The Pages2K Goat-Rope

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Over at Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre is doing his usual superb job deconstructing bad science. In this case he is discussing the recent publication of the long-delayed “Pages2K” two-thousand-year multi-proxy study of ocean temperatures. The paper is called, “Robust global ocean cooling trend for the pre-industrial Common Era,” Helen McGregor, Michael Evans, et al., and it was published August 17, 2015 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Steve has provided the R code for reconstructing their bizarre method of binning the data in 200-year bins, and then converting the values from degrees C to standard deviations. After going through all of that strange process to get their results, the second author opined in their press release:

Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,” said Michael Evans, second author of the study and an associate professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geology and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today.”

And here is their money graph, the one that is supposed to show those results.

pages2K resultsFigure 1. From the Pages2K study, showing their binned ocean temperature results in units of standard deviations.

It shows the data in 200-year bins, centered in the middle of each bin, so the first bin is from 0-200 AD and the last bin is from 1800-2000 AD. I saw that graph and I said “Huh?” The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims. That is simply not true.

However, his statement is clear evidence that they are desperately looking to find a “hockeystick” shape, and are trying any method to find a way to present their results so that they appear to support their alarmist claims.

In any case, I thought I’d take a bit of a different tack from that of the authors, and show their results by ocean, in the original units of degrees C. We won’t be needing any math at all, as I prefer to start my investigations by just using the Mark I Eyeball. Before we can begin to discuss how we might average or combine these records, we need to first see just exactly what each individual record looks like. Let me start by showing the Indian Ocean:

pages2k indian oceanFigure 2. Indian Ocean results from the Pages2K study.

Warming 20 times faster than it cooled? According to the proxies, the Indian Ocean didn’t cool much if at all, and it didn’t warm much if at all. Those findings certainly do not agree with the author’s claims.

Next, here’s the Southern Ocean, the waters that encircle Antarctica.

pages2k southern oceanFigure 3. Southern Ocean results from the Pages2K study.

This graph to me perfectly exemplifies the problem with their method of averaging proxies to discern past temperatures. You can see that two proxies start out within a half-degree of each other at 14.5°C-15°C … and one cools steadily for the entire record, while the other doesn’t cool at all. Obviously, both are unlikely to be correct … but which one (if either) is correct?

Then we have the bizarre trace down near Antarctica where the water is cold … it says that the temperatures warmed by about 7°C from the year zero to the year 900 … and then cooled down by 7°C from there to 1900 or so. Unlikely.

Does anyone really believe that if we just average these proxy records in some form that we will actually have an accurate measure of the temperature variation in the Southern Ocean? Because for me, that’s all “garbage in”, and no matter how you might standardize it or anomalize it or average it, you’ll still get “garbage out” for your purported Southern Ocean temperature.

In any case, moving on, we have the Mediterranean …

pages2k mediterranean oceanFigure 4. Mediterranean Ocean results from the Pages2K study.

This is getting ridiculous. In their unending quest to claim recent anthropogenic warming, they’ve included a short segment that shows strong warming from 1700 to almost 2000 … but the rest of the Med disagrees. One proxy goes level, one has a slight rise since about 1700, and one falls pretty steadily from 400 to 2000. Again, garbage in …

We have two proxies from the Arctic Ocean, viz:

pages2k arctic oceanFigure 5. Arctic Ocean results from the Pages2K study.

Hilarious. One shows recent warming, and one shows recent cooling, both starting about 1700. People take this seriously? Go figure.

The Pacific is next.

pages2k pacific oceanFigure 6. Pacific Ocean results from the Pages2K study. I’ve assigned random colors to the different proxies so that they can be distinguished.

I cannot object in strong enough terms to professionals passing this nonsense off as science. They’ve included several short segments that show the Pacific warming very rapidly, along with another short segment showing it warming and then cooling, and a final short segment that shows it not changing at all since the year 1300… how can anyone mistake this foolishness for actual scientific findings?

I do love the purple line at the bottom, though, showing the Pacific Ocean warming by about two degrees from the year 0 to the year 1380 … righty-o ….

And to round out the madness, here’re the Atlantic proxies …

pages2k atlantic oceanFigure 7. Atlantic Ocean results from the Pages2K study.

These include a proxy that claims, in all seriousness, that an area of the Atlantic which had a temperature of 15°C in both the year 0 and the year 1800 had fallen by a whacking 5°C, and was down to 10°C, by 1920 … I’m sorry, but that’s simply not credible. Had it happened, we would have seen it in the observational record.

And strangely, almost all of the cooler Atlantic proxies (less than 22°C) show steady cooling from beginning to end … who knows why.

I’m sorry, but their study is just scientific onanism. There is no way that we can combine these 57 proxies, regardless of what technique we might use, and come out with a meaningful value for global ocean temperature changes.

But that’s just what they claim that they’ve done. They’re claiming that it’s simple, all they have to do take those crazy results from those six oceans, standardize them, take a weighted average based on the area of the ocean in question, and presto, they come up with the global ocean temperature history for the last 2,000 years …

I say that’s dumb as a bag of ball bearings.

Finally, I defy anyone to show me an anthropogenic effect anywhere in these results. Most of the proxies that cover the period 1900-2000 show cooling temperatures, not warming temperatures as the authors claim.

Steve McIntyre continues to parse the study, and I’m sure will have further interesting results. I can’t recommend his site highly enough.

My best wishes to everyone, we now return you to my regularly scheduled holiday … at this moment the railroad train is coming by our tent, and the whistle is loud enough to make your eyes water.

Williams, Arizona.

w.

PS—Is there valuable information in these 57 proxies? I would say yes, very likely so … but they will never find it using those methods. Instead, each proxy needs to be considered on its own merits, and whatever value it might have needs to be considered and determined without reference to the others.

AS USUAL: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you object to. That way, we can all understand both who and what you are replying to.

DATA AND CODE: Available at Steve McIntyre’s site, linked to above.

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200 thoughts on “The Pages2K Goat-Rope

  1. Good post, Willis, but is anyone who wants to believe the hockeystick interpretation going to listen? The supposed “20 times” slope is miniscule compared to its error bars, as is every other movement in the graph. ie, as you have pointed out, the whole thing is complerely meaningless.

      • If you mean the train going to the Grand Canyon, its a great ride if you have grandchildren along. It will never equal the Durango to Silverton ride in Colorado. They do stage a train robbery. I bet you are enjoying the change in temperature, however. Hope you are camping at the Grand Canyon. It is a much better experience and keeps you within 5 to 10 minutes of The Canyon rim.

  2. In order for the law of large numbers to apply to the error bars, you have to, well, have large numbers.
    Let me know when they have thousands of proxies.
    Peter

  3. A while back this graphic now widely distributed showed proxies being all over he map.
    https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/holocene-digitized.png
    The graphic shows me in the dastardly act of digitizing the proxies. One could conclude, as many have, that proxies are completely worthless. Thing is, they were from very different places. Some proxies (seemingly now including 14C) are clearly bad, but others just report REGIONAL variations.
    One of the interesting results of the digitization is the following.
    https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/gisp-vs-vostok-annotated.png
    Greenland and Vostok are kinda antiphase, but not really. Was looking for correlations with Eurasian civilizations over all the proxies. None really found. It’s complicated. Don’t put all your money on any one proxy.

  4. “The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims.”
    Michael Evans does not claim that. 200 year binned proxies obviously cannot be relied on to measure late 20th century warming. He said that the Earth is warming fast now, but did not cite claim proxies as the the evidence. The instrumental data showing the modern warming is well-known. The paper is about the cooling period, as the title says.
    Here is the Ocean2K press release which doesn’t claim any kind of hockey stick.

    • Nick
      It may be that Willis has mis-stated the paper, but my reading of what Willis has stated is that the last bin does not cover the period 1700 to 1900 (as you state) but rather the period 1800 to 2000,
      Willis states: “It shows the data in 200-year bins, centered in the middle of each bin, so the first bin is from 0-200 AD and the last bin is from 1800-2000 AD”
      Of course, the final bin cannot tell one much as to what is happening say post 1950s to date (if for no other reason that the data for 2000 to 2015 is not included, and the data for the last quarter could be choked by the data for the first three quarters of the period). But the land based temperature record suggests that the planet was in a cooling cycle between say 1940 and sometime in 1970, and the data from that period is within the last bin (1800 to 2000).
      Of course, for the period 2000 to 2015, temperatures (according to most temperature data sets, at least before the very recent adjustment with buoy data, showed that temperatures were fairly flat with no or miniscule warming.
      The main problem is that this is simply proxy data, and all proxy data needs to be taken with a large dollop of salt.
      What are the real errors, +/- 2degC, or perhaps +/- 4degC, or possibly even more than that?
      When two proxies which are supposed to be measuring the same data show opposite trends, one knows that one is in real problems with the reliability and worth of the proxy data.

    • In other words, Nick, he’s grafting the instrumental record on to the end of the proxy record … and you seem to think that’s OK???
      In the same quote he says:

      This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today.

      But if, as you say, “200 year binned proxies obviously cannot be relied on to measure late 20th century warming”, then his statement is clearly wrong. His study cannot tell us anything about today, so why is he comparing it to today?
      Nick, you always want to get all lawyerish. But he hasn’t even given us the information to determine if it is true. His results are in STANDARD DEVIATIONS. Please explain to us how he has determined from a graph in STANDARD DEVIATIONS how fast the earth was warming compared to the present.
      You’re just flailing trying to defend this, Nick. There’s lots of better targets for your intelligence.
      w.

      • Willis,
        You wrote “However, his statement is clear evidence that they are desperately looking to find a “hockeystick” shape, and are trying any method to find a way to present their results so that they appear to support their alarmist claims.”
        You should not tar all the authors, or the work itself, with the irresponsible comment made by one author. The “press release” you link to does not even seem to be the official press release. The one Nick links does seem to be the official release and does not include the offending quote by Evans. It talks only about the long term trend – no hockey stick in sight.
        Any criticism of the paper should be based on what is in the paper. The method sounds fishy to me, but combining proxies is a far from trivial task and I do not claim to know the correct way to do it. I am pretty sure that applying the eyeball test to the individual proxies, plotted on inappropriate vertical scales, is not the way to do it. At most it casts doubt on the claim that the result is “robust”. But I think that a critical look at the Ocean2k “money graph” does that. I will be interested in seeing what McIntyre concludes since he has the requisite skill set.

      • “Nick, you always want to get all lawyerish. But he hasn’t even given us the information to determine if it is true”
        Willis, the lawyerishness is in the approach of McIntyre. Yes, he hasn’t given us the information to determine that it is true. It is a remark in a press release, not a scientific paper.
        But he, and his audience, know well the large amount of instrumental data that show temperatures have risen recently. And he is contrasting that rate of rise with the slow decline seen in the earlier proxy record. He could have been clearer. But trying to examine the proxy data for evidence of a hockey stick that it can’t possibly show (resolution), rather than just using a bit of common sense to figure out what he is really saying, is just a time waster.

      • Nick Stokes says “[..] instrumental data that show temperatures have risen recently. And he is contrasting that rate of rise with the slow decline seen in the earlier proxy record.
        You just “can’t” do that. The resolution is totally different. In the past there could have been any number of temperature changes just like that in the instrumental data and they simply would not show up in the proxy data. So you simply cannot compare the two.

      • “In the past there could have been any number of temperature changes just like that in the instrumental data and they simply would not show up in the proxy data.”
        That is a reasonable response to someone using that to say that something like modern warming could not have happened in those millennia. But he didn’t say that. He said:
        “Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years”
        He’s simply comparing two observed rates.

      • Nick Stokes quotes:
        Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years
        Nick, that is so self-serving. Why limit it to 1,800 years ago? Let’s go back to just before the Holocene began:
        http://oi43.tinypic.com/1zoanbc.jpg
        R.B. Alley shows very rapid cooling. Also rapid warming of 15ºC — within a decade or two! That occurred naturally, and it happened before humans were emitting anything but trace amounts of the trace gas CO2.
        You will never stop arguing that dangerous man-made global warming is happening. But we can see that nothing unprecedented is happening. Everything we observe now has happened in the past, repeatedly, and to a greater degree than now.
        Question: what would it take for you to admit that your belief in dangerous AGW is wrong? Could anything convince you? Or are your conclusions firmly in place, and now you’re just looking for any corroborating factoids?

      • Wow, seriously? How does someone at this site compare something like the Younger Dryas interval to modern warning as though that disproves the idea modern global warming could be dangerous? There’s so much wrong with that idea I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s jaw dropping in its absurdity. Can we please have some standards here?
        Or who am I kidding? This entire topic was made to criticize a paper it’s clear nobody here had even bothered to look at. What standards could there possibly be?

