A note to the idiots. Weather is not climate.

Written By: - Date published: 4:32 pm, January 16th, 2010 - 53 comments
Categories: climate change, uncategorized - Tags:

When you get a cold snap in the local weather, it means that somewhere else got somewhat warmer. Weather is a case of local shifts in energy balances. Climate changes on the other hand are an overall shifting due to underlying changes in energy inflows and retention. You can really only see them looking at decades of statistical shifts in weather.

However a lot of people confuse weather changes with climate changes.

Such was the case in a shift in the weather in the northern hemisphere and northern polar regions during December. Northern Europe, North America, and Russia had their arses frozen off with up to a 7C drop in normal temperatures in Russia, while Greenland and the north pole had a relatively balmy time with temperatures up to 7C higher than normal.

This weather anomaly is displayed on the north pole centered diagram on the right. The blue to purple shows abnormally low temperatures. The green to red shows abnormally high temperatures. All that happened was a shift in the usual energy levels within a normal statistical variation, albeit one closer to the extremes than usual.

The polar areas got temporarily warmer, and the continental areas around the pole got temporarily colder. The amount of energy involved remained the same.

As the Economist says in Oscilloscope.

To try to make a climatic point either way out of a patch of unusual weather, though, is normally to be on a hiding to nothing, and so it is this winter. No one with any claim on the public’s respect has ever said that all of the natural ups and downs of climate will be ironed out onto a smooth upwards trend by greenhouse gases; their effects are expected to show up not so much in particular events, but in statistics. The reverse of the same coin is that there will still be cold snaps in a warming world.

The rest of the economist article speculates on the implications for the northern sea ice for the next few years. I’m sure those will have the CCDs out talking about weather rather than actual climate change.

So it is always fun looking for the foolish who think that weather is climate. This post comes after reading a rather stupid post by Democracy Mum. I wonder how many similarly scientifically illiterate posts confusing weather with climate have and will be written. I’m sure that there will be links to such posts written since December. Help DM out and add them in comments and I’ll add them to the post to show that she is not alone.

Update: I was reading Poneke’s weblog (looking at his analysis of ‘climategate’) and found this post on the subject on Jan 8th.  Like his comments on ‘climategate’, that I will get around to writing a post about, it is clear that he doesn’t understand the science of what he was looking at. He also doesn’t understand scientists.  His post on ‘climategate’ makes that perfectly clear.

53 comments on “A note to the idiots. Weather is not climate.”

  1. iprent

    Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and numerous other meteorological elements in a given region over long periods of time.

    Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these same elements over periods up to two weeks.

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate

    So you see – weather and climate are the same thing just taking place over a different time span 🙂

    • Eddie 1.1

      Some commentators play dumb, some just are.

      The cold in Europe and part so North America is localised cold weather, it does not mean the world has gotten colder. It means is it hotter elsewhere.

      They’re actually worries in Vancouver ahead of the Winter Games that it’s too warm and they’re not getting the snow base they need. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/amateur/story/2010/01/13/bc-cypress-mountain-closed-vancouver.html

    • lprent 1.2

      Exactly – however the different time span is the crucial feature that distinguishes weather and climate. Climate is mesured against a base that is at least multiple decades.

      So you looked at a few months events and said

      Judging from the lack of summer we are currently experiencing in Wellington I’m picking these guys are right on the money!

      You weren’t the first to make similar comments over the last few years. For instance, No Minister seems to have a post saying much the same thing every other month. I couldn’t be bothered digging out other posts from December that said the same thing – although that was when I noted the confusion.

      However I’d noted the NOAA report a week ago, finished reading the Economist earlier this week, and saw your post with a sense of disbelief. So I wrote this one.

      I’d also point out that Mojib Latif’s cooling hypothesis that you were referring to is just that – a hypothesis. It was only announced a few months ago based on analysis of existing data. To date there hasn’t been an corroborating checking of the data – however I’m sure that the earth sciences community is doing so now.

      Compare that to the 30 years of checking that has been going on the global warming hypothesis since I was a student in earth sciences, and they can hardly be compared together.

