Wrong way econometricians

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Actual newspaper - click to enlarge

People send me stuff. This one reminds me of a famous wrong way:

Hi Anthony

Today we had some rumour in the Dutch media due to a paper by a couple of econometricians which projected dramatic warming. Ross McKitrick discovered they had used a wrong dataset; We blogged about here: http://climategate.nl/2010/03/09/four-degrees-warming-in-2050-oops-you-used-the-wrong-dataset/
It would be nice if you could post it on WUWT as well,
cheers
Marcel Crok

Science writer

This morning, there was lot of noise in the Dutch media (unfortunately in Dutch only) about new research that was claiming a dramatic warming of 4 degrees in 2050. The news report quoted Dutch econometricians from the University of Tilburg. They had done a statistical analysis of temperature data and the influence of CO2 and solar radiation and concluded that aerosols masked much more of the warming of greenhouse gases than previously thought. This also means there is more warming in the pipeline for the future if the trend of global brightening, that has been detected by researcher Martin Wild of ETH in Zürich, will continue in the coming decades. They also draw policy conclusions from their research stating that in order to avoid more than 2 degree warming more drastic measures are to be taken. This news was copied by many Dutch news outlets.

Detection

Although at first I could not figure out if there was a paper behind the news article and whether or not it has been accepted for publication (I still don’t know), I finally determined it had to be this paper: http://center.uvt.nl/staff/magnus/wip04.pdf

I decided to pass the paper on to Ross McKitrick, who, as many of the readers know, published two interesting papers (here and here) on the influence of different economic parameters on the pattern of warming at the surface. Within hours McKitrick came back with an interesting finding which makes any detailed discussion on the paper let’s say… irrelevant.

Remember, their study is an attribution study depending on long term trends in temperature measurements. For their study they use a rather obscure CRU dataset: CRU TS 2.1. You can find its documentation below. The webpage reads:

The CRU TS 2.1 data-set comprises 1224 monthly grids of observed climate, for the period 1901-2002, and covering the global land surface at 0.5 degree resolution. There are nine climate variables available: daily mean, minimum and maximum temperature, diurnal temperature range, precipitation, wet day frequency, frost day frequency, vapour pressure and cloud cover.

Read the documentation

There is also a peer-reviewed paper behind CRU TS 2.1: Mitchell and Jones, International Journal of Climatology, 2005, so that’s OK. However, if the authors had just cared to go through this webpage in some detail, they would have found a link to this page:

It says:

Q1. Is it legitimate to use CRU TS 2.0 to ‘detect anthropogenic climate change’ (IPCC language)?

A1. No.

CRU TS 2.0 is specifically NOT designed for climate change detection or attribution in the classic IPCC sense. The classic IPCC detection issue deals with the distinctly anthropogenic climate changes we are already experiencing. Therefore it is necessary, for IPCC detection to work, to remove all influences of urban development or land use change on the station data.

In contrast, the primary purpose for which CRU TS 2.0 has been constructed is to permit environmental modellers to incorporate into their models as accurate a representation as possible of month-to-month climate variations, as experienced in the recent past. Therefore influences from urban development or land use change remain an integral part of the data-set. We emphasise that we use all available climate data.

If you want to examine the detection of anthropogenic climate change, we recommend that you use the Jones temperature data-set. This is on a coarser (5 degree) grid, but it is optimised for the reliable detection of anthropogenic trends. For precipitation trends, use the Hulme data-set (5 degree grid or 2.5 x 3.75 grid). There are few alternatives to Hulme in the first half of the 20th century; later, to include the oceans use the Xie and Arkin data-set; for the last 25 years you could also use the GPCC data-set.

Yikes. This dataset is not to be used for the type of study performed by these econometricians. Never. Period. Don’t use it. Lies, damned lies, statistics and very sloppy science.

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94 thoughts on “Wrong way econometricians

  1. I would say that this is what peer review done properly is all about – except it would be an insult to you, Anthony, to imply that these hacks are your peers.
    You give the word “Peerless” a new meaning!

  2. They know that they can claim anything and the MSM will publish it.Their message was sent to thousands of people,who cares about the science behind the message?they need a Fox news in Europe,poor people.

  3. Ha, I told you they were gonna try to blame albedo. Watch the coming demonization of the poor of this earth for their nasty particulates.
    ==========

  4. It must be incredibly distressing and frustrating, after 20 years of having the media fawn over any old codswallop that you gave them. To now suddenly have people checking your sources.

  5. I certainly know of economists, but can someone please tell me what an econometrician is? I notice as I type it the WordPress doesn’t seem to know what it is either.
    Ross McKitrick has done statistical reviews of historical or model data, but what the hell are these guys doing making future temperature models? Is an econometrician a new form of a climate scientist?
    It just gets funnier by the day! The funniest part is that ignorant media outlets pick this stuff up.

  6. Temperatures have scarcely changed over the last 15 years, but statistics tells us that they will suddenly shoot up four degrees over the next forty years.

  7. “masked much more of the warming of greenhouse gases than previously thought.”
    Yea, yea, we know; it’s worse than we thought. It’s always worse than we thought.

  8. Business as usual. The press latches on to a crappy study and hypes it to sell newspapers. I don’t see why this is news.

