the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion


Posted by Jeff Id on September 9, 2009

When the K09 Arctic paper was first published the press release read as below.  This paper was based on about two dozen proxies which were hand selected by the scientists and each are known to have many non-temperature components to their data (i.e. moisture, CO2, disease).  Still the favorite trends were picked from hundreds and these were averaged together to create a new curve which in my opinion has no damn relationship to temperature whatsoever.  The scientists know of these limitations so when I read some of the statements below I get pissed.  So here I’ll piss off a few of these overpriced statistical data mashters (not misspelled) by highlighting some of the idiotic statements by the authors below.  My comments in red.


Figure 1, Published squiggles alleged to be temperature trends.

A new study led by Northern Arizona University and involving the
University of Colorado at Boulder indicates Arctic temperatures have
reversed from a long-term cooling trend and are now the warmest they
have been in at least 2,000 years, bad news for the world’s coastal
cities facing rising seas in the coming decades.

High northern latitudes have experienced a long-term, slow cooling trend
for several millennia, the result of a wobble in Earth’s rotation that
has been increasing the distance between the sun and Earth and
decreasing Arctic summer sunshine. The research team assembled
high-resolution records of climate for the past 2,000 years and found
that the cooling trend reversed in the mid-1990s.

The decade from 1999 to 2008 was the warmest in the last 200 decades and
corresponds with a continuing buildup of human-generated greenhouse
gases in Earth’s atmosphere, said lead author Darrell Kaufman of
Northern Arizona University. “Scientists have known for a while that the
current period of warming was preceded by a long-term cooling trend,
said Kaufman. “But our reconstruction quantifies the cooling with
greater certainty than ever before.”

The certainty calculations are one of the most idiotic aspects of all proxy reconstructions.  It reads as though scientists are 95% certain that temperatures are within a specific range, however, these certainty values represent the smoothness of the data and are COMPLETELY 100% UNRELATED to the certainty of whether or not we’re actually LOOKING AT A TEMPERATURE GRAPH!!


The mere fact that some “scientists” signed off on the review of this is beyond my understanding.

Since the Earth is still moving away from the sun — it’s about 0.6
million miles further during the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice
than it was in 1 B.C. — it appears greenhouse gases began “overriding”
the natural cooling of Earth in the middle of the last century, said
Professor Gifford Miller of CU-Boulder’s Institute for Arctic and Alpine
Research, a study co-author. “We expect the Arctic will continue to warm
in the coming decades, increasing land-based ice loss and triggering
global increases in sea-level rise,” he said.

The study was published in the Sept. 4 issue of /Science/. Other
institutions participating in the study included the National Center for
Atmospheric Research in Boulder, the University of Arizona, the
University of Massachusetts, the University of East Anglia in Norwich,
England, and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The study was
funded by the National Science Foundation.

The research team reconstructed past temperatures on a decade-by-decade
basis during the past 2,000 years using information gleaned from ancient
lake sediments, ice cores, tree rings
and other samples. As part of the
study, the decade-by-decade climate data reconstruction was compared
with sophisticated climate model simulations run by NCAR researchers.

None of the proxies are known to be temperature signals, none of the proxies are known to be uniform (stationary wrt temp) in time, and most of the proxies are so bad they are visually NOT temperature alone but are actually more related to moisture and other factors.

The NCAR climate simulations agreed closely with the ground-based Arctic
data used in the study, said NCAR scientist David Schneider, a co-author
on the study. “This result is particularly important because the Arctic,
perhaps more than any other region on Earth, is facing dramatic impacts
from climate change,”
Schneider said. “This study provides us with a
long-term record that reveals how greenhouse gases from human activities
are overwhelming the Arctic’s natural climate system

That’s because the Antarctic won’t warm so it should be ignored or datamashed until warming is shown.  The comment on greenhouse gasses is unwarranted but always assumed.  Of course that’s the hidden point of a long slow declining trend followed by a hockey stick blade.

The new Science study dovetails with a report published earlier this
year by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program on changes in the Arctic
and at high latitudes. The CCSP study’s five lead authors — including
Miller and CU-Boulder INSTAAR Director Jim White — concluded climate
warming in the Arctic and at high latitudes likely will continue at a
rapid pace given human-caused changes in Earth’s atmosphere.