      Furthermore Latif has pointed out many times that if the ocean current cooling effect he was looking at occurs, that it will merely another factor in the climate models. The retention of energy in the climate system will still keep increasing unbated.

      The nett effect will simply be to reduce the rate of increase in visible effects from energy increases for a short period. Latif says for up to 30 years, and if you look at the numbers, by only a small percentage.

      So on that basis you also say…

      Could someone please remind me again what was the point of Copenhagen?

      There seems to be the same lack of perspective at looking at the difference between weather / climate as in looking at the difference between a hypothesis and a increasingly validated working theory. You’re suggesting it should be used to talk about policy formation? Pah…

      Then to do all of this off a headline in the Mail? Those buggers couldn’t understand anything more complex than Beck can.

      In fact I seem to have read something about the writing of headlines lately – here

      Sorry you got in the way of my irritation expressing in a post – but someone was sure to do so… Your post just happened to be the one.

      • Bill 1.2.1

        I like the ‘Charles Manson Could Beat Him Now’ header being carried by the Guardian at the moment. (It’s in relation to Obamas’ popularity levels)

  2. Marty G 2

    Part of the reason that scientists have spoken of climate change, rather than global warming, since the late 1980s (yes, the name change happened over 20 years ago) is that while the average temperature of the globe is in fact warming that is experienced differently in different places.

    In particular, Western Europe could experience a dramatic cooling. Currently, warm water is brought northward by the Gulf Stream to the UK. During winter, this ocean current provides about as much energy to the UK as the sun does. It is why the UK has a climate similar to New York or even more south when it is located far to the North at the same latitude as Labrador in Canada and Moscow. Melting ice caps may stop the Gulf Stream carrying all that energy northward, leaving Western Europe to freeze while making the Caribbean much hotter.

  3. Andrei 3

    Weather is not climate.

    That is just a talking point, to be dragged out whenever a weather event occurs that contradicts the we are all going to die when the ice caps melt disaster scenario that has been peddled for the past 20 years or so now.

    Climate is the “weather averaged” over a time period, I believe the IPCC uses thirty years as its standard period.

    And the focus of the alarmists has been purely on “average” temperature which in itself is meaningless.

    The problem is of course the Atmosphere is properly described by a tensor field – one far too complex for anybody to begin to analyze except in the coarsest sense.

    But I strongly doubt that any of the IPCC big-wigs even know what a Tensor Field is – not that it matters, it is knowledge not required for booking Business Class seats to what ever exotic clime the next “the end is nigh” conference is scheduled for.

    • Marty G 3.1

      Andrei. We know what a tensor field is (and if we don’t, we have wikipedia).

      We don’t need to be able to work out the precise effect of adding more energy to the atmosphere at each tiny point to know that the general effect is going to be hotter temperatures and more powerful and more frequent high energy weather events (ie storms).

      You must be a pretty arrogant person to think you know better than the tens of thousands of specialist scientists researching the climate. I can’t believe you would think they don’t know what a tensor field is, but that says more about you and your arrogance than anything else.

      • Andrei 3.1.1

        You can become an expert in Continuum Mechanics by reading Wikipedia?

        and you call me arrogant sheesh

        • Marty G 3.1.1.1

          No. I referenced it for people who didn’t know what the term means.

          And Andrei, I wouldn’t say you’re an expert on anything. You don’t even seem to understand that when you put more of a greenhouse gas into a system it is going to become more energetic

          • Andrei 3.1.1.1.1

            You don’t even seem to understand that when you put more of a greenhouse gas into a system it is going to become more energetic

            I know that in a laboratory a flask of oxygen will hold less energy than a jar of CO2 at the same temperature and pressure but how that extrapolates to a messy world where the atmosphere is not homogeneous in composition, temperature and pressure, subject to uneven non homogeneous surfaces, the Coriolis force, interaction with living things etc etc etc I literally don’t know and nor does anybody else!!!!

            The problems are way too hard and anybody who tries to tell you otherwise is a lier or a fool or both.

            What the proponents of the AGW theory have tried to do is show that there has been “unprecedented warming” since the industrial revolution – they have tried but failed but have succeeded in fooling many along the way.

