the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Hush Andy, There’s Nothing to See Here

Posted by Jeff Id on December 7, 2009

I received an email which prompted me to drag myself over to the RC blog again. I must be their most avid reader lately. While I agree with the article that it’s good to talk to the scientists, Dr. Steig still does not recognize the recently exposed bias of that particular group. Since we have the comment by Michael Schlesinger which gave a second and final warning yesterday to Andy Revkin, it’s clear what the point of this post was. It’s a public warning to Andy Revkin and the rest of the media, that if they want to keep his insider status, skeptical comments from scientists who don’t agree, will not be tolerated.

We appreciate that Revkin may be trying to use voices that will appear ‘centrist’ to most of his audience. But Pielke’s answers, while they sound very reasonable, are wrong.

Last warning Andy. Are you listening yet?

If they are willing to publicly abuse an independent reporter for talking to a skeptic, can you imagine the pressure inside their circle to agree with the consensus? Michael Mann doesn’t mind wielding his power privately, it seems that Eric Steig doesn’t mind doing it publicly.

Without exaggeration, I’m again struck by the apparent lack of confidence in the science consensus.  There is no argument on the merits of why a particular comment is wrong, just that it is wrong and you better shut up Andy.  It’s like he’s hoping we don’t notice that there are hundreds of scientists under the thumb of the consensus.  Dr. Steig does not seem like that kind of individual in email exchanges I’ve had, I wonder if he’s signing his name for others. You wonder now why meteorologists don’t tend to fall in line with climatologists? You wonder why 30,000 technical individuals outside of climatology signed a petition pointing out the bad science being done? Are you guys figuring it out?

Consensus is not a natural state for humans…It is unnatural and occurs through force. Kim Jong Il was elected with 100% of the vote in North Korea too. You couldn’t get that if there was only one name on the ballot in the US.

That’s not to say that there is no science referenced in the Real Climate post, and one of my goals is to help people interpret the science. So let’s look at what Dr. Steig has to say:

Obviously, radical changes to the long term trend in the surface temperature record would require re-evaluation of our understanding of climate sensitivity, but such radical changes are almost impossible to envision happening. This is so because: 1) independent assessments of the surface temperature data (such as by the Japanese Meteorological Agency) agree extremely well with one another, and 2) independent evidence from borehole temperatures fully validate the long term surface trend (and actually suggest it is larger than, for example, indicated by proxy temperature constructions).

Dr. Steig is right. When CRU redoes the data we will see the same trend and Real Climate will stomp around saying, look we told you it made no difference. Ha, stop listening to skeptics and deniers. We already know that will be the media response too. But the media is missing the point again (in the future hehe). The point will be that the surface stations chosen are biased for a number of reasons including urban warming. We will finally see the list of sites and maybe even the data used to create the very likely exaggerated trend. Ya see, despite CRU’s horsecrap statements about not being allowed to show the data (which we know now was discarded), they could still have revealed to the world the list of stations in the data.

So Dr. Steig uses the ‘independent’ construction of data, IOW, the consensus of the data to demonstrate there is no disagreement. However, these independent surface temperature datasets all use the same GHCN source data, the corrected, homogenized, already mashed thermometer series. They are as independent as Michael Mann , Phil Jones and Gavin Schmidt, not only are discussions held between the groups, but they use a huge percentage of overlapping data. And guess what, the satellite temperature data – does not agree….

In an unusual second point, Dr. Steig quotes borehole proxy data. Boreholes used to be one of my favorite proxies, because they made sense. You measure the ground temperature inside the earth and try to extract air temperature over time from it. However, it turns out that in reality, dry boreholes are not used. They are full of groundwater, so I wonder, does any non-climatologist think that a 400 year old temperature signal can be measured in an area with flowing groundwater? In addition the math used is shall we say — suspect. So when Dr. Steig says – look it’s confirmed by boreholes and it’s worse than we thought. Take it from a skeptic, this point is complete crap.

And in case you’re wondering, it’s not just skeptics who have concerns with temperature data.  Climatologists do too, although they will never say it publicly.

