The evidence on warming

Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, November 27th, 2009 - 94 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment - Tags: ,

Much ado about nothing in the last few days, with the release of materials related to climate change and warming on both the international and local scales.

First the international event – “Climategate” (sigh) – the now well known theft and publication of data from the University of East Anglia’s world renowned Climate Research Unit. “Climate change deniers” have of course whipped themselves up in to a frenzy of excitement on a the basis of a few quotes that can be read (out of context) as dodgy. The “star exhibit”, referring to data from tree ring growth patterns:

“I’ve just completed [some] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

The Climatic Research Unit has now published its official response. On for example the quote above they say:

The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste. CRU has not sought to hide the decline. Indeed, CRU has published a number of articles that both illustrate, and discuss the implications of, this recent tree-ring decline…

Overall this incident is embarrassing for the scientists involved – like having your diary read out in public – but it has about zero impact on the mass of scientific evidence and opinion on the severity and risk of anthropogenic climate change. (One of the best comments I saw on this issue was a “proof” that calculus is “wrong” based on the same kind of “analysis” of the letters of Newton – it’s brilliant).

Then the local event, in some ways a minor echo of the above. This started with a “news alert” from the poorly named “The Climate Science Coalition of NZ”, with of course the usual idiots quickly piling on board. The claim is that this data from NIWA showing a steady rise in NZ temperatures…

NIWA1

…is pure fabrication – the apparent temperature rise occurs only because the data has been “adjusted”. The “raw data” looks like this, showing no significant rise at all…

NIWA2

Unfortunately NIWA were far too slow out of the gate with their reply, but they have now issued one. Yes the raw temperature data has been adjusted. But for perfectly good reasons, such as to account for changes in the location of measurement sites (and other factors in accordance with “internationally accepted techniques”):

For example, in Wellington, early temperature measurements were made near sea level, but in 1928 the measurement site was moved from Thorndon (3 metres above sea level) to Kelburn (125 m above sea level). The Kelburn site is on average 0.8°C cooler than Thorndon, because of the extra height above sea level.

This page shows how data from different measuring sites is adjusted to remove the variation arising from site location (left graph) and get the true trend over time (right graph):

NIWA3

This is the kind of adjustment that has been used to get the correct and meaningful data, data showing a steady temperature increase (the first graph above). As NIWA state: “Warming over New Zealand through the past century is unequivocal” and:

“NIWA climate scientists have previously explained to members of the Coalition why such corrections must be made. NIWA’s Chief Climate Scientist, Dr David Wratt, says he’s very disappointed that the Coalition continue to ignore such advice and therefore to present misleading analyses”.

In short, this whole episode* is a beat up by climate change deniers who probably, as usual, knew very well that they were lying. What motivates people to deliberately spread such lies, and feed the confusion that delays action on a crisis that endangers humanity? The insanity of it is completely beyond me.

I don’t care if you don’t like scientists and don’t want to believe them – believe your own eyes – look around you. Arctic ice is disappearing (more). Glaciers are melting – (if you have 20 minutes watch this excellent video). Australia is wracked by drought. Here in NZ, icebergs that used to be the Antarctic are sailing past, and the glaciers continue to shrink. It’s real. It’s happening. Now.

[* Unfortunately this piece of nonsense has already gone international.]

[Update: more on the NIWA responses here and here, more on the CRU responses here.]

94 comments on “The evidence on warming”

  1. Jono 1

    Perhaps the Truth should start using shoes with velcro straps instead of waiting to tie its laces up?

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Hi r0b,

    There has been time now for more indepth analysis of the e-mails in question, and things are actually much more serious than you are suggesting. I pointed this out in general discussion yesterday but there was not much interest in responding to me. The guts of my post from yesterday as it is included at the bottom of this post as it is more appropriate here:

    The points NIWA make are fair enough. However, in the articles I have read on the subject, they are refusing to divulge the data for adjustments on all their sites. They have only produced the Wellington one to make their point. However, this leaves a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, have they made downward adjustments for heat-island effects in growing cities etc?

    This tendency to be covert and reluctant to divulge information just fuels skepticism. This has also been evident with the leaked e-mails where academics have actively tried to hide or destroy data to prevent analysis by skeptics. In other instances they have been coercing editors of respected journals to prevent publication articles by skeptical scientists. Then they have the nerve to criticise the skeptics for not producing enough peer-reviewed work!

    Surely the best approach is to make the raw data as available as possible, including the rationale for adjustments etc. If the warming trend is so obvious then the data itself will blow away arguments from the skeptical side.

    The problem for me is that there is evidence of the “experimenter effect” showing through quite strongly. Unfortunately, we can’t do double-blind studies with this sort of stuff. The best alternative is to widely distribute the raw data. The stance taken by the scientists in the leaked e-mails, and by implication perhaps many other scientists in the AGW side, is just to arouse suspicion.

    Anyway, here are the links I pointed to yesterday that show a great deal of analysis and context to the statements:

    1. An article by a pro-AGW commentator:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/23/global-warming-leaked-email-climate-scientists

    Notice that the author considers: “The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.’

    and that: “Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.’

