Separating Truth and Misinformation in U.S. Climate Data (Guest: Bob Tisdale)

Audio podcast follows.

Bob Tisdale, author of “Extremes and Averages in Contiguous U.S. Climate: Graphs of 100 Years of NOAA Contiguous U.S. Climate Data” joins Anthony Watts on the show. Tisdale talks about the politicization of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and why the IPCC’s reports are rife with misinformation.

Bob Tisdale points out how the media frequently reports about extreme, dire climate predictions, while the real-world data shows nothing of the sort. This combination of the politicization of the IPCC and misinformation from the media is swaying the public into an alarmist frenzy, and Bob Tisdale felt a need to fight back.

His book, “Extremes and Averages in Contiguous U.S. Climate: Graphs of 100 Years of NOAA Contiguous U.S. Climate Data” primarily lists facts instead of opinion. Reading this book will enlighten readers of what is actually happening in climate science.

Additional book background here.

Purchase the book HERE.

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38 thoughts on “Separating Truth and Misinformation in U.S. Climate Data (Guest: Bob Tisdale)

  1. This seems like a good time to point remind folks about the Surface Stations Project. It blows my mind that it’s obvious that UHI biases more recent temperatures upward, but the powers that be not only don’t take that into account, they also adjust the older temperatures downward.

    Even if nothing else made me a skeptic, the obvious politicization of the issue and the exaggeration involved, would do so.

    I am not aware of any successful refutation of the Surface Stations Project. Similarly, I’m thinking that Bob’s book will be hard to refute. Sadly, as Roger Pielke, both Sr. and Jr., have found out, the truth is no defense against being savaged by SJWs and politicians.

    • Adjusting the older temperatures downward — I would like to understand that. I am imagining someone comparing the surface station temperatures (hotter because of UHI, but our someone is not heeding that) and the satellite data. Maybe the satellites read a little cooler than the surface station. So our someone decides that the satellite data is better, and the surface station is mysteriously high. Then Someone “adjusts” the pre-satellite data downward by this “satellite discrepancy” amount, to make it read what it “should” if there had been satellites back then.

      Anything like? Thank you kindly.

  2. Book ordered! The story of Mr Tisdale’s conversion is an all to common tale that most of us have taken. For me it was about the time of the Rio summit.

  3. The other night, NBC news was reporting on wildfires in U.S. Western states. the lead was “Is this the new norm?” Prior to that, TWC showed data (like 2 hrs before) that wildfires were about 355,000 acres this year compared to the average of 1.5 million acres for this date (Date was June 10, 2019). So, new norm????? 75 percent below average?? NBC did not report average for the year, so the new norm they were “referencing” was the fact that there was a couple wildfires in west. They weren’t saying the new norm would be 75% below average. No Schist.

  4. The only bit of science they “have” is that doubling CO2 causes 1C of warming … but you won’t find that only bit of science in the IPCC report … which tells us all we need to know about the IPCC.

    • Even that 1C per doubling of CO2 is in theory only. There is no real world evidence that it does. We are getting close to half way to a doubling now (about 45%), and still, there is no real evidence of a CO2-caused warming, despite all the yammering and wild claims of Alarmists.

      • Actually Bruce, since it’s logarithmic not arithmetic, we passed the half-doubling of what the “effect” should be at 396ppm, assuming 280ppm pre-industrial. So we’re already beyond no real evidence and heading towards 2X no real evidence in several decades.

      • If you add the effects of other GHGs, we’re already past half the forcing increase expected from a doubling of CO2 — with no resulting noticeable ill effects.

        The Earth’s climate has, indeed, warmed slightly. I’m tempted to say, “as a result,” but, of course, that’s not provable, because many other factors also affect temperatures (and, as commieBob pointed out, and the SurfaceStations project proves, there are also factors that affect temperature measurements without appreciably affecting global temperatures).

