Dr. Roy Spencer evaporates Tamino's critique

Dr. Roy W. Spencer replies to “Tamino”‘s latest angry missive. As one commenter in my email list put it:

It is absolutely hilarious that Tamino’s lengthy, time-consuming, chest-puffing critique can be so comprehensively dismissed in a mere two sentences.

Here is what Dr. Spencer posted on his web page:

October 8, 2008: A Brief Comment on “Spencer’s Folly”

For anyone who has stumbled across a rather condescending critique of our latest research on feedback by someone who calls himself “Tamino”, I can only say that Tamino could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he would have noticed that all of my feedback work addresses TIME-VARYING radiative forcing (as occurs during natural climate variability), not CONSTANT radiative forcing (as is approximately the case with global warming). Tamino’s analytical solution does not exist in the time-varying case, and so his holier-than-thou critique is irrelevant to what I have presented.

Here is the original Spencer essay in PDF form, hosted on Roger Pielke’s website.

On the other hand, here is a recently published paper on climate sensitivity (PDF) that says the opposite. I’ll let the reader decide how well it defines the climate sensitivity, but I would note that since it uses GISTEMP data, which has a number of data problems that we’ve uncovered, for example here and here, the sensitivity may be overrated due to inflated trends in the GISTEMP database.

In the meantime, if you feel like supporting Dr. Spencer’s work, head on down to Barnes and Noble and get his latest book:

Spencer’s new book “Climate Confusion” is

now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

(See book covers, and first page of each chapter.)

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Henry Galt

How wonderful. After the disgusting treatment handed out to him in Washington earlier in the year he deserves a break as much as tamino thoroughly deserves the opposite.
I rarely get angry but whenever someone dismisses Roy’s work is one of those times. To be told “well he would say that, he has a book out dontcha know” when I offer his scientific opinion to warmers is second only to being told that someone has been “bought by big oil” in my book.
Is there a list anywhere of climate scientists that agree with the IPCC’s agenda? Not physicists, economists, literature majors etc or anyone associated with known partisan publications or societies, but at least chemists and preferably directly related to earth sciences such as meteorologists and paleoclimatologists.

Gary Gulrud

Hansen’s Bulldog gums another biscuit and proclaims he’s eviscerated a Lion of Skepticism!
Scurry about in fear, Denialists!

Tamino made the same mistake on his Don’t be fooled again post. I don’t think he likes me very much. His open mind blog is anything but.
He is having a bad couple of months after Ian Jolliffe stepped in and basically smacked him right in the middle of his demonstration of why McIntyre was wrong in his statistics, check open thread #5 and 6 on his blog for Jolliffe comments. Too bad for him.
I have to add a bit more news to the link which relates to hockey stick temp graphs. I am working toward publishing on this subject but I am letting everyone read it on line as it progresses. Every day I am more confident this work will eventually debunk nearly every hockey stick temp curve.
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/id-goes-mythbuster-on-hockey-sticks-cps/

Pieter F

The “opposite view” (Foster, et al 2008) was co-authored by Michael Mann and referenced James Hansen in critical areas. Those associations alone should raise concerns of accuracy and integrity. It seems there is too much effort in support a political position rather than enlighten as to the truth.

David Walton

So, not only is the anonymous and pleonastic “Tamino” [snip] ?
I am not surprised, what else would one expect from someone who calls their blog “Open Mind”?
Anthony, some of the best comedy is entirely unintentional. Thanks for the laugh!

JamesG

Not sure why you linked to the comment_on_schwartz. Schwartz himself has revised his sensitivity upwards since then and the first author of that paper is Tamino anyway, so we know just how good the stats are.

JimB

“To be told “well he would say that, he has a book out dontcha know”…
This ALWAYS makes me chuckle, and my reply is always “Yes…as opposed to a movie.”, which some people I’m having that discussion with get, and some don’t.
It’s the ultimate in hypocracy…Gore does everything he can to make money…but someone who disputes the science (or lack there of) in a book is automatically discounted?
You just can’t make this up…
JimB

Steven Hill

Where are the Global Temp. numbers for September?

