I guess you know that it’ll be a real treat.

    http://video.pbs.org/video/1864227276

    One of the directors of Lester Brown’s “Worldwatch Institute” was BTW Satu Hassi, a Finnish woman, co-conspirator of Linkola, who brings his very own, ahem, “ethnic” flavour to the “Deep Green” movement… And you know, when these people talk about an optimum population they MEAN it… And they have their ideas about WHO are the expendable ones…

  29. I see the attention-grabbing “butterfly effect” as irrelevant to climate. The “butterfly effect” is the name for a chaotic process having its future being greatly altered by something as small as a flight of an insect.

    Even with so little as a flight by a butterfly being able to blow a 2-month daily weather forecast, I see that as not blowing a climate forecast.

    My analogue for Earth’s atmosphere (going simpler) is a switching regulator (an electronic circuit). Predicting weather is like predicting the microsecond-by-microsecond future schedule of the switching regulator’s behavior. Predicting climate is like predicting the duty cycle percentage between “high” and “low” in such a circuit as a result of changing output and/or input conditions – much easier.

    I am seeing “Butterfly Effect” as a distraction, because weather is much more unstable than climate is. Unlike weather, I see climate as *not* doing “runaway moves. Even the IPCC AR4 reporting of positive feedbacks (I see 2 of them as overblown) is not reporting climate as being climate to be unstable like weather often is – only moveable.

  30. Such a huge flap over such an insignificant amount of science. Talk about a butterfly effect!

    “Implausibly, the prestigious journal Nature supported this “new climate science.””

    Their prestige is plummeting every month as they dig a deeper and deeper hole for themselves.

  31. Steve Keohane says:
    July 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I suspect it would take decades of field observation to determine the norm for any insect population. Other than cicadias, many moths, butterflies and other critters have cyclic populations. In Colorado, we have a boon of Miller moths some 5-10 years apart. Grasshoppers have years where their populations are exponentially above other years. In forty years I saw 3 or 4 Cecropia moths. In June of 2012 I saw 4, this year 1.
    ———————————————–
    Steve, I would go further and say that the concept of a “norm” for many insect populations – especially migratory ones – is probably bunkum.

    Where I live we have an annual influx of Bogong moths (Agrotis infusa), which breed in pastures hundreds of kilometres north of here and migrate to high country in the south in Spring and Summer. They are attracted to lights, and so often clog up air conditioners, hit buildings etc and great swarms of them can sometimes be seen. However, over the many years I have lived here the numbers vary enormously – from plague proportions one year to barely noticeable in another, and everything in between.

    The same goes for locusts, which vary from huge swarms to very few from year to year, depending on local weather patterns in particular regions during the breeding cycle.

    I am not saying this applies to these butterflies (perhaps one of the experts could comment) but making the point that no amount of “averaging” makes any sense with regard to insects like Bogongs and locusts.

  32. blackadderthe4th says:
    July 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    @jim Steele says:
    July 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

    ‘There is abundant evidence to debunk every claim’, a link would be useful, cheers!

    How about we start with a link to the study you are discussing, so we can see what you are claiming?

    Thanks,

    w.

  33. Reconcile the Endangered Species Act with evolution.

    Climate has always changed. The mistake is believing that human activity has any significant influence.

    Four papers on the web provide some eye-opening insight on the cause of change to average global temperature and why it has stopped warming. (The latest perceived up tick must be considered in light of historical average global temperature measurement uncertainty, equivalent s.d. approximately +/- 0.1 K arising from the measurement methodology) The papers are straight-forward calculations using readily available data up to May, 2013.

    The first paper is ‘Global warming made simple’ at http://lowaltitudeclouds.blogspot.com/ . It shows, with simple thermal radiation calculations, how a tiny change in the amount of low-altitude clouds could account for half of the average global temperature change in the 20th century, and what could have caused that tiny cloud change. (The other half of the temperature change is from net average natural ocean oscillation which is dominated by the PDO)

    The second paper is ‘Natural Climate change has been hiding in plain sight’ at http://climatechange90.blogspot.com/2013/05/natural-climate-change-has-been.html . This paper presents a simple equation that, using a single external forcing, calculates average global temperatures since they have been accurately measured world wide (about 1895) with an accuracy of 90%, irrespective of whether the influence of CO2 is included or not. The equation uses a proxy which is the time-integral of sunspot numbers. A graph is included which shows the calculated trajectory overlaid on measurements.