      • Brandon S,
        I was merely responding to one specific comment, which I quoted – not the entire paper. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say a single word about that. Look up ‘strawman fallacy’.
        I was replying to Nick Stokes quoting what I regard as a cherry-picked time frame. (I also asked him a question, but I doubt he’ll answer it.)
        You really need to get a grip, Brandon. You’re arguing with everyone here. You even implied that Willis has never read the paper. I know Willis well enough to know he invariably has his ducks in a row. So why do you feel the need to expand your circle of enemies like that? Big downside, with no profit. And you did it with Anthony a few days ago. You did not used to be like this. What happened?
        If I was an evil guy, Brandon, it would be easy to spin you up. All I did was to point out that picking a start time of 1,800 years ago is really convenient for the argument being made. But looking at a longer time frame makes that argument nonsense.
        Finally, I am not trying to ‘prove’ that man-made global warming (MMGW) is dangerous. What I have done consistently is to challenge anyone to produce measurements of MMGW, and/or to show any global damage, or harm, from the CO2 being emitted.
        So far, no takers. Thus, reasonable folks will say that ‘dangerous MMGW’ is an unproven conjecture, and that more CO2 is apparently harmless.
        If I’m wrong about those things, post evidence: produce empirical, testable measurements quantifying MMGW out of all global warming, and/or produce observations that more CO2 is causing global harm. Can you do either one?

      • “Nick, that is so self-serving. Why limit it to 1,800 years ago?”
        Well, as you said, I’m just quoting the paper, which is the topic of this article. And the paper was concerned with a period for which they could estimate whole ocean SST, not just a location in Greenland. Unlike blog commentators, scientists have to focus. I try to focus, too.

      • dbstealey, try removing the beam from your own eye:

        Brandon S,
        I was merely responding to one specific comment, which I quoted – not the entire paper. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say a single word about that. Look up ‘strawman fallacy’.

        I didn’t claim you said a word about the paper this topic is about. I said:

        Wow, seriously? How does someone at this site compare something like the Younger Dryas interval to modern warning as though that disproves the idea modern global warming could be dangerous? There’s so much wrong with that idea I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s jaw dropping in its absurdity. Can we please have some standards here?

        That is about global warming, dangerous or otherwise, in general. I then made a comment about this topic, separate from that paragraph, not in reference to you. So don’t tell me:

        You really need to get a grip, Brandon. You’re arguing with everyone here. You even implied that Willis has never read the paper. I know Willis well enough to know he invariably has his ducks in a row.

        When you can’t even be bothered to read what I say. I clearly didn’t say anything like what you claim I said, yet you still accused me of using a strawman fallacy and told me to “get a grip.” As for Willis Eschenbach, he clearly didn’t read the paper or else he wouldn’t have said the untrue things about it he has said. That is, unless you’re going to claim he knowingly said untrue things about the paper…? I’ll note you haven’t actually addressed any of the points I raised about this post, so it can’t be that you’re claiming I’m wrong regarding them.
        As for your question:

        So why do you feel the need to expand your circle of enemies like that? Big downside, with no profit. And you did it with Anthony a few days ago.

        I wasn’t aware criticizing people when they were wrong would “expand [my] circle of enemies.” I didn’t realize I had to worry about downsides of my actions or the hope for profits from them. But guess what, you’re wrong when you say:

        You did not used to be like this. What happened?

        I have always been like this. I just didn’t read this site before so I don’t know if you guys behaved like this before or not. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you’ve changed. Maybe you haven’t, and I just didn’t see you guys do what you do now. Either way, if I had seen what I see nowadays, I’d have said the same things I say now.
        But dear god, the idea I’m expanding a circle of enemies and losing profits? Do you realize how disgusting that sounds? I don’t think you could make this sound more tribalistic if you tried.

      • Brandon S,
        I then made a comment about this topic, separate from that paragraph, not in reference to you.
        Actually, I replied to Nick Stokes, and you stepped in and started to argue. I don’t mind that, but your comment was a direct reference to mine.
        I was merely responding to one specific comment, which I quoted when I replied to Nick quoting what I regarded as a cherry-picked time frame. I disputed that and posted a reference.
        Anyway, in re-reading my comments here, I have to say they still reflect what I think. You’ve become much more argumentative, even while arguing that you’re not.
        You’re starting to remind me of another Brandon, whose M.O. is to take each sentence from a comment and argue about it. I’m not taking that bait. My comment that you started arguing about was intended to show how silly the ’20X faster cooling’ claim was. That’s all.
        But if I’m not mistaken, it looks like you think there may be evidence that the modern warming might be “dangerous”. Is that what you think? Because if so, that’s something I’d like to discuss, rather than having you argue on behalf of Nick.

      • dbstealey, you made a comment about the Younger Dryas interval and how it impacts how we should interpret whether or not global warming may be dangerous. I commented on that, then separately commented on this post. You responded:

        I was merely responding to one specific comment, which I quoted – not the entire paper. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say a single word about that. Look up ‘strawman fallacy’.

        I never claimed you said a word about “the entire paper.” As far as I know, you never said a word about the paper. Your claim that I used a strawman fallacy to say you have was baseless. To now say:

        Actually, I replied to Nick Stokes, and you stepped in and started to argue. I don’t mind that, but your comment was a direct reference to mine.

        Is to just further misrepresent things. The fact I addressed your comment while talking about things does not mean your comment was the only thing talked about.

        You’re starting to remind me of another Brandon, whose M.O. is to take each sentence from a comment and argue about it. I’m not taking that bait.

        That’s fine. You can address what I said or you can not. The simple reality is you’ve misrepresented what I said in a trivially obvious way anyone with an open mind would recognize. If you’re not going to address it, there’s no reason for me to talk to you about some other topic as you’re obviously not going to behave reasonably in a discussion if you can’t be bothered to acknowledge what people do and do not say.
        When someone tells you you’ve misrepresented what they’ve said, the correct response is to try to resolve things, not to try to change the subject. That’s just how civil discussions work.

      • Brandon,
        You’re misreading what I wrote regarding the “entire paper”, whether deliberately or not I don’t know. But I’m not going to get into an endless nitpicking back-and-forth with you, and I misrepresented nothing. If you didn’t understand, my apologies for not being clearer.
        As I said, I’m happy to discuss it if your belief is that there is “dangerous” man-made global warming happening — or even if you think there might be a danger of that. But it’s undeniable that you have been getting into constant arguments with Willis, and Anthony, and me, and others. I don’t know why, but it’s there.
        What got me started was your comment that I was comparing…
        …the Younger Dryas interval to modern warming as though that disproves the idea modern global warming could be dangerous
        See, the problem I have with that statement is the idea that skeptics have something we need to “disprove”. I’m not proving or disproving anything. My post was simply intended to show that just prior to the current Holocene, global T naturally fluctuated by TENS of degrees, within only a decade or two.
        I supposed that anyone reading that would understand that the tiny ≈0.7ºC wiggle over the past century and a half is nothing. It would be hard to find a century time span in the geological temperature record that was as flat as the past century, up to right now. What do you expect? A 0.000º change?? To use your own words:
        There’s so much wrong with that idea I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s jaw dropping in its absurdity.
        If you meant something different, please say so. All I have to go on are your words.

      • dbstealey:

        You’re misreading what I wrote regarding the “entire paper”, whether deliberately or not I don’t know. But I’m not going to get into an endless nitpicking back-and-forth with you, and I misrepresented nothing. If you didn’t understand, my apologies for not being clearer.

        I didn’t misread anything. What you said was quite clear, and it was wrong. You can choose not to address the fact it was wrong, pretending this was all just a matter of poor wording or whatever else. You are free to choose not to address what I say in a direct manner. You are free to not try to resolve things. You are free to pretend to actually resolving disagreements would require “endless nitpicking back-and-forth with” me.
        That’s your call. My call will be to not pretend people who misrepresent things in trivially obvious ways are having legitimate discussions. So when you actually try to address the things I say, we can have a discussion. Until then, you can go back to talking about how I’m expanding my circle of enemies and making unprofitable decisions by pointing out when people make posts about papers they haven’t even read. Because guess what? While you say:

        You really need to get a grip, Brandon. You’re arguing with everyone here. You even implied that Willis has never read the paper. I know Willis well enough to know he invariably has his ducks in a row. So why do you feel the need to expand your circle of enemies like that? Big downside, with no profit.

        Willis Eschenbach has now flat-out admitted he didn’t read the paper.
        That’s right. After I made multiple comments about how Eschenbach’s writing made it clear he hadn’t read the paper he was criticizing, and after you made it sound horrible for me to imply he hadn’t read the paper he was criticizing, Eschenbach has now actually admitted he hadn’t read the paper he was criticizing.
        So apparently I’m expanding my “circle of enemies” by saying things that are completely true. Ooooh. It sends shivers down my spine how people are going to hate me for… speaking the truth?

      • Brandon,
        Brandon S. says:
        I didn’t misread anything.
        Sure you did. I documented it. You’re just tap-dancing now.
        Really, Brandon, you have a problem with everyone. Some introspection is overdue.
        To make it so clear even you can understand it; when you jumped in and asserted:
        I didn’t claim you said a word about the paper this topic is about.
        And I never said you did. I was replying to Nick Stokes, when you jumped in and made an issue out of what you presumed I meant. And you were flat wrong. My reply to you was this:
        I was merely responding to one specific comment, which I quoted – not the entire paper. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say a single word about that. Look up ‘strawman fallacy’… I was replying to Nick Stokes quoting what I regard as a cherry-picked time frame.
        I was explaining that my comment was to Nick Stokes’ posted quote, and that I was not referring to anything else. You keep trying to fabricate something that didn’t happen. No wonder you’re arguing with everyone. You have trouble understanding simple sentences.
        Now that you’ve had it explained to you again, why don’t you finally answer my question: do you believe that ‘dangerous’ man-made global warming is happening, or that it is likely?

    • Hi Nick, I know you would agree with the importance of not propagandizing by misleading even if your words are parsed to be true. Michael Evans should have been clear that the “20 times as steep” climb has nothing to do with his research and thus should not be his headlined quote. A more candid headline would be Pages2K confirms overall trend of temperature decline for the most recent fifth of the current Quaternary interglacial epoch, aka the Holocene. Because the Pages2K tells neither the scientist not the curious public a thing about actual global temperature swings in 50-100-year frequencies, even taking the long assumption that the data is robust. (A very long assumption, looking at graphs.)

      • Ron,
        The headline said “1,800 years of global ocean cooling halted by global warming”. That may well be referring to the slight upslope at the end. But they were clear about the basis for the 20x claim. As Brandon notes, they issued a FAQ, which said:
        “4. The recent warming is larger ([|~1° C / ~-0.5° C| = 2) and more rapid by a factor of roughly 20: (| [~ +1° C/100 years]/[~ -0.5/1000 years] | = 20) than the volcanically induced cooling trend over the last 1-2 preceding millennia.”
        And
        ” A more candid headline would be Pages2K confirms overall trend of temperature decline “
        That was in fact the title of the paper:
        “Robust global ocean cooling trend for the pre-industrial Common Era,”

      • Nick, I think you missed Brandon’s and my point: to compare a trend over an epochal period versus a trend over a half century tells nothing. It misleads the public when a scientist summarizes his group’s results as if it is meaningful. We have no idea how many or how steep the 50-year up-swings or downswings in the last 2000 years. It would be like proclaiming that 1998’s warming rate was 20X steeper than any on record as a news item in 1998, (which I wouldn’t doubt was done). It would mean nothing because we have so little record.
        Actually Tony B’s work in the UK seems to show that steep up-swings and downswings are the norm there for the last millennium.

      • Ron,
        The comparison isn’t particularly relevant to this particular study, and the Oceans2K press release didn’t feel the need to make it. But it isn’t pointless. We know there has been a recent global temperature rise, and the paleo studies are trying to see how this compares with the past, and in particular the recent millennia, which seem to have otherwise similar climate conditions. All proxies have issues – ice cores are only where there is ice, and tree rings also are fairly limited to temperature stressed environments. The Onean2K type proxies have less resolution but more coverage. No one study can rule out the possibility of a comparable global rise in the past, but it is reasonable to remark that this is yet another study showing fairly gradual change in comparison to modern warming.

