Graph vs. Graph = Political Journalism

Guest essay by C.R. Dickson

Most people have no trouble relating to temperature, because they use it every day when they set the thermostat in their homes, adjust the temperature dial on an oven, or watch a weather report on TV. On the other hand, practically no one recognizes a temperature anomaly, the yardstick for measuring man-made global warming. That’s because outside of climate studies, no one uses it.

A temperature anomaly is the difference obtained by subtracting an average temperature from real temperature data. Climate studies work with anomalies instead of real temperatures because anomalies are assumed to be more accurate over large geographical areas (see note 1). The rapidly rising graphs of temperature anomalies also conveniently dramatize catastrophic global warming.

So it’s easy to see why a few journalists made a big fuss over a very flat looking graph of average global temperatures posted in a tweet from the National Review. The graph in Figure 1 below (see notes 2 and 3) is like the one displayed in the tweet.




DicksonImage1

This graph supposedly hides global warming because the small increases in temperatures aren’t obvious. An online article in The Huffington Post stated it was an improper visualization that makes “just about anything seem stagnant,” and The Fix at The Washington Post complained that “it is misleading” because it “hides the actual change in temperatures.” Also online, Business Insider said the graph zooms “out so much that it makes it seem like global average temperatures haven’t changed at all.”

Of course, the journalists decided the temperature graph was up to no good, and they countered with their own graphs of the national debt and the Dow Jones Industrial Averages. It was graph vs. graph on the way to the world’s end.

With a bit of an effort, it’s easy to discover that the temperature changes are identical for both global temperature anomalies and for global temperatures (see note 4). The difference is that the graph of the anomalies is a magnified view, not a normal one.

Magnification doesn’t change the object you are viewing; it just lets you see more details. A blood cell or a microbe doesn’t get any bigger when it’s magnified; it only looks larger.

For example, the normal view of a piece of glass shown in Figure 2 appears to be very smooth. As can be seen in Figure 3, the magnified view has numerous peaks and valleys making the surface look rough, not smooth. Although the imperfections seem larger in the magnified view, they are the same size as in the normal view.

DicksonImage2-3

The same thing happens with reconstructed temperatures and temperature anomalies. When you magnify the average global temperatures in Figure 4, the unseen changes become visible, as Figure 5 clearly shows.

DicksonImage4-5

Fortunately, people normally do not use a magnified version of the world to proceed with their daily lives. That’s why no one drives down a highway guided by a microscope magnifying the road’s surface. For the same reason, weather forecasters use the real temperatures instead of magnified temperature anomalies.

Because it’s so difficult to observe man-made global warming, some experts at NASA GISS believe the accuracy of climate models requires a one hundredfold increase in order to see the small amount of warming.

“A doubling in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), predicted to take place in the next 50 to 100 years, is expected to change the radiation balance at the surface by only about 2 percent. If a 2 percent change is that important, then a climate model to be useful must be accurate to something like 0.25%. Thus today’s models must be improved by about a hundredfold in accuracy, a very challenging task.”

A paper by Graeme Stephens et al. in Nature Geoscience also shows how hard it is to find global warming. They reported the uncertainty in the earth’s warming imbalance as 0.6 watts per m2 ± 17 watts per m2. The enormously large uncertainty in this very small number means that it is difficult, if not impossible, to observe. Just like NASA said it was!

DicksonImage6

Figure 5

But how small is this imbalance? It’s only 0.06 percent of the 1,000 watts per m2 of sunlight falling on the earth’s surface at noon. Another interesting comparison is that 0.6 watts per m2 is like a small AA battery discharging over a few hours (see Figure 5). Consider this: Little batteries that turn on televisions do not power hurricanes.

Small numbers with large error bars, combined with excessive averaging, is a recipe for ambiguous results. The reaction to the temperature graph is a perfect example of how political motivations can twist ambiguities into disagreements. Confusion is created by using temperature as if it were the same as an anomaly, but somehow the temperature graph is misleading while the anomaly graph is not. What is hidden is the fact that both graphs display no real temperature data.

Fortunately, unambiguous data is the cornerstone of scientific research. If independent researchers cannot obtain the same answer, then there is something wrong with the data, the experiment, or both. Speculations, theories, and hypotheses come and go in science, but good data lasts forever. That is why catastrophic man-made global warming, like all consensus “science,” will eventually go the way of phlogiston, spontaneous generation, and luminiferous ether.


NOTES:

1. Hansen et al. discusses using anomalies instead of actual temperatures, and there is some limited information on errors. Hansen also complains about talk shows, politics, public perception, and the news media on pages 20-23. Real Climate talks about temperature and anomalies and for additional discussions go here, here, and here.

2. The graph in the tweet showed up in a WUWT comment here. Additional comments led to this site . The graphs in Figures 1, 4, and 5 are in degrees Fahrenheit because that’s what the National Review graph used.

3. The NASA GISS tabulated values were updated in the process of making the above graphs. A large number of historical values were changed without explanation making the tabulated values a moving target.

4. To create temperature anomalies NASA GISS takes real-world temperatures and subtracts a subjective “best estimate for the global mean for 1951-1980,” which is calculated to be 14 degrees Celsius, or 52.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature changes (ΔT) for both graphs are the same because one graph is offset from the other by a constant 52.7 degrees F.

5. The solar irradiance is for AM 1.5 (approximately 48.2 degrees zenith). A value of 3.9 watt hour (14 kilojoules maximum energy) is typical for 1.5 volt AA battery discharging at a 50 mA drain. (0.6 watts / m2) x (6.5 hour) = 3.9 watt hour / m2.

ABOUT:

C. R. Dickson is a retired chemist and physicist with a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has worked for Polaroid, Allied Chemical, RCA, and the Solarex Thin Film Division, a solar cell company formed as an RCA technology spinoff. He also served as a scientific advisor to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, Austria.

258 thoughts on “Graph vs. Graph = Political Journalism

  1. 0.6 watts per m^2 ± 17 watts per m^2.

    Nobody can see a signal of 0.6 within noise of 17, they just can’t. To pretend otherwise is a farce.

      • Duncan, incorrect. The number you cite is TOA. The number the post cites is surface. The uncertainty difference is all the stuff in the middle, called Earths atmosphere. Both values from the same Stephens et. al. 2012 paper, main summary figure. Itself a revision of Trenberth and Fasullo’s estimate of 2009.

      • Not only that, ristvan, if you look again at the Stephens paper, you’ll see that they have misplaced the decimal in the TOA error. It should be ±3.9 W/m^2, not ±0.39 W/m^2.

        I sent emails twice to Graeme Stephens asking about that, but he never replied.

      • Kelvin based at 0 K is the only correct way to graph Figure 4. The difference between the putative 19th century global mean temperature and the supposed 1 °C warming of the 21st century is about 0.3% on that scale.

      • Pat Frank,
        He explains that in his paper:
        “Fluxes leaving Earth at the TOA are also well documented, although inherently less accurate with an uncertainty of ±4 Wm–2 on the net TOA flux that mostly stems from calibration errors on measurements of the outgoing fluxes12,15. This uncertainty is almost an order of magnitude larger than the imbalance of 0.58 ±0.4 Wm–2 inferred from OHC information. The outgoing TOA fluxes presented in Fig. B1 are the TOA CERES fluxes adjusted within the measurement uncertainty to match this OHC inferred imbalance”

      • Walter,
        Yes, degrees K is the appropriate scale, especially when talking about the sensitivity. Look at this plot of sensitivity plotted to scale with power density and temperature along with the SB Law (emissivity = 1 and emissivity = 0.62).

        Two ‘SB’ sensitivities are shown based on average surface temperature (287K) and average planet emissions (255K). Measurements from 3 decades of weather satellite data are shown as little red dots and align almost perfectly with the emissivity = 0.62 version of the SB law. Each little dot is the monthly average surface temperature vs. planet emissions for constant latitude slices of the planet. Notice that the SB sensitivities nearly bound the skeptics estimates of the sensitivity.

        The IPCC nominal sensitivity of 0.8C per W/m^2 is also shown. Why have so many people missed the fact that the presumed sensitivity is a linearization error! In the AR’s, they justify the metric as approximately linear, which of course it is, except that the nominal slope is that of SB and not a slope passing through zero that completely ignores the immutable consequences of the T^4 relationship between power density and temperature,

      • Nick Stokes, the total uncertainties in the diagrammatic report are the rms of the individual uncertainties. That for TOA is miscalculated.

    • Ristvan, I disagree. The post references [quote] “uncertainty in the earth’s (not surface) warming imbalance as 0.6 watts per m2 ± 17 watts per m2”. I still think it is misleading or just incorrectly referenced.

      • From the paper itself-

        “The net energy balance is the sum of individual fluxes. The current uncertainty in this net surface energy balance is large, and amounts to approximately 17 Wm–2”

        It’s talking about the “net energy balance” AT THE SURFACE Duncan. NOT the TOA.

        That you think it is misleading is YOUR OPINION. It is the opinion of others here, that it is NOT misleading. Anyone who is confused can merely read the actual paper, which the author liked to IN THE ARTICLE, to clarify this issue for themselves.
        .

    • I think that is one of the author’s POINTS KTM….this article is a PERFECT rebuttal to almost every single argument we see on WUWT!!! It’s ALL MADE UP-exaggerated, inferred, speculated, adjusted, MAGNIFIED!!! And when you view it all from the proper perspective-instead of in the microscope-you realize how INSANE and STUPID and utterly WRONG the argument for AGW is, at it’s very foundation!
      Thank you C. R. Dickson!

      • Exactly Aphan.
        When I tell warmists that those tiny changes with those massive error bars are really nothing to worry about they go ballistic.
        Can’t beat winding-up a warmist ;)

    • In relation to the problem of controlling the climate, the signal power is not 0.6 watts per m^2 but rather is nil. The noise power is not 17 watts per m^2 but rather is nil. Control differs from telecommunication in the respect of requiring information from the future. Energy from the future is prohibited by relativity theory. Information from the future is not prohibited by this theory.

      • Paul:

        I write to give you a warning.

        Oldberg did not omit a sarc tag. This is not the first time he has claimed he can obtain “Information from the future”. He was demolished by davidmhoffer when he previously raised this nonsense on WUWT. And despite my repeated requests he has yet to tell me the winning lottery numbers for next week.

        Pressing Oldberg on this will result in you being dragged down Alice’s rabbit hole. Please don’t do it.

        Richard

      • Thanks for the tip Richard. I was curious how Terry could resolve difference between information and energy. I could think of dozens of ways to convey energy that might appear as information. Meaning both, or more likely neither, are possible.