        In any event, there’s no doubt that at least some of the warming which has occurred over the last forty years or so is due to rising GHG levels. Because of the many other factors that also affect temperatures, and because of problems with the temperature measurements, it is impossible to say exactly how much of the warming should be attributed to rising GHG levels, but by making some reasonable assumptions we can come up with reasonable estimates.

        The most straightforward and obvious way of estimating climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is by examining the result of the “experiment” which we’ve performed on the Earth’s climate, by raising the atmospheric CO2 level from about 311 ppmv in 1950 (or 285 ppmv in 1850) to about 410 ppmv now. We simply examine what happened to temperatures when the atmospheric CO2 level was raised by 31% (or 43%), and extrapolate from those observations.

        However, there are a few pitfalls with that approach. For one thing, natural global temperatures variations due to ENSO can be larger than the “signal” we’re looking for, so it is important that we choose an analysis interval which avoids those distortions. For another, it would be a mistake to assume that all of the warming which the Earth has experienced since pre-industrial conditions was due to anthropogenic CO2, because much of that warming occurred when CO2 levels were still very low, and because we know of other factors which must have contributed to warming, such as rising levels of other GHGs, and probably aerosol/particulate pollution abatement.

        So the key question is, how much of the warming can be attributed to rising CO2 level? In the calculations below, the assumed answer to that question is an explicit parameter, “A” (for “Attribution”).

        You can calculate an estimate of TCR sensitivity, using the time period and temperature index of your choice, as follows:

        A = attribution to anthropogenic CO2, e.g., 0.5 = 50% attribution
        T1 = initial global average temperature (or temperature anomaly) for your chosen time period
        T2 = final global average temperature (or temperature anomaly)
        C1 = initial CO2 (or CO2e) value
        C2 = final CO2 (or CO2e) value
        S = sensitivity in °C / doubling of CO2

        The formula is very simple:

        S = A × (T2-T1) / ((log(C2)-log(C1))/log(2))
        S = A × (T2-T1) / (log2(C2/C1))

        For example, to capture most of the period of rapid CO2 level increases, while avoiding distortions from major ENSO spikes, we could use the period 1960-2014:

        https://sealevel.info/oni_2018-08_with_1960_and_2014_marked.html

        https://sealevel.info/co2_logscale_with_1960_highlighted.html

        Over that period, CO2 level rose from about 317 ppmv in 1960 to about 399 in 2014. Depending on which temperature index you trust, temperatures rose by about 0.5 °C (HADCRUT3) or about 0.75 °C (GISS), or somewhere in-between (or even less, according to the UAH satellite-based lower troposphere temperature measurements). Let’s use the midpoint of the surface indices, 0.625 °C:

        https://sealevel.info/WoodForTrees_four_temp_indices_1960-2014.html

        If T1 is 0.00, T2 is 0.625, C1 is 317 (in 1960), C2 is 399 (in 2015), and A is 50%, then:

        S = 0.5 × (0.625-0) / ((log(399)-log(317))/log(2))
        S = 0.94 °C / doubling

        Note #1: ECS is usually estimated to be about 1½ × TCR.
        See: http://sealevel.info/glossary.html#ecs

        Note #2: the above discussion doesn’t mention minor GHGs like O3, CH4, N2O & CFCs. To take them into account, there are two simple approaches you can use. One is to substitute estimates of “CO2e” (CO2 equivalent) for C1 and C2. The other is to adjust A to account for the fact that some portion of the warming (perhaps one-fourth) is due to other GHGs.

        Other than that, the attribution factor, A, is really just an educated guess, but we can base it on expert opinion. The American Meteorological Society frequently surveys meteorologists and asks them what percentage of the last 50 years’ warming they attribute to “human activity” (presumably mostly GHGs). This bar chart is from their 2017 survey report:

        https://sealevel.info/AMS_meteorologists-survey_2017.png

        As you can see, the “average” or “midpoint opinion” of American broadcast meteorologists is that a little over half of the warming was caused by human activity (presumably mostly by CO2):

        (.905×15/92)+(.7×34/92)+(.5×21/92)+(.3×13/92)+(.095×8/92) = 57%

        So if we attribute 57% of the warming to anthropogenic causes, and 75% of that to CO2, the attribution factor, A, should be 0.75 × 0.57 = 0.43 (43%), resulting in a calculated TCR sensitivity estimate of 0.81 °C per doubling of CO2.

