Doug Keenan has just written to Julia Slingo about a problem with the Fifth Assessment Report (see here for context).

Dear Julia,

The IPCC’s AR5 WGI Summary for Policymakers includes the following statement.

The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend, show a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C, over the period 1880–2012….

(The numbers in brackets indicate 90%-confidence intervals.) The statement is near the beginning of the first section after the Introduction; as such, it is especially prominent.

The confidence intervals are derived from a statistical model that comprises a straight line with AR(1) noise. As per your paper “Statistical models and the global temperature record” (May 2013), that statistical model is insupportable, and the confidence intervals should be much wider—perhaps even wide enough to include 0°C.

It would seem to be an important part of the duty of the Chief Scientist of the Met Office to publicly inform UK policymakers that the statement is untenable and the truth is less alarming. I ask if you will be fulfilling that duty, and if not, why not.

To me, this is just more indication that the 95% number claimed by IPCC wasn’t derived mathematically, but was a consensus of opinion like was done last time.

Your article asks “Were those numbers calculated, or just pulled out of some orifice?” They were not calculated, at least if the same procedure from the fourth assessment report was used. In that prior climate assessment, buried in a footnote in the Summary for Policymakers, the IPCC admitted that the reported 90% confidence interval was simply based on “expert judgment” i.e. conjecture. This, of course begs the question as to how any human being can have “expertise” in attributing temperature trends to human causes when there is no scientific instrument or procedure capable of verifying the expert attributions.

The liars picked 95% because it was higher than the last AR, IMO. As some wit commented earlier, it will probably be Cook’s legendary 97% in the next AR, if there be one.

Michael A. Lewis, PhD

Same same this time around: 95% probability does not equal confidence interval. Unscientific jiggery-pokery!
“Probabilistic estimates of quantified measures of uncertainty in a finding are based on statistical analysis of observations or model results, or both, and expert judgment2.”
2 In this Summary for Policymakers, the following terms have been used to indicate the assessed likelihood of an outcome or a result: virtually certain 99–100% probability, very likely 90–100%, likely 66–100%, about as likely as not 33–66%, unlikely 0–33%, very unlikely 0–10%, exceptionally unlikely 0–1%. Additional terms (extremely likely: 95–100%, more likely than not >50–100%, and extremely unlikely 0–5%) may also be used when appropriate. Assessed likelihood is typeset in italics, e.g., very likely (see Chapter 1 and Box TS.1 for more details).

tadchem

From what I have seen of the raw data, the ‘confidence limits’ are untenable – the 95% CL on the ‘regression’, for example, should bound roughly 95% of the data. Anyone who has read chapter 2 of a statistics book discussing linear regression would know that the CL on a regression line comprises a pair of hyperbolas (one above the regression line and one below) with their vertices pointing at the overall data mean (the midpoint of the regression line). These hyperbolas are asymptotic to the lines passing through the data mean with different slopes, as illustrated here: http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/multiple-regression/
representing the regression slope plus or minus the CLs on the slope itself.
I suspect what they are reporting as a CL is on the variance of the slopes among the *models*, which is totally meaningless, as has already been pointed out elsewhere.

When the IPCC pulls numbers out of their collective behinds this is what happens. I am praying their credibility will be shot sooner rather than later.

Chris @NJSnowFan

Billion more dollars needed to fix report.

davidmhoffer

Well we cannot expect the Summary for Policy Makers to reflect the science can we? After all, the science hasn’t even been published yet! Worse, policy makers had a heavy hand in the wording of the summary of the science which hasn’t yet been published!
A better name might by “Summary of the Policy Makers, By the Policy Makers, For the Policy Makers”.

Manny M

From the University of Colorado Boulder, Headline: “Shrinking atmosphere linked to lower solar radiation”. In summary, the upper atmosphere has shrunk 30% and cooled by 74 degrees since 1998.
“It is now clear that the record low temperature and density were primarily caused by unusually low levels of solar radiation at the extreme-ultraviolet level,” Solomon said.
C02 had an impact of less than 5%.
Hmmmmmmmmm……

When I was going to school, a mark between 85% and 100% was considered an A grade. I do not know what I would have done if it was further divided up into “likely,” “very likely,” and “most likely.” If it had, I would have been so confused.

JJM Gommers

The Belgian news is still on the CAGW line. In the Netherlands there was at last more nuance. Marcel Crok pointed out in a very gentle way that the models don’t fit and the warming could be far less than assumed, whereupon an AGW supporter made the remark that the warming disappeared in the oceans. They don’t realise that models failing to predict the actual conditions, predicting for the year 2100 is scientific blasphemia.

Ian W

Manny M says:
September 27, 2013 at 11:37 am
From the University of Colorado Boulder, Headline: “Shrinking atmosphere linked to lower solar radiation”. In summary, the upper atmosphere has shrunk 30% and cooled by 74 degrees since 1998.
“It is now clear that the record low temperature and density were primarily caused by unusually low levels of solar radiation at the extreme-ultraviolet level,” Solomon said.
C02 had an impact of less than 5%.
Hmmmmmmmmm……
Manny M says:
September 27, 2013 at 11:38 am
Forgot to post the URL for the shrinking atmosphere article… http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2010/08/shrinking-atmosphere-linked-to-low-solar-radiation/

Stephen Wilde has been saying this for some time.

john cooknell

My guess is Julia Slingo will not respond or acknowledge any problem, that is her role!

The following is a comment from the InterAcademy Council review of the IPCC process and procedures in 2010:
“The IPCC uncertainty guidance urges authors to provide a traceable account of how authors determined what ratings to use to describe the level of scientific understanding (Table 3.1) and the likelihood that a particular outcome will occur (Table 3.3). However, it is unclear whose judgments are reflected in the ratings that appear in the Fourth Assessment Report or how the judgments were determined. How exactly a consensus was reached regarding subjective probability distributions needs to be documented.”
I couldn’t find any such documentation in the SPM. Perhaps it’s in the AR5 WG1 report coming out soon? Or perhaps it doesn’t exist. Hmmm….

Jimbo

Over a year ago we had the SREX IPCC report that said.

March 2012 IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events and Disasters:
FAQ 3.1 Is the Climate Becoming More Extreme? […]None of the above instruments has yet been developed sufficiently as to allow us to confidently answer the question posed here. Thus we are restricted to questions about whether specific extremes are becoming more or less common, and our confidence in the answers to such questions, including the direction and magnitude of changes in specific extremes, depends on the type of extreme, as well as on the region and season, linked with the level of understanding of the underlying processes and the reliability of their simulation in models. http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf

Recently we had the draft Summary for Policymakers.