      • HA, it appears that the movie “Back to the Future” has had a really profound effect on what Terry Oldberg believes is scientific fact and reality.

      • Richard

        Try to get the us powerball lottery numbers from him, it is up to $1.5 BILLION (yes Billion with a B) the drawing is 1/13 at 8:00 est.

      • “Energy from the future is prohibited by relativity theory. Information from the future is not …”

        Sorry Terry but I choked up coffee on this one.

        “I smoke two joints in time of peace
        And two in time of war
        I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints,
        And then I smoke two more”

        — Sublime.

    • Well it is just like the gasoline price anomaly at my local gas station.

      For the last 25 years I have lived at this place, the gas at my local Arco station has always cost $20.

      Never changes !!

      g

  2. Even without challenging the science, the whole exercise is ridiculous. We are expected to believe that a 2 Celsius degree change in the global average temperature will lead to catastrophic results. If the planet’s average temperature is 14 deg C (or 287 deg. A), a 2 degree change represents an energy change of 0.7%. If the planet were than sensitive, we wouldn’t be here.

    • I’d never thought about it this way. I like it. Instead of basing a 2ºC on the Celsius scale, it should be based on the Kelvin scale. The difference is the same, but relating it to 0º would make for a very small percentage.

      • This is actually the most correct way to view the change as it displays the energy differences proportionally.
        A colour scale proportionally changing by Kelvin to on all those maps of temperature differentials would end up a single colour to the naked eye.

        Now how do we get the IPCC to recast their assessments in Kelvin?

      • Francisco- now apply what you just learned…that view…to EVERYTHING about climate science. Everything is MAGNIFIED…stretched…..expanded….until it looks HUGE and SCARY and UNDENIABLY dangerous.
        Look at the glass! How smooth and shiny and perfect it appears when you look at it with the naked eye-but how jagged and ugly and raw and dangerous it appears once you MAGNIFY IT.

        C.R. Dickson this is a freaking GENIUS analogy to use!

        This is EXACTLY what SOME “climate scientists” are doing over and over and over again! They are MAGNIFYING everything to insane, absurd proportions! Mike Mann-MAGNIFIED what a handful of freaking TREES said into MANN MADE GLOBAL WARMING. Cook et al 2013 MAGNIFIED their own personal ASSUMPTIONS into a 97% CONSENSUS!
        Trenberth MAGNIFIED a miscalculation into HEAT HIDING IN THE DEEP OCEANS.
        Hansen MAGNIFIED his paranoia into CATASTROPHIC PREDICTIONS
        Lewandowsky MAGNIFIES his own flawed assumptions and stupidity into MENTAL ILLNESS ON EVERYONE!!!

        Josh…where is Josh? I need a cartoon about this—!!! Let’s start calling them MAG MEN!!! I’ll get a tshirt company ready! We need SWAG about the MAGS!!!

      • Excellent article. I wonder who down-voted it? (Anthony knows these things.) I like graphs, because they show at a glance things that might take a while to explain in text.

        Next, @Francisco,

        Here’s your ºK chart:


        (click in charts to embiggen)

        If those “political journalists” don’t like anomaly charts, they need to complain to NASA/GISS (and for the record, “political journalist” is an oxymoron, like “giant shrimp”, etc. A better term is “propagandist”).

        Speaking of anomalies, this interesting chart shows that the high temperatures are not affected. It’s the low temps that change most:

        THIS is the kinds of chart the ‘political journalists’ want people to see:

        Could they have made it any scarier? But of course, it’s bogus.

        We can out-chart those chumps, easy-peasy. This is what’s really happening:

        There’s nothing either unusual or unprecedented happening. The whole climate scare is a false alarm; a hoax intended to get carbon taxes passed, among other things. But the public is starting to come around. Remember the little boy who cried “Wolf!”? In the end, the wolf ate him.

    • Trebla nailed it. The CAGW counter is that:
      1) the rate of change is unprecedented
      2) the rate of change is accelerating
      Since it is really hard to measure the “global” temperature with contemporary technology, it’s even harder to ascertain the rate of change…much harder to that to get the acceleration of the rate of change.

    • Even without challenging the science, the whole exercise is ridiculous. We are expected to believe that a 2 Celsius degree change in the global average temperature will lead to catastrophic results

      The global mean temperature during the LGM was only about 5 or 6 degrees below what it is to-day. I’d say that could be pretty catastrophic.

      To be fair, the warmers are not saying 2 deg would be catastrophic.

      • “To be fair, the warmers are not saying 2 deg would be catastrophic.”

        True enough; in Paris they were saying 1.5 deg.

        (and you didn’t answer A.D.E’s question)

      • “To be fair, the warmers are not saying 2 deg would be catastrophic.”

        How do you define “catastrophic” John Finn?
        Catastrophic-“involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering” “extremely unfortunate” “dreadful, tragic, disastrous”

        Bold below mine:

        http://insideclimatenews.org/news/21072015/new-study-says-even-2-degrees-warming-highly-dangerous

        “But a new draft study being published this week by a team of 17 leading international climate scientistswarns that even 2 degrees of warming is “highly dangerous” and could cause sea level rise of “at least several meters” this century, leaving most of the world’s coastal cities uninhabitable.

        “The economic and social cost of losing functionality of all coastal cities is practically incalculable,” the authors write. “It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”

        John Finn, now go ahead and try to convince us all that what those 17 leading international climate scientists said could happen, would not be catastrophic!

    • Six degrees cooler, and New York City is buried beneath 100m of ice. Six degrees warmer and New York City is buried beneath 100m of water. Yes, it really is that sensitive.

      • Richard Lindzen once said that the theory of CAGW essentially boiled down to a philosophical debate. Does one believe that a long running natural system amplifies perturbations; or minimizes them?

        Perhaps your scenario is correct. But, no, I don’t believe the system is so sensitive that it would take a truly miniscule perturbation and run away into Armageddon with it.

      • When I envisioned the time it would take for the people of New York City to be submerged under a hundred feet of rising sea water, I thought of this scene from Austin Powers:

  3. It used to be a standard for graphs to have a double slash near the bottom on the left edge to clearly highlight any break from an assumed Y axis starting point of “zero”. Now I don’t see any published graphs that do that.

    I still have a paperback copy of a wonderful little book, “How to Lie with Statistics”, from when I was in college. Here’s a .pdf link for it:

    http://www.horace.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/How-to-Lie-With-Statistics-1954-Huff.pdf

    • While I loathe defending anything from the AGW side, you’re misunderstanding the graph. It’s not a simple zoom of the temperature graph; rather, the Y axis is a plot of the anomaly (temperature difference from mean) vs. time. There is no large Y-axis component not being shown… it’s not there.

      • Dave Waller-
        WHICH graph are you referring to SPECIFICALLY? There are a LOT of graphs posted above your quote, some showing anomalies, some showing actual temperatures, or averages. The Y axis on the two charts side by side actually do show the “blow up” or “zoomed in” You have to look at how the increments of temperature on the zoomed in chart ALSO changed. The chart on the left shows the markers in 20 degree increments. The one on the right shows the markers at HALF degree increments. So it IS a perfect “zoom in”, you either just don’t see it, or won’t admit it.

  4. I think it was graphs like that in Daryl Huffs ‘How to lie with Statistics’ that changed me all those years ago.

  5. Just like the CO2 concentration graph… if you don’t zoom it up to ludicrous amounts, it’s mostly a straight line.

    • Global temperatures as calculated by the climate shamans is still stubbornly stable. Particularly on a y-axis that recognizes the 90C spread in temperatures on a daily basis.

    • Per this,
      Could someone tell me that when CO2 goes from 350 ppm to 400 ppm, what other gas(es) dropped by 50 ppm?

      • We sold some of the nitrogen molecules to Mars….:) To make room, jmarshs.
        The atmosphere expands j. It really is NOT a greenhouse with a solid glass ceiling that can only “hold” so many molecules of “atmosphere”.

      • @Aphan,
        And if the volume expands (which I believe it does) then the temperature drops, right? Like a DX (direct expansion) system? And as the surface area increases due to a volume increase, then the greater the cooling? This would be true irregardless of the composition of the atmosphere.

        @dbstealey, Parts Per Million means that if CO2 is 400 ppm, then the combined total of other gases is 999,600 ppm. If CO2 rises to 500 ppm, then the other gasses are equal to 999,5000 ppm. If CO2 were 1,000,000 ppm, then there would be no other gases.

      • jmarshs,

        Yes, but it doesn’t really matter since we’re talking about only 50 parts per million. The problem in this whole debate is all the wild-eyed arm waving and running around in circles over something that does not matter at all. It wouldn’t matter if CO2 was 500 ppm. We couldn’t even tell, without using very sensitive instruments to measure it.

        So yes, you and Werner Brozek are both right. But it just doesn’t matter.

      • When one gas goes up the others drop proportionately- a million molecules. CO2 goes up 50 million to 400, nitrogen(70%) drops 700,000 to 699,997.55 molecules.

      • jmarshs
        You only get temperature changes for fixed volumes; earth’s atmosphere is not constrained by a huge box. Also, ppm can change by adding more mass to the system. Same tonnage of O2 and N2, etc, just more tonnage of CO2.

      • When one gas goes up the others drop proportionately- a million molecules.

        That is only true if you have the dry air ppm and then add water vapour. But in our case, hydrocarbons are burned so only oxygen is reduced. And since CO2 went up by 0.01% over the last 200 years, O2 went down by 0.01% from 20.96% to 20.95%. And as dbstealey says, that does not matter.
        See:

      • C’mon people, nothing has to reduce, ppm is a proportion, like per cent. Doesn’t matter if it’s a glass or a swimming pool.

    • More interestingly, look at CO2 levels at 1M years ago and older. Life flourished on earth when CO2 levels were much higher than today’s or even IPCC projections of catastrophe. Including when our ancestors walked around on the hottest part of the planet.

  6. I have a similar difficulty with even beginning to believe those who preach a theory of cataclysmic man-made average global warming, aka Climate Change, which says a CO2 induced temperature rise of 2 degrees centigrade in 85 years has to be avoided, literally at all costs, and then telling us we are on track of achieving this goal because they are measuring and have average global temperature rises to prove it. Assuming the present average global temperature is roughly 15 degrees centigrade, that is 2 degrees rise on 15 degrees in 85 years or 0.15% per year or very roughly 0.02 degrees centigrade per year. Then I consider the very many independent variables that affect average global temperatures over and above CO2 and the very many factors that affect the accuracy and reliability of each separate temperature measurement in all areas of the world that goes to make up the annual average global temperature! And then I give up with the warmists, whoever they are and however eminent they are. I gave up believing in Fairy Tales very many years ago, and particularly Fairy Tales which is and will cost us a fortune!!