            The world is bugger all different, climatically speaking, from the way it was in 1900. Ad whatever change in “average temperature” there has been is almost entirely masked by the inherent natural variation in this parameter in both time and space; and experimental error.

            • Marty G 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Andrei. That’s not what the experts say. But i”m sure you know better. Cause you know, you’re some kind of mastermind, and all those thousands of experts in their field just don’t know what they’re talking about. The UN shouldn’t have bothered assembling the IPCC, the greatest international scientific collaboration in history – they should just have asked Andrei.

              And, as you know (god, I hope you know) the concern isn’t with climatic change over the last century, it’s over the change we’re causing right now for the future.

            • lprent 3.1.1.1.1.2

              How much heat CO2 retains isn’t a significant issue. It is the effect that it has on incoming light when the photons collide with a CO2 molecule. They re-emit at two lower frequencies (and energy levels) as heat. That lower level energy takes far far longer to exit the atmosphere then straight light does.

              Water vapor retains more heat than either CO2 or O2. Of course that is where the majority of the heat gets retained in the atmosphere, thereby driving the climate changes.

              So why are you talking about something so unrelated ?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Andrei, you’re an idiot.

      This is just a fact to be brought out every time you post you something idiotic. Like now.

    • lprent 3.3

      andrei: We also don’t have enough computer power to estimate exactly what all of the forces are on a aircrafts wing. Somehow that never stopped us from building them – even before we had computers.

      Your underlying precept is stupidity at its worst. Essentially you’re arguing that humans should never do anything ever because they cannot figure out exactly all of the consequences.

      Tell me, would you dodge a bullet that someone fires at you or not? After all it might not hit you! Or would you leave your perfect analysis aside, avoid and head for cover.

      • Andrei 3.3.1

        We also don’t have enough computer power to estimate exactly what all of the forces are on a aircrafts wing. Somehow that never stopped us from building them even before we had computers.

        True enough – but there are lots of holes in the desert from when the wings fell off.

        And it will happen again – despite the mathematics of the aerofoil being well founded. That of course is a trivial problem when compared to the physics of the Hydrosphere.and atmosphere.

        Tell me, would you dodge a bullet that someone fires at you or not? After all it might not hit you!

        The trouble with attempting to “dodge a bullet is that you just might dodge yourself right into its path when it was going to miss you.

        As the famous Confederate General Lo Armistead cried out during the Cannonade that preceded Pickets Charge “Stay where you are Fellows, keep low, there’s nowhere to hide and one place is as good as another”

        And therein lies the real point – you cannot predict the future, and there is little point in trying to beyond the immediate future which is semi-discernible. The further out you look the less robust you predictions will be.

        Now Lo Armistead didn’t duck for cover during that cannonade – he remained standing to rally his men, to keep his men from bolting and their pride and spirits high for what was to follow.

        And he didn’t get hit then but he was mortally wounded in during the Charge that followed.

        But even if he had come through that charge unscathed he would still be long dead now.

        And one hundred years hence so will we.

        The world then will be what it will be and our concerns will be of little interest to those that follow us whose concerns many of I’ll posit will seem quite incomprehensible to us.

        • lprent 3.3.1.1

          Nice bit of philosophy but you ignored the important bit

          …avoid and head for cover.

          The second round, or the third would hit you. If you get under cover, then at least you’d have a chance to do something about the problem of the homicidal maniac. Or in this case with dealing with the effects further down the line.

          You work on the information that is available to you – not certainties that you have no way to compute. Climate change is happening, the data is quite clear about that. As far as I can see you’re saying that it is best to ignore it because you cannot foresee the consequences.

          Bugger that

    • Macro 3.4

      To see just how it can be reasonably approximated you might like to have a look here:
      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/plass-and-the-surface-budget-fallacy/
      as you can see from the discussion Plass did his calculations in 1956 in a way that is now considered back to front – but the result was much the same – a 3.2 Watt per square meter reduction in the outgoing radiation for a doubling of CO2. Sometimes quick and dirty, is as just a valid scientific “method” as quantitative analysis. I understand Openheimer was a genius at it.