    In depth, detailed analysis by other sites, including extensive contextual material can be found at these links:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/11/24/taking_liberties/entry5761180.shtml

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/24/the-people-vs-the-cru-freedom-of-information-my-okole%E2%80%A6/

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/three-things-you-absolutely-must-know-about-climategate/

    • Zorr 2.1

      Nice quote mining there tsmithfield. The guy (George Monbiot) is completely correct in calling for the head of Phil Jones in an effort to put this issue to bed and get science back on track. However he also says (in the rest of his article) that the ‘red hot smoking gun’ for CCDers does not exist anywhere in those letters.

      Yes, they were being unscientific pricks. Yes, they should be fired and dragged through the mud. No, this doesn’t actually change the scientific consensus on climate change.

      • Huub Bakker 2.1.1

        No but it certainly exists in the programmes that came with the emails and which are used to create THE historic temperature curves that have most influenced the IPCC, and through them the rest of the world. Here’s just one.

        “Eric S. Raymond is a software developer and advocate of the open source software movement. He wrote a seminal paper called The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which explained why open processes are more effective than top down ones. He has been studying the code used by the scientists at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, whose work raised serious questions about the quality of the research being used to underpin the proposed $1 trillion Cap’n Trade bill stalled in Congress. Here’s what Eric found in the computer code:

        “From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

        ;
        ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
        ;
        yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
        valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
        2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
        if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
        ;
        yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

        “This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

        “All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.”

  3. r0b 3

    Surely the best approach is to make the raw data as available as possible, including the rationale for adjustments etc

    Which is EXACTLY what NIWA did with their data and explanation to the “Climate Science” idiots. Who then went ahead and lied to the public by making a song and dance about the raw data (ignoring the explanation that came with it). See again the quote from NIWA in the post:

    “NIWA climate scientists have previously explained to members of the Coalition why such corrections must be made. NIWA’s Chief Climate Scientist, Dr David Wratt, says he’s very disappointed that the Coalition continue to ignore such advice and therefore to present misleading analyses’.

    This is why it’s so hard to engage with the deniers, because they will actively lie and distort anything given to them. You’re doing it in a minor way yourself, with your selective quote from the Guardian. Note that the author also says:

    But do these revelations justify the sceptics’ claims that this is “the final nail in the coffin” of global warming theory? Not at all. They damage the credibility of three or four scientists. They raise questions about the integrity of one or perhaps two out of several hundred lines of evidence. To bury man-made climate change, a far wider conspiracy would have to be revealed

    Why not quote that bit as well TS?

    • zelda 3.1

      So Hokitika has to be adjusted ?

      And the Wellington Airport temperature station on top of a building along with City council funded station in the middle of downtown ( to get high readings for the TV news) means that NASA ignores wellington alltogether for its global temperature .
      The global temperature records are a shambles

      • aj 3.1.1

        “The global temperature records are a shambles”

        I think that is a very true statement. Patching records together from a range of sites at different elevations to get long term records leaves room for error. When were are dealing with temperatures changes over the last 50 years of only 0.7C, every tenth of a degree becomes important.

  4. It is interesting that those who decry the science and subject it to the most rigorous and critical analysis are prepared to accept at face value a few informal statements as proof of their prejudice.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    I agree with George Monbiot that the idea of a global conspiracy is ludicrous. What I do think is more of a danger, however, is the “experimenter error” being repeated numerous times by researchers who feel so strongly about saving the world that they unwittingly make adjustments to data on a biased basis without even realising it.

    This is a well known effect, and hence the reason why experiments are preferred as “double blind”. The fact they are so resistant to disclosing the raw data only fuels this suspicion.

    It seems to me that the e-mails in question provide evidence of an environment likely to foster “experimentor error”, and so some caution needs to be taken with viewing results, especially if researchers with opposing views are actively being locked out of major journals etc.

    I certainly believe the world is warming. However, it is the amount of warming, and the reasons for it that I question. How much of the warming is due to natural cycles and how much is due to human influence for instance?

    With respect to NIWA, the Investigate Site at least includes the full response from NIWA. The NIWA scientist states:

    NIWA chief scientist David Wratt says he has no plans to release data backing up claims of different temperature adjustments between historial weather station sites.

    “Wratt told Investigate tonight that some studies existed which contained “overlapping” periods which allowed NIWA to compare the temperatures at both locations.

    http://briefingroom.typepad.com/the_briefing_room/2009/11/breaking-nzs-niwa-accused-of-cru-style-temperature-faking.html

    He said NIWA intendeds to release data regarding the Kelburn weather station tonight, but will not release other data.”

    Why not release it all if all the adjustments are legit?

    I believe it is much more productive to solve the worlds immediate problems, and in so doing we will solve the long-term ones. For instance, solving problems such as getting rid of pollution, and finding renewable alternatives to fossil fuels will solve any long-term climate problems. I doubt the carbon trading scheme will solve very much in comparison.

  6. r0b 6

    Why not release it all if all the adjustments are legit?

    I agree that would be the ideal, but they are probably worried that what they do release will be distorted and lied about, as has happened in this case.

    For instance, solving problems such as getting rid of pollution, and finding renewable alternatives to fossil fuels will solve any long-term climate problems. I doubt the carbon trading scheme will solve very much in comparison.

    Think of the carbon trading scheme as a way of encouraging (“incentivising”, “sending cost signals”) the world to do exactly what you suggest, and you’re home. Sadly, rational argument isn’t enough, we need these cost signals for it to work. Crazy, but there it is.