  9. Rob M, it would have to be a heck of a lot worse than I thought, because I never thought there was a problem at all. Does that make it infinitely worse? Perhaps it’s worse times an irrational number. Maybe a boffin at East Anglia can invent a number to multiply by zero to come up with something much worse.

  10. “Yikes. This dataset is not to be used for the type of study performed by these econometricians. Never. Period. Don’t use it. Lies, damned lies, statistics and very sloppy science.”
    Does this mean their work and conclusions are only ROBUST rather than VERY ROBUST??

  11. The “paper” is dated 1st September 2009, probably produced for the Copenhagen love-fest.
    It surfaces March 2010.
    Why? Why now?
    Someone pushed it.
    I think it is very import to discover who.

  12. The body of this mentions cru ts 2.1, while the answer refers to cru ts 2.0. Maybe not the same Data set?

  13. “I certainly know of economists, but can someone please tell me what an econometrician is?”
    I don’t know, either, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that an econometrician is someone who is way smarter and better looking than you, no matter smart or good looking you are. 🙂
    Seriously, though, it’s someone who applies mathematical and statistical techniques to economics (as if economics didn’t have enough trouble…)

  14. This is the opening paragraph of the article. Notice the cool, analytic detachment of the true objective scientist.
    “The Earth is getting warmer and much or all of this process is generally
    believed to be caused by humans. It is possible that humanity is about to
    face the most serious catastrophe since the Bubonic Plague in the fourteenth
    century killed 35 million people in Asia and half the population of Western
    Europe. Death from the plague was horrible, but swift. In The Decameron,
    Giovanni Boccaccio writes that victims often ‘ate lunch with their friends
    and dinner with their ancestors’. Global warming is not as swift, but its
    consequences could be no less horrible. There is much uncertainty about
    global warming. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the statistical
    evidence, using econometric panel data techniques.” http://center.uvt.nl/staff/magnus/wip04.pdf
    I am certain that the subsequent analysis will show no sign of a “confirmation bias”.

  15. Is 2.1 an extention of 2.0?
    “”CRU produced the original high-resolution climate grids (CRU TS 1.0; New et al., 2000) and an update to 1998 (CRU TS 1.1). Mitchell et al (2004) revised these grids and extended them to the year 2000 (CRU TS 2.0). The CRU 2.1 data-set revises and extends previous CRU data-sets. The grids have been recalculated in the version 2.1 for 1901-2002 period, following a complete revision of the underlying station databases and using an improved method. CRU expects to update this dataset soon, with data up until 2005. CGIAR-CSI will provide an update when this becomes available””
    http://csi.cgiar.org/cru/

  16. “…can someone please tell me what an econometrician is?”
    Someone who figures out how much it costs to wire a weather station?
    🙂

  17. Ah. This would be a gray paper then? We know how that turns out. AGW researchers still email nasty stuff to each other about contrarians and get papers published on the net or their comments quoted in magazines, in shades of gray, as if they haven’t been noticing the 700 lbs gorilla in the room.

  18. For those of you confused about the whether the CRU TS 2.0 anthropogenic detection caveat is applicable to the CRU TS 2.1 dataset, please read this:
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/hrg/timm/grid/CRU_TS_2_1_text.html#Guidance
    Specifically, this part:
    “The issues involved in using CRU TS 2.1 for time-series analysis are addressed more explicitly and fully; this guidance was originally given for CRU TS 2.0, but it applies equally to CRU TS 2.1. We recommend that all users who intend to examine climate change using this data-set should consider the issues carefully before beginning their work.”
    The blurb links to the aformentioned CRU TS 2.0 anthropogenic detection caveat. So yes, it applies to both the 2.0 and 2.1 datasets equally.

  19. I love reading these posts. Not only do I read about the “inside baseball” stuff, but my vocabulary is always increased. Today I learned…
    codswallop
    boffin

  20. Here is another critical error they made which completely undermines their entire case (independent of the CRU TS dataset issue), on page 23 they state:
    “Since CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere (Forster et al, 2007, p. 138), we may assume that CO2 is the same for each weather station and hence we don’t require information at station level for CO2.”
    Wrong. First of all, CO2 is NOT well-mixed in the atmosphere. Even NASA’s own chief scientist at JPL, Dr. Moustafa Chahine, said in a recent NASA press release that “contrary to prior assumptions, carbon dioxide is not well mixed in the troposphere”[1]. How much clearer of a signal do these guys need?
    Second, how can anyone assume that CO2 levels are “the same” across weather stations? If that were true, why would it be necessary to locate CO2 monitoring stations in the most remote and inhospitable regions of the Earth?
    1. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-196

  21. Weather will be playing quite a role in our food supplies around this planet with sudden weather annomolies and cooling trends that inhibit plant growth.
    Food prices are going to go way, way up!
    Wow, we have bad politicians, wrecked economies, religion and Al Gore.
    BOY, Do I feel depressed!

  22. JimAsh (16:48:17) :
    ™ (option+2)
    Can’t trademark without the Trademark Trdemark ©

    Ctrl-Shift-U-2122 -> ™
    and to toss it in…
    Ctrl-Shift-U-00A9 -> ©
    What keystroke combo is “option 2”? Ah heck, where is the “option” button anyway?