  4. pointer 4

    Yes, climate is the aggregate of weather, but the difference in the kind of science that can be done is huge. I wouldn’t try to predict the next 14 tosses of a coin, but I’d bet good money that the next 1,000 tosses will see 50% heads (+/- 5% either way for a 90% confidence interval).

    I think that’s why so many weatherpeople are “sceptics”. They think climate computer models are just scaled-up versions of the unpredictable weather computer models they work with, when in fact they’re quite difference beasts.

    Oh, and it’s climate change, not global warming, because global warming doesn’t capture non-warming phenomena such as ocean acidification from increased CO2 levels.

    • lprent 4.1

      As you say, it is climate change.

      No-one even had an inkling of the oceanic effect of stuffing that much CO2 into the water systems 30 years ago.

      We also had little idea of the sheer amount of buffering for both heat and CO2 in the oceans then either. The evidential science has moved a *long* way since then.

      The problem is that both of those buffering effects simply move the issues at a macro level into the future. At some point the CO2 absorption will either decrease or will cause vast changes in the ocean ecologies. Warmer cold currents will reduce the cooling effects that currently help reduce the tropical climates heat where they emerge, therefore making those regions hotter. This will happen decades or even centuries later.

  5. pointer 5

    Thanks for reminding me of the buffering effect of the oceans. That’s one of the things that concerns me: when will the oceans reach saturation point? Because that’s when everything really will start to hit the fan.

    • lprent 5.1

      I suspect that it has some way to go yet, at least on the absorption rate of CO2. The fraction being absorbed doesn’t appear to be dropping yet.

      But the consequences if that carry load from the deep currents is released in the future are incalculable. However they will be bad if a significant amount is released.

      Of course the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is still rising (look at the ppm on the sidebar), so it is all a bit moot for the medium term.

  6. barry 6

    Ive been doing a bit of research over the last few months and it seems earth is not alone !!

    NASA and several other space watching outfits have noticed changes on Triton, Mars, Venus, Pluto and one other planet. These changes (polar ice caps reducing, atmosphere changes, storm changes, measured temperature changes, etc) could all be independent changes that are happening just by chance and for a range of reasons, BUT they are almost certainly happening as a result of temperature increase. Temp increase will explain them all.

    Now if CO2 is the reason for temperature change then we have found colonies of CO2 producers on several close planets – unlikely I think!. So it raises the possibility that temperature change on earth might just be nothing to do with CO2. This also agrees with other findings that in previous times , temperature increases on earth had nothing to do with CO2 levels.

    I am becoming a skeptic about CO2. Im starting to feel like the guy who announced some time ago that the world wasnt the centre of the universe – that the sun was. I think he got burnt at the stake for his trouble – but he was right.

    • Marty G 6.1

      oh so some other planetary bodies are warming and (some are cooling) due to their own climatic events. Wow.

      I guess that means all the climate scientists are wrong. I guess that means CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas.

      And yeah Barry, you’re a modern day Copernicus (“the guy who announced some time ago that the world wasnt the centre of the universe” who didn’t get burned at the stake, he died naturally and his work widely accepted). As I understand it, Copernicus came to his revolutionary understanding of the universe by doing some half-arsed research on the internet too.

      I’m in awe of your genius.

    • lprent 6.2

      barry: Planets change all of the time – they have weather. They almost certainly have climate as well – but we can’t see it.

      If you looked at earth through a telescope you’d be amazed at how much weather change you can see. To see climate you need to keep looking for decades and to see what the changes in atmospheric composition and other physical attributes are. Since we don’t have decades old operating probes on those planets (the ones on venus in particular have lifetimes measured in hours or days), all that we can see are snapshot of the weather.

      Consequently what you’re saying is pure bullshit.

  7. pointer 7

    Barry — there are two huge logical flaws in your argument which you may want to address.

    1. You say that other planets are warming. I find that very easy to believe as I’ve heard the same thing from reputable sources. Your logical flaw is to assume they are all warming for the same reason: increased CO2. Not all fevers have the same cause, or even just one cause.