Ed Scott

Henry Galt (11:10:40) :
Here is a list of deniers that do not agree with the IPCC agenda.
Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
December 13, 2007
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, NY
United States of America
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC’s conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.
Continue reading at http://www.nrsp.com/articles/07.12.13-open%20letter%20to%20the%20un%20secretary%20general.html
Independent scientists, engineers and economists active in research of climate-related areas who signed the open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
http://www.nrsp.com/articles/07.12.13-open%20letter%20signatories-independent%20experts.html
Other professional persons knowledgeable about climate change who expressed support for the open letter to the UN Secretary-General
http://www.nrsp.com/articles/07.12.13-open%20letter%20signatories-other%20professionals.html

I object in principle to references to “GISS data” and the “GISS database”.
It appears to me that GISS “data” is, in fact, a modified number set which is alleged to represent what the GISS data shoulda/coulda/woulda looked like if it had been taken timely from properly sited and calibrated instruments.
To my way of thinking, “data” ceases to be data once it has been “massaged”, “adjusted”, “corrected”, “backfilled”, etc. Retrospective revisions don’t magically make the number set “data” again.
I would have been fired for manipulating data before presenting it to my management. I would not have had the opportunity to go back and re-revise it.

Robert Wood

Lucia has a graph up already.

Richard deSousa

GISS is Hansen’s playbook… full of data from out of specification surface stations and manipulations by him and totally useless.

Ed Scott

Henry Galt (11:10:40) :
Here are the authors and reviewers for the IPCC report. The number is less than the 2,500 previously advertised.
IPCC Technical Paper VI
Climate Change and Water
List of Authors: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/technical-papers/ccw/appendix4.pdf
List of Reviewers: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/technical-papers/ccw/appendix5.pdf

Mike Bryant

Ed Reid,
Well if it isn’t data, perhaps we can think of a few better short words to use instead, maybe GISS stuff, or GISS things, or simply GISS numbers… I like the last one. Anyone else have suggestions? Try to keep ’em clean.
Mike

AnonyMoose

Lucia has a graph up already.

http://lucia// not found.

Joel Shore

I don’t really see how Spencer’s response “evaporates” Tamino’s critique. It gives a possible criticism which shows that Tamino’s analog is imperfect and shows why Tamino’s approach to get the correct feedback parameter might be difficult from the actual data in question (i.e., due to radiative forcings that vary on shorter timescales)…but it does not necessarily show that he is wrong on the basic point that he made. In other words, it is the start of an argument…but hardly the end.
It will be interesting to see either or both Spencer or Tamino flesh this out further.

Louis Hissink

Well, there is a God after all. 🙂

trevor

What do the following have in common?
Open Mind
Real Climate
Fair and Balanced

trevor

Also, this very interesting piece http://climatesci.org/2008/10/02/an-essay-the-ipcc-report-what-the-lead-authors-really-think/ doesn’t seem to have caught the attention that it deserves yet.

Dodgy Geezer

“Also, this very interesting piece …. doesn’t seem to have caught the attention that it deserves yet.”
The piece is most interesting for what it doesn’t say. The hockey-stick maths passed through the IPCC process unchallenged, and later turned out to be deeply flawed. Steve has already said that if he were a senior IPCC functionary, he would be pressing for an audit and checking process, so that no more bad science got through and embarrassed him. But this major elephant in the room is studiously ignored. You would think it deserved some mention….

Ed Scott

Mike Bryant (13:51:18) :
A misspelling of GUESS?

You go Dr. Spencer!! I’ll be purchasing the book for sure…
http://www.cookevilleweatherguy.com

Open Mind, Insert Foot.

trevor,
Interesting indeed when you separate the bafflegab from the nuggets. Bafflegab is what I expect from someone who is clearly a “political” “scientist” whose job clearly depends on maintaining the con.

David Walton

Re: “It will be interesting to see either or both Spencer or Tamino flesh this out further.”
What more flesh is required? Spencer makes a reasonable argument about dynamic (time-varying) forcing and modeling. “Tamino” attacks it with an irrelevant static analysis. This is akin Tamino to saying Spencer is wrong because John Fogerty wrote “Born On The Bayou”.
In any case, I find it fairly difficult to take seriously anything some completely anonymous blogger writes. If Tamino lacks the professionalism (or courage) to put his name and identity to his words, why bother reading them? With the exception of Tamino’s three “Spencer’s Folly” posts, which I have already read, I won’t bother.