There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean,melted snow and ice,raised global mean sea level, and changed some climate extremes, in the second half of the 20th century (see Figure SPM.5 and Table SPM.1).{10.3–10.6,10.9} http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/wg1ar5-spm_fd_final-1.pdf

Did the instruments develop over the last week? Wasn’t it scary enough? Bring in the government representatives and what do you get, a consensus among civil servants. The scientists are left scratching their heads, but he who pays the piper……..

27 September 2013
AR5 Summary For Policymakers There has been further strengthening of the evidence for human influence on temperature extremes since the SREX. It is now very likely that human influence has contributed to observed global scale changes in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes

Since a linear trend model plus error has least squares estimators that are asymptotically nomal, one standard error of the trend margin is about .2 /1.645 degrees C, or on order of magnitude 0.15. So 0.85, the quoted trend estimate, has a Z-score of about 5+, which is way more significant than 95, 99%, 99.99%, etc…. Seems to me the authors are downplaying the evidence. While I have not read the report, I wonder what is Doug arguing? That the AR(1) model is inappropriate? Sure. But statistics has advanced way beyond this the last few decades. Elaborating, put in a fractionally differenced long-memory component in the model if you want. You’re not going to knock that z-score below significant. Please reinforce your argument.

Bill Parsons

Manny M says:
September 27, 2013 at 11:37 am
From the University of Colorado Boulder, Headline: “Shrinking atmosphere linked to lower solar radiation”. In summary, the upper atmosphere has shrunk 30% and cooled by 74 degrees since 1998.

Hi. Thanks for the post. RE:

“It is now clear that the record low temperature and density were primarily caused by unusually low levels of solar radiation at the extreme-ultraviolet level,” Solomon said. C02 had an impact of less than 5%.

Worth noting: the Solomon of this 2010 (?) paper is “Stanley”, not Susan, who used to work at NOAA, and won the “Nobble Prize” along with other members of the Algore fan club.

Dr Burns

Weather forecasts use the same approach. If three weathermen say it will rain and one disagrees, there’s a 75% chance of showers.

Nullius in Verba

“While I have not read the report, I wonder what is Doug arguing? That the AR(1) model is inappropriate?”
There’s a bit of history behind this. The IPCC in their last report used 90% confidence intervals based on REML linear regression to state bounds on the amount of warming. Doug had a very long argument with the UK Met Office when they used this model to claim the warming was “significant”, via a number of Questions in Parliament, that eventually ended with the Met Office conceding that AR(1) was unphysical and far less likely than some other noise models they could have used. The chief scientist there, Julia Slingo, said that AR(1) was unrealistic and tried to claim they hadn’t used it in making their assessment, instead like the IPCC using a wide range of evidence.
So evidently, when the new report came out Doug immediately checked what model they were using. Turns out they’re still using AR(1), the model Julia Slingo said was rubbish. The confidence intervals are wrong, because the error model used to generate them is wrong – on the authority of the Met Office chief scientist.
The question is, will she say so? “Elaborating, put in a fractionally differenced long-memory component in the model if you want. You’re not going to knock that z-score below significant. Please reinforce your argument.”
Actually, yes you can. That was the basis of Doug’s earlier argument – that a trendless ARIMA(3,1,0) model fits the data a thousand times better than AR(1). There are links to the context at Bishop Hill.
—
In case anyone else wants to check, the following R script ought to replicate (roughly) the IPCC’s calculation. I used GISTEMP here, although the IPCC didn’t say I’m assuming they used the combination of several global temperature series, or possibly different versions. But the closeness of the result indicates that this is indeed what they’ve done.
# ###################
# Replicate IPCC’s confidence interval for warming 1880-2012
library(nlme) # nlme contains gls
# Read in GISTEMP data obtained from
# http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
# Downloaded 27 Sep 2013
gistemp<-ts(c(-22,-13,-16,-19,-27,-25,-24,-31,-19,
-10,-33,-27,-31,-36,-32,-25,-18,-18,-31,-20,-14,-21,
-30,-36,-44,-29,-26,-42,-43,-46,-45,-44,-41,-39,-23,
-16,-36,-44,-31,-29,-27,-21,-29,-26,-24,-22,-9,
-18,-16,-31,-11,-7,-10,-25,-9,-15,-10,3,6,1,6,8,5,6,
14,1,-8,-4,-10,-11,-19,-6,2,9,-11,-12,-18,4,4,3,
-4,5,4,7,-20,-10,-4,-1,-5,6,4,-7,2,16,-7,-1,-12,15,
6,12,23,28,9,27,12,8,15,29,35,24,39,38,19,21,28,
43,33,45,61,40,40,53,61,60,51,65,59,63,49,59,66,
55,58)/100,start=1880)
# Do the regression using AR(1) model, restricted maximum
# likelihood, and show the coefficients of the best fit
glsREML<-gls(gistemp ~ time(gistemp), cor=corARMA(p=1,q=0), method="REML"); coefficients(glsREML)
# Calculate 90% confidence interval on the slope
confint(glsREML,level=0.9)
# Calculate 90% confidence interval on the increase from 1880 to the end of 2012
confint(glsREML,level=0.9)[c(2,4)]*(2013-1880)
# Plot the data and slope on a chart
plot(gistemp)
abline(glsREML)

IPCC news flash ,the global temperature trend going forward is going to be DOWN, not up.
Natural causes can explain the temperature rise from 1880-1998 from high solar activity, to a warm PDO post 1980, up through 1998, featuring more El Nino activity.

Simon

Davidmhoffer:
Dont you mean “Summary of the Money Makers, By the Money Makers, For the Money Makers”?

Nullius in Verba says: September 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm
“Turns out they’re still using AR(1), the model Julia Slingo said was rubbish.”
Would you care to quote Julia Slingo saying AR(1) was rubbish?
This seems to be just another episode in Doug Keenan berating people for not using his pet AR(3,1,0) model, which gets a better fit at the expense of extra parameters and physical impossibility. But the IPCC is not claiming that linear+AR(1) is the best model of temperature. They are simply using it as the basis for calculating temperature change over the period.
According to the MO, AR(3,1,0) would give a temperature change of 0.73°C, which is well within the IPCC stated range. So I can’t see how this can be construed as an error.

wayne

Simon, except they are not “making money”… they are spending our money.
How about “Summary of the Tax Spenders, By the Tax Spenders, For the Tax Spenders”.
There, much better.

beng

Summary for ScareMongers — 100 Ways to Spread Scare Stories and Make a Million!

milodonharlani

Manny M says:
September 27, 2013 at 11:37 am
Would like to hear Dr. Leif Svalgaard’s take on this.

