Steig’s Silence

Once upon a time, in the mists of time (Feb 2008), long before climate scientists had “moved on”, realclimate featured a post entitled Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That, in which Spencer Weart, as noted by Pielke Jr, observed:

. . . we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century. . .

Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.

At AGU in December 2008, Eric Steig gave a preview of his January 2009 article. An RC commenter here reported on this preview as follows:

From http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2008/12/agu_2008_evidence_that_antarct.html: New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years. The study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington in Seattle and soon to be published in Nature, calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century.

To which RC coauthor Steig replied (and comments were promptly shut off):

The claim that our result “calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century” is wrong though. Wait until the paper is published and I’ll say more.–eric]

Upon recent publication of Steig et al 2009, coauthor Mann stated (also noted up by Pielke Jr):

“Contrarians have sometime grabbed on to this idea that the entire continent of Antarctica is cooling, so how could we be talking about global warming,” said study co-author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. “Now we can say: no, it’s not true … It is not bucking the trend.”

Now reasonable people might well interpret that sort of statement as “calling into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century”. Clearly oracles or perhaps goose entrails are required for exegesis of these seemingly contradictory Delphic utterances. Pielke Jr has a little fun with the Team on this, observing:

So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both “consistent with” model projections of global warming.

This elicited a reply from Steig (who seems like pleasant fellow who’s fallen in with a rough crowd over at RC):

I have to admit I cringed when guest writer Weart wrote the article on RealClimate, which I didn’t get a chance to read first. I’m not sure what models he was talking about that said Antarctica should be cooling. A review of the literature would show you (see e.g. Shindell and Schmidt in GRL) that models have been predicting warming.

Fair enough. But this raises the usual problem of the silence of the lambs.

If Steig cringed when he read the Weart article, surely he had an obligation to correct the record at RC. But if you now turn to the thread in question and search ‘Steig’, there is nothing until the final comment (mentioned above.) At no point did Steig record his disagreement with the contents of the RC post. Nor did he record his disagreement when RC coauthors piled on to any commenters who questioned the premises of the Weart post.

Or maybe Steig did write in expressing his disagreement and, like other critics, was censored by Gavin Schmidt. :)

Update (Jan 24 4.54 pm): While I was writing this post, Steig added another comment at Pielke Jr

When I said that “I cringed” I don’t mean that I thought there was anything wrong with Spencer’s article. I meant that I thought he wasn’t clear enough that he was referring to the models show a slower warming in Antarctica than e.g. in the Arctic, which was and remains the correct assessment of what the model show. And I suspected that his article would be used in exactly the way Roger Piekle Jr. has used it; to give the impression that scientists are being careless and inconsistent. But as I said above, this is a red herring.

As for why I didn’t make this point at the time, I have a day job. I can’t spend all my time worrying about how blogs on RealClimate may get mis-used and misrepresented by others.

Roger replies in a new post here.

Steig observes that he has a “day job” and can’t worry about how RC gets “misrepresented by others”. But here he is, instantly contesting Roger’s amusement at the RC tangle, not just once but twice. He also had time to make an inline comment closing the past RC thread. So he has time to contest Roger’s supposed miscues, but not to say something at RC about an article that made him “cringe”. Too bad.


258 Comments

  1. jae
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    LOL. I hope they can make up their minds about whether it should be cooling or warming, according to theory.

  2. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Pielke Jr has a little fun with the Team on this, observing:

    So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both “consistent with” model projections of global warming.

    I’d like to know once and for all what is not consistent with model projections of global warming. It seems that most anything can be attributed to global warming – including surprisingly cold weather.

  3. Bernie
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Though it is amusing – especially given the attitudes at RC, I guess I am less taken by the mis-statements of Weart, Shindell and Steig and more interested in how the actual mesurements were turned into temperature readings and then validly combined with surface temperature records. Doesn’t the novelty of the approach factor argue for more circumspect conclusions? My recollection is that early satellite measures were subjected to significant scrutiny and adjustment before they could be used reliably. Is the technology Steig has used that much better calibrated?

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bernie (#3),

      I’m still digesting the paper and comments, so here is an interim thought that could be premature or wrong.

      It seems that the scientific advance was to better distinguish between microwave reflections from low cloud and ice. This enabled more confidence in assigning temperatures to surface (and very thin surface) microwave reflections from ice.

      But the temperature of surface ice will probably change if there is cloud cover. So, is the satellite really getting a signal that can be summed to “annual” or is it missing the temperatures that it cannot see because of cloud cover? Would the average be lower if it could see the ice below the clouds?

      Mr Steig, is this interpretation of your paper correct or not?

      While agreeing with the responsibility of authors to clarify in cases like this, the main social problem I note is endemic to climate science – the reluctance to give balance to observations that are barely mentioned, or mentioned so cryptically, so that they do not confuse the facts that make a good story.

      Again, we see the value of audit.

  4. David Ermer
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    snip – moralizing on policy

  5. Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    If Steig cringed when he read the Weart article, surely he had an obligation to correct the record at RC.

    Does Steig have an obligation to comment on a blog article? What is the extent of a scientists obligations to comment? There’s no clarity about where an obligation, if any, starts and ends. People would argue they can’t comment on every blog article. Some would argue they can’t comment on everything that is wrong in the literature. Some argue they don’t have an obligation to comment on anything in the literature, except to do their own work. Others argue that lack of citation is comment enough, and papers did a graceful death that way.

    I think people who are able to comment have an obligation if they see something wrong, and it makes better science. But it is so time consuming and unrewarding that you can understand why people don’t do it more often. Still its great when they do, though it raises ‘worrying variation’ in the evidence usually. This issue to me flags more ‘worrying variation’ in the literature, thats all.

    • ad
      Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Stockwell (#5),

      When he’s listed prominently on the site as a contributor I would say yes, he does have an obligation to comment.

    • Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Stockwell (#5),
      The difficulty is Eric Steig is listed as a regular contributor to RC. (His bio is here

      lthough the main contributor is Gavin, in some sense, list of contributors conveys and implicit message which is: We, as a group, are in general agreement. Of course this may not be so.

      Nevertheless, as reader’s might reasonable expect co-authors at RC are in general agreement, Steig’s responsibility to comment on an RC blog post is somewhat higher than normal. If Weart’s article had appeared at my blog or here at CA, I don’t think anyone would suggest Steig had any responsibility to comment and clarify. (Though, other than one person who has been banned, all comments are welcome at my blog.)

      I agree with SteveM that Eric seems a nice enough guy. Though he left the “cringe” comment at Roger’s blog, my impression is he trying very hard to avoid engaging any discussions of the Weart artilcle. His inclination to say little would be consistent with a diagnosis that he is nice. :)

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Update (Jan 24 4.54 pm): While I was writing this post, Steig added another comment at Pielke Jr

    When I said that “I cringed” I don’t mean that I thought there was anything wrong with Spencer’s article. I meant that I thought he wasn’t clear enough that he was referring to the models show a slower warming in Antarctica than e.g. in the Arctic, which was and remains the correct assessment of what the model show. And I suspected that his article would be used in exactly the way Roger Piekle Jr. has used it; to give the impression that scientists are being careless and inconsistent. But as I said above, this is a red herring.

    As for why I didn’t make this point at the time, I have a day job. I can’t spend all my time worrying about how blogs on RealClimate may get mis-used and misrepresented by others.

    Roger replies in a new post here.

    Steig observes that he has a “day job” and can’t worry about how RC gets “misrepresented by others”. But here he is, instantly contesting Roger’s amusement at the RC tangle, not just once but twice. He also had time to make an inline comment closing the past RC thread. So he has time to contest Roger’s supposed miscues, but not to say something at RC about an article that made him “cringe”. Too bad.

  7. Brian Rookard
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    I wonder …

    Is the western part of Antarctica where the “urban islands” are at (so to speak – as far as Antarctica is concerned). Can we classify the eastern part of Antarctica as “rural”.

    If so, shouldn’t the western data have been homogenized so that it tracked with the rural stations and shown a negative trend. Or do we do the reverse when the effect of homogenization would be to show cooling instead.

    I mean, it seems so obvious that the data needs to be adjusted, er … corrected to show warming at all costs … er … homogenized.

    Again … just pondering.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    #5. Steig is an RC coauthor and I think that he has an obligation to be accountable for things said in head posts on his specialty (by at least registering a disagreement) or resign from the masthead. I agree that it’s not reasonable to expect a scientist to trawl around the internet deflecting all mis-comment: I don’t nor could I.

    Nor would I expect Steig to reply to every comment at RC. I don’t try to respond to every comment here nor could I. But if Steig is going to be on the RC masthead, then he should have taken some responsibility for a thread within his specialty. If he’s not prepared to do that, he should resign from the masthead. (In business, you have no obligation to be a company director, but if you are one, then you have an obligation of due diligence. I think that there’s an analogy here.)

    After standing idly by at RC, Steig is now busy arguing with Pielke Jr on another blog, leaving whatever disagreements he has with Weart still unrecorded over at RC.

  9. Richard
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    That’s the problem with RC – no one will ever know whether Steig put a dissenting comment in, as the same people who write that both a cooling and warming Antartica are consistent with global climate models, actually moderate RC. From my attempts to leave comments in the past, it is clearly heavily censored. As to Dave Ermer’s comment (4) – the same people that are telling us about AGW are the same ones moderating RC and writing contradictory gibberish! This is despite my personal view that AGW is most likely explaining the rise in global temperature over the last 100 years, but it concerns me deeply that

    snip – editorializing

  10. John
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up

  11. Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    #9 Thanks Steve, for clarifying where Steig’s obligation came from.

  12. Jordan
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    RC seems to be unable to decide whether CO2 will cause cooling or warming in Antarctica. It reminds me of a comment in Roger Cohen’s reply to the APS discussion on global warming:

    As contrary evidence has accumulated, proponents of strong AGW have begun to display signs of cognitive dissonance. The famed social psychologist Leon Festinger, developer of the concept of cognitive dissonance, conducted early studies of the phenomenon….The psychological model is that their belief system became part of their identity, their self, and information at odds with that belief system became an attack on the self. This helps explain why such people can be resistant to information that would be judged positive on a rational basis. Festinger’s book, When Prophecy Fails, tells of a group of doomsday believers who predicted the end of the world on a particular date. When that didn’t happen, the believers became even more determined they were right. And they become even louder and proselytized even more aggressively after the disconfirmation. So we can expect ever more extreme, opaque, and strange defenses from proponents as evidence continues to mount. For example we are now told that even cooling fits in with global warming.

  13. kuhnkat
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Come on guys, by now you should understand that the science is in and with great precision has determined that ANYTHING is consistent with AGW!!!

    Now, on to more important things, like, whether Lance can win the Tour again in spite of AGW!!

  14. Colin Davidson
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    Mr Steig should come out and say what it is that his hypothesis predicts. Is it a cooling Antarctica or a warming one or a business as usual one?

    For the record, my prediction is a continued cooling throughout all of Antarctica except the Antarctic peninsula, consistent with the current global cooling trend. (I don’t think this recent study claiming warming will withstand critical scrutiny, particularly if Mann had anything to do with the cherries.)

    But what is Mr Steig’s prediction? And what caveats would he place on that prediction?

  15. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    I’ve met Steig in person and had occasional interactions via email and I am happy to confirm that he is a very nice guy.

  16. Jim Steele
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    Steig’s paper is just an arbitrary use of start dates to opportunistically show a warming trend. From his own post it is obvious that since the late 60’s there has been cooling. He claims that using a start date of 1957 generates a more realistic trend because it “uses the full data set”. Yet his own words seem to confirm this opportunistic use of data to generate a warm trend because if he he went back to the 40’s(omitted trend data) that trend would lose significance because the 40’s were the warmest decade on record for west Antarctica.

    From Steigs RC post “In our own published work to date (Schneider and Steig, PNAS), we find that the 1940s [edit for clarity: the 1935-1945 decade] were the warmest decade of the 20th century in West Antarctica, due to an exceptionally large warming of the tropical Pacific at that time.”

    If we use a “fuller data set” going back to a start date of 1935, the admitted height of warmth, the trend in west Antarctica must then show cooling. Couple that with east Antarctic’s recent cooling since 1969 it is amazing how their statistics can still show a warming trend. Feels like 1984 double speak.

  17. tetris
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    Scathingly, Kevin Trenberth’s comment on the paper says it all: “It’s hard to make data were none exists”. Interestingly enough the authors actually note in the paper that they can not rule out that their “findings” are the result of “normal, natural variations in the Antarctic weather [sic: weather, not climate].

    Like it or not, this puts Mann’s subsequent spin doctoring about AGW in a very special light because now that it has been “demonstrated” in a peer reviewed paper in Nature no less that Antarctica has been warming after all, Al Gore will be able to make that specific point when he appears before the Senate next week.

    snip – motives prohibited

  18. jae
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out what the postscript at RC means:

    That means that a sensible projection of future Antarctic temperature change — at anything smaller than the continental scale — can only be based on looking at the mean and variation of ensemble runs, and/or the averages of many models. As it happens, the average of the 19 models in AR4 is similar to our results — showing significant warming in West Antarctica over the last several decades (see Connolley and Bracegirdle’s Figure 1).

