the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Business as Usual

Posted by Jeff Id on December 12, 2011

Despite its now obvious flaws, Steig et al. (S09) appears destined for a prominent role in the upcoming AR5 report.   We are told a lot of things by climate scientists, one being publish your results because blogs are not peer reviewed.   It turns out that even when you publish your results, they go unnoticed. S09 is cited in at least 3 different chapters of AR5 initial drafts.  The O’Donnell refutation (O10) of S09 was orders of magnitude more thorough than S09 and various stages of it were reviewed in blogland. Therefore our work had accurate results. Apparently, accuracy counts for little in climate science™ as S09 is a mess and nobody seems to care. Instead of recognizing these widely discussed issues, IPCC authors have taken little notice of our unexciting blue/red plots (that match ALL previous work) and have gone instead to the pretty red colors of S09.

Apparently, the way to get noticed in climate science is to publish unreasonable hockey stick style warming trends written in such a confusing manner that even other scientists can’t work out how you succeeded in communicating the AGW message. If others notice some problems, you refuse to release your messy code and tease their skepticism. If they write in blogs, well that’s not credible because it hasn’t gone through peer review. If they fight back in print, count on your friends to allow you to review the critique. You can recommend to the journal editor that the work be changed to agree with yours and if they won’t, you can recommend it not see the light of day. If the skeptics of your work still manage to publish, you can count on the media to ignore it. Your friends in charge of the institutions will then pretend not to notice the problems and accept your original pretty warming plots with an uncritical eye.

Chapter 10 has some quotes which are relevant:

A final comment is due with regard to the paradox of only minor sea ice changes near Antarctica in previous decades versus the substantial changes in the Arctic. Sea ice extent across the Southern Hemisphere over the year as a whole increased 1.0% per decade from 1978–2006 with the largest increase in the Ross Sea during the autumn (Comiso and Nishio, 2008; Turner et al., 2009). The bulk of the Antarctic has experienced little change in surface temperature over the last 50 years, although a slight cooling has been evident around the coast of East Antarctica since about 1980. The exception is the Antarctic Peninsula, where there has been warming (Steig et al., 2009; Turner and Overland, 2009). Many of the different changes observed between the two polar regions can be attributed to topographic factors and land/sea distribution. The Antarctic ozone hole may have had an influence on the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere, isolating the continent and increasing the westerly winds over the Southern Ocean, especially during the summer and winter. Because of a southward shift in the tropospheric jet, the ozone hole has been proposed a possible contributor to warming over the Antarctic Peninsula, cooling over the high plateau, increases in sea ice area averaged around Antarctica, and warming of the subsurface Southern Ocean at depths up to several hundred meters (Goosse et al., 2009). However, recent work (Sigmond and Fyfe, 2010; Steig et al., 1 2009) take issue with the links between Antarctic ozone, circulation, and sea ice changes. Instead, in these works, regional changes in atmospheric circulation and associated changes in sea surface temperature are required to explain the enhanced warming in West Antarctica. Sigmond and Fyfe (2010) simulate an increase in Antarctic sea ice in response to stratospheric ozone depletion.

Amazingly, Steig et al. showed very little warming in the peninsula in comparison to the actual trend having smeared it across the entire continent.  This is particularly true for West Antarctica where the paper had a ridiculous 0.20C/Decade. Another odd thing is they mention cooling in the East Antarctic despite Steig09 being a contradictory reference.  Later in the same chapter they point that out:

Antarctica also has long terms trends in its surface temperature with significant variations in these trends depending on the strength of the SAM and the impacts of ozone depletion in the stratosphere (Steig et al., 2009; Thompson and Solomon, 2002; Turner and Overland, 2009). Simulations using atmospheric general circulation models with observed surface boundary conditions over the last 50 years suggest that the contributions of from both ozone and rising greenhouse gases. It was concluded that the pattern of mean surface temperature trends in both West and East Antarctica are positive for 1957–2006, and this warming trend is difficult to explain without the radiative forcing associated with increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations (Steig et al., 2009).

That last sentence is too much for me. The positive trends are very easy to explain  – bad math!!  What isn’t easy to explain is why the entire corpus of authors doesn’t seem to know that the famous south pole data hasn’t shown any warming.  A simple thermometer contradicting S09.   You might think that this is because they aren’t aware of O10 (I’m sure some aren’t) but that is far from the case. Comiso, Steig’s coauthor and a coordinating lead author (big dog) of the IPCC cryosphere chapter, has this reference from the ZOD:

Studies of surface temperature conclude on widespread warming of Antarctica since 1957 (Barrett et al.,54 2009; Comiso, 2010; Steig et al., 2009).

