The Empire of the Viscount Strikes Back!

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Professor Shaun Lovejoy, as he continues the active marketing of his latest paper purporting to prove that “the world desperately needs to drop the skepticism and change course – humanity’s future depends on it”, writes in a hilarious op-ed at livescience.com:

“The majordomo of this deniers’ hub [Watts Up With That] is the notorious Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, who – within hours [fast on his feet, that Viscount is: strong in him the Force must be] – had declared to the faithful that the paper was no less than a ‘mephitically ectoplasmic emanation from the Forces of Darkness’ and that ‘it is time to be angry at the gruesome failure of peer review’.”

The Professor describes this as “venom”. No, sir, it is eloquence in the service of truth. Perhaps he would prefer a scatological rather than an eschatological metaphor. Happy to oblige. The scientific merit of his paper is aptly described by the third, eighteenth, first, and sixteenth letters of the alphabet, taken sequentially. Or, if he prefers it up him palindromically, the sixteenth, fifteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth.

Let me put on my major-domo’s tails, white starched wing-collar, maniple, and white gloves, polish up the nearest silver salver, and, Jeeves-like, shimmer in to address some the fashionable pseudo-physics in Professor Lovejoy’s latest Technicolor yawn.

After deploying the hate-screech word “deniers”, he wheels out Svante Arrhenius, who, “toiling for a year, predicted that doubling CO2 levels would increase global temperatures by 5-6 Cº, which turns out to be close to modern estimates”.

The Professor is perhaps unaware (for he does not seem to be aware of all that much in the realm of physics) that Arrhenius is known to have made errors in his line-by-line calculation of the warming effect of CO2 (actually performed at intervals over the long Arctic winter, not over a whole year). He had, for instance, relied on defective lunar spectral data.

Furthermore, Arrhenius – a chemist and not a physicist – had not at that time come across the fundamental equation of radiative transfer, which would greatly have simplified his calculations and made them more accurate.

However, in 1906, in Vol. 1, No. 2 of the Journal of the Royal Nobel Institute, he recanted and divided his earlier climate-sensitivity estimate by three:

“Likewise, I calculate that a halving or doubling of the CO2 concentration would be equivalent to changes of temperature of –1.5 Cº or +1.6 Cº respectively.”

So few of the F. of D. are aware of Arrhenius’ recantation that I am happy to provide a facsimile (Fig. 1) of the quotation from his 1906 paper, published in German (which perhaps explains why the largely English-speaking F. of D. are unaware of it).

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Figure 1. Detail in facsimile from Arrhenius, S., 1906, Die vermutliche Ursache der Klimaschwankungen (“The possible cause for climate variability”). Meddelanden från K. Vetenskapsakademiens Nobelinstitut 1: 2, 1ff.

It is also important to note that Arrhenius confined his analysis to radiative transports only. He did not take account of all the numerous non-radiative transports – afternoon convection in the tropics, baroclinic eddies in the extratropics, evaporation everywhere, etc. – that militate homeostatically against any sufficiently small perturbation of the natural climate (such as doubling the tiny concentration of CO2 in the air).

Nor did Arrhenius take account of the biggest unknown in the climate – the behavior of clouds. All other things being equal, returning plant food to the atmosphere from which it came will cause some warming. But we do not know that all other things are equal.

Professor Lovejoy is also incorrect to say that Arrhenius’ original estimate of climate sensitivity was “close to modern estimates”. IPeCaC clings to a sensitivity interval of 1.5-4.5 Cº, entirely below Arrhenius’ original estimate and almost entirely above his revised estimate.

Many “modern estimates” point to a climate sensitivity well below IPeCaC’s interval. We may even see less than 1 Cº of global warming per CO2 doubling (Monckton of Brenchley, 2008, 2010; Douglass & Christy, 2009; Paltridge, 2009; Lindzen and Choi, 2009, 2011; Spencer and Braswell, 2010, 2011; Loehle & Scafetta, 2011, etc.).

Next, the Professor says that in the scientific method “no theory ever can be proven beyond ‘reasonable doubt’”. It would be more correct to say that some hypotheses (though few in physics and very few in climate physics) can be demonstrated definitively.

For instance, it is possible to demonstrate the Theorem of Pythagoras. My own simple proof by inclusion is at Fig. 2.

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Figure 2. Demonstration of Pythagoras’ Theorem by inclusion. The boundary contains either the square on the hypotenuse (red) and two congruent right triangles or the squares on the other two sides (blue, green) and two more congruent right triangles. Subtract on each view the two right triangles. Then the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. Q.E.D.