    Why are they now talking about WEST Antartica? If the question is about the average for the whole continent, who cares about the mean and variation at “anything smaller than the continential scale”? Did the mighty ensemble show “significant warming” of the whole continent over the last several decades? Is this a diversion, or did I miss something?

  19. Robinson
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    It’s great to have a post without any maths in it (;).

    I note with interest that this story has played widely in popular media outlets (at least UK newspapers), but the equally interesting demonstration by NCAS of a link between Cosmic Rays and the temperature of the Stratosphere has remained pretty much hidden, except in a few “sceptic” blogs.

  20. Smokey
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    #26 [jae] is correctomundo. Steig’s hypothesis is very arguable. If I am not mistaken, CO2 doesn’t stay in one place like W. Antarctica. And as Prof. Freeman Dyson points out:

    “The effect of carbon dioxide is important where the air is dry, and air is usually dry only where it is cold. Hot desert air may feel dry but often contains a lot of water vapor. The warming effect of carbon dioxide is strongest where air is cold and dry, mainly in the arctic rather than in the tropics, mainly in mountainous regions rather than in lowlands, mainly in winter rather than in summer, and mainly at night rather than in daytime.” [source]

    Even if it exists, the very slight warming that Steig et al. claims would tend to be the maximum global temperature rise, per Prof. Dyson. Even if this minuscule temperature rise turns out to be true, it would be well within normal historical fluctuations.


    snip – 1. how many times do I have to ask people not to talk policy blame? 2. Or to ascribe motives or objectives even if you think it?

    3. I haven’t snipped the rest, but please… try not to moralize on CO2 theory. Otherwise every thread is the same.

    • Smokey
      Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: #24, I really wish the post numbering system would stay consistent. Now, jae is #21, not #26. Maybe when erasing a post, the word “deleted” could be left to hold the number, so the numbering makes sence further down thread.

      [edit] Smokey, I’ve inserted the paste-link versions as a demo. A nice feature new readers should be aware of…

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

      Re: Smokey (#24),

      The effect of carbon dioxide is important where the air is dry, and air is usually dry only where it is cold.

      While that is true as far as it goes, in fact CO2 causes less forcing at the poles than at the equator. The reason seems to be that the height of the tropopause is much lower (the cold air is more dense) so the temperature at the tropopause is higher relative to the surface. This significantly reduces the effect of CO2. Hansen et al 2005 has graphs that demonstrate this. Gavin was nice enough to point this out to me when I emailed him about it. You can see for yourself by playing with MODTRAN. Compare the effect of doubling CO2 for sub-arctic winter and a tropical atmosphere.

      • jae
        Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#32),

        in fact CO2 causes less forcing at the poles than at the equator. The reason seems to be that the height of the tropopause is much lower (the cold air is more dense) so the temperature at the tropopause is higher relative to the surface. This significantly reduces the effect of CO2.

        Here we go again with “seems to be…” as a defence of a “factual statement.” LOL.

      • Gerald Machnee
        Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#32),

        The effect of carbon dioxide is important where the air is dry, and air is usually dry only where it is cold.

        While that is true as far as it goes, in fact CO2 causes less forcing at the poles than at the equator.

        So, is the difference between the north and south poles caused by the ozone hole?
        I take it that the models are forecasting “significant” warming at the north pole but not at the south pole. Looks more like history than modelling to me

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

          Re: Gerald Machnee (#65),

          So, is the difference between the north and south poles caused by the ozone hole?

          I have to speculate here because the climate scientists have done such a poor job of explication that one has to guess at what’s going on and then run it up the flagpole for comment.

          The calculated radiative forcing from 2xCO2 at the poles is much less than at the equator by about a factor of three. So why is specifically the Arctic supposed to warm much faster than the Antarctic and the ROW? First some background: There is a huge temperature difference between the poles and the equator at sea level. That means a large driving force for circulation. So a large amount of energy is transferred from the equator to higher latitudes by ocean and air circulation. Enough energy is transferred so that at high latitudes outgoing radiation flux is much higher than incoming solar radiation flux and the tropics radiate much less than they receive. The annual average outgoing radiation deficit at the equator is about 75 W/m2 and the excess outgoing radiation at the poles is about 100 W/m2. See this graph based on Fig. 1.1 in A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation, Grant W. Petty. Energy transfer by air circulation through the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells is about equal to both North and South.

          All the above is based on observation. Now for the speculation on my part: The high humidity of air in the Tropics means that an increase in energy does not raise the temperature very much, i.e. it has very high heat capacity. But the higher energy content means that the same rate of air circulation will have a higher rate of energy transfer. The dry cold air at high latitudes, OTOH, has a much lower heat capacity so a similar increase in energy causes a larger temperature change than in the Tropics. That would imply similar rates of warming North and South. But oceanic energy transfer is, AFAIK, mostly from South to North, Gulf Stream, Japan Current, e.g. The Antarctic Circumpolar current also tends to isolate Antarctica from oceanic heat transport. Combine that with much less total ice area and vastly less ice volume in the Arctic and you get faster warming at high North latitudes. The ozone hole may contribute as well, but heat transfer is dominant. I think. Maybe.

          The idea that in a warming period high latitudes warm faster than low latitudes is supported by evidence that previous warm eras had a much smaller temperature difference between the poles and the equator. There is evidence that boreal forests grew on Antarctica not all that long ago on the geologic time scale when Antarctica was already located in approximately its current position. The climate in upper East Tennessee was sub-tropical based on fossil evidence (alligator skeletons found at the Gray fossil site) about 5 to 7 million years ago.

  21. jae
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    Smokey: click on the “reply and paste link,” instead of typing in the comment number, and that will fix your problem.

    • Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#26), Re: Bishop Hill (#40),

      Now you are getting to the heart of the *real* problem. Scientific studies and claims of Antarctic cooling and warming will continue to be made. Perception by the public is the key to climate change, or lack thereof.

  22. Bernie
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

    Geoff:
    Thanks for responding. Your comments suggest that this is indeed a novel approach. Are there previous examples where this appraach has been verified before using the technique on a Continental scale? Can anyone comment on the robustness of this approach.

    • tetris
      Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bernie (#27),
      My point in #20 was that Trenberth, an IPCC lead author after all, has done precisely that. Ever so subtly, but rather emphatically all the same.

  23. tetris
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    Steve: Re 20
    Thank you for snipping the last para ["no motives allowed"]. It was redundant anyway, as to anyone who cared to read my posting the overarching motive was embodied in the preceding one.

    I know that you want to keep your blog clean and I will do my part to honour that, but let’s all please be grownups about what we are discussing: neither RC nor Dr Mann do anything without motives.

    Steve: And grown ups know that you don’t need to say everything that you think.

  24. insurgent
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Let’s not forget that they also claimed that the ozone hole masked the effects of global warming on the Antarctic.

    http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/arctic-antarctic-climate-47050204

    Nothing like having all the bases covered and then some.

  25. George M
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 9:48 PM | Permalink

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=4945#comment-321915

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find the comment: “The hole in the Ozone let the hot air out” a little specious? I seem to recall several discussions on here about lack of much vertical circulation between major strata?

  26. Tom C
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

    Steig’s clarification is “disingenuous” to use Team-Speak. He says:

    I meant that I thought he wasn’t clear enough that he was referring to the models show [sic] a slower warming in Antarctica than e.g. in the Arctic,

    which is clearly at odds with his first statement:

    I’m not sure what models he was talking about that said Antarctica should be cooling.

    So, he clearly understood, before it became politically untenable, that Weart’s article claimed model-predicted cooling.

  27. Scott Gibson
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    Heh, and it appears a model (MODTRAN) is being given as proof of reality. I reminds me of the time when I was watching a grad student showing a photograph of a mineral intergrowth, and a professor jumped up and said something to the affect of: You are wrong! Those two minerals cannot occur together because my computer model demonstrates they can’t.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

      Re: Scott Gibson (#35),

      Great story! These computer modelers drive me crazy with their tenuous grasp on reality. It really bugs me when they call their modeling runs “experiments.” GEEZ

      Re: cce (#36),

      Thanks for digging this up, cce. I can’t wait to hear how Steig explains that one. Perhaps he had a different paper in mind and just gave the wrong reference.

  28. cce
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

    Steig says:

    A review of the literature would show you (see e.g. Shindell and Schmidt in GRL) that models have been predicting warming.

    Shindell and Schmidt (2004) specifically says:

    We show that a climate model including the
    stratosphere and both composition changes reproduces the
    vertical structure and seasonality of observed trends.

    Recent cooling over the Antarctic continental interior
    has likely been caused by both ozone depletion and greenhouse
    gas increases, as both can lead to surface cooling at
    high latitudes.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2004/2004_Shindell_Schmidt.pdf

    • John Baltutis
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

      Re: cce (#36),

      Now, you had to go and ruin everything! Gee whiz.

  29. Doug
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    I just wish they could have published the paper without every news agency jumping on it. I have no idea whether that was their plan or not; it simply is a bad way to disseminate current research to the public.

  30. Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    I’m reminded of Lonnie Thompson’s not feeling obliged to correct the errors in An Inconvenient Truth, a film of which he was a scientific adviser IIRC.

  31. Sven
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

    Right on the first day that that article appeared at RC, I posted a comment with a question about the clash with this older “…yeah, we knew that” article and what was said earlier. It was just a question, in no way attacking or unpolite, but it was was censored and never appeared…

  32. Sven
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    oops… Going back to check at RC I now see that they have released my comment a day later with an angry response (disingenuous?… and in a row can well be orchestrated as I see that my comment comes a day later… but where does all that anger come from?):

    44. Sven Says:
    22 January 2009 at 4:22 AM
    From RC: 12 February 2008
    “Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That”

    “…a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict…
    and have predicted for the past quarter century…”

    So, when Antarctica “was getting colder” that was exactly what
    the models predicted and no that “it’s been getting warmer” that’s
    according to the models as well?

    [Response: Hmm, the same disingenuous talking point two comments in a row (see comment and response immediately below). I wonder what disinformation outlet is manufacturing this one. We already answered this once below) and, of course, in detail, in the paper itself. So trolls need not bother posting this particular talking point any more. -mike]

    45. Steve D. Says:
    22 January 2009 at 4:32 AM
    On many occasions on this site it’s been said that cooling in Antartica is consistent with AGW, as the models show etc…. Now it appears that a warming Antarctica is also consistent with AGW. I am curious to know, is there any kind of change in temperature down there which would invalidate the AGW thesis?

    [Response:Why do the critics think that everything is so simple and binary, for example that we can lump all anthropogenic forcings into a simple “AGW” forcing. Guess what, its not that simple. There are multiple anthropogenic forcings that have quite different impacts (e.g. anthropogenic greenhouse gas increases, aerosols, land-use changes and, yes, stratospheric ozone depletion). Anyone who follows the science is of course aware of this. The temperature trends in Antarctica depend on the time interval and season one looks at, because certain forcings, such as ozone depletion, are particularly important over restricted past time intervals and during particular seasons. The interval over which we expect cooling of the interior is when ozone depletion was accelerating (1960s through late 20th century) and this is precisely when we reproduce the cooling trend both in the reconstruction (primarily during the Austral fall season) and the model simulation experiments discussed in the paper. Over the longer-term, and in the annual mean, greenhouse warming wins out over the more temporary and seasonally-specific impacts of ozone depletion in our simulations, and apparently in the real world. Do you really think that all of the authors and reviewers would have overlooked a basic internal contradiction of logic of the sort you imply, if it actually existed? This is all discussed in detail in the paper. Why not go to your local library and read it and perhaps learn something? -mike]

    • Richard
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

      Re: Sven (#42), What could be more simple than if Antartica is warming it supports the climate models and if it is cooling it also supports the output of the same models! I presume Mannian logic at its best? The other problem is how these numbers were generated by a computer model masquerading as surface temperatures. Really, “basic internal contradiction of logic” is obvious!

      snip

    • Luis Dias
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

      Re: Sven (#42),

      I don’t know what the fuss is all about. Mike’s explanation is not simple, but is not inconsistent. While it may give some people some easy laughs and smug schadenfreude faces while looking at what they see as a mess of we know it’s been warming, no! cooling… etc., the underlying rationale is not incoherent.

      Basically, Mike postulates that there have been some forcings in action in Antarctica, and that Ozone depletion only accelerated post-60s – It also doesn’t mean that it kicked in in full force in the 60s, mind you – turning what would have been a warming trend in the late twentieth century due to CO2 to a cooling trend due to ozone depletion.

      Still, in a bigger decadal picture, a warming trend could be visible.

      Now, many questions can be made about the quality of the work. I’m in no position to make judgement on that. But I also am unable to see the fuss all the commenters are here babbling about, including even mr Steve (who doesn’t like to say everything he thinks, but it’s readable between the lines) and mr Pielke Jr.

      • Urederra
        Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

        Re: Luis Dias (#52),

        I don’t know what the fuss is all about. Mike’s explanation is not simple, but is not inconsistent. While it may give some people some easy laughs and smug schadenfreude faces while looking at what they see as a mess of we know it’s been warming, no! cooling… etc., the underlying rationale is not incoherent.