Three references are given to support “widespread warming”.  Surprisingly, Barrett et al. says not one thing about widespread warming and is in fact a borehole-proxy study of a very small region of the Antarctic adjacent to the peninsula.  The next reference ,Comiso 2010, is a reference to a book he wrote which addresses only satellite data since 1980’s, it is not peer reviewed AND it contains factual inaccuracies about trends in the Antarctic.  For instance he makes the claim that 0.1C/Decade from the satellite data is actually less than station data for the same period.
We are left with a single paper supporting the warming nonsense – you guessed it – S09.  The truth is that the ground trends from station data after 1981 is between 0.03 and 0.05 C/Decade.   So in short, Comiso, who is a coauthor of S09, and is very aware of our correct critique, has ignored reality in favor of false warming results.

When S09 came out, the Authors tried to discuss the Western continent warming only at Real Climate – the continental plot was entirely red though.  Crack cocaine for advocates.  A huge media blitz ensued proclaiming the warming of the entire continent.  Questions arose in the Real Climate thread about the warming pole right away and were dismissed as not important. Objective people knew the now blindingly obvious truth that the red continent had to be an artifact of flawed math. No scientist can accept that plot without question and our initial skepticism was proven out in a prominent journal. True to climategate form, as the IPCC chapters continue to be leaked out, we can see the widespread attempt to ignore O10 and use the incorrect warming caused by math errors of S09 to claim that the Antarctic is in danger of melting – even though it is not.

Jeff – you might say – it’s just a draft and they haven’t even started getting comments.  You would have a point but I have experience.  So since I am not an official IPCC reviewer, the above comment is mine.

49 Responses to “Business as Usual”

  1. Although world leaders and leaders of the scientific community want us to believe they are immune to concerns of ordinary citizens and will continue to do “Business as Usual”, their actions belie their public displays of confidence.

    This dichotomy is explained in a comment posted last night on Professor Curry’s blog:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/11/agu-fall-meeting-highlights/#comment-149143

    And in “Deep Roots of the Global Climate Scandal (1971-2011)”

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/Climategate_Roots.pdf

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  2. Frank K. said

    “Three references are given to support “widespread warming”. Surprisingly, Barrett et al. says not one thing about widespread warming and is in fact a borehole-proxy study of a very small region of the Antarctic adjacent to the peninsula. The next reference ,Comiso 2010, is a reference to a book he wrote which addresses only satellite data since 1980′s, it is not peer reviewed AND it contains factual inaccuracies about trends in the Antarctic. For instance he makes the claim that 0.1C/Decade from the satellite data is actually less than station data for the same period.”

    “We are left with a single paper supporting the warming nonsense – you guessed it – S09.”

    This is amazingly sloppy work by “the team”, but from my observation of climate science, not too surprising. I’m sure they were counting on readers not actually looking into the references they cite…

  3. DBD said

    Merry Christmas Jeff!

  4. diogenes said

    S09…the paper that never dies, no matter what is propelled towards it – facts, knowledge, maths – S09 keeps lurching forwards into hbistory.

  5. Layman Lurker said

    Thanks for this Jeff. Following this along to publication of AR5 will be an interesting case example of politics vs science in the review process. If this process is worth it’s salt, these contradictions and over-reaching inferences will not see the light of day. This is an interesting conflict and political dilemna for Comiso. O10 has shown that S09 to be seriously flawed and therefore unreliable for any references on Antarctic warming. Such an acknowledgement would not threaten the AGW cause in any way but would throw S09 under the bus.

  6. Brian H said

    Skilled climocrats can fashion a suitable conclusion and backstory out of any random collection of junk and debris. Forcing veridical information through the system is possible only by exerting sufficient force to cause structural damage.

  7. TGSG said

    #5 Layman Lurker said…Such an acknowledgement would not threaten the AGW cause in any way but would throw S09 under the bus.

    if they are going to start throwing out all the misleading “science”, they are going to need a bigger bus.

  8. Brian H said

    And as you intimate, Jeff, it’s not what you know, it’s who.

  9. Obviously they’ve learned from Skeptical Science…just write a long list of baseless statements and accompany them to unrelated references, then hope none will read those references…

  10. Chuckles said

    It seemed fairly clear from the Climategate emails that all that is only necessary to know the ‘right’ answer.

    Then clearly, any paper or data that supports that position is equally ‘right’ and must be used in preference to any which question this position.

    So Jeff, to paraphrase, the fact that O’Donnell etc al (O10) was correct, does not mean it was ‘right’.