>> At 04:34 PM 4/18/00 -0400, Ed Cook wrote:
>> >Dear Juerg,
>> >

[snip – off topic]

However, I must admit to having doubts about
>> >the quality of the early instrumental records despite the great efforts
>> >made to homogenize and correct them. This is especially the case with
>> >regards to low-frequency variability,
but can also extend to individual
>> >values as well. I talked with Phil Jones about one suspect datum in the
>> >early portion of his extended NAO record that largely destroys any
>> >correlation with proxy-based NAO estimates (the sign of the instrumental
>> >index appears to be wrong to me). Yet, Phil is convinced that that datum is
>> >good and he may very well be right. Either way, more robust methods of
>> >association between series may be jusitified to guard anomalous values.

And it’s to do with low frequency variability not as Dr. Steig states here:

The only conceivable changes to the record of surface temperatures are in the short term variability, which provide very little constraint on the climate sensitivity. (See e.g. Wigley et al. (1997), and Knutti and Hegerl’s 2008 review of research on climate sensitivity).

Low frequency, is trend short term high frequency is weather.  What’s so amazing about all of this posturing and attempts to keep the press in line is that it all could have been avoided if  Phil Jones and others had simply provided the data and the code.

Are you listening to our voices climate science?   I hope so because we’re not going away.

Lucia has an excellent post on the topic here.


42 Responses to “Hush Andy, There’s Nothing to See Here”

  1. RB said

    Still, one should be cautious in conclusions when the same trend for the last 50 years was arrived at independently.
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=77

  2. BarryW said

    They should be very cautious making threats like that. What if the MSM get ticked off by the threats, stop listening to them, and start going to the likes of Pielke and Christy for their comments exclusively? They could wind up being marginalized very quickly.

  3. stan said

    RB,

    The trend doesn’t show up in the raw data. Only in the massaged, adjusted, filled-in data.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #1 Boreholes stink.

  5. Third Party said

    “…provided that the ground surface temperature and the climatic temperature at the borehole site are closely connected.”

    There’s a big if. Just what is a “climatic temperature” and how is it calculated for various part times and then correlated with the “ground temperature” (which is likely to vary some on a daily basis). It’d be better to pore over the records of the Roman Empire to develop an Empire climatic temperature spatial chronology.

  6. Jeff Id said

    #

    Well, personal attacks are once again outnumbering thoughtful criticism about 10:1, and the criticism is 10:1 off topic. I do wonder why we bother reading the comments section at all.

    I think the statement from Pershing (State Department deputy special envoy on climate change), cited by Revkin (here) sums things up pretty nicely:

    My sense about the climate emails … is that they have released a barrage of additional information which makes clear the robustness of the science, the multitude, the enormous multitude of different strands of evidence that support the urgency and the severity of the problem, that have been managed in multiple places around the world. What I think is unfortunate, and in fact shameful, is the way some scientists who’ve devoted their lives are being pilloried in the press without due regard to process.

    Comments now closed on this post.

    Comment by eric — 7 December 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  7. RB said

    #4, fight the good fight. One amateur can do better than those involved with dendroscience, proxy constructions, surface temps, the modelers etc. etc. – that we seem to be wasting too much money on pseudoscience. The key point to remember for guerrillas is that if IPCC says “it is 90% certain”, that is only “50-50” in the court of public opinion. The common folk will not be able to tell what the magnitude or impact of any resulting errors are. It will all be obfuscated in the fog of war. First step in the process is to accuse the opponents of starting off with the desired answer, unlike us.

  8. Bob H. said

    A margarine commercial once stated “It’s not nice to fool mother nature”. I wonder how long it will take the Team to learn it’s not nice to threaten the media? The media is just as likely to turn on the Team like a rabid dog as to shut up if they keep this up. It looks like the Team still has allies over at Google.

    BTW, the latest seach engine counts:
    Google – 30,400,000
    Yahoo – 27,800,000
    Bing – 56,900,000
    Altavista – 43,200,000

    Hmm. Google still doesn’t have auto-suggest showing climategate or any of it’s derivitives.

  9. Paul Linsay said

    Jeff,

    “However, it turns out that in reality, dry boreholes are not used. They are full of groundwater, so I wonder, does any non-climatologist think that a 400 year old temperature signal can be measured in an area with flowing groundwater? In addition the math used is shall we say — suspect.”