        Actually, what makes Mike’s explanation incoherent is that it starts with a false statement. It starts by saying “Why do the critics think that everything is so simple and binary” First of all, Sceptics, at least the ones I read, don’t think that everyting is simple and binary. Quite the contrary, many think that understanding how climate works is way too difficult and thus, to model it properly is something that we are not able to do yet. There are too many parameters that haven’t been measured with the required accuracy to render a reliable projection. I haven’t checked how the constants are obtained but I am starting to think that most of them are not actually empirical but they are parametrized. (e.g. educated guesses that are fine-tunned until the models don’t get screwed)

        Funny that the reply mentions ozone deplection. When you look at the value of the anthropogenic change in the stratospheric ozone radiative forcing given at the IPCC AR4 docs you’ll find that the numbers are -0.05 +/-0.10 W/m^2. It turns out that it is not known whether stratospheric ozone variations cools or warms.

        Yeah, it is not so simple, that’s why I don’t trust the models until they are validated.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

          Re: Urederra (#78),

          When you look at the value of the anthropogenic change in the stratospheric ozone radiative forcing given at the IPCC AR4 docs you’ll find that the numbers are -0.05 +/-0.10 W/m^2.

          Are you sure those numbers refer to Antarctica specifically, which has an ozone hole, or to the entire planet, which has a fairly stable ozone layer (except Antarctica)? Your entire comment is wrong. It was the critics who started asking the sneer “is it warming or cooling?!?”, without even trying hard to understand that both can be right at the same time, it just depends from what date you start and finish the trend. I still fail to see where the difficulty lies in here, apart from a not so good PR from the team.
          What I think that is happening is that the Team has published a new work that shows that after all, the Antarctic is warming up if you look at it long enough, erasing one more skeptic argument. And while you could argue back with good arguments, all I see the skeptic community doing is snarking about minor PR technicalities. This is mudding the waters, creating a diversion so you can forget for one moment the uncomfortable study at issue and concentrate on the PR details where they clearly aren’t good professionals.

          Yes, they aren’t the best communicators around, and they have stupid issues with criticisms, but this is also stretching the story too far.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#90),

          What I think that is happening is that the Team has published a new work that shows that after all, the Antarctic is warming up if you look at it long enough, erasing one more skeptic argument.

          So you’ve seen the paper and examined the data and understood the methodology (which you certify to be correct) or maybe this is serious armwaving followed by a parroted response. Yeah, right! I can read this type of junk on RC if I choose to do so (I don’t anymore. Put some intellectual thought and substance in your post, if you can.

          Even …if you look at it long enough… there is zero substance in your comment.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (#95),

          What I think is that you didn’t read my comment at all, you just stopped reading at that sentence. And is your accusation of lack of substance some kind of self-parody?

          What I’ve been saying all along in this thread is that a study has been published, that shows that Antarctica has warmed up considerably. Does that matter? Hardly. A discussion of what minor point one once said about consistency with models that appears to be incoherent (which is only, to borrow Mann’s phrase, a binary simplistic understanding of the situation), is what matters, and drives people to unreasonable emotional responses. So, basically people get to be more worried about lousy PR rather than science.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#96),

          What I’ve been saying all along in this thread is that a study has been published, that shows that Antarctica has warmed up considerably.

          What you said implies very strongly that you believe the study to be correct since it “erases one more skeptic argument” or don’t you think it is correct? Having looked at the station temperature data over the last several days, I have found nothing that comes even close to bolstering that contention. However, I have not passed comment on that until I see the methodology that justifies that contention. You should do the same.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (#100),

          I’m obviously assuming the work is correct. Steve and yourself says that I shouldn’t. I understand the cautiousness one would have given this is another Mann’s work, but I do have this characteristic of mine which is to assume that people aren’t dishonest. Also, Mann wasn’t the sole author, which increases hope. If one is to assume all the science work is incorrect, I’d advise you to go live inside a cave.

          In a different line, assuming that the work is correct, then Mann’s remarks and paper aren’t inconsistent nor incoherent. Assuming that the work is flawed, then anything goes, obviously. But that is to be seen.

        • Richard
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#110), To assume that anything connected with Mann is correct is brave given what has gone on before. If Mann and Steig were serious about scientific discovery the data and the code would have been archived at the same time as the paper was published. From my experience with publishing scientific papers there is more than enough time to do that – and I wasn’t funded to the extent that someone like Mann is. Mere protestations aren’t enough – if Mann and The Team are serious about addressing the sceptics then full disclosure would be an obvious step – the fact that keep avoiding this can only serve those who doubt their science.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#110), The first paper to show that brussel sprouts cure cancer when past work has failed to show this should be treated with reserved judgement (as with ANY scientific result) until it can be verified. Some topics are more subject to spurious conclusions than others (e.g., psychology, political science, etc). I am surprised that one would ASSUME that a new study is correct.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#120),

          I am assuming for the sake of argument. If they are right then they aren’t being inconsistent, apart from a bad PR from Steig. The general criticism that’s being placed is that they are being incoherent (not that they are wrong), which I don’t agree.

          In general terms, I’m usually agnostic about this stuff, and I accept your example, it’s fair enough.

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#138),

          See the 22 January 2009 letter from Ross Hays to Watt’s Up With That! Ross is a meteorologist and forecaster with many years of experience with the Antarctic and on the Ice. His criticism highlights a misuse of the statistics in and about the press release to achieve unreal and erroneous conclusions about warming in the Antarctic. Rather than warming, he reports some 70 percent of the Antarctic has actually been quite obviously cooling. The alleged warming is attributed to an inappropriate reliance upon less than a handful of stations located on the Antarctic peninsula where a non-representative maritime influence has been used to inappropriately skew the statistics.

          If the observations of Ross Hays prove to be accurate, it appears that the claims of warming over most of the Antarctic are in fact inconsistent with the comments of Mann and others.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: D. Patterson (#143),

          It’s a fabrication. One thing I always try to do is to check the “opposition”‘s view before deciding in my head what happened.

          I’d like to quote Tamino:

          Regarding the 1st claim, I wonder how much experience he has doing field work in Antarctica, since according to his own blog post about this recently being a new career for him, it looks like he’s spent a total of 2 summers in Antarctica. Linear regression of average summer season temperature at McMurdo station has a positive (warming) slope, although the trend is not statistically significant — but it certainly belies his claim based on his vast “experience.”

          Regarding the 2nd claim, the data indicate otherwise:…

          December 2006 is nowhere near the “coldest December ever for McMurdo Station.” The trend for December at McMurdo is a warming one. And the overall trend at McMurdo station, for all months, is both warming and statistically significant.

          Someone even pointed out that this fellow is on the Imhofe’s list. So not quite the fair and balanced testimony, I’d say.

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#142),
          Re: Luis Dias (#148),

          Do you think that one should be allowed to criticize scientific papers due to his own “vast experience” which is hmmm, 2 years, and be taken seriously?

          Yes, I do think anyone “should be allowed to criticize”, insofar as we don’t want to be denying and suppressing the right of free speech, regardless of anyyone’s perceptions about his experience. If his comment about the temperature at McMurdo being the lowest ever is erroneous, then you may want to permit him the same opportunity to explain the discrepancy afforded to commentators like Michael Mann and others. December temperatures at McMurdo have been at least as low as -81C. Whatever the outcome, it may be informative to see what a meteorologist and forecaster like Ross Hays has to say about his comments and the observed weather in Antarctica.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

          Re: D. Patterson (#152),

          Arguing with you folks is hard. Let me quote mr Ross:

          In my experience as a day to day forecaster that has to travel and do field work in Antarctica the summer seasons have been getting colder.

          So, he argues from personal experience. But alas, from his own blog one can read that he has 2 years top “experience” in the Antarctic. Is he able to criticize? Of course! Should we take seriously when he declares his criticism comes from his experience, when he has 2 years top?

          But the worst part comes after:

          In the late 1980s helicopters were used to take our personnel to Williams Field from McMurdo Station due to the annual receding of the Ross Ice Shelf, but in the past few years the thaw has been limited and vehicles can continue to make the transition and drive on the ice. One climate note to pass along is December 2006 was the coldest December ever for McMurdo Station.

          Now compare this with the data that comes from McMurdo’s station.

          Could it be the UHI effect? A strange data archiving problem? I’m all open to possibilities. If mr. Ross is able to explain himself, please do so.

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#153),

          Yes, I saw Tamino’s use of the graph. Didn’t you notice the difference between Tamino’s automatic presumption of a monthly mean which is much much warmer than many of the daily minimum temperatures at McMurdo? I’va already asked Anthony about Tamino’s challenge of Hay’s comment. Let’s see what Ross has to say about his intended meaning. The world’s lowest recorded temperature at Vostok is commonly described as the lowest temperature ever, and it isn’t a monthly mean temperature. Let’s see what Ross had in mind when he made the comment and go from there, rather than immediately shooting the messenger. HADCRU reported -81C for a low daily minimum in 1977, which is way lower than the -60C in the graph used by Tamino.

        • AKD
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#153),

          Luis, Hays is clearly claiming experience as a “day-to-day forecaster.” He notes that this experience includes travel and fieldwork in Antarctica, as is made clear in a follow-up letter WUWT:

          I have only done two tours on the Ice but have provided forecasts from Palestine, Texas on the years between after the balloon launches we take over forecasts for the payload and handle termination from our command center. I will be returning to the Ice in November.

          As to the latter discrepancy regarding 2006 temps, I think Hays has a right to respond before being accused of fabrication.

        • Urederra
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#90),

          Are you sure those numbers refer to Antarctica specifically, …

          That was the data I found on the IPCC AR4 report. That is the best data available that I am aware of. My point was that the confidence interval (+/- 10 w/m^2) is larger than the value itself (-0.05 W/m^2) What is the point in breaking up the value into regions when you have such a large confidence interval? Same happens with the cloud albedo effect. They give a value of -0.70 W/m^2 and the confidence interval is -1.1 +0.4.(Data here, page 204) You cannot run an accurate climate model with those fuzzy parameters.

          … which has an ozone hole, or to the entire planet, which has a fairly stable ozone layer (except Antarctica)?

          I have been reading about stratospheric ozone levels from some time and I haven’t found any graph or chart that shows a zone in the stratosphere with 0 Dobson units of ozone. (yearly minima are around 100 DU) I am sorry, I don’t see any hole in the ozone layer. I don’t get why a 150 DU layer is not a hole and a 100 DU layer is a hole. A thinning of the layer is for sure, but not a hole. And I stop here because it is getting OT.

          Your entire comment is wrong.

          Well, you just point out the ozone layer thingy and you conclude that my entire post is wrong? That is not fair.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

          Re: Urederra (#111),

          Antarctic has a thinning in the ozone layer commonly called “ozone hole”, I’m sorry if it’s not sufficiently technical for your sensitivity. The point was that the Antarctic is a special zone in the globe due to this phenomenon, and thus average forcing values of the ozone layer of the entire globe are not meaningful at all.

          I submit that your post was wrong in the assumption that the critics didn’t see this issue in binary terms. Editorialize all you want, Pielke’s joke is there for anyone else to see it.

        • Doug M.
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#114), To assume all skeptics see climate change as a simplistic, binary issue is, well, simplistic. A warming Arctic and cooling Antarctic don’t cause much consternation with most skeptics. Some would say a dramatically warmer Arctic deserves more attention and study. Have you wondered why Steig et. al. “took another look” at Antarctica in the first place? One reason they gave was a “paucity of solid instrumental data”. Am I the only on who sees the irony here? A paucity of solid instrumental data is at the heart of skeptics’ criticism of the modern day temperature record and GISSTemp data adjustments. Isn’t there a greater paucity of solid temperature data for the Arctic, where anomolies are far more out of the norm than the Antarctic? As a scientist wouldn’t the Arctic’s pronounced anomolies pique your interest to the point where you would seek alternative methods (proxies, extrapolotion, etc.) to determine if they’re plausible?

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

      Re: Sven (#42),

      Sven,

      Your quote from Mann includes the following statement (with my emphsis added):

      The temperature trends in Antarctica depend on the time interval and season one looks at, because certain forcings, such as ozone depletion, are particularly important over restricted past time intervals and during particular seasons.

      Intuitively, most people realize that trends are either emphasized or demphisized by the time interval used. This is true in all areas of data analysis of which I am aware. I am happy to see Mike state on RC that this also applies to climate science.

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

      Re: Sven (#42),

      Your Mann quote includes:

      Anyone who follows the science is of course aware of this.

      Any true Scotsman…

  33. J.Hansford.
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    snip – stop attributing motives

  34. Johne M.
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    Yes, no matter what happens, they will claim it’s “predicted by AGW theory”. Here’s another good example: Thermohaline circulation and the Gulf Stream- If Europe (and the NH as a whole) gets colder, it’s because the Gulf Stream is shutting down, per AGW theory. If Europe warms, it’s clearly AGW overwhelming other forces. If temperatures remain flat, the two simply cancel out! It’s a flawless theory!