  7. grumpy 7

    At the very least, the claim that “the science is settled” has taken a huge hammering.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    r0b “I agree that would be the ideal, but they are probably worried that what they do release will be distorted and lied about, as has happened in this case.”

    The best solution, r0b, is complete transparency, openness, and collaboration between all points of view. This works really well for Wikipedia, for example, in a much broader way.

    If this approach is taken, then any crack-pot arguments will be exposed for what they are, and there will be much more buy-in from the public.

    Looking at it objectively, and apply this to research generally, not just the climate debate. Would you agree that the type of environment evident in the e-mail leaks is open to fostering “experimenter bias” type errors?

  9. Andrei 9

    That works when both sides of the game are playing the game fairly. Here one side are charlatans and fools.

    And as the data that has come to light is analyzed it is becoming more and more apparent which side that is r0b.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      Indeed

      Vast ice sheets across the globe gained up to four inches just hours after it emerged experts at the University of East Anglia had been manipulating data in a bid to knock-off early.

      Meanwhile in the Antarctic the 200 square mile Donnelly ice shelf changed direction and headed back towards the continent where it then reattached itself to the slightly larger McPartlin ice shelf.

      Climate change sceptic and fully-qualified blogger Martin Bishop said: “As soon as these emails were released the world’s glaciers resumed their normal, icey behaviour, as long-predicted by some of London’s most important journalists.

      “This is the smoking iceberg that fires a polar bear of truth between the eyes of hysteria and communism.”

    • r0b 9.2

      Say Andrei – the end of my original post links to lots of pretty pictures of ice melting all over the world.

      Why do you think the ice is melting Andrei?

      • Andrei 9.2.1

        Why do you think the ice is melting Andrei?

        Because H2O makes a phase transition from solid to liquid at 0C°.

        The ancient Greeks were the first to note this phenomenon in writing I believe but I am sure that it had been observed long before that.

        Some very spectacular footage of melting ice and calving icebergs was included in the 1958 Walt Disney film “White Wilderness”. This film is somewhat notorious today since we now know its spectacular footage of lemmings committing suicide was achieved by the filmmakers flinging the poor little creatures off cliffs and into the sea where they drowned.

        But I think the melting ice was for real.

      • r0b 9.2.2

        Fine facetious answer Andrei.

        Why is ice melting all over the world?

        Are you suggesting that all that evidence has been faked like the lemmings? Is the NASA data and images showing shrinking and thinning of the Arctic ice cap fake or real Andrei?

        What about the people arguing over new mineral and shipping rights in the newly thawed areas, are they all fake?

        • Andrei 9.2.2.1

          Explain the difference to me between Walt Disney shipping Lemmings hundreds of miles to coastal Alberta (which is not their natural habitat) to film them “committing suicide” by “leaping” into the ocean and taking a Celebrity Politician or vapid movie star into the Arctic (not their natural habitat) at the height of summer, finding a place where a Glacier terminates and using that as a backdrop to hector us about wrecking the planet.

          Both are intentionally misleading – and this is where you people have come unstuck. We are inured to such crude propaganda and can see it for what it is.

          And this is the Email scandal – these so called scientists have been producing propaganda dressed up as science.

          • r0b 9.2.2.1.1

            Explain the difference to me … finding a place where a Glacier terminates and using that as a backdrop to hector us about wrecking the planet.

            The difference is that in one case it was a movie of no significance, and in the other case we’re actually wrecking the planet. Doh.

            You haven’t answered the question. Why is the Arctic ice cap melting so fast? The longer you avoid answering the question the stupider you look.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    r0b: “Here one side are charlatans and fools.”

    Would that be the side that left incriminating e-mails up to be hacked and distributed, Rob?

    Seriously, though, you are showing tendencies towards ingroup-outgroup biases with that statement. Not every skeptic completely denies that the world is warming or that humans have a part in that. There are some very good scientists on the skeptic side of the argument, so you do yourself a disservice by lumping them all in as nutters.

    r0b: “Turn the guns of your “scientific rigour’ on the deniers arguments and data TS. Tell me what you find. Until then you’re just a denier foot-soldier.”

    I expect the same approach to also be taken by the other side of the argument. At the moment I think the evidence is there is vested interests at play on both sides, so interaction is not particularly productive at the moment.

    • r0b 10.1

      Would that be the side that left incriminating e-mails up to be hacked and distributed, Rob?

      Are you serious TS? That’s your argument? The CRU must be wrong because someone managed to hack their server?

      There are some very good scientists on the skeptic side of the argument, so you do yourself a disservice by lumping them all in as nutters.

      The majority of leading deniers are nutters TS. If there are good scientists in there as well (I’d be interested if you could name a few) then they need to be speaking out about the tactics of the nutters. Are any of them doing that?

    • r0b 10.2

      No hurry TS – just five good scientists will do. Don’t choose names at random from that supposed list of scientist deniers though, because most of them were listed without their knowledge or permission…

      • Geek 10.2.1

        I’m no denier r0b but I think the point is that the emails show there are people on the GW side of the argument who are acting less than ethically (destroying data and actively trying to prevent publication of scientists they disagree with is unethical). This as has been pointed out doesn’t prove the deniers correct but it does prove that both sides need to clear the nutters out of their ranks and start sharing their information so that an honest answer can be found.

