Guest Science! (as in “she blinded me with”) critique by David Middleton
One of the best things about my morning emails from the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America (Google “Dodgeball” if you don’t get the joke), is that there’s almost always at least one article deserving of ridicule…
Many state birds may flee their home states as planet warms
By Eva Frederick Oct. 10, 2019
State birds can be a source of tremendous local pride—but as the climate warms, at least eight state birds may no longer call their native state home, The New York Times reports. In a new study, National Audubon Society scientists…
[I]f temperatures rise 3 °C above preindustrial levels—a plausible outcome, according to scientists…
Unfortunately, moving north might not be enough for many species—out of all types of bird studied, two-thirds face increasing risk of extinction as temperatures rise.Science! As in, “she blinded me with”. (Google Thomas Dolby, if you don’t get the joke)
The New York Times reports…
- None of the birds in question call any state “home.” It’s safe bet that none of those birds even know what a state is.
- It’s also a safe bet that climate change created the favorable habitats in those particular states, causing them to frequent those particular geographic locations.
- Some states have both state birds and state dinosaurs… It’s doubtful that state officials realize their error.
[I]f temperatures rise 3°C above preindustrial levels…
[T]wo-thirds face increasing risk of extinction as temperatures rise.
This ludicrous claim is based on… drum roll please… models.
Decline of the North American avifauna
AbstractRosenberg et al., 2019 Science! (as in “she blinded me with).
Species extinctions have defined the global biodiversity crisis, but extinction begins with loss in abundance of individuals that can result in compositional and functional changes of ecosystems. Using multiple and independent monitoring networks, we report population losses across much of the North American avifauna over 48 years, including once-common species and from most biomes. Integration of range-wide population trajectories and size estimates indicates a net loss approaching 3 billion birds, or 29% of 1970 abundance. A continent-wide weather radar network also reveals a similarly steep decline in biomass passage of migrating birds over a recent 10-year period. This loss of bird abundance signals an urgent need to address threats to avert future avifaunal collapse and associated loss of ecosystem integrity, function, and services.
Robert Walker, a mathematician and computer programmer, thoroughly destroyed this paper in this Science 2.0 blog post…
No We Do Not Risk Birds Vanishing From The US Skies – And Have We Really Lost 3 Billion Birds Since 1970?
By Robert Walker | September 21st 2019
This is another study that has hit the news, this time scaring people with the idea that the whole of the US may lose all its birds rapidly in the near future.
Short summary – studies like this are hard to do and the 3 billion figure should be treated cautiously – there can be observer effects. If accurate, the reductions are mainly in the most common birds, and some of them nuisance species such as the starlings. There is no possibility of the most common birds in the US going extinct.
We have had several reports published recently that got lots of media attention that were low quality such as that insects study: New research does NOT mean a world without insects. Or the research may later turn out to be flawed, such as the case of the Costa Rica insects study which didn’t take account of the effect of a hurricane. See OOPS – Purto Rican insects in the forest canopy increase with warmth – not decline – and frogs like the warmth too. The journalists also often misunderstand or exaggerate, see: Great tits do NOT risk extinction from climate change – are of least concern and increasing – what did the paper really say?
This shows that all the media attention does not mean it is definitive or correct.
So what are we to make of this paper? Has it been reported correctly, and how much weight should we put on the conclusions?
It is a study of North American birds, based on a review of published bird counts going back to 1970, together with an interesting attempt to use radar data to count populations of nocturnal migrating birds over the last decade. Apart from the radar studies they did not do any direct data collection or data reduction themselves. These are amongst the best ways to count populations of birds we have but there are still many many known issues with bird counts.
Then, of the 3 billion reduction, 1.6 billion are from the ten most common species. 0.4 billion are from the nuisance invasive species, the house sparrow (0.33 billion) and European Starling (0.083 billion).. There are programs to reduce their numbers.
Others are birds that expanded over the US before the 1970s, as humans spread across the Americas cutting down forests and natural habitats. Some of the decline, if it is a real decline, may be due to species that had an artificial increase, and are now returning to earlier levels as habitats are restored.
Then, much of the attention has been on their extinction argument – which hardly really counts as an argument at all. It was just an argument by pathos based on the vivid image of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, not based on any actual risk of extinction of the most populous species of birds in the US.
The paper is here:
Decline of the North American avifauna
This is another article I’m writing to support people we help in the Facebook Doomsday Debunked group, that find us because they get scared, sometimes to the point of feeling suicidal about it, by such stories. Do share this with your friends if you find it useful, as they may be panicking too.