        Note that our calculation includes the effects of both positive and negative temperature feedbacks.

        For ECS, multiply TCR by 1.5, yielding 1.21 °C per doubling of CO2.

        The ECS/TCR ratio is sometimes estimated as high as 1.65:1. If we use that multiplier we could get the ECS estimate up to 1.34 °C per doubling of CO2, which is still slightly below the IPCC’s “low end” estimate of 1.5 °C per doubling.

        On the other hand, if the ECS/TCR ratio is only 1.25:1, then ECS = 1.25 × TCR = 1.01 °C per doubling.

        Even if 100% (rather than 57%) of the warming since 1960 is attributed to anthropogenic causes (and 75% of that anthropogenic warming is attributed to CO2), TCR still comes out to only 1.41°C per doubling, and ECS = 1.5 × TCR = 2.12°C.

        It is very difficult to approach the IPCC’s “midrange” ECS estimate of 3°C per doubling, or the CMIP5 models’ average assumption of 3.2°C per doubling, using this sort of analysis.

        For more references, and links to analyses using other approaches, see:
        https://sealevel.info/sensitivity.html

      • Or to look at it another way, it just recently doubled from whenever is was at 207ppm. Every time it goes up 1ppm, it’s doubled from some prior amount. So? Nature doesn’t know the difference between natural CO2 or man-made CO2

      • Since the world is dominated by negative feedbacks, you would expect any rise from an increase in CO2 to be less, probably much less, than the no feedback number would be.

      • Our only worldwide laboratory experiment, weather station records statistically seem to have warmed up either 0.8 or 1.0 since 1880 depending on your source and UAH satellite temp keeps sloping upward at .13 C per decade at present…..2020 might be a good time to reassess your belief that there is a lack of real evidence of the CO2 GHG effect is incorrect, and probably again around 2040

        • Any increase from 1880 to 1950 is generally regarded as predominantly natural so what portion of the increase from 1880 to 2020 is to be regarded as caused by increased CO2 concentration in our atmosphere? Whatever the cause of the temperature increase from 1880, it is definitely benign.

  5. Thank you for posting this. I am autistic, and seeing climate alarmism scares the living hell out of me. Someone sent me a link to a YouTube video predicting a blue ocean event in 2030 that could doom mankind, and coupled with the flu, watching the video made me so sick I nearly passed out. Then I came across the NY Times article about doomsday in 2030 if we don’t act on climate change now. That nearly made me go insane. I then stumbled upon WattsUpWithThat, and reading its content, and discovering the site’s good reputation, it gave me closure that we will still be alive and well come 2030. I’m tired of reading about rising sea levels and melting glaciers, when this stuff is exaggerated for money and power.

    • Most all the 2030 nonscience is just that. AOC’s vaunted 12 years to save the world before we all die is also 2030 related hysteria. This was from a Jan 22 2019 at a Women’s Unity Rally. It stems from information gathered since 2018 and falls in line with 12 years being 2030
      Within 4 months of boisterously making that claim (5-12-19) she began backstepping on her own tongue and claiming it to be a simple joke though really it was her getting caught in a gross misstatement and not wanting to lose face. Like most exaggerators she made a statement she couldn’t back up and when caught, simply tried to sidestep the issue by hand waving and calling it a joke.

      BTW, My daughter has Autism also. Keep persevering

      • AOC not only called it a joke, but she then tried to turn around and point the finger of blame at the people who called her out for saying it. Class act, that!