Nullius in Verba

Nick, “Would you care to quote Julia Slingo saying AR(1) was rubbish?”
“However, considering the complex physical nature of the climate system, there is no
scientific reason to have expected that a linear model with first order autoregressive noise
would be a good emulator of recorded global temperatures, as the ‘residuals’ from a linear
trend have varying timescales ”
You could have found that yourself. Doug linked to it. “But the IPCC is not claiming that linear+AR(1) is the best model of temperature. They are simply using it as the basis for calculating temperature change over the period.”
They’re claiming that these are 90% confidence intervals on the actual temperature rise. And implying, to a statistically non-literate audience who wouldn’t recognise the issues with the AR(1) choice, that they would be justified in thinking these have a 90% probability of covering the value that is being estimated. (Which from a Bayesian point of view is not true, either. That would be a ‘credible interval’, not a ‘confidence interval’. A common error, that.)
I know there’s this thing about “not giving ammunition to sceptics”, but wouldn’t it be simpler, more straightforward, and a lot less desperate, on hearing that the IPCC was basing its confidence intervals on an linear+AR(1) model, to simply say: “That’s wrong; they ought to have either picked a better model, explained the difficulty, or not given confidence intervals at all”?

Nullius in Verba says: September 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm
That’s not Julia Slingo saying AR(1) is rubbish. She’s saying it would not be a good emulator of global temperature. Noone ever thought it would be. And that’s nothing to do with AR(1). No linear model would be a good emulator. Nor is Keenan’s model. When he says it is a thousand times more likely, that covers over the fact that it is still impossibly unlikely.
That’s not the point. It’s used as a basis for computing the difference between temperatures at two times. Regression fits are used for this in all kinds of fields, and they work well.

nevket240

Whatever happened to 1850 to the present??
Or is that Inconvenient??
regards.

tom0mason

Manny M says:
September 27, 2013 at 11:38 am Ian W says:
September 27, 2013 at 11:51 am Bill Parsons says:
September 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm
You all may be interested in this little snippet from NASA about shrinking atmosphere and the cooling effects of CO2 in the thermosphere. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/coolingthermosphere.html

Nullius in Verba

“It’s used as a basis for computing the difference between temperatures at two times.”
And reporting confidence intervals. It’s the confidence intervals that are the issue.
And it isn’t a computation of the difference in temperatures at two times. To do that, you would subtract the temperature at one time from the temperature at the other. It’s a much simpler process. What you’re trying to do is something a lot more complicated – by “temperature” you don’t mean the temperature, but an underlying equilibrium temperature due to forcing that has short-term weather superimposed on top of it – a purely theoretical concept that assumes that’s how weather works. You’re trying to estimate the change in the underlying equilibrium, and using a low-pass filter to cut out the high-frequency ‘noise’ – a process that requires accurate statistical models of both signal and noise to do with any quantifiable validity.
The mainstream constantly conflate these two concepts – the observed temperature and the underlying equilibrium temperature – because it gives the impression that the statements are about direct empirical observation, while actually being about an unobservable parameter in a question-begging assumed model.
Had they simply given the OLS trend, you could have argued that it was merely informally descriptive, a rough and unscientific indication of how much temperatures generally had gone up, without making any comment on its significance. However, they stuck a confidence interval on it. Worse, they said there was a 90% likelihood of it covering the quantity being estimated. That gives the impression of a scientifically testable statistical statement. But the “confidence interval” here is a meaningless pair of numbers, because it relies for its validity on an assumption known not to be true. “Regression fits are used for this in all kinds of fields, and they work well.”
Sadly so. That doesn’t make it right, though. You might well know what they’re doing and that such estimates are to be treated cautiously, but the intended readers of this report don’t. They read it as authoritative science, and if they see confidence intervals being written down, by scientists, they’re going to assume they’re meaningful. In this case, as in so many others, they’d be wrong.

Nullius in Verba says: September 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm
“But the “confidence interval” here is a meaningless pair of numbers, because it relies for its validity on an assumption known not to be true.”
They have given an estimate, and the basis on which it was calculated. And they have given confidence intervals for that calculation. That’s appropriate.
I agree that AR(1) is not the only basis for calculating confidence intervals, and there is a case for others (discussed here). But it’s not meaningless.

Brian H

Not entirely meaningless, but surely deceptive. It is written in the Summary in such a way as to create a false impression. What it means is not stated clearly. SOP.

Michael Jankowski

You’re right…it’s not “meaningless.” In fact, I’d say it means a lot that they selected an inappropriate basis to determine their estimate and confidence intervals.

Nullius in Verba

“I agree that AR(1) is not the only basis for calculating confidence intervals, and there is a case for others (discussed here). But it’s not meaningless.”
AR(1) is the wrong basis for calculating confidence intervals.
It’s meaningless if it’s based on an untrue assumption. Policy makers need to know how accurately you can state the amount of global warming observed. This does not answer that question.
And the IPCC didn’t fully explain the basis on which it is calculated – that’s something we had to deduce from what they did last time around (and buried in an appendix to the main report), and the fact that the interval they report this time matches that method. What the IPCC say is that we can be confident there’s a 90% likelihood that this interval covers the amount of global warming there has actually been. That’s not true.

jorgekafkazar

The 0.65 and 1.06 °C figures are obviously P.O.O.M.A. numbers. [That stands for Preliminary Order of Magnitude Approximation. Really it does.]

lund@clemson.edu

(Fake ‘David Socrates’ sockpuppet ID -mod)

TomRude

Thomas Stocker had the best line of the IPCC press conference, claiming in substance that we do not have enough data about the last 15 years to properly evaluate the “hiatus”. Really not enough data in the past 15 years!!!! That have been the most instrumented, observed period ever… except that it showed no warming.
This guys deserves a IgNoble prize, just for that one!!!