  23. Terry Kette (19:22:52) :
    I love reading these posts. Not only do I read about the “inside baseball” stuff, but my vocabulary is always increased. Today I learned…
    codswallop
    boffin

    You need to start reading The Register. Your vocabulary will increase immensely. Just not necessarily in a completely good way…

  24. In other Dutch news we learned that the former minister of milieu J. Cramer (old hag) paid half a million Euro’s to a spindoctor called “Maurits Groen” and his bureau “Milieu en Communicatie” (http://www.mgmc.nl/) in the running up to Copenhagen, basically she was handing out free money. My money that is.

  25. Arn Riewe (16:33:02) :
    I certainly know of economists, but can someone please tell me what an econometrician is? I notice as I type it the WordPress doesn’t seem to know what it is either.
    I had to use my Mad Google Skillz™ to figure it out, because “econometrician” went over my head at Mach 2. Evidently, an econometrician is someone who specializes in developing statistical models to elucidate the principles of economics.
    ‘Nother words, it’s just one more episode of *economists* pontificating about physics…

  26. kadaka,
    And here I thought I maybe I was the only El Reg fan – Ars Technica is good too (lots of overlap), but the pro-AGW side of the coin.
    Daniel H,
    NASA really should have retracted that press release. Their “lumpy” CO2 distribution was less than 8 (maybe 6 if I recall the post and discussion here correctly) ppm in variance. We’re talking very minor variances (2% or less). Unfortunately hype seems to trump clarity with science these days… NASA should be better than that.

  27. @Arn Riewe (16:33:02) :
    I could be wrong, but I suspect that an econometrician is an expert on the economy as much as a cosmetician is an expert on the cosmos.

  28. BTW – as much as everyone loves to hate economists, if used correctly econometrics can be very useful for finding relationships in data sets and analyzing their usefulness. Check out the post on mathematical analysis of CO2 that was posted a week or two back. Really intesting… to me at least
    It is, in many ways, much more advanced than the methods used in climate science… but at the same time, a good statistician can make the results say whatever they want.
    You have to start out with good data, your methods should be predetermined, and the results need to speak for themselves and not be spun. I’m not sure any of those apply to climate science.

  29. Daniel H (20:11:11) :
    Here is another critical error they made which completely undermines their entire case (independent of the CRU TS dataset issue), on page 23 they state:
    “Since CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere (Forster et al, 2007, p. 138), we may assume that CO2 is the same for each weather station and hence we don’t require information at station level for CO2.”
    Wrong. First of all, CO2 is NOT well-mixed in the atmosphere. Even NASA’s own chief scientist at JPL, Dr. Moustafa Chahine, said in a recent NASA press release that “contrary to prior assumptions, carbon dioxide is not well mixed in the troposphere”[1]. How much clearer of a signal do these guys need?
    Second, how can anyone assume that CO2 levels are “the same” across weather stations? If that were true, why would it be necessary to locate CO2 monitoring stations in the most remote and inhospitable regions of the Earth?
    1. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=20
    ==============================
    As the authors of the paper say:
    “What matters is whether small deviations from our assumptions will cause large or small changes in our conclusions.”

  30. Tim C (17:34:46) :
    “The “paper” is dated 1st September 2009, probably produced for the Copenhagen love-fest.”
    Okay;
    Copenhagen Snow-Fest ™

  31. CRU is saying that their data TS 2.0 is unadjusted. “The grids are based on raw station data.”!
    So what adjustments do you think they should have made?

  32. Nick Stokes (23:25:26) :
    CRU is saying that their data TS 2.0 is unadjusted. “The grids are based on raw station data.”!
    So what adjustments do you think they should have made?

    Better ones than they have been making!!

  33. Arn Riewe
    Ecomometricians try to model economic situatuations. I understand that econometricians’ models are better than nothing if you have to decide government policy – e.g. do you build another runway at Heathrow Airport.
    But how can it be possible to model such a chaotic system as climate? Isn’t climate the ultimate chaotic system? Is it possible to model chaotic systems?

  34. Econometry is a technique; you can’t blame a technique for it’s wrong application. 95% percent of all papers are junk across all disciplines. I don’t blame computer science for the 95% junk papers about edge detection; what counts are the 5% good papers that form the basis of todays image processing technology. And they’re as good as gold.
    Sturgeon’s law applies as usual, and it obviously also applies to newspapers.

  35. Thermageddon is upon us. Doom, doom and thrice doom!
    But seriously, if temperatures do continue to remain stable (or even start to decline) will the public buy a new narrative about the dangers of Global Cooling like we had in the 1970’s and early 80’s?

  36. Arn Riewe (16:33:02) :
    “I certainly know of economists, but can someone please tell me what an econometrician is? ‘Nother words, it’s just one more episode of *economists* pontificating about physics…”
    An economist is a person who, seeing something working well in practice, wonders how well it will work in theory.

  37. Look at it from the bright side: the data set is specifically set up to facilitate study of past “climate” on land and in particular not “corrected” for the urban heat effect.
    This means that the authors have done us all a favour because what they have actually measured in detail and proven is the urban heat effect and extrapolated it to 2050. We now know how to correct the raw climate data reliably.
    Rejoice!

  38. Since mid-40ties, net global temperature increase is 0.3 deg C (per hadCRUT). Without UHI and data manipulation, it should be even less.
    Based on WHAT did those pseudo-scientists forecast 22-times higher rate of temperature increase in next 40 years than up to now?? Not speaking about sober prediction by orthodox German climatologist Mojib Latif, who expects several decades of cooling, or at least stagnation of global temperatures.
    Some people simply has no common sense.