    2. You seem to imply that because Copernicus was right about heliocentrism (he wasn’t burned at the stake, by the way, but died peacefully), then climate change sceptics must be right. That is not logical. Have there been other fields in which the conventional wisdom was proved wrong? Yes — plate tectonics, germ theory, evolution, phrenology, are just some that come to mind. But scientific textbooks hardly ever mention the outsiders who had radical scientific ideas that — guess what — were wrong. Today you can learn all about intelligent design, the anti-vaccine movement, cancer-causing cellphones, and all manner of rubbish, much of it from flaky New Agers. But guess what, Copernicus was right, so maybe they have a point after all.

  8. pointer 8

    Haha, didn’t see your posts, Marty and Iprent, before I posted. I’m off to revolutionise electricity baby, because THEY ALL LAUGHED AT CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.

  9. ParkDrive 9

    Lprent

    Can you explain then, whether there is any link between the fact the poles are shifting by degrees every year, and the corresponding change in the climate around those areas of the poles?

    The north pole is no longer where Amundsen marked it. It was in Hudson Bay as little as 15 years ago but is rapidly moving towards the UK.
    Conversely, the south pole is also shifting from where Scott planted the flag.

    In addition, the idea of 350 ppm in the levels was only ever substantiated from ice cores where very few people ever existed. Cities the world over would be nowhere near this level from the effects of wood burning, so it is a fallacy to surmise that 350ppm is the “optimal balance”

    Contrasting this with the scientists now in Antarctica who admitted that they even don’t know the full effects of the historical changes in the climate hence why they’re only now just beginning to understand.

    150 years of weather records, and the last 30 years have warmed? This is almost a repeat of 400 years ago when Galileo recorded that temperatures had warmed considerably shortly before the little ice age.

    I’m not denying there aren’t changes occurring. I am denying that mankind can already do anything to temper the effects of a process that has been in place for millenia, especially in light of the fact that Ruapehu in 97 distributed the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere that Auckland does in 30 years.

    Who better to understand the natural balance needed to sustain life long term, than Gaia. Earth is an organism, not just some lump of rock that we’re lucky enough to habitate.

  10. democracymum et al,

    Keeping this simple whilst staying responsible I’d say that weather is what you get and applied climate science about what you could expect to get.

    My own reading of climate science/scientists is that their bases are trends.. the more the merrier(correct), ten trending in the same direction providing adequate probability of an event/events occurring..

    Think about this for a mo and ten trends all going the same way to indicate global warming is pretty confirmatory.. for the globe. Which is point enough since just about all of us individually experience weather (locally)

    Oh yes, so far as I can see personally the NIWA guys here are quite sharp matching expectations to reality.. a sometimes time lag making the difference. ie it rained at 5pm instead of 3pm..

  11. TightyRighty 11

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10620795

    half the country are doubters, or idiots in your parlance. no wonder the left is on the out when the rhetoric is so insulting to so many

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Like the Herald’s writers, you should perhaps pay attention to the questions asked before framing your story.

      19 perecent think it’s a con, and to get to the ‘nearly half’ figure they add to that the 28 percent that think that “global warming had not been conclusively proved.”

      “not been conclusively proved.” /= what you and the Herald claims it equals.

      It’s a shittilly worded poll, with even shittier reportage.

      • TightyRighty 11.1.1

        nice try PB, i didn’t say deniers, i didn’t say conspiracy theorists, actually neither did the herald. we all said doubters.

        here is an example of what the question may have looked like –

        “in your mind, has global warming been proven beyond doubt” – yes/no

        yes – fine you are not a doubter
        no – you are a doubter.

        “do you think gobal warming is a con?” – yes/no

        yes -you think global warming is a con
        no – you think global warming is not a con

        shittily worded i agree, if you have the comprehension skills of a five year old.

        you can’t just dismiss these like the “rogue” polls because you don’t like the answer.

        • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1.1

          nah TR, the poll would have asked which of the options describes your view, one of the options being that

          “global warming had not been conclusively proved”

          You can say yes to that, but still strongly believe that GW is happening. That’s why is a shitty poll, most of the responses realate to what the person believes about GW, but this one relates to what has been conclusively proved about GW.

          It’s a subtle difference that literate persons might pick up on.