Colorado Wellington

To me, this is just more indication that the 95% number claimed by IPCC wasn’t derived mathematically …

Maybe, but if so, it was at least the result of impeccable risk assessment logic:
The clients must receive what they specified. Otherwise they will defund the project.

rtj1211

Well, so long as the MSM censor dissent, does it matter??
The Guardian is back to censoring again – censored a within the rules challenge to Liberal Democrat (the great Greenies of our major UK political parties) Tim Farron to face reality.
I do wonder whether they have the honesty to draw out historical coverage of the Duma under Brezhnev and compare it to how they write some tripe and get fawning Kommisar after Kommisar to say ‘oh wonderful benefactor, how wise you are!’?
It’s really getting beyond a joke.

Nullius in Verba

“I would say: An ARIMA(3,1,0)? Surely you jest in saying that is a thousand times more likely? I would sure like to see that likelihood comparison.”
Follow the earlier Met Office discussion at Bishop Hill. There are links back to Doug’s calculations, which Slingo confirms. “Do prove me wrong, but the model you propose has a random walk component, meaning the variance increases linearly in time. That is clearly not the case with this data. What you propose isn’t even a stationary model, which should be the null hypothesis of any climate change argument.”
It’s an approximation for a subset of data, like a linear trend is.
It’s a standard procedure in time series analysis – if there are roots of the characteristic equation very close to the unit circle, it makes any short enough segment of the series look approximately as if it was on the unit circle (i.e. random-walk-like), and a lot of the standard tools don’t work or give invalid answers. So the standard approach on analysing a new time series is to first test for unit roots, and if “found”, take differences until the result is definitely stationary. It’s an approximate measure to handle situations when you don’t have a long enough sample to fully explore the data’s behaviour, and to avoid getting misleading results because of that.
Think of it as like the situation you get with the series x(t+1) = 0.999999999 x(t) + rand(t) where rand(t) is a zero-mean Gaussian random number series. Technically it’s AR(1) and stationary, but over any interval short of massive it’s going to look indistinguishable from x(t+1) = 1 x(t) + rand(t), which is a random walk. You don’t have enough data to resolve the difference.
Usually, after testing for unit roots and taking differences, the next step is to test to find what ARMA process best fits the result. This is where the ARIMA(3,1,0) model came from – it is the ARIMA process that best fits the short-term behaviour of the data. The process is analogous to fitting a polynomial to a short segment of a function to model its curves. It’s a local approximation that is not expected to apply indefinitely.

Brandon Shollenberger

While I agree the AR(1) model is lacking, I can’t understand why people would endorse Keenan’s letter when he seriously suggests the “correct” error margins might include zero. Does anyone actually think we shouldn’t be able to rule out the possibility of no warming in the last 100+ years?

DaveS

“Nor is Keenan’s model. ”
Din not Keenan say repeatedly that he wasn’t advocating ‘his’ model, but merely using it to illustrate his point?

Nullius in Verba

Brandon,
Depends what you mean by “correct”.
My view is that all this talk about whether changes in temperature are “significant” or not are meaningless without a validated statistical model of ‘signal’ and ‘noise’ derived independently of the data, which we don’t have. We don’t know the statistical characteristics of the normal background variability precisely enough, so it is simply impossible to separate any ‘global warming signal’ from it. All these attempts where you make nice neat mathematical assumptions simply get out what you put in, and your conclusion depends on what you assumed. If you assumed a trend you’ll find a trend. If you assume no trend, you’ll find there’s no trend. Doug’s ARIMA(3,1,0) is merely a standard example derived by the textbook method to illustrate that point.
But it’s got no independent validation, either, so it’s no more “correct” than anything else we could do. It’s simply a better fit.
There are no correct error margins because we don’t have an independent, validated model of the errors. We cannot rule out, by purely statistical means, the possibility of no warming in the last 100+ years. And the IPCC’s confidence intervals are just the same sort of significance testing in disguise.
However, I don’t expect the mainstream is ready to accept that one, so I’ll let it pass. That you accept that linear+AR(1) is “lacking” is a good start, and sufficient for the time being.

Maybe this is too simplistic of a way to look at it, but say you have a system with several subsystems, each of which you are 99% confident that you have a sufficient understanding to model accurately. If there are 6 or more of these subsystems, is it possible for you to be 95% confident of the accuracy of your model of the entire system? 0.99^6 = 94.1%
Given that the climate has well over six subsystems, few of which if any, we are 99% confident that we can model accurately, let alone any interactive effects, it would seem nonsensical simply from a probability standpoint to claim 95% confidence.

steverichards1984

Did anyone notice when the panel were questioned about the pause, that the models can not be used to predict individual rain showers or storms but can be used to show you the trend?
It seems to have escaped them that their models are not good a predicting trends either.
If your trend predicting model does not map across to recently gathered real measurements, but is consistently producing higher temperature outputs, then your model is wrong and all of your predictions that come from it are wrong.
How many wrongs make a right?

steverichards1984

Nullius in Verba:
You make some interesting comments about the suitability of various statistical methods to be used on different occasions.
Could you state what you currently feel would be the best sequence to use to analyse the various global temperature datasets?
I would really like to know what a person skilled in statistical analysis would say is the correct method or sequence to use.
Its a shame that most statistical methods give answers irrespective on whether the method should have been used in a particular case.

p@ Dolan

I have seen this before in my own profession, where I’ve been asked to provide a percentage of accomplishment in a project which involves research into unknowns— First, how can i put a finite number value on an open-ended research project? Secondly, since the research is hardly a linear process, how can any percentage of completion be anything but an ‘idiot meter’ indication of MY confidence that I’ll be done by the deadline I’m assigned?
Answers, respectively: I cannot, it cannot.
Everyone knows this, though several try to pretend it’s not the case. For many, who are stymied in a phase of a project, but wish to show that they’re actually making progress so as to not alarm someone higher up in the food-chain, starting with a very low number and leaving themselves lots of room to up the percentage as time goes by is a familiar strategy which allows them to show “progress” even when there is none.
Trouble occurs as the deadline looms, and you have to show progress but have less and less room before hitting 100%. Where weeks ago you could make 10% per week, at 85%, you can’t. The “idiot meter” indications now take on a definite asymptotic curve, approaching completion.
At what point to people stop and say, “You’re Bee Essing me, right?”
Apparently, the IPCC and their believers aren’t at that point yet, and think they still have room to increase the numbers…we also know that they create more room by lowering their starting point…
Anyone who puts confidence in an “idiot meter” indication…. Well, there’s a REASON we call them “idiot meters”…