    Interesting comment. I’ve thought so too, but just on an armchair basis. Could you write a piece about this, especially the math. I looked at it once and couldn’t make head or tail of how they did the inversion. After all, the heat equation is dissipative, i.e., irreversible.

  10. Jeff Id said

    #9 – here is a good post on the math. I hope you like multivariate regression.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3586

  11. Tony Hansen said

    …’What I think is unfortunate, and in fact shameful, is the way some scientists who’ve devoted their lives…’
    or
    …’What I think is unfortunate, and in fact shameful, is the way some scientists who’ve devoted their lies…’

  12. PJ said

    I’m not a matrix multivariate guy, but I know enough to I think give a simple explanation for why even dry boreholes are lousy: The data is underdetermined, ie, there are multiple solutions for a given set of measurements. As article in Climate Audit says “x_estimates and many reasonable temperature reconstructions that have residuals that are almost identical”

    However, the diffusion of temperature will allow differences to occur in different ways.

  13. Gary said

    When they conveniently ignore the metadata on station moves, microclimate issues, UHI, etc., of course the recalculation will be very similar to the massaged/adjusted data. This better be said loud and clear before they do it or the PR momentum will swing back to the obfuscators. It’s been unreported by the MSM that data quality is as vitally important as availability. Reporters, even the slightly clued-in Andy Revkin type, don’t make the point forcefully enough.

  14. twawki said

    Well the mor eof this that gets on the public record the less support of the public, then the political process, then the media they will have. They are playing a dangerous game and when/as it turns against them they will not be so outspoken

  15. Jason said

    hi,
    for moment please do not distribute or discuss.
    trying to get a sense of whether singer / christy can get any traction
    with this at all.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>*_ ANDREW C. REVKIN

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=819&filename=1196795844.txt

  16. Ron H. said

    I couldn’t help but feel sorry for someone named “Bob” who left comment #9 on the RC post referenced by this tAV post. The poor guy seems to be extremely alarmed about catastrophic climate change, and in fact loses sleep agonizing over the terrible future his daughter faces without his being there to help.

    He asks, no pleads, for help from a “scientist” at Realclimate to clarify several subjects he apparently doesn’t understand very well. Their response? Dead silence. Not even a pointer to a Rolodex. Hopefully Bob will look for answers to his climate change questions at other more helpful blogs in the future.

    The spreading of actual useful information doesn’t seem to have a very high priority at RC.

  17. AJStrata said

    OK, I may have found something interesting – or may not. So I decided to bring it to the attention of you experts.

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11774

    Hopefully this is of some value to the cause.

  18. RB said

    #13, I wouldn’t worry about having to try very hard to show that scientists are not infallible. Its not a very scientific society out there. This sort of MSM stuff is kind of inconvenient though and has to be eliminated . Remember, if you want a do-nothing policy, the end goal would be to demonstrate global cooling to get around the frickin’ centrists.

  19. RB said

    #17, the hockey stick is destroyed, *poof*, congratulations – SteveM took care of business – why waste time there? Time to focus on other things – like the Kyoto protocol 1997 taking place before [MBH98] with little more than a dimensionless IPCC 1990 reconstruction, not contradictory with a Loehle re-construction.

  20. Ryan O said

    #17 No time at the moment (still working on Antarctica), but looks interesting . . . keep plugging away at it. Not sure if it means anything, either, but there is only one way to find out. 😉

  21. Bernie said

    For at least the second time eric at RealClimate has closed comments with the following rationale:
    “Well, personal attacks are once again outnumbering thoughtful criticism about 10:1, and the criticism is 10:1 off topic. I do wonder why we bother reading the comments section at all.”

    Comments now closed on this post.

    Comment by eric — 7 December 2009 @ 12:48 PM

    There were 181 total comments including a few by eric imself. My read of those comments is that most endorsed his original statement – with many rather negative and personal comments about Roger and Andy. I am at a loss as to what eric means by “personal attacks are once again outnumbering thoughtful criticism about 10:1”. Does anyone have a clue as to where he got this number? Perhaps he is counting those that made personalized attacks on Roger and Andy – but, given that he did not admonish anyone about this and declined to comment on Michael Schlesinger’s verbal threat, somehow I think not.

