IPCC Gate Du Jour – now IPCC hurricane data questioned

Now IPCC hurricane data is questioned

Open science: Got Excel? Debunk this

By Andrew Orlowski The Register

Above: Hurricane ACE data from Ryan Maue. Note where 2009 is in the scheme of things. More here.

More trouble looms for the IPCC. The body may need to revise statements made in its Fourth Assessment Report on hurricanes and global warming. A statistical analysis of the raw data shows that the claims that global hurricane activity has increased cannot be supported.

Les Hatton once fixed weather models at the Met Office. Having studied Maths at Cambridge, he completed his PhD as metereologist: his PhD was the study of tornadoes and waterspouts. He’s a fellow of the Royal Meterological Society, currently teaches at the University of Kingston, and is well known in the software engineering community – his studies include critical systems analysis.

Hatton has released what he describes as an ‘A-level’ statistical analysis, which tests six IPCC statements against raw data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Administration. He’s published all the raw data and invites criticism, but warns he is neither “a warmist nor a denialist”, but a scientist.

Hatton performed a z-test statistical analysis of the period 1999-2009 against 1946-2009 to test the six conclusions. He also ran the data ending with what the IPCC had available in 2007. He found that North Atlantic hurricane activity increased significantly, but the increase was counterbalanced by diminished activity in the East Pacific, where hurricane-strength storms are 50 per cent more prevalent. The West Pacific showed no significant change. Overall, the declines balance the increases.

“When you average the number of storms and their strength, it almost exactly balances.” This isn’t indicative of an increase in atmospheric energy manifesting itself in storms.

Even the North Atlantic increase should be treated with caution, Hatton concludes, since the period contains one anomalous year of unusually high hurricane activity – 2005 – the year Al Gore used the Katrina tragedy to advance the case for the manmade global warming theory.

The IPCC does indeed conclude that “there is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.” If only the IPCC had stopped there. Yet it goes on to make more claims, and draw conclusions that the data doesn’t support.

Read the rest of the story at the Regsiter here

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Robert

Status? Presented, submitted, published?
As an aside, the notion that work questioning the IPCC’s conclusions is an “x-gate,” i.e., a scandal, is ridiculous. It’s irresponsible and indicative of ignorance of the basic principles of scientific inquiry to imply that work questioning your conclusions is a stain or your integrity or even a big deal.

Good. Some real science. Well done.

GrahamF

Very interesting. Now I wonder why it cannot be published:
“Hatton has thirty years of experience of getting scientific papers published, but describes this one, available on his personal website, as “unpublishable”.”
Is that the peer-review system and journals that won’t publish anything that goes against the “consensus”.
G

Cold Englishman

For any over there who are puzzled about ‘A-level’, it is the required examination (Advanced) level for entry to university, in other words, a pretty good standard of mathematics required, but not PhD level.
How many more wheels are there on the bus to fall off?

I remember reading this statement in AR4 saying “there is no statistical increase of hurricanes” but “it is likely they will increase”.
Will any not skewed fundamental IPCC claim stand up?

Honest ABE

I’d better submit my grant for Obamamoney soon before the fear is killed.
I was thinking of painting the moon black – that’d cool things off right? I imagine it’ll be at least as effective as cap n’ trade.

par5

Two hurricanes (cyclones) now in the southern hemisphere
http://www.sailwx.info/hurricanes/hurricanes.phtml

Ron de Haan

“Yes, but the underlying science is undisputed. Besides that, all the measures we take like the introduction of wind, solar and bio fuels are necessary because we will run out of oil anyway”.
Response Environmental Minister Cramer in the Netherlands, answering the question what’s wrong with the IPCC AR-4 report.
This is the standard world wide response of the entire political warmists gang, pushing the scare and their policies despite ClimateGate, IPCC AR-4 Gates, conflicting scientific reports, or (criminal) investigations into the practices of the scientists.
Record snowfall and below average winters have been caused by AGW as well.
The public attending the televised interview were applauding the wisdom of this Minister who was a scientist before she started her political career.
And how did she respond to the Jones interview where the statement was made about the lack of Global warming since 1995?
Well, the newspaper was wrong! Jones never said that!
Another applause, the Minister leaves and the moderator wishes her well with her most difficult task.
It will take a huge effort to change the public opinion about AGW in the Netherlands.
Let alone change the Government policies.

nok

Another lie, when will they stop?

I am constantly gratified to find one (online) newspaper that makes it a habit to publish articles that tweak the nose of the establishment. Hats off to that iconoclastic rag, The Register, Biting the hand that feeds IT.
It was the register that first gave me facts to support my growing suspicion that AGW was BS. I am fairly sure The Register led me to WUWT, also.
cheers,
gary

Stefan

Audit the IPCC!