      • As I’ve said below, I don’t think this comparison is valid. In fact, I’d go beyond that and say it is dishonest to compare these trendss as the author did. Not oly did the author use trends calculated over data with wildly different temporal resolution, the spatial resolution is strikingly different as well. You can only get the modern warming he uses if you include warming over land, meaning he’s comparing modern land+ocean to past ocean warming, a completely disingenuous comparison.
        But again, issues like these can’t be examined so long as people like Willis Eschenbach make false and absurd claims. As long as people make easily refuted claims, the real problems will go unaddressed because the easily refuted claims are all anyone will discuss.

      • Nick, I think we both agree that proxies are troubled but its the only tool available to illuminate the relevance of the last 150 years in the larger picture. Where we disagree is in the public communication of the relevance of the study. Setting aside the numerous statistical problems with the study revealed at Climate Audit, the study gives absolutely zero information about 50-year swings and zero information about AGW. It was not designed to. So, for the second lead author to be using a statistical comparison of a vague 2000-year trend to the last 50 is misleading. To unskeptical minds he is saying there is significance simply because he is a climate scientist and he is uttering the words. I would be fine with Dr. Evan’s statement if he also gave the disclaimer that his statement means nothing. I hope you agree that he failed the Feynman ethics test there. But, for Evans to be saying the study underscores Man’s impact on the climate is purely indefensible (except with the disclaimer that he is very biased on the topic).
        Brandon, if you mostly agree with Willis why not just point out the points where you think he’s gone too far?

      • If you agree that Pages2K gives absolutely no information as to whether we just had the warmest month in 2000 years, or the warmest half-year, or year, and if you agree that is the main newsworthy topic of the day, how many would be shocked hear such a thing from one of the Pages2K authors after hearing Evan’s statement?

      • Ron Graf:

        Brandon, if you mostly agree with Willis why not just point out the points where you think he’s gone too far?

        I don’t “mostly agree with Willis.” I think by his fourth paragraph, Willis Eschenbach has misreprepresented what people have said, and I think it gets worse from there on. The fact I think this is a bad paper doesn’t require me explain all the problems with the paper every time somebody writes a series of misrepresentative criticisms of the paper which show he hasn’t even read the paper.
        If Eschenbach had taken the time to try to understand the paper rather than just make wildly untrue claims about it, such as claiming the authors only worked in SD units rather than temperatures, when anyone who had read the paper would know the authors worked with both, then I would have taken more time to discuss the details of what he had gotten right and what he had gotten wrong. But if he’s not even going to read the paper before writing posts criticizing it, what possible point would there be in writing a detailed response? It’s not like I can expect him or anyone here to actually read it.

        If you agree that Pages2K gives absolutely no information as to whether we just had the warmest month in 2000 years, or the warmest half-year, or year, and if you agree that is the main newsworthy topic of the day, how many would be shocked hear such a thing from one of the Pages2K authors after hearing Evan’s statement?

        I don’t agree “that is the main newsworthy topic of the day” as nobody claimed it provided any information of the sort.

      • If I were a reporter and have been hearing news blasts all year from NASA and NOAA that we are having the hottest year, hottest six months then the hottest month ever, wouldn’t you be curious why a scientist who just published data analysis that could confirm this for the last 2000 years did not take the opportunity to state that? If I were a skeptical journalist I would have asked:
        1) How probable is it that we are having the warmest year in 2000 years?
        2) Has our increase in temp for the last 50 years really made up for 2000 years of natural decline?
        3) If the natural trend is decline should we have expected a warming after the Little Ice Age?
        4) When was our interglacial naturally due to end?
        5) Do you believe there have been warming periods in the last 8,000 years after the Holocene optimum?
        6) Is there not proxy evidence for a Minoan Warming Period, a Roman Warming Period and a Medieval one?
        7) Didn’t your study start during Roman times?
        8) Did your proxies show any warming periods?
        9) Is it possible that mixing poor proxies with good ones and switching from units C to SI and back to C in a statistically flawed manner has degraded your data into a near hockey stick handle?
        10) Even if all your proxy were valid and analysis flawless don’t the error bars indicate how high or low actual temperatures may have swung had thermometers been there to measure them?
        Yet I fear reporters likely will enhance the author’s verbal claim by a neat idea of pasting a fire-red upward curve at the end of the long gradual line.

  5. Amazing stuff, Willis. I have read Steve M’s initial report over at Climate Audit and I was pretty impressed by his work, as usual (There are some great and informative comments as well). But your no-nonsense presentation is as eye-popping as the railroad noise. Sometimes an incisive mind like yours is necessary to make us think intelligently. I would never have thought to present it in the way you have done.
    Your proposition, put simply, is that ‘this method is nonsense’ and it sure looks like it from here. I have to keep an open mind, so I’ll be waiting for a pertinent response from the authors. If it doesn’t come, I might start getting suspicious!
    By the way, I think Evans’ comment about the 20 x faster warming can only refer to a bit of advanced math comparing the 2000 year cooling trend they claim to find against the 1970-2000 30 year uptick in the thermometer record. Just more nonsense of course but it’s the sound bite that will count. He’d likely have preferred to splice the actual late 20th century temperatures on to the end of his graph but must have been told that that might get noticed…..

  6. Excellent article. So easy to understand even a climate scientist could follow it.
    The interpretation of what Michael Evans means when he says, “Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,”, that was truly robust.
    It is proof that he is biased in his interpretation and proxy selection – good catch.
    And once again this is another failure for the peer review process. Mixing those proxies is clearly meaningless.
    When will journals that blunder like Nature Geoscience have take responsibility and perform a root cause investigation?
    Nature Geoscience wouldn’t get ISO accreditation. So it’s findings shouldn’t be used for Government planning.

    • As a sting operation, someone should submit a totally made-up study based on shaky (read ‘robust’) statistics and see if it gets accepted for publication.

  7. The belief that ‘averaging’ everything reveals the meaning of life is one of the most common bits of nonsense in academic studies, and needs to be summarily disposed of.

    • When you mix all the colours on a painters palette and stir, you find that “average” colour is shit-brown. Data is much the same.

    • When you mix all the colours on a painters palette and stir, you find that “average” colour is shitty brown. Data is much the same.

    • The second most common bit of nonsense is that fitting a trend line to the data gives the meaning of life.
      The third most common bit of nonsense is that you can extrapolate the trend line way beyond the limits of the data to predict what will happen in the future.

  8. To my mind, you have to look at the competency of the reviewers, it is well past time that anyone can rely on published work and so called peer review.
    Reviewers must be willing to expect public scrutiny and put their names and professional reputation in the public domain, as there is so much shoddy work being rushed out for amplification in the media, purely to push political and financial agenda like the Paris belief fest.
    With the enormous cost and economic change involved, it is only a matter of time to the day, that authors, peer reviewers and the journals themselves get jointly sued to stop the rot that is eating into the reputation of science.
    When you look at the far reaching ramifications for business and economies that are literally being forced to undergo change at huge financial cost! There are billions to be had by lawyers pursuing the who cabal involved..
    Once the court cases start, anonymous and CYA deceptions will not be enough to prevent destruction of reputations and the award of Multi Billion settlements. The backlash on science and professional societies can only be prevented by clamping down on poor research and biased publication now.

    • As I think I’ve mentioned here before, ISTM that peer review is the process by which a scientist gets other scientists who agree with him to confirm, anonymously, that he’s right.
      Sure, it’s not supposed to be that way. But, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” (Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut, Ph.D.)

    • KenB, I think you are on to something:
      “…authors, peer reviewers and the journals themselves get jointly sued to stop the rot…”
      States prevailed in the myriad tobacco lawsuits because of the private profits being made off of health care costs that had to be socialized.
      There is no qualitative difference in this case. If anything it is far worse.
      Climate alarmism and all of its hangers-on and rent seekers are profiting individually, whereas the financial consequences will be borne by all of us collectively.
      It is a fraudulent action, and a conspiracy involving many people, for obvious financial gain. RICO would seem to be the appropriate statute to employ, among others.

  9. Willis: according to Klimate-101, the vertical scale of your graphs should be in tenths of units instead of whole units. This means you should have used at least 0.5 degree divisions instead of 5 degree ones.
    That makes all the changes much scarier …
    Bad Scientist, go stand in the corner 😉

  10. they’ve included a short segment that shows strong warming from 1700 to almost 2000 … but the rest of the Med disagrees.

    That one must the what Evans was referring to. He gets his 20x faster from one odd-ball proxy.

    Hilarious. One shows recent warming, and one shows recent cooling,

    They’ve included several short segments that show the Pacific warming very rapidly, along with another short segment showing it warming and then cooling

    Look, those proxies are clearly not correlated properly. If the original work indicating which direction corresponds to warm is ignored and they are correctly scaled to correlate with the recent temperature record, they will fall into line and Pages2K will produce a proper hockey stick.
    M.E. Mann published a method for doing in 1998, why can’t these guys get it right???

  11. My guess as to why they used 200 year bins was to get allegedly statistical significance.
    The problem with this is that the data is correlated in both space AND time. Which means they aren’t getting the significance they think they are getting. In my Monte Carlo experiments playing around with auto-correlated time series and surfaces, the confidence intervals need to be moved out by a factor of about 2.5x… which means those error bars, already horrible, are even more horrible than that…
    Peter

    • Peter
      Interesting speculation. If true it would indicate statistical malpractice of quite a large order. Surely a project with this level of funding ($millions – tens of $millions?) could afford a sophomore level statistical review? Are you going to pursue this? Maybe Steve McIntyre’s audit will shed light on this.

      • Not worth the effort, I can draw a straight line through the boxes already. Don’t have to try harder than that….

  12. I see that it is no longer politically correct to refer to the Christian Era. Not sure what “common era” calendar is supposed to be common with. Certainly not the jewish or arabic calendars. I suppose that 200 B.C. now means 200 years before “common”.

    • B.C. is now B.C.E. which some of us like to translate to Before Christian Era and C. E. to Christian Era.. that nose tweek has now resulted in more True nonBelivers resorting to the whole name instead of the abbreviation. .. So next up is to start calling it The Common Christian Era 🙂

      • Mike, that’s just silly. It’s more ‘political correctness’ gone wild (I’m not accusing you, you understand).
        Christ was every bit as much of a historical figure as Archimedes or Plato. But no one would bother about it if we referred to three thousand years ago as 2,000 BA or 2,000 BP. It’s the ‘BC’ that ruffles their feathers.
        So just based on pushback against these endless Orwellian language changes, I refuse to use “BCE” or anything similar. It’s “BC” or “AD”. And if some PC professor doesn’t like it, tough.

  13. Thank you Willis: another SUPERB article !
    (Steve McIntyre’s work on “Deflategate” is a real eye-opener).
    “Money graph” – an excellent description.
    “professionals passing this nonsense off as science” – SPOT ON !
    “… their study is just scientific onanism” – BRILLIANT !
    Regards,
    WL

  14. Quote:
    Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,” said Michael Evans, second author of the study and an associate professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geology and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today.”
    Note that Michael Evans doesn’t actually say that The Study says the Earth is warming 20 times faster. Only that it highlights the effects we are having on our climate.
    Obviously he wants us to think that the study says the Earth is warming 20 times faster!

    • Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,”

      Try taking the partial derivative and multiply by the input error range… I bet you get -x to 20x…

  15. I wonder why the ice core studies show such a different result than some of the other proxies.
    The Antarctic ice core studies of PAGES 2K showed a warmer period from 141 AD to 1250AD than temps today. There was also a 30 year warmer spike from 1671 to 1700 as well.

  16. “Robust” is a give-away that the work is dodgy.
    I asked the UK Met Office what they meant when they said things are “robust”. Their reply included (I kid you not):
    …It is robust in that is stands up to scruting and it’s also trying to convey integrity.

  17. Willis, I must protest at your besmirching the name of a “Bag of Ball Bearings.”
    Ball bearings are very useful, which is more than you can say about their so called scientific study.

      • I too was wondering what is particularly dumb about ball bearings; strange comment indeed. Dumb as a Climate Scientist would have made more sense.

    • As with the proxies he discussed, taken singularly they could be useful. Dumped into a bag, they’re just a stupid bag of ball bearings. Great article, BTW.

    • I thought the analogy to ball bearings was appropriate. CAGW arguments are often circular and reading them makes one dizzy. Further they run in a race and don’t get anywhere. The separation between then is artificial and cagey, literally. They appear well polished but the sheen quickly disappears when even the slightest attack is made on them. They last longest when operating in their own sealed environment and when well-greased. When one fails it takes all the others with them because they are co-dependent. This last point explains why the whole lot has to be chucked together and replaced with something new.