Professor Lovejoy sets out his stall thus:

“Climate skeptics have ruthlessly exploited this alleged weakness, stating that the models are wrong, and that the warming is natural. Fortunately, scientists have a fundamental methodological asymmetry to use against these skeptics: a single decisive experiment effectively can disprove a scientific hypothesis. That’s what I claim to have done. Examining the theory  that global warming is only natural, I showed — without any use of GCMs — that the probability that warming is simply a giant natural fluctuation is so small as to be negligible. He compounds this point later by saying “skeptics dismiss the models”.

Well, are the models right? A single experiment demonstrates that, on the central question how much global warming should have occurred since 1990, the modelers’ hypothesis that the trend in global temperature would fall on their predicted interval (the orange region in Fig. 3) has been demonstrated to be false. Skeptics doubt the models not least because the modelers’ confidently-made predictions have been demonstrated, time and again, to be wild exaggerations.

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Figure 3. Near-term projections of global warming (IPCC, 1990: orange region), compared with observed outturn taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH monthly global mean surface temperature anomalies, 1990-2014.

Professor Lovejoy says that his “CO2 proxy … predicts with 95 percent certainty that a doubling of CO2 levels in the atmosphere will lead to a warming of 1.9 to 4.2 Cº”. He prays in aid Fig. 4.

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Figure 4. “This figure visually shows the strong linear relation between the radiative forcing and the global temperature response since 1880 … showing the 5-year running average of global temperature (red) as a function of the CO2 forcing surrogate from 1880 to 2004. The linearity is impressive; the deviations from linearity are due to natural variability. The slope of the regression line is 2.33±0.22 degrees Celsius per CO2 doubling (it is for the unlagged forcing/response relation).”

I do not pretend to understand this graph. For a start, it seems to show (albeit in exasperatingly non-standard units) that just about half the CO2 forcing since 1750 occurred before 1960, when CO2 concentration last stood at 316 ppmv. However, the official story-line (in standard units) is that the CO2 forcing from 1750 to 1958 was 0.7 W m–2, whereas that from 1958 to 2014 was greater by four-fifths, at 1.2 W m–2. Makes a bit of a mess of the claimed “linearity”, that.

Secondly, the linear trend on the global temperature anomalies since 1880 is 0.87 Cº, (Fig. 5), in response to 1.9 W m–2 of CO2 forcing. A doubling of CO2 concentration would give 3.7 W m–2 of CO2 forcing, according to the current official method.

Therefore, if there were a linear relation between CO2 forcing and temperature change (which there is not), and if all of the warming since 1750 were anthropogenic (which it was not), and if there were no major natural influences on temperature over the period (which there were) the warming in response to a CO2 doubling would be just 1.7 Cº, not the 2.33 Cº suggested in Professor Lovejoy’s caption.

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Figure 5. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the mean of the HadCRUT4, GISS, and NCDC monthly mean global surface temperature anomalies from 1880-2014 is 0.87 Cº. The linearity is not particularly remarkable: the correlation coefficient is only 0.69. The oscillations of global temperature following the 60-year period of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation can be clearly seen.

There is demonstrably no linear relationship between the CO2 forcing, which increases monotonically, and global temperature change, which is stochastic. Global temperature change is more closely related to changes in the great ocean oscillations in the short term (Fig. 6), in total sunlight hours at the surface in the medium term (Fig. 7), and in total solar irradiance in the long term (Fig. 8).

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Figure 6. The remarkable non-linearity of global temperature change since 1890, showing the two periods of global warming that coincided remarkably with the two positive phases of the naturally-occurring Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the period.

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Figure 7. The remarkable non-linearity of global temperature change in the South China Sea, 1880 to 2008, tracking a remarkable non-linearity in the number of sunshine hours in Japan. Not all pyrometer records show this correspondence: but the Japanese record is the longest we have, and one of the most meticulously kept.

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Figure 8. The remarkable non-linearity of the sunspot record, 1600-2003, from Hathaway et al., (2004). Inset: The remarkable non-linearity of global temperature trend, 1659-2010. The first and most rapid of the three periods (red) of global warming since 1659 (1694-1733) occurred as solar activity began to recover at the end of the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715). The other two periods (1925-1946 and 1977-2000) occurred at the solar Grand Maximum (1925-1995).

Next, Professor Lovejoy makes the startling assertion that the probability that what he calls “rare, extreme fluctuations” in global temperature such as those of the 20th century were natural is 1:1000 to 1:10,ooo.

This is where his omission of any reference to the Central England Temperature Record, or to the Utrecht or Prague temperature records, or to the historical circumstances (the freezing of the Thames, of the Dutch canals, of the Hudson in New York), is so reprehensible.

The rapid warming at the transition from the Maunder Minimum to a more normal climate occurred well before the industrial revolution began. It was not our fault.