  39. But how can it be possible to model such a chaotic system as climate? Isn’t climate the ultimate chaotic system? Is it possible to model chaotic systems?
    .
    No .
    “Chaotic system” and “model” are antinomic . Chaotic systems , despite the fact that they are strictly deterministic (most people think they are random what they definitely are not) , cannot be predicted beyond a finite rather short horizon . It is even their defining property .
    .
    Weather is chaotic therefore can’t be predicted and will never be predicted regardless the power of the computers beyond a horizon of a few days .
    It is , per definition , also impossible to simulate them numerically beyond the horizon .
    These are well known and mathematically proven properties of chaotic systems .
    .
    Now there exists a class of chaotic systems that have a property of ergodicity .
    While they can’t be predicted like every other chaotic system , there exists a unique PDF (probability density function) that gives the distribution of the dynamical states in the phase space in the infinite time limit .
    Such systems have a kind of statistical “predictability” over very long times .
    Ergodic systems are mostly found only in temporal chaos (e.g systems with no spatial autocorrelation) as opposed to spatio-temporal chaos like clouds and fluid flows .
    .
    Now climate is a spatio-temporal chaotic system at all time scales and spatio temporal systems are generally NON ergodic .
    Non ergodic systems can’t be predicted with any reasonable accuracy even statistically over long times .
    .
    So yes you are absolutely right : the Earth’s ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere dynamical system may be viewed as an example of an “ultimate” chaotic system .

  40. Being Dutch I also read the article in the press. The most amazing thing about it is that the modellers should immediately have rejected their results on the basis of the most basic sanity check. The results simply do not make any sense in view of actual climate stability and cycles observed. Economics is not a science and no meaningfull understanding of anything has been gathered since Adam Smith, it is based on rather dodgy ceteris-paribus reasoning, economists generally adhering to one school or another, sticking to their right, irrespective of observations to the contrary. This is much like climatology – we know the theory is right- its just the bloody climate that messes up all the time. Still a real pain that my tax payer money is wasted on this kind of propaganda.

  41. Have a look at figure 2 in the paper: the highest temperature happens in 1990; 1998 is 2nd, 1999 3rd, and 1994 4th. That’s not the usual order.

  42. Alexander Vissers (01:31:41) :
    “Economics is not a science and no meaningfull understanding of anything has been gathered since Adam Smith,..”
    David Ricardo – comparative advantage? Frederic Bastiat – candlemaker’s petition?

  43. Maybe it’s time for a real science of the climate to emerge. It should be called “climatonomy”.
    After all, we have astrology versus the real thing: astronomy.
    Looking back, there was a big clue in the name “climatology”.

  44. “Pamela Gray (18:25:06) :
    Ah. This would be a gray paper then? We know how that turns out. AGW researchers still email nasty stuff to each other about contrarians and get papers published on the net or their comments quoted in magazines, in shades of gray, as if they haven’t been noticing the 700 lbs gorilla in the room.”
    Your gorilla appears to have been on a diet, since all the anecdotal gorillas that I have read about in the past were 800lbs or above.
    Homogenising the data does not account for your discrepancy and sadly I must conclude that you are displaying all the signs of negative feedback syndrome. Please re-weigh your gorilla and express the result as an anomoly.
    No gorillas have been hurt in this posting.

  45. Wren (22:53:26) :
    As the authors of the paper say:
    “What matters is whether small deviations from our assumptions will cause large or small changes in our conclusions.”

    What matters is that they used a dataset specifically labeled “Do not use for climate change detection because you’ll get skewed results” and used it for — *sigh* — climate change detection.
    Their assumptions are based on skewed results, and their conclusions are based on those assumptions.
    It’s like me taking a topical medication for a skin rash — say, hydrocortisone cream — labeled “Not for internal use” and eating it, then concluding that, as a topical medication, it’s useless, because it didn’t improve the rash, and adding that the only thing that could affect my conclusion would be whether or not I chewed the medication before I swallowed it.

  46. roger (03:12:46) :
    Your gorilla appears to have been on a diet, since all the anecdotal gorillas that I have read about in the past were 800lbs or above.
    Homogenising the data does not account for your discrepancy and sadly I must conclude that you are displaying all the signs of negative feedback syndrome. Please re-weigh your gorilla and express the result as an anomoly.

    The 800-pound gorilla may itself be anomalous, based on Primary Source information acquired by multi-decadal association with users of the phrase “900-pound gorilla,” or NHPG, generally as the subject of the inquiry “When a NHPG walks into the room, where does he* sit?”
    *raw observation of sexual dimorphism in gorillas adjusted by a factor of 1.5 to clarify that the interlocutor can only be speaking of a male.

  47. Arn Riewe (16:33:02) :
    I certainly know of economists, but can someone please tell me what an econometrician is?
    These are close cousins to the elite economic PHDs and MBAs who convinced the world that Liar (NINJA) mortgage loans were safe to package and leverage at up to 60 to one.

  48. ‘Econometricians’ don’t have a Guild Master yet, all the practioners today are novice apprentices. Wait 200 years and you’ll see some ‘real’ stuff.