This is from Mr. Walker’s article:
This is the IUCN caption to the chart above:
The proportion of extant (i.e., excluding Extinct) species in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2019-2 assessed in each category for the more comprehensively assessed (i.e., at least 80% of the group has been assessed) groups containing ≥150 species. Species are grouped into classes (with the exception of reef-forming corals, which includes species from classes Hydrozoa and Anthozoa), and are ordered according to the vertical red lines, which indicate the best estimate for proportion of extant species considered threatened (CR, EN, or VU). Best estimates of percentage threatened species (with lower and upper estimates) for each group are: cycads 63% (63-64%); amphibians 40% (32-53%); selected dicots (magnolias, birches, cacti, southern beeches and teas) 36% (30-46%); selected reptiles (marine turtles, seasnakes, chameleons, crocodiles and alligators) 34% (29-44%); conifers 34% (34-35%); reef-forming corals 33% (27-44%); sharks, rays & chimeras 30% (18-58%); selected crustaceans (lobsters, freshwater crabs, freshwater crayfishes and freshwater shrimps) 27% (17-56%); mammals 25% (21-36%); birds 14% (13.6-14.1%); selected gastropods (cone snails) 7.5% (6-20%); selected bony fishes (anchovies, angelfishes, billfishes, blennies, bonefishes, butterflyfishes, cornetfishes, groupers, parrotfishes, pufferfishes, sardines, sturgeons, surgeonfishes, tarpons, tunas, picarels, porgies, seahorses, seabreams, syngnathid fishes) 8% (6-22%); cephalopods (nautiluses, octopuses, squids) 1.5% (1-57%). The numbers to the right of each bar represent the total number of extant species assessed for each group. EW – Extinct in the Wild, CR – Critically Endangered, EN – Endangered, VU – Vulnerable, NT – Near Threatened, DD – Data Deficient, LC – Least Concern.IUCN
The only thing truly threatening birds are climate models and RCP8.5. Fortunately, there’s a cure for this.
Shooting down the climate models like
clay pigeons, ducks on a pond, raptors near a wind farm… I got nuthin’ that doesn’t kill birds.
Putting Climate Change Claims to the Test
Dr John Christy
This is a full transcript of a talk given by Dr John Christy to the GWPF on Wednesday 8th May.
When I grew up in the world of science, science was understood as a method of finding information. You would make a claim or a hypothesis, and then test that claim against independent data. If it failed, you rejected your claim and you went back and started over again. What I’ve found today is that if someone makes a claim about the climate, and someone like me falsifies that claim, rather than rejecting it, that person tends to just yell louder that their claim is right. They don’t look at what the contrary information might say.
OK, so what are we talking about? We’re talking about how the climate responds to the emission of additional greenhouse gases caused by our combustion of fossil fuels.
So here’s the deal. We have a change in temperature from the deep atmosphere over 37.5 years, we know how much forcing there was upon the atmosphere, so we can relate these two with this little ratio, and multiply it by the ratio of the 2x CO2 forcing. So the transient climate response is to say, what will the temperature be like if you double CO2– if you increase at 1% per year, which is roughly what the whole greenhouse effect is, and which is achieved in about 70 years. Our result is that the transient climate response in the troposphere is 1.1 °C. Not a very alarming number at all for a doubling of CO2. When we performed the same calculation using the climate models, the number was 2.31°C. Clearly, and significantly different. The models’ response to the forcing – their ∆t here, was over 2 times greater than what has happened in the real world.
There is one model that’s not too bad, it’s the Russian model. You don’t go to the White House today and say, “the Russian model works best”. You don’t say that at all! But the fact is they have a very low sensitivity to their climate model. When you look at the Russian model integrated out to 2100, you don’t see anything to get worried about. When you look at 120 years out from 1980, we already have 1/3 of the period done – if you’re looking out to 2100. These models are already falsified, you can’t trust them out to 2100, no way in the world would a legitimate scientist do that. If an engineer built an aeroplane and said it could fly 600 miles and the thing ran out of fuel at 200 and crashed, he might say: “I was only off by a factor of three”. No, we don’t do that in engineering and real science! A factor of three is huge in the energy balance system. Yet that’s what we see in the climate models.
I have three conclusions for my talk:
Theoretical climate modelling is deficient for describing past variations. Climate models fail for past variations, where we already know the answer. They’ve failed hypothesis tests and that means they’re highly questionable for giving us accurate information about how the relatively tiny forcing, and that’s that little guy right there, will affect the climate of the future.
The weather we really care about isn’t changing, and Mother Nature has many ways on her own to cause her climate to experience considerable variations in cycles. If you think about how many degrees of freedom are in the climate system, what a chaotic nonlinear, dynamical system can do with all those degrees of freedom, you will always have record highs, record lows, tremendous storms and so on. That’s the way that system is.
And lastly, carbon is the world’s dominant source of energy today, because it is affordable and directly leads to poverty eradication as well as the lengthening and quality enhancement of human life. Because of these massive benefits, usage is rising around the world, despite calls for its limitation.
And with that I thank you very much for having me.GWPF
Dr. Christy’s presentation is well-worth reading in its entirety. Hat tip to Neville for citing it in this comment.
This is from Dr. Christy’s presentation:
Christy and McNider’s TCR is inline with almost every other recent estimate based on modern instrumental observations and fits right in with the past 540 million years.
The “Russian model” doesn’t even melt Greenland under RCP8.5…
What’s that? You don’t like the satellite data?
Apart from the 2016 monster El Niño, HadCRUT4 is closer to Dr. Christy’s “actual experiment” than it is the “model experiment.”
Bird Apocalypse Cancelled
RCP2.6 and RCP4.5 are strong mitigation scenarios, in which governments do really stupid things to “save the planet“.
Our government (USA) has managed to avoid implementing most of the really stupid things called for by RCP2.6 and RCP4.5, while the temperaures are acting like we did…
I believe Dr. Christy featured a graph from one of my WUWT posts in his presentation.
The graph is drawn from the 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. I prepared this graph for this September 2018 WUWT post. Since I posted it here, the exact image has appeared quite a few places on the Internet. So, it might not have been directly copied from the WUWT post.
Here’s the 2018 WUWT image:
I think he should have used this image instead:
While it would have been really cool if Dr. Christy had credited WUWT… It’s still very cool that one of the top skeptical climate scientists in the world might just have used WUWT as a reference for his presentation.