  7. Graph in Kelvins starting at absolute zero.

    The average person is familiar with temperature in everyday life.
    And when you show true graphs, the idea that a 1 degree change visible in figure 5 is risible to average people when changes of 10-20 degrees daily are common and much wider over the seasons.

    So graph 4 seems scaled appropriately to every day experience, no matter what the alarmists say or blog.

    • This must be why the latest strategy is to say that there is no such thing as normal weather anymore.

      If they can convince people that the 10-20 degree daily swings are themselves “unnatural”, suddenly they sense Climate Change every time the sun comes up or goes down. They’re trying to turn people into climate hypochondriacs.

      • Just like the advocates of constant, obsessive medical surveillance have turned us into “risk factor” hypochondriacs. I don’t believe anything that no one can prove is a “problem” qualified for “problem” status.

  8. Why did the author use a graph based on GISS rather than UAH? While it is the strongest argument on each side, it doeas get more than a little deceptive overall.

  9. Excellent article. Perhaps someone could create a video of a person dipping their toe in the bath, trying to detect a one to two degree difference in temperature, or turning the house thermostat up or down by a degree and forecasting catastrophes.

  10. I have never been a fan of the anomaly graph as its look and feel depends upon the dates of the 30 year moving average you select. it also hides that many countries were actually hotter last century and the one before.

    In absolute terms it was hotter in the 30’s in the US, and it was hotter in Australia in the mid 1800’s than it was today.

    I remember when they were so disappointed that the 1930’s peak was higher than the 1998 peak and then set about adjusting the past and the anomaly graph came to the fore. take absolute temperatures and that rise at the end of the anomaly graph fades into insignificance.

  11. The global mean temperature anomaly is an application of a Central Limit Theorem variant in probability theory to the analysis meteorological temperature statistics. That is all very well, provided the data underlying those statistics, the random variables, complies with the conditions associated with the particular CLT.
    However there are a number of controversial peculiarities of climate data that suggest the CLT is not valid in this application. The most obvious is the use of so-called homogenisation to bias data, but there are also issues of changes in variance over time, the very large differences in variance by latitude and by land/sea measurement site, and the relatively small number of observation sites for weather station measurements and their poor geographical distribution.
    Do any commenters share my concerns?

    • Leo G, you’re dead on correct. Misuse of the CLT is rife throughout the surface temperature community. They have consistently and universally assumed all measurement error is random, both land surface and SST. After subtraction of some estimated error mean, they assume all remaining uncertainty declines as 1/sqrtN; effectively to zero.

      It’s complete nonsense. The assumption is as non-verified as it is universal. A recent paper includes discussion of this scientific grotesquerie here.

  12. There is a reason beyond graphical deception that anomalies are useful to warmunists. In the CMIP5 climate models, the hindcast ‘actual’ temperatures vary by 4C from lowest to highest. Mauritsen, J. Adv. Modelling Earth Systems 2013. Essay Models all the way Down discusses it and some of the reasons for such a big fail. So, the climate models cannot get evaporation, condensation, snow versus rain…right. Any water phase change is in model to model disagreement. Solution, take anomalies and hide the truth about how bad they all are.

      • They use anomalies so simple warmists, like yourself, can understand them.

        I have used the above GISS graph above (fig. 4) on several blogs/forums and FB and the warmists get all confused and flustered. Some even haven’t a clue what the are looking at.

        If a graph isn’t on a 45 degree angle (or more), or doesn’t look like a hockey stick, it confuses them.

      • They use them because you do. Hard to explain how ridiculous your graphs are without using the same measurement system.. Stop being obtuse and start thinking for yourself.

      • Nick Stokes:

        You write

        You might like to ask why prolific WUWT posters like Lord M and Bob T graph anomalies extensively. Closet warmunists?

        I don’t need to ask because I know. They like to use the same units as warmunists when assessing the data used by warmunists: this is called consistency.

        Their use of proper consistency does NOT imply they are “Closet warmunists”, and as recently as yesterday on WUWT “Lord M” stated that he recognises the use of global temperature anomalies hides important information about global temperature variations.

        Richard

  13. C.R. Dickson:

    You say

    With a bit of an effort, it’s easy to discover that the temperature changes are identical for both global temperature anomalies and for global temperatures (see note 4). The difference is that the graph of the anomalies is a magnified view, not a normal one.

    Magnification doesn’t change the object you are viewing; it just lets you see more details.

    Sorry, but that is NOT true of temperature anomalies.
    The use of global temperature anomalies hides important information.

    For example, alarmists often say ‘global temperature rise must be kept below 2.0°C’ and they are shocked to discover that global temperature rises by nearly double that during each year while nobody notices. In reality, it is global temperature anomaly that UNFCCC claims (for no scientific reason) should be constrained to not rise by 2.0°C.

    In each year the GLOBAL average temperature rises by 3.8°C during 6 months (January to June) and falls by 3.8°C during the other 6 months (June to January).

    And global temperature is highest when the Earth is most distant from the Sun (i.e. when radiative forcing is lowest) during each year: which suggests that global temperature variation is determined more by internal variability of the climate system than by radiative forcing variations.

    The seasonal effect is because water is a better heat sink than land so oceans vary temperature less than land with the seasons. There is more land in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) than the Southern Hemisphere (SH)

    Therefore, NH summer average temperatures are hotter than SH summer average temperatures.
    And
    NH winter average temperatures are colder than SH winter average temperatures.
    But global temperature is the average of NH and SH average temperatures.

    Also, the absolute global temperatures indicated by climate models differ between models and differs from calculated global temperature by more than the rise of global temperature claimed (e.g. by IPCC) to have happened since the industrial revolution. These discrepancies are hidden by use of global temperature anomalies: any difference between modeled and observed global temperature is zero difference between modeled and observed global temperature anomaly.

    Richard

    • Could you provide us some back up on this? ie a link to monthly average temps (vs average monthly anomaly plots we usually see) – basically showing what is subtracted out to get the anomaly. I think most perceive this to be a constant each & every month – ie the same base is taken out each month, which isn’t the case according to your post. If you have a link, would be a great addition to the “global temperature ” reference page here at WUWT.

    • Richard-
      RSC said to CR-“Sorry, but that is NOT true of temperature anomalies.The use of global temperature anomalies hides important information.”

      Richard, he’s saying that same thing, but hes saying that “it takes a bit of effort” to see what the anomaly charts are HIDING. People view the “magnified” anomaly charts and mentally think “temperatures are rising” because people don’t “think” in “anomalies, they think in temperatures.

      “any difference between modeled and observed global temperature is zero difference between modeled and observed global temperature anomaly.”

      His point exactly. The changes are the same, there’s no difference between them. But AGWers are freaking out because they don’t understand that. They’ve been shown the anomalies all along but THOUGHT they were seeing temperature changes. They were taught “rising fast” through anomaly use. When you correct their thinking by showing the actual temperature plotted-they think the charts are WRONG because it does not show “rising fast” any more.

    • Aphan:

      Sorry, both your points are wrong when you write

      RSC said to CR-“Sorry, but that is NOT true of temperature anomalies.The use of global temperature anomalies hides important information.”

      Richard, he’s saying that same thing, but hes saying that “it takes a bit of effort” to see what the anomaly charts are HIDING. People view the “magnified” anomaly charts and mentally think “temperatures are rising” because people don’t “think” in “anomalies, they think in temperatures.

      “any difference between modeled and observed global temperature is zero difference between modeled and observed global temperature anomaly.”

      His point exactly. The changes are the same, there’s no difference between them. But AGWers are freaking out because they don’t understand that. They’ve been shown the anomalies all along but THOUGHT they were seeing temperature changes. They were taught “rising fast” through anomaly use. When you correct their thinking by showing the actual temperature plotted-they think the charts are WRONG because it does not show “rising fast” any more.

      C.R. Dickson did NOT say the same as me.
      C.R. Dickson says anomalies “magnify” changes, but I point out that anomalies DELETE information of changes.

      It takes more than “a bit of effort” to see what has been deleted.

      As example, I cited that the seasonal variation is deleted from anomaly charts. I explained that the seasonal variation provides 3.8°C rise in global temperature during each year, but that seasonal is 0.0°C change in global temperature anomally. And I thank Werner Brozek for his link that provides additional explanation of it. I suggest you would benefit from reading Werner’s link – which I note is titled “Misunderstanding of the global temperature anomaly”- because your post says you misunderstand the matter.

      I stated two significant indications that are deleted by the deletion of the seasonal variation.

      And as additional example, I pointed out that use of anomalies deletes information on the failure(s) of climate models to emulate global temperature(s).

      Deletion of important information is NOT “the same” as “magnification” of the information.

      Richard

      • “The difference is that the graph of the anomalies is a magnified view, not a normal one.”

        richard, I just quoted him. He SAID it magnifies THE VIEW, not the changes. Its like zooming in on something with a camera. The resulting picture focuses on only a small part of a bigger view, thus it hides or cuts out part of the picture that gives more context.

        A chart of anomalies in ONE THING of course does NOT have to represent anything else- like seasonal variations etc. Its not dishonest to do, if ALL you want to highlight is one particular variable! You can’t say that information was intentionally ommitted or concealed without proof of that. It’s irrational.

      • Aphan:

        I know you “quoted him” and – as I explained – he is wrong. You claiming he is right means you are wrong.

        Cleary, you don’t understand my explanation of the matter so I again ask you to read the link provided by Werner Brozek. Use of anomalies deletes all seasonal variation in global and hemispheric temperatures: it does NOT “magnify” the variation.

        Richard

      • RichardSCourtney-

        Um…did you read ALL of Werner’s article? And his comments in the comment section? Because someone in the comment section asked-

        “I am confused about the logic used in the first part of this article. In the opening, you state that “this one misunderstanding is what allows warmists to get away with…” I assume that the term “warmists” refers to people who accept AGW. You then show that Spencer used a deceptive headline in the article. It seems to me that you have just presented an example of how AGW skeptics (Watts & Spencer) mis-represent climate data to make their argument. If my understanding of your argument is correct, it is not the “warmists” who are getting away with something, it is the “skeptics”. – See more at: http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2013/03/misunderstanding-of-the-global-temperature-anomaly/#sthash.T5JNoCAf.dpuf

        Werner responded:(bold mine)

        The line was not from Spencer and nor is it deceptive Much like your comment on absorption, it is simplification that is incorrect. The problem is that most people accept anomaly as the same thing as temperature. Which is why I wrote what I did. Watts put my article on his page which shows that he accepts this clarification that I put together.