    • Ball bearings are supposed to be installed in something, usually to hold weight while allowing movement against friction of the surfaces they are installed against. Having a bag of them is more or less useless.

      • A bag of ball bearings were useful tools used by criminals and policemen for hitting their foes or victims over the back of the head with. Called a “Sap” Stunning in their effectiveness. This was mostly used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Usually encased in a leather bag, they weren’t meant to kill, just knock someone out.
        Ball bearings in a bag were only dumb if not used properly.

  18. “The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims. That is simply not true.”
    No, it’s true.
    “4. The recent warming is larger ([|~1° C / ~-0.5° C| = 2) and more rapid by a factor of roughly 20: (| [~ +1° C/100 years]/[~ -0.5/1000 years] | = 20) than the volcanically induced cooling trend over the last 1-2 preceding millennia.”

    • I have to say, even if true (with those error bars, that’s questionable) any temperature proxy I’ve ever seen going back more than 20k years shows that the planet warms faster than it cools.

    • Except of course according to their own graph it dropped at a faster rate betwen 1100 & 1700 than it rose between 1700 & 1900

  19. Another great piece of de-bunking is provided by Steve McIntyre and Willis Eschenbach. Helen McGregor, Michael Evans, et al. will just have to start all over again, I’m afraid.

  20. Well done. Very well done!
    To the tune of The Garden Song:
    Incn by inch, row by row,
    We’re going to make the rascals go
    All it takes is to look, don’t you know,
    For their claims are so unsound.

  21. It is interesting, in a train wreck sort of way, to watch what “scientists” are willing to do to impose their beliefs.

  22. Are my tax dollars paying someone to guess the temperature of the Indian Ocean 1900 years ago? Western Civilization is dead, killed by decadence.

  23. Paris is approaching. Remember, it’s not only what’s reported but what the media decides to repeat. It’s half-past September with only about 2 months to go. So long as there is a “claim” or “new study” or “latest findings” and a reference to someone in “science”, true is not an issue.
    The Paris promoters have become increasingly shrill but you’re about to see the full-throat, screaming, splash page headlines that is the hallmark of our pseudo-science propaganda era. After all, it works just about every time it’s used.

  24. When I was about 5 years old, a friend and I were digging a hole to China. He started adding dirt to the hole and explained by adding dirt we would then be taking more out. I put down my shovel and stared at him realizing that there was something very wrong with him. There was! After that he regressed and in a few months died of a brain disease. Since then, I have seen variations of adding dirt to the hole or mixing data or putting data in bins so that you could take more data out. It still makes me put down my shovel and stare.

  25. “I say that’s dumb as a bag of ball bearings.”
    I prefer the expression “dumb as a box of rocks.”
    The co-authors are not IQ dumb, but they have an agenda.

  26. Has anyone noticed that the upward trends in 500/700 and 900/1100 look very similar to the upward trend 1700/1900? So the latest “uptick” is not unique and has happened at least twice before.

  27. What is saddest is this: for the last billion years until today, the planet has had continuous climate changes of all sorts, the continents have and continue to move restlessly around the planet’s surface, crashing into each other and tearing themselves in half over and over again, asteroids and meteors have hit the planet changing things even more, the moon has moved slowly away from the planet changing the ocean tides and other things, etc.
    The sun has been hotter, colder, more active, quieter depending on what is near or far, that is, other stars, interstellar dust, etc. and our solar system’s position in the galaxy has changed over a billion years, big time.
    And someone wants to nail down our climate and everything else in one place so nothing ever changes?
    Insanity. Not to mention, utterly futile.

  28. All of these various ocean temperatures and the large disparity in the number of samples per ocean combined with large variations in the temperatures leave me with one BIG question. What in the world are they doing? Have their brains been disconnected from their thought process? How can anyone conclude anything about the ocean temperature from this data? Let alone weather it is increasing or decreasing. How much volume does the temperature of each sample represent? How is this factored into the mass change in temperature? A temperature of a sample representing a large volume of water (ocean) can not be averaged with a sample representing a small sample of ocean.
    Perhaps this simple example will make my point.
    Fill a bathtub with water (temperature not important.)
    Mix thoroughly.
    Measure temperature at one foot from each end with the typical digital meat thermometer. Record.
    After directing the flame of a typical propane torch (like used for soldering copper pipe) on a small portion of the water at the point that one of the two temperatures were taken for about five minutes, measure the temperature at both locations again.
    Now: Who can possibly think that the temperature of the total volume of water in the bathtub is the average of these two temperatures?
    Who can possibly think that the rate of change of temperature of either measurements has anything at all to do with the rate of change that would be suggested by the rate given by the change in temperature for the first and second set of readings?
    All of the ocean temperature readings collected over the years have the above problem. They also have the problem of being affected by wind direction, weather conditions, and ocean currents at the time of collections. I have also read that these sensors float around in the ocean, adding even more complexity to the problem. You don’t have blind men trying to describe an elephant by feel, you have blind men sent to separate rooms, each with a different animal, trying to describe an animal they all think is only one animal.

  29. Of course, even if recent warming were 20 times faster than previous cooling, or 200 times faster, that does not tell us that we have anything to do with it. At least three logical fallacies come into play to reach that conclusion: Argument from Ignorance; Affirming the Consequent; and Cum Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. It seems to me that Argumentum ad Ignorantiam is fundamental here: we do not really know with any kind of accuracy how the Earth’s temperature has changed from century to century through the long ages of its chronology, so we do not really know if what is happening now is actually unprecedented, or simply unusual, or even unremarkable.

  30. What I find really strange is the error range in the last bin is much larger than any of the others. Now, one would think more recent proxies should be more accurate. This alone pretty much destroys the entire study.

  31. And now I read this “Why El Niños originate from geologic, not atmospheric, sources” @ http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/why-el-ninos-originate-from-geologic-not-atmospheric-sources.html
    Couple the temperature changes caused by the El Nino/La Nina (and their associated effects on weather patterns) emanating from the volcanic activity in the western Pacific, near Papua New Guinea, with all of the unknown, undetected, uncharted, unlooked for heat sources along the Atlantic rift and their effects and it is obvious that all of the data is worthless. There seems to be many sources of temperature, other than Sun, affection ocean temperature.
    Also, It has always seemed strange to me that the El Nino appears to be opposite to what would be happening if caused by the trade winds and Equatorial currents. Since Willis has several orders of magnitude more sailing experience than me (Only a Sunfish) perhaps he has an explanation as to why the pointed end of the El Nino is on the wrong end. From this depiction –
    http://biophysics.sbg.ac.at/atmo/el-scans/el-nino1.jpg – I get the impression that it would be narrow near Peru and gather more effect as the trade winds/currents concentrated the effect.

  32. Hypothesis: Almost all climate related proxies for historical/paleo anything suck and any set of such data is likely useless if it isn’t actively misleading.
    Can anybody suggest any exceptions other than radiometric dating and direct observations such as analyses of paleo atmosphere samples trapped in polar ice.

  33. [snip – if you want to lambast the author for his credentials, let’s also see yours, and put your name to your words. I have little tolerance for cowards like yourself who take potshots from the shadows, and offer nothing of substance to refute the article. – Anthony

    • Thanks, Anthony.
      Warren, I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I have no credentials at all … and despite that I have a number of publications in the scientific journals which to date have garnered about 31 citations in other scientific papers.
      The point you seem to miss is that my credentials are immaterial—either my words are true or they are not. Either my claims are correct or they are not.
      Do not be misled by credentials. As Feynman remarked, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.
      w.

  34. There cannot be a ” ” “PROXY” ” ” for the temperature of the Pacific Ocean, nor any other ocean or sea. The oceans are large and deep, with various currents, layers, and seasons. What exactly is the temperature of the Pacific Ocean now???
    The Universities give the imprimatur of “Science” to this foolishness because the politicians permit it. The politicians permit it because their backers give them donations for so doing. Is there a conservative University President anywhere, even one?
    Nick Stokes, why do you defend this?
    So glad I went into engineering instead of “Science…”

    • So glad I went into engineering instead of “Science…”
      APS IPCC Workshop 1/8/14
      Dr Koonin’s opening remarks
      “While not all or even most of the APS membership are experienced in climate, it’s important to realize that physicists do bring a body of knowledge and set of skills that are directly relevant to assessing the physical basis for climate science. Radiation transfer, including the underlying atomic and molecular processes, fluid dynamics, phase transitions, all the underpinnings of climate science are smack in the middle of physics.”
      In order to earn, emphasis on “earn”, my BSME I had to demonstrate competence in chemistry, physics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, statistics, calculus, algebra, etc. Got the picture? The notion that these “climatologists” have some kind of special knowledge or scientific insight the rest of us haven’t got is just snake oil BS. We all recognize a used car salesman when we hear one.
      A “climate scientist’s” most important knowledge is writing successful grant proposals, cashing those taxpayer checks, and attracting a posse of basement dwelling trolls to disparage and harass the skeptics.

  35. It is quite amazing what people claim to be able to do with virtually no data. Even now, we only have about 3500 ARGO buoys that accurately measure ocean temperatures and they are showing no warming since the early 2000’s when they were deployed.

    • Thanks for that, CO2. Any wavelength that is absorbed by the ocean leaves the ocean warmer than it would be had it not absorbed the radiation. Also, your graphic only shows “near” infrared, not the thermal infrared.
      w.

      • Thanks for that, CO2. Any wavelength that is absorbed by the ocean leaves the ocean warmer than it would be had it not absorbed the radiation. Also, your graphic only shows “near” infrared, not the thermal infrared.

        Thanks Wilis, my understanding is that 13 to 18µ wavelength light is absorbed in what is called the “microlayer” of the surface, which results largely in evaporation, and warming of only the top millimeter or so of the ocean.
        From Dr Roy Spenser’s “Can Infrared Radiation Warm a Water Body?”

        I frequently see the assertion made that infrared (IR) radiation cannot warm a water body because IR only affects the skin (microns of water depth), whereas solar radiation is absorbed over water depths of meters to tens of meters….Evaporation only occurs at the skin, and we know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies…To claim that any energy gain from IR is immediately lost by evaporation is just an assertion…NEVERTHELESS…It might well be that solar radiation is more efficient (on a Watt per Watt basis) than IR radiation at changing ocean temperature. In other words, that IR warming of a water body is more likely to be lost through evaporation, since its warming effect does occur only at the surface, and so that energy is more likely to be lost through evaporation than absorbed solar radiation would be…I would like to hear what others know about this issue. I suspect it is something that would have to be investigated with a controlled experiment of some sort.

        It appears that even Dr Spenser doesn’t know the answer, which is odd given that this is “settled” science. Clearly it is a question that needs to be answered before anything is truly “settled.”
        From the comments this was discovered:

        David Springer says: May 8, 2014 at 5:27 AM
        Dr. Spencer,
        The skin layer of the ocean is cooler than the water immediately below it by roughly 0.3C so if the cool skin layer is mixed downward it will cool not warm the lower layers.
        BBould says: April 24, 2014 at 6:56 AM
        Unless well mixed because of moving water, water in shade in a lake is always cooler than the water in the open sun at the same depth. And can be readily felt when moving through the two different areas.
        If back radiation warmed the water wouldn’t the two spots be the same temp?

        It appears to me that a very very very important question than any real science would require to be answered to begin to “settle” the issue hasn’t even been considered by the climate “scientists.”
        I stumbled upon this jem while looking up this topic.
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/SSMI-vapor-thru-Jun14.png
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_August_2015_v6.png

    • Penetration and absorption are different animals. Blue visible light penetrates deeply BECAUSE it is poorly absorbed.
      https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/absorption_spectrum_of_liquid_water.png
      In water shallower than 250m that blue light is also heating the bottom, as the water is essentially transparent. Of course, that warmed bottom is going to have a strong tendency to conduct and radiate back to the water above.In deeper water all light energy energy is ultimately absorbed by the ocean.
      The spectral intensity is impressive in these bands.
      https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/drawing.png
      Having absorbed this radiational energy, the water either radiates it back or heads straight for the surface.

      • AND this is why TSI may not be the whole story.
        Slight changes in the wavelength of the solar spectrum may have a significant impact upon how much energy is absorbed by the oceans and at what depth.
        I often wonder whether this has been accounted for in the so called “feint sun paradox”. In the early years, it is thought that there was more UV in the solar spectrum and that could have had a material impact on the manner in which the oceans were heated.