          • TightyRighty 11.1.1.1.1

            why would you say that you doubted global warming had been proved, if you believed it was happening? wouldn’t that be moronical for a “literate” person, as you obviously like to think of yourself as. do you always have doubt in your beliefs? as lprent likes to call all deniers and doubters idiots, could it be that anyone who doubts their own beliefs is then an idiot?

            I can see what your driving at, but once again PB, just because you don’t like the poll does not make it shitty or “rogue”.

            • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Do I always have doubt in my beliefs? No.

              Do I think that all the things I believe, have been conclusively proved? No

              Does belief recquire conclusive proof? No

              The response “global warming had not been conclusively proved” does not have anything to do with whether or not you believe it. It is a different question. You can believe things very strongly, with no personal doubt whatsoever, while at the same time recognising that there is no ‘conclusive proof’.

              The Catholic Church for example, quite strongly believes that God exists. I’ve known a few Jesuits in my time. Few of them would say that God’s existence has been conclusively proven. It would be dishonest if I was to lump them in with atheists to assist in some argument about how many people believe in god.

              I’ll put it another way. If you believe that GW is happening, and is at least partly man driven, and that we should do something about it, but acknowledge that there could well be some new evidence come to light that would change that belief, then you could very well agree that “global warming had not been conclusively proved”.

              “conclusively proved” is a very high benchmark.

            • felix 11.1.1.1.1.2

              The key word is “conclusively”.

              It’s not uncommon among sensible people to accept that something is very, very, very, very likely or unlikely but still not conclusively proven.

              For example as a level 6 atheist I live my life as if there is no God but I could not say that the non-existence of God has been “conclusively proven”.

              edit: pb beat me to it I see.

        • Macro 11.1.1.2

          For heaven’s sake man that was an online poll! It is for all intents and purposes USELESS! The Herald is to blame for publishing that rubbish and running the faux poll in the first instance.

          • TightyRighty 11.1.1.2.1

            the herald oscillates so wildly i can’t keep up with the standards day to day view of it. you guys cherry pick like there is no tomorrow. support my arguments – good, say something i don’t like, “rogue”, “shittily worded”

            Kiwis back fairer minimum wage

            • NickS 11.1.1.2.1.1

              F*ck you’re stupid.

              Where in The Herald article does it say it was an internet poll? Oh that’s right, it doesn’t, it was a proper survey, probably via phone, which while such a method does introduce some minor sampling biases, these can be mitigated somewhat by the rest of the sampling design + ye olde margin of error.

              Internet polls though are so utterly biased that you can’t draw any statistically useful data from them, due to the non-random means of sampling. Really, really simply statistics stuff too.

              • TightyRighty

                stupid? for my belief a poll is a poll is a poll. as long as the sample size is large enough, and that with internet polls allowances, and methods to account for them (such as IP tracking, though that is as far as my nerdy knowledge extends), must be made for the lefts favorite tactic of voting early and often. and of course margins of error etc

                you nick, are a cock, becuase of course you don’t get the irony of what i put forward and more fool you for thinking you might be the only one who passed 100 level quan papers.

                • lprent

                  TR: Online polls are very useless. They are self-selecting, and ridiculously easy to manipulate. I’d suggest that you’re simply exposing your limited knowledge about statistical analysis more than your limited knowledge about IP.

                  If you look at the detail of polls done by polling companies they go to great lengths to attempt to get a reasonably balanced sample. Male/female, age groups, income levels etc. None of that happens with online polls. If you’ve done any advanced stats at all, you’d realize that having a larger but biased sample is worse at representing a population than a smaller but balanced sample. You’ll notice that online polls are usually pretty damn sparse at providing demographic detail information. That is because it is typically quite a lot younger than the population, highly male, and tightly focused with slightly better than average income levels. Which of course explains a lot about the results in online polls on its own. That is the demographic of the arrogantly stupid…

                  Then anyone who knows anything about even basic net programming can spoof IP tracking. There are thousands of socks proxies you can run through. Not to mention if you wish you can simply strip and modify the source IP passed on the IP packets during the single POST that is usually required to send the data. You can download all of this as utilities if you want to make pointless splash.