    Change to the level of atmospheric CO2 had no significant effect on average global temperature.

    A third paper, ‘The End of Global Warming’ at http://endofgw.blogspot.com/ expands recent (since 1996) measurements and includes a graph showing the growing separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising average global temperature.

    The fourth paper http://consensusmistakes.blogspot.com/ exposes some of the mistakes that have been made by the ‘Consensus’ and the IPCC

    The predictive ability of the equation in the second paper can be tested. When calibrated to the data prior to 1995 it predicted the temperature trend in 2012 within 0.04 K.

  34. The paper’s findings were consistent with global warming because the butterflies moved “northward and upward.” But the paper doesn’t actually say the butterflies were actually in any particular “northward or upward” location. So her solution is to re-locate the butterflies “northward and upward.” Even though the butterflies in reality were able to move south to the Baja Peninsula, she needs to move them “northward and upward.” And that is just what Hansen’s global warming theory had predicted, that the increasing maximum temperatures would push animals northward and upward.

    What is that called when other “scientists” fulfill your “predictions” by hand for you? Is there a name for this?

  35. I may be wrong, but having watched various birds snatch insects out of the air in mid-flight (for both), an unpredictable trajectory just might be what is needed.
    I’m almost sure of it.

  36. This whole matter regarding Parmesan’s paper reminds me of the time when I used to attend school. There would be occasions when for various reasons, I was unable to perform experiments or field studies necessary to complete assignments. As the deadline for submission drew ever closer, it became imperative to produce the data by other means. This we used to call a dry lab. I strongly suspect that something of this nature is occurring in much of science today, which would be quite lamentable if it were indeed the case.

    On a brighter note, I am very pleased to hear that E. editha is holding its own rather well, despite the possible competition with its relative, E. chalcedona. Thanks for the update, Dr. Steele!

  37. blackadderthe4th says: I don’t know about butterflies…
    ========
    This may enlighten you:

  38. Donald L. Klipstein says:
    July 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I see the attention-grabbing “butterfly effect” as irrelevant to climate. The “butterfly effect” is the name for a chaotic process having its future being greatly altered by something as small as a flight of an insect.
    ==================================
    That’s because you fail to understand what climate actually is: the average, max & min, etc. of weather over some arbitrary time period and arbitrary geo-location equals climate. Climate is merely the aggregate of weather and is an artifact because of it’s boundaries as well as it’s starting conditions.

    The “butterfly effect” is essentially pointing out that starting conditions have an unpredictable effect on long-term chaotic behaviors. But it is also true that the arbitrary starting point and ending point, as well as all the events in between, of any climate period determine the average of the weather contained therein. Thus any ONE year in a 100 year period (or any unit you like) has a 1 in 100 chance of having a record flood (or whatever particular measure you like).

    The longer the period or larger the area, the larger the variance.

  39. The addendum by Anthony is scientifically much more interesting than Parmesan’s cheesy climate butterfly BS.

    The figure of max and min temps from Yosemite is a powerful demonstration of UHI all by itself.

  40. @phlogiston

    The essays are adapted from my book that was aimed at environmentalists who embraced CO2 warming because they sincerely feared global warming was killing wildlife. From butterflies to penguins to polar bears I hoped to show their fears were evoked by very bad science and also provide ample evidence of alternative causes of temperature changes – landscape changes and cycles

  41. I don’t remember the name the name of it but there was a SF story about someone going back in time and stepping on a butterfly thereby changing the future. Some are using tree rings and “adjustments” to past records to change the present and the future. CAGW’ers own version of “The Butterfly Effect”.

  42. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    This article on Watts Up with That shows that a supposed climate scientist and her butterfly expert husband asserted that global warming was killing the butterflies. Well, it turns out not. Not only did other butterfly experts disagree with her from the outset (1996), the data never agreed with her either. Turns out the old-school butterfly experts were right, and their efforts are succeeding. Hooray for the butterflies! Apparently she statistically tortured the data into saying what she wanted, and its taken nearly two decades for reality to prove her wrong, since the politicians and anti-CO2 climate science crowd defended her so vehemently. Again, its good to see regular old conservation efforts and practical approaches to habitat are succeeding and helping the butterflies reestablishing themselves.

  43. Anthony, the last part of your article about recolonization and contradictory evidence is spot on.

    That said, I would like to offer some refinements, speaking as an amateur lepidoptrist of over 30 years.

    (1) E. editha is not a simple species, but a complex. Loss of individual colonies is therefore of potential significant concern.