        No one got away with anything except the people that push the inaccurate use of anomaly to the point that it is incorrectly accepted by most people as the Earth’s temperature. My article should clarify the issue for everyone.- See more at: http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2013/03/misunderstanding-of-the-global-temperature-anomaly/#sthash.T5JNoCAf.dpuf

        The article DOES clarify things Richard, just not the way you THINK it does.

        Fact- C.R.’s article is about WHY a simple chart (Figure 1) posted by someone else online, one that just shows temperatures INSTEAD of anomalies, caused such raging hissy fits among warmist “climate scientists”. HE (C.R.) explains in his article pretty much the same thing that Werner does in Werner’s article-“Climate scientists hate it when people show real temperature because it is impossible to see much warming when you look at the seasonal changes in the actual temperature.”

        Fact-THEN C.R. explains WHY posting charts with JUST anomalies on them is misleading by COMPARING it to “magnifying” something. Glass-to magnified glass. And then posts two charts (fig 4 and fig 5) to ILLUSTRATE his ANALOGY/POINT.

        WERNER explains that it is NOT inaccurate to plot charts using anomalies. It’s CORRECT to do so when you ONLY want to show ANOMALIES. It is not the charting of anomalies that is INACCURATE. It is “push(ing) the use of anomaly to the point that it is incorrectly accepted by most people as the Earth’s temperature” that is “inaccurate”. It is the BEHAVIOR that is inaccurate, NOT the charts.

        C.R. DOES NOT SAY that the behavior is accurate either! He AGREES with Werner! It is YOU that thinks that C.R. DOES NOT…and you are WRONG.

      • Aphan:

        It is clear that you do not read what is written.

        Werner’s link begins saying

        With two completed months of the year there is starting to be discussion of how 2013 is shaping up for the annual anomaly. Several comments around the web have caught my attention as they demonstrate a basic misunderstanding of how the Earth’s climate is behaving. This is one of those articles that may seem OCD, but this one misunderstanding is what allows warmists to get away with as much as they do when it comes to climate.

        I am going to pick on Anthony Watts and Roy Spencer for this one. The article in question was the one where Roy Spencer provided an update of the UAH anomaly. Here is a screenshot of the article.
        {snip}
        The title states that there was a big drop in surface temperature in the month of February from ~ 0.5 to 0.2 °C. This is correct for the anomaly, but it has nothing to do with the Earth’s temperature. The reality is the Earth warmed up, but the anomaly dropped.

        bolding to provide emphasis added by RSC.

        It is distortion – n.b. NOT “magnification – when warming is transformed to cooling.
        Use of anomalies does NOT magnify the “view”: it distorts the “view”by deleting information.

        As I said, the above essay is wrong to say that use of anomalies magnifies the “view”and you are wrong when you assert that the essay is not wrong.

        Richard

      • richardscourtney-

        “As I said, the above essay is wrong to say that use of anomalies magnifies the “view”and you are wrong when you assert that the essay is not wrong.”

        Richard, your opinions about the essay is your own. But you aren’t just stating your opinion, you are asserting that the author meant something that cannot be proven based upon a careful examination of what he actually said! It is WRONG, and slightly nuts, for you to insinuate that what CR said about “magnifying the view” in his own illustration, of his own point, in his own article, about a specific graph, was meant, by CR, to be extrapolated across all graphs ever created by anyone in scientific history!

        Because CR did not indicate anything of the sort to be his intention anywherein his article, YOU seem to be guilty of creating a strawman argument against him!

        You are also interpreting Werner’s article selectively, and incorrectly, in order to bolster your illogical and irrational claims about CR DICKSON!

        It seems like you aren’t capable of honestly and accurately evaluating the actual evidence presented to you by rebuttal from anyone these days. You just stubbornly deny it and continue to embrace whatever position you originally came to, no matter how irrational it is. I hope you are well.

  14. “They reported the uncertainty in the earth’s warming imbalance as 0.6 watts per m2 ± 17 watts per m2. “
    No, they reported it as 0.6 watts per m2 ± 0.4 watts per m2. The figure you cited is of surface imbalance, which is not an observed quantity, but derived from a budget of the very large energy exchanges there.

    As to
    “Magnification doesn’t change the object you are viewing; it just lets you see more details. “
    the term “magnification” is wrong. There is no “unmagnified” scale for a graph. The proper scale is one that communicates the information . I don’t think you would be impressed if in hospital you find they were monitoring your temperature with a graph scaled in Kelvin (from zero).

    Your Fig 4 claims to be a “normal” view of global warming. Its scale is from -10F to 100F. Who said that was normal? A proper scale is one that shows the range of global average measurements. If you do that, you’ll actually communicate the information in the data, whether using anomalies or not. If you don’t, it’s just bad graphing.

    • CR-“Magnification doesn’t change the object you are viewing; it just lets you see more details. “

      Nick- “The term “magnification” is wrong.”
      Your opinion.
      “There is no “unmagnified” scale for a graph. The proper scale is one that communicates the information.”

      Um, he’s not talking about the GRAPH being magnified, he’s talking about the “object” of the graph being magnified….the data. Like the “glass” images. It’s the exact same OBJECT being viewed in both images. But magnifying it’s properties brings out the “anomalies” in the glass. It makes the data look jagged and rough and chaotic, rather than smooth and consistent and level.

      Using temperature anomalies (the jagged, rough, chaotic variations) does the same thing. It communicates a totally different message than the one communicated from the proper perspective. People don’t view the climate in anomalies. They view the jagged ups and downs of the anomalies and think “temperature” changes. Posting a chart of temperature changes IN THE PROPER SCALE to communicate TEMPERATURE CHANGES made the AGWer’s heads explode. THAT is the point. (Note he CHANGES the scale between Fig 4 and Fig 5 too…magnifying the SCALE for the graphs.)

      “I don’t think you would be impressed if in hospital you find they were monitoring your temperature with a graph scaled in Kelvin (from zero).”

      ROFL…I’d be HIGHLY suspicious if they monitored my temperature with a GRAPH in the first place! Even more so if they graphed it using “anomalies” rather than actual temperatures!

      “Your Fig 4 claims to be a “normal” view of global warming. Its scale is from -10F to 100F. Who said that was normal? A proper scale is one that shows the range of global average measurements. If you do that, you’ll actually communicate the information in the data, whether using anomalies or not. If you don’t, it’s just bad graphing.”

      It’s a graph based on the GRAPH that inspired the article, so it uses the same scale as that one. You want to discuss the scale of the graphs, take it up with the creator of the original graph. That graph’s data points were “AVERAGE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE” and the scale is -10 to 110F (you missed the extra 10). If the “average global temperature” is 60 degrees, then you CAN logically graph that as HALFWAY BETWEEN -10 and 110 F. It’s perfectly normal and balanced graphing.

      • “I’d be HIGHLY suspicious if they monitored my temperature with a GRAPH in the first place!”

        Huh? Have you ever seen a hospital temperature chart for a patient? It has observations added on a temp scale with time of obs along the base.

        What possible name could you use for it except “graph”?

      • @Chris
        Probably because 99.99+% of the world population lives in climatic conditions bounded by those two temperatures.

      • DJ Hawkins – No, that is incorrect. Phoenix, for example, regularly is above 110. On average, 11 times per year. The Middle East, home to 200M people, is regularly above 110, as are many parts of India, home to 1.5B people. Roughly 1/3 of the planet’s population sees temperatures above 110 on a yearly basis during the summer months. So it’s false that 99.99% of the population lives in climactic conditions bounded by these two temperatures.

      • steveta_uk-“I’d be HIGHLY suspicious if they monitored my temperature with a GRAPH in the first place!”
        “What possible name could you use for it except “graph”?”

        A THERMOMETER??
        “an instrument for measuring and indicating temperature, typically one consisting of a narrow, hermetically sealed glass tube marked with graduations and having at one end a bulb containing mercury or alcohol that expands and contracts in the tube with heating and cooling.”

        A “graph”is “a diagram showing the relation between variable quantities, typically of two variables, each measured along one of a pair of axes at right angles.”

    • “Nick Stokes

      January 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      A proper scale is one that shows the range of global average measurements.”

      Averages are *NOT* measurements. It’s a mathematical result *MADE UP* using a dataset of numbers. Understand that the datasets do not have to be “adjusted” to see why a global average is meaningless with regards to temperature.

      • Not “made up”, calculated. By your logic, the Dow Jones Average is “made up” since it is an average of 30 stocks weighted by market cap.

      • “Not “made up”, calculated. By your logic, the Dow Jones Average is “made up” since it is an average of 30 stocks weighted by market cap.”

        Exactly! You’re catching on!

  15. When i used to be able to present talks on climate changes to the uninformed masses, this was one of my arguments – tearing apart the alarmists preponderance for providing temperature graphs with either no scale or a grossly exaggerated scale – and then I’d provide a few example from media and the beloved alarmist scientists… My other favourite was the selected data graphs. Reduced one student of Santer’s to tears once with that (which didn’t improve my employability!)

    • Sorry..meant show graphs with selected time ranges that show time periods where the temperature was rising – even if the time period for the temperature rise was getting rather long in the tooth and falling temps had ensued for several years after the cut off for the graph, but not the publication date of the paper

    • Ben Santer makes me cry all the time and I don’t even have to be one of his students! Sounds like you helped one of his students “make a breakthrough”. Good for you!

  16. These graphs still understate the insignificance of the effect of CO2 on our estimated surface temperature . Learning why 0 based scales are essential in dealing with ratios is something which is virtually 8th grade pre-algebra math and is the reason why only Kelvin temperature is useful in computations . The use of truncated blown up scales non 0 based scales is one of the main examples in the classic How to Lie with Statistics .

    A true picture of the effect of CO2 on temperature is given by this 0 based graph of both CO2 and temperature . In any magnified view which blows up the near noise level variations in our estimated temperature , the CO2 plot will be near vertical .
    http://cosy.com/Science/CO2vTkelvin.jpg .

    • The article was inspired by a graph that only had one variable on it-temperature change. All of the other graphs show the insignificance of any temperature change over the time period. Introducing a second variable-CO2 could be viewed as “manipulative” and “deceptive” since the graph in question did not include that variable.