Or Professor Lovejoy could have gone back to 1421, at the time when global temperature began to tip downward into the Little Ice Age. An interesting letter in the Vatican archive from the Papal Legate in Greenland to the Secretariat of State reported that the Legate regretted that he could not take up his appointment because “the ice is come in from the north”. Suddenly, ships could not reach Greenland.

By now, anyone who has studied the climate ought to have realized that what Professor Lovejoy calls “rare, extreme fluctuations” are neither rare nor extreme. They are the norm, not the exception.

Moreover, the entire interval of global temperature change since 1750, from the depth of the Maunder minimum to the acme during the Great El Niño of 1988 represents a movement of just 0.9% in absolute mean global surface temperature. By contrast, the change between midday and midnight at one location can be as much as 20% of absolute mean temperature. And the interval between the hottest and coldest places on Earth represents close to half of absolute mean temperature.

Next, the Professor says: “But what about Medieval warming with vineyards in Britain, or the so-called Little Ice Age with skating on the Thames? In the historical past, the temperature has changed considerably. Surely, the industrial-epoch warming is just another large-amplitude natural event?”

He answers his question in the negative, saying large-scale changes can only occur over periods much longer than a century. He would have gotten a nasty surprise if he had been around at the end of the Younger Dryas cooling event 11,400 years ago. At that time, according to the ice cores, the temperature in Antarctica rose by 5 Cº in just three years. As Professor Ian Plimer puts it, “Now, that’s climate change!”

Next, Professor Lovejoy writes: “My result focuses on the probability of centennial-scale temperature changes. It does not exclude large changes, if they occur slowly enough. So if you must, let the peons roast and the Thames freeze solid, the result stands.” No, it doesn’t. Just look at the warming of 1694-1733: 1.7 Cº in just 40 years, a rate equivalent to 4.33 Cº/century.

The Q&A that Professor Lovejoy has issued to prop up his paper says that he regards any change of more than 0.25 Cº over 125 years as exceptional, and likely to occur only 10% of the time. No, it isn’t. As I pointed out in a previous posting, more than a third of all 125-year periods predating the onset of anthropogenic influence on climate in 1950 show warming or cooling of more than 0.25 Cº.

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Figure 9. Left: The misleading propaganda claim made by “Skeptical” “Science” that 97% of scientists agree we are the cause of global warming. Right: The true position exposed by Legates et al. (2013): 99.5% of 11,944 climate-science papers did not say we are the cause. They did not even say we are the primary cause.

Next, Professor Lovejoy says IPeCaC has “strengthened its earlier 2007 qualification of ‘likely’ to ‘extremely likely’ that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming  since the mid-20th century.” Yes, it has, but it has done so not only on no evidence but in the teeth of the evidence.

As Legates et al. (2013) demonstrated, 99.5% of 11,944 scientific papers on climate published between 1991 and 2011 did not say that most of the global warming since 1950 was caused by us (Figure 9).

Besides, since Professor Lovejoy’s paper plays with statistics a great deal, he should know that no recognizable statistical process performed on any actual dataset (unless science now recognizes a show of hands among scientifically-illiterate, rent-seeking representatives of governments) generated IPeCaC’s “95-99% confidence” value.

Next, the Professor asserts that “skeptics … insist that warming results from natural variability”. No, we don’t. We assert that in the present state of knowledge it is impossible adequately to distinguish between natural variability and anthropogenic influence.

The Professor digs his hole ever deeper: “The new GCM-free approach rejects natural variability, leaving the last vestige of skepticism in tatters.” Here is an honest version of that sentence: “I reject natural variability aprioristically, so I bished and bashed the numbers till they fitted my preconception, leaving the last vestige of my scientific credibility in tatters.”

Yet he rants blithely on to the effect that the Canadian government has “axed climate research” (hurrah!); that it gave him no funding for his research (so he got more than he deserved); that it has “shamelessly promoted the dirtiest fuels” (but CO2 is not dirty, it is the stuff of life); that it has “reneged on its international climate obligations” (no, it took lawful and timeous advantage of the opt-out clause in the Kyoto Protocol and, therefore, has no “international climate obligations”); that “two decades of international discussion have failed to prevent emissions from growing” (along with crop yields and net primary productivity of trees and plants, thanks to CO2 fertilization); and, finally, that “the world needs to drop the skepticism and change course – humanity’s future depends on it” (but, as T.H. Huxley said, to the scientist “skepticism is the highest of duties, blind faith the one unpardonable sin”, and whenever someone says humanity’s future depends on something he means his income depends on it).

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“For instance, it is possible to demonstrate the Theorem of Pythagoras. My own simple proof by inclusion is at Fig. 2.”
proving A theorem of geometry or math is quite different than proving a physical theory.
that is why math has proof and physical science does not.
plus Pythagoras was incomplete. it only holds in eucliean space.