No surprise. The IPCC has sadly tried to hype the possible results of global warming in some kind of whirlwind through every place on earth from the trials of the lesser spotted green tree lizard of Upper Volta through too many storms in Karachi. And every politician in every town, city and state has jumped on the opportunity.
The result – everyone not originally in the choir has become an outright skeptic. And now the IPCC, and their cheerleaders, are wondering why no one is listening to them.
The Ghosts of Climates Past demonstrate huge changes in climate with no human interference, and that in itself should have made the IPCC cautious about attributing every change to humans.
Well, they got the short-term gain from hyping. Now the long-term pain..

old construction worker

I seem to recall a good Dr.? threaten to sue IPCC to have his name removed over the hurricane issue.

Edbhoy

This is not surprising as Craig Loehle published something similar last year which was taken up by Joe Bastardi at Accuweather. Others (Judith Curry I think) have claimed that although the total energy has not increased the number of severe storms has.

IPCC/TERI chief Pachauri denies the existence of additional IPCC errors.
http://climategate2009.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/climategate-pachauri-denies-ipcc-errors/

Kaye Coates

I read saw this phrase recently and thought it pretty apt (wish I had penned it!!)
“now that ‘Climate Change’ can be restored to its orignal name of ‘Seasons’……”
from
http://www.northstarnational.com/2010/02/16/childhood-obesity-hunger-left%E2%80%99s-global-warming/

(Please delete prior message with wrong video)
IPCC/TERI chief Pachauri denies the existence of additional IPCC errors

Tom P

Les Hatton’s analysis is able to test three and only three of the IPCC statements on hurricanes:
1. There has been an increase in hurricane intensity in the North At-
lantic since the 1970s.
2. There is no clear trend in the number of hurricanes.
3. Other regions appear to have experienced increased hurricane intensity
as well.
Statistically, to confirm 1 both an increase in intensity should be seen and the null hypothesis should be rejected at a significant level. To confirm 2 the null hypothesis of a clear trend, whether positive or negative, should not be rejected. Finally, to confirm 3, an increase in intensity should be seen, but it need not be significant – the inclusion of “appear to” is obviously weakening this statement considerably.
Here are the results with Hatton’s calculated t-statistics and significance:
1. Confirmed: null hypothesis of no increase in major hurricanes, rejected at the 5% level, t =1.81; null hypothesis of no change in the proportion of hurricanes maturing into major hurricanes, rejected at the 5% level, t = 1.68
2. Confirmed: there has been an increase, but at t = 1.21 this is not significant.
3. Confirmed: null hypothesis of no increase in major hurricanes, t =0.57, an increase but not significant; null hypothesis of no change in the proportion of hurricanes maturing into major hurricanes, t = 0.24, an increase but not significant.
The remainder of Hatton’s conclusions regarding the IPCC statements on hurricanes rest on his views of climate modelling (he’s not a fan), but he doesn’t consider any of the models’ results.
Hatton confirm’s the IPCC statements on hurricanes where he can, and snarls at the rest. Does trouble loom for the IPCC? Not on the basis of Hatton’s analysis.

Misterar

“I was thinking of painting the moon black – that’d cool things off right? I imagine it’ll be at least as effective as cap n’ trade”
and cheaper, probably.

Mike Hulme Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia had this to say at the BBC Radio Live.
“I do think actually the IPCC is probably past its sell by date.”

The full Radio 5 segment with Mike Hulme, Richard North and Roger Harrabin the BBC Environment Analyst is at this link)
http://climategate2009.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/climategate-science-under-the-microscope/

@ Robert
> As an aside, the notion that work questioning the IPCC’s conclusions is an “x-gate,” i.e., a scandal, is ridiculous. It’s irresponsible and indicative of ignorance of the basic principles of scientific inquiry to imply that work questioning your conclusions is a stain or your integrity or even a big deal.
It shouldn’t be…
but until quite recently anybody who dared to criticise, or was even slightly skeptical of, any part of the consensus/IPCC conclusion was
(a) labelled a denier, and/or compared to a holocaust denier, even a Nazi
(b) told they were unscientific and anti-science
(c) told their work/ideas/criticisms were irrelevant because of the mountain of peer-review articles on the consensus/IPCC side.
Actually, strike that… well the bit about “until quite recently”… in fact, it’s still happening. Gordon Brown, Bill Nye, and realclimate, and quite a few others, are still arguing the above.
When the public discussion is largely conducted in the mode of politics (forming a consensus) rather than science (welcome skepticism as offering potential tests of a theory)… then it’s hardly surprising that the criticisms also follow the mode of politics (X-gate)

rbateman

thegoodlocust (01:14:29) :
What your need is a jumbo can of asteroid black somewhat darker than the Mare on the Moon. Perhaps a powderized asteroid or two sent in the general direction would do the trick? Chondrite is too bright and Iron-Nickel is too shiny. No need to do a Sherman Willams on it, one side will suffice.