    • Bob Armstrong,

      Learning why 0 based scales are essential in dealing with ratios is something which is virtually 8th grade pre-algebra math and is the reason why only Kelvin temperature is useful in computations.

      It doesn’t make the line much flatter …

      … but I’ve still got it covered. And while I’d agree that Kelvin is a brilliant temperature scale for use in thermodynamics calculations, it sucks out loud for climate ratios because mean surface temperature of the planet is pretty friggen far above absolute zero [1] …

      … and has been for at least the past 5 million years. Upon even a cursory inspection, the truly numerate will note that over the past 800 kyrs of glaciation cycles, average surface temperature has only varied on the order of 6 K, and quickly realize that the 2 K warming “limit” is 33% of that range.

      Ice sheets on this rock are not tricked by silly y-axis scaling games, for — somewhat ironically — ability to reason is a requirement for being fooled.

      —————

      [1] Mentally add 14 to the values in this plot to get absolute temperature in Celsius, and an additional 273.15 to get them in Kelvin.

      • Stephen Richards- “It doesn’t make the line much flatter Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”

        So it’s not just ME right? You can SEE how hilarious Brandon’s reasoning is?
        Brandon JUST posted two charts and claimed “average surface temperature has only varied on the order of 6 K,and quickly realize that the 2 K warming “limit” is 33% of that range.”

        He THEN demonstrates that he knows how to convert Celsius into Kelvin.

        Now, if we move the ZERO POINT line on Brandon’s 2nd and 3rd graphs down to the bottom of the chart, like is done on the Kelvin chart, it changes absolutely nothing about the data on the chart. What it WOULD demonstrate is that for the past 2 million years, Earth’s “average” temperature has risen ABOVE that line 6 times. All by itself. All without human intervention.

        Now…Brandon’s charts OBVIOUSLY can only be “anomaly charts” because there is no friggin way we could have recorded and “averaged” Earth’s actual daily, or monthly or yearly temperatures over the past 5 million years. Those just cannot be anything other than based on anomalies. Brandon has been programmed to view “anomaly changes” as “temperature changes” which is BAD…BAD BAD according to this article.

        So Brandon Gates….when scientists talk about a 2C warming limit….are they talking about a 2 C TEMPERATURE increase?….because actual temperature charts SHOW NO INCREASE-which is what we keep pointing out to you over and over and over again-and that means NO WORRIES right? And if the chart above yours, the Kelvin chart, is ALSO made from “anomalies” it shows there is NO INCREASE in anomalies either! So no worries!

  17. I particularly like the graph in figure 4. compared to figure 5. I believe it is a GISS graph (or based on their figures) I use it a lot and think the “skeptics” and media/politicians should use it more…updated to 2016 if possible. I once had a large version of fig. 4., but can’t seem to find it…

  18. Even the high priced (> $200 USD) microprocessor controlled, anticipating, intelligent “Smart Response” home thermostats do NOT keep the average temperature of your entire home within the 2 degrees F over any 24 hour period many days of the year. I have two recording thermometers and the temperature can vary as much as 4 degrees on a typical day, and mine has an outdoor temperature sensor to “help” minimize excursions or variations and help the furnace make the right amount of heat or the AC use an efficient number of stages. Most days the temperature varies by more than 3 degrees.
    150 years and they are worried about less than two degrees change, get serious!

  19. I just love y-axis scaling games …

    … because it’s a great way to make CMIP5 look a lot better than they get credit for in some circles.

    • Billions of dollars to predict a flat line does not make CMIP5 look better. It raises suspicion on the value derived from the expense.

      • FTOP_T-

        I think what you are trying to point out is that “IF” CIMP5 is accurate in the chart BG just posted, then BG just proved that when you chart both CIMP5 and GISS data in the proper manner, they AGREE AND PROVE that there has just been the SLIGHTEST rise in temperatures F since 1880, even with all that added human CO2! If THAT is true, then as you pointed out, it ALSO proves that we have wasted BILLIONS of dollars to monitor NOTHING. Right? Perfectly logical conclusion to arrive at from the evidence BG posted.

        Now, I wonder if he’ll SEE that both the GISS and the CIMP5 data, presented properly, proves that he has NOTHING to worry about because temps are NOT rising in any abnormal way even though CO2 is? If not, I can only logically assume he’s either blind, or some kind of loony that will have to attempt to “quickly shift his argument” or “change the context” in some way to disprove his own, just now, proof.

  20. The warmunists have not been particularly clever about the data processing. It’s just a shame that, as with all other aspects of the debate, the public just hasn’t been informed.
    I had an enjoyable episode very recently with somebody who sought to mock my views, not least when I tried to explain how the pause-buster “dataset” was made up. He had seen the term ERSSTv4, but his face was a picture when I told him that ER meant “Extended Reconstructed”. The argument, at least for a while, was over.

  21. I like to keep an open mind. I liked the energy and environmental policies of POTUS Bush based on what he did, not what those with Bush hatred syndrome said he did.

    After a few attempts at discovering the Obama plan, I gave up because it amounted to throwing TARP money at wind and solar. So when war on coal was decreed by executive action based on overwhelming scientific evidence, I went to the White House web page to learn for myself the science.

    Did you know that the old and young are more sustainable to the hazards of hot weather?

    Of course this true. The first step in telling a lie, is to state a well known truth.

    So, back to the graphs. A few ago were vacationing on our sail boat. A weather advisory was issued for a heat advisory. Plot 110 degree F on the graph. You do not need a phd to figure out there is a problem and it is today not 100 years from now.

    Air conditioning on our sail boat is a bucket of river water in the face. Since I like to take my wife sailing in the future, I asked if she would like to go to a hotel with A/C rather than the bucket.

    Took my wife to the emergency room instead and she got two stents put in.

    Obama’s war a coal is a war on cheap electricity to mitigate hot weather.

    • Note temperatures cooled from ~1940-1975 as atmospheric CO2 increased, not only in the USA but globally. This indicates that climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 is near-zero, not 1C, 3C or 6C.

  22. Note temperatures cooled from ~1940-1975 as atmospheric CO2 increased, not only in the USA but globally. This indicates that climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 is near-zero

    No it doesn’t. It simply shows that natural variability can overcome the forcing of relatively low levels of CO2. Concentrations for much of that period were less than 320 ppm.

    • Proving variables other than CO2 are driving climate. There has been no significant warming for the past 18+ years as well reinforcing that CO2 is not a primary climate driver.

      • So is 800ppm relative to the experimentally determined C3 plant optimum around 1000-1200. Even calcifying phytoplankon coccolithophores are greening despite supposed ‘ocean acidification’, refuting definitively the saturating carbon sinks argument. Not happy days for warmunists.

    • “It simply shows that natural variability can overcome the forcing of relatively low levels of CO2”.

      That is one way to state it. Another is that ‘CO2 doesn’t do diddly squat with respect to the real world temperatures weather and temperatures.’

      Of course graphs can confuse, and some are intended to confuse. Language can also confuse … intentionally or not.

    • John Finn, that graph shows a difference in the “average temperature” today (53.75) and 1940 (54.25 F) as -0.50F!!! CO2 concentrations today are close to 400 ppm.

      BUT you disagree that it indicates that climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 is near-zero.

      Please explain what you mean, because all I can see is that Allan is absolutely correct and you make no sense.

    • John you are priceless

      Why do you get to pick when and where natural variability is the culprit and where CO2 is? You are clue less.

  23. I think the normal view is also a better representation of what a 2 degrees F temperature change feels like.

    Humans cannot see temperature changes; they can feel them. How many people could feel a 2 degree temperature change in 10 minutes let alone 120 years, assuming anyone could live that long.

    Is it any wonder most people other than “climate scientists” have lost interest in this nonsense?

    • I can readily tell a 2 F° in my office at work. 73°F (23°C) is okay 75°F and I turn on the fan. Below 65° at home and I pull a fleece long sleeved shirt over my short sleeved shirt.

      • Likewise. The core-house thermostat at 69° keeps most of the house above 67°.While we do not agree on the absolute, we do agree the 2 degree range can be felt.

      • Ric, It sounds like you are saying 75 degrees F. is your upper tolerance limit, while 65 degrees F. is your lower limit. This makes me want to ask whether you notice a 2 degree change in the middle of your comfort zone.
        When your room is at 65 degrees, a 2 degree increase is an improvement, is it not?

        The relevant question in respect to the global warming issue is whether the Earth is nearer a low limit of tolerance or a high limit of tolerance. I believe 2 degrees warmer would be a good thing.

        SR

      • I can usually notice a 2 F° change in my comfort zone if I’ve been inside for a while.

        I can’t outside as sun, wind, and humidity have major influences on comfort.

        One important point about outside conditions is the influence of small changes in the overall temperature. That 2 F° difference, call it 1 C° warmer than average, leads to noticeable things like:

        More rain storms in winter thanks to a northward shift in the rain/snow line that’s very important in New England coastal storms.

        More precip in storms (so we may have about the same snowfall overall).

        Earlier snowmelt in spring (that 1 C° warmth integrated over the whole season is a major effect).

        Likewise. lower heating costs for the season.

        Likewise, a longer growing season.

      • Your claim about noticing a +2 degree F. warming inside your home may be true, but is irrelevant.

        Most people try to keep a constant temperature in their home — when a person is used to that constant temperature, a +2 degree F. change is significant.

        Also, greenhouse warming would have little effect on temperatures during the day — it would increase nighttime lows.

        So, would people notice it was +2 degrees C. warmer at 5am, from global warming over many decades, assuming they were awake?

        Wouldn’t most people, in most locations, prefer the coolest part of each day to be slightly warmer than it is currently?

        It was about 10 degrees F. yesterday at sunrise in the Detroit metropolitan area where I live.

        Perhaps after many decades of global warming from greenhouse gasses, assuming that is possible,it would have been 15 degrees F. at dawn instead of 10 degrees F. at dawn.

        Do you think anyone here should panic about that +5 degrees C. warming from 10 to 15 degrees F. … and want to ban fossil fuels … killing the local auto industry?

        Or should we be happy if the mornings are not as cold as they used to be, due global warming?

        My own answer:
        Give me more global warming — I love it !
        And my plants want more CO2 in the air – They love it !

  24. The “unmagnified” view becomes telling when it references a smaller area.

    Here is a comparison of annual average low temperature trends for Phoenix Int’l AP and Casa Grande Ruins Nat’l Monument, 42 miles southeast. Once surrounded by farm land, Casa Grande is now being encroached by housing and commercial development. The weather station closed in 2013.

    Didn’t someone recently claim airports aren’t affected by UHI?