  11. kim said

    The problem with all this is a blind hand on the tiller.
    ===========

  12. We know how this works, do we not? They ignore any objections during the draft then say (without citation) that your findings are statistically insignificant in the final report.

  13. WB said

    Goodness me, that Ch 10 is nothing but conjecture and overstatement. Stay on this Jeff.

  14. Dan Hughes said

    Jeff, tell your source we want Chapter 8.

    Thanks

  15. Jeff Id said

    Dan,

    They come randomly but I think they read here.

  16. Dean said

    Any idea who is reviewing this section so that they know to raise this issue?

  17. George said

    When is there going to be a demand that some of theses discredited papers be completely retracted?

  18. gallopingcamel said

    Jeff,
    Don’t get discouraged! There are plenty of people who do care about truth and accuracy in science.

    Thank you for all you do and a merry Christmas to you and yours.

  19. Anonymous said

    So the IPCC has redefined what “objective” means. The concept “conflict of interest” was pointed out to them by IAC (and many others), but they still prefer Comiso to assess Comiso and so on. I believe it was Ross McKitrick who said that you just have to look at the names of the authors beforehand to know what will be in the report. And probably what won’t.

    They do have a problem, if they don’t mention the O10 paper it can and will be held against them, but if the do, they will have to re-write their claim that

    “… and this warming trend is difficult to explain without the radiative forcing associated with increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations…”

    The Cause, that is.

  20. Jeff Id said

    #18 GC

    You have me nailed. I’m trying not to let it get me down but Jesus. How far do you have to go to convince science that they have made a friggin’ boo boo??

    Nobody is perfect after all. It ain’t like I’m immune.

  21. kim said

    Whatever the Cause is, it is being betrayed.
    =================

  22. Frank K. said

    “How far do you have to go to convince science that they have made a friggin’ boo boo??”

    Steig et al will NEVER admit to anything. This is CLIMATE science after all. In fact, I’m willing to bet that Steig has a framed copy of his Nature cover hanging in his office – which probably represents the pinnacle of his career. In his mind, your results merely validate his original work, and nothing will change that…

  23. Jeff,

    I’ve been following criticism of the IPCC “process” for many years now. I could have told you this was going to happen before you started.

    Lead authors are appointed based on their viewpoints. They then troll the literature for whatever they can find that confirms their belief. They are free to ignore the reviewer comments of their work anyway, which is the reverse of normal peer review.

  24. Geoff said

    Jeff, my recollection is that S09 showed a cooling trend or non-significant trend in the satellite era, but the number didn’t leap out at me when I glanced at the paper just now. Do you have these figures handy? Were they just blog analysis or did this calculation make it into the literachur? I didn’t see the sensitivity analysis is O11 either.

    (By the way, not to add to conspiracy theorists, but typing in “O’Donnell” in the AMS journals search box does not return the O11 paper. Typing in another name beginning with “C” however does turn up the paper).

  25. kim said

    Just as the hockey stick must be held firmly and bitterly for anthro attribution, so must a warming West Antarctica be grasped in order to cast the spell of Ice Shelf Doom.

    These ikons are so fragile. Brittle. Bitter.
    =================

  26. George said

    #25 it’s my opinion that the “hockey stick”, AR4, and the Steig paper have all been thoroughly discredited by several different people at this point. They have still never been able to explain why the early 20th century warming wasn’t anthropogenic but the late warming was even though both periods warmed by the same amount over the same length of time. Two nearly identical periods of warming only 60 years apart yet one is catastrophic and the other isn’t because of their need to pin the blame on CO2 doesn’t fit the earlier warming. In fact none of the change in global temperature aside from one 30 year period of “adjusted” temperatures in the last 150 years correlates with their hypothesis.

    They massage data, select series, concoct adjustments to show “stable” climate over the past 1000 years and in the end are exposed for what they are yet this absolutely discredited bunch at the IPCC still clings to their lame mantra and still uses these papers as some sort of foundation for diverting billions of dollars of the world’s money to completely unproductive use.

    How anyone with any fundamental respect for science could have even an ounce of respect for this crew is simply amazing to me. They are a complete discredit to their profession, science in general, and their institutions.

    Why are these people still around? Why haven’t those papers been retracted? It seems to me that when confronted with their errors, they simply insert some slipperier weasel words than the weasel words they used before. The whole thing gets me very emotional because there was a time when I had a certain amount of respect for people in the scientific field and now I can’t believe a bloody word any of them say. They have become politicians.

  27. hro001 said

    @26 George:

    They have become politicians

    Unfortunately, this is all too true. As Von Storch wrote in Der Spiegel:

    “The conference in Durban was a disappointment; environmental policy is stuck. Climate scientists are to blame because they are fixated on conceitedness and missionary zeal for reducing CO2 emissions.”