  49. The study was actually lead by a good econometrician (Magnus, from UvT).
    The data issues are indeed problematic, and it is quite awkward that they failed to notice this problem.
    There is however, in my humble opinion, another potential problem with the study. They find an autoregressive term close to 1 (namely 0.91). Given that most authors conclude that temperature series are integrated of the first order, this should raise a red flag (i.e. the series contains a unit root, which, loosely put, implies that teh AR term is equal to 1, making regular inference invalid).
    They do not even mention unit roots in their paper.
    I do have to repeat that Magnus is a respected scientist, so all of this is highly awkward. However, I also have to add that I was a bit dismayed with how the paper started out:
    “The Earth is getting warmer and much or all of this process is generally believed to be caused by humans. It is possible that humanity is about to face the most serious catastrophe since the Bubonic Plague in the fourteenth century killed 35 million people in Asia and half the population of Western Europe. Death from the plague was horrible, but swift. In The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio writes that victims often ‘ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors’. Global warming is not as swift, but its consequences could be no less horrible. There is much uncertainty about global warming. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the statistical evidence, using econometric panel data techniques.”
    …. doesn’t sound as ‘impartial’ as an econometrician / statistician ought to be.
    P.S. For those wondering: econometrics is the discipline of hypothesis testing using non-experimental data/observations. The issues it deals with are e.g. sample selectivity, unit roots in time series, clustered volatility, etc etc etc, and other non-experimental issues complicating (or even invalidating) statistical inference.
    It was first developed by Gauss in the form of Ordinary Least Squares, for the purpose of calculating the parameters of planetary orbits. Calculating a linear ‘trend’ is in fact the most simple form of ‘econometrics’.
    The field has grown exponentially since Jan Tinbergen (first Nobel laureate, economics, together with another econometrician Ragnar Frisch) basically set it in motion.
    The term itself is quite misleading, because this is general ‘metrics’ we are talking about, rather than ‘statistics applying solely to economics’.
    There was a post here on WUWT a few weeks ago, on a study by Beenstock and Reingewertz (two econometricians), who also apply (in their case different) statistical / econometric methods to evaluate the AGWH.
    They however reject any long term relationship between CO2 and temperatures (and they take extreme care to ensure that the unit root issue I outlined above is dealt with).

  50. It will always be the same , this is the wealthy supporting the mighty or the other way around , if you keep them dumb we shall keep them poor . Is this the name of the agw-game ?

  51. “They had done a statistical analysis of temperature data and the influence of CO2 and solar radiation and concluded that aerosols masked much more of the warming of greenhouse gases than previously thought.”
    That is the real fault of this study. Using the wrong data set is one thing, but we should not recognize it as good science if they use the ‘right’ data set. The sentence above reveals this paper to be a classic case of building assumptions upon assumptions and then stating conclusions as if they were facts.
    What is the influence of solar radiation and CO2? The IPCC assumption is that the change in solar is very small and diminishing slightly. They only look at total irradiance and give no heed to a possible cosmic ray influence. The CO2 effect is assumed to be very large with strong positive feedbacks. They state that there are no other significant influences on global temperature during the time studied, according to the IPCC, for they go to great effort to ignore all of the internal variations in climate, mainly derived from ocean cycles.
    Given these extremely bad assumptions, it is impossible to explain the mid 20th Century cooling! (It is easy to explain if you recognize the obvious influence of ocean cycles.) So they had to make something up.
    The mid 20th century was not a good time for clean air in the industrialized western nations. Europe and the US had a lot of smoggy cities. In the 1970s and 1980s things started to improve in the west, but things started to get worse around Asia. Today we have the infamous brown cloud of aerosols originating in India and China and impacting a good part of the Northern Hemisphere.
    How does the climate impact of the aerosols of today compare to the impact of the mid 20th Century? NO ONE KNOWS! There is still a debate as to whether these aerosols produce a net warming or cooling effect. Furthermore, we have no data on the 20th century pollution. It was not measured in any meaningful way. There were no satellites tracking the smog or monitoring its effects. Today the smog is concentrated in a different part of the globe, but is it really much different than 60 years ago? Again, no one knows.
    Also, it is very damning to note that the mid-20th Century Southern Hemisphere cooled in lock step with the Northern Hemisphere. There was no smog in the south, so aerosols can not be used to explain the cooling there. The most likely answer is that the earth cooled 60 years ago because of the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal oscillation and that aerosols had little, it anything, to do with it.
    But what do you do if you ignore the ocean cycles and potential cosmic ray effects, assume CO2 is the primary driver of climate, and all other impacts were minor? You get a theory that is completely at odds with the available data, UNLESS you can throw in a ‘Deus ex machina’ wild card! Aerosols, my friend. Just give them any trait you want to make your models work. You need cooling…they give you cooling (just don’t look at the Southern Hemisphere. Nothing to see there!). Give them any value you need, because nobody really knows what they do. And, as a special bonus, you can force the made up numbers to give a ‘its worse than we thought’ conclusion.
    It is not science. It is insanity!

  52. While dutchs living in europe worry about year 2050′ s climate and plant windmills instead of tulips, their businessmen, practical people, have taken all their businesses to asia. Keep on dreaming babes! if you wake up you’ll find yourselves with nothing to eat.