Arctic temperatures have reached their highest level in the past decade,
averaging 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than would have been expected if
the 2,000-year cooling trend had continued through the latter part of
the 20th century and into the 21st century, said Kaufman.
received his doctorate from CU-Boulder in 1991 while studying under
Miller at INSTAAR.

This is not a temperature graph, it is heavily mashed data, nothing more.

Previous research has shown that Arctic temperatures increased three
times faster during the 20th century than temperatures in the rest of
the Northern Hemisphere — a phenomenon known as “Arctic amplification,”
said Miller, also a professor of geological sciences at CU-Boulder. The
amplification is caused by decreased Arctic sea ice and an increased
absorption of the sun’s heat by exposed ocean as well as “darker” land
areas caused by decreases of Arctic snow and ice, he said.

“With less sea ice in winter, the ocean returns the heat stored in
summer to the atmosphere, resulting in warmer winters throughout the
Arctic,” said Miller.

“Because we know that the processes responsible for past Arctic
amplification are still operating, we can anticipate that it will
continue into the next century,” said Miller. “The magnitude of change
was surprising, and reinforces the conclusion that humans are
significantly altering Earth’s climate.”

As we are confronted with evidence of global warming, it is extremely
helpful to be able to use paleoclimate data to provide context for
today’s climate relative to the range and trajectory of recent climate
said Neil Swanberg, director of NSF’s Arctic System Science

I don’t know what to do with this rubbish paper.  It’s so damn bad that people won’t believe it, yet it’s deliberately constructed in a way to make the whole thing difficult to fix.  The only way I can see would be to publish a dozen papers showing non-hockey stick graphs from similar data.  These would be ignored and fought back with the claim that we had chosen the wrong proxies, yet the only difference would be we had not deliberately chosen hockey stick proxies.


I propose new global policy on data handling and safety. Under my plan, the ever functional UN government would form an independently funded arm called – The Data Rights and Safe Treatment Commission (DRaSTiC)  to protect innocent data from confessing under extreme duress created by scientific torture.  In similar fashion to the IPCC it should be founded on three principles.

1 – Establish conclusively whether data does get tortured

2 – If the data is found to be tortured, was the torture caused by man and is it dangerous to the data’s conclusion.

3 – If problems are found, how can we mitigate the problem to create a safer world for innocent data.

It would be interesting to see what that independent organization found, how expensive a solution to #3 could be developed and whether it still exists after a century.  Yes these are analogous to the founding principles of the non-scientific political organization masquerading as an authority, the UN IPCC and yes you need to understand the history of the IPCC to understand them.

17 Responses to “Waterboarding”

  1. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Since at my age I do not mind repeating myself and even when I receieve no responses, I’ll do it again.

    The K09 paper would on the face of it seem to imply that without the AGW of the past 50 years, we would have continued to see a cooling Artic. If that conclusion is accepted, would not we become concerned with the opposite feedback creating a cooling NH and particularly so in the summer and causing the start (or false start) of an ice age if we had not experienced an AGW.

    I admit that I have not read the paper (I tire of the same old same old), but I expect that the authors did not allude to my view of applying their conclusions to a positive benefit of AGW in avoiding an impending global cooling and all the negative effects that would be expected to accompany such a climate change. The authors spin choices say much about their predispositions on mattters of climate.

  2. David Jay said

    Go get ’em Jeff!

  3. MikeN said

    IPCC was started by Thatcher to promote nuclear power.

  4. Layman Lurker said

    Jeff comments:

    “It’s so damn bad that people won’t believe it, yet it’s deliberately constructed in a way to make the whole thing difficult to fix. The only way I can see would be to publish a dozen papers showing non-hockey stick graphs from similar data.”

    Bender’s comment #226 on the original Kaufman thread at CA:

    “Removing Yamal alone doesn’t quite tip the scale in the CWP warmer than MWP debate. Removing Yamal AND turning Tiljander upside down is what is needed to make CWP “unprecedented” in 2000 years. IOW, without this operation there is no Science Paper.”

    If Bender is right, I think that this would be an interesting angle to explore in refuting K09. If it were published, it would force the author’s to defend the orientation of the Tiljander series and justify the use of Briffa’s Yamal series over the updated Polar Urals. According to Steve, it seems the argument against Yamal already has support in Wegman (I will have to review Wegman again to be sure). This would just leave the Tiljander orientation to be argued.

  5. Jeff Id said

    Good idea Lurk/Bender. Maybe it isn’t hopeless.