        Until this is done there will always be those who are skeptical and hence will be able to dismiss the need for action.

        • r0b 10.2.1.1

          With the greatest of respect Geek, no, no matter how pure the science, the deniers will always be with us. Human nature.

        • Bright Red 10.2.1.2

          Geek. There will always be people who do the wrong thing or express what they’re doing wrongly.

          It has no bearing whatsoever on the issue.

          • Geek 10.2.1.2.1

            There will always be those who will disagree. However by not sharing data and by trying to silence those in opposition you just give them credibility.

            You have to remember it isn’t the scientists who are going to fix this. It is politicians who are going to try and win our votes who are going to make the changes that are needed. As long as the AGW side are seen to be with holding data and silencing opposition normal people like my self will always have that hint of something being fishy.

            This is the most important subject in the world at the moment. Those dealing with it have to be open and beyond reproach. As long as they behave in the same manner as those who they dismiss as crazy they only hurt their cause.

            • Armchair Critic 10.2.1.2.1.1

              The data are usually quite expensive to collect. Processing the data is also expensive, and so is interpreting the data. All up, the data are pretty valuable.
              One of the strengths of the US system is that a lot of the data collected on a lot of projects are available for free over the internet, albeit as raw data (and usually in an inconvenient format).
              Other parts of the world, and I’m thinking of New Zealand and the UK, the data are not in the public domain due to their perceived value, which is in part due to the business model under which the various organisations undertaking the research operate. In short, the commercialisation of research science in NZ has kept much of the data out of public view.

  11. singularian 11

    0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6

    that is all.

    catchpa – fry

    • r0b 11.1

      Ahh – the “fudge factor”. Which only appeared in commented out debug code and so was not used. That’s dull.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    r0b: “Are you serious TS? That’s your argument? The CRU must be wrong because someone managed to hack their server?”

    No. I was just being facetious. You hadn’t qualified which side you meant as “fools and charlatans”.

    “No hurry TS just five good scientists will do.”

    I am actually at work at the moment, so haven’t got time to dig too deeply. However, two names that spring immediately to mind are Spencer and Christie. Their peer-reviewed work on the feedback mechanisms of clouds is included the next IPCC report I understand.

    The link below can access both authors.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christy

    So, tell me r0b, what do you qualify as a “fool and a charlatan”? Is it anyone who disagrees with the most extreme, strident views on AGW?

  13. gitmo 13

    “United States President Barack Obama yesterday said he would attend the start of the talks and that the US emissions reduction target would be 17 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020.”

    How does this compare to NZ’s proposed targets ?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10611962

  14. singularian 14

    ……. and “Lord’ Monckton as debunked in earlier posts.

    All that is before 17/11/09 – the universe has shifted r0b, did you not get the memo?

    • r0b 14.1

      Say singularian – I’m interested in this new universe of yours. Why do you think the arctic icecap is melting so quickly? What’s your theory? How does it work in your new universe?

  15. singularian 15

    Quickly compared to?

  16. tsmithfield 16

    Rob: “Say TS since Andrei has chucked it in why do you think the Arctic is melting so fast?”

    I did say I thought the world was warming. What I am not sure about is whether it is all human activity, or if a substantial part of it is a natural cycle. Afterall, there have been times in our history when the earth was completely ice-free. At the moment there is warmer water due to the warming cycle to date, thus causing melt.

    Note that the warmng cycle has ceased at the moment, and may even be cooling at the moment. This was even admitted in one of the leaked e-mails: “”The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t,’

    • r0b 16.1

      I did say I thought the world was warming. What I am not sure about is whether it is all human activity, or if a substantial part of it is a natural cycle

      At the moment everything else seems quite stable (except slightly decreased solar activity for the last 10 years, which is one of the possible reasons there has been minimal warming for the last 10 years).

      But – over decades – CO2 is really spiking up, and so is temperature. Humans are emitting heaps of CO2. Now – it could be a complete coincidence, but given that it is exactly what science predicts, do you really think so?

    • I did say I thought the world was warming. What I am not sure about is whether it is all human activity, or if a substantial part of it is a natural cycle …

      Just in case it is like the really really big problem many people think it is, do you think we should at least change our behaviour to minimise the effect if it turns out that it is a really really big problem?

  17. BLiP 17

    I still don’t get all of the science. but from what little I have garnered, and I have read a truck loads over the last 12 months, the only argument worth having is: what can we do and how do we get started.

    I want to register my disapproval of the lies, misinformation, misdirections, and confusion paraded here by the same old trolls with the same old line of bullshit. Their words are the result not only of ignorance, but deliberate ignorance. Is there anyway we could institute a banning system to prevent the systematic disruption of discussion, and my education, by trolls using repeatedly disproved bollocks? Perhaps, three false statements and you’re out? Or perhaps, those more knowledgeable would consider desisting from engaging with the trolls. It has been fun, I have to say, witnessing the various and many spankings the trolls have received, but its starting to wear a bit thin now.

    Just asking, is all.

    • Gosman 17.1

      Yes I agree BLiP.

      We should stop people like Tevellerev spreading their ignorant unscientific nonsense on here forthwith.

      Oh wait…. you don’t mean the unscientific nonsense you agree with do you?