    And here in Canada – where yesterday our real politicians announced our official disengagement from Kyoto – Andrew Weaver, a climate modeller (and AR4 CLA) has been running around endorsing a candidate for the leadership of a federal political party because (according to Weaver who, not unlike Michael Mann, seems to have an inordinate fondness for his own authority):

    “Canada needs a Prime Minister who recognizes that a healthy economy does not have to come at the expense of a healthy environment,” Weaver said. Mulcair is that person, he said.

    Mulcair is proposing a comprehensive cap and trade plan that would build on the New Democrats’ campaign proposal. The “polluters-pay” type plan would remain industry-focussed, however it would expand beyond targeting the 700 largest emitters in Canada to cover all major sources of pollution.

    This new plan would also cap climate change pollution at its source, according to Mulcair.

    Now, it seems “climate change pollution” – whatever this is supposed to mean – has been thrown into the mix! But back to the IPCC and Steig’s S09 … seems to me that the IPCC may be in desperate need of a replacement icon for the infamous hockey-stick; and perhaps it has already been decided that Steig’s glorious Nature cover is it.

    It would be nice to know that there are some honest science journalists lurking here, who could pick up this story and run with it. But I’m not holding my breath.

  28. gallopingcamel said

    George asks,
    “Why are these people still around? Why haven’t those papers been retracted? It seems to me that when confronted with their errors, they simply insert some slipperier weasel words than the weasel words they used before.”

    How true. They are still around for the same reason that the Cosa Nostra was able to control so many things in New York City (e.g. Garbage, cement, air freight etc.). The people who are in authority will suffer financially if the extortion ends.

  29. [...] Id has an excellent post on IPCC AR5 use of the highly flawed Steig et al 2009. Despite Steig’s efforts to block the [...]

  30. Coldish said

    Don’t let the buggers get you down, Jeff. Keep cool. You’re doing OK. Don’t give up.

  31. Jeff Id said

    #24 geoff,

    The sat era showed an insane 0.27 which is why Comiso’s satellite data isn’t that good for trend. He uses AVHRR data which is a surface temp measurement that is sensitive to clouds, ground cover etc.. Ryan performed a Kaufmann test on the data in comparison to ground and found significant deviations throughout the sat record. This is expected from the type of data it is. Because of the known issue, we used it only for covariance info in O10.

  32. Jeff, I too appreciate all that you have done, and I urge you and everyone else to keep the faith.

    Ultimately, “Truth is victorious, never untruth” ["Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6; Qur'an 17.85; Numerous other scriptures].

    Today three pressing issues:

    1. Fear, unemployment, homelessness, and economic uncertainty in society;
    2. Arrogance and false pride that prevent scientists and politicians from serving society.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/michael-mann-activist/#comment-62303

    3. Section 1031 of US Senate Bill 1867:

    http://www.infowars.com/levin-it-was-obama-who-required-indefinite-detainment-bill-include-u-s-citizens/

    Confirm the validity of President Eisenhower’s warning in 1961: The survival of our form of government is at stake:

    With deep regret,
    Oliver K. Manuel

    http://myprofile.cos.com/manuelo09

  33. Ruhroh said

    Jeff;
    For a prophetic example of what you should expect re Steig09, use that Ecowho grepper thing to search the phrase; “Fu et al” .
    What you will find is a rather well-condensed parallel tale,
    first, someone (at CRU?!) going ballistic about the ZOD of AR4, particularly the tawdry efforts to call Fu good and all else bad [regarding the pivotal matter of the GCM-predicted Tropical Lower Tropopause hot spot, missing in satellite and radiosonde data];
    Also, collegial ‘tut-tutting’ about how that someone needs to be coached to cool his jets, as it is just a strawman until the IPCC decides what they want;

    later, various rumblings about ‘why all the noise about Fu?’

    later, after the governments have written the ‘Executive summary’ , the lead authors must be directed to do the unseemly task of conforming the ‘scientific underpinnings’ to the desired messages in the summary;

    An illicit note (prima facie known to be improper contact direct to LA)

    and then finally, the belated acknowledgement that Fu et al is an embarrassment and that a replacement will need to be generated in time for AR5.

    Other than needing to understand the role of Fu in AR4,( the missing TLT ‘hotspot’) this tale is perhaps more accessible (to ‘lay science’ readers) than some of the others which require substantial remedial education in statistical practices and malpractices.