                  But really for most people, simply turning your ADSL router on and off between each POST is likely to have much the same effect.

                  e-mail based polls are simply a joke. You can spoof those with kiddie level scripting.

                  Quite frankly, anyone who puts credence on online polls is simply a fool.

              • NickS

                /facepalm

                Yes, because your beliefs over-ride decades of research into how polls (and other types of statistical sampling) work and how to recognise and remove or mitigate sources of bias that are taught in every elementary statistics course. And if I were to be so lack-lustre in sampling design for an assignment, I’d get heavily marked done, or if in a published paper, it would be firmly rejected.

                The fundamental problem with internet polls is that they are easy to bias through social networks (r.e. any poll PZ Myers points out on Pharyngula), but are also they’re a non-random sampling of a population, that doesn’t control for any factors other than internet access and noticing the poll in the first place, and thus unless the sample size is rather, rather large, it is not going to be representative of the whole population. It’s basically convenience sampling, which it is hammered into students heads that it is a really f*cking horrible method of sampling a population and drawing useful statistics from.

                Not to forget either, if vox-pop was how we did science, science would be rather f*cked, and the teaching of evolutionary biology wouldn’t be occurring in the US at least.

                you nick, are a cock, becuase of course you don’t get the irony of what i put forward and more fool you for thinking you might be the only one who passed 100 level quan papers.

                Yet it seems I’m the one here who remembers sampling design, and why one does not use convenience sampling to draw statistically useful results from, particularly internet polls…

                And what irony? All I see is a proud ignorance of sampling design and burning stupid.

              • Macro

                it was an online poll – there was plenty of comment on this issue back when the Herald published the “results”.

              • lprent

                TR: Those statements just show your abysmal level of statistical stupidity. Please bone up on it before I start dissecting you down to the bone.

  12. burt 12

    lprent

    To be fair I think that Al Gore has done more to confuse climate change and weather than almost anyone on the planet. See Al Gore tells us that events like Hurricane Katrina are a result of global warming. He goes on that almost any nasty weather event is a result of global warming. But I think I understand the pattern here. It took me a while because it wasn’t that obvious at first.

    The trick to understanding the difference is; if there is a hot spell it is global warming, if there is a cold spell it is weather. A record high is global warming and we better look out, a record low is well it’s just local weather.

    • Macro 12.1

      burt
      I know it takes a lot to get to grips with this fact – but the what happens when a fluid (eg the troposphere) gains energy is that the the energy is transferred around the system by convection currents and radiation. Air masses heat up and rise and the revolving Earth sends those air masses spinning down away from the equator towards the poles where they cool fall and discharge the water vapour that they have gained in the form of precipitation (snow hail rain and mist) If you keep on increasing the energy to the system, the convection currents will grow more strongly causing unpredictable changes.
      When the energy falling on the Earth from the Sun is matched by the energy radiated by the Earth less the energy stored in the troposphere in the form of heat, is in balance, then we have a “stable” climate. But if you add CO2 to the atmosphere in the way we have been over the past 150 years so that it is approximately twice the concentration that is was pre-1850 then the amount of energy radiating from the Earth into space drops by about 3.2 watts per square meter at the top of the troposphere This energy is retained in the troposphere and causes the increase in circulation. So you could argue that Katrina was a result of global warming just as you could argue that so was the severe blizzard in North America or the unseasonal cool weather in Wellington.

      captcha “winds”

    • lprent 12.2

      So? More a problem in the eye of the beholder than anything else.

      I don’t listen to Al Gore for scientific data. He is a politician, and has done some good work in bringing the climate change issues to the fore in the worlds political structures. If you’re daft enough to believe what politicians say without getting corroborating information then you’re a fool. What is hilarious is that the CCDs seem to do exactly that. Just look at people like Wishart quoting the Potty Peer.

      If you look at the scientific analysis, there is a trend showing for weather in various areas being more extreme than it was in the past. However it is still within the normal historical deviations for the last few centuries. Bearing in mind the buffering action going on in the system, that is almost exactly what the simulation models have been predicting during the last decade.