      • r0b 17.1.1

        Gosman, are you suggesting that if I believe one book I read in a library then I am forced to believe every book in the library? Because that sounds stupid.

        • Gosman 17.1.1.1

          I don’t know. Perhaps we should ask BLiP the criteria he would use to decide which criteria he would use to decide which statements are unscientific.

          Oh wait a minute…. he said three false statements and you’re out. How is he going to determine if a statement is false again?

          BLiP must be the brainiest person in the whole world if he can figure that one out. 😉

      • singularian 17.1.2

        lol

        Maybe Blip could list the ‘trolls’ he wants banned, so as not to insult his ‘education’ snigger

        catchpa – references- you really can’t make this shit up.

      • quenchino 17.1.3

        Oh yeah .. all that unassailable science from thousands of researchers, in hundreds of engineering institutions, who all examined the original, raw WTC wreckage and independently came to the same extensively, exhaustively peer reviewed consensus.

      • mickysavage 17.1.4

        On the one hand I sympathise with the desire to ban trolls. It would be ok if the debates at least progressed, in that case you can see there is an attempt to address the issues raised.

        But some of these conversations keep going round in circles and ending back at the start.

        On the other hand I find these arguments really good for honing the arguments for when you have to use them with people who are actually thinking about the issue.

      • travellerev 17.1.5

        tevellerev?

        Capcha: mistake. LOL.

        I still remember a fat, angry young man with an Australian outback coat and leather hat in te Papa sticking up his hand as one of only two of more than 300 people after hearing Richard Gage’s presentation sticking to his Conspiracy nutcase mantra. it must be getting lonely were you live. LOL.

        Here is some more on NIWA’s measuring methods.

        • NickS 17.1.5.1

          http://hot-topic.co.nz/nz-sceptics-lie-about-temp-records-try-to-smear-top-scientist/

          You know, it’s not that hard these days to find and read climate change blogs that actually know their stuff, unlike that magnificently incompetent moron Watts: Watts up with Watts?

          And on being angry at human stupidity:
          “I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”
          -Phil Plait, current president of the ever so evil James Randi foundation, aka the sceptics who aren’t making bad arguments constantly.

          • travellerev 17.1.5.1.1

            NickS I don’t pretend to know anything about climate change other than what has been dished out over the years.

            I live a sustainable lifestyle simply because I believe in trying not to take more than I need and to live in harmony with my surroundings.

            I think we have serious problems such as the wholesale destruction of out environment and huge pollution problems.

            I also happen to think that the debate on Global warming hasn’t finished yet and the whole Carbon credit industry is just that, and industry with people like Al Gore and the oil and banking industry making millions of dollars.

            The only response to CO2 emissions if they are so dangerous is planting more trees and killing of huge corporate industries which as we all know is never going to happen.

    • Macro 17.2

      Hear! Hear! BLiP!!
      In case you haven’t read it Gareth on Hot Topic has an excellent post on this CONSISTENT lie by the deniers they have been told by NIWA 3 years ago why the temperature data from the weather stations have been adjusted. NIWA have also explained to the NZC”S”C how the adjustment was made and the evidence is perfectly clear that the trend is upward and has been for a number of years.
      The NZC’S’C’ just choose to consistently ignore that perfectly satisfactory explanation – because it suits them to do so – despite the fact that to ignore the properly adjusted data is to allow inaccuracies that distort the true temperature records. The early data was taken at sea level and the later data was taken at Kelburn 120 m higher! NIWA also took data from Wellington Airport – also at sea level over the same time frame and found that the average difference in Temp – between Kelburn and the Airport was 0.79 degrees C – consistent with theoretical variations adjusted for height! ie – its about 0.8 degrees cooler 120 m higher. So when the earlier temperatures are adjusted to take this difference into account. the resulting graph is the one that should be used. This has been all explained to the NZCSC – 3 years ago! but they choose to be ignorant of it! and persist in spreading lies!

      • quenchino 17.2.1

        So why are lies so easy, and the truth so damned difficult?

        [lprent: Warning – you’re starting to trigger my troll crushing instincts from using mindless aphorisms that don’t contribute to debate. Read the policy to find out what happens next. ]

        • Gosman 17.2.1.1

          Jeeze quenchino, you read like some whinny adolescent kid.

          I hope you were being ironic or something with your last post.

          • quenchino 17.2.1.1.1

            Haven’t you someone to trade emmissions with?

            [lprent: Warning – you’re starting to trigger my troll crushing instincts from using mindless aphorisms that don’t contribute to debate. Read the policy to find out what happens next. ]

            • Gosman 17.2.1.1.1.1

              Well I hope I don’t have to cover your emissions because frankly I don’t think the world can support that level of BS for too much longer.

            • quenchino 17.2.1.1.1.2

              Ooh big boy… I’m impressed, didn’t realise we were in the presence of a world-class BS detection expert. So if truth is so easy… do tell.

        • Macro 17.2.1.2

          Because these lies that are being spread spring from small minds that do not wish to see the whole truth! it’s that simple.

    • r0b 17.3

      I want to register my disapproval of the lies, misinformation, misdirections, and confusion paraded here by the same old trolls with the same old line of bullshit. Their words are the result not only of ignorance, but deliberate ignorance

      I feel your pain. Boy do I feel your pain. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had the same stupid argument with the same person over and over – I could retire happy.