  35. Ivan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

    42Re: Sven (#42),

    Mann’s response was hilarious and almost comical. E.g. I hardly succeeded in understanding what “land-use changes” had to do with Antarctica?

    “The interval over which we expect cooling of the interior is when ozone depletion was accelerating (1960s through late 20th century) and this is precisely when we reproduce the cooling trend both in the reconstruction (primarily during the Austral fall season) and the model simulation experiments discussed in the paper.”

    Now, is Antarctica warmed since 1957, or cooled since 1960s? It seems that Mann in a roundabout manner confirms that nothing can invalidate models.

  36. Ivan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years. The study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington in Seattle and soon to be published in Nature, calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century.

    and

    In the interval over which we expect cooling of the interior is when ozone depletion was accelerating (1960s through late 20th century) and this is precisely when we reproduce the cooling trend both in the reconstruction (primarily during the Austral fall season) and the model simulation experiments discussed in the paper.

    Ming-boggling. Is it cooling or warming “in last 50 years” on Antarctica?

    Further, if authors themselves concede that 1940s were warmest decade in West Antarctica, and at the same time assert that GH forcing became operative, although masked with ozone depletion for some time, only after 1950, that means natural variations are stronger than GH forcing, or at least cannot be ruled out as a cause of recent warming or “warming” in West Antarctica.

  37. MC
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    You know in a way RC is doing everyone a favour in demonstrating how people can stick to a certain paradigm even though more doubt appears and outsiders looking in can see the flawed logic. If there was a better explanation say stating that at the moment there are two competing models, one showing cooling and one showing warming in Antarctic and here are the assumptions behind it, it would be a lot more productive. But there seems to be some opposition in the responses to comments. It’s a concept nicely summarised by Arthur Schopenhauer in The three stages of truth. How can the Antarctic be cooling and warming at the same time and be consistent with AGW? The question really is that simple yet it seems to be taken as a personal attack by some people.

  38. Ivan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    If models produce warming since say 1965 (as approximation of “1960s) until say 1992 or 1995 (as approximation of “the end of XX century) that models are wrong since cooling continued after that, according to “old” data sets, until today.

    If cooling in models should continue from “late XX century” onwards (to conform the data), how at the same time the same models and the new “data” can produce at the same time “significant warming” for the very same period?

  39. The Engineer
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

    I also sent a mail to Steig after the first press releasing comparing the statistical cooking to mann’s hockey-stick (I didn’t actually know mann was involved at he time).
    Steig (suprisingly) replied that the actual paper did NOT show warming of the Antartic (as a whole, I suppose) and that I should wait to read the paper. He also stated that he considered Mann to be an honest scientist in response to my infering that Mann was less than truthful.
    I responded by apologising for overreacting to the media spin.

    PS – Unfortunately my computer crashed recently and my copies of these mails have been erased, so you only have my word for this.

  40. Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

    HEY FOLKS, before you laugh at what somebody said, you really oughta read it.

    My essay in RC pointed out the error of people–I will not name them–who loudly claimed that the fact Antarctica has not been warming up like the Arctic validated their disbelief in models of global warming. What I said was that models never did predict an early and strong warming of Antarctica. Some primitive early models even allowed a possibility of cooling. I concluded:

    “…computer models have improved by orders of magnitude, but they continue to show that Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly until long after the rest of the world’s climate is radically changed.

    “Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

    All of which remains true. Guess what, Antarctica is still very cold, and the new reports of a warming barely big enough to detect (aside from the peninsula of course, which we all knew was warming) are well within what the models have long predicted.

    Still laughing?

    • Tom Gray
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51),

      Still laughing

      Not really. I’m just trying to educate myself on a very important topic and to get past all of the spin. One thing that disturbs me very much is the calm assertion by researchers in this area that they have a need to create scare stories to prod people into action. With knowledge of this assertion, I treat every other assertion coming from this research community with the skepticism it deserves.

      In my own field, models have been found to be next to useless. They cannot cope with complexity. My own uneducated suspicion is that the same result is being demonstrated in climate science

    • John M
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51),

      Dr. Weart,

      Thank you for weighing in. It is unfortunate that your comment ended with what amounts to a taunt, but I’ll try not to take it in that vein.

      The issue here is not whether anyone is laughing (‘though I’ll admit to a few hardy guffaws over the last few days), but whether climate scientists are effectively communicating their science.

      It’s fine to argue subtleties, nuances, uncertainties, etc, but shouldn’t those be communicated in a straightforward manner, consistently and soberly, rather than in what appear to be after-the-fact rationalizations? Couldn’t some of this have been avoided if hyperbolic press releases didn’t spin out of control?

      But anyway, the landscape (or minefield) that you are now maneuvering wasn’t created by the skeptics. As was argued a year or so ago (by a non-skeptic), the issue of climate science in public discourse is dependent on how the arguments are “framed”.

      For better or worse, climate scientists have allowed their proponents and allies to bluster on about how the “science is settled” and “the debate is over”.

      Maybe it’s too late for you guys to now argue that this stuff is all very complicated and that there are a lot of nuances that maybe aren’t so settled after all.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51),

      “…computer models have improved by orders of magnitude, but they continue to show that Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly until long after the rest of the world’s climate is radically changed.

      “Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

      ..Still laughing?

      What I have found in this whole exchange is that statements such as those above are so vague and so qualitative as to have little value to those of us interested in better understanding the scientific evidence. Those generalizations are not a laughable matter nor is having to once more witness a leading scientist come here to defend, not the facts of the matter and details that might enlighten, but peripheral issues.

      I personally would much prefer to wait for the Steig promised intermediate data and determine what the reconstructed and actual Antarctica temperature series looks like. The time series that Steve M posted for actual temperatures would appear to bring into play the choice of starting points in concluding a current trend, and particularly if the 1935-1945 period can be shown to be warmer in the Antarctica then the following period.

    • Peter D. Tillman
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51),

      Dr. Weart:

      Our host tries to avoid RC-style snark here.

      In that spirit, thanks for your work on “The Discovery of Global Warming”, and the exceptionally useful website that accompanies it:

      http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

      –which, I note with approval, you are still keeping up-to-date. A distinguished public service.

      When’s your next book? Ah, I see you have a new edition of DISCOVERY out….

      Best regards,
      Peter D. Tillman
      Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

      • Peter D. Tillman
        Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

        Re: Peter D. Tillman (#81),

        I would also draw CA reader’s attentio to Weart’s very nice discussion of Sean Twomey’s circa 1977 ideas on clouds, aerosols, and the effects on climate of same:

        http://www.aip.org/history/climate/aerosol.htm

        –in which he notes, in the ensuing discussion,

        It was not clear whether the theories or the measurements were worse.

        –which situation hasn’t much changed, 3 decades on.

        Cheers — Pete Tillman

    • Graeme Rodaughan
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51),

      Just a quick question for Spencer,

      (To summarise) From Steigs paper it is asserted that the temperature in Antartica has risen by about 0.1 degree per decade for the last 5 decades.

      What are the error bars on the actual data used, and is the level of precision of the stated result justified given the size of the error bars?

      Thanks

    • Richard
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51), Thank goodness someone from RC has contributed. But it concerns me about the manner and substance in that reply. Firstly, the manner. Good science necessarily involves impartiality. Angry retorts aren’t the hallmark of that (and I’m not the climate scientist here). Secondly, Spencer has not returned to comment on the many comments here asking some very legitimate questions about his RC post, Steig’s research and Mannian methodologies and RC posts. I couldn’t concur more with Steve’s comments # 70 & #78 more about the laughable nature of this and the need for a straightforward reply. Thus, I would like to see Spencer come back and reply to some of the subsequent comments. Please do so, to clear the air, so to speak.

    • Mike Davis
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51), YES!

    • Brian Macker
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

      Re: Spencer Weart (#51),

      Your original article was full of snark. The title, “Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That” says it all. The contents of the article are confused and ambiguous. You use words like “cold” as if they mean “colder” many times. As in this statement:

      Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.

      The only thrust of your first paragraph, which should summarize the article, is that some people say it’s getting colder, this doesn’t contradict our calculations, our calculations predict it.

      To which article Stiegl says, “I have to admit I cringed when guest writer Weart wrote the article on RealClimate”

      One of the elements of humor is when a person with their nose in the air has their comeuppance. So of course people you mocked are going to laugh when you makes such elementary communication mistakes and get caught. You mocked your opponents for being so stupid as not to understand that Antarctica is cold, and that your models predict colder. Now it turns out it’s warmer.

  41. Ivan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    Real Climate 1:

    “…computer models have improved by orders of magnitude, but they continue to show that Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly until long after the rest of the world’s climate is radically changed.

    “Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

    All of which remains true. Guess what, Antarctica is still very cold, and the new reports of a warming barely big enough to detect (aside from the peninsula of course, which we all knew was warming) are well within what the models have long predicted.

    Real Climate 2:

    New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years. The study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington in Seattle and soon to be published in Nature, calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century.

    and Real Climate 3:

    Contrarians have sometime grabbed on to this idea that the entire continent of Antarctica is cooling, so how could we be talking about global warming,” said study co-author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. “Now we can say: no, it’s not true … It is not bucking the trend.

    So, first, is it warming on Antarctica “barely big enough to detect” (Real Climate 1) or Antarctica “warmed significantly” (Real Climate 2)? And if Real Climate 1 is correct, why Real Climate 3 makes impression that new Real Climate “discovery” in peer review clothes about warming “barely enough to detect” changes anything in the debate (by “refuting” sceptics claim that Antarctica trend is “bucking” global trend)? Real Climate 1 clearly concedes new discovery changes nothing – very slight warming or very slight cooling, whatever, models are equally right.

    So, at least we confirmed basic intuition of many of us here that every state of affairs is consistent with models, which are “improved by order of magnitude”.

    I am wondering if some new team “discovers” by applying some quasy-Mannian “novel statistical method” that Antarctica has warmed not “barely big enough to detect” but, say, “significantly” by 0,3 deg C per decade in past half a century (new hockey stick?) whether Real Climate will think that this new discovery is “inconsistent with the models”?.

  42. Ivan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Actually, Team wants it both ways – to eat the cake and to keep it uneaten. They want to keep theory that “Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly until long after the rest of the world’s climate is radically changed.”, which is to say, that models are consistent with small cooling or flat trend in Antarctica (it was the case until recently), and to treat new “discovery” of warming Antarctica as great model validation that refutes the skeptics claims about cooling. That’s pretty comical.

  43. Greg F
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    Spencer Weart (#51)

    “…computer models have improved by orders of magnitude, but they continue to show that Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly until long after the rest of the world’s climate is radically changed.

    From “Evidence that Antarctica has warmed significantly over past 50 years

    New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years.

    In your RC posting Antarctica’s significant warming is conditional on the worlds climate having “radically changed“. For both of the above references to be true the worlds climate had to radically change long before the present minus 50 years. When did the worlds climate radically change?

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

      Re: Greg F (#57),

      It’s all a yin/yang thing, don’t you know? We’re not getting a cooling trend for the world as a whole this last decade (which, of course, is wholly compatable with what the models show) so naturally the Antarctic which was moving contrarily to the ROW before must now will have been (see Dr. Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations)actually warming, not cooling.

      Really! I don’t see why everyone is so confused when the science has will have been settled long ago.

    • Luis Dias
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      Re: Greg F (#57),

      Greg, I think the difference is between warm up very significantly and only warmed significantly. The term “very” is indicative of a quantitive difference. The exact difference is qualified as “robust”.

      • Greg F
        Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

        Re: Luis Dias (#63)

        I have no idea what your point is.

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

          Re: Greg F (#94),
          I was being sarcastic. If you check your own bolded quoted statements, you’ll see that they are not exactly alike. One has a very while the other does not.

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#97),

          Moreover, the exact phrase in Nature press release was “may have warmed significantly.”

          From the abstract: “West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1 °C per decade over the past 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring.” But east Antartica barely warmed over the same period, and that region has actually cooled more recently. So clearly this does not represent “very significant” warming for Antartica as a whole.

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#104),
          Sorry about the spelling mistake – that’s Antarctica, of course!

        • James Lane
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#104),

          Surely “may have warmed significantly” is an oxymoron? A result is either significant or it’s not.

        • Deep Climate
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

          Re: James Lane (#123),

          That was from the Nature PR, so it may have only tenuous relationship to the paper anyway. The abstract itself doesn’t give overall continental trends, as I noted before. Maybe someone who has actually read the paper could comment on what the overall trends were and what CIs were ascribed. I haven’t seen it myself.

        • MartinGAtkins
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#126),

          The paper hasn’t been released (and probably never will).

          To see where they are coming from and Manns finger prints, read this.


          here

        • Richard
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

          Re: MartinGAtkins (#127), That link gave me an error. Please check the link.

        • Richard
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

          Re: MartinGAtkins (#127), It might be .pdf rather than .pd

        • Richard
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

          Re: MartinGAtkins (#127), The link is here.

        • MartinGAtkins
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: Richard (#129),

          Thank you Richard. I don’t know how that happend as I always test the link before sending.