par5

And less than 1 hour after posting, Rene gets downgraded to ‘tropical storm’
status…

If there’s supposed to be a ‘gate here, I wish these posts would actually quote the statement from the IPCC that is supposed to be wrong, and show how it has been disproved. That’s not done in this post, not in Orlowski’s article. If you track down to Hatton’s pdf via his website, then you do, as Tom P says, find some formal statements. But as Tom also says, it’s most unclear that Hatton has actually disproved them.

kim

Tom P, see Ryan Maue’s graph of Accumulated Cyclone Energy, which is at a 30 year low.
================================

Andy

“Status? Presented, submitted, published?”
Knocked on the head by people ‘redefining what the peer review literature is”?
If climategate reveals only one thing it’s that the peer review process is deeply flawed and the old canard “It’s not published’ is dead.

Andy

Oh and the argument about publication in no way impacts on the truth of what is being sadi (or untruth for that matter)

Gerard

Am I the only one to see the solar cycle in the picture above, with a one to two year lag? Agreed, statistically it will not be significant, but my human pattern recognition mode says there are minima around 09. 98, 88 and 77

Tom P

kim (03:56:46) :
“Tom P, see Ryan Maue’s graph of Accumulated Cyclone Energy, which is at a 30 year low.”
Agreed. There’s also no clear trend in either ACE or, as the IPCC stated, the number of tropical hurricanes.

Ricardo

Oh please stop!
Don’t you know that some of us need to do other things; like working, eating and sleeping?!?
Here you are, constantly published interesting, informative and indepth expose’s on the greatest scam ever and I am “forced” to read and understand it all!?!
On a more serious note; a big thank you for challenging the orthodoxy and educating those who wish to hear.
I am still waiting to see if even one part of the IPCC scam can be proven close’ish to accurate.
A comedy show in Aus, decade or so ago, used the expression “business – scam – corporation” to describe the phases of a ‘good’ idea – it just seems appropriate in these circumstances!

Sean Ogilvie

I’m starting to worry.
What am I going to do with my spare time when I don’t have global warming to read about and laugh at anymore?

Herman L

Nick Stokes (03:12:40) writes:
If there’s supposed to be a ‘gate here, I wish these posts would actually quote the statement from the IPCC that is supposed to be wrong, and show how it has been disproved. That’s not done in this post, not in Orlowski’s article.
The IPCC’s statements on hurricanes: “Intense tropical cyclone activity increase: Likely (>66%) in some regions since 1970”
For some people, it’s a scandal even if you admit up front that there’s a one in three chance you’re data does not correctly represent reality. Despite this, I predict a 90 percent chance that we will see more references to this as some sort of “scandal” by the IPCC.

To ‘Old Contruction Worker’.
It was Dr Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute and WHO, who threatened legal action because the IPCC had claimed he supported their bullshit on tropical diseases.

kim

Tom P 4:54:25
Good, we have some agreement. Now explain why the IPCC conception of greater intensity of storms came about. Isn’t it because of the supposedly higher energy in storm systems with AGW? Granted, a total figure does not say much about those individual figures used to sum the total, but the evidence that individual figures are greater now than in the past is absent.
Time to revisit Landsea vs Trenberth.
===========================

”..all the measures we take like the introduction of wind, solar and bio fuels are necessary because we will run out of oil anyway” (Environmental Minister Cramer)
It is similarly clever idea like wearing short sleeve t-shirt today, since in the summer it will be warm anyway :-/

Gerard (04:27:19) :
Am I the only one to see the solar cycle in the picture above, with a one to two year lag? Agreed, statistically it will not be significant, but my human pattern recognition mode says there are minima around 09. 98, 88 and 77
In evolutionary terms a false positive is harmless.

starzmom

Surely, Robert, you are not suggesting that the WWF, Greenpeace and other advocacy literature that the IPCC relied on are peer-reviewed scientific studies. And I hope you are not suggesting that the IPCC cited articles from mountaineering and travel magazines are also peer-reviewed scientific studies. If so, I would suggest you go look at those sources again.