      But Mickysavage is right, we do it to perfect our arguments. Eg, as I have learned in this thread, no point arguing science with a denier, just ask why the arctic is melting. Keep asking until they realise that they don’t have an answer. Also, although we’ll never convince the deniers that we argue with, we may convince a few of the (many) lurkers who read without commenting. And that makes is worth it.

      So fight the good fight…

      • Gosman 17.3.1

        I feel you pain also BLiP.

        Group hug everyone (((((((0))))))).

        All these people on this blog spouting arguments not backed up by mainstream science. It is just terrible.

        LOL!

  18. tsmithfield 18

    mickeysavage “Just in case it is like the really really big problem many people think it is, do you think we should at least change our behaviour to minimise the effect if it turns out that it is a really really big problem?”

    Mickey, I am all for behavioural changes. But ones that address immediate world problems. As I mentioined earlier, solving the peak-oil problem will go a long way to solving the C02 problem if humans are having a major effect on temperature.

    I think the price of oil will force these sorts of changes anyway….when it gets over $200 per barrel. However, I think emissions trading schemes are artificial and lack the buy-in of major polluters, so they seem a bit pointless to me, and even by the admission of their proponents, do very little to actually solve the problem anyway.

    • Macro 18.1

      I agree with you entirely ts
      Labour had a far better scheme 5 years ago – a carbon tax – but comalco said they didn’t like it and Shane Arden drove his tractor up parliament steps and that was the end of that!
      What we have now will do NOTHING to reduce the production of carbon dioxide. zip, nada, nothing! But it will cost taxpayers heaps in cuts in public services or increases in the tax take – the fiscal drag it will induce in the economy will be devastating. It is completely unsustainable. And for NOTHING!
      What is needed is a completely new vision – a mobilisation toward new energies – wind solar and geothermal. A restructuring of the national grid to adapt to the numerous smaller and home based energy sources. Every new home to be installed with solar hotwater collectors, (Israel has had this since 1974!) 5 sqm PV electric on each new home. They would pay for themselves in 7 years. More efficient lights and water use.etc – this is the low hanging fruit. Planting of native bush along the banks of the Manawatu would not only improve the water quality – but would also sequest carbon. Stopping gold mining – a productively useless activity but a high emitter of carbon would also be a good step as well!
      There are thousands of things we could be doing – they would all involve new employment opportunities – new areas for investment and we could have a reasonable chance of handing on to our children and grand children a wold fit to live in. Business as Usual is NOT an option.

      • mickysavage 18.1.1

        Good comment.

        The really big think NZ could do is stop supplying power to Tiwai Point. Huntly could then just about be shut down. There would be a foreign exchange hit but average power prices would go down.

        I would love to see actual economic analysis. I could never work it out how it was worth us selling the power so cheaply to them.

    • tsmithfield

      Mickey, I am all for behavioural changes. But ones that address immediate world problems. As I mentioined earlier, solving the peak-oil problem will go a long way to solving the C02 problem if humans are having a major effect on temperature.

      I think the price of oil will force these sorts of changes anyway .when it gets over $200 per barrel. However, I think emissions trading schemes are artificial and lack the buy-in of major polluters, so they seem a bit pointless to me, and even by the admission of their proponents, do very little to actually solve the problem anyway.

      Agreed in part. The benefit of an ETS is that it forces investment into, amongst other things, the clean production of power. This will allow the human race to slow down the depletion of petroleum until something better like fusion is a reality.

      I read something interesting a while ago where it was suggested that humans were in a race to either toast the planet or deplete its oil reserves and that either possibility required the same response.

  19. BLiP 19

    Okay – maybe banning the trolls is not the way to go. What about a licensing system where a person identified as an AGW Troll cannot comment in a climate science post without first having passed a test? Successful graduates can be given a password which would allow them to comment. I’m sure any technical matters would be no problem to the sysop and I am quite happy to formulate and mark the tests as well, as administrate the dishing out of the passwords.

    I would base the tests on the material covered here and here.

    Otherwise, I guess its just a matter of taking a deep breath, relocating the sense of humour, and wading through the sloshing ignorance while marvelling at the patience of those of you who can be bothered.

    Sigh.

    • Gosman 19.1

      Yeah kind of like reading all that 9/11 Truther stuff eh BLiP?

      LOL!

      • quenchino 19.1.1

        Yeah like you only pretend to believe all that AGW stuff eh Gossy?

        • Gosman 19.1.1.1

          And your allegation is based on what quenchino?

          Perhaps it was the same Aliens at Area 51 that advised you about the ‘truth’ behind September the 11th?

          BLiP idea about a test is about the dumbest thing I have read from him, and that is stating a lot.

          Whatever next, getting a Barcode tattooed on your forehead which you can scan before it allows you to post an opinion?

          LOL!

        • quenchino 19.1.1.2

          And your allegation is based on what quenchino?

          The naff and now dated “LOL!” of the smug and certain appended to your comments. Reveals at lot.

          • Gosman 19.1.1.2.1

            Do you mean because I laugh at the fact that you’re happy to believe nonsense conspiracy theories like the 9/11 Truther movement but expect others to take you seriously on AGW?

            No, I don’t think that is proof I’m a secret Anti-AGW denier. But nice try.