Gary Hladik

trevor,
I was floored by the next-to-last bullet under “Climate change research topics identified for immediate action”: “Reducing climate sensitivity”
Is this supposed to be “reducing uncertainty in climate sensitivity”, or is someone actually questioning the IPCC’s climate sensitivity estimates?
Or something else?

DR

Note that Spencer’s work is based on observational evidence whereas Hansen et al is still parameterization of climate models.

Mike Bryant

Sure… UAH, RSS and the GISS GUESS…

Joel Shore

David Walton says:

What more flesh is required? Spencer makes a reasonable argument about dynamic (time-varying) forcing and modeling. “Tamino” attacks it with an irrelevant static analysis. This is akin Tamino to saying Spencer is wrong because John Fogerty wrote “Born On The Bayou”.

Or another analogy might be that you (analog of Tamino) calculate the trajectory of a projectile and I (analog of Spencer) point out that it is incorrect because you have failed to include relativistic effects, which is technically true but practically irrelevant. I am not convinced that Spencer’s criticism is as irrelevant as mine in the analogy that I make…but I am not yet convinced that it isn’t.
To me, it does seem that one has to consider the nature of the processes at different timescales…and Spencer might be correct that the fact that the forcing is varying on a shorter timescale is important. However, Tamino is probably correct that you also have to worry about the timescales for the feedback and, in particular, if you are looking over timescales short compared to the timescales over which the feedback processes operate.
DR says:

Note that Spencer’s work is based on observational evidence whereas Hansen et al is still parameterization of climate models.

Actually, if you have read much of Hansen’s work, you would know that he argues that the best evidence for what the climate sensitivity actually is comes from looking at the estimated forcing and resulting temperature response between the current climate and the last glacial maximum (LGM). So, in fact, Hansen also believes the strongest conclusions come from obervational evidence.
Of course, with observational evidence, there is always the possibility that the observations are wrong or that they are being misinterpreted. However, this holds for the observational data and interpretation of Spencer as well as that of Hansen.

DR

Joel Shore
A GCM is a hypothesis and cannot be used to prove anything.

Mr Walton said (15:59:36) :
“… I find it fairly difficult to take seriously anything some completely anonymous blogger writes.”
Quite right too, dreadful people, they should be banned !
Or not.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whether something written is right or wrong can only be determined by analysing the substance of what is written. That the writer might have an ulterior motive is neither here nor there, many a true statement has been made by a deceitful crook, you just have to take the time to weigh the statement rather than concentrating on the author. Anonymity is similarly irrelevant, for example Middlemarch is a great novel and would be exactly the same great novel had the author used her real name.
Some anonymous contributors add nothing of substance, but enough about me.

Henry Galt

Ed Scott
Thanks for the lists. I have been sifting those for a while. The majority on both are “out of their field” or “retired” or “in the pay of big oil” or … well, you get my drift.
What I would like to gather is a list of scientists whose scientific credentials and focus are on climatology and/or related subjects who have come down on our side of the fence.
I am getting fed up of quoting, for example-
Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu B.S. and a M.S. in geophysics at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. Ph.D in geophysics at The University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA. Author: Is the Earth still recovering from the “Little Ice Age”? Director of the Geophysical Institute from 1986 until 1999, during which time the Alaska Volcano Observatory was established and Poker Flat Research Range was modernized. He went on to become the first director of the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) upon its establishment in 1998, and remained in that position until 2007. The same year, the building which houses IARC was named in his honour.
“Certainly, global warming is in progress. However, in spite of their claim, not even the [IPCC] presents definite scientific proof that “most” of the present warming is caused by the greenhouse effect, as stated in their summary report. It is simply an assumption. Since the physics of the greenhouse effect of CO2 is well known, and since they thought that no other forcing function is likely to be the cause, the IPCC hypothesized that the warming from about 1900 was caused by it. They assembled a large number of scientists, mostly meteorologists and physicists (not necessarily climatologists who are really needed in climate research) and tried to prove their hypothesis based on supercomputer models. They have continued to do so, in spite of new evidence from some ice core data, which shows that the temperature rises tend to precede CO2 rises by about 1000 years, suggesting that the hypothesized relationship between the temperature and CO2 is reversed, namely that some of the past temperature rises may be the cause of CO2 rises. It is very unfortunate that the hypothesis has somehow become ‘fact.’”
To then be told “he is a founder member of the Heartland institute” and “his science is dodgy anyway”.
It is getting as tiresome as seeing only mention of the unholy trinity of Gore, Hansen and Mann when the opposition are invoked.
Geophysics is quite acceptable to me as “climate related”.