      • I feel that people like me and your daughter are easy victims to this drivel. My local newspaper is always painting global warming as a hot topic, even claiming that my hometown will be flooded in the next few years due to and I quote” Concrete evidence given at a local climate convention that is guaranteed to convince any denier that global warming is a threat and must be taken seriously”. I never felt so sick in my life. I mean, I’ m 24 years old, I have a life I want to live, and living in fear that I have no future because some hobnob says global warming is going to kill the planet in 2030 and that deniers are stupid, it’s left a psychological scar on me.

        • I’m not autistic and alarmists scare the living daylights out of me – not so much their predictions, but their threats to take legal action against skeptics, or imposing carbon taxes. There is plenty about this fight against alarmism to scare people who don’t have Autism. Just wanted to say there’s no need to fear their predictions – but we would be wise to be aware of their schemes. When it comes to alarmists claiming that such and such is due to climate change, it’s good to look for possible other causes – for example, the flooding you mentioned – if they’ve been putting more levees near your location, they can cause more flooding as they prevent flood plains from doing their job. I sure hope that truth prevails soon. It’s sucked up a lot of our time and resources already. I look forward to the day they stop making dire predictions. We live in a chaotic world. It’s always been that way. Nothing is going to happen that hasn’t happened at some point in history. Weather catastrophes happen; droughts come and go; there will always be spring floods and nasty weather when seasons change, but we’re not having a climate catastrophe by any stretch of the imagination. Check out Tony Heller’s YouTube channel. He’s got some beautiful footage of Colorado this last week. He jokingly calls it the “Colorado Climate Catastrophe” and has a “countdown” to AOC’s predicted tipping point day – all in good fun – with a point. It’s not going to happen. He also does a good job of debunking alarmist disinformation and looking at history, just like this site. I’m sure you’d enjoy the videos.
          I encourage people to take a picture of the weather on a daily basis if they can. Most of the time our weather is doggone fantastic. I have about 10 years’ worth now, and I can recall the weather ever since the 50’s otherwise. Nothing has changed. Anything that happened was cyclical. Their predictions have all failed, and so will AOC’s. The world is not coming to an end. Good scientists ask questions. I think you’re a good scientist, Matthew.

  6. Seth Borenstein’s latest climate porn piece on the oceans got a lot of press these last few days.

    https://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-climate-change-fewer-fish-20190611-story.html

    Borenstien’s write up was carried by CBS News and LA Times and was simply parroted this junk study that appearred this week in PNAS:
    Global ensemble projections reveal trophic amplification of ocean biomass declines with climate change
    https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/06/10/1900194116.short?rss=1

    Abstract:
    “While the physical dimensions of climate change are now routinely assessed through multimodel intercomparisons, projected impacts on the global ocean ecosystem generally rely on individual models with a specific set of assumptions. To address these single-model limitations, we present standardized ensemble projections from six global marine ecosystem models forced with two Earth system models and four emission scenarios with and without fishing. We derive average biomass trends and associated uncertainties across the marine food web. Without fishing, mean global animal biomass decreased by 5% (±4% SD) under low emissions and 17% (±11% SD) under high emissions by 2100, with an average 5% decline for every 1 °C of warming. Projected biomass declines were primarily driven by increasing temperature and decreasing primary production, and were more pronounced at higher trophic levels, a process known as trophic amplification. Fishing did not substantially alter the effects of climate change. Considerable regional variation featured strong biomass increases at high latitudes and decreases at middle to low latitudes, with good model agreement on the direction of change but variable magnitude. Uncertainties due to variations in marine ecosystem and Earth system models were similar. Ensemble projections performed well compared with empirical data, emphasizing the benefits of multimodel inference to project future outcomes. Our results indicate that global ocean animal biomass consistently declines with climate change, and that these impacts are amplified at higher trophic levels. Next steps for model development include dynamic scenarios of fishing, cumulative human impacts, and the effects of management measures on future ocean biomass trends.”