Mark Bofill

For those who are curious, here’s a link to the op-ed:
http://www.livescience.com/44950-global-warming-natural-fluctuation.html?
My immediate observation in response to this:

Beyond the venom, however, the actual criticism amounted to little more than a disbelief in the quantification of error bars on estimates of century-scale global temperatures, even though this estimate was published a year ago and is of little importance to the conclusions.

is that perhaps nobody wants to shoot from the hip when he’s done something obscure. ‘course, maybe it’s just obscure to me because I’iz ignorent. :0 But I’m not prepared to open fire until I understand what the heck the guy did.

Auto Guy

Bravo.
The last bit makes me proud to be Canadian.

Could the climate change debate have been more fruitful if skeptics would require from Prof. Shaun Lovejoy and colleagues clear and unambiguous use of definitions? “Climate” has been a layman’s term for more than 2000 years, but now defined by IPCC it is pure nonsense, and scientific hoax; discussed here: http://www.whatisclimate.com/

John LEON

Bravo! All very true especially the last line about income depending on volume and frequency of the alarmist message.

Al

Typo in this line: Great El Niño of 1988

Richard G

Steven Mosher says:April 23, 2014 at 11:45 am
“proving A theorem of geometry or math is quite different than proving a physical theory.
that is why math has proof and physical science does not.”
And yet you persist in trying to use math to prove an aspect of physical science. Consistency is not your strong suit, Mr. Mosher.

David L. Hagen

Skepticism is the mother’s milk of Science.
The Royal Society took the motto:

Nullius in verba’

(roughly translated as ‘take nobody’s word for it’) – including Prof. Lovejoy’s. As a properly skeptical scientist, Christopher Lord Monckton exposes numerous fallacies in Prof. Lovejoy’s paper and presumption.

Eric Anderson

“All other things being equal, returning plant food to the atmosphere from which it came will cause some warming. But we do not know that all other things are equal.”
Perhaps too softly stated.
We in fact have excellent evidence that all things are not in fact equal. CO2 has continued to rise during periods in which warming did not occur. Thus, either: (i) the basic premise — all things being equal, more CO2 => warming — is wrong, or (ii) not all things are equal. These are the only two logical options. Unless one wants to abandon the general premise behind global warming/climate change, the only possible logical conclusion is that all things are not equal.
Thus, it is true — it is simply a fact, based on observations and the only logical alternatives available — that more CO2 does not necessarily lead to more warming. It might. It could over the long run. But it might not.

TomRude

I am awaiting a new statistical debunk from Briggs on this one…

I think that the dear professor has just been slapped with a glove. Will he be man enough to accept the challenge?

Mark Bofill

I guess my problem with Dr. Lovejoy’s argument to date can be found here:

The key, second part of my study uses data from the year 1500 to estimate the probability that this temperature change is due to natural causes. Since I am interested in rare, extreme fluctuations, a direct estimate would require far more pre-industrial measurements than are currently available. Statisticians regularly deal with this type of problem, usually solving it by applying the bell curve. Using this analysis shows that the chance of the fluctuation being natural would be in the range of one-in-100-thousand to one-in-10-million.
Yet, climate fluctuations are much more extreme than those allowed by the bell curve. This is where my specialty — nonlinear geophysics — comes in.
Nonlinear geophysics confirms that the extremes should be far stronger than the usual “bell curve” allows. Indeed, I showed that giant, century-long fluctuations are more than 100-times more likely than the bell curve would predict. Yet, at one in a thousand, their probability is still small enough to confidently reject them.

Nonlinear geophysics sounds pretty sexy. Until I’ve got time to learn this discipline (and I’ve got no urgent plans to), his argument probably isn’t going to be persuasive to me. In fact, I imagine it’s going to be persuasive to exactly two types of people:
1) People who understand nonlinear geophysics (I’m guessing this isn’t a vast number of people)
2) People who have no clue what the heck Dr. Lovejoy is talking about but like his conclusion.
~shrug~ what’s a time strapped layperson to do?

Brad

Nice dissection of a rotting, almost-dead corpse…
Thank you.
Not to hijack but…
Did Prince Charles ever formally respond to your debate letter?
As to Steve Mosher – Once again your attempt to deflect the core of the post falls flat, on your face. Keep up the good work, and pretty soon you may get a job in Obama’s mafia. Oh wait, …/sarc off.

pokerguy

.”..had declared to the faithful that the paper was no less than a ‘mephitically ectoplasmic emanation from the Forces of Darkness’ and that ‘it is time to be angry at the gruesome failure of peer review’.”
I did not like this sentence the first time I read it, and still don’t. In fact, I think I made a critical comment to the effect that it was needlessly arcane. If your goal sir, is to entertain “the faithful” as Professor Lovejoy disparagingly calls us, then don’t change a thing as you’re succeeding nicely in that regard.. However if your goal is to actually change minds, or at least to force them to take you more seriously, I’d recommend toning down the rhetorical flourishes, and the supercilious tone. The problem as I see it is that they…and by extension you…are too easy to ridicule.
Which is fine, if that’s what you’re after. I find you as entertaining…and generally compelling… as most skeptics. However, I think you could be more effective if you wanted to be.