        • Leif claims there are satellites out there measuring the entire solar incoming spectrum and they don’t show much variation. This was news to me as last I heard our solar sensors were narrow bandwidth.
          The young dim sum (as I call it) is a hypothesis based on our sun being a main sequence star. Growing gradually hotter is what main sequence stars do, but there is a lot of variation between different stars. I have seen estimates between 4 and 30% for how much dimmer the sun would have been at the Ordovician glaciation. One can gather that there is not a large shift in the distribution of light from lower solar radiation temperatures from this.
          https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/wiens_law-svg1.png

      • Penetration and absorption are different animals. Blue visible light penetrates deeply BECAUSE it is poorly absorbed…Having absorbed this radiational energy, the water either radiates it back or heads straight for the surface.

        My understanding is that IR between 13 and 18µ doesn’t penetrate the oceans to any depth and likely causes evaporation, and that the “skin” of the ocean is cooler than the water immediately below it. Also, is it likely that the churning of the oceans is enough to overcome the natural tendency of the warmer water to rise? Calm lakes have wide dispersion of temperature between shaded areas and exposed areas, and yet have the same exposure to back radiation. It appears to me that this “settled” science has some pretty important unanswered questions.

    • Do the different colours contain different amounts of energy ? And shouldn’t any diagram of absorption somehow show that ?

  36. Wow. This post misrepresents what one of the authors of the paper said when it says:

    It shows the data in 200-year bins, centered in the middle of each bin, so the first bin is from 0-200 AD and the last bin is from 1800-2000 AD. I saw that graph and I said “Huh?” The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims. That is simply not true.

    Nick Stokes rightly points this out, saying:

    Michael Evans does not claim that. 200 year binned proxies obviously cannot be relied on to measure late 20th century warming. He said that the Earth is warming fast now, but did not cite claim proxies as the the evidence. The instrumental data showing the modern warming is well-known. The paper is about the cooling period, as the title says.
    Here is the Ocean2K press release which doesn’t claim any kind of hockey stick.

    But rather than acknowledge his error and thank Stokes for pointing it out, Willis Eschenbach responds in a way which shows he apparently hasn’t even read the paper, saying things like:

    In other words, Nick, he’s grafting the instrumental record on to the end of the proxy record … and you seem to think that’s OK???

    And:

    Nick, you always want to get all lawyerish. But he hasn’t even given us the information to determine if it is true. His results are in STANDARD DEVIATIONS. Please explain to us how he has determined from a graph in STANDARD DEVIATIONS how fast the earth was warming compared to the present.

    Which show he has no idea what the paper actually says. This might be somewhat understandable as the paper is paywalled, but even the freely available FAQ shows you can get the 20x rate of cooling figure without grafting anything onto anything else as it says:

    4. The recent warming is larger ([|~1° C / ~-0.5° C| = 2) and more rapid by a factor of roughly 20: (| [~ +1° C/100 years]/[~ -0.5/1000 years] | = 20) than the volcanically induced cooling trend over the last 1-2 preceding millennia.

    That doesn’t require grafting two series onto one another. You can just examine the two series independently of one another.
    Leaving that aside, however, a person who had read the paper and/or its supplementary material would know other things Eschenbach apparently doesn’t know. For instance, 21 of the 57 series used in this paper had sufficient resolution that the authors considered them “High resolution reconstructions,” meaning they composited the series into 25-year bins for 1850 to 2000 as a separate process from the 200 year bins used in the graph Eschenbach looked at. This gave them results for the 20th century, without grafting the instrumental record on.
    And oh, if Eschenbach would have read the paper he would have seen the authors converted the standard deviations into temperatures. Heck, he would have seen this if he had just read the post by Steve McIntyre he so highly praised as McIntyre discussed it, saying:

    Second, their money graphic is denominated in SD Units, rather than deg C anomaly, even though all of the 57 series in their database (alkenone, Mg/Ca, foraminifera) are denominated in deg C. This seems to me (and is) a pointless degradation of the data that ought to be avoided. Particularly when they want to be able to express the decline in deg C (as they do in a later table.) To do so, they convert their composite back from SD Units to deg C (anomaly) using a complicated home-made technique. I think that there’s an easy way of accomplishing what they want to do using conventional statistical techniques. I’ll show this in a subsequent post.

    Why is this site running posts criticizing a paper by a person who clearly hasn’t even looked at the paper?

      • I have Alan Robertson. It’s not very long. It’s only eight pages, two and a half of which are devoted to things like references and such. Half of the rest is images. It doesn’t take much time to get through. The supplementary material takes a lot more work to get through. As for the code provided with the paper, I’ve barely looked at that.
        And this isn’t really important or anything, but as a favor, I ask people not to refer to me by my two initials. Those two letters together have an unpleasant connotation.

      • Brandon Shollenberger,
        Q2- Did you purchase access to the paper, or was access provided? I ask only because you seem to be trying to support the paper’s methodology and conclusions by denigrating the paper’s critics. Perhaps that isn’t your intent?
        I haven’t read the paper, just the article here and at Climate Audit and other links discussing the topic.
        Rather than discuss any commentary critical to the paper, let’s assume for the moment that the paper’s conclusion(s) are precise and accurate, i.e.-reality matches the authors’ findings. In that case, the paper undermines the rhetoric (major tenets) in support of the CAGW meme:
        1) Modern/current temps are unprecedented
        2) Modern/current temp increase is unprecedented and attributable to man’s contribution of atmospheric CO2.

      • Alan Robertson:

        Brandon Shollenberger,
        Q2- Did you purchase access to the paper, or was access provided? I ask only because you seem to be trying to support the paper’s methodology and conclusions by denigrating the paper’s critics. Perhaps that isn’t your intent?

        Huh? I’m not a fan of the paper. I don’t agree with what the one author of the paper said, and I think the authors’ choice of methodology for combining their data in their bins was a bad one. I think steve McIntyre has already started to show this. But that doesn’t change the fact Willis Eschenbach clearly hasn’t read the paper and doesn’t know what the paper says.
        As for how I read the paper, I found out you could get free access to the paper when a person over at Climate Audit mentioned you could. After I read a comment saying a person found a free copy of the paper, I looked where the person said he found it and went where he said he found a free copy of the paper found a free copy of it. Then I read it.
        It’s really silly you think me criticizing one person who clearly hasn’t read the paper or its supplementary material for saying things about the paper which are absolutely untrue means I am “trying to support the paper’s methodology and conclusions by denigrating the paper’s critics.”

    • That doesn’t require grafting two series onto one another. You can just examine the two series independently of one another.

      So you think that the method that determines the proxy trend is exactly comparable with the method that give current observations?
      Why not just splice them on then?
      You can’t have it both ways. Especially when looking at “standardised changes”.
      Don’t blame Nock Stokes for doing this. You are defending it.

    • That doesn’t require grafting two series onto one another. You can just examine the two series independently of one another.

      Brandon, what is the difference between stitching the two series together and “comparing” them?

  37. If it is really true that we have had a 2000 year cooling trend interrupted by our emission of CO2, then I think we should be very glad that we started emitting all that CO2 before we started sliding inexorably into another glacial period.

  38. SI figure 10 shows 25 year bins from 1850 to 2000, slicing and dicing the 57 proxies various ways. There is no overall warming, let alone at 20x the past. Evans knew that so deliberately misrepresented. In layman speak, he lied. Another sterling example of ‘climate science’ where down is up, day is night, and untruth abounds.

    • I hope you realize the authors of the paper created that figure to show exactly how well/poorly their proxies match up with the modern instrumental record (as provided by the Kaplan reanalysis data set), displaying results by various subsets to give readers a full understanding of the limitations/successes of their data.
      That means you’re calling this man a liar for describing the modern instrumental record accurately, solely because he was talking about the instrumental record instead of the proxy record even though he wasn’t claiming to be talking about the proxy record. Pretty lame if you ask me.

      • Brandon,
        How is it you don’t see that whether Michael Evan’s comments were part of the official press release or not, it is irrelevant?
        And leaving aside the validity of using proxies to determine past temperatures with any degree of accuracy, why would you think that taking data points, slicing, dicing, and throwing them into the blender has any meaning at all? It is simply mathterbation.

      • timg56:

        How is it you don’t see that whether Michael Evan’s comments were part of the official press release or not, it is irrelevant?

        I’m pretty sure I didn’t say a single word about it mattering whether or not his comments were part of the official press release or not. I don’t know why you’re talking about that.

        And leaving aside the validity of using proxies to determine past temperatures with any degree of accuracy, why would you think that taking data points, slicing, dicing, and throwing them into the blender has any meaning at all? It is simply mathterbation.

        Again, why are you talking about this? This has nothing to do with anything I’ve said. Whether or not this paper has any merit doesn’t depend on whether or not this post has any merit. Willis Eschenbach could be completely wrong while at the same time this paper could be a bad paper. Eschenbach could have not even looked at a bad paper before writing a post criticizing it. It’d still be a bad paper.
        I have no idea why you guys are acting like me criticizing this post because Eschenbach clearly didn’t read the paper he’s criticizing somehow means I think the paper is a good paper. Actually, I do. It’s just disturbing to think the tribalism is that strong here.

      • Brandon Shollenberger
        September 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm

        Alan Robertson:
        It’s really silly you think me criticizing one person…

        Brandon, you had obviously criticized more than one person in this thread, at that point in time. Small thing, I know, but necessary perhaps, when you are going into the weeds with your criticisms and then in a later post, you add:

        I have no idea why you guys are acting like me criticizing this post because Eschenbach clearly didn’t read the paper he’s criticizing somehow means I think the paper is a good paper. Actually, I do. It’s just disturbing to think the tribalism is that strong here.

        Tribalism? That’s rich. Call us the BS Detector Tribe.

  39. “I’m sorry, but their study is just scientific onanism.”
    Well, really now, seriously?
    So how do I explain this to my 5 year old? 14 year old? Oh, in his case, never mind.
    Isn’t all the voluminous co-authoring and pal-reviewing just a team sport version for the CAGW crowd?

  40. Willis,
    Your comment about “desperately seeking a hockey stick” could be a book or movie title. I do not know the full history of this effort, but cotemporaneously with Mann’s hockey stick were several attempts by Pollack and Huang at UofMich, as well as others, to produce a hockey stick using borehole temperature data. They committed a large number of errors, and a number of borehole temperature experts told me privately that the community of heat flow researchers knew of the problems, yet no one had the courage to publically correct the issue. I tried to respond to two of their publications with technical comments to Science and Nature, but got spiked as I no longer belonged to a prestigious organization and was a nobody easily over-ruled.
    Someone, or perhaps many people, realized around the mid-1990s that a credible hockey stick is the “fingerprint” of AGW needed to assign blame. The search using one proxy or another continues to the present day. The most likely proxies are by now exhausted, but there is yet one more, which is a meta-study of all proxy studies to date. Look for such sometime before December.

  41. The entire exercise is baloney. It cannot be done. We have no REAL data about oceans across the entire planet which happen to be most of the planet’s surface…this cannot be turned into a ‘global temperature’ any more than the atmosphere. That is, ‘past data’ is tiny bits and pieces of various items used to assume temperatures, etc.
    We have no ‘direct data’ since thermometers are recent inventions. We can have ‘clues’ about the past and make various assumptions but we don’t have thermometer readings. We guess from rock formations and various life forms that some events happened but our graphs showing temperatures are all assumptions, not actual readings.
    We assume the world cooled down a certain number of degrees but these remain GUESSES.
    Mixing up real data with past guesses isn’t honest. They are two different things entirely. We have very little direct data about temperatures…less than 300 years and for most of that time, only in a few, very few places and climates.

  42. Based on Brandon’s comments, should this post be locked until Willis reviews and responds? His comments indicate that Willis icould be completely off base, and misleading others who tend to jump on the bandwagon.

    • Brad:
      Brandon’s comments indicate no such thing. Only that he is artful at parlor games.
      The basic fact is that 200 year bins of proxies that themselves smooth out excursions MUST have a bandpass that masks rapid trend changes. To compare that with daily data based trends from excessivly adjusted instrument data that will show rapid flips and flops of trend is either gross incompetance or deception. Choose one… W. is just pointing that out.
      And that the deception / error is in the press release not the paper just compounds the mess.

      • E.M. Smith, if you’re going to make accusations like:

        Brandon’s comments indicate no such thing. Only that he is artful at parlor games.

        Would you have the decency to say what it is I’ve said that’s actually wrong? This post even insists people do so. You say:

        The basic fact is that 200 year bins of proxies that themselves smooth out excursions MUST have a bandpass that masks rapid trend changes. To compare that with daily data based trends from excessivly adjusted instrument data that will show rapid flips and flops of trend is either gross incompetance or deception. Choose one… W. is just pointing that out.