  53. fred wisse (06:20:08) :
    It will always be the same , this is the wealthy supporting the mighty or the other way around , if you keep them dumb we shall keep them poor . Is this the name of the agw-game ?
    REPLY:
    Of course it is. CAGW is about funding a nondemocratic world government. The wealthy and powerful are not happy with democracies or national borders that interfere with trade. You will note the progressive shift to nondemocratic leadership in the last thirty years. A classic example is this from the United States FDA website:
    International Harmonization: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/int-laws.html
    “The harmonization of laws, regulations and standards between and among trading partners requires intense, complex, time-consuming negotiations by CFSAN officials. Harmonization must simultaneously facilitate international trade and promote mutual understanding, while protecting national interests and establish a basis to resolve food issues on sound scientific evidence in an objective atmosphere. Failure to reach a consistent, harmonized set of laws, regulations and standards within the freetrade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreements can result in considerable economic repercussions.
    Participation in:
    Codex Alimentarius
    Cosmetics International Activities
    International Organizations and Standard-Setting Bodies
    International Office of Epizootics
    International Plant Protection Convention
    World Health Organization
    Food and Agricultural Organization
    Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
    Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues
    Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Microbiological Risk Assessments
    Pan American Health Organization
    Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development “

    The FDA is now taking its orders, not from the people of the USA but from the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. For Europe the EU does similar things.
    Unfortunately any reference to the move away from democracy towards governing by the wealth is called a “Conspiracy Theory”

  54. kadaka,
    Random femur breaks – OMG that might just be the most disturbing thing I’ve ever read. If climatologists would put equivalent warning labels on their research as drug companies do, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be in this mess… but the Hansens and Schmidts of the world quite clearly aim to give the impression that everything is accounted for in errors bars, confidence intervals, flux, etc – and that they more or less have it all figured out. Statistics is no replacement for empirical understanding – we might be able to get away with it for drugs, but for trillion dollar investments that will negatively impact the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet (k, maybe everyone other than Gore amirite ; ) we should set the bar at least equivalent to drug manufacturing, if not much… much higher.
    Juraj,
    They appear to have taken a crap data set, surmised somehow that the shading/cooling effect of particulates was under estimated (meaning the CO2 effect already is, are you ready… everybody now… worse than we thought, and probably extrapolated a uniquely steep trend for CO2 and worst case scenario for particulates (i.e. we’ll clean up all those coal plants in the next 40 years but not shut any down). Note – this is all stuff already built into the IPCC projections… these guys just took it to (more) ridiculous orders of magnitude.
    Sjoerd,
    Wow… that’s not raw data then (as someone here was speculating), that’s something else all together. I wonder if this is an attempt at a temp record minus ENSO and irradiance (i.e. natural variability removed)? I could see how a climate modeler would find such a product useful. At the same time I could also see the need to put a big fat warning label on it because the idea of completely removing natural variability from the temp record is purely academic.

  55. Loved this bit in the “A1” response:
    […] the Jones temperature data-set […] is optimised for the reliable detection of anthropogenic trends.
    That’s a corker.

  56. Gail Combs (06:53:51) :You are pointing to a real issue. Global Government it is already working, it didn’ t need any Copenhagen agreement on climate change. We are done unless taking a diverse type of action against those activities which daily affect individual lives, as the famous AH1N1 vaccine for a phantom illness called pig’s flu and made out from the year 2000′ s avian flu virus and which is provoking pregnant women deaths.
    This is it! The “econometrics” of the leftist global revolution.

  57. Leif Svalgaard (16:57:42) :
    This is on a coarser (5 degree) grid, but it is optimised for the reliable detection of anthropogenic trends.
    If so, no wonder they find some.

    Eureka! My thoughts exactly.

  58. @ NickB. (07:04:48) :
    The report was on ABC (US, not Aus.). Just now I Googled a new article from them. First four paragraphs:

    Twice doctors have prescribed medications for Jeanette McLearen with great certainty, only to second-guess the outcomes.
    After taking hormone replacement for 15 years, the Warren, Mich., retiree was diagnosed with breast cancer. And now, after seven years of taking the controversial drug Fosamax, she is terrified of bone fractures.
    Just this week ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser reported that Fosamax, one of a class of bisphosphonates used to treat osteoporosis that is supposed to make bones stronger, can actually weaken them.
    In numerous cases of women who had taken the drug for long periods of time, their femur bones had just snapped while doing little more than taking a walk.

    I agree, it is disturbing. To summarize, as I have heard things, hormone replacement is not that good, calcium supplements don’t work (beyond minimum metabolic requirements that you can get with diet), and now the bone building drugs are not working all that great.
    What does work is weight-bearing exercise, which convinces your body of the need for strong bones. With bone and muscle mass, even brains and cardio-pulmonary fitness, “use it or lose it” is the rule, and the body likes to fight back against attempts to tell it otherwise.

  59. Indur, so far there is no reaction in the press on our results except for the popular newspaper De Telegraaf http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/6250662/___Klimaatstudie_blijkt_miskleun___.html which quotes us. No reaction so far from the authors either.
    I also asked Richard Tol what he thought about it. He said the outcome is useless because their simple model doesn’t have an ocean. It assumes a instantaneous effect from CO2 and dimming/brightening on the temperature of the earth. He also said that 44 years is too short for such a detection study.
    Another easy criticism of course is that the only looked at CO2 and ignored al the other greenhouse forcings which taken together account for 55% of the greenhouse forcing. Ignoring this overestimates the effect of CO2.
    I also contacted Martin Wild who kindly provided the GEBA data to the authors. He was aware of the study but didn’t have a detailed look at it. When asked he also pointed to the fact that their model didn’t have an ocean.
    Marcel

  60. They began with homogenizing temperatures….and will end homogenizing your income and lives..BIG BROTHER IS HERE!

  61. Tom Vonk (01.29.56)
    I asked ‘Is it possible to model chaotic systems’
    I was delighted with your reply. Does that mean that the IPCC’s climate models are scientifically illiterate nonsense?
    I will memorise your reply – I do actually understand it, and I will quote you liberally!