    RCP 8.5- The junk climate scenario that keeps on delivering the Gravy for the Rent Seeking Gravy Train scientists riders:
    All the news articles key in on the 17% number that comes from the high emissions scenario– the unrealistic RCP 8.5 junk science. The first three emissions scenarios (RCPs 2.6, 4.5, 6.0) show little difference (authors’ Figure 3) between each other when uncertainty bars are presented. It is only the junk RCP 8.5 scenario modeling that there is significant effects. Garbage In – Garbage Out.

    Climate Science is selling manufactured garbage to be fed to a gullible public.

    But no one in these communities acknowledges that it is an unrealistic scenario as the basis for their climate propaganda and lies. That makes folks like Borenstein and all these other climate carnival barkers nothing but intentional deceivers.

    They depend on the ignorance of what a trophic level is to peddle this climate porn.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic_level
    There are 4 trophic levels that ecologists use in studying food webs.
    Level 1: Plants and algae make their own food and are called producers.
    Level 2: Herbivores eat plants and are called primary consumers.
    Level 3: Carnivores that eat herbivores are called secondary consumers.
    Level 4: Carnivores that eat other carnivores are called tertiary consumers.
    Apex predators by definition have no predators and are at the top of their food chains.

    In the PNAS paper the authors reported (from their models) higher primary productivity at the higher latitudes, where the lowest productivity was in the tropical oceans, and it was most pronounced at the higher levels of the food chain, like whales and predator fish like tuna.

    I will finish this comment with an observation. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the publication of the NAS. And the now-NAS President is the useful idiot Marcia McNutt, previously the Science Mag Editor in Chief during the Karl-2015 Pause Buster era of junk papers they published. She just leaves Green Slime trail wherever she goes and corrupts the science where she lands with her broom. Sad times in science.

      • “Peer review lite” would be the best way to explain PNAS articles.
        The NAS is a good ‘ole boy (GOB) society.
        The average age of the 2,242 NAS members is 72 years and 83% are men.

        In a pang of white guilt they apparently have allowed the society to be taken over by Liberals with an agenda that is anything but science driven.

        The review process of a PNAS paper is unlike anything in other journals. The submitting memeber must recommend to the ditor who to send it to for review, usually fellow members within the speciuality. That is GOB pal-review writ large.

    • I haven’t read the paper, but have seen numerous papers on correlations of biomass and productivity compared with various factors. The most important one is nutrients, principally nitrogen, others in various situations of various amounts down to very small. The only ones I quickly recall where T fluctuates, including my own, show increases of biomass and productivity with increasing temperature, usually as in seasons. Something the physiologists compare with Q10. At excess, most marine tropical species slow down (even die) around 35-40C, others with different physiology as in enzymes, are adapted to lower T and have lower maxima. I went to a seminar once where warm water fish were considered inferior to cold water ones.

      This is in the abstract (“Ensemble projections performed well compared with empirical data, emphasizing the benefits of multimodel inference to project future outcomes.”), but do any of these models actually use real world T and fish data to determine amounts? Do any of these know about other factors? It’s a complex ocean and even claiming knowing the amounts of fishes in the sea has great assumptions. The high latitudes are very productive but are limited by seasons, not so in the less impressive but more consistent tropics. Lots of exceptions, they don’t read books and even if they did don’t know it all. Too many authors to count, but the last is famous for ocean fishery crises and has been called on it.

    • Yes Fred, we “deniers” are routinely forced to recant and confess the holy faith that climate had always been idyllic and unchangingly static before the industrial revolution, that ice ages are a denier myth, and that nothing except human sin changes the climate.

      Just as former denier Galileo was forced to recant and confess the 97% consensus that the earth is static and the sun and stars all orbit the earth in ensemble-model epicycles.

      Hallelujah Frederick!

    • They (FCPP) were apparently apologizing for printing things like the following:

      “For example, Michael Mann at Penn State should be in the State Pen, not Penn State.”