As a person who lives at ground zero for hurricanes, I can say real hurricanes are decidedly down. And all the NHC tiny tims are not doing anything to help the real records. Now we need two sets of books, else the old data be useless.
hmmm isn’t this what happened to surface temperature records? They were massaged so much they just disappeared.
You would think no one at the IPCC knows math.

Jim Clarke

Nick Stokes,
“…it’s most unclear that Hatton has actually disproved them. (IPCC statements on future hurricanes.)”
How can one ‘disprove’ random conjecture about the future? For example, if I say the Earth will experience a 10 fold increase in earthquakes in 40-50 years, how can anyone prove that I am wrong? No one can! Does that mean we should immediately, therefore, demand that all structures be built to new and expensive earthquake standards while we slowly evacuate places like California? I doubt that you would think so.
The IPCC statements about the future of hurricanes are not based on any observable data. In fact, the observable data argues against the IPCC claim, which I think is the beginning of Hatton’s point. The IPCC statements are based on models that are built with oversimplified assumptions that the current data shows to be untrue. So why should we believe these models?
It would be one thing if these same models had a long track record of success and were out of step only on this one issue. Then maybe we would have to give the models the benefit of the doubt. But the models have not been correct about ANYTHING of significance or duration! Only a fool would give these models the benefit of the doubt on hurricane prediction!

The IPCC does indeed conclude that “there is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.”
So this is a “gate…” how, again?

Henry chance

This is why they hammer on 2035 and 2100 forecasts. They are harder to refute. Current forecasting major failings are hurtfull and detrimental. I notice some portray their graphs and long term claims as if they are facts.
There is a word called oscillation. It has upts and downs. The extremists plot their lines using the upward slopes. The starting points are conveniently low markings.

Pamela Gray

Before anyone sees an external forcing (Sun, moon, stars, cosmos, magnetic anything, center of the universe, etc) of the downward sloping “pumping” action in the graph, look for internal conditions, IE Earth’s own weather parameters, to see if natural causes are at work. Among these would be the timing of the AO, PDO, ENSO, and Atlantic oscillations and conditions. Hurricanes need warm water and a lack of the Easterlies peeling that warm layer away. During the peak years, was the water warm and the Easterlies asleep?

Charlie A

We need to distinguish between two different cases.
In one case, the IPCC makes a statement that is either false or not supported by the literature available up to the chosen cutoff date.
In the other case, IPCC makes a statement that later turns out to be incorrect.
The AR4 is not meant to be a living document that is updated continually as time progresses and new data is acquired. While the IPCC has many problems, it is unfair to attack IPCC for guesses that, while supported by literature and data at the time they were made, later turned out to be incorrect.

Richard M

Tom and Nick, Pllleeeeaaaassssseeeeeee …
We all heard the claims that Katrina’s will become the norm supposedly based on the IPCC report. We also know of Trenberth’s refusal to tone down the IPCC statements even after the top hurricane researcher resigned the IPCC.
So, spare us your nonsense. Spare us your silly attempts to downplay what the IPCC claimed. Spare us your but, but, buts ….

James F. Evans

How many shoes does the IPCC have in its closet?
Because with the IPCC, you don’t have to wait long for the “other shoe to drop”.

kwik
Scott B.

Nick Stokes (03:12:40) :
>>If there’s supposed to be a ‘gate here, I wish these posts would actually quote the statement from the IPCC that is supposed to be wrong, and show how it has been disproved. That’s not done in this post, not in Orlowski’s article. If you track down to Hatton’s pdf via his website, then you do, as Tom P says, find some formal statements. But as Tom also says, it’s most unclear that Hatton has actually disproved them.<<
I'm not sure the objective is to disprove these statements so much as to point out that the statements are not based on the data. Some of these statements are only the opinion of "experts," not supported by data at all, or only provide the "bad" news side of the story. Hatton is just pointing this out.
The IPCC states that "Intense tropical cyclone activity increases is likely in some regions since 1970." This is a true statement. But that's just the bad news. The good news, as Hatton shows, is that other regions have seen lessened intense tropical cyclone activity since 1970. Why isn't that mentioned in the summary for policymakers?
Further, the IPCC states that "Intense tropical cyclone activity increases is more likely than not attributable to human influences." This statement is just based on the opinion of "experts." The footnote actually reads… "Magnitude of anthropogenic contributions not assessed. Attribution for these phenomena based on expert judgement rather than formal attribution studies."
At least the IPCC had the sense to tell us that that this is just someone's best guess and not supported by data. But how can you disprove it, then? Better yet, if it can't be disproven, and hasn't been proven, should it be included in the report?

blcjr

Tom P (02:16:26) :
….
Here are the results with Hatton’s calculated t-statistics and significance:
1. Confirmed: null hypothesis of no increase in major hurricanes, rejected at the 5% level, t =1.81; null hypothesis of no change in the proportion of hurricanes maturing into major hurricanes, rejected at the 5% level, t = 1.68
2. Confirmed: there has been an increase, but at t = 1.21 this is not significant.
3. Confirmed: null hypothesis of no increase in major hurricanes, t =0.57, an increase but not significant; null hypothesis of no change in the proportion of hurricanes maturing into major hurricanes, t = 0.24, an increase but not significant.