            • quenchino 19.1.1.2.1.1

              Too much protesting, shoulda stopped a few comments back.

            • felix 19.1.1.2.1.2

              He can’t. He’s obsessed with the idea that everyone else believes in conspiracies. He sees them everywhere, and when he doesn’t, he just makes them up.

              He believes in conspiracy theory conspiracies.

              He’s a meta-conspiracy theorist if you will.

  20. NickS 20

    /groan

    It’d take a whole day to cut through the CCD crap in here, which I don’t have.

    Anyhow, <a href="http://hot-topic.co.nz/nz-sceptics-lie-about-temp-records-try-to-smear-top-scientist/"Gareth's got a brilliant post up on Hot-Topic on the Niwa stuff, that exposes the NZ Climate “Science’ Coalition as a bunch of insipid, lying buffons, which also includes their pet climate “scientist” De Freitas.

    And on BliP’s idea for a test for CCD’s, linking to Wisharts soap-box for “evidence that climate change is wrong” should be considered a “fail”, much like linking to whale.to et al for anything health related.

    • BLiP 20.1

      You passed.

      • NickS 20.1.1

        Obviously.

        I tend to spit snark and science when I get the motivation to read the comments and see something stupid. Of which the “hide the decline” meme and tsmithfield linking to Wishart’s burning stupid, along with being functionally incapable of f*cking researching the evidence for increasing temperatures are the worst.

        Though 30+ km’s of biking yesterday have left me a bit in the “meh” state…

        • Huub Bakker 20.1.1.1

          You’re clearly not reading the right comments then or researching the evidence.

          The globe has been cooling since 1998 and correlates with solar activity but not carbon dioxide concentration.

          The team at CRU have been faking the evidence for years. My favourite quote from the code they used to create the temperature graphs that you put such great store by (pause while I pull the quote from the files I downloaded to my hard drive):

          “Here, the expected 1990-2003 period is MISSING – so the correlations aren’t so hot! Yet the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have :-)”

          They made it up. They were the world’s ‘experts” on climate change. They kept any dissenters out of the peer-reviewed journals.

          Global warming is dead. There never was any global warming. It’s over.

          • NickS 20.1.1.1.1

            Me thinks I’ll trust this thing called “peer review” and actual climate scientists, rather than the self-claimed “climate sceptics” who make the same damn fallacious arguments time after time and quote mine personal correspondences.

            Why? Because science just f*cking works, not always perfectly, but it still f*cking works. It worked on smoking being a cause of some cancers, it worked on DDT being a major ecological headache, restricting it to niche applications, it worked on CFC’s, it worked and is still working on evolutionary biology, and HIV being the causative agent of AIDS, or vaccines not causing autism spectrum disorders. All in spite of the “sceptics” counter claims and constant bullsh*tting.

            Just like it does with climate change research.

            Which, you know, there’s all those lovely correlations of the CRU data with other climate records, and all those shifts in animal distributions, migration patterns, frost days, soil temps. Which are easily found by going to wikipedia and using google to find copies of the relevant papers. Of course, one possibly expects you to crop up and say something exceedingly stupid about peer-review, or hark on about conspiracy, allowing for a wonderful educational opportunity for explaining science and getting snarky.

            Anyhow, amusingly enough you haven’t even bothered to be sceptical about the veracity of the stolen emails you have, nor actually show any inclination to think about this wonderful thing called “context”. Then, you do appear to possible really f*cking dumb, otherwise you a) you might have learnt about this thing called “sample interval” and b) actually noticed that solar activity took a real big dive in the 70’s, and yet temperatures continued to rise, thus out-ruling the solar activity claim. You scientifically illiterate moron.

          • quenchino 20.1.1.1.2

            As an academic yourself I might have thought you would understand the ethics of quote mining other people’s personal communications.

            You have already fallen right into this trap once already on this site, where you selectively quoted a chunk of code that defined an array of ‘fudge factors’, that was supposedly the ultimate proof that ‘global warming was over’.

            You neglected to include the remainder of the code, where it is obvious that the array concerned was commented out and never used. You also failed to present evidence that this piece of code was used for anything published at all.

            This raises two questions:

            1. Would you accept this standard of work from one of your own students? If so, why do you still have tenure?

            2. If you wouldn’t accept it from a student, why should we accept it from you? If not, can we have a withdrawal and apology?

            • Huub Bakker 20.1.1.1.2.1

              Ah, Someone who has actually looked at the files rather than simply spouting off. And someone who recognises my name but doesn’t realise there is no such thing as tenure.

              Huh, I feel chagrined at the previous quote. Thank you for the correction. However I base my conclusions on far more than a simple quote. Trying to get them all into one post is a trifle hard so I try for something short and sharp. 🙂

              Do I have problems with quote mining other people’s personal communications? Of course I do, but my ethics also requires me to blow the whistle in situations where I see the public good requires it. That is the ethics my profession requires of me regardless of the abuse and invective I might garner from others such as NickS.

              1. I would not accept the code that I saw from any my students. I would fail them the paper for having produced such code. I will not include any out of context quotes.

              2. This is not a forum that seeks or expects the same rigour of proof that a scientific journal would require. This is a forum to debate issues. As such we make statements that open to proof or contradiction.