  62. Tom Vonk (01.29.56)
    But now I don’t understand about these datasets – if you can’t model climate, where do these datasets come in? They are still trying to forecast how a chaotic system will behave. I thought that was nonsense, so does the dataset make it any better?
    I am going to predict how this leaf will blow around the garden, and I will use dataset A. No, I will use dataset B. ?? I am going to predict where the leaf will blow today depending on where it blew yesterday?

  63. Arn Riewe (16:33:02) :
    ‘It just gets funnier by the day! The funniest part is that ignorant media outlets pick this stuff up’.
    Arn, I know what you mean but I have to say, in all seriousness, it is not a bit funny. A couple of days ago here, on the Guardian ‘denier’ strand, I asked all contributors to report incidents of journalist malpractice. This morning, on the BBC’s Today programme (Radio 4 – for those not in the UK, this is our country’s premier ‘serious’ news and current affairs programme in the morning) I listened in a state of shock to presenter Justin Webb ‘interview’ Martin Rees.
    Webb is a respected presenter but here he became the typical ‘nodding dog’, throwing some apparently difficult questions (but not ACTUALLY difficult) for Rees to catch comfortably. The ‘did the Univ. of East Anglia prof mislead’ and the ‘What do you think of the IPCC leadership’ questions were banal. What was SHOCKING is that no senior member of the anti-AGW camp was asked to comment.
    This is shocking for two reasons – 1, As a former senior journalist, I know that one of the basic principles is that, where a story is controversial, the other side must be given an early opportunity to reply. This, then, is a lamentable lapse in editorial standards at the BBC. 2, The BBC shows that with this blatant behaviour it appears to have completely given up any pretence to be accurate, honest and impartial in its coverage of AGW issues.
    The BBC is the UK’s national broadcaster and has previously generally adhered to good journalistic standards.
    I have complained to the BBC in the following terms: ‘What on EARTH has happened to editorial standards on the Today programme? Where has the BALANCE gone? I have just listened open-mouthed to a pat-a-cake interview of Martin Rees by Justin Webb about the Climate Change debate without a senior scientific figure from the other side invited to take part.
    I was a senior journalist for many years and I know – as indeed do you – that the first responsibility of any journalist when reporting on a potentially controversial topic is to provide an early opportunity for an opposing point-of-view. This is BASIC stuff! I am shocked that John Humphreys, a broadcaster who I admire and respect, would allow himself to be associated with a programme that allows this appallingly one-sided treatment of such a serious subject to take place.
    The BBC has a responsibility to uphold the highest journalistic standards. Justin, you and I share the same initials but how COULD you take part in such a shameful charade. This is only one instance of an increasingly blinkered and partial approach to the AGW debate that is robbing the Today programme of its credibility. As one journalist to a set of others – you should all hang your heads in absolute shame’.
    We must challenge journalists who connive to suppress debate, fail to investigate issues properly and present unbalanced content. The message that came out of this morning’s programme was “all the scientists agree that manmade CO2 is causing a rapid increase in global warming”. Folks – do not let a single instance of this abuse go unchallenged.

  64. Since one week the dutch government is in an “demissionair” state. This means the gouvernment is without mission and cannot legalize/introduce new laws untill al least 9 june, when we have elections. Also the new prepared fascistic environmental laws are on hold. Because of Climate gate, they need some additional support in their environmental vieuw that man is creating global heating. They hope to continue their politics after the 9th of june, after the elections, and therefore these guys from that little, even in the Netherlands hardly known university of Tilburg made this report.

  65. Bill Tuttle (04:06:52) :
    Wren (22:53:26) :
    As the authors of the paper say:
    “What matters is whether small deviations from our assumptions will cause large or small changes in our conclusions.”
    What matters is that they used a dataset specifically labeled “Do not use for climate change detection because you’ll get skewed results” and used it for — *sigh* — climate change detection.
    Their assumptions are based on skewed results, and their conclusions are based on those assumptions.
    It’s like me taking a topical medication for a skin rash — say, hydrocortisone cream — labeled “Not for internal use” and eating it, then concluding that, as a topical medication, it’s useless, because it didn’t improve the rash, and adding that the only thing that could affect my conclusion would be whether or not I chewed the medication before I swallowed it.
    =====
    No, it’s not quite like that, but I wouldn’t recommend eating hydrocortisone cream.
    You should be able to use the Jones data set in the model.The question is had they used Jones instead of CRU TS 2.1, would the results be much different?

  66. JonesII (07:29:36) :
    “Gail Combs (06:53:51) :You are pointing to a real issue. Global Government it is already working,….”
    Yes they have been sneaking it in little by little. The World Trade organization was the big step as was the European Union. Once you wise up to what is going on a lot of the “news” starts to make sense. Control Money (2008-2009 financial crisis), Energy (CAGW), Food (World Trade Organizations Agreement on Ag) and Land (UN control of “World Heritage Sites”/environmental laws) – there isn’t much freedom left for us serfs.
    Since there is more than one “front” to the battle for our freedom it is a tough fight for an individual especially when you get labeled a “conspiracy nut” if you mention the different battle fronts.