Mike Bryant

“Of course, with observational evidence, there is always the possibility that the observations are wrong or that they are being misinterpreted. ”
Absolutely, don’t believe your lying eyes… believe the models.

Bill Illis

I posted the first response on that thread using the global temp data essentially backing up Spencer’s take on the issue from a different angle.
Tamino then threatened me by talking about my IP address and hence I do not post at or read that site anymore.

Bob S

“In any case, I find it fairly difficult to take seriously anything some completely anonymous blogger writes.”
I am pretty sure that Watts posted a link to one of Tamino’s papers on this very blog entry…Who do you think Grant Foster is?

Joel Shore

DR says:

A GCM is a hypothesis and cannot be used to prove anything.

And, this is related to what I said how exactly?
Mike Bryant says:

Absolutely, don’t believe your lying eyes… believe the models.

But, I didn’t say that, did I? What I actually said is that both Hansen and Spencer have based their climate sensitivity estimates on observational data. But observational data and its interpretation is not foolproof (as is clearly the case here…since they arrive at very different estimates).
And, as for whether one should believe observational data or models, there is no strict rule that says that one is always right and the other is wrong. As someone who does computational science for a living, it is part of my job to determine in situations where the model and data disagree which is more likely to be correct. And, sometimes I have concluded…correctly, as subsequent investigation has shown…that indeed my modeling is correct and the data…or its interpretation…is wrong. (Other times, of course, I conclude that the data is probably correct and the modeling wrong.) And, I think anybody who works with me would tell you that history has shown that, if anything, I to end to err on the side of not trusting the modeling enough rather than trusting it too much.

kim

Joel (17:08:07) Hansen’s interpretations are more likely to suffer from the Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy than are Spencer’s, though, and I believe they do.
==================================

Joel Shore

I posted the first response on that thread using the global temp data essentially backing up Spencer’s take on the issue from a different angle.

…And making lots of incorrect statements in the process.

Tamino then threatened me by talking about my IP address and hence I do not post at or read that site anymore.

I am not sure why noting that you have the same IP address as someone who posted similar incorrect stuff under a different name constitutes a “threat”.
(For those who want to read Bill’s comment and Tamino’s reply, it is the first one in this thread: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/spencers-folly/ )

kim

Bill (18:30:55) Tamino has been nasty, unfair, and close-minded to me, too, but then, I’ve made jokes about the clear visioned statistician who occasionally sees as through a glass, darkly, like for instance, his rubbish defense of the Piltdown Mann’s Crook’t Hockey Stick. Ian Jolliffe cleaned his clock, wiping the glass quite clearly, with that one.
==================================

David Walton

Re: Joel Shore’s “Or another analogy might be that you (analog of Tamino) calculate the trajectory of a projectile and I (analog of Spencer) point out that it is incorrect because you have failed to include relativistic effects”
Excuse me, but you are putting words in my mouth. Please be so kind as to stay out of my mouth with your irrelevant and specious analogs.
(By the way, space vessel trajectories — which are merely fancy and exotic projectiles — must include relativistic effects to be accurate.
It may be convenient for you and Tamino to try and dismiss Spencer’s work as irrelevant and/or impractical but it shows how models are affected dynamic parameters that are not unreasonable.
Re: Joel Shore’s “Of course, with observational evidence, there is always the possibility that the observations are wrong or that they are being misinterpreted. However, this holds for the observational data and interpretation of Spencer as well as that of Hansen.”
There is also the possibility that you do not exist. Then again, you may. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Yawn.