        • John Baltutis
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

          Re: MartinGAtkins (#127),

          Am I missing something?? Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year

          BTW, your link goes to a Page not found message.

        • James Lane
          Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

          Re: Deep Climate (#126),

          DC, from the paper:

          We find that
          West Antarctica warmed between 1957 and 2006 at a rate of
          0.1760.06 uC per decade (95% confidence interval). Thus, the area
          of warming is much larger than the region of the Antarctic Peninsula.
          The peninsula warming averages 0.1160.04 uC per decade. We also
          find significant warming in East Antarctica at 0.1060.07 uC per
          decade (1957–2006). The continent-wide trend is 0.1260.07 uC per
          decade. In the reconstruction based on detrended TIR data, warming in
          West Antarctica remains significant at greater than 99% confidence,
          and the continent-wide mean trend remains at 0.08 uC per decade,
          although it is no longer demonstrably different from zero (95% confidence).
          This is in good agreement with ref. 6, which reported average
          continent-wide warming of 0.082 uC per decade (1962–2003) and
          shows overall warming in West Antarctica, although statistical significance
          could not be demonstrated owing to the shorter length and
          greater variance of the reconstruction.

          I think this means that there is significant continental warming according to the AWS interpolation, but not TIR. Didn’t Mann say that problems with the AWS network “didn’t matter”?

          Anyway, I have to go to an Australia Day party. Happy Australia Day everyone!

        • Greg F
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#97),

          LMAO … your kidding right? The context of “very” in the quote is indicating the warming would be at the low end. Just barely significant. The weatherman might say tomorrow cannot be expected to warm up very significantly. He would be saying it was going to warm up but not a lot. Saying Antarctica’s very significant warming would imply the opposite. So the statement where I don’t bold ‘very’ doesnt’ even have that word in it. It would imply the warming was at the high end. I would guess that English is not your first language. Is that correct?

        • Luis Dias
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

          Re: Greg F (#106),

          LMAO … your kidding right?

          Yes, I was.

          I would guess that English is not your first language. Is that correct?

          Yes, it is. But it also seems that you have your own “first language” English a bit, say, rusty?

          For the sake of the joke, let’s recap. You quoted two sentences:

          “…computer models have improved by orders of magnitude, but they continue to show that Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly …”

          “…New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years.”

          So, the models didn’t predict a very significant warming. And the new study suggests that the Antarctic has warmed “only” significantly, not “very”. Thus, by a semantic technicality, they can argue that they are still inside model’s predictions ;).

        • D Johnson
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#112),

          Oh come now. Exactly how does one parse the difference between “significant” and “very significant”. The difference isn’t quantitative, and is more a reflection of the writer and his desire to be emphatic at the time of his statement. It doesn’t change the degree of validity of the statement one iota. “Iota” being an equally quantitative term.:-)

        • Greg F
          Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

          Re: Luis Dias (#112),

          So, the models didn’t predict a very significant warming. And the new study suggests that the Antarctic has warmed “only” significantly, not “very”.

          So the joke is you do a partial quote leaving out the qualification for the warming which I will bold.

          “…computer models have improved by orders of magnitude, but they continue to show that Antarctica cannot be expected to warm up very significantly until long after the rest of the world’s climate is radically changed.

          So Luis, when did the worlds climate radically change?

  44. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Two points. 1) If it is only cooling since the late 1970s, isn’t this opposite to the rest of the world trend? 2) At the rate of warming the new paper claims to have found, won’t it take like 1000 years to reach the melting point of ice anywhere except the coast?

  45. jae
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    …computer models have improved by orders of magnitude,

    I wonder what the metrics are for evaluating how much the models have improved. What are the units of improvement?

    • Luis Dias
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#60),

      Why, by the number of gigaflops used by each one of them, of course!

      Seriously though, I am criticizing all this shenanigan that I think is mostly about nothing and then comes Spencer Weart and makes such a lousy figure of himself and just hands over his head to Greg F. Good grief.

    • mpaul
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#60),

      Generally, when people talk about computer models being an order of magnitude better, they are talking about resolution. There are an order if magnitude more elements in the model. But if the equations that describe the relationships between elements are incomplete or incorrect, then improvements in resolution do not necessarily improve the accuracy of the model.

    • Jerry S
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#60),

      I wonder what the metrics are for evaluating how much the models have improved.

      jae – It is whatever the researcher sets it at. This is the beauty of it all, you can set the bar so low that one could step over it without tripping!

  46. Stefan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    I’m just a layman, and take an interest in psychotherapy. The style of reasoning I’m reading from climate scientists, as regards multiple influences, reminds me of the problem of demonstrating the efficacy of different types of therapy. See, a client could be making positive progress whilst actually feeling even worse for a period. It is part of the process. The problem is how do you establish with any sort of objectivity whether the process is indeed working. People are very complex. Whilst I think it can in some cases be a helpful process, I tend to only trust a therapist who will say right at the start that “it is impossible to prove”. I don’t think computer models and difficult statistics have much to tell us about the natural climate and ecosystems. I’d sooner trust people who are discussing their gut instincts and intuition. Otherwise the patterns are just too complex and you can always reason a case to defend your pet model. At least until someone can do a hard physics experiment that is repeatable and illuminates crucial things which explain all the important phenomena.

  47. Mike Bryant
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    Does anyone else think that we may have all been the victims of a joke?

    Rules for writing a joke:

    RULE 1: Use familiarity, word associations and common assumptions.
    RULE 2: Exaggerate things to the extreme.
    RULE 3: Be brief.
    RULE 4: Show the irony.
    RULE 5: Twist the joke.Give out a real fact in the set up, and make up a crazy (exaggerated) fact in the punch line. A lot of times punch lines are grouped in threes with the crazy fact at the end. Three things just seems to have a good cadence.
    RULE 6: Speaking of punch lines, make sure the last word, or pretty darn close to the last word, is the zinger punch line.

  48. theBuckWheat
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Of course, “warming” and “cooling” are in a modern context, for a short Google search turns up many stories that “coal has been found in two regions in Antarctica – the Transantarctic Mountains and Prince Charles Mountains”.

    (http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/threats_mining_oil.htm)

  49. Arn Riewe
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Can anyone confirm whether this paper introduces new data, or that is simply a reanalysis of old data sets? Sorry if I missed it somewhere.

    • John M
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: Arn Riewe (#67),

      Can anyone confirm whether this paper introduces new data, or that is simply a reanalysis of old data sets?

      From the Nature paper:

      In this Letter, we use statistical climate-field -reconstructions techiques to obtain a 50-year-long, spatially complete estimate of monthly Antarctic temperature anomalies.

      Later:

      We use two independent estimates of the spatial covariance of temperature across the Antarctic ice sheet: surface temperature measurements from satellite thermal infrared (TIR) observations (ref 8), and up-to-date automatic weather station (AWS) measurements of near-surface air temperature. We use a method (ref 9,10) adapted from the regularized expectation maximization algorithm (ref 11) (RegEM) for estimating missing data points in climate fields.

      Short answer, your guess is as good as mine.

  50. Sven
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    Re: Luis Dias #52
    Sure one can find a way to consolidate the two statements and pretend (?) that there is no controversy, but it certainly does take some complicated explanation. And by no means justifies a question like mine such anger in Mr. Mann’s response. Is it really unfair to ask? Is it disingenuous? Am I a troll for asking? As contrary to Eric Steig’s, I do not see Mr. Mann’s attitude very scientist-like or even scientific…

  51. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    Spencer Weart asks:

    Still laughing?

    My answer remains no but, for different reasons, than most readers have been presenting i.e. the reasons in my post. I refer again to Steig’s comment:

    I have to admit I cringed when guest writer Weart wrote the article on RealClimate, which I didn’t get a chance to read first.

    As I observed in a comment, no one is obliged to be a company director, but if you accept the appointment, then you have an obligation of due diligence. Eric Steig was not obliged to be on the masthead of Realclimate, but having accepted the appointment, in my opinion, readers are entitled to place certain expectations of due diligence on him. So if he says that “cringed” when he read an article at RC that was posted without his knowledge in an area of his specialization, then he had an obligation to go on the public record at RC (not a year later at Prometheus) and correct or comment on or clarify whatever made him cringe.

    Maybe you would have been able to defend yourself against whatever was worrying Steig; maybe you wouldn’t. Either way, the public would have benefited from Steig carrying out his obligation of due diligence. So no, I’m not laughing.

  52. JamesG
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    On the plus side they are now using the word “contrarian” rather than “denier”. Being a contrarian is no bad thing. The few economists who predicted an economic meltdown were certainly that. Faraday, Pasteur, Einstein and a host of other scientific greats were also contrarians. However, if the generally accepted notion in the scientific community was that Antarctica was under long-term cooling – for whatever reason – then who’s actually being contrarian here?

    On the other hand 30 years of cooling is supposed to be long enough – according to the other realclimate.org scientists; Schmidt and Rahmsdorf – to call it a definite new trend, distinct from any previous trend. So a 50 year warming trend is rather less important that a more recent 30 year cooling trend according to their own stated realclimate.org dogma.

    Another contrarianism is to argue – as Steig does – that we can faithfully trust an ensemble result from models which all give different answers; from cooling to warming. Previously other scientists had argued that you could trust an ensemble if all models roughly agreed. This was what they called a “robust result”. It was of course illogical to ignore observations that didn’t agree, but now it’s even worse: We are being presented with the idea that any model ensemble result can be trusted, regardless of even agreement even with each other. Do they just make up the rules as they go along?

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Folks, please do not use this matter to vent about “models” in general. There’s an issue here that’s worth talking about, but don’t use it to piggyback.

    There are some important issues about the interpretation of models, but these need to be set up properly and they are poorly framed in this particular controversy. If I had a computer model of how something mundane like a copper smelter worked and something in the model didn’t work, I wouldn’t conclude that the model was “refuted” or “falsified”. On the other hand, I did some work with econometric models when I was young – the issue with them was whether there was any of the parameterizations could be relied on and figuring out which parameterizations drove the bus, so to speak.

    I don’t think that it’s very helpful for people to vent their own opinions about models. I think that it is more instructive to think about things like disclosure and due diligence as these are things that can be more readily assessed.

  54. Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    Regarding Steig,

    Weather he had an obligation to respond or not, Real Climate supports a culture of consensus both from the comments and the scientists. Disagreement is eliminated so often on the threads people don’t even go there any more. The same culture exists at Tamino in the oddly named Open Mind blog. It is easy to imagine the same culture extending through the few people driving the debate. Of course this means debate is the wrong word.

    There are quotes from gavin last Feb going on about how slow witted some people are for not recognizing how the new more complex models which take into account the dynamic ocean have demonstrated cooling in the antarctic, he makes the point that its been known for years and every real scientist knows it. Now their main post makes the point, the models have predicted warming in the antarctic all along so this new result is no surprise. Sure Lucia pointed out at the Prometheus blog they still have wiggle room in the discussion (which they used completely up) but they left a pretty small hole to move through. When you combine that with the regular elimination of tough questions on RC and that other blog, the situation becomes more clear.

    I guess most here know the scoop but it seems to me that there is a culture in place. It seems to me that the culture of consensus may extend beyond the public face of RC behind the scenes. Anyone would be intimidated to comment in that environment.

    Off topic, I have been messing around with the temperature data to understand the 1.2 times multiplier for the LT. I ran a sliding bandpass filter on the data followed by a covariance analysis. The result was that 1.2 times only applies out to about 10-15 years when the mulitplier drops to 0.7. Dr. Christy thinks it might be due to a missing feedback in model analysis because models predict the 1.2 times should be across the whole bandwidth.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/evidence-of-missing-model-feedback/

  55. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    Sometimes one wonders whether RC does more harm than good to their cause. Given that Antarctica has been a point of puzzlement in the specialist community, interested readers are entitled to measured responses. In my opinion, specialists can reasonably point to the sparseness of temperature records in the Antarctic, the difficulties of obtaining a time series over a material interval, added to which are the difficulties of obtaining a homogeneous series (hard enough in the US, it seems); the lack of microwave information over Antarctic,.

    An inhomogeneity in the South Pole and/or Vostok records that has not so far come to light could markedly affect the data underpinning, which is very narrow over much of the period.

    Then I think that people involved could observe that Antarctica is unique in many ways and that there are a number of modeling options that are not wonderfully understood that are specific to Antarctic and can affect projections there separately from the rest of the world, some yielding negligible near-term warming, others yielding noticeable warming.

    Much of the trouble IMO arises from over-selling and from trying to do science by press release and “high impact” articles in NAture and Science rather than engineering studies. This naturally leads to the scientists in question being called out on their hyperventilation and the sort of surly response that all too often characterize RC, e.g. the one cited by Sven:

    44. Sven Says:
    22 January 2009 at 4:22 AM
    From RC: 12 February 2008
    “Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That”

    “…a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict…
    and have predicted for the past quarter century…”

    So, when Antarctica “was getting colder” that was exactly what
    the models predicted and no that “it’s been getting warmer” that’s
    according to the models as well?