Nullius in Verba

“Could you state what you currently feel would be the best sequence to use to analyse the various global temperature datasets?”
The primary problem, like I said, is the lack of a validated model for the background noise. This is where effort needs to be concentrated. Until we have one, none of the methods are going to give reliable answers.
More sophisticated studies in detection and attribution (‘detection’ is what we’re looking at here) use the big climate models to generate statistics on the background variation. There’s a bit more reason to pay attention to these, since they are at least partially based on physics. But there are lots of approximations and parameterisations and fudge-factors galore, they’re not validated in the sense required, they don’t match observations of climate in many different aspects and areas, and their failure to predict the pause (or rather, pauses of a similar length and depth) falsifies them even at the game they were primarily designed and built to play – global temperature.
Because they’re not validated, the fact that they can’t produce a rise like 1978-1998 doesn’t mean anything. But because they’re not validated, the fact they can’t produce a pause like 1998-2013 doesn’t mean anything either, except that one way or another the models are definitely invalidated. The pause doesn’t show that global warming theory is wrong, because it could just be that the models underestimated the natural variation.
If, one day, they can build a climate model that can be shown to predict climate accurately over the range of interest, then the correct approach would be to use this to generate statistics on trend sizes over various lengths, and use that to perform the trend analysis and confidence intervals and so on. That would be the right way of doing it. But we’re not there yet. “I would really like to know what a person skilled in statistical analysis would say is the correct method or sequence to use.”
Thanks! But I’d only describe myself as ‘vaguely competent’ not ‘skilled’. There are a lot of people far better at this stuff than me!

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The liars picked 95% because it was higher than the last AR, IMO. As some wit commented earlier, it will probably be Cook’s legendary 97% in the next AR, if there be one.

Same same this time around: 95% probability does not equal confidence interval. Unscientific jiggery-pokery!

“Probabilistic estimates of quantified measures of uncertainty in a finding are based on statistical analysis of observations or model results, or both, and expert judgment2.”

2 In this Summary for Policymakers, the following terms have been used to indicate the assessed likelihood of an outcome or a result: virtually certain 99–100% probability, very likely 90–100%, likely 66–100%, about as likely as not 33–66%, unlikely 0–33%, very unlikely 0–10%, exceptionally unlikely 0–1%. Additional terms (extremely likely: 95–100%, more likely than not >50–100%, and extremely unlikely 0–5%) may also be used when appropriate. Assessed likelihood is typeset in italics, e.g., very likely (see Chapter 1 and Box TS.1 for more details).

From what I have seen of the raw data, the ‘confidence limits’ are untenable – the 95% CL on the ‘regression’, for example, should bound roughly 95% of the data. Anyone who has read chapter 2 of a statistics book discussing linear regression would know that the CL on a regression line comprises a pair of hyperbolas (one above the regression line and one below) with their vertices pointing at the overall data mean (the midpoint of the regression line). These hyperbolas are asymptotic to the lines passing through the data mean with different slopes, as illustrated here: http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/multiple-regression/

representing the regression slope plus or minus the CLs on the slope itself.

I suspect what they are reporting as a CL is on the variance of the slopes among the *models*, which is totally meaningless, as has already been pointed out elsewhere.

When the IPCC pulls numbers out of their collective behinds this is what happens. I am praying their credibility will be shot sooner rather than later.

Billion more dollars needed to fix report.

Well we cannot expect the Summary for Policy Makers to reflect the science can we? After all, the science hasn’t even been published yet! Worse, policy makers had a heavy hand in the wording of the summary of the science which hasn’t yet been published!

A better name might by “Summary of the Policy Makers, By the Policy Makers, For the Policy Makers”.

From the University of Colorado Boulder, Headline: “Shrinking atmosphere linked to lower solar radiation”. In summary, the upper atmosphere has shrunk 30% and cooled by 74 degrees since 1998.

“It is now clear that the record low temperature and density were primarily caused by unusually low levels of solar radiation at the extreme-ultraviolet level,” Solomon said.

C02 had an impact of less than 5%.

Hmmmmmmmmm……

Forgot to post the URL for the shrinking atmosphere article…

http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2010/08/shrinking-atmosphere-linked-to-low-solar-radiation/

When I was going to school, a mark between 85% and 100% was considered an A grade. I do not know what I would have done if it was further divided up into “likely,” “very likely,” and “most likely.” If it had, I would have been so confused.

The Belgian news is still on the CAGW line. In the Netherlands there was at last more nuance. Marcel Crok pointed out in a very gentle way that the models don’t fit and the warming could be far less than assumed, whereupon an AGW supporter made the remark that the warming disappeared in the oceans. They don’t realise that models failing to predict the actual conditions, predicting for the year 2100 is scientific blasphemia.

Manny M says:

September 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

From the University of Colorado Boulder, Headline: “Shrinking atmosphere linked to lower solar radiation”. In summary, the upper atmosphere has shrunk 30% and cooled by 74 degrees since 1998.

“It is now clear that the record low temperature and density were primarily caused by unusually low levels of solar radiation at the extreme-ultraviolet level,” Solomon said.

C02 had an impact of less than 5%.

Hmmmmmmmmm……

Manny M says:

September 27, 2013 at 11:38 am

Forgot to post the URL for the shrinking atmosphere article…

http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine/2010/08/shrinking-atmosphere-linked-to-low-solar-radiation/

Stephen Wilde has been saying this for some time.

My guess is Julia Slingo will not respond or acknowledge any problem, that is her role!

The following is a comment from the InterAcademy Council review of the IPCC process and procedures in 2010:

“The IPCC uncertainty guidance urges authors to provide a traceable account of how authors determined what ratings to use to describe the level of scientific understanding (Table 3.1) and the likelihood that a particular outcome will occur (Table 3.3). However, it is unclear whose judgments are reflected in the ratings that appear in the Fourth Assessment Report or how the judgments were determined. How exactly a consensus was reached regarding subjective probability distributions needs to be documented.”

I couldn’t find any such documentation in the SPM. Perhaps it’s in the AR5 WG1 report coming out soon? Or perhaps it doesn’t exist. Hmmm….

Over a year ago we had the SREX IPCC report that said.

Recently we had the

draftSummary for Policymakers.Did the instruments develop over the last week? Wasn’t it scary enough? Bring in the government representatives and what do you get, a consensus among civil servants. The scientists are left scratching their heads, but he who pays the piper……..

since the mid-20th century, and likely that human influence has more than doubled the probability of occurrence of heat waves in some locations (see Table SPM.1). {10.6}

http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf

Sorry,

Messed up the html. The last paragraph should also be indented and is part of the quote.