Henry Galt

Bill Illis, I must sympathise. One of the first jobs I had as a child was shooting vermin at my local farm. The first rule I was taught was to never corner a rat as they then become most dangerous. The second rule was two part; Don’t shoot varmints with the critter gun as it just annoys them, and, don’t do the opposite for obvious reasons.
“trevor (14:31:53) :
Also, this very interesting piece http://climatesci.org/2008/10/02/an-essay-the-ipcc-report-what-the-lead-authors-really-think/ doesn’t seem to have caught the attention that it deserves yet.”
Wonderful. Just the sort of rat poison I am constantly looking for. Thanks. I have a thorn in my side. Well, if it were just me I would live with it but whenever I mention someone and their science this thorn goes scurrying to rc, tamino, exxonsecrets etc to find “the dirt” on them and spread it all over.
She says some great stuff.

Joel Shore

kim says:

Hansen’s interpretations are more likely to suffer from the Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy than are Spencer’s, though, and I believe they do.

Yeah, like Spencer’s not fishing for observational data and ways to interpret them that support his a priori assumption that climate sensitivity is low? Spencer’s own biases are well-known and his past record with the errors in the UAH satellite data analysis suggest a tendency to make errors that lower the rate of warming (or even falsely show a cooling trend).
I am not saying that Spencer is dishonest, but simply that all sciences have biases. And, yes, Hansen has biases too. However, the scientific process works in such a way that is difficult for individual scientists’ biases to completely corrupt an entire field. AGW “skeptics” are in the position of having to argue that indeed the biases have corrupted the entire field…and also taken in basically all of the credible scientific organizations and now even a lot of corporations (including many, like BP and Shell, who would seem to have a stake in promoting “skepticism” of AGW…and indeed who participated in this through the now-defunct Global Climate Coalition until the science became so overwhelming that they were forced to change their tune).

Joel Shore

I wrote “but simply that all sciences have biases” when I meant to write “but simply that all scientists have biases” in my preceding post.

David Walton

Re: Fatbigot’s “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whether something written is right or wrong can only be determined by analysing the substance of what is written.”
You go ahead and analyze all the anonymous bloggers you want. I have far better things to do with my time than examine the tedious minutiae of people who can’t even bring themselves to put their names to a page.

Mike Bryant

“And, sometimes I have concluded…correctly, as subsequent investigation has shown…that indeed my modeling is correct and the data…or its interpretation…is wrong.”
I’ll believe that when I see it…

Michael J. Bentley

David and Mike,
Not quite so fast on the observational evidence issue. Both of you consider this:
5 People witness a traffic accident. They are interviewed by the same officer. There are five different stories. To integrate those five stories you need to examine the persons physical abilitiies ability to see, hear, stand, etc), their location from the scene, and what their attention was focused on at the time. (there are probably more but these, I think are the major ones). Only then can you bring these separate realities into a reasonable reconstruction.
The climate is a big puzzle, only with pieces that can fit many places and look really good, and only in the big picture start to show they are misplaced.
The issue here is not scientists debating or even if we agree with them. I like many of the folks who contribute here – they have Hutzpa (spelling on that) and are willing to defend their arguments. However, I do have problems with peopeople running around shouting about the climate when so little is known about it. Spending my hard earned tax dollars on some idiotic idea to change the world when there is little proof it will work, is needed or even slightly beneficial drives me up a wall.
I’ll bet my next social security check that 95% of the people examining the problem are trying to be honest and unbiased in their assembling and use of data. The other five percent are in it for the money and that includes many of our elected politicians.
Let’s clean the congress and legislatures. The jury’s out and it still looks like “It ain’t broke, we don’t need to fix it!
Mike

kim

Joel Shore (19:19:57) That’s a scurrilous charge. Show me the misinterpretation of data. Your insult is a guess.
========================================

kim

Also, Joel, I would say that James Hansen has been in a position to corrupt the entire field. He has certainly been the trumpeter of doom along with the Gorebellied Fool. I believe Hansen started with the good intentions of saving the earth, but he’s simply wrong, and someone’s going to have to tell him, someday.
================================================

kuhnkat

Joel Shore,
Spencer is using direct readings of conditions currently in existence with the best equipment currently available.
Hansen is using proxy data that has been collected a several different ways with varying levels of accuracy and interpretation.
There is simply no comparison.

Alan S. Blue

Not just proxy data. He’s relying on massaging precipitation proxies to convert them to temperature proxies.