    [Response: Hmm, the same disingenuous talking point two comments in a row (see comment and response immediately below). I wonder what disinformation outlet is manufacturing this one. We already answered this once below) and, of course, in detail, in the paper itself. So trolls need not bother posting this particular talking point any more. -mike]

    This sort of response is inexcusable. The question is a straightforward one and entitled to a straightforward reply.

  56. Terry
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    I find the tone of Dr. Weart’s post both tiring and telling. Correcting error advances science as much as proving a hypothosis, but that seems to be lost on some in this field.

  57. Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Believing that a picture is often worth 1000 words, I’ve collected some here.

    (1) the NASA series whereby with paint Antarctica is shown ever hotter.
    (2) Ole Humlum’s thumbnails which brilliantly separate out different trends: seasons, decades, and Antarctic locations – so one can get a far better sense of the total context of fluctuations – the proper use of “robust” as I understand it.
    (3) from a study done only last year that shows unequivocally EA cooling vs. WA warming
    (4) Bob Tisdale’s southern oceans’ SST going back to 1880
    (5) 8 station records from a 2006 study, going back to 1945-1955, plus a map so you see where those stations are located.

    I haven’t shown the Steig pictures which yell out BLAZING HOT even though they are not even all about heat.

    From these, I can infer various factors
    (1) over the huge bulk of East Antarctica there has been some cooling,
    (2) but the much smaller area of West Antarctica has warmed quite significantly. However,
    (3) WA is more maritime, further north, and more suspect to volcanic warming as well as oscillating ocean currents
    (4) some bright spark has said, I think we can mannipulate those figures so that the greater warming of the smaller area offsets the lesser cooling of the larger area.

  58. Robc
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    The Engineer:

    PS – Unfortunately my computer crashed recently and my copies of these mails have been erased, so you only have my word for this.

    A crashed computer does not erase data, only smashing the hard drive with a brick will do that.

  59. Carrick
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for your comments Dr. Weart. Like Dr. Tillman, I appreciate your contributions, especially your commentaries on the AIP, and appreciate civility in discourse when it can be found.

  60. David Holland
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    If you want to hear the man himself, for a few days you can ‘listen again’ to the (very brief) interview he gave to the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme broadcast at 07:24 on 22 Jan 09. Perhaps they should now interview Kevin Trenberth. He is reported to have said

    “This looks like a pretty good analysis, but I have to say I remain somewhat skeptical. It is hard to make data where none exist.”

  61. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    According to Svensmark’s cosmic ray model, the arctic and antarctic will exhibit a see-saw pattern of warming/cooling. We can see that with arctic and antarctic ice extent data which are not subject to the extreme lack of station data plagueing the land station record in both places: as arctic ice went down antarctic ice went up over past 30 yrs. The cause has to do with how more clouds over an ocean cause a different effect than more clouds over snow (antarctic).

    • pjm
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Loehle (#89), can you point to where I can get further details on this theory of Svensmark’s?

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

        Re: pjm (#139), You can go to scholar.google.com and search for Svensmark (I think he has a home page at his research institute).
        Re: pjm (#139), I think you may be missing the point of this blog: the whole point here is to check the “if they are right” part. The “they” being inconsistent is not just the Steig article but the RC arguments that cooling and warming are both consistent with the models (and in a snarky tone, too, like any idiot should know these facts). There are abundant quotes on this inconsistency. There is also a mixing of “significant” as statistical significance and “significant=important” in the press releases and at RC. Finally, even trends that do not achieve statistical significance are reported anyway.

  62. Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    It’s Schrodinger’s Antarctica, in more ways than one.

  63. The Engineer
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    @ Robc – not sure of your point, but the computer would not start, so I had to re-install the OS, which requires formatting the harddrive, which erases everything. I thought I’d backed up the pst file in outlook, but it seems I was mistaken. OK.

  64. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    #90. In terms of substantive analysis, right now, there’s precious little data or code to analyze other than the station info.

    Steig and Mann didn’t archive their data or code when they published the paper. The Thermal IR satellite data used in this study isn’t online (I emailed Comiso and got an answer); hopefully that will be redressed. When asked, Steig pleasantly said that would archive the data. I suggested that he could diffuse criticism with code as well, but I didn’t hear back on that.

    As I said above, I’m not all that bent out of shape about the idea of “refuting” or “falsifying” models on this data, as I’m doubtful that the quality of the data is up to the job.

    Meanwhile, people are entitled to comment on inconsistency.

    Personally I wouldn’t assume that any conclusions from a Mann study will hold up to scrutiny. This is different from saying that the present results don’t hold up. All I’m saying is that you can’t assume it. And it will probably take at least 6 months or so to figure out what they did, even if they provide code and longer if they don;t.

  65. Bob Mc
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Shazam! I’ve just had one of those “smack the forehead with palm” moments.

    Why don’t we give earth some Tylenol to bring the fever down. In this case, the Tylenol would be CFCs. Remember Freon? Areosol cans?

    Man, just open up those old A/C systems to the atmosphere, wait a couple o’years, then break out the jackets, Baby!

    • Graeme Rodaughan
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bob Mc (#99),

      It’s already been thought of – Ref “Tropic Thunder” – Comment by the Character “Tugg Speedman” played by Ben Stiller, hyping Tuggs previous movie “Scorcher VI” featuring a snow covered Earth – “Who left the fridge door open…”

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bob Mc (#99),

      Something similar has actually been proposed by Stephen Schwartz, senior atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Lab. See this article.

  66. thefordprefect
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Some antarctic station temperature data:

    http://www.nerc-bas.ac.uk/public/icd/gjma/trends2006.col.pdf

    Antarctic near-surface temperature trends 1951-2006
    (Minimum of 35 years’ data required for inclusion)

    http://www.nerc-bas.ac.uk/public/icd/gjma/reader.temp.pdf

    Antarctic near-surface temperature trends 1971-2000
    (Minimum of 27 years’ data required for inclusion)

    • RomanM
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: thefordprefect (#101),

      Are you following me around? This is like a recurring bad dream. Didn’t this just get posted in another thread?

  67. tetris
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Re: 58 Craig Loehle
    Starting at -55C and a “warming rate” of 0.1C per decade = 1C per century, we would be looking at some 5500 years before we got anywhere close to the melting temperature of Antarctic ice.
    Maybe someone should ask the paper’s authors to provide verifiable calculations showing the calories required to melt all that ice, and also what parameters the models are using as source of those calories. :-)

  68. Graeme Rodaughan
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    The key issues with Steig’s paper are as follows.

    [1] Draws conclusions about temperature change back to the 1950s when the Satellite data is a only available from 1979 onwards and the ground stations have very limited distribution.

    [2] Massive interpolation of data to cover non-existent data in the vain hope that the interpolated data is “good enough” to draw a scientifically valid conclusion from.

    Frankly – If I was interpolating my income for tax purposes over 9 months of the financial year – would that be accepted as reasonable by the TAX Department?

  69. Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    “are well within what the models have long predicted.”

    Everything seems to be “within what the models” predicted when it comes to the pro-GW case.

    As Roger Pielke, Jr. says to the pro-GW community, what isn’t consistent with the GW hypothesis?

  70. hswiseman
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    Sven,#42, Catching a lecture from ‘Mike’ at RC is like making Nixon’s enemy list, a badge you can wear proudly for years to come. Mike is still stewing about the vivisection he has taken here on Mann 2008, which, if it stands for anything, is a red card disqualification from ever being taken seriously in the debate going forward. The RC complaint of ‘talking point two comments in a row’ is a hilarious in the extreme. RC ruthlessly censors and manages postings. Two comments end up back to back for only one reason–because someone at RC decided to place them in that order so ‘Mike’ could kick a straw man in the nuts. Meanwhile Mann’s response is a quote from the secret recipe book on using start/endpoints to shape your trends. Thanks for the heads up ‘Mike’.

    • Richard
      Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

      Re: hswiseman (#117), Luis, I would also like to know when the world’s climate radically changed? Re: hswiseman (#117), is spot on in terms of “two comments in a row”. What a hoot to claim it on such a heavily censored and managed blog! And Luis wonders why Mann’s work isn’t trusted. Just see how he and The Team operate RC.

  71. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    #117. I like the phrase:

    We already answered this once below)

    already answered it in a subsequent comment. Very Mannian. Like saying that we’ve already dealt with the matter in Mann et al 2011.

    • pete
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#121)

      [Response: Hmm, the same disingenuous talking point two comments in a row (see comment and response immediately below). I wonder what disinformation outlet is manufacturing this one. We already answered this once below) and, of course, in detail, in the paper itself. So trolls need not bother posting this particular talking point any more. -mike]

      Steve: Very Mannian. Like saying that we’ve already dealt with the matter in Mann et al 2011.

      As a blogger, I’m sure you realise that it’s possible to inline comments in what ever order you want. Sometimes it’s easier to hit “end” and read up the page. And it’s clear that “already answered” was aimed at any subsequent posts asking the same question.

      Anyway, it was a dumb question, so it deserved a snarky answer.

    • Stefan
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#121),

      I like the phrase:
      “We already answered this once below”
      already answered it in a subsequent comment. Very Mannian.

      snip
      just that it is awkward to figure out what they’re really saying, when the writing style is not clear and direct. “We answered below already” threw me completely.

    • Phil.
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#121),

      Steve McIntyre:
      January 25th, 2009 at 10:26 pm
      #117. I like the phrase:
      We already answered this once below)
      already answered it in a subsequent comment. Very Mannian. Like saying that we’ve already dealt with the matter in Mann et al 2011.

      A bit like you do Steve when you insert untimed inline comments referring something that doesn’t appear until a subsequent post. Perhaps the term should be McIntyrian? ;)

      Steve: C’mon, surely the tone of my replies differs from Mann’s. Mann calls the poster a “troll” – how often do I do this sort of thing to a poster? I won’t say “never” because there are thousands of posts on this blog, but I try to avoid such language and I don’t remember doing something like that recently. Also there’s a bit of ironic history here as well. You might not have followed the review of Burger’s submission, where Reviewer #2 (obviously Mann) kept referring to Burger’s failure to consider various unpublished Mann manuscripts. As to inline comments being untimed, the software doesn’t generate it automatically and it’s usually an irrelevant bother. I’d be surprised if there are many occasions in which I reproach a commenter for being unaware of some later comment. I wont say it hasn’t happened but I dont know of any.

    • James Smyth
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#121),

      already answered it in a subsequent comment.

      To be fair, I’d bet he meant “below” as in “before.” Or he might display comments w/ more recently submitted at the top, so that it really was below.

  72. MartinGAtkins
    Posted Jan 25, 2009 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    “Steig’s Silence”

    After this radio QA program I think it’s best he not say anything more.
    When you find yourself in a hole it’s best to stop digging.

    here.

    Found on WUWT.

    Steve: What’s wrong with this QA? They seem quite measured to me.

  73. James Lane
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

    Replying to myself, it wasn’t Mike, it was Eric:

    [Response: The AWS records useful because they provide a totally independent estimate of the spatial covariance pattern in the temperature field (which we primarily get from satellites). I agree with you that in general the data quality at many of the AWS sites is suspect. However, the trends in our results (when we use the AWS) don't depend significantly on trends in the AWS data (in fact, the result changes little if you detrend all the AWS data before doing the analysis. –eric]

    Maybe someone else can parse this.

  74. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    If it has not been posted before, there is supplementary info at

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7228/extref/nature07669-s1.pdf

    It starts with

    AVHRR Data
    Accuracy in the retrieval of ice sheet surface temperatures from satellite infrared data depends on
    successful cloud masking, which is challenging because of the low contrast in the albedo and
    emissivity of clouds and the surface. In Comiso (ref. 8), cloud masking was done by a
    combination of channel differencing and daily differencing, based on the change in observed
    radiances due to the movement of clouds.

    Brief though it is, it gives the impression that satelite data is not useful where there is cloud cover, hence my post above Re: Geoff Sherrington (#19),

    Therefore, AWS and manned station data are used to calibrate and infill, despite Re: James Lane (#135),

    [Response: The AWS records useful because they provide a totally independent estimate of the spatial covariance pattern in the temperature field (which we primarily get from satellites). I agree with you that in general the data quality at many of the AWS sites is suspect. However, the trends in our results (when we use the AWS) don't depend significantly on trends in the AWS data (in fact, the result changes little if you detrend all the AWS data before doing the analysis. –eric]

    Most of the weather stations are clustered around the coastline in the 65-70 deg or so south latitude, especially the 15 stations selected for higher quality. Few are up on the plateau itself.

    So I come back to the original question. If you leave out station data from the analysis, is satellite data able to assist at all in areas of cloud cover? If so, does this artificially elevate the estimate of mean temperature?

  75. kim
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    MartinGAdkins #127

    It’s a little ironic for them to talk of ‘prohibitively expensive’ when they are pretty clearly throwing money around to little good effect.
    ===================================================================

  76. John Finn
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    Completely off topic – sorry about this, but it may be of interest wrt previous posts (Craig Loehle’s in particular). This article has recently appeared on the BBC web site

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7841030.stm

    Apparently climate warming is killing trees. This seems slightly at odds with MBH and seems to support the upside down U tree ring response to temperature change (as mentioned on CA).