    Perhaps I misunderstood it, but that was my take on the rather short list of hits when I ‘grepped’ “Fu et al” .
    RR

  34. The higher a monkey climbs a pole, the better you can see his butt. – David Axelrod

    I can’t help seeing this as a blessing. We want to show that these people are corrupt, religious fanatics, and they keep helping us by being what they are.

    This makes AR5 a dead letter. Dead on arrival. Worthless. Debunked two years ago. Prepublished debunking.
    We are so far ahead of their game.

    Good work Jeff.

  35. Anonymous said

    This is great. There is an old axiom that it is better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. The IPCC is thought to be corrupt and incompetent. Climate science is thought to be corrupt and incompetent. Let them open their mouths. Wide.

    A lot of people, including scientists like Judy Curry, are paying much closer attention this time around. Just keep feeding the alarmists all the rope they want. They’ll keep hanging themselves. They can’t stop themselves.

  36. EdH said

    Anyone can sign up to be a reviewer for the first-order draft of AR5 (only for the next 2 days though):

    https://fod.ipcc.unibe.ch/registration/

    Please do so, and tell the authors your views (politely of course).

  37. Marion said

    Disappointing, Jeff, but not surprising and I rather agree with Papertigre.

    This simply underscores how corrupt they are and how accurate was the criticism in Donna Laframboise book. Now we can cite the O10 debunking S09 and laugh at their incompetence for basing their assumptions on such a flawed paper.

    The fact that the IPCC have allowed AR5 to be composed in this manner, especially after the criticisms in the IAC report, simply shows they are incapable of redemption and need to be disbanded.

    So well done, O10 was not in vain and will continue to be cited by all those who prefer truth and accuracy in their science.

  38. andrew said

    “scientists like Judy Curry”

    I wouldn’t have great expectations of Dr. Curry at this point. She’s had plenty of time to figure this stuff out, if indeed she’s (really) slow on picking things up. My suspicion is she’s well aware of what’s going on, and just is another Warmer in the chow line.

    Andrew

  39. [...] A pesar de sus ahora obvios fallos, Steig et al (S09) parece destinado a un rol preminente en el informe AR5. Los científicos del clima nos dicen muchas cosas, una de ellos que publiques turs resultados en la literatura científica, porque los blogs no son “peer-review”. Pero resulta que incluso cuando publicas en esas condiciones los resultados, siguen sin contar. Citan el S09 al menos en tres capítulos distintos del primer borrador del AR5. La refutación del O’Donnel (O10) del S09 ha sido órdenes de magnitud más completa que que el S09, y varias partes han sido además revisadas en bloglandia.  Por lo tanto nuestro trabajo tenía resultados exactos. Pero aparentemente la exactitud tiene poca relevancia en la ciencia de clima, visto que S09 era un desastre, y no parece importarle a nadie. En vez de reconocer este asunto tan ampliamente discutido, los autores del IPCC no han tomado nota de nuestros  poco excitantes gráficos con zonas azules y rojas, (que coinciden con TODOS los estudios previos), y han preferido presentar los preciosos colores rojos de S09. [-->] [...]

  40. Espen said

    Good grief. It’s kind of fun, though, that just as a group of skiing adventurers supported by the warmist Norwegian Polar Institute were supposed to repeat Amundsen’s run for the South Pole, and meet the Prime Minister for a “climate change”-loaded Amundsen celebration at the pole, they were faced with so bad and cold weather that they didn’t make it (and had to been flown in)! I’ve been watching Antarctica here for the last few weeks, and the anomalies have been waaay below zero for several weeks now :-)

    If anything, that anomaly shows bipolar amplification ;-)

  41. Espen said

    “that anomaly” -> the linked anomaly map

  42. hunter said

    The interesting thing is the relentlessness with which AGW believers are willing to ignore reality in favor of their faith.

  43. TomRude said

    Best wishes for the Holidays!
    And again Thank you for your work and efforts in O Donnell et al. 2010

  44. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Tom and others,

    You won’t believe what is coming next.

  45. Ruhroh said

    Jeff;
    Thanks for not leaving us in suspense for long, regarding this little tease.
    You were absolutely correct, it strains credulity that the authorities can make such (long-delayed re-) actions. Hmmm, maybe it was more about the ZOD draft chapters? Did TB float any of those? I don’t see them if he did.
    RR

  46. Jeff Id said

    Ruhroh,

    Nope, more is coming.

  47. srp said

    #4 Diogenes:

    Nuke it from orbit–it’s the only way to be sure.

  48. Ruhroh said

    OK, some more info at

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2012/01/03/antarctic-temperature-trends/

    Not sure where they got the Christy plots.
    RR

  49. DISC Assessment…

    [...]Business as Usual « the Air Vent[...]…

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