        But Willis didn’t point that out. Quite the opposite. He claimed the the authors used their proxy reconstruction to justify saying modern warming was twenty times as fast as past cooling. Or at least, he looked at their proxy reconstruction and said it didn’t support their claims.
        It wasn’t until other people spoke up that he even mentioned the modern temperature record, and even then, he only spoke of it to make the false claim the authors had grafted it onto their reconstruction. It wasn’t until I pointed him to the FAQ the authors had published that he realized the authors were just comparing trends calculated from one data set to those calculated to another.
        So exactly what “parlor games” are you saying I’m “artful” at? It seems like you’re praising Willis for pointing out what I highlighted while accusing me of trickery for… hiding it?

      • the authors were just comparing trends calculated from one data set to those calculated to another.

        And what are the issues “comparing” the series Brandon?
        What kinds of conclusions can be drawn? Numerical ones, like “20x” for example?

  43. I notice on Steve’s site, where like here, the rapid temperature rise is correctly assigned to the press statement, neither Nick nor Brandon seem to have commented. I wonder why?
    As everyone seems to agree, the paper’s data does not show recent warming. Why did the second author then make a press statement (assuming he was reported correctly) linking a thirty year trend to contrast it to 200 year smoothing? The proxies show some had very large and rapid swings – about 5° in 100 years for at least one. Why did he not put a single plot showing the last two hundred years on the graph? Could it be that it didn’t show what he claimed it showed?

    • chrism56:

      I notice on Steve’s site, where like here, the rapid temperature rise is correctly assigned to the press statement, neither Nick nor Brandon seem to have commented. I wonder why?

      I haven’t commented there because I agree with what Steve McInytre has said so far, and I haven’t had anything additional to contribute to it. I try not to comment on posts if all I have to say is “me too.”

      As everyone seems to agree, the paper’s data does not show recent warming. Why did the second author then make a press statement (assuming he was reported correctly) linking a thirty year trend to contrast it to 200 year smoothing?

      He didn’t. He compared a trend over a thousand years to the trend over a hundred years, as described in the publicly available FAQ for the paper. I don’t think that comparison is an appropriate one, but that’s largely irrelevant as long as people keep insisting a different comparison was made.

  44. Why are you guys beating yourselves up over a hockey stick when the paper doesn’t really address the last 50 years?
    Evens’ comment clearly refers to the instrument record in comparison to his study. It seems no one, including the blog author, knows this.
    Amazing.

  45. “Today, the error bars are increasing about 20 times faster than they did during the past 1,800 years, we just donwanna show em,” said Michael Evans.
    There. Fixed fer ya, NE Orgun style.

  46. ristvan September 12, 2015 at 8:45 am

    SI figure 10 shows 25 year bins from 1850 to 2000, slicing and dicing the 57 proxies various ways. There is no overall warming, let alone at 20x the past. Evans knew that so deliberately misrepresented. In layman speak, he lied. Another sterling example of ‘climate science’ where down is up, day is night, and untruth abounds.

    Reply
    Brandon Shollenberger September 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I hope you realize the authors of the paper created that figure to show exactly how well/poorly their proxies match up with the modern instrumental record (as provided by the Kaplan reanalysis data set), displaying results by various subsets to give readers a full understanding of the limitations/successes of their data.

    Thanks, Brandon. I hope you can explain how figure S10, which is in units of standard deviations, could be used “to show exactly how well/poorly their proxies match up with the modern instrumental record”.
    To start with, they have used the Kaplan SST climate model output, which both you and they claim is the instrumental record but in fact is no such thing. It is climate model output that is constantly “nudged” by real data to keep it from going too far off course. Since many, perhaps most of the sites have no SST data to speak of in the 1800’s and early 1900s, that means they are comparing their proxies to the guesses of a climate model as to the local temperatures. I fear that will show us little about the “modern instrumental record”.
    Then they convert those model guesses to standard deviations.
    The problem is that real data is much more rough and contains jumps and sudden changes that model output doesn’t have. Nature loves edges. You see one ocean temperature for miles and miles, and then there is a line and the temperature might drop immediatly by a couple degrees C. A computer assumes that if we have two values A and B at two locations, that the best guess for the value halfway between the locations is the average. While that may be true mathematically, in the real world the odds are good that the most likely value is either A or B, but rarely the average. Think about one point that is in a cloud, and one point out of a cloud in clear air. Is the point halfway more likely to be “half-cloudy”, or is it more likely to be either cloudy or clear? Mathematically the best guess is “half-cloudy”, but the real world doesn’t work that way. It has edges and patches and distinct regimes, not a smooth slide from one value to the next.
    And since the computer output is generally smooth and usually without outliers, standardizing it can give very misleading results.
    SO … having misleadingly called the guesses of a climate model output “observations” and standardized them, they have then converted their proxies to standard deviations. Here’s the process used for both sets:

    These reconstructions were composited into 25-year bins, beginning at 2000 CE and extending back to 1851 CE (e.g. 1851–1875 CE, 1876–1900 CE… 1976–2000 CE; Supplementary Fig. S10), by first averaging each reconstruction into one value per 25-year bin, then standardizing the reconstructions, and finally compositing the standardized reconstructions.

    In other words, they first averaged the each proxy into eight bins … and then they standardized those eight bins. I see no discussion of the error inherent in standardizing such a minute number of data points, but it is non-trivial.
    However, setting all of those problems aside, AND assuming that they have done the math correctly, AND assuming that the Kaplan climate model output resembles actual observational data … then all Figure 10 shows is that THE PROXIES DO NOT MATCH THE OBSERVATIONS FOR BEANS!
    And they make no bones about that, saying:

    The 21_O2k and 21_Kaplan composites are non-significantly correlated (r2 = 0.17, df = 4, p = 0.42), with the warming trend in the 21_Kaplan not reproduced in the 21_O2k composite (Supplementary Fig. S10).

    Gotta admit … I do love their term for two datasets with a correlation p-value of 0.43 being called “non-significantly correlated”. Since virtually any two datasets will have a non-zero correlation, that category is just doublespeak for saying we tried really hard but found nothing significant, so we will just call them “mumble-mumble correlated” and hope people don’t notice the rest.
    And given that, Brandon, how is it not anti-scientific for Evans to come out with alarmist statements? You go on to say:

    I have no idea why you guys are acting like me criticizing this post because Eschenbach clearly didn’t read the paper he’s criticizing somehow means I think the paper is a good paper. Actually, I do. It’s just disturbing to think the tribalism is that strong here.

    That’s not clear at all … what does “actually I do” mean? The way it is written it means you do “think the paper is a good paper” … was that your intention?
    In any case, I find nothing in Figure S10 or anywhere else that justifies Evans’s claim of 20x warming. Instead of falsely accusing me of not having looked for such evidence without the slightest attempt to justify your accusation, how about you tell us just exactly where Evans’s claim is supported by the paper?
    Here’s my real question, Brandon. Suppose you took your thermometer with you on a world jaunt. Every year, you stuck your thermometer in the ocean somewhere near to a coastline, maybe once, maybe two or three times, in different spots. On average, you came back to the same spot about every twenty years, but you might not come back in your lifetime. So some spots would be way over-represented, some would be way under-represented, and the overwhelming majority of the ocean would never be sampled at all.
    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/pages2k-locations.png
    Are you seriously contending that a total of two or three samples per year, one sample every twenty years or so for each of those coastal locations, is enough to tell us how fast the ocean is warming or cooling? Is that information solid enough to be a cause for worldwide alarm? Is that a basis for alarmist claims regarding relative rates of warming? That seems to be what you are saying.
    Call me crazy, but I think that is massive under-sampling. A few samples per year from just the coastal areas of the entire ocean, which covers 70% of the earth’s surface, is far, far from enough information to make the kind of hysterical alarmist claim that Evans is making.
    But heck, if he’s right, we can get rid of oceanographers and the Argo buoy system, just take two or three measurements per year at a limited number of points near the coast, Dr. Evans thinks that’s all you’ll need …
    w.

    • I’morry Willis Eschenbach, but I’m not inclined to discuss your inability to read simple sentences until you address the fact you didn’t bother to read the paper you criticized, and consequently, you made a series of false claims about it. That you choose to cherry-pick which points to respond in order to avoid addressing this very simple and very obvious fact does not oblige me to ignore it as well.
      But since you chose to claim I made a false accusation based on this, I should point out I never said the supplementary material was the source of Evans’s claims. It wasn’t. I was just pointing out that you were clearly unaware of the material, meaning you hadn’t even read the supporting documentation for the paper.
      If you had pointed to it in the first place and talked about how it didn’t support Evans’s claims, that’d have been fine. But instead, you acted like it didn’t exist. So clearly, you didn’t know about it even though it was mentioned in the paper and shown in the supporting documentation. That’s pathetic.

      • Brandon Shollenberger September 12, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        I’morry Willis Eschenbach, but I’m not inclined to discuss your inability to read simple sentences until you address the fact you didn’t bother to read the paper you criticized, and consequently, you made a series of false claims about it.

        Brandon, until you quote my exact words that constitute what you say are my “series of false claims”, I fear you’re just playing with yourself. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend your fantasies about my words.
        In any case, it doesn’t surprise me that you are unwilling to answer the specific scientific questions or deal with the scientific issues I raised. I’ve come to expect this kind of behavior from you. You tend to run from the science and take refuge in meaningless ad hominem attacks.
        Regarding reading the paper, I have to admit that you are right. I read as little of it as I possibly could consonant with finding out about his 20X claim. It’s a painful paper to read, so I skipped large sections that obviously were not relevant. I had, however, read the Supplemental Information in some depth, although again I skipped parts of it. Generally (and in this case) the SI is the important part because it contains the methods used by the authors. This was equally painful but didn’t help either.
        Neither one explained the “twenty times” claim. So you are quite correct on that score, I paid little attention to the various fanciful claims and odd explanations in either the paper or the SI … but so what?
        I say again, so what? Whatever you think I missed by not giving their nonsense a full and detailed reading, whatever it was that you believe was so critical and essential that you think I neglected by not reading some part or other of the paper, you’ll have to point it out to me. Despite going over the paper again several times since, I still can’t find anything in the paper to remotely justify Evans’s claim. And much more importantly, I still can’t find anything in the paper that makes a single word I said incorrect. What mistake is it that you claim I made because I didn’t give the paper a complete, painful, in-depth reading prior to pointing out the obvious errors? And please, quote my exact words regarding my claimed mistake. I’m tired of your vague accusations.
        However, foolish me, I had not read the FAQ, where they attempt to explain the “twenty times” claim. And having read it … it still makes no sense. It is the worst kind of apples and oranges comparison I could imagine..
        In any case, my statement was simple:

        I saw that graph and I said “Huh?” The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims.

        Now, that statement is undeniably true. I know you don’t like it, but it is true. Their results do NOT bear out his claim of 20X faster warming.
        As a result, I could only conclude that while Dr. Evans based his claim of long-term cooling on his study, he could only justify his 20X statement by throwing away the results of his study and tacitly saying that they were wrong …
        I don’t know how I can make that simpler for you. Let me try it this way.
        The only way his statement makes sense is if his study is correct about the long term trends but totally wrong about the short term trends.
        And that was my main problem with the study, one that you keep trying to divert peoples’ attention away from. His own results did NOT bear out his claim. Which, I can only assume, is why he tucked his explanation away in the FAQ.
        Perhaps you could tell us how that is supposed to be a “robust” scientific claim, when to make the claim at all he has to deny his own results. And then you might actually respond to the scientific issues and questions that I posted to you above … oh, wait, I forgot, you greatly prefer to wave your hands and discuss who read what and make ad hominem attacks instead of dealing with questions about the actual science.
        Well, wave on …
        w.

    • Is it me or is this same idealistic temperature data being binned into regular periods similar to low hanging fruit solar theories and graphs purporting to demonstrate it’s the sun watdunnit. It certainly has a familiar ring to it.

  47. Brandon. I finally found the FAQ here.
    http://www.pages-igbp.org/ini/wg/ocean2k/nature-geoscience-2015-faqs.
    Their references for the temperature rise seem to be IPCC and Stott, neither of which reference the water temperature rise they describe. Have they mixed the air temperature record or SST with the ocean temperature, which is what the proxies were supposed to measure? They aren’t clear on which temperatures they are talking about in the FAQ. And has people have commented, in their original data graphs, very few of the long series seem to have a significant change in the last 200 years.
    My comments on the 30 years relates to the 1970-2000 period which most see as the AGW signal for the oceans. The IPCC Chapter 10 p870 also have this view.
    In the SI, they had the SST error as 1.66°C, which implies most of their variation is within the error. And nowhere in the SI do they seem to discuss the wide variability within the 200 year window which I think was Willis’s point. If you average a lot of garbage, you might get an answer, but how meaningful is it?