MikeUK

I think the correct scientific term for what Lovejoy does is phenomenology, but it can also be described as curve-fitting. Its a perfectly respectable thing to do when you can’t calculate something from first principles, but you have some general idea of trends. It only works when there are a few things varying.
An interesting recent example of it is a paper by Lu who suggests that recent warming may have had a major contribution from CFCs http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0217979213500732 This paper has incurred the wrath of the True Believers, in itself a good recommendation.
Lovejoy has clearly gone OTT, applying overly sophisticated mathematics to a highly complex temperature record. It is surely a major schoolboy error to give credibility to any results from this mathematics. Most people would have just applied a simple sanity check, followed by right-click-delete-file.

Latitude

Lovejoy proves my point that there is now “consensus science” which he represents and the higher standards of skeptic science.
The key question is can we show that there is substantial natural variation?
Indeed we can and it is trivial to show so
In 2001 they predicted warming of 0.14 to 0.58C /decade, it did not warm, therefore (if their “settled”, “unequivocal”, “undeniable” [consensus] science models were right) there must be natural variation of -0.14 to 0.58C/decade.
I have therefore shown that natural variation is significant and as large as any predicted warming.
Or I could show that the rise from the start of this scare (i.e. after the global cooling) from 1970 to 2000 was 0.48C and is not at all unprecedented as it is the same as the rise from 1910 to 1940 over another 30 year period. So again I have shown that before CO2 was measured warming we had the same rises as the total rise since the global cooling scare.
Or as Christopher has done, I could refer to the CET which amply demonstrates that natural variation.

bw

There were others making IR measurements besides Arrhenius. His 1896 mistake was noted by Angstrom, who published another view of CO2 IR absorption spectra.
http://members.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/angstrom1900/index.html
Link has some original references for those interested. There is also a modern graphic of the calculated 15 micron absorption of CO2 at several concentrations.

Evan Jones

What you have done here, melord, is, in effect, to construct a top-down model. Huzzah, and Tallyho!
Maybe you don’t remember the previous bit you commented on. But here you demonstrate the tack I was advocating.
Your first two points are prime examples.
When you are analyzing the bottom-to-top CMIP models, tweaking the inputs is like trying to uncrack a whip. You wind up in a game where you change the Echo Fire rules by one factor, and poof, the beastly Germans are sunning their PzIII barrels in Omsk by September every time (or their manhood frustrated by by an newfound incapability to seize Brest).
But here (as in other similar examples, you have adduced), you are, in my arrogant opinion, doing it right.
What these guyz don’t seem to gander is that when you are constructing a climate model, you need to approach it from the perspective of breaking the maverick — not making a plasticine sculpture of a horse.

To his credit, Dr. Lovejoy did get his name correct. But precious little else.
He engaged Joanne Nova on her blog, and again to his credit, he was civil and polite. But extremely evasive.

Michael J. Dunn

Steven Mosher:
Yes, the usual standard is for physical theories to be disproven, not proven. But sometimes, the observational evidence so completely conforms to a theory, and the theory is based on such plausible suppositions, that it is accepted as being proven. Newton’s theory of gravity and the Maxwell-Boltzmann kinetic theory of gases (being an application of the more fundamental theory of random processes) are two good examples. Where the theories have small errors under specific conditions, the physics of the phenomenon are known to have departed from the presumptions of the theories.
Speaking from my own field, they are proven well enough that we can design perfectly reliable missiles to deliver nuclear detonations anywhere on the planet. The only designs that “climate science” can propose are on our pocketbooks!

“the notorious Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, who – within hours…”
Don’t discount the viscount!

Village Idiot

[snip – off topic -mod]

Mac the Knife

…..and, finally, that “the world needs to drop the skepticism and change course – humanity’s future depends on it” LoveJoy
Much cheaper and more cost effective to drop Lovejoy , all similar AGW rent seekers, and redirect the Billion$ of dollars they waste to more efficacious applications.