Since a linear trend model plus error has least squares estimators that are asymptotically nomal, one standard error of the trend margin is about .2 /1.645 degrees C, or on order of magnitude 0.15. So 0.85, the quoted trend estimate, has a Z-score of about 5+, which is way more significant than 95, 99%, 99.99%, etc…. Seems to me the authors are downplaying the evidence. While I have not read the report, I wonder what is Doug arguing? That the AR(1) model is inappropriate? Sure. But statistics has advanced way beyond this the last few decades. Elaborating, put in a fractionally differenced long-memory component in the model if you want. You’re not going to knock that z-score below significant. Please reinforce your argument.

Hi. Thanks for the post. RE:

Worth noting: the Solomon of this 2010 (?) paper is “Stanley”, not Susan, who used to work at NOAA, and won the “Nobble Prize” along with other members of the Algore fan club.

Weather forecasts use the same approach. If three weathermen say it will rain and one disagrees, there’s a 75% chance of showers.

“While I have not read the report, I wonder what is Doug arguing? That the AR(1) model is inappropriate?”

There’s a bit of history behind this. The IPCC in their last report used 90% confidence intervals based on REML linear regression to state bounds on the amount of warming. Doug had a very long argument with the UK Met Office when they used this model to claim the warming was “significant”, via a number of Questions in Parliament, that eventually ended with the Met Office conceding that AR(1) was unphysical and far less likely than some other noise models they could have used. The chief scientist there, Julia Slingo, said that AR(1) was unrealistic and tried to claim they hadn’t used it in making their assessment, instead like the IPCC using a wide range of evidence.

So evidently, when the new report came out Doug immediately checked what model they were using. Turns out they’re still using AR(1), the model Julia Slingo said was rubbish. The confidence intervals are wrong, because the error model used to generate them is wrong – on the authority of the Met Office chief scientist.

The question is, will she say so?

“Elaborating, put in a fractionally differenced long-memory component in the model if you want. You’re not going to knock that z-score below significant. Please reinforce your argument.”Actually, yes you can. That was the basis of Doug’s earlier argument – that a trendless ARIMA(3,1,0) model fits the data a thousand times better than AR(1). There are links to the context at Bishop Hill.

—

In case anyone else wants to check, the following R script ought to replicate (roughly) the IPCC’s calculation. I used GISTEMP here, although the IPCC didn’t say I’m assuming they used the combination of several global temperature series, or possibly different versions. But the closeness of the result indicates that this is indeed what they’ve done.

# ###################

# Replicate IPCC’s confidence interval for warming 1880-2012

library(nlme) # nlme contains gls

# Read in GISTEMP data obtained from

# http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

# Downloaded 27 Sep 2013

gistemp<-ts(c(-22,-13,-16,-19,-27,-25,-24,-31,-19,

-10,-33,-27,-31,-36,-32,-25,-18,-18,-31,-20,-14,-21,

-30,-36,-44,-29,-26,-42,-43,-46,-45,-44,-41,-39,-23,

-16,-36,-44,-31,-29,-27,-21,-29,-26,-24,-22,-9,

-18,-16,-31,-11,-7,-10,-25,-9,-15,-10,3,6,1,6,8,5,6,

14,1,-8,-4,-10,-11,-19,-6,2,9,-11,-12,-18,4,4,3,

-4,5,4,7,-20,-10,-4,-1,-5,6,4,-7,2,16,-7,-1,-12,15,

6,12,23,28,9,27,12,8,15,29,35,24,39,38,19,21,28,

43,33,45,61,40,40,53,61,60,51,65,59,63,49,59,66,

55,58)/100,start=1880)

# Do the regression using AR(1) model, restricted maximum

# likelihood, and show the coefficients of the best fit

glsREML<-gls(gistemp ~ time(gistemp), cor=corARMA(p=1,q=0), method="REML"); coefficients(glsREML)

# Calculate 90% confidence interval on the slope

confint(glsREML,level=0.9)

# Calculate 90% confidence interval on the increase from 1880 to the end of 2012

confint(glsREML,level=0.9)[c(2,4)]*(2013-1880)

# Plot the data and slope on a chart

plot(gistemp)

abline(glsREML)

IPCC news flash ,the global temperature trend going forward is going to be DOWN, not up.

Natural causes can explain the temperature rise from 1880-1998 from high solar activity, to a warm PDO post 1980, up through 1998, featuring more El Nino activity.

Davidmhoffer:

Dont you mean “Summary of the Money Makers, By the Money Makers, For the Money Makers”?

Nullius in Verba says: September 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm“Turns out they’re still using AR(1), the model Julia Slingo said was rubbish.”

Would you care to quote Julia Slingo saying AR(1) was rubbish?

This seems to be just another episode in Doug Keenan berating people for not using his pet AR(3,1,0) model, which gets a better fit at the expense of extra parameters and physical impossibility. But the IPCC is not claiming that linear+AR(1) is the best model of temperature. They are simply using it as the basis for calculating temperature change over the period.

According to the MO, AR(3,1,0) would give a temperature change of 0.73°C, which is well within the IPCC stated range. So I can’t see how this can be construed as an error.

Simon, except they are

not“making money”… they arespendingour money.How about “Summary of the Tax Spenders, By the Tax Spenders, For the Tax Spenders”.

There, much better.

Summary for ScareMongers — 100 Ways to Spread Scare Stories and Make a Million!

Manny M says:

September 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

Would like to hear Dr. Leif Svalgaard’s take on this.

Nick,

“Would you care to quote Julia Slingo saying AR(1) was rubbish?”“However, considering the complex physical nature of the climate system, there is no

scientific reason to have expected that a linear model with first order autoregressive noise

would be a good emulator of recorded global temperatures, as the ‘residuals’ from a linear

trend have varying timescales ”

You could have found that yourself. Doug linked to it.

“But the IPCC is not claiming that linear+AR(1) is the best model of temperature. They are simply using it as the basis for calculating temperature change over the period.”They’re claiming that these are 90% confidence intervals on the actual temperature rise. And implying, to a statistically non-literate audience who wouldn’t recognise the issues with the AR(1) choice, that they would be justified in thinking these have a 90% probability of covering the value that is being estimated. (Which from a Bayesian point of view is not true, either. That would be a ‘credible interval’, not a ‘confidence interval’. A common error, that.)