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

      Re: John Finn (#145), You are correct. If warmer temps are killing trees (“if”) then this supports the upside down U growth curve and is part of the divergence problem.

    • Scott Brim
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: John Finn (#143)

      I drove through Helena, Montana, last fall while visiting relatives in the Northwest, and the extent of the destruction of the forest by pine beetles is simply astounding. See this article from the New York Times.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/science/18trees.html

      …….
      “From New Mexico to British Columbia, the region’s signature pine forests are succumbing to a huge infestation of mountain pine beetles that are turning a blanket of green forest into a blanket of rust red. Montana has lost a million acres of trees to the beetles, and in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming the situation is worse.”
      ……..
      “Foresters say the historic outbreak has several causes. Because fires have been suppressed for so long, all forests are roughly the same age, and the trees are big enough to be susceptible to beetles. A decade of drought has weakened the trees. And hard winters have softened, which allows the beetles to flourish and expand their range.”

      It is my impression that winters in the Northwest are warmer and dryer than they were when I was growing up there forty years ago. I’ve often wondered what a regionally-focused anaylsis of western Montana temperature and precipitation trends for the last fifty years might show.


      Steve: pine beetles have nothing to do with this thread,

  77. kim
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    ‘answered below already’ is eye-catching, nay, even alarming, but considering the cir cumstances, blog looseness, it is understandable, even acceptable. What’s not acceptable is the ‘answered given’. It is bluster and bluff instead. I’m reminded of another science and the literary richness with which animals are used and of puff adders and blowfish.
    ========================================

  78. kim
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Luis, it’s Inhofe with an ‘n’, and it’s ad hominem with an ‘m’.
    =============================================================

    • Luis Dias
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: kim (#147),

      Do you think that one should be allowed to criticize scientific papers due to his own “vast experience” which is hmmm, 2 years, and be taken seriously? Even if his own “factoids” about the Antarctic being in one of the coldest years ever is so easily debunked by just looking at the temperature charts of the station where he is working?

      Gee, and then I’m the naive one.

      • Mark T.
        Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

        Re: Luis Dias (#148), Perhaps you’d get a bit more sympathy, and respect, if you didn’t make it clear that you think argumentum ad hominem was a valid reason for discrediting someone’s work. Tsk, tsk.

        Mark

  79. John Finn
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    Re: John Finn (#145), You are correct. If warmer temps are killing trees (“if”) then this supports the upside down U growth curve and is part of the divergence problem.

    Craig

    Re: “if”

    Yes it is a big “if” but sometimes they are so keen to blame their findings on global warming the don’t consider they might be contradicting other GW research.

  80. MartinGAtkins
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    After this radio QA program I think it’s best he not say anything more.
    When you find yourself in a hole it’s best to stop digging.

    Steve: What’s wrong with this QA? They seem quite measured to me.

    It wasn’t the QA part that amused me but the convoluted introduction.

    The part about Antarctic Surface stations showing warming for 30 years up to late seventies, is only true of the peninsular. The audience wouldn’t know this. They seemed to me to make the whole study sound so complex so as the audience wouldn’t be able to ask awkward qustions like.

    What does you computer model show if you remove your layer of masking from the already masked satellite data?

    Did you introducing an extra layer of masking because you feel the current method is inadequate and should your method be applied to all the continents?

  81. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    You want to read the following study: http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2008/antarctica.jsp
    One of the authors is a David Schneider (same as in the above paper?)
    Some quotes are:

    The study marks the first time that scientists have been able to compare records of the past 50 to 100 years of Antarctic climate with simulations run on computer models. Researchers have used atmospheric observations to confirm that computer models are accurately simulating climate for the other six continents. The models, which are mathematical representations of Earth’s climate system, are a primary method for scientists to project future climate.

    The authors compared recently constructed temperature data sets from Antarctica, based on data from ice cores and ground weather stations, to 20th century simulations from computer models used by scientists to simulate global climate. While the observed Antarctic temperatures rose by about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.2 degrees Celsius) over the past century, the climate models simulated increases in Antarctic temperatures during the same period of 1.4 degrees F (0.75 degrees C).

    The error appeared to be caused by models overestimating the amount of water vapor in the Antarctic atmosphere, the new study concludes. The reason may have to do with the cold Antarctic atmosphere handling moisture differently than the atmosphere over warmer regions.

    But the authors caution that model projections of future Antarctic climate may be unreliable.

    “The current generation of climate models has improved over previous generations, but still leaves Antarctic surface temperature projections for the 21st century with a high degree of uncertainty,” adds co-author and NCAR scientist David Schneider. “On a positive note, this study points out that water vapor appears to be the key cause of the problematic Antarctic temperature trends in the models, which will guide scientists as they work to improve the climate simulations.”

    • MC
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

      Re: Gerald Machnee (#160), A good indication of subtle bias here. I would not have worded the 3rd part of the quote as the website has. Notice how in this model the warming of Antarctica, though much less than the predicted 2°/century for the NH is still 3 times the measured temperatures. So even though it shows the much debated slower warming/cooling (take your pick) rate it still is too high in the models. Rather than saying ‘well its water vapour’ maybe some discussion of the difficulties in modelling and in getting good data and how this can influence the results would be helpful and could be used as a means of at least admitting that climate modelling is difficult.
      The last statement

      “On a positive note, this study points out that water vapor appears to be the key cause of the problematic Antarctic temperature trends in the models, which will guide scientists as they work to improve the climate simulations.”

      does not mention difficulties with any other model forcing mechanism. All will be solved when we get that pesky water vapour sorted out. To the Batcave, Robin….

    • janama
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

      Re: Gerald Machnee (#160),

      yes I found it interesting that David Schneider would do a complete turnaround and instead of criticising the modelers, joining them. All previous studies, similar to David’s article last year have all maintained that Antarctic was cooling or staying stable except the Antarctic Penninsula so this is IMO a kick in the teeth to all the hard working scientists who have fought to maintain the weather stations in the region.

  82. Thomas
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    Looking at the following chart posted by DeWitt Payne (#32), presumably from Hansen (2005): link

    It does seem to indicate a lower forcing by about 30% for the Antartic compared to the Artic, there is even a large white area with a forcing near 0.

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Thomas (#161),

      The white area in the Antarctic is below the surface level of the ice cap plateau, which averages something like 3 km above sea level. No radiative forcing there.

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#167), Ignore that. I was thinking about a different chart. But I do think that the low forcing has something to do with the altitude of the region.

  83. Mike Davis
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    It would seem logical that a persom working in a specific field would have better access to raw historical data than others outside the field. I know while worked I had access to raw data that was not even avalible to co-workers in other departments. When I changed departments I was expected to become aware of the records for that group.
    With that in mind I think It would be appropriate to give wieght to Comments made by Hays. After two years I usually knew where the bodies were buried when the records were massaged.

  84. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    I especially liked that engineering quality report proving that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere resulted in that range of change in the estimated mean temperature of the planet.

  85. Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    Agree that as usual RC has some ‘splainin’ to do, although I’m confident they’ll make the case that cooling models were too conservative with forcing effects or something similar. Don’t know enough about the models to know if this is reasonable assertion.

    Good to call out Gavin’s comment censorship. The debate loses so much without dissenters in the fray.

  86. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    The first question is whether this analysis contributes anything at all to our knowledge of Antarctica’s climate. Until that is established, and it won’t be until the detailed study of its mathematics is complete, all the rest of this is just politics.

  87. Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

    Just noticed Steig’s post at RealClimate, 27 April 2007, entitled The lag between temperature and CO2: Gore’s got it right which looks to me like a piece obscuring the fact that even in ancient records there is no evidence that CO2 actually ever drove temperature – backed up with letter from Geoff Severinghaus.

    Right back in Hockey Stick country.

    I can imagine a circular logic “How do you know CO2 actually caused any warming?” “CO2 is a greenhouse gas with well-known effects” “How do you know there was any measurable effect then” “Because it’s having an effect today” “How do we know it is causing measurable effect today?” “This is well-known… even in the ice records the CO2 warmed the air, though the start is delayed as everyone knows”

  88. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #175.
    Here we go again. Antarctica is warming and cooling as predicted. CO2 causes warming before or after its increase. Now all he has to do is say that Gore’s temperature graph is correct whether it is upside down or down side up!!

  89. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    The principal of causality and the manner in which feedback works is lost on these people.

    Mark

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T. (#177), In the world of feelings, causality is not limited by time or space. ;)

  90. andymc
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    I recently watched a TV programme about the Forbidden City, built in the early Ming Dynasty by the Yongle Emperor. The sheer quantity of natural resources and labour committed to the project ensured that outside the city, hunger and poverty prevailed. In a desperate attempt to save their offspring from starvation, some parents would castrate their sons, hoping that they would be accepted to work in the palace as eunuchs. A humiliating examination was carried out on those selected to ensure that they were, in fact, eunuchs. Anyone who was found to be “intact” so to speak, was dealt with very severely.
    Unfortunately, I’m unable to suggest any suitable analogies relevant to the field of climatology.

    Andy

  91. Eric Steig
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    Fans of Steve McIntyre,

    Look at Figure 3.7, bottom panel, of the 2007 IPCC report, here:

    It shows warming on average over Antarctica since the late 1950s. There is a relatively flat trend (not cooling) since the 1970s. The only difference between my paper and IPCC figure is that the IPCC figure includes no data from West Antarctica. What we show is that when you include West Antarctica, the flattening-out largely disappears in the continent wide average.

    Even in our results — which show more average warming than the IPCC summary does — the average trend is much less than seen in the Arctic. That is what models have always shown should happen (less warming in the Antarctic than in the Arctic).

    Climate is not well characterized by the answers to simple yes or no questions. If our attempts at RealClimate to explain the more subtle aspects of Antarctic climate variability have failed, due to inadequate precision of writing, or to confusion sown by Roger Pielke, Jr., I’m sorry. Perhaps you should turn to the primary literature instead.

    Complaints about data availability (the raw data used in our study have always been available via the sources cited in the paper), or childish whining about “Mannian spelling errors”, do not help your credibility, Steve.

    If you happen to find any legitimate errors in our work, when you try to duplicate it, I will be delighted to discuss it, provided it is through the venue of the peer-reviewed literature. I will not further respond to queries from Steve McIntyre by email, nor via this blog. I have always given you the benefit of the doubt, but your thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud (by association!) have crossed an important ethical line. Shame on you.

    By the way, Steve, you might try getting the spelling of my last name right. (I’ll leave it to your brilliant followers to spot where you misspelled it).

    Eric J. Steig

    Steve: Well, I’m perplexed by this comment. I don’t worry about people’s motives and have blog policies that prohibit posters from accusing people of “fraud” or its cognates. I’ve reviewed this post and the prior post and do not see any comment in which I made any statement that could be reasonably construed as “thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud (by association!)” and request that Dr Steig support this allegation or withdraw it. If there are any statements that contravene blog policies prohibiting accusations of “fraud” or its cognates, please draw my attention to them so I can deal with them.

    In contrast to policies here, Steig’s blog has no such scruples, recently referring to me as “McFraudit”.

    I’ve observed to readers that I thought that Steig’s QA presentation was quite “measured”, that this particular study had a better chance of being a successful implementation of RegEM than bristlecones, that Antarctic was sufficiently unique that it was unreasonable for readers to think that it could “refute” models, and that it was odd that Antarctica hadn’t been warming up with the rest of the world and that it was entirely reasonable to “cross-examine” the sparse data to see whether a different interpretation was possible. I’m not sure which one of these points that Steig has taken such exception to.

    Steig objects to complaints about data availability, saying “the raw data used in our study have always been available via the sources cited in the paper)” I note that even if the “raw data” were available, their output isn’t. And yet only last week, in reply to an email request, he stated: “I have always intended to provide all the material on line; I wasn’t allowed to do this before the paper was published. I would have done it already but have been busy answering emails. I should have these up on line next week. ”

    Coauthor Comiso stated: “Thanks for your request for AVHRR surface temperature IR data. I am actually planning to have the entire data set archived in the near future and as soon as I get the associated document that describes the data and discusses the errors and caveats completed. The data are indeed on a gridded monthly basis. I will let you know how to access them in the web as soon as they are archived and ready to be downloaded.”

    I’ve probably typed Steig’s name a hundred times in the last week. Steig takes offence at the fact that I seem to have had a typo on one occasion, though he won’t say where leaving it “brilliant followers” to spot the mis-spelling. While this sort of repartee may seem clever to Steig, it comes across as silly, self-centered and petulant.

    • Michael Smith
      Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eric Steig (#180),

      The issue, as I understand it, is not how the observations in your recent study compare to the observations reported by the IPCC; the issue is how these observations compare to what the models predict.

      Look at Figure 10.7 in Chapter 10 of AR4 WG1. This is the chapter on “Global Climate Predictions”. The document is here:

      http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch10.pdf

      Figure 10.7 is on page 765.

      Looking at the figure “a”, which covers the period from 2011 – 2030, the graph shows surface cooling from 70 degrees South on down (which is the great bulk of Antarctica). So if the models are predicting cooling for the next 21 years, but your data shows warming over the last 50 years, I’d say that’s a discrepancy worth some discussion.