  48. To Nick and Brandon
    I do not understand how anyone could justifiably seek to compare ocean temps with the thermometer record which is largely land based observations.
    Oceans and land warm and cool at different rates, so on what basis can one make a valid scientific argument that today’s warming (which is based upon the thermometer record) is ~ 20 times that of the ocean cooling based on proxy evidence.
    To make any comparison with today, one would have to look at ocean temperature data only, and the records that we have on that,.prior to ARGO, is worthless (and this comes from someone who has spend ~30 years looking at ocean temperature measured and recorded by ships). We have no worthwhile data as to how oceans have warmed/cooled this past century.
    Further, one cannot compare say a 50 year period (assuming that that is what is referred to in the ‘recent warming’) with 200 year data bins because of differences in resolution, How do we know that within the bin leading up to the peak of the MWP there is not a period of say 30 to 50 years of warming at a rate greater than that ‘observed’ in the ‘recent warming’ period? Or how do we know that there is not a 30 to 50 year period in the 200 year data bin leading up to the trough of the LIA which did not have a rate of cooling similar to the rate of warming in the ‘observed’ ‘recent warming period?
    We simply do not know on the proxy data and the way it has been presented in 200 year data bins.
    .
    The statement: “The recent warming is larger ([|~1° C / ~-0.5° C| = 2) and more rapid by a factor of roughly 20: (| [~ +1° C/100 years]/[~ -0.5/1000 years] | = 20)” could be correct, but it simply something that is unknowable on the basis of the data provided.
    AND talking about evidence, where is the evidence for this statement:
    “4. The recent warming is larger ([|~1° C / ~-0.5° C| = 2) and more rapid by a factor of roughly 20: (| [~ +1° C/100 years]/[~ -0.5/1000 years] | = 20) than the volcanically induced cooling trend over the last 1-2 preceding millennia.”
    There is no hard evidence that the cooling over the last 1 to 2 millennia was volcanically induced. That is mere supposition based solely upon modelled assumptions.
    The fact is that in this paper, once again, one is simply seeing the over extrapolation of poor quality data without a true and proper description of the error bounds and the inherent limitation of the proxies used. Quite simply, the data (and its true worth) does not support the wild claims being made

    • richard verney September 12, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      To Nick and Brandon
      I do not understand how anyone could justifiably seek to compare ocean temps with the thermometer record which is largely land based observations.

      They’re not doing that, although they’d like you to think so. They’re comparing the proxies to a reanalysis climate model output.
      w.

      • Their estimate of modern warming comes, they say in the FAQ:
        “3. From historical observations, realistically forced simulations, and detection and attribution studies (e.g. Stott et al. 2006 (link); Bindoff et al. 2013 (link), Ch 10, Fig. 10.1, pg 879), our best estimate is that since 1860, mean surface temperature has increased about 0.5 to 1.5° C over 150 years, or about 0.3 to 1° C per 100 years.”
        The references are to AR4 and AR5. The specific Fig 10.1 has various plots, including HADCRUT (and GISS and NOAA) and some modelling. I’m not sure how they assembled their ranges, but HADCRUT supports something like 1°C/100 yrs, and more if you go to, say, 50 years.
        And Richard, the surface indices are about 70% SST.

      • Nick, given the many ways this idealized data string can be fiddled with, it would seem to me that the spread related to error bars generated from reanalysis algorithms negates any significant statements related to being the greatest, most worrisome, or “we-should-do-something” rate of rise statements. No?

  49. Not a climate scientist (is that a good thing or a bad thing?) but I can’t believe that ANY of this proxy data, be it tree rings, cores or whatever, can do anything but give a general idea of what might have happened in the past.
    To me the graph says the ocean was warming for the first 1500 years AD then it cooled and now it is warming again. I tend to discount any attempt to use proxy data to nail down exact temperatures.
    Trends only.

  50. Thank you Willis for another valuable ‘Public Review’. This time of the CAGW agenda-driven McGregor, Evans et al paper. You clearly reveal that it is ridiculous to combine the individual proxy graphs to create the ‘Compiled Sea Surface Temperature’ graph.
    In my opinion, the purpose of the McGregor/Evans paper is to put into the public media the ‘Money Graph’ image labeled ‘Compiled Sea Surface Temperatures’ ahead of the Paris conference. This graphic hides the Roman and Medieval warm periods and the Little Ice Age as well as showing an ‘alarming’ recent temperature increase. In my opinion, it is being published for the same reason that Mann’s hockey stick was published; to pretend that recent temperature increases are unprecedented and man-made.
    If you doubt this is the agenda of the two lead authors, then simply look at what their university websites say:
    University of Maryland (Michael Evans) headlines:
    https://cmns.umd.edu/news-events/features/3176
    – 1,800 Years of Global Ocean Cooling Halted by Global Warming
    – Comprehensive analysis of ocean surface temperature data shows a cooling trend preceding the Industrial Revolution
    – Prior to the advent of human-caused global warming in the 19th century, the surface layer of Earth’s oceans had undergone 1,800 years of a steady cooling trend, according to a new study.
    University of Wollongong (Helen McGregor) headlines: http://media.uow.edu.au/releases/UOW200429.html
    – GLOBAL WARMING TRUMPS 1,800 YEARS OF COOLING
    – Scientists find man-made global warming has triggered a reversal of natural ocean cooling.
    Both websites make the clear claim that man-made global warming has caused global cooling to turn into global warming.
    A couple of posters on this thread are trying to confuse things by claiming you have not read the paper. The only relevant question is are the individual proxy graphs you show the ones used in the paper? Yes or no? If yes, the paper is garbage.
    Thank you to you and Steve McIntyre for demolishing this paper so quickly.

  51. “4. The recent warming is larger ([|~1° C / ~-0.5° C| = 2) and more rapid by a factor of roughly 20: (| [~ +1° C/100 years]/[~ -0.5/1000 years] | = 20) than the volcanically induced cooling trend over the last 1-2 preceding millennia.”
    Never mind the spurious logic of comparing a long-term trend with a short-term trend. Here’s what upsets me – “volcanically induced cooling trend” What are they talking about? Which volcanoes, and when? Also the statement seems to imply that volcanic activity is a thing of the past and that there will be no more volcanic eruptions in the future. Who are these people and where do they get their ideas? (hint: that’s a rhetorical question).

  52. How many proxies are available for ocean temps? Did they use all of them? If not, what’s the criteria by which they chose the ones they included in the study? It seems to me that there is much room for conscious or unconscious bias in such a study – even if they vehemently claim not to have cherry-picked their proxies.

  53. Brandon Shollenberger September 12, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    But again, issues like these can’t be examined so long as people like Willis Eschenbach make false and absurd claims. As long as people make easily refuted claims, the real problems will go unaddressed because the easily refuted claims are all anyone will discuss.

    Are you truly this stupid, or are you just pretending to be this stupid, or do you think that the following doesn’t apply to you because you are just so gosh-darn brilliant? Please read the following a hundred times until it sinks in:

    AS USUAL: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you object to. That way, we can all understand both who and what you are replying to.

    Then come back and quote for us just what “false and absurd claims” you are babbling about.
    w.

    • W.: A propaganda hit piece depends on the power of stupid. It is a design goal of the method. Quantity of the slander matters more than veracity, that can be slightly negative and still work if repeated enough… but don’t ever expect the purveyor to admit to the method.

  54. Every scientific paper that seeks to analyse data and draw conclusions therefrom should start off with a preliminary section in which a quality audit of the data being used is conducted and set out. It should explain to the reader, the weaknesses and limitations in the data, and why it is claimed that the data is fit for the purpose to which it is being put.
    This is particularly so with proxies. There should be an in depth discussion as to the limitations of the proxies, how it is claimed that they capture the signal that is sought to be analysed, how the proxy may be influenced by factors other than the signal which is sought to be analysed, and how the proxy responds to those other signals. This description should explain how the proxy is being calibrated, and the shortcomings with that calibration, and above all a detailed discussion as to the true and realistic error bounds, and why it is claimed that the error bounds set out, are reasonable.
    All that Willis has done is a very preliminary and basic quality audit, but even this ‘first brush’ approach to quality assessment shows severe limitations with the data being used. It shows why it is not fit for purpose. Had the authors of this paper performed even this cursory examination of the quality of their data, this paper would not have been written in the form that it has.
    This article is an extremely good example of the shortcomings with the present approach to this science (if one can call climate science, science), and in so doing, it also demonstrates the short comings in peer review. Why didn’t the reviewers critically assess the quality of the data being used? If the authors of the paper had not carried out a proper quality audit, the reviewers themselves should have done so in order to see whether the data is being over extrapolated.

    • ” should start off with a preliminary section in which a quality audit of the data being used is conducted and set out”
      Have you read the paper?
      The first section following the introduction is titled “The Ocean2k SST synthesis data set”. And it does indeed examine various biases, limitations of distribution etc. Maybe you can find valid criticisms. But you have to look first.

    • And when all of this is done, it seems to me that any disciplined scientific mind would realize that a large portion of paleo-climate proxy data are basically mush.

  55. One Simple reason why the paper needs significant improvement has already been highlighted. Even if the proxies used were atmospheric related they generally don’t match the instrumental record, so comparing both side by side is like comparing oranges with apples.
    Problem is even worse than that using ocean proxies, which warm and cool at different rates to the atmosphere. Proxies should always be shown how they fair compared with recent modern history and the paper does do this.
    The graph below showing UAH global land against global ocean highlights the difference in warming rates over just near a 40 year period. The global land temperatures warmed more than twice the rate of the ocean.
    http://i772.photobucket.com/albums/yy8/SciMattG/UAH%20Global_LandvOceanTemp_zps8byetr3v.png
    If the difference can be as much as this in just a few decades, what could be shown over hundreds of years?

    • What I forgot to add was using ocean proxies hides the small changes in warmer and cooler periods that are observed on land. Incidentally this causes the long term trend over hundreds of years to look less varied and hide key changes in atmospheric climate history that were well documented over civilization history.

      • “Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,” said Michael Evans”
        This is total nonsense that should never have been Incorporated with the public announcement of the paper.

  56. Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,” said Michael Evans…“This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today.”

    The money graph clearly shows that cooling from 1100 to 1300 was at a much greater rate than 1700 to 1900. So was cooling rate from 1300 to 1500 and 1500 to 1700. Mr. Evans may not be aware the industrial revolution did not start in 1700. And the explanation for the flat temperature from 100 to 1100 is ? Finally this graph in no way demonstrates any affect of humanity on climate. Maybe what Mr. Evans meant by the “profound effects we are having on our climate today”, was the profound effect he was having on his climate when he turned the thermostat up in his dwelling.
    Or maybe Mr Evans is liar who is stupid, otherwise known as a stupid liar.

  57. What strikes me about this sort of paper (and no, I have not read it properly) is the absence of anything like a clearly specified model/hypothesis about the connection between proxy and temperature. This is essential to any sort of rigorous inversion from aggregated proxies to temperature. At first sight, this effort seems particularly lacking in this regard, since they just randomly sample (10k times) from the proxy (standardized) bins, calculate the resulting slope for each sampled time series and declare the median of this jumble as an estimate of temperature slope. They will be doing well if there is a transparent model for which this establishes a well formulated temperature slope from multiple proxies. It might all be explained in the SI, but it would seem technically challenging (that’s a euphemism!)

  58. I’ve met people who believe they can just make-up their own statistical algorithms (for example linear trend) and with authority, say their made-up algorithm is both valid and reliable. This kind of study reeks of problems associated with valid and reliable statistical methods. And it reeks of the missing model standard: Does it compare to raw observations.
    Epic fail of ever important diligence towards accepted validity and reliability measures. If the pharmaceutical industry were relieved of its strict and imposed validity and reliability obligations we would immediately be back to the snake oil days of buyer beware, with co-commitment human misery and death.
    Oh…wait…we are already there with climate science…

  59. This is rather amusing. This post includes the note:

    AS USUAL: AS USUAL: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you object to. That way, we can all understand both who and what you are replying to.