  22. MikeH said

    Slightly off topic, I have followed the AGW debate for some years now, but not as closely as these last few weeks. And today, I spent some hours reading comments and threads on RC and other pro-AGW sites and also spent similar time reading sites that are skeptical. As a result, I have to congratulate the skeptics and condemn the AGW supporters. It is clear to me and I hope to the public at large, that the AGW supporters are acting more like religious zealots than scientists. On balance, I perceived their sites as containing a great deal more propaganda and vitriol than rational analysis and the reverse seems to be true of the skeptic sites. And I hope that the skeptics maintain that position because the only way for the science of global warming to return to being actual science is if as many scientists as possible return to it (and those that won’t are purged). Jeff – bravo!

  23. Mike said

    The “unprecedented warming” has pretty much been debunked; this really is more or less of spreading the word right now. The other hockey stick that needs more scrutiny, and on which I feel the jury is still out, is the CO2 one – you know, CO2, that dangerous pollutant and poison.

  24. Mike said

    sorry, meant to say: … more or less a matter of spreading …

  25. RB said

    #24, you got it. Only, we have to not look like 18th century scientists. Maybe some DoS attacks or some homebrew experiments to debunk this? . Come back and let us know!

  26. boballab said

    @23 The CO2 “hockey stick” is tied to the MWP and that is another reason why Mann has been so set on getting rid of it. Remember the graph the Goracle used in his film and that he got the relationship between CO2 and Temp backwards. As is readily known CO2 lags Temp by about 800 years. Now go look up when the MWP occured, and we find the MWP was roughly between 900AD and 1300AD. So do some basic math 900 + 800 and you get 1700AD. Now go look at a graph of CO2 over time and you see that roughly around 1700 you see a increase in CO2.
    My what a coincidence…..NOT!

    What we are seeing in the this rise of CO2 (besides what man is putting in the air) is the natural increase of CO2 from the begining of the MWP. As I just showed you that is not very complicted and anyone that looks at the graphs and can do basic math can see it. SO besides to make the 20th centurty the hottest it was also to show that the huge jump in CO2 could not be natural and made a non correlation look like a correlation since by taking out the MWP there was nothing for it to correlate with anymore.

  27. AJStrata said

    RB, Because we need to (a) confirm the CRU raw temp data shows no warming and (b) therefore the AGW models which predict no man-made warming if there is no significant warming will themselves disprove the AGW hypothesis.

    This is much more than doubling back on the hockey stick. We need to show CRU hid the data which debunks the myth.

  28. AJStrata said

    RB,

    You need to step back and realize the general public has not yet caught up with the fact the stick is dead, and you need to move this discussion to a level they understand, accept and support.

  29. RB said

    #26, Yikes, and when the scientists say that CO2 numbers are 36% higher than expected over the last 500,000 years or so, who would have known that they are trying to hide such patently obvious things , right?

  30. boballab said

    @26 and you swung and missed please try again.

    Lets take a look at what I said

    “What we are seeing in the this rise of CO2 (besides what man is putting in the air) is the natural increase of CO2 from the begining of the MWP”

    Now the person I was addressing was thinking the CO2 graph was faked up just like Manns “hockeystick Graph”

    I pointed out that it is not what we are seeing is the natural increase that you get from the MWP and here I’ll capitalize it for you since your eyes seem to be failing:

    BESIDES WHAT MAN IS PUTTING IN THE AIR.

    Now as to your citing Wikpedia articles:
    1. Connelly only lets things into it that he wants, anything (including testmony from in front of congress that debunked Mann) he edits out.

    2. One of the scientists in your little tracked a couple years after he came up with that idea retracted it and said it doesn’t work. So citing him as a reference shows that you haven’t spent your time researching. Now go Run back to RC and tell Gavin about how the mean man over hear treated you.

  31. Greg F said

    I am at a loss as to what eric means by “personal attacks are once again outnumbering thoughtful criticism about 10:1″.

    The 10 might be the posts that never see the light of day. I would imagine that they are getting a lot of submissions that are calling into question their assertions. As Jeff writes:

    There is no argument on the merits of why a particular comment is wrong, just that it is wrong and you better shut up Andy.