I know there’s this thing about “not giving ammunition to sceptics”, but wouldn’t it be simpler, more straightforward, and a lot less desperate, on hearing that the IPCC was basing its confidence intervals on an linear+AR(1) model, to simply say: “That’s wrong; they ought to have either picked a better model, explained the difficulty, or not given confidence intervals at all”?

Nullius in Verba says: September 27, 2013 at 4:06 pmThat’s not Julia Slingo saying AR(1) is rubbish. She’s saying it would not be a good emulator of global temperature. Noone ever thought it would be. And that’s nothing to do with AR(1). No linear model would be a good emulator. Nor is Keenan’s model. When he says it is a thousand times more likely, that covers over the fact that it is still impossibly unlikely.

That’s not the point. It’s used as a basis for computing the difference between temperatures at two times. Regression fits are used for this in all kinds of fields, and they work well.

Whatever happened to 1850 to the present??

Or is that Inconvenient??

regards.

Manny Msays:September 27, 2013 at 11:38 am

Ian Wsays:September 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

Bill Parsonssays:September 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm

You all may be interested in this little snippet from NASA about shrinking atmosphere and the

coolingeffects of CO2 in the thermosphere.http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/coolingthermosphere.html

“It’s used as a basis for computing the difference between temperatures at two times.”And reporting confidence intervals. It’s the confidence intervals that are the issue.

And it isn’t a computation of the difference in temperatures at two times. To do that, you would subtract the temperature at one time from the temperature at the other. It’s a much simpler process. What you’re trying to do is something a lot more complicated – by “temperature” you don’t mean the

temperature, but an underlying equilibrium temperature due to forcing that has short-term weather superimposed on top of it – a purely theoretical concept that assumes that’s how weather works. You’re trying to estimate the change in theunderlying equilibrium, and using a low-pass filter to cut out the high-frequency ‘noise’ – a process that requires accurate statistical models of both signal and noise to do with any quantifiable validity.The mainstream constantly conflate these two concepts – the observed temperature and the underlying equilibrium temperature – because it gives the impression that the statements are about direct empirical observation, while actually being about an unobservable parameter in a question-begging assumed model.

Had they simply given the OLS trend, you could have argued that it was merely informally descriptive, a rough and unscientific indication of how much temperatures generally had gone up, without making any comment on its significance. However, they stuck a

confidence intervalon it. Worse, they said there was a 90% likelihood of it covering the quantity being estimated. That gives the impression of a scientifically testable statistical statement. But the “confidence interval” here is a meaningless pair of numbers, because it relies for its validity on an assumption known not to be true.“Regression fits are used for this in all kinds of fields, and they work well.”Sadly so. That doesn’t make it right, though.

Youmight well know what they’re doing and that such estimates are to be treated cautiously, but the intended readers of this report don’t. They read it asauthoritative science, and if they see confidence intervals being written down, byscientists, they’re going to assume they’re meaningful. In this case, as in so many others, they’d be wrong.Nullius in Verba says: September 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm“But the “confidence interval” here is a meaningless pair of numbers, because it relies for its validity on an assumption known not to be true.”

They have given an estimate, and the basis on which it was calculated. And they have given confidence intervals for that calculation. That’s appropriate.

I agree that AR(1) is not the only basis for calculating confidence intervals, and there is a case for others (discussed here). But it’s not meaningless.

Not entirely meaningless, but surely deceptive. It is written in the Summary in such a way as to create a false impression. What it means is not stated clearly. SOP.

You’re right…it’s not “meaningless.” In fact, I’d say it means a lot that they selected an inappropriate basis to determine their estimate and confidence intervals.

“I agree that AR(1) is not the only basis for calculating confidence intervals, and there is a case for others (discussed here). But it’s not meaningless.”AR(1) is the

wrongbasis for calculating confidence intervals.It’s meaningless if it’s based on an untrue assumption. Policy makers need to know how accurately you can state the amount of global warming observed. This does not answer that question.

And the IPCC

didn’tfully explain the basis on which it is calculated – that’s something we had to deduce from what they did last time around (and buried in an appendix to the main report), and the fact that the interval they report this time matches that method. What the IPCC say is that we can be confident there’s a 90% likelihood that this interval covers the amount of global warming there has actually been. That’s not true.The 0.65 and 1.06 °C figures are obviously P.O.O.M.A. numbers. [That stands for Preliminary Order of Magnitude Approximation. Really it does.]

(Fake ‘David Socrates’ sockpuppet ID -mod)

Thomas Stocker had the best line of the IPCC press conference, claiming in substance that we do not have enough data about the last 15 years to properly evaluate the “hiatus”. Really not enough data in the past 15 years!!!! That have been the most instrumented, observed period ever… except that it showed no warming.

This guys deserves a IgNoble prize, just for that one!!!

Maybe, but if so, it was at least the result of impeccable risk assessment logic:

The clients must receive what they specified. Otherwise they will defund the project.

Well, so long as the MSM censor dissent, does it matter??

The Guardian is back to censoring again – censored a within the rules challenge to Liberal Democrat (the great Greenies of our major UK political parties) Tim Farron to face reality.

I do wonder whether they have the honesty to draw out historical coverage of the Duma under Brezhnev and compare it to how they write some tripe and get fawning Kommisar after Kommisar to say ‘oh wonderful benefactor, how wise you are!’?

It’s really getting beyond a joke.

“I would say: An ARIMA(3,1,0)? Surely you jest in saying that is a thousand times more likely? I would sure like to see that likelihood comparison.”Follow the earlier Met Office discussion at Bishop Hill. There are links back to Doug’s calculations, which Slingo confirms.

“Do prove me wrong, but the model you propose has a random walk component, meaning the variance increases linearly in time. That is clearly not the case with this data. What you propose isn’t even a stationary model, which should be the null hypothesis of any climate change argument.”It’s an approximation for a subset of data, like a linear trend is.