    As such, when I responded to the post to criticize it, I quoted it to point out an obvious error in it. I then provided excerpts from an exchange between Willis Eschenbach and Nick Stokes, quoting both of them, to show Eschenbach had no idea what the people he was criticizing had actually done to try to justify the claims he was criticizing. Eschenbach never responded to this comment.
    He did, however, respond to some response I made to another person’s comment, without using the Reply feature to say:

    Are you truly this stupid, or are you just pretending to be this stupid, or do you think that the following doesn’t apply to you because you are just so gosh-darn brilliant? Please read the following a hundred times until it sinks in:

    AS USUAL: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you object to. That way, we can all understand both who and what you are replying to.

    Then come back and quote for us just what “false and absurd claims” you are babbling about.
    w.

    So when I made a comment to respond to this post, I quoted the text I disagreed with as the post required I do. I got no response. When talking to another person, I then referred back to that. Willis Eschenbach replied, without using the Reply feature or providing a link, to call me stupid because I didn’t provide quotations.
    And he did it again, making another comment to reply to me without using the Reply feature when I was responding to another user. He’s responded to almost every comment thread I’ve participated in, save the one I made to lay out my disagreement with this post while providing quotations, all while condemning me for not providing quotations.
    The best part though? He’s already admitted the central point I made – he hasn’t read the paper. He flat out admitted he didn’t read the paper. The paper isn’t even eight pages long, and he couldn’t be bothered to read it. Two of those eight pages are devoted to things like references. That means he couldn’t be bothered to read a six page paper, half of which is made up of pictures. That means he couldn’t be bothered to read three pages of text before writing this post!

    • Brandon, that’s hilarious. I have asked you again and again just what you find wrong in my post. The best that you can come up with is that you think I didn’t read the paper adequately.
      However, given that you haven’t pointed out one single error in my work, it seems my reading of the paper was both adequate enough to baffle you completely, and sufficient to correctly point out the problems with the work.
      I don’t get it. Either what I said was right or it was wrong, whether or not I’ve ever laid eyes on the paper. If you could come up with some error that I’ve made, I assume you would have done so … instead, all you want to talk about is my reading habits. Now perhaps my reading habits are fascinating … but when are you going to get to the science?
      The only vaguely scientific contribution you’ve made was regarding my comment that:

      It shows the data in 200-year bins, centered in the middle of each bin, so the first bin is from 0-200 AD and the last bin is from 1800-2000 AD. I saw that graph and I said “Huh?” The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims.

      You said this was “false and absurd” … but unfortunately for you, it is true. Michael Evans OWN STUDY does not agree with his claim. In order for Evans’s claim to be true, the last 200 years of the study have to be false.
      I’ve said that before, and invited you to comment on it. I even simplified it above in case it was too complex for you, saying:

      As a result, I could only conclude that while Dr. Evans based his claim of long-term cooling on his study, he could only justify his 20X statement by throwing away the results of his study and tacitly saying that they were wrong …
      I don’t know how I can make that simpler for you. Let me try it this way.
      The only way his statement makes sense is if his study is correct about the long term trends but totally wrong about the short term trends.

      So I’ve answered your claim, and asked you to comment on my answer … and still all you can do is whine my reading habits …
      But heck, I’ll try again.
      Evans is basing his claim of the “20 times faster” on his own study, because the study is the source of the long-term trend he is claiming is real.
      However, Evans is also saying that the recent part of the study is meaningless. And in fact, he’s right about that part at least. As the authors point out, the fit between the proxies and the reanalysis dataset is abysmal.
      But if the recent part of the study is meaningless, as Evans says, then so is the long-term trend.
      I don’t get it. I don’t see how you can defend his statement, when it is contradicted by his own study! (Which, of course, is what I said, and what you have claimed is false and untrue and such.)
      His claim IS contradicted by his own study, Brandon. Get used to it. What I said is simply true. I know you don’t like that it is true, and I know you’d rather talk about my reading habits, but my statement is 100% verifiably factual.
      And it is true whether or not I’ve ever read a single word of the study. The study contradicts his claim, which was my point. If you can tell us what part of my statement is not true, that could be a start to a scientific discussi… … aw, never mind, as if you cared about the science. “Anything but the science” seems to be your motto …
      Anyhow, have fun discussing my reading habits, Brandon. It is a fit subject for your level of comprehension.
      w.

      • Willis Eschenbach:

        Brandon, that’s hilarious. I have asked you again and again just what you find wrong in my post. The best that you can come up with is that you think I didn’t read the paper adequately.

        Um, sorry, no. You don’t get to do that. Remember how you said:

        Are you truly this stupid, or are you just pretending to be this stupid, or do you think that the following doesn’t apply to you because you are just so gosh-darn brilliant? Please read the following a hundred times until it sinks in:

        AS USUAL: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to quote the exact words you object to. That way, we can all understand both who and what you are replying to.

        Then come back and quote for us just what “false and absurd claims” you are babbling about.

        I’m going to have to call you on that. So Willis, are you truly this stupid, are are you just pretending to be this stupid, or do you think that the note you yourself wrote doesn’t apply to you because you are just so gosh-darn brilliant?
        You just wrote a lengthy comment in which you claim I am wrong without once quoting anything I supposedly got wrong, after harshly insulting for supposedly not quoting you when I said you got things wrong. Not only is that blatantly hypocritical, but I had in fact quoted you, meaning your accusation was false in the first place, which you’ve conveniently ignored.
        So tell us Willis, how stupid are you? Or are you “just so gosh-darn brilliant” your own rules don’t apply to you? What about things like “the truth”? You know, like how I did in fact quote what I said you got wrong when you made your harsh insults which said I hadn’t?

      • So… cool. Willis Eschenbach insulted me for supposedly failing to quote his words which I disagreed with as requested by the note in this post, despite the fact I had done exactly that. Then he turned around and wrote a lengthy comment saying I was all wrong on the topic of this post, without once quoting the words of mine which were supposedly wrong. And when I called him on this, he… quit responding?
        I don’t know. Maybe he just needs some time. It’s only been 18 hours. I’ve gone offline longer than that in the middle of discussions. It just seems awfully convenient timing. He keeps responding at a fairly regular pace until he’s forced to admit he hasn’t read the paper and can only make a hugely hypocritical comment which has no substance and contains nothing but a rant about how wrong I am, and suddenly he takes far longer to respond?
        I don’t know. I just can’t help but think if he actually had anything he could point to that I’ve said which is wrong, he’d have pointed to it by now.

      • Brandon Shollenberger September 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm Edit

        So… cool. Willis Eschenbach insulted me for supposedly failing to quote his words which I disagreed with as requested by the note in this post, despite the fact I had done exactly that. Then he turned around and wrote a lengthy comment saying I was all wrong on the topic of this post, without once quoting the words of mine which were supposedly wrong. And when I called him on this, he… quit responding?
        I don’t know. Maybe he just needs some time. It’s only been 18 hours. I’ve gone offline longer than that in the middle of discussions. It just seems awfully convenient timing. He keeps responding at a fairly regular pace until he’s forced to admit he hasn’t read the paper and can only make a hugely hypocritical comment which has no substance and contains nothing but a rant about how wrong I am, and suddenly he takes far longer to respond?
        I don’t know. I just can’t help but think if he actually had anything he could point to that I’ve said which is wrong, he’d have pointed to it by now.

        Take a deep breath there, son, your radiator appears to be overheating. I’m on holiday, and I intend to enjoy it, not spend all my time arguing with the intellectually challenged.
        As far as quoting your words, the only thing you said was in response to my comment that:

        It shows the data in 200-year bins, centered in the middle of each bin, so the first bin is from 0-200 AD and the last bin is from 1800-2000 AD. I saw that graph and I said “Huh?” The change from 1700 to 1900 is not anywhere near 20 times as steep as the drop from the start of the study to the present, as Michael Evans claims.

        You said that my statement was “false and absurd”, which I did quote directly and exactly.
        Since I have invited you several times to tell me exactly what was either false or absurd about my statement, which I hold is undeniably true, and in response you’ve done little but babble about my reading habits … sorry, but you’re not exactly on the top of my priorities list.
        Anyhow, rant on … I’m going back to my holiday. To date my interaction with you has merely served to inform the lurkers just what kind of a person you are, and how little you care about the actual science, and that’s enough for me. I’m outta here.
        w.

      • Willis Escehbach:

        As far as quoting your words, the only thing you said was in response to my comment that:

        You said that my statement was “false and absurd”, which I did quote directly and exactly.
        Since I have invited you several times to tell me exactly what was either false or absurd about my statement, which I hold is undeniably true, and in response you’ve done little but babble about my reading habits … sorry, but you’re not exactly on the top of my priorities list.

        Are you lying right now? I explained exactly what was wrong with your remarks in my very first comment, a comment I’ve referred back to multiple times, one which you’ve studiously avoided responding to. The comment even referred to other things you’ve said than just that remark.
        You’ve managed to respond to basically every comment thread I’ve participated in, save the one where I directly addressed this post, providing quotations and explanations to show why you’re wrong, and then you’ve turned around claiming I haven’t provided quotations or explanations to show why you’re wrong. And no matter how many times I point this out, you keep pretending that comment doesn’t exist.
        You’re either the most willfully blind person I’ve ever met, the stupidest person I’ve ever met, or you’re just lying. Which is it?

        Anyhow, rant on … I’m going back to my holiday. To date my interaction with you has merely served to inform the lurkers just what kind of a person you are, and how little you care about the actual science, and that’s enough for me. I’m outta here.

        Actual science? I’m the person who pointed out what was actually done in the paper to you, correcting your misunderstanding on at least one point and drawing your attention to the supplementary material which was hugely relevant on another point. You’ve… done nothing but say incorrect things about the paper and ignore my substantive remarks, insulting me and pretending I didn’t write them.
        But sure, go with the ad hominem attacks. I’m certain that will convince everyone the points I made which you never bothered to even attempt to address are wrong.

  60. “Does anyone really believe that if we just average these proxy records in some form that we will actually have an accurate measure of the temperature variation in the Southern Ocean?”
    Why not? Lots of people seem to believe that averaging a bunch of temp readings from different places gives you a global temperature.
    I’d say both are equally useful, which is not at all.

    • Thanks, Bart. I am not a fan of such “multi-proxy” studies. No matter how you average them or standardize them or weight them, it’s still garbage in, garbage out. Look at the proxies for the Arctic. They track each other for 1,700 years, and then they diverge. What good will averaging that do? Does that in any sense give us an average arctic ocean temperature for 2,000 years?
      The fact that they have 57 proxies doesn’t solve that problem, it just makes it worse.
      I note that Brandon never responded to the following question I posed to him:

      Suppose you took your thermometer with you on a world jaunt. Every year, you stuck your thermometer in the ocean somewhere near to a coastline, maybe once, maybe two or three times, in different spots. On average, you came back to the same spot about every twenty years, but you might not come back in your lifetime. So some spots would be way over-represented, some would be way under-represented, and the overwhelming majority of the ocean would never be sampled at all.
      Are you seriously contending that a total of two or three samples per year, one sample every twenty years or so for each of those coastal locations, is enough to tell us how fast the ocean is warming or cooling? Is that information solid enough to be a cause for worldwide alarm? Is that a basis for alarmist claims regarding relative rates of warming?

      Actually, the question isn’t really for Brandon, but for the authors of the study … but I couldn’t ask them, and unfortunately he’s allergic to scientific questions … however, my point still stands.
      w.

      • Willis Eschenbach:

        I note that Brandon never responded to the following question I posed to him:

        Well, yeah, but that’s because your question was completely idiotic. You asked me things like:

        Are you seriously contending that a total of two or three samples per year, one sample every twenty years or so for each of those coastal locations, is enough to tell us how fast the ocean is warming or cooling?

        Even though I’ve written detailed criticisms of multiple temperature reconstructions and have said on numerous occasions we don’t have sufficient data to draw the sort of conclusions the paleoclimate field has been trying to draw. Heck, I’ve tried to get people interested in creating a wiki-like resource for paleoclimate reconstructions which would document their methodologies and data for the purpose of showing the problems which exist in the field. I practically jump at the chance to discuss any of the more obscure temperature reconstructions simply because I’ve spent so much time learning about the field and never get a chance to discuss the problems of it because there’s so little interest.
        So while you’re free to say things like:

        Actually, the question isn’t really for Brandon, but for the authors of the study … but I couldn’t ask them, and unfortunately he’s allergic to scientific questions … however, my point still stands.

        Anybody who’s actually looked at my writing on temperature reconstructions knows I’m unhesitatingly critical of them, and I’m more than willing to spend a lot of time explaining why. It’s to the point where Steven Mosher, who does not get along with me, has said I probably know the topic as well as anyone save Steve McIntyre.
        So yeah, you can believe what you want, but the truth is if anyone had a real question for me, I wouldn’t hesitate to answer it.

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