    Let me explain. The famous Monarch, D. plexippus, is a simple species. Individuals in the lower 48 are essentially genetically identical. By contrast, E. editha is a complex of about 35 (!!) subspecies, some of which are probably in the process of speciating, others of which are in the process of going extinct. (Here’s a list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_subspecies_of_Euphydryas_editha).

    So losing southern colonies, if it were happening, might very well be of concern. We might be seeing the extinction of an entire subspecies.

    But again, recolonization is an encouraging sign, as you point out.

    (2) Increased warming is not uniformly beneficial to butterflies. You write,

    Furthermore Parmesan failed to address the fact that higher temperatures enhanced the butterfly’s survival. Warm microclimates are critical for its survival. Caterpillars living in cooler microclimates develop more slowly, while those actively basking in the direct sunlight digest their food more quickly and grow more robustly. Cool rainy years often extirpated local populations.

    Since the 1950s, Stanford University’s Paul Ehrlich and his colleagues had made detailed observations throughout the checkerspot’s habitat on the Jasper Ridge Preserve. They determined that the caterpillars must raise their body temperature an additional 18-21°F above ambient air temperatures. To raise their body temperature, caterpillars shuffled across the hillsides seeking life‑giving hotspots.4,5,6 Any global warming, natural or anthropogenic, should have been a benefactor, not an executioner.

    This is unclear. Your article seems to suggest that warmer climate is uniformly better for butterflies. In isolation, this would be true. But warmer climate is also better for some butterfly diseases and predators, and might not be beneficial for the butterfly hostplants. So warmer climates can actually be less beneficial or even hostile to a given species. The easiest way to see this is to observe that many of the 735 or so species of butterflies in North America do not live in southern climes.

    In the article, you mentioned Ehrlich’s work on E. editha showing that their caterpillars sought heat. This is good. It indicates that warmth is helpful for the Jasper Park subspecies. However, Ehrlich’s work needs to be replicated across all of the subspecies. Without that replication, the blanket claim that “warming should have been a benefactor” is broad, vague, and unproven.

    (3) Northern migration of butterflies is not of concern.

    The concern would be the extirpation of colonies, not the presence of new ones. Your article seems to get into the weeds when you write, “Singer unintentionally confirmed Opler’s criticisms, “Her study did not find new northern, or higher populations of the species…”

    That doesn’t matter. Finding new northern colonies would be a bonus. Losing southern colonies would be a problem.

    Again, these points are offered as refinements. I appreciate that you checked your work with Opler and Ehrlich.

    If you want more information about northern migration of butterfly species in general, I can give you that offline.

    Regards,

  44. @ jeff Cagle; Your article seems to suggest that warmer climate is uniformly better for butterflies. In isolation, this would be true. But warmer climate is also better for some butterfly diseases and predators, and might not be beneficial for the butterfly host plants.

    Jeff you seem to be attempting to buffer some really bad science and protect the idea that global warming was still the problem. First the essay was dealing specifically with the checkerspot and Parmesan’s claims that global warming was pushing butterflies northward and upward. Your reference to “many of the 735 or so species of butterflies in North America do not live in southern climes” is much more vague. Typically species diversity declines as we progress towards the poles. Also virtually all adult butterflies sunbathe to warm themselves for more efficient flight. Most species that live in short grass habitats are extirpated when cool shade is created by taller grass and invading shrubs and trees.

    You are correct to note “E. editha is not a simple species, but a complex” but your criticism needs to be directed against Parmesan and Nature for treating it as a single uniform species. That being said all research show the loss of southern populations and the threat to subspecies is due to land use change. So what’s your point?

    Northern migration does matter when they make blatantly false claims. Again your criticisms need to be directed at those researchers (Parmesan and CD Thomas) generating false alarms and fabricating claims of forced northward migration. Our top climate scientists co-authored a paper with Parmesan blaming CO2 caused extreme cold weather event and wrote, “In western North America, Edith’s Checkerspot butterfly has shifted its range northward (by 92 km) and upward (by 124 m) during this century”.

    Easterling, D.R., et al. (2000) Climate extremes: Observations, modeling, and impacts. Science, 289.

  45. Butterfly effect? Believe that and one will believe in any nonsense. Does anyone understand the the almighty turbulence created by an Airbus A380 or Boeing 747? But even that turbulence dies down over a period of minutes. So much for the pioneers of chaotic theory and the “butterfly effect”. It’s a myth!

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