Great job, Chris. One comment: You say
” . . . whenever someone says humanity’s future depends on something he means his income depends on it.”
I’d change “income” to something broader, like “utility.” I live in the SF Bay Area, and I can tell you that there are plenty of people who cling like wolverines to CAGW without any $ involved. These are leftists, usually well-to-do leftists, for whom the summum bonum is to feel good about themselves gaining and keeping the moral highground. And they do it by fiercely condemning the rest of us in moral terms, often with a tinge of violence. THAT’S where their “utility” comes from. Their main spokesman is NYTimes “distinguished” writer, Paul Krugman, who regularly uses Unabomber-ish rhetoric, condemning the rest of us as “traitors to the planet” and wishing for us to burn in hell.
Lovejoy isn’t quite as creative as Krugman, but he’s totally cool with this attitude.

[snip – off topic -mod]

Village Idiot

@ evanmjones: April 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Eminently more logical and readable than Munkton’s blether

Village Idiot

Dear Mod.
How can a comment on something the “good” lord brought up himself possibly be off topic?
[it isn’t about the issue at hand -mod]

LewSkannen

A better example than Pythagoras might be Einstein.
Einstein produced a single tensor equation for his theory of relativity which could be used to make exact quantitative predictions about any physical system and they were predictions which could be tested.
Einstein knew that the failure of a prediction was a failure of the theory and invited people to attack his elegant little equation.
Over the past century his theory has been attacked mercilessly with all the technology that we have developed in that time. In all that time not a scratch or chip has appeared on the theory.
That is as close to proof as we are likely to get in science.
Now compare that with climate change ‘science’. I have yet to see anything that approaches Einsteins equation for a concise statement of what ‘the theory’ actually states!
It just seems to exist as an ill defined disordered list of random claims, totally lacking any consistent summation. The ‘theory’ (if it even qualifies) exists as such a fragile sickly thing that we are not really allowed to examine it or look at it, let alone actually prod it, even gently.
To even question it is to invite ridicule and abuse and doing so will get one ejected from the room. Mentioning a few obvious problems with ‘the theory’ is to invite accusations of death threats etc.
When heretics (such as ourselves) are given the opportunity to treat ‘the theory’ with a bit of robust skepticism it immediately crumbles to dust, often collapsing under its own feeble weight before we have even laid a glove on it.

michel

Steven Mosher says:April 23, 2014 at 11:45 am
“proving A theorem of geometry or math is quite different than proving a physical theory.
that is why math has proof and physical science does not.”
And he then goes on to mention non-Euclidean geometry. Well its an interesting question. Was Quine right? Was Carnap right? If Quine was right then its a continuum, and there is no statement we would not be prepared to abandon in some circumstances. The distinction between the analytic a priori and the synthetic a posteriori is a matter of degree.
If Carnap was right there are observation statements and theoretical statements. The observation statements record statements of fact. The theoretical statements relate theoretical entities which may or may not be instantiated in observations.
I don’t know. What I do know is that it is not warming, and they all told me it was going to. And now they are telling me it is the oceans that are warming and it will all come back. But they cannot tell me how that is going to happen. I think I’m going to lie down. And anyone promoting wind turbines is not getting my vote.

John Boles

Hello all, heads up on
http://www.skepticblog.org/2014/04/22/global-warming-has-paused-not/#more-25251
Donald Prothero is an archeologist, not a climate guy, I think his approach is too political. I think a true skeptic is not a climate alarmist. Perhaps make his article the subject of a blog entry at WUWT?

I have two gripes about Figure 4.

The linearity is impressive; the deviations from linearity are due to natural variability.

He goes into more detail in http://www.livescience.com/44950-global-warming-natural-fluctuation.html :

The key, second part of my study uses data from the year 1500 to estimate the probability that this temperature change is due to natural causes. Since I am interested in rare, extreme fluctuations, a direct estimate would require far more pre-industrial measurements than are currently available. Statisticians regularly deal with this type of problem, usually solving it by applying the bell curve. Using this analysis shows that the chance of the fluctuation being natural would be in the range of one-in-100-thousand to one-in-10-million.
Yet, climate fluctuations are much more extreme than those allowed by the bell curve. This is where my specialty — nonlinear geophysics — comes in.

Oh oh, my BS-meter is climbing! Is it still “appeal to authority” if the authority is yourself? How Mannian.

Nonlinear geophysics confirms that the extremes should be far stronger than the usual “bell curve” allows. Indeed, I showed that giant, century-long fluctuations are more than 100-times more likely than the bell curve would predict. Yet, at one in a thousand, their probability is still small enough to confidently reject them.

I don’t have any trouble with claims that weather event probabilities have a Gaussian-like bell curve with the extremes pushed out more than the math (e.g. Pascal’s triangle) would support. I think he said that. Then I think he throws out all variability that’s less than a century long, and that denies the effects the PDO, AMO, Sun, the Dalton and Maunder Minima and all sorts of other interesting natural variability. Leaving behind CO2 and it must be a straight line.
What was the other thing? Oh – it’s now 2014 and his five year averaged red line ends at 373 ppm CO2. That was 2004. Why doesn’t he carry it out to 2011, 2.5 years ago? The smoothed CO2 concentration is rising steadily enough to extend the red line a bit further. Of course, it would be horizontal, but if he can blow off the rapid increase between 0.11 and 0.16, he shouldn’t have any trouble ignoring the recent flat line either.