  6. DeWitt Payne said

    MikeN said
    September 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm,

    At the time, Thatcher was trying (successfully I might add) to break the power of the coal miners’ union. Promotion of any form of non-coal generated electric power was a large part of her strategy. Lots of power plants in the UK were either converted from coal to natural gas or were built from the start to use natural gas. If you have some proof that she was promoting only nuclear power plant construction, I’d like to see it. Note, I’ve already seen the post on Pielke, Jr.s’ blog asserting the same thing so that doesn’t qualify.

  7. Layman Lurker said


    After skimming the Wegman report, I did not see any arguments against Yamal specifically (ala Bristlecones). The only thing I saw was the commentary and demonstration on the lack of independance in the “clique” of paleo reconstructions.

  8. Charlie said

    Your post was too subtle for me to follow.

    Perhaps in your next post you’ll tell us how you _really_ feel about K09.


    p.s. DRaSTIC should of course be an international committee —
    Data Rights a Safe Treatment International Committee.

  9. Jeff Id said


    hehe. Doc told me to let it all out. It’s good for the health.

    The paper is insane though.

  10. I’ve discussed Yamal on many occasions. It’s a different issue than bristlecones. Briffa et al 1992 used Polar Urals, claiming that the 11th century was cold and 1032 the coldest year of the millennium. This was an important wedge against MWP concepts. The data set for Briffa et al 1995 was very incomplete in early portions. Updated information in the later 1990s led to a notable MWP at Polar Urals – this was never reported in any publication. Instead Briffa started using another site (Yamal) where the measurement data has never been made public and where Briffa obtained a huge HS. No reconciliation of Yamal vs Polar Urals or explanation of the substitution has ever been made. If one substitutes the Polar Urals Update for Yamal, it reverses MWP-modern differntials in studies that aren’t using bristlecones.

    Notwithstanding bender’s comment, the Yamal issue makes far more difference than upside down Tiljander. Kaufman’s Yamal is at 7 sigma in 1995.

  11. timetochooseagain said

    Frankly I don’t think Tilijander should have been used at all, either right side up or upside down. There is a known reason for it’s behavior at the end of the record that has nothing to do with temperature (although everything to do with Anthropogenic influences which naturally hockey stick like CO2, Population, GDP, Etc. So when Tilijander is use to create a stick that “proves” AGW it’s “DUH!”

    Or as I said “Well, there is an anthropogenic signal in the data! 😆 ”

    This study is incredibly bad. I’m still puzzled as to how the MWP could have happened in the Greenland but not the rest of the Arctic…

  12. timetochooseagain said

    Any comments, Jeff, people?

  13. Layman Lurker said

    K09 would not likely have used Tiljander with it’s proper orientation because it wouldn’t have made the cut in the insturmental period.

  14. Layman Lurker said

    #10 Steve McIntyre

    “No reconciliation of Yamal vs Polar Urals or explanation of the substitution has ever been made. If one substitutes the Polar Urals Update for Yamal, it reverses MWP-modern differntials in studies that aren’t using bristlecones.”

    Does one need the Yamal data to give the argument sufficient leverage in the case against K09?

  15. Jeff Id said

    #12, Sorry, I was blasting Halo aliens into the next universe. 40 YO and still love video games.

    Steve has a handle on proxies like nobody else and is willing to explain them for the rest of us. Consider how much reading has to be done to figure his point out. Really! Most climatology papers (and many others) are written to intentionally obscure the obvious to the readers not IN the field. There is a level of understanding which is difficult to acquire for those not paid to do it.

    Really consider this – this was never reported in any publication. How many other ‘experts’ or bloggers would be willing or able to make a point like that.

    It’s the scientific honesty which makes SteveM so good. It’s also the never directly stated problems with reconstructions that are my self appointed job to enunciate. It’s simply impossible to ignore the insanity of the implications of Steve’s soft worded comment. How do a half dozen climatologists seemingly MISS the obvious. Look at it, a ‘wedge’ against the MWP.

    If you read here regularly there is one word which in my humble opinion incorporates the problem and the cause.


    I’ll get to some data plotting soon.

  16. #11. Kaufman has a new proxy from Iceland which has a very pronounced MWP and one that could become a mainstay, if you want to bake apple pies instead cherry pies. I’ll do a post on it at CA next week.

  17. Jeff Id said

    #16, I’ll look forward to it.

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