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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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.

Reality Observer

Willows? Where are you, actually?

Reality Observer

Ne’er mind, just caught up with the travelogue. Willow Beach, now I know where you are.

Willis Eschenbach

My bad, Reality. I was at Willows Beach, now I’m at Williams. I’ve fixed the text.
w.

Ernest Bush

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.

Mike

Michael Evans needs to explain EACTLY what he was referring to in his comment or retract it.

No he doesn’t.
It’s climate science.

Peter Sable

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

A while back this graphic now widely distributed showed proxies being all over he map.comment image
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.comment image
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.

braddles

You don’t see a lot of papers where even the very first word of the title is totally false.

Gamecock

I noticed that, too. Marketing in the title.

“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.

richar verney

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.

Willis Eschenbach

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.

Mike M. (period)

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?

Ron Graf

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,”

Ron Graf

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.

Ron Graf

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?

Ron Graf

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.

Ron Graf

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.

Ah, the old splice modern cooked records onto the proxy “trick” then… Thanks for clarifying that, Nick.

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…..

“Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years”
Claims cost no money.
Lies, lies and statistics…

To get future funding they have to deliver results that are conform or support the cultural Marxistic idea that we have CAGW.

Climate “scientists” use statistics like a drunk uses light posts… for support, not illumination!

emsnews

HAHAHA. Good one. 🙂

Willi Mac

That is not all they do to light posts.

Paul of Alexandria

And even if it was true, correlation doesn’t mean causation.

MCourtney

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.

noaaprogrammer

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.

timg56

Nick apparently can’t.
Or more likely he can and wants to limit the damage.

Vacation???

thingadonta

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.

+1. The average of garbage is smellier garbage

BillyV

I like the idea of the average New York telephone number.

Mike

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.

Mike

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.

Mike

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.

KenB

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.)

Kozlowski

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.

sopuocles

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 😉

Mike

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???

Peter Sable

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

Bruce Andrews

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.

Peter Sable

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

Mike

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.

Warren Latham

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

noaaprogrammer

Yeah, they should have pulled out of the study before they completed it.

Oldseadog

They used bins because that is where you put the garbage.

Tim Churchill

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!

timg56

And Nick Stokes seems to think that makes a difference.

Peter Sable

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…

Neville

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.

Martin A

“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.

“Robust” is in the eye of the grant-holder…

emsnews

‘Scruting’ sounds like what the deer do on my mountain in the fall when the bucks get their horns locked while fighting over a doe.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

And all this time I thought “robust” meant the torso of a female-form robot.

A C Osborn

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.

Dennis Kelley

I agree. The comparison is an insult to ball bearings everywhere!

David, UK

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

Marnof

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.

Crispin in Waterloo

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.

Paul of Alexandria

Thhhhhhhbbbbbbbtttt

Arsten

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.

PiperPaul

Box of rocks? Bag of hammers? Caste of Climatologists?

Dahlquist

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.

Neville

The HAD 4 data shows about 0.8 C warming since 1850. Can you tell me why this is unusual/unprecedented when we also know that the LIA finished about 1850?
So how much of that slight warming can be attributed to the recovery from the LIA plus some UHI effect plus data tampering plus ENSO/PDO plus cloud variation etc? Anyone have any ideas?
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1850/offset/trend

Svante Callendar

“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.”

Steve M. from TN

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.

A C Osborn

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

Svante Callendar

A C Osborn.
They did not make the “20 times as steep” observation from the proxy graph. Willis Eschenbach appears to have made an assumption that they did.
http://www.pages-igbp.org/ini/wg/ocean2k/nature-geoscience-2015-faqs

Billy Liar

It begs the question: what was the point of the comment about rates of proxy cooling versus instrumental warming?

noaaprogrammer

The problem is with comparing these 200-year bins with the end-of-20th century warming which is a tenth of that length of time. I can state that the warming since sunrise on this, a very hot day, is 20 times the cooling we experience over the last several weeks. Makes just as much sense. – NOT!

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.

Alan Robertson

I’ve run out of facepalms.

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.

hunter

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

Gamecock

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

Billy Liar

Unfortunately, you are employing an army of third-rate academics.

kim

Twenty times faster(yes, I know it is a lie) until the last fifteen years.
‘Splain that!
=========

cedarhill

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.

snowsnake

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.

John

“Scientific Onanism”. Now THAT is an hilariously astute and descriptive observation!

Don B

“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.

Brian J in UK

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.

emsnews

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.

NW sage

Someone once told a Climate Scientist “You Can Do Anything” He believed them!

usurbrain

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.

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.

Richard M

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.

usurbrain

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.

I think the fact that heat net leaves the planet and always has despite wide CO2 ranges in geologic time matters. We are on a thin crust over 1000 degree range mantle, so heat must net leave. The sun just modulates the heat flow outward.
https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/the-sun-does-not-warm-the-earth/
Per Pacific temp patterns, I think the circumpolar current running into Drake Passage matters.
https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/drakes-passage/

Don K

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.

[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

Willis Eschenbach

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.

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.

Walt D.

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.

co2islife

Can someone please explain how a max 1W/M^2 contained in the 13 to 18 µ wavelength can possibly warm the oceans? Don’t you need wavelengths that actually warm H20 to be warming the oceans? Or do we ignore basic physics when we are a Climate “Scientist?”
http://science.kennesaw.edu/~jdirnber/oceanography/LecuturesOceanogr/LecOceanStructure/0620B.jpg

Willis Eschenbach

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.

co2islife

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.comment image
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.comment image
Having absorbed this radiational energy, the water either radiates it back or heads straight for the surface.

richard verney

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.comment image

co2islife

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.

Water absorbs 15 micron/667 wave number radiation VERY efficiently such that it penetrates little more than the wavelength before it is all gobbled up. The “cool skin” is not so very cool in relation to deeper ocean temperatures during the day as it is at night.comment image
Mixing in the mixed (go figure) layer from wind, Rossby and Kelvin reaction waves, Ekman transport, etc. certainly forces warm water below and cooler water above where it would be in a stagnant gradient. Here are the mixed layer depths credit Willis.comment image
Since the ARGO era the bottom of the mixed layer has been defined by a barrier layer based on density. Thermal communication through this barrier is very, very slow.
Science can be settled for politicians, never for scientists.

J Martin

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

co2islife

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

The energy of shorter wavelength light, the light that penetrates the oceans is of much much much higher energy than IR between 13 to 18µ Note the Log scale.
http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/@api/deki/files/38725/em_spectrum.png?revision=1
http://www.mpoweruk.com/images/emspectrum.gif

co2islife

Isn’t this chart making my point? The GHG effect would only impact night time temperatures, and this clearly shows that the surface is cooler than the deeper ocean. If the radiated ocean warmed due to 13 to 18µ the surface would be at warmer than the deeper ocean. Clearly during the day the surface is warmer than the deeper ocean. That warmth is radiated as IR as it cools. The back radiation of 13 to 18µ would have to keep the surface ocean warmer than the deeper ocean to demonstrate heat being “trapped.” This chart is showing about a 2.5°C drop between day and night.comment image

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?

Alan Robertson

B.S.,
Have you read 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.

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?
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.”

MCourtney

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.

MCourtney

Typo, apologies to N<b.ick Stokes.

TimTheToolMan

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?

Mike M. (period)

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.

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.

timg56

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.

Proxies are little more than scientific parlor games, Ouija boards, tea leaves, magic 8 balls and equally informative.

Alan Robertson

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.

“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?