MikeUK

There is an interesting philosophical question about the difference between “natural” and “anthropogenic” variations. Are we not creatures of nature engaged in natural activities? If bees were multiplying and emitting CO2 then that would be natural, but not if we do it.
Lovejoy has “proved” that the temperature record cannot be due to Type A variations, so it must be due to Type B. But there is no clear distinction between A and B, hence Lovejoy’s original question doesn’t even make any sense, let alone have an answer.

Mark Bofill

One more thing, addition to my earlier comment. I can accept scientific results I don’t understand, and I do. I don’t need to understand everything to accept it. But in those cases, controversial cases in particular, when I don’t follow the science, show me your power. Demonstrate that your science works. You want me to buy that subatomic particles don’t have a precise physical location until measured? I can buy that if you show me your theory works. As Briggs said here:

…But, hey, I may be wrong. I therefore challenge Lovejoy to use his model to predict future temperatures. If it’s any good, it will be able to skillfully do so. …

Indeed.

Mr Mosher, like the few other remaining trolls here (the rest have realized the game is up and the scare is over), is reduced to splitting hairs and then picking nits from the scalp. He says, “A theorem in geometry or math is quite different than proving a physical theory.” Well, math is the language in which physical proofs are written. The Euclidean plane, in which my demonstration of Pythagoras’ Theorem resides, is a physical plane, and I have provided a not inelegant geometric proof by inclusion.
If Mr Mosher would like to read the proof that under certain conditions E = mc^2 he should look up Einstein’s original paper, which requires knowledge of nothing more challenging than a set of partial differential equations.
Simili modo, Ludwig Boltzmann proved the fundamental equation of radiative transfer by using math based on Planck’s blackbody law. Und so weiter, und so weiter.
Mr Mosher also labors under the erroneous impression that the Pythagorean theorem holds only in the Euclidean plane. Not so. It holds also in the hyperbolic plane. It may also hold absolutely, under the variances (1) that the requirement that one of the three angles of the triangle be a right angle be replaced by a requirement that the sum of two angles should equal the third angle, and (2) that the requirement that the square on the hypotenuse be equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides be replaced by a requirement that the area of the circle on the longest side be the sum of the areas of the circles on the other two sides.

farmerbraun

M’Lord , while in no way wishing to diminish your deserved reputation for casting light into the darkest corners, I respectfully suggest that the appropriate word(in respect of a major-domo) was ” shimmy” – as in “shimmy up to the microphone”.

Mr Bofill appears to imply that I did not understand what Professor Lovejoy did. Where I understood what he did, and what he did was scientifically incorrect, I said so and explained why. Where I did not understand what he did, but what he did was plainly at odds with the official story-line, I said so and explained the difference. And what did Mr Bofill do?

Brad asks whether I had a formal answer from Prince Charles to my debate challenge. I have had no answer, formal or informal, and am not holding my breath for one. Like Al Gore and James Cameron, both of whom ran rather than debate, the Prince avoids speaking on the climate issue to any audience that might ask pertinent questions. This reluctance to debate on the part of the true-believers reveals that they know in their heart of hearts that they are wrong.

Mark Bofill

Beg pardon Lord Monckton. If you understand nonlinear geophysics, you understand nonlinear geophysics. I do not.
What did Mr. Bofill do?

I haven’t seen that proof of the Pythagorean Theorem before, I like it. However, I still prefer the classic square in a square rearrangement proof, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pythagore.jpg . The two are similar in many ways, pretty much by necessity.

Follow the Money

“Professor Lovejoy says that his “CO2 proxy … predicts with 95 percent certainty that a doubling of CO2 levels in the atmosphere will lead to a warming of 1.9 to 4.2 Cº”… I do not pretend to understand this graph.”
I think I can explain this. Lovejoy says (by inference of how quoted here) what all the clever warmistas have dreamed to dare to say, but have not yet directly. Dared to imagine. To confabulate and evangelize with faulty, but self-congratulating fervor, but fearing outright ridicule if they do so boldly. That the ice core CO2 concentration records ARE A PROXY OF TEMPERATURE INCREASE. At least in the last hundred years or so. Lovejoy (by inference of how quoted here) is just unaware of the accusation of logical fallacy, argument wise, that saying CO2 measurements are a proxy for temperature, and ergo, anthro-CO2 causes temp increases, one opens oneself to. I suspect some of the older, more experienced sorts, afraid to announce their religious beliefs that CO2 (alias “carbon pollution”) ice core record measurements ‘equals’ temperature, near-mystically seclude this belief inside their hockey stick “computer codes,” the ones they religiously fail to disclose or reveal. Or there is some other shared garbage in the codes…