  25. The difference between the top of the MWP and the bottom of the LIA wasn’t very much in terms of global average temperature. The difference in the condition of people was profound.

    I agree with the alarmists that a small change (say perhaps four degrees) in global average temperature could have big effects. The chance of such an increase is very small. History shows us that, even if it did happen, the majority of the effects would be beneficial (but, yes, every silver lining does have a cloud for someone).

    If you graph the average global temperature with the whole range from absolute zero the curve will be pretty flat. It will be hard to see the times when Canada was covered by thousands of feet of ice.

    • CommieBob, reading all the comments I was waiting for someone to make exactly the comment you made. Even the difference between glacials and inter-glacial would be lost to the eye if we were to display temperature graphs with the y-axis ranging between 0 K and 300 K.

  26. Are you aware that the time-integral of a forcing is an energy change?

    Are you aware that energy change, divided by effective thermal capacitance, times a scale factor gives temperature change?

    Is it clear that if the forcing and temperature go up and down nearly together that the temperature can not be a scale factor times the time integral of the forcing?

    If your answer to any of these is no, your engineering science skill sucks. If you answered yes to all of them you have just demonstrated that CO2 has no significant effect on climate and climate change is caused by something else.

    Compelling evidence CO2 has no effect on climate is presented in a peer reviewed paper at http://eae.sagepub.com/content/26/5/841.full.pdf+html

    The two factors that caused average global temperature change for the last 300 years or so (97% match since before 1900) are identified at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

  27. Dr Dickson, a nice presentation of the real magnitude of the doom that awaits us all. As you know, I’m sure, they also converted 0.2C/Century trend in ocean warming to very scary zeta joules of increase in ocean heat content.

    If that isn’t enough, they have an automatic algorithm that continuously recalculates historical temp (virtually all downwards prior to about 1945 and upwards since that time to reinforce the trend expected by the models).Mark Stern’s in his recent Senate testimony highlighted this cleverly by querying how can you have any certainty about forecasting what you predict for a hundred years hence when you can’t even forecast what the temperature will have been in 1950!?

  28. I know I’ve said it before, but here goes. Min/max is temp at two moments of a day. It is handy, but it is a handy junk stat. It is what cloud or the absence of cloud permits as much as a record of how “hot” or “cold”. Add in UHI (which nobody would have doubted till it became necessary to doubt just a few years ago) plus all the other limitations and distortions and you really have to wonder why anybody would be interested in a “global” temp. Give me anecdotes and old press extracts any day.

    But such are the times. We have people in charge who seem never to have looked up on a cloudy day or night and connected that cloud with a low day time temp or high early morning temp. Or maybe, when they are crunching their numbers and drawing their graphs, they can exclude the actual world, and all its cloud. Very zen…but hardly science.

  29. The author is a physicist, what does he know about climatology? Only a fool would go to an astronomer for a horoscope.

  30. I look forward to the follow up post where Dickson suggests the normal way to plot sea level change is as a function of total ocean volume with the Y axis scaled in billions of cubic kilometers.

    • Um…I don’t get your point Leo Geiger.

      Scientists measure volume in 3 dimensional cubic units, such as liters, cubic meters, gallons and ounces. Scientists measure sea level change in linear units-cm, inches, meters etc.
      Either one could be plotted on a graph as the Y axis vs time as the X axis and be perfectly acceptable and “normal”

      Dickson’s Y axis scaling in both anomalies and temperatures is in linear temperature units vs time as the X axis. Which is perfectly acceptable and normal.

      Do you not understand graph norms?

      • Yes, sea level is linear, that is correct. Volume is not the right metric. But the important part is to correctly assign the zero. We cannot plot changes in sea level – for example changes from the average – without falling foul of the same criticisms that plotting changes in temperature are prey to. The only answer is plotting sea level from the center of the Earth. People normally do not use a magnified version of the world to proceed with their daily lives. They are not concerned with the small changes of a few feet in sea level as the tide changes. Only in the overall distance from the center of the Earth to the surface of the sea. This only changes by a very small percentage as the tide comes in and out, so we don’t need to be conerned with that.

      • The Zero Line or point cannot always be in the bottom left corner because some data sets aren’t just showing data from one point forward. Also, if you want to plot data that goes both above and below the zero point, you have to move your zero point up. When you do that, you just need to INDICATE that on your graphs because some people don’t know how to read graphs.

  31. Show the ‘normal view’ graph going back a number of centuries – to include the MWP and LIA – then ask if the projections past 2015 will equal, match or exceed any of the earlier peaks.

    • And the temperature scale should be with the MWP at the top of the graph and LIA at the bottom. Only then do you get a meaningful graph (with no hockey stick shaft, please.)

  32. “For the same reason, weather forecasters use the real temperatures instead of magnified temperature anomalies.”

    Actually, they use both

    http://w2.weather.gov/climate/l3mto.php?lead=13

    At Berkeley Earth we dont use anomalies. We do everything in temperature and then output anomalies
    for display and comparison

    “. Climate studies work with anomalies instead of real temperatures because anomalies are assumed to be more accurate over large geographical areas (see note 1). ”

    NO. GISS and hadcrut use anomalies because their methods require them. Anomalies dont change anything.

    as for presentation, of time series data, you are wrong there as well

    ( http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001OR)

    ” In general, statistical graphics should be moderately greater in length
    than in height. And, as William Cleveland discovered, for judging slopes
    and velocities up and down the hills in time-series, best is an aspect ratio
    that yields hill-slopes averaging 45°, over every cycle in the time-series.
    Variations in slopes are best detected when the slopes are around 45°,
    uphill or downhill. 5 To put this idea informally, aspect ratios should
    be such that time-series graphics tend toward a lumpy profile (below left)
    rather than a spiky profile (below right) or a flat profile. Both graphs
    here show the same data. The aspect ratio for this lumpy graphic is
    chosen in accord with the 45° rule.”

    William S. Cleveland, Visualizing Data (Summit, New Jersey, 1993), 87-91, 218-227;
    William S. Cleveland, The Elements of Graphing Data (Summit, New Jersey, revised
    edition, 1994), 66-79.

    • C.R.-“For the same reason, weather forecasters use the real temperatures instead of magnified temperature anomalies.”

      SM-“Actually, they use both http://w2.weather.gov/climate/l3mto.php?lead=13

      Weather and climate are two different things. Using your link, I had to click on “climate” to find forecasts that use anomalies. And on all of them, using anomalies makes the changes look BIGGER even though they are NOT. (which CR Dickson ALSO pointed out…they are the same-but they create different impressions!)

      SM-“. Climate studies work with anomalies instead of real temperatures because anomalies are assumed to be more accurate over large geographical areas (see note 1). ”

      How does that even make sense? It’s like saying “rather than using all of the temperatures we actually record, we use the ODDBALLS that are outside of those real temperatures averaged, because someone assumed that THOSE ODDBALLS reflect the averages more accurately than the real temperatures do”.

      But again, “climate studies” are not “weather forecasts”. CR Dickson appears to know the difference.

      “In general, statistical graphics should be moderately greater in length than in height. And, as William Cleveland discovered, for judging slopes and velocities up and down the hills in time-series, best is an aspect ratio that yields hill-slopes averaging 45°, over every cycle in the time-series.Variations in slopes are best detected when the slopes are around 45°, uphill or downhill. 5 To put this idea informally, aspect ratios should be such that time-series graphics tend toward a lumpy profile (below left)rather than a spiky profile (below right) or a flat profile.”

      SM-“as for presentation, of time series data, you are wrong there as well”

      Do you even understand what you just posted?

      “Over every cycle in the time series”. The time series cycle in the original chart that inspired CR Dickson (not created by him) used 20 year spans, and had a total of six cycles on it. NOT HIS PRESENTATION. In order to make a “lumpy” graph with a 45degree angle over the whole graph AND keep all of the six cycles represented by the “anomaly data”, instead of the temperature data originally used on that graph, you’d have to stretch the horizontal aspect of that puppy sideways so far it wouldn’t fit on our computer screens! That is why using ANOMALY data spread out over time, instead of the temperature data over time (as used in the original graph that inspired the article) is SO WRONG. You can’t do it correctly, with the right aspect ratio AND keep the time series the same. (Imagine pulling hard and far enough to make “lumps” from “spikes”) That’s part of CR Dickson’s POINT, so how was “he” wrong there as well?

      • Weather and climate are two different things. Using your link, I had to click on “climate” to find forecasts that use anomalies. And on all of them, using anomalies makes the changes look BIGGER even though they are NOT. (which CR Dickson ALSO pointed out…they are the same-but they create different impressions!)

        ###########
        The CLAIM was that weather forecasters dont use anomalies.
        THEY DO,, when talking about the climate.

        SM-“. Climate studies work with anomalies instead of real temperatures because anomalies are assumed to be more accurate over large geographical areas (see note 1). ”

        How does that even make sense? It’s like saying “rather than using all of the temperatures we actually record, we use the ODDBALLS that are outside of those real temperatures averaged, because someone assumed that THOSE ODDBALLS reflect the averages more accurately than the real temperatures do”.

        Anomaly does NOT MEAN ODD.
        Let me explain Anomaly to you.
        Suppose you weigh yourself every day for ages 20-40. And your average weight is 200 Lb.
        When you turn 41 you start using anomalies.
        from 41 to age 50, your weight was 205
        in Anomaly this would be +5.. Anomaly from the long average.
        You can easily turn anomaly back into weight. ADD 200!!!!
        Anomaly doesnt mean ODD, or exceptional.. An Anomaly of ZERO means Average !!

        The guy who wrote the post is a dolt

      • Mosher-

        “Anomaly does NOT MEAN ODD.”
        It doesn’t? Let’s DEFINE the word ANOMALY for you-

        Anomaly- “something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.
        synonyms: “oddity, peculiarity, abnormality, irregularity, inconsistency, incongruity, aberration, quirk, rarity”

        SM-“. Climate studies work with anomalies instead of real temperatures because anomalies are assumed to be more accurate over large geographical areas (see note 1). ”

        NOW-if scientists don’t mean “anomaly” when they use the word “anomaly”, maybe they need to use a DIFFERENT WORD. Using the word anomaly when you mean something else, makes scientists DOLTS by definition.

        And I REPEAT- and clarify MORE-

        How does that even make sense? It’s LIKE saying “rather than using ONLY the temperatures we actually record over a large area, or an AVERAGE of them, we APPLY THE ODDBALL deviations from the NORM that occur over a large geographical area TO THE entire area, because we ASSUME that THOSE ODDBALLS reflect the average temperatures over that area more accurately than the actual real average of those temperatures do”.