Depend on our resident anti-skeptic to present the results of a skeptical analysis in the worst possible light. Which is okay, because we do want to understand any weaknesses in skeptical presentations. And I have a question or two about this study, myself.
But first: these are hardly representative of the complete results of this paper. Talk about cherry picking! These are results for the Atlantic basin. The author looks at other regions, also, and then combines them all for a global analysis. Only in the Atlantic region were the results favorable to Tom P’s POV.
Now for my concerns, or questions. I’ve skimmed through the report, looking for some specific indication of whether the t tests are one tailed, or two tailed, but if that is indicated, I’ve missed it. But the result that Tom P reports, for item #1, where a t of 1.81 is said to be significant at the 5% level can be true only of a one tailed test. One tailed tests are appropriate only under unique circumstances, and never just to make it easier to achieve statistical significance. I’m not sure a good case can be made for using a one tailed test here. Yes, the interest is in whether hurricane activity has increased. But that is not enough of a rationale to justify a one tailed test. If it is possible that hurricane activity has decreased, and if this is an outcome worth knowing, then sound methodology dictates a two tailed test.
Then I’ve got a question about the way the samples were compared. Were the years 1946-1998 treated as one sample, and 1999-2009 as another sample, and then the means compared and tested? Or was the mean of 1999-2009 tested against the mean of 1946-2009? I cannot tell, but I have a suspicion that it is the latter, which does not strike me as appropriate. Moreover, either way, I cannot replicate the t of 1.81. When I compare 1946-1998, which has a mean number of major hurricanes (MH) of 2.4340 per year, and an S.D. of 1.8863, to 1999-2009, which has a mean MH of 3.7273 per hear, and an S.D. of 1.7939, the test comes out like this:
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Null hypothesis: Difference of means = 0
Sample 1:
n = 53, mean = 2.434, s.d. = 1.8863
standard error of mean = 0.259103
95% confidence interval for mean: 1.91407 to 2.95393
Sample 2:
n = 11, mean = 3.7273, s.d. = 1.7939
standard error of mean = 0.540881
95% confidence interval for mean: 2.52214 to 4.93246
Test statistic: t(62) = (2.434 – 3.7273)/0.620145 = -2.08548
Two-tailed p-value = 0.04115
(one-tailed = 0.02057)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Here the t is -2.08, not 1.81 (ignore the difference in sign). If I compare 1999-2009 to the entire period, which is what I think Hatton may have done, I get the following:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Null hypothesis: Difference of means = 0
Sample 1:
n = 64, mean = 2.6563, s.d. = 1.9208
standard error of mean = 0.2401
95% confidence interval for mean: 2.1765 to 3.1361
Sample 2:
n = 11, mean = 3.7273, s.d. = 1.7939
standard error of mean = 0.540881
95% confidence interval for mean: 2.52214 to 4.93246
Test statistic: t(73) = (2.6563 – 3.7273)/0.62143 = -1.72344
Two-tailed p-value = 0.08904
(one-tailed = 0.04452)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now the t is -1.72, and is only significant at the 5% level for a one tailed test; for a 2 tailed test it is only significant at the 10% level. Incidentally, or maybe notably, I cannot find support for the 1.81 in Hatton’s spreadsheet. I find a 1.70, which I think may be his attempt at the 1946-2009 vs. 1999-2009 comparison for MH in the Atlantic Basin. Close, but I’m not passing out cigars because we should be able to exactly replicated this.
Now while I never can trust Tom P to tell the whole story, it is bothersome that something as simple as this cannot be readily replicated, or even understood from the original paper or the data itself. While Hatton can be commended for releasing the data in an Excel spreadsheet, the presentation of the statistical results in that spreadsheet is difficult, if not impossible, to follow, and doesn’t seem to agree with the numbers in the paper.
This is pretty basic stuff. I’m not sure Hatton handled it very well.

Slartibartfast

OT: whatever happened with the Monckton/Lambert debate?
Lambert is claiming victory, as you’d expect, but it’s curious in the extreme that I can’t find the video or transcripts. It’s almost as if neither side comported itself all that well.
Summation is purportedly here, but I can’t view it right now.