{all bold emphasis mine – JW}

In his post ‘The Empire of the Viscount Strikes Back!’ Christopher Monckton said,
“It is also important to note that Arrhenius confined his analysis to radiative transports only. He did not take account of all the numerous non-radiative transports – afternoon convection in the tropics, baroclinic eddies in the extratropics, evaporation everywhere, etc. – that militate homeostatically against any sufficiently small perturbation of the natural climate (such as doubling the tiny concentration of CO2 in the air).
Nor did Arrhenius take account of the biggest unknown in the climate – the behavior of clouds. All other things being equal, returning plant food to the atmosphere from which it came will cause some warming. But we do not know that all other things are equal.”

Thank you Christopher Monckton.
Nor did Lovejoy adequately account for Monckton’s point that we do not know that all other things are equal in the Earth-Atmosphere System (EAS).
It was in a talk by Lindzen some years ago that I first encountered the concept of the limitation / caveat all other things being equal in the EAS when considering any possibility that CO2 radiative forcing can be the attributed cause of some (small) warming.
New research on climate sensitivity studies and estimates are proliferating now that the IPCC is known to be flagrantly incorrect in their exaggerated assessments. It seems likely that more and more research will trend toward a climate sensitivity of less than 1 C. Such low climate sensitivities would mean difficulty in discerning any AGW signal due to fossil fuels from the natural signal.
John

Greg Goodman

Steven Mosher says:
proving A theorem of geometry or math is quite different than proving a physical theory.
that is why math has proof and physical science does not.
===
Except in climatology, where the science is settled, the null hypothesis reversed and anyone who disagrees is an “anti-science” war criminal who should be locked up in a non-euclidian space (preferable one with no windows).

brantc

The Maunder Minimum shows up in musical instruments.
“I have tentatively determined that the spruce wood rings on this ‘Beeirette’ violin are a mathematically significant match (99.9491 % confidence level, Pearson correlation r = 0.50, 40 years lagged 10 years) to the rings on the 1716 Messiah violin by Antonio Stradivari (Antonius Stradivarius). The wood coincides with the early part of the Maunder Minimum, associated with the phenomenal tonal qualities of 17th and 18th century Cremona violin masters.”
http://www.wdjensen123.com/Beeirette.htm

Luther Bl't

michel says:
April 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm
The distinction between the analytic a priori and the synthetic a posteriori is a matter of degree.
——–
Oh but the former is so much more satisfying, isn’t it: what simpler, more self-evident type of proof could one conceive than that of the tautology? Which is why there is always false intellectual arbitrage by the me2’s, me3’s (apply Peano ad lib) converting the latter to the former.

Rud Istvan

I have no idea what Lovejoy’s nonlinear geophysics is. But as someone with Ph.D level credentials in econometrics from a decent University, I know a fair bit about statistical data torture. In addition to the spurrious confidence levels previously pointed out by Viscount Monckton, and in addition to the obviously wrong assumptions pointed out by him here, and in addition to Lovejoy’s puerile responses,
his statistical methods (essentially regression analysis) are faulty. At a minimum, there is no correction for serial autocorrelation in the temperature time series, a classic trap invalidating his analytic methods from the gitgo.
Lovejoy’s vituperous defense of the indefensible violates the first rule of holes. Whining does not improve the spectacle. He richly deserves the ridicule so elegantly heaped. The force runs strong in Jedi Master Monckton.

Mark Hladik

I found the article on a Yahoo-related website, and commented. I also made mention of the 1906 Arrhenius paper. No response, as far as I know, yet.

“farmerbraun” says he wonders whether Jeeves “shimmied” or “shimmered”. He shimmered. To shimmy is to shake (as in the ragtime dance of that name), and, metonymically, to sway or sashay. Wooster used the word “shimmered” to indicate the unobtrusiveness with which Jeeves entered a room.

Mr Werme is rightly fond of the proof of the Pythagorean theorem by dissection to which he draws attention. That proof is generally attributed to the 5th-century Hindu mathematician Aryabhatta, a reminder of how much we owe to the mathematicians of earlier civilizations than our own. Given the choice between Aryabhatta’s proof and Euclid’s absurdly complicated proof, which the philosopher Schopenhauer rightly described as “a triumph of perversity”, I’d go for Aryabhatta every time.

And what a delight is “brantc’s” posting about the evidence for the Maunder Minimum in dendrochronology applied to the wood from which violins were made in the Stradivari era. Mann and co. would have been delighted to get a confidence interval that good.