        “An Anomaly of ZERO means Average !”

        Do you see how irrational this is? If the anomaly is ZERO…there is NO CHANGE, NO deviation! Average means standard, normal, expected. ANOMALY by definition means the OPPOSITE of that!

  33. If you base your zero anomaly (normal value) upon a short snippet of a rather large sine wave, you are GIGO from square one. More observation and less prediction is in order for the present state of climate science.

  34. “Consider this: Little batteries that turn on televisions do not power hurricanes.”

    They don’t? That explains it. I thought my remote had broken.

  35. I’m disappointed that no one has mentioned Edward Tufte, author of books like The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. If you have the opportunity to go to one of his One Day Courses, do so! Expensive ($420), but you get copies of several of his books.

    One thing he recommends for graphs like this is to aim for a slope of about 45°. Too low and you get the ridiculous flat graph people are fawning over here, too high and it appears exaggerated, call it the analog SHOUTING in text.

    It also helps if the readers have read his books too….

  36. At the bottom of a tight mountain valley in Afghanistan I am lead into a cave by a US Army Ranger/CIA operative. As we enter I hear talking in the direction we are walking. It grows louder. He stops and turns to me. “Keep quiet! This will be Good! Just listen and watch.” We proceed into the cell. This is More Than Good! This is Fantastic!.

    [???? .mod]

  37. I personally think we need to worry much more about population growth than climate change, but fortunately population is leveling off, too:

    • This is an example of an incredibly misleading graph, in fact, I’ll call it wrong. The horizontal scale at first glance is linear, but when you read the axis, you see the intent is logarithmic. However the rightmost quarter is wrong. The leftmost quarter covers 9000 years, then next 900, then 90. So the rightmost should cover 9 years, but it covers 10! there should be an infinite number of sections that follow, for 0.9 years, 0.09, 0.009, ad infinitum. That sure would show the population leveling off!

      To show the rate of change of the population, the better graphs would have a linear timescale on the X-axis, then the slope of the log(population) would reflect the rate, e.g. 10% growth per decade.

      For something like what we really have, you really need two graphs, with a dividing line between the development of reliable food supplies and antibiotics. There would be a low rate of growth in the first graph and a much higher rate later.

      • When someone has an agenda they don’t care about truth or accuracy. I’m betting the “overpopulation” meme will be pushed to the fore when the climate scare collapses. They won’t be able to claim the atmosphere or the oceans are at risk due to mankind for a very long time (not without being run out of town), so that leaves food supply or overpopulation to stampede the people into handing over control.

        Nothing will make these people let go. Nothing. They want total control, they want total power and they want the human population of this planet to be all but wiped out. You can already see their plans for bypassing their failed mission should this massive scare (CAGW) be put down. They’ve been testing the water for years to find out what still might scare people and they will run with something – anything.

        Until civilization learns to cope with idle minds dreaming of catastrophe and the overthrow of mankind, civilization is capped at a certain level. I’m hoping we’ll wake up to this constant manipulation, take charge and proper care of our kids’ schooling and not be hoodwinked again and again, but I suspect that would require a big step in our development.

    • You can fit the entire population of the planet into Texas, with each person having 1000 square feet, give or take. We are far from over populated even though people that live in large cities their whole lives, and fly between them think so.

      • If we are being completely fair we have to note that the problem isn’t that we don’t have enough room. The question is about the resources it takes to sustain ourselves.

        The Club of Rome commissioned a study called The Limits to Growth which purported to show that our population would collapse due to resource depletion. Guess what. It was based on a computer model. Sigh.

        As many people have pointed out, the solution to resource depletion is technological development. In other words, we do more with less. As long as we can keep doing that, we’ll be fine.

  38. well it would be good to see fig.5 reworked with real data instead of the homogenised BS promoted by NOAA. GISS etc. That way maybe it would show that the 1930s were really warmer than today….and that there has been no warming from that baseline.

    • chris moffatt,

      Max/min T by decade:

      Here’s a chart of record high T’s in the 50 U.S. states:


      [click in charts for a better view]

      Even NOAA shows that different regions have different temperature trends.

      And here are world wide temps from around the globe, from the 1800’s to now.

      Just for laffs, here’s a chart of what Michael Mann used, and what he threw out:

      More Mann shenanigans:

      And finally, some needed perspective. It’s cold a lot more often:

  39. “Small numbers with large error bars, combined with excessive averaging, is a recipe for ambiguous results. The reaction to the temperature graph is a perfect example of how political motivations can twist ambiguities into disagreements. Confusion is created by using temperature as if it were the same as an anomaly, but somehow the temperature graph is misleading while the anomaly graph is not. What is hidden is the fact that both graphs display no real temperature data.”

    Climatology in a nutshell.
    The lack of error bar is number one tell.
    The gross idiocy of an estimated average global temperature to 0.1 of a degree, sums up this pseudo science.
    Pseudo science being a kind description of the participants and propaganda.
    Of course if error bars were used and honestly reported, Climatology would not exist.
    Basically we have seen very little advance in the study of earths climate since the days of Hubert Lamb.

    Our problem integrating new information from better measuring systems is difficult, given that the corruption of our historic records makes any trends near impossible to detect, if they exist.

    Currently the speculation over trends in the anomalies of the Estimated Average Global Temperature is as valuable as the number of angels who can dance on a pin.

    Ridicule and contempt is all the C.C.C (CAGW)pushers have earned.

  40. Here’s a chart by premier bogus chart fabricator and Nobel Prize winner Michael Mann:


    (click in chart to embiggen)
    Scientific American should be ashamed for publishing that nonsense.

    Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth:

    And commenters who pointed out that an arbitrary zero line chart is deceptive are right. Such charts are used ALL THE TIME by gov’t agencies like NOAA, NASA/GISS, USHCN, etc. They use them to deceive the public. But when a non-arbitrary trend line chart is used, we see that there is nothing unusual happening:

    There’s a great quote in that excellent chart (produced by ‘NikFromNYC’) by Dr. Timothy Leary: “He who controls your eyes controls your mind.” That is exactly what they’re doing.

      • Maybe not, Ric. But Leary’s comment was spot on.

        The climate alarmist contingent, including the President and most of the media, is doing everything it can to control minds. That chart above (by ‘NikFromNYC’) is excellent. It shows how a chart can either show that global temperatures have recently started a scary rise, or are merely following a normal, steady warming trend that’s been rising since the LIA.

        Same data, just a different trend, depending on whether they use a zero baseline or a trend line. When people understand their shenanigans, it stops being scary.

        It’s typical alarmist propaganda; there’s nothing unusual or unprecedented happening. But it helps to explain how Mann fabricated his very alarming chart:

        There’s nothing unusual or unprecedented occurring now. It’s all happened before, repeatedly:

    • What on earth is a ‘faux pause’?

      Is it a construct from the brain of Mann or from unScientific American?

      • Doesn’t matter who constructed it Billy, in doing so, that person/people actually committed a faux pas, by calling it a faux pause. I love it double irony almost as much as double entendre!

  41. The larger issue here, is that anomaly is used because we don’t have the predictive capability to even simulate earth’s temperature at this point. Instead of using actual physics, researchers *define* an anomaly, and then start trying to fit that anomaly to models (which can be super-simple, like Hansen’s early models *must* have been due to the lack of compute power available at the time). But either way, it’s an *enormous* hand-wave that would only be considered in the most speculative of sciences… everybody else wanting to have a phenomenon be matched with theory before being analyzed with perturbation theory.

    • “Doubling down on denial and deceit” by Michael E. Mann

      Was this a public confession? An enormous projection? A mental delusion? Or just a delicious double irony? ROFL

  42. i understand and agree with the overall point of the article, but it is really poorly written. enhancing visualization of certain features by adjusting graph offsets and scales is old hat and not worthy of all this prose. also, the example of the battery is terrible, comparing power to power per unit area….makes no sense at all. we need better presentation if we’re going to preach to anybody but the choir.

    • “we need better presentation if we’re going to preach to anybody but the choir.”

      HAHAHAHAHA!!! The problem being, the CHOIR gets it, the public doesn’t. This is the PERFECT way to present this to the public…so they GET it. The fact that the “lackies” of the AGW movement are in such a HUFF about the simple little graph in figure 1, proves that THEY might need to learn something too.

  43. If you go back to the climategate emails, there are several telling Mann not to despair about not getting a grant. They have found a way to keep the money rolling in.

    Probably this is the method. Magnifying the Y-axis. How sleazy, and what fools it makes of our politicians. Australia’s Prime Minister went so far as to say he had closed his mind to sceptics 5 years ago. What a dunce.

    • That’s because Turnbull stands to make millions from a carbon trading scheme with his mates at the “millionaire” maker, Macquarie Bank.

  44. I agree, the graph (-10 to +110) is misleading and confusing.
    There is no guiding grid, or scale on the right side, that allows you to read where the temperature graph lands. Can you tell if there is an incline, decline or standstill in the series?
    Very bad.

  45. Clearly the only way to reasonably graph earth temperature changes is to scale it according to the lowest and highest temperature measured on earth. So that means we should scale it from nearly 0K to about 10^7K. It should be clear to any moron that the temp anomalies measured by those whacky scientists are completely meaningless and a total scam.

    Plotting the temperature on that scale will also point out the idiocy of people who bitch about water used to make their coffee being at 273K instead of 373K (merely a 0.001% fluctuation on that scale). Or even worse those crybabies who run to the emergency room when their body temperature moves from 310K to 315K (an infinitesimally small 0.00005% fluctuation on that scale).

    I can’t believe that there are scientists this dumb.

    • I should add the post is about one particular study so is titled : Critique of ‘Debunking the climate hiatus’, by Rajaratnam, Romano, Tsiang, and Diffenbaugh

  46. On the topic of deceptive graphs (which I mentioned above but stuck in moderation)
    Over on Bishop Hill has a new post on the topic I mentioned above
    Critique of ‘Debunking the climate hiatus’, by Rajaratnam, Romano, Tsiang, and Diffenbaugh, and more from “The eminent statistician Radford Neal, .. writing a series of posts on global temperature data”

  47. Alterations To Climate Data – see Steve Goddard’s site for some fascinating data “adjustments”:
    https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/alterations-to-climate-data/

    In other news, this weekend some guy shot up a club in Calgary. The bouncers tackled the shooter after he got three shots off – one patron was seriously wounded but will survive. Have to drop by that bar and congratulate those bouncers – unarmed guys tackling a shooter – not that common these days – but hey, this is Calgary – the last best West.