  67. kadaka (08:32:09) :
    BONES:
    “…What does work is weight-bearing exercise, which convinces your body of the need for strong bones. With bone and muscle mass, even brains and cardio-pulmonary fitness, “use it or lose it” is the rule, and the body likes to fight back against attempts to tell it otherwise.”
    Very true. Testing and experiments on bone growth in horses showed concussion – working on a hard surface – promoted bone growth. Another study on women showed calcium in the urine after just 24 hrs of bed rest. That daily walk and lifting weight is a must esp for us older folks.

  68. NickB. (10:01:19) :
    Oh crap – my apologies! I shouldn’t be allowed to interact with the world B.C. (before coffee)

    Why I used to take a mug of coffee with me upstairs to the bedroom. It was cold, but it was there soon as I got up. Probably saved my life one or more times by keeping me from falling down the stairs while not exactly awake.
    Side note, unheated coffee is great once you get used to it. Flavor stays good for a very long time, soon as the coffeemaker is done making a pot it gets switched right off. Saves a lot of energy. If you really need a warm cup, well then, microwave oven is right there, help yourself.

  69. Wren (10:59:47) :
    Bill Tuttle (04:06:52) :
    You should be able to use the Jones data set in the model.The question is had they used Jones instead of CRU TS 2.1, would the results be much different?

    Well, *I* couldn’t, because it wouldn’t stand up to peer review — I don’t have the background in either math or econometrics. But you’ve got an interesting question — just based on the cautionary against using CRU TS 2.1, I would intuit a definite “maybe”…

  70. On aerosols: this may seem somewhat OT, but my training in the Fine Arts sugests to me that the prescence of aerosols in the atmosphere goes back further than the Industrial Revolution. One only has to look at European landscape paintings from the Renaissance to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and one can see the faithfully-painted smog, giving very low visibility which was described (and still is) as ‘Aerial Perspective’ and freqently regarded as part of a romantic artistic convention, but when one considers just the charcoal indistry alone, prior to the Industrial Revolution, this is not an artistic convention at all, but a literal portrayl of visibly filthy air. When English and European artists travelled to the New Worlds of the Southern Hemisphere as a part of and after James Cook’s voyages of scientific discovery, they remarked on the clarity of light and the enormous difference in visibility being quite unlike the Old World. Similarly, the Hudson River School of painting in early continental America displays a similar aerial clarity quite unlike any English or European landscape paintings of the same era.

  71. Daniel H (20:11:11) :
    Here is another critical error they made which completely undermines their entire case (independent of the CRU TS dataset issue), on page 23 they state:
    “Since CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere (Forster et al, 2007, p. 138), we may assume that CO2 is the same for each weather station and hence we don’t require information at station level for CO2.”
    Wrong. First of all, CO2 is NOT well-mixed in the atmosphere. Even NASA’s own chief scientist at JPL, Dr. Moustafa Chahine, said in a recent NASA press release that “contrary to prior assumptions, carbon dioxide is not well mixed in the troposphere”[1]. How much clearer of a signal do these guys need?
    Second, how can anyone assume that CO2 levels are “the same” across weather stations? If that were true, why would it be necessary to locate CO2 monitoring stations in the most remote and inhospitable regions of the Earth?
    1. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-196

    Depends of one’s definition of “well mixed”. Of course, that doesn’t mean that CO2 is everywhere on earth the same at any moment. That can only be if there were no sources and sinks at work. The largest disturbance is the growth and death of leaves over the seasons in the NH. That introduces a change in level of about +/- 8 ppmv at ground level in the NH, +/- 4 ppmv at 3,000 m and +/- 1 ppmv in the SH. For yearly averages, the differences are much smaller: a growing difference between the NH and SH (as 90% of human emissions are in the NH), now about 3 ppmv. Thus for yearly averages all stations on earth (and the satellites) are within 1% of each other’s level. Not bad for “well mixed”.
    More stations are used, first as backup and second because of the seasonal variations. Nevertheless, in many cases only the data of one station (mauna Loa) is used for convenience, as that has the longest record…
    For global warming, as far as the effect is measurable, the seasonal variability and the lag of the SH vs. the NH is of little effect, as the total growth is about 33% since the start of the industrial revolution.
    Where the researchers were completely wrong, is the attribution of all warming of the past decades to CO2 and insolation. They completely ignore other natural influences, like the influence of the PDO and other ocean driven temperature influences. And they attribute the global dimming/brightening all on aerosols, where water vapour and cloud cover are a far more likely candidates for that.

  72. Re: Scotty (12:18:51)
    Scotty, talking about Bones? 😉
    I wonder how much the hefting of the glasses and mugs can qualify as weight-bearing exercise. Also it can take some effort to stay perched on the stool.
    There is also the exercise of walking to and from where the “medication” is often dispensed.
    Too many variables, further research is obviously required.

  73. kadaka (20:14:52) :
    What keystroke combo is “option 2″? Ah heck, where is the “option” button anyway?

    Second left from the spacebar—on a Mac, just after the Command key (sometimes called the ‘Apple’ key).
    /Mr Lynn

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