    I have a sister that, if you question the validity of her assertions, she takes it personal. She is so confident of her beliefs that she sees criticism of her beliefs as a personal attack on her.

  32. curious said

    17) AJ – I think you should give a short description of your line of enquiry. I think it does look interesting but you need to get some of the longtime knowledgeable folks to have a look.

  33. RB said

    #30, I just wanted to find a CO2 chart. Sorry for the misunderstanding. What’s this wikipedia controversy? I need to find out more.

  34. boballab said

    @33

    William Connelly is a blogger (stoat) and one of the inner circle of the Team. He is also one of the Editors for Wikpedia. Anything and I do mean Anything that doesn’t toe the line that AGW is settled and we will die in the next 100 years unless we go back to living in mudhuts that gets uploaded into Wikpedia he deletes out. That is why anything that gets cited from there dealing with AGW is basically gets 1 of 2 reactions.

    1. ignored completely
    or
    2. The person looking goes over it with a fine tooth come looks for the “cooked” info and ommisions and goes from there.

    As you can option 1 is the typical response. Also when you want to compare CO2 to temp and you use two different charts at least make sure they are both on the same timescale.

    Also there is a good article on WUWT that shows why, from historical record, CO2 cannot have been a driver in Temp in the past:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/

  35. Kenneth Fritsch said

    If they are willing to publicly abuse an independent reporter for talking to a skeptic, can you imagine the pressure inside their circle to agree with the consensus? Michael Mann doesn’t mind wielding his power privately, it seems that Eric Steig doesn’t mind doing it publicly.

    I have major doubts about Revkin or Judith Curry being independent thinkers in this whole episode of damage control for the emails. Do we really have to give these people credit just because they mention some of the so-called skeptics without the implication of pure evil? Did you ever consider that they might be a little smarter and calculating then Manns and Jones of the world?

  36. Jeff Id said

    #35, I gave Andy a pretty harsh series of emails when he did the post confirming the accuracy of CRU temperature data. He was asking my opinion of these emails.

    I was no less direct than the normal fare here, check out the email in #15. I’m not sure who wrote what in it.

  37. Jeff Id said

    And BTW, I had a very difficult time with Curry. No post at tAV for her because it missed the point by just enough to make it all not that big a deal.

  38. AJStrata said

    32 – Cornelius, that is why I posted it here. I have my suspicions, but I don’t have the years of dealing with the data like others do.

  39. Jeff Id said

    #38, I’ll read it in a bit. Life’s nuts lately.

  40. Mike said

    #30

    I did not mean to say that the CO2 curve is “faked up” – I’m simply suggesting that it deserves more scrutiny. How is this curve produced, and how many untested assumptions go into the final interpretation?

    There is a guy named Jaworowski, who apparently has quite a bit of first hand experience with CO2 measurements, is skeptical of the ice core records, and who has also testified before the Congress on this issue. A summary of his views is here:

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/zjmar07.pdf

    He cites quite a few papers that present evidence opposing the idea of constantly low CO2 levels for the last few millennia.

    As to your suggestion of the current spike being caused by the MWP, I’m not convinced. There is this ~800 year lag between temperature and CO2 in the ice core records, but it probably applies only to more sustained periods of warming or cooling. The entire MWP lasted only about 400 years, which is half the phase shift – that doesn’t sound right. BTW has anyone ever made sense of this phase shift? Ocean water convection?

  41. Mark T said

    Kenneth Fritsch said
    December 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Did you ever consider that they might be a little smarter and calculating then Manns and Jones of the world?

    Yes. Curry may have learned from her fossilization comment regarding Lindzen (or was it Vincent Gray?). Anyway, the ad hominem/insult approach applied by the likes of Mann rarely works in the long run and often backfires like some sort of karmic curse.

    Mark

  42. PaulM said

    #40 The Co2 curve is ‘faked up’, in just the same way as the temperature curve.
    Past data from ice cores is spliced onto modern measurements,
    but the two are not comparable, because past variations in CO2 in the ice core would be smoothed out by diffusion. The result is another fake hockey stick.
    Other proxy data that indicate more past variation in CO2 is ignored by the IPCC.

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