              Now, let me test your knowledge. Have you looked at the data that shows that the global temperature correlates reasonably accurately with sun activity and does not correlate with carbon dioxide concentration, especially in the last 10 years when the temperature is dropping but CO2 continues to increase?

              Have you seen alternate temperature profiles that agree with historical evidence and show that the Medieval warm period was warmer than today?

              Do you feel some unease when you hear claims that the Arctic ice sheet will disappear in 10 years because two years ago it covered the smallest extent on record? (And then find that the satellite records only go back several decades and that the ice sheet now extends further than it has since 1979?)

              I will not support these with links. I leave that as an exercise for the student. 🙂

            • quenchino 20.1.1.1.2.2

              . Have you looked at the data that shows that the global temperature correlates reasonably accurately with sun activity

              Well of course there is a correlation. By itself this is a statement of the obvious that doesn’t tell us much new.

              In fact the sun has just gone through an especially of prolonged and deep minimum of it’s regular cycle. If the sun was the principle factor player in driving the climate, as you are suggesting, then logically global temperatures would have also been at very low levels.

              Instead, as you know perfectly well, most of the hottest years in the instrumental record have all occured during this same period when solar activity was especially low.

              and that the ice sheet now extends further than it has since 1979

              You may not have thought about the difference between area of the ice sheet, and it’s volume. Specifically the volume of multi-year aged ice. This is both pertinent and entertaining.

            • NickS 20.1.1.1.2.3

              Eh, it’s too late to do a full on post, but rummaging around:

              1) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/a-warming-pause/
              – Oh look, no cooling since 1998. There’s also a neat java based app in one of the posts Hot-Topic that can be used to display the issues with taking short term trends in noisy data sets.

              2) Laut 2003, Solar activity and terrestrial climate: an analysis of some purported correlations
              – <a href="http://scholar.google.co.nz/scholar?cites=15762865635524181036&hl=en&as_sdt=2000"Citation list for extra reading, though please remember to actually skim over the abstracts further down the citation chain for critical discussions of the articles pub’d in (actual, not crank) peer reviewed journals…

            • sk 20.1.1.1.2.4

              Mr Bakker,

              Since you are an academic, maybe you can answer some questions for me. It startles me the way ‘correlations’ are bandied about; Given temperatures and CO2 vary over long periods are they I(0) or I(1) processes? In which direction does the causality flow? Does CO2 Granger cause temperature?

              Given the time series we appear to be dealing with, and the fact that the co-movement occurs over tens of thousands of years, how can 10 years have any meaning? If atmospheric CO2 Granger causes temperature, but with uncertain lags, at some point humanity is going to have a CO2 caused temperature crisis. Who cares about what has happened in the last 10 years?

              It is strikes me there is a hell of a lot of sophistry in this debate

  21. Tony 21

    Now it could be a complete coincidence, but given that it is exactly what science predicts, do you really think so?

    Well, there you go, I never realised that science was about making predictions. I always thought science was about observations. Alas I now stand corrected.

  22. r0b 22

    I now stand corrected

    No charge.

  23. Huub Bakker 23

    Heavens, three at once! 🙂

    (sk, it’s Dr Bakker actually but please call me Huub).

    I’ll take the solar issue first:

    I get my statement from this image taken from Camp and Tung GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2007 (That would be after your reference Nick.)

    http://cce.890m.com/solar-gcr/images/camp-tung.jpg

    It shows a fairly strong correlation between temperature and solar activity to my mind. And I do not ‘bandy’ correlations around; this is my direct observation of the graph. Now I do realise that temperature and CO2 can vary over long periods of time sk but here we have a fairly strong correlation that seems to account for most of the changes in temperature. I also see no long-term drift in this graph to suggest that there are other significant factors such as CO2 in play. And I know of no foreseeable effect from CO2 that will cause a ‘temperature crisis’.

    OK on to the temperature graphs. Now it’s interesting that you should place a link to realclimate.org Nick. The is the web site that appears prominently in the CRU emails. So when I look up another site and see this
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/
    – a clearly different temperature plot, I have to ask myself who is right. Do you have any suggestions as to how this disparity could be resolved.

    sk, I’m unfamiliar with the terms you use but I can say that the temperature records show that CO2 increases about 700-1000 years after temperatures increase. I would state that it is impossible in that case for CO2 to drive temperature, but I’m always happy to entertain a discussion on how that might be possible.

    However I do know that over at Climate Audit (http://camirror.wordpress.com/) they’ve managed to replicate the “trick” to “hide the decline” that apparent;y wasn’t taken out of context at all….

  24. quenchino 24

    I’m unfamiliar with the terms you use but I can say that the temperature records show that CO2 increases about 700-1000 years after temperatures increase. I would state that it is impossible in that case for CO2 to drive temperature, but I’m always happy to entertain a discussion on how that might be possible.

    I’m going to take this on good faith, but rather than re-type out the standard response, I would recommend few moments googling. This is a non-science blog, with a large non-specialist audience so I will restrict my linking to this vividly presented explanation here.

    In essence, the ‘CO2 lags Temperature’ meme is a cynical, professionally concocted piece of deception which has confused many, many people. I know it puzzled me for a while because superficially and intuitively it looks like a very real objection, but as you well know… many things in the world of science are neither superficial nor intuitive.

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