It’s a standard procedure in time series analysis – if there are roots of the characteristic equation very close to the unit circle, it makes any short enough segment of the series look approximately as if it was

onthe unit circle (i.e. random-walk-like), and a lot of the standard tools don’t work or give invalid answers. So the standard approach on analysing a new time series is to first test for unit roots, and if “found”, take differences until the result is definitely stationary. It’s an approximate measure to handle situations when you don’t have a long enough sample to fully explore the data’s behaviour, and to avoid getting misleading results because of that.Think of it as like the situation you get with the series x(t+1) = 0.999999999 x(t) + rand(t) where rand(t) is a zero-mean Gaussian random number series. Technically it’s AR(1) and stationary, but over any interval short of

massiveit’s going to look indistinguishable from x(t+1) = 1 x(t) + rand(t), which is a random walk. You don’t have enough data to resolve the difference.Usually, after testing for unit roots and taking differences, the next step is to test to find what ARMA process best fits the result. This is where the ARIMA(3,1,0) model came from – it is the ARIMA process that best fits the short-term behaviour of the data. The process is analogous to fitting a polynomial to a short segment of a function to model its curves. It’s a local approximation that is not expected to apply indefinitely.

While I agree the AR(1) model is lacking, I can’t understand why people would endorse Keenan’s letter when he seriously suggests the “correct” error margins might include zero. Does anyone actually think we shouldn’t be able to rule out the possibility of no warming in the last 100+ years?

“Nor is Keenan’s model. ”

Din not Keenan say repeatedly that he wasn’t advocating ‘his’ model, but merely using it to illustrate his point?

Brandon,

Depends what you mean by “correct”.

My view is that all this talk about whether changes in temperature are “significant” or not are meaningless without a validated statistical model of ‘signal’ and ‘noise’ derived independently of the data, which we don’t have. We don’t know the statistical characteristics of the normal background variability precisely enough, so it is simply impossible to separate any ‘global warming signal’ from it. All these attempts where you make nice neat mathematical assumptions simply get out what you put in, and your conclusion depends on what you assumed. If you assumed a trend you’ll find a trend. If you assume no trend, you’ll find there’s no trend. Doug’s ARIMA(3,1,0) is merely a standard example derived by the textbook method to illustrate that point.

But it’s got no independent validation, either, so it’s no more “correct” than anything else we could do. It’s simply a better fit.

There

areno correct error margins because we don’t have an independent, validated model of the errors. Wecannotrule out, by purely statistical means, the possibility of no warming in the last 100+ years. And the IPCC’s confidence intervals are just the same sort of significance testing in disguise.However, I don’t expect the mainstream is ready to accept that one, so I’ll let it pass. That you accept that linear+AR(1) is “lacking” is a good start, and sufficient for the time being.

http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/screenhunter_1013-sep-28-00-13.jpg

mwhite says:

September 28, 2013 at 3:22 am

http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/screenhunter_1013-sep-28-00-13.jpg

That’s pretty funny.

Maybe this is too simplistic of a way to look at it, but say you have a system with several subsystems, each of which you are 99% confident that you have a sufficient understanding to model accurately. If there are 6 or more of these subsystems, is it possible for you to be 95% confident of the accuracy of your model of the entire system? 0.99^6 = 94.1%

Given that the climate has well over six subsystems, few of which if any, we are 99% confident that we can model accurately, let alone any interactive effects, it would seem nonsensical simply from a probability standpoint to claim 95% confidence.

Did anyone notice when the panel were questioned about the pause, that the models can not be used to predict individual rain showers or storms but can be used to show you the trend?

It seems to have escaped them that their models are not good a predicting trends either.

If your trend predicting model does not map across to recently gathered real measurements, but is consistently producing higher temperature outputs, then your model is wrong and all of your predictions that come from it are wrong.

How many wrongs make a right?

Nullius in Verba:

You make some interesting comments about the suitability of various statistical methods to be used on different occasions.

Could you state what you currently feel would be the best sequence to use to analyse the various global temperature datasets?

I would really like to know what a person skilled in statistical analysis would say is the correct method or sequence to use.

Its a shame that most statistical methods give answers irrespective on whether the method should have been used in a particular case.

I have seen this before in my own profession, where I’ve been asked to provide a percentage of accomplishment in a project which involves research into unknowns— First, how can i put a finite number value on an open-ended research project? Secondly, since the research is hardly a linear process, how can any percentage of completion be anything but an ‘idiot meter’ indication of MY confidence that I’ll be done by the deadline I’m assigned?

Answers, respectively: I cannot, it cannot.

Everyone knows this, though several try to pretend it’s not the case. For many, who are stymied in a phase of a project, but wish to show that they’re actually making progress so as to not alarm someone higher up in the food-chain, starting with a very low number and leaving themselves lots of room to up the percentage as time goes by is a familiar strategy which allows them to show “progress” even when there is none.

Trouble occurs as the deadline looms, and you have to show progress but have less and less room before hitting 100%. Where weeks ago you could make 10% per week, at 85%, you can’t. The “idiot meter” indications now take on a definite asymptotic curve, approaching completion.

At what point to people stop and say, “You’re Bee Essing me, right?”

Apparently, the IPCC and their believers aren’t at that point yet, and think they still have room to increase the numbers…we also know that they create more room by lowering their starting point…

Anyone who puts confidence in an “idiot meter” indication…. Well, there’s a REASON we call them “idiot meters”…

“Could you state what you currently feel would be the best sequence to use to analyse the various global temperature datasets?”The primary problem, like I said, is the lack of a validated model for the background noise. This is where effort needs to be concentrated. Until we have one,

noneof the methods are going to give reliable answers.More sophisticated studies in detection and attribution (‘detection’ is what we’re looking at here) use the big climate models to generate statistics on the background variation. There’s a bit more reason to pay attention to these, since they are at least partially based on physics. But there are lots of approximations and parameterisations and fudge-factors galore, they’re

notvalidated in the sense required, they don’t match observations of climate in many different aspects and areas, and their failure to predict the pause (or rather, pauses of a similar length and depth) falsifies them even at the game they were primarily designed and built to play – global temperature.Because they’re not validated, the fact that they can’t produce a rise like 1978-1998 doesn’t mean anything. But because they’re not validated, the fact they can’t produce a pause like 1998-2013 doesn’t mean anything either, except that one way or another the models are definitely invalidated. The pause doesn’t show that global warming theory is

wrong, because it could just be that the models underestimated the natural variation.If, one day, they can build a climate model that can be shown to predict climate accurately over the range of interest, then the correct approach would be to use this to generate statistics on trend sizes over various lengths, and use that to perform the trend analysis and confidence intervals and so on. That would be the right way of doing it. But we’re not there yet.

“I would really like to know what a person skilled in statistical analysis would say is the correct method or sequence to use.”Thanks! But I’d only describe myself as ‘vaguely competent’ not ‘skilled’. There are a lot of people far better at this stuff than me!