      This from an otherwise seemingly level-headed interview with Dr. Tim Ball – who, as it turns out, has an actual PhD in Climatology, unlike Dr. Mann’s which is in Geology & Geophysics. (This is an interesting phenomena in climate science, BTW – those who claim to be “climate experts” and who are held up as such in the press quite often don’t appear to be particularly well-educated in the area.)

      In any case, Ball shouldn’t have said that to begin with, and FCPP shouldn’t have printed it, or they should at least have known that there would be fallout if they did. But Mann supposedly takes less offense at statements like these (there have been similarly offensive statements by others) than he does at suggestions that his science is less than stellar, and that this is due to sloppy work on his part if not outright fraud. He’s taken more than one person/institution to court over this.

      Except that he maybe can fairly be called out for having questionable integrity, because in the relevant court documents he (or at least his lawyers) have been caught at attempted perjury. And his work may very well be sloppy or worse, because if you dig into the details of what went into his famous “hockey stick” graph, you may find yourself going “WTF?” But I’m sure that you already know all of this if you are well-informed on the subject.

      • ‘But I’m sure that you already know all of this if you are well-informed on the subject.’

        Funny that he didn’t mention it.

    • Liberty wrote,“we now accept that it was wrong to publish allegations by others that Mr. Mann did not comply with ethical standards…” the think tank wrote in part.“

      They only apologized for publishing other’s allegations. Mann is a charlatan and he knows it. It’s just Frontier didn’t publish a disclaimer that the views being expressed were not its own.

      And the other law suits are still on-going. This whole episode smacks me as Mann attempting to suppress the truth that others realize his science ethics are lacking.

      • Yes. When faced with discovery, Mann’s team has gone “rope-a-dope”. And remember when Mark Stein was accused of defamation of Mann, the Nobel Prize winner. Mann ‘s lawsuits are funded by a deep pockets legal fund for “climate scientists” of the politically correct persuasion. It’s called law-fare. I am sure that Mann did not expect Stein to fight back with such vigour and determination.

    • They didn’t apologize for refuting Mann’s science, they apologized for saying bad things about him as a person.

      It wasn’t covered, because it wasn’t worth covering. A total non-event.

  7. Winter 🥶 is coming.
    With it an army of white walkers.
    Led by their High Zombie Lords,
    Paul Ehrlich and Al Gore.

  8. Mann demands a safe area we he and others of his ilk can feel secure and unthreatened. They want to continue to hide in their fantasy world where only they can decide right from wrong. He is using the justice system to create such an area.

    Meanwhile, real scientists must observe, debate, and prove their hypotheses the good old fashioned way – by being competent, logical, adults who can admit error and adjust their thinking when facts don’t line up.

  9. Considering the amount of forests that have been destroyed to create farm land and the amount of land that has been covered with cites and urban sprawl I would think the world has done pretty good to only go up 1.5 degrees in the last 100 years.
    I have a theory that the world isn’t in a perfect orbit around the sun. When the big asteroid hit earth and changed everything, earth went into a bit of a wobble. It tilts slightly towards the sun for 20 years and then tips slightly away from the sun for twenty years. This would explain why we have been in a twenty year cooling period.
    In spite of all the theories of global warming I know we have had a cold wet spring and last winter was cold and snowy. Kind of goes against the theory of global warming.

  10. Considering the amount of forests that have been destroyed to create farm land and the amount of land that has been covered with cites and urban sprawl I would think the world has done pretty good to only go up 1.5 degrees in the last 100 years.
    I have a theory that the world isn’t in a perfect orbit around the sun. When the big asteroid hit earth and changed everything, earth went into a bit of a wobble. It tilts slightly towards the sun for 20 years and then tips slightly away from the sun for twenty years. This would explain why we have been in a twenty year cooling period.
    In spite of all the theories of global warming I know we have had a cold wet spring and last winter was cold and snowy. Kind of goes against the theory of global warming.

  11. Thank you Bob Tisdale! I have been trying to tell people all it takes to raise the average is to have higher lows. It’s nice to have it confirmed that that is what’s driving the averages up. Thank you for having him on, Anthony!

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