      The point about doing something about anthropogenic climate change now is because of what the models predict will happen if it is not checked. The weather gets more and more extreme because of the increased energy in the system. The exact effect depends on the regional climate patterns. Some places will get warmer than usual at some parts of the year, some will get colder during parts of the year (and some will do both at different times of the year). The rainfall patterns will shift. But many regional climates will move outside of their normal variations far more often. That is an agricultural killer.

    • burt,

      new belief for anyone wishing take it up:—

      Mankind warms its Globe: Globe cools itself. (melting physical resources).

      Aint Gaia globe the greatest.

      We finally have gotten Nature beat. Dancing to Our tune. Well, could be til globe runs out of mitigant physical resources.

      Meantime, roll in the now haphazard climate — that does what We bid it. Until we aint bidding no more.. because we aint living.. here.. if anywhere.

      my personal comment thereto: belief is one thing, fact something else. this thread – tho not you, burt, appears to have lost sight of this..

      ps: interesting how the reduction in economic output in Australia over recent months has seen a 2% reduction in GHGs. Energy-intensive, the report said of Aussie industrial output, tho more gas-powered than coal-powered if you ask me.

      Do ya reckon believers oughta get on to this miscreants for trying thwart the MOTU plan..?

    • lprent 13.1

      One of your usual over-reactions burt. Reading the article you linked to, it looks like a simple mistake in a relatively minor area of a very large report. Interesting that it didn’t get caught up during the review.

      What it really shows is the lack of data that has been collected on those glaciers and therefore a lack of lack of expertise. If there had been much of either then the mistake would have been caught earlier rather than later. Bearing in mind how important economically those glaciers are to India, Pakistan, and even China it’d be advisable to start collecting some data over the next decade or so.

      However those glaciers aren’t important to the modeling that is such a major part of the IPCC reports. There is nothing in the models or the IPCC reports at a numeric level about the rate of mass wasting of glaciers or ice-sheets. The reason is that there simply wasn’t (and still isn’t) enough data to model the effects of mass wastage of those ice bodies. That was also made quite clear in the report as well.

      So I guess you just like playing the stupid denialist…. BTW: Have you ever read much of the IPCC reports? You seem so sure that they’re wrong while also giving the impression that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • burt 13.1.1

        lprent

        That makes a bit of a mockery of this post you made;
        Wishart. Research kiddie

        GLACIER is a three year project funded by the National Science Foundation branches of the Office of Polar Programs and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. It involves a diverse team of researchers and educators headed by Rice University of Houston, Texas, the Education Development Center of Newton, Massachusetts, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York.

        Turns out that middle school science material that you mocked Wishart for was more thoroughly researched than some of the claims in the IPCC report.

        Additionally lprent, you say; “Interesting that it didn’t get caught up during the review. “. That is the key issue from the leaded emails etc, a lack of (avoidance of) robust peer review.

        • Macro 13.1.1.1

          burt
          The basis of Wishart’s misinformation on glaciers is as you correctly point out an educational resource for middle school students in the USA. It is also over 10 years old, a great deal of study of glaciers has been done since then, but even so, he misunderstood what it was all about! What he says in “Aircon” about glaciers is simply arid nonsense And any glaciologist will tell him so. The key is monitoring the ongoing changes in extent of the glaciers, their melt rate that identify their contribution to water resources, and the extent at which they are changing.
          As for the Himalayan error perhaps the best that can be said about it is
          “Good news: The Himalayan glaciers will probably endure past 2035. Bad news: If we don’t reverse our emissions trend soon, their disappearance is likely to become irreversible before then.’ Joe Romm
          http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/18/science-ipcc-melting-ice-himalayan-glaciers-2035-sea-level-rise/#more-17623

  13. paul 14

    The latest climate fraud on an heroic scale in the US.
    Watch John Coleman, founder of the weather channel,
    announce this to the world.

    http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/81559212.html

    • lprent 14.1

      Did you read the damn thing – or did you just read the headlines and start jerking off?

      The lack of consistent weather stations has been a constant issue for the last century. However the fuckwits who compiled this ‘report’ also appear to not understand what data is and how to correct for it.

      Always amusing seeing what the corporates come up with next….

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