    Remarkable coincidence though! Both the gunman and driver were named Mohamed. Wow! What are the odds of that?
    http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/01/10/calgary-police-at-scene-shortly-after-shots-fired-in-beltline-bar-injuring-one

  48. I posted a version of this, but it said “comment could not be posted”. I have tried this one on th etest page and it worked OK, so trying again here. Apologies if it comes up twice.
    The article says that “With a bit of an effort, it’s easy to discover that the temperature changes are identical for both global temperature anomalies and for global temperatures”

    The only problem would arise if ALL graphs should have axis starting at zero.

    See this one from climate4you

    Should that have axes starting at zero? No, of course not. That would totally remove the point of plotting the graph in the first place. The data varies by about 0.2% of the solar irradiance, yet we still find such graphs useful.

    Graphs should have axes that cover the data, and be labelled clearly. That is exactly what the anomaly plots do.

    • @dbstealey about the correlation between this solar radiance and warming of atmosphere, you are right, you should definitively consider reading the paper who has done the solar radiance reconstruction. You will be happy to seem stuff like “The correlation of reconstructed solar irradiance and Northern Hemisphere (NH) surface temperature is 0.86”

      Before you get crazy all over, the end of the sentence is “in the pre-industrial period from 1610 to 1800, implying a predominant solar influence. Extending this correlation to the present suggests that solar forcing may have contributed about half of the observed 0.55°C surface warming since 1860 and one third of the warming since 1970.”

      That should answer your question “Could that be possible …?”

    • 2PetitsVerres,

      “Could that be possible …?” was sarcasm. Sorry, I should have noted it, because it didn’t translate any better than your comment. But thank you for the explanation.

      Now, if you could just explain for us where human CO2 takes over the global warming job from the sun, I would sure appreciate it.

      </sarc> <–(that's HTML code for 'end sarcasm')

    • You are correct, and not everyone here agrees that graphs should be plotted using axis that start at zero. That is also not what the article is saying. The article is pointing out that plotting anomalies on a graph and pretending that they represent actual temperature increases is misleading and shouldn’t be done unless you label that graph indicating what you’ve done.

      So why is it that when the people at NASA and NOAA talk about “temperature increases” or “global warming” they always seem to use anomaly charts instead of actual temperature charts? They talk about increasing temperatures and hold up anomaly graphs. They put anomaly graphs in their power point yearly reports. They post them all over the internet, and people all over the internet use them incorrectly over and over again afterwards. Are they trying to confuse the public? Or are they just completely oblivious to the fact that they are confusing them? Because if you show the public a chart like Fig1, where temps are represented by a flat line across a graph, they go batcrap crazy and call your chart deceptive, wrong, inaccurate etc.

  49. The National Review graph is useful because the temperature range given is roughly what Americans experience in a typical year (some of us lucky folks in the Midwest even get both 110 and -10).

    That bring up another bugaboo of mine — stop reporting the anomaly. This not only obscures the data from useful context, it also allows tricks like “cooling the baseline.” Just report the gosh darn temperatures in your temperature graph!

  50. While there are people here in the comments, such as “Latitude” and “DB Stealey” who do post great charts … I can’t recall seeing many “honest charts” since I started reading about climate change in 1997, much less a whole article on “graph politics”.

    This is an excellent subject for a guest post !

    The best way to convert climate change cult members back to normal people is to show them an “honest chart” of the average temperature since 1880, which, even after the smarmy “adjustments”, and the fact that 1880s thermometers tend to read low, still looks like a straight line!

    Hitting them upside the head with a rolled up New York Times while they are looking at an “honest chart” (OR ANY OTHER TIME) helps too!

    Typically no margins of error shown on any charts.

    Typically no discussion of measurement methodology and its potential accuracy, or lack of — not even one paragraph.

    Typically no raw data shown — only numbers after “adjustments” to what someone thinks the data should have been …. and/or a high percentage of wild guess “infilling” substituted for missing real data.

    The people who collect the data have shown themselves, in their eMails, to be dishonest … and many of their jobs exist only because of the fantasy of a coming global warming catastrophe = a huge financial incentive to find warming when none exists in raw data!

    The leftist politicians who stir up the masses will be rewarded with more government power over the private sector, if enough people fear a climate catastrophe, and let them seize more power …, and perhaps a job / investments in the government subsidized “green” industry after they retire from politics.

    To makes charts easy to read (Bob Tisdale style) the temperature range is only one degree C. on many charts — that makes inconsequential 0.1 and 0.2 degree C. changes look like mountains, valleys and important trends … when they more likely to be meaningless random variations, and / or measurement errors.

    To make charts that show temperatures as humans feel them, the range should be at least 10 degrees C. or more!

    A 0.1 or 0.2 degree C. change in the average temperature should be invisible on a chart if you want an “honest chart” that does not EXAGGERATE tiny temperature changes no one would even notice … if not for smarmy environmentalists constantly bellowing that climate change will cause life on Earth to end as we know it !

    Climate blog for non-scientists:
    Free
    No ads
    No money for me
    A public service
    Short easy to read posts and charts.
    Climate centerfolds.
    Note: Leftists should stay away to avoid high blood pressure.
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.blogspot.com

  51. I just wanted to pop by and thank Anthony and Dr. Dickson for taking the time to research the providence of the “temp on a thermometer” graph. When I made the graph I had no idea how effective and enduring it would be. I am so very glad the notion seems to have taken up some steam and is now being replicated!

    • James,

      I’ve stolen that chart so many times that I should be paying you royalties. Here are a few more you can add to your collection:

      And someone made a copy of yours, converted to Kelvin:

      Another one, in ºF:

      And then there’s the climate alarmist contingent. This is their red meat, from Michael Mann’s realclimate blog:

  52. In 1997 Kiehl and Trenberth published a definitive energy balance of the climate system, complete with circles and arrows.
    In 2009 Trenberth, Fasullo, and Kiehl published another definitive energy balance, with more circles and arrows.
    The two versions are not the same, with individual components (such as solar absorbed by the atmosphere) changing by as much as 11 watts/m2. The Net Absorbed at the surface goes from zero (equilibrium balance) to a net (warming) balance of +0.9 Watts/m2.
    Here’s a chart, with circles and arrows, showing the changes (difference between 1997 and 2009) of each arrow.

    Taking those differences to be equivalent to uncertainties, the uncertainty of the Net absorbed at the surface is twice as large as their new estimate of +0.9 Watts/m2.
    So that’s where Trenberth’s “missing heat” is. It’s well within the uncertainty of the estimates, i.e., it does not exist.
    More about this in Vincent Gray’s article on ICECAP.us
    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/icing-the-hype/the_flat_earth/

  53. If a 2 percent change is that important, then a climate model to be useful must be accurate to something like 0.25%. Thus today’s models must be improved by about a hundredfold in accuracy, a very challenging task.”

    That says that current models are good to 25%. Good enough for an order of magnitude determination and not much else. i.e 30°K or 300°K. 300°K or 301°K – fuggetaboutit.

  54. I don’t understand, the comments says it would be a great idea to plot all temperatures in K, with the y axis starting at 0, because it’s the absolute 0. Great idea, but nobody talks about the maximum value of this axis. I think all temperature data should be plot with a Y axis going from 0K to infinity K, because it’s the absolute maximum temperature, which makes it the natural maximum value on the graph.

    I always do that when I want to plot distance. The 0 of my graph is 0, and the maximum value is 8.8e26 m, the diameter of the observable universe. Of course, on this graph, it looks like my cup of coffee, the sun and even the center of the milky way are at the same distance, but it’s a good graph because it uses the good maximum and minimum value of distances! I don’t want to use a magnifier.

    • Excellent tip. I will use this when persuading my other half to go to the shops. It is, after all, totally indistinguishable from the front room when you look at the full scale, and we are assured that “people normally do not use a magnified version of the world to proceed with their daily lives.”

  55. The real way to view temperature is similar to Figure 1 – Feel it on your skin. Year in, year out, feel it on your skin. It will – averaged out – FEEL like Figure 1.

    A room with 20.000°C will feel the same as a room with 20.600°C. Or 19.4°C.

    This would be an objective test for all the warmists – to put them in rooms and tell us which is which. And if they can’t, they should be sent packing.

    ESPECIALLY, we should put them in all of the various rooms – 19.4°C, 20.0, 20.6°C, 20.3°C, 19.7°C, etc – and if they can’t detect a CATASTROPHE, then their funding should be pulled.

    There is no reason on God’s green Earth that if our SKIN can’t tell it is warmer, then the warming isn’t a disaster.

    This was my very first argument against the CAGW scare, back in the 1990s. I didn’t pay attention till then. When I did, I immediately started asking questions like that. And the answers still keep coming back the same: There is no crisis.

  56. Oh good grief. You set the scale to see if there is a change, not to hide it. A doctor checking my body temperature against a scale from 0 – 100C would find little changed if my temperature rose or fell by a few degrees. I’d be dead, but the graph wouldn’t know it. A tablespoon of cynaide would almost certainly kill me, but as a percentage of body weight, it should have no effect whatsoever on the rubric here. It wouldn’t be a blip on a scale of 0 – 190 pounds.

    As half of North America was covered in ice when the temperature of the planet was 5C cooler, I’d set that as the maximum scale. Of course, at 2.5C cooler that’s still a lot of change – and tens of meters of sea level difference out of the last ice age. A scale of 2C would be quite useful. The first one above (not the ridiculous one) is at 2.5C.

    (Use Kelvin or Fahrenheit or whatever – it’s the change we’re interested in, not the metric)

    100F. Please tell me this article was a joke.

  57. Barry says:

    A scale of 2C would be quite useful.

    It wouldn’t be any more useful than any chart using a century old temperatuere record, because there’s no way to compare small changes of a century ago with today. You have no way of knowing how accurate the old temperature record really is. That’s why I keep pointing out that the temperature isn’t important. It’s the trend that matters.

    Click in this chart for a better view. You can see the trend more easily:

    You’re correct whan you say:

    Use Kelvin or Fahrenheit or whatever – it’s the change we’re interested in, not the metric

    As you can see, there’s been no change for many years. Does that make you at all skeptical of the claims of the climate alarmist crowd? Or will you re-frame the argument?

    Climate alarmists have been completely wrong in every alarming prediction they’ve ever made. Not one scary prediction has ever happened. What do you think of a conjecture that’s been 100.0% wrong in all cases? Should we reject their conjecture? Or try to ‘fix’ it?

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