      Or am I missing something here?

      • David Cauthen
        Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

        Re: Michael Smith (#183),

        Sorry, your response is not in the form of “peer-reviewed” literature. Steig ( I think I spelled it right ) has taken his bat and ball and gone back to his home field. Just us chickens here now.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

        Re: Michael Smith (#183), And if the IPCC models predict cooling south of 70S for 2011 to 2030, then it is going to be hard to get the ice cap to melt away. Just saying.

    • Mark T.
      Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eric Steig (#180),

      but your thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud (by association!) have crossed an important ethical line.

      Are you comparing that to say, RC’s outright accusation that Steve is dishonest? Which ethical line did you just cross?

      JAH.

      Mark

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eric Steig (#180),

      Climate is not well characterized by the answers to simple yes or no questions. If our attempts at RealClimate to explain the more subtle aspects of Antarctic climate variability have failed, due to inadequate precision of writing, or to confusion sown by Roger Pielke, Jr., I’m sorry. Perhaps you should turn to the primary literature instead.

      I doubt that Eric Steig would admit to it, but what he has commented here is exactly in line with the point I was attempting to make in my initial post in this thread. Analyzing the primary literature is the proper approach for thinking people. Defenders of the consensus can be so vague and general in their responses as to render those responses of little value to those searching for harder and more detailed evidence.

      Most of the yes and no answers that I see on climate science are those extracted by the media from peer reviewed papers and often allowed to live without complaint from the authors of those papers.

      If you happen to find any legitimate errors in our work, when you try to duplicate it, I will be delighted to discuss it, provided it is through the venue of the peer-reviewed literature.

      For me, I would had to have said, thanks but no thanks, on any offers for any more involvement at this blog, as I think when we see the intermediate data from your paper we can analyze it without your assistance. That analysis may well find no legitimate errors and simply point to an overly generalized conclusion when the results are broken down spatially and temporally, i.e. it may provide more questions than answers. The execution of RegEM in the paper will probably be scrutinized as that methodology appears to not infrequently be abused or at least misdirected. Besides, you appear to be too easily distracted by the persona of those posting here to provide in depth replies to legitimate questions.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eric Steig (#180),

      Steve M says:

      Steig objects to complaints about data availability, saying “the raw data used in our study have always been available via the sources cited in the paper)” I note that even if the “raw data” were available, their output isn’t. And yet only last week, in reply to an email request, he stated: “I have always intended to provide all the material on line; I wasn’t allowed to do this before the paper was published. I would have done it already but have been busy answering emails. I should have these up on line next week.

      Coauthor Comiso stated: “Thanks for your request for AVHRR surface temperature IR data. I am actually planning to have the entire data set archived in the near future and as soon as I get the associated document that describes the data and discusses the errors and caveats completed. The data are indeed on a gridded monthly basis. I will let you know how to access them in the web as soon as they are archived and ready to be downloaded.”

      But when E. Steig has stated:

      Complaints about data availability (the raw data used in our study have always been available via the sources cited in the paper), or childish whining about “Mannian spelling errors”, do not help your credibility, Steve.

      If you happen to find any legitimate errors in our work, when you try to duplicate it, I will be delighted to discuss it, provided it is through the venue of the peer-reviewed literature. I will not further respond to queries from Steve McIntyre by email, nor via this blog.

      my impatient nature makes me wonder if we are going to be “Santerized” on the intermediate data again.

      • Tom Gray
        Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

        Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#212),

        Dr Steig wrote:

        If you happen to find any legitimate errors in our work, when you try to duplicate it, I will be delighted to discuss it, provided it is through the venue of the peer-reviewed literature.

        Dr. Steig followed this assertion with comments on the public reception of this work within a blog posting of Real Climate.

        What this shows is that the “peer-reviewed literature” is not the venue where this debate is taking place and that this debate is not scientific in the pure sense

    • Thor
      Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eric Steig (#180),

      Wow, reading that comment was a big disappointment :-( I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this was really written by Eric Steig, and not by someone else wanting him to look bad.

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

      Re: Eric Steig (#180),

      Steve, Eric Steig is now demanding a written apology from Marc Morano (EPW), saying Morano’s comments “seems rather like libel to me….” It appears that you are not the only blogger he is accusing of making “accusations of scientific fraud.”

      Morano has refused to do so, but has invited Eric Steig to post a rebuttal at EPW.

      • Jeff Norman
        Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

        Re: D. Patterson (#230),

        Am I reading this correctly? Dr. Steig is saying that it is libel to be compared to his co-author?

        I thought that this was off topic until I reviewed the subject line.

  92. Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    It shows warming on average over Antarctica since the late 1950s. There is a relatively flat trend (not cooling) since the 1970s.

    Which, once again, begs the question “Why all the RC hand waving last year trying to explain away the evident to all cooling trend?” According to you they could have saved themselves a lot of work and simply supplied a link to the IPPC graph.

    Second, making the claim that the entire continent is in a warming trend only if you add the small, warmest part to the trend, is dubious at best.

    If our attempts at RealClimate to explain the more subtle aspects of Antarctic climate variability have failed, due to inadequate precision of writing, the censoring of dissenting posts, or to confusion sown by Roger Pielke, Jr., I’m sorry.

    Fixed.

    After all of the invective thrown at Steve from RC, taking your ball and going home is a nice touch.

  93. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    It shows warming on average over Antarctica since the late 1950s.

    How about since the 30s?

  94. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Eric-

    Geez. You offer a rather conciliatory comment over at my blog and then rake me over the coals here? That is not so cool. BTW, you mis-spelled my name over at Prometheus, its not a big deal, and I did not even point it out over there.

    You continue to miss the point of my comments, which had nothing to do about the details of your study, or its correctness, but in how its authors had represented it and how RC had earlier represented Antarctic science in a very different manner.

    If you admit that Weart’s article was imprecise or poorly written, then why in the world would you blame those who read it for failing to understand it in the way that you think it should be understood? Steve’s point was that you should have corrected the imprecision at the time it was made, if you had noticed it at that time.

    Otherwise, you are stuck doing it later, and it sure looks like RC was saying one thing then and another thing now.

    Anyway, safe travels to Antarctica!

  95. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    I’ve inserted an inline response at 180 above.

  96. Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Eric Steig,
    I don’t see how you are reading any accusation of fraud, veiled or unveiled. Your recent paper is not being criticized as incorrect or fraudulent.

    The difficulty is with the Weart paper, which appears to contradict yours. The reason appears to be that facts and statements in that article were juxtaposed in a way that appear to contradict your paper. The result is an entry in the “Consistent with” chronicles.

    It appears this occurred because the Weart paper uses the “accurate but not true” type construction so often used in advertising. The article gave the distinct impression that Wearth’s main points were
    1) Denialists observe it is cooling in Antarctica and believe this contradicts climate models.
    2) It is cooling. (At a minimum, Weart does not deny it’s cooling.)
    3) The models predict cooling in Antarctica and have for a long time.
    4) Models and observations agree.

    Now, that your paper has come out, the defenses of Wearts papers are resulting in blog readers collectively rolling their eyes. His point was to tell us Antartica is cold? Did anyone who watched March or the Penguins doubt that?

    Recently, RC ran a post on communicating science to the public, Maybe all whoever invited Weart to write that guest post should get together with your PR writing tutors ask them to study this incident and come up with recommendation that might prevent RC as a blog from creating such a hash in the future. Abstaining from “accurate but not true” articles would be a good start.

  97. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    What I have seen on this thread is skepticism about RegEm, questions about data coverage, questions about how the satellite data are manipulated to “correct” whatever was corrected, a digression into the ozone hole, and a number of posts pointing out that RC has said cooling is consistent with the models but now Steig’s results say it isn’t cooling and Mann announces to the press that now Antarctica is matching the rest of the continents, which, you must forgive us but it sounds like a contradiction. I really don’t recall a lot of criticisms of Steig. Why is he so mad?

  98. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    HEre is my my correspondence wtih Steig:

    Dear Dr Steig, In your article you refer to the development of “50-year-long, spatially complete estimate of monthly Antarctic temperature anomalies.” Could I please have a digital copy of this data. Also I presume that this output was derived from corresponding monthly gridded versions of T_IR and T_B and I would appreciate a copy of these (or equivalent) input data as well. Regards. Steve McIntyre

    Steig did not say that the data was already “available”, HE replied:

    Steve

    I have always intended to provide all the material on line; I wasn’t allowed to do this before the paper was published. I would have done it already but have been busy answering emails. I should have these up on line next week.

    Eric

    To which I replied:

    Thanks.

    “all the material” – It would also be an excellent idea to put your source code up. Using statistical techniques that are not well understood to derive newsy applied results is a bit risky and you should err on the side of caution in making your code available to independent analysis.

    It would also serve to defuse people who are instantly suspicious of Mann’s RegEM. This is an application where it seems much more plausible to me than where it’s used to justify bristlecones. I’ve noted this at my blog as a caveat to instantly suspicious readers.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    And he gets mad at this???? Mondo bizarro.

  99. PhilH
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    “That is what models have always shown should happen (less warming in the Antarctic than in the Arctic).”

    Weart: I think I got it! It’s not cooling, it’s just less warming.

  100. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    So, over what time period has how much of Antarctica been cooling or warming (trend fall or trend rise, according to what samples), and what do “the models” say about the same space and time period?

    Otherwise, the personality conflicts are confusing me. Didn’t we expect the center of a continent covered with ice far away from direct human impact would act differently than the edges near such things (along with wind and water circulation) or in the middle of an ocean surrounded by heavy habitation?

    So if you’re reading something you haven’t before, after it’s been posted, and you cringe because the models predict warming or for some other reason, and you don’t speak out, isn’t that silence? Or is it just points like “Nor would I expect Steig to reply to every comment at RC. But if Steig is going to be on the RC masthead, then he should have taken some responsibility for a thread within his specialty. If he’s not prepared to do that, he should resign from the masthead.” Perhaps that’s a point of contention. Or maybe it’s just the old disagreement related to raw data verses processed data verses the methods by which the data is processed, aka the easily replicated results.

    Can’t we all just get along?

    • Ian
      Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: Sam Urbinto (#194),

      194.

      Can’t we all just get along?

      I doubt it, it’s nice when a major player like Eric pops along, yes they may get a few knocks from idiots such as myself who are trying to get to grips with a field which is not our natural one, but in many cases we’re their equal in equivalent fields which seem to obey the basic laws of science. It’s just that we’re not able to suspend our interperation of the physics in favour of the ineptitude of the journalists, probably our fault, though a quick reprisal of this site seems to show scientific method=10^big number, climate experts=fingers on my middle hand. I used to do the take the ball home thing, sure I usually got clipped round the ear by my father, probably why I don’t understand the “New Maths”. Steve however being from up north seems to be able to read through the waffle and get to the core, not sure the “ex-perts” like that.

  101. Anthony Watts
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    If Dr. Steig is reading still, I wish to say thank you for your intent at putting up your source materials. I look forward to seeing them. Of particular interest to myself and to many readers is the ID of the weather stations used. As as understand it (and please correct me if I am in error) these have not yet been identified.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Anthony Watts

    Steve: Anthony, I’ve matched the SI stations to READER ids here http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=4914 . For most of the stations, this was done by matching names. My complaint about Mannian spelling errors and scribal variations was that matching had to be done manually for such stations. It wasn’t hard but it was pointless. I concurrently stated that referees should require station IDs in such SI. For some reason, Steig considers the expectation of accurate station IDs to be “childish”. I disagree. Its’ not a big deal, but equally, it would have been no additional trouble for them to provide a better SI and that’s why I suggested that station IDs be part of the information.

  102. Neil Fisher
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Potentially snippable, but I want to stress that this is NOT a snark – this comment is written in the spirit of good will and in the hope that it will be useful.

    If our attempts at RealClimate to explain the more subtle aspects of Antarctic climate variability have failed, due to inadequate precision of writing, or to confusion sown by Roger Pielke, Jr., I’m sorry.

    Dr Steig, if someone like Steve (who, I feel sure you would agree, has a keen interest in the science) can be misled due to poor writing, and someone like Roger (who is quite politically astute) can “sow confusion” by simply quoting your own words back at you, then I respectfully suggest that the problem is at your end. Perhaps you would find it valuable to engage people such as Roger and Steve to review such comments before you make them public so that any ambiguities in your wording can be removed, and everyone can be confident that what you appear to be saying is actually what you mean. If you cannot bring yourself to get Steve and Roger to do it, perhaps you could find a college you are more comfortable with who can take the role of devil’s advocate and aggressively attempt to misconstrue your comments. Given the importance of the topic, can you afford not to?

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but you are now aware of the potential problems – please take the time to ensure that such problems are avoided in the future, because the last thing we need is bad decisions made on incorrect assumptions, such assumptions made because of bad communications.

  103. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    The only misspelling I see is here…

    Re: Brian Macker (#170)

  104. John Norris
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    That was fun. Spelling and Steig:

    January 21st, 2009 | Tags: Antarctica, Data, Mann, RegEM, Stieg, Surface Record | Category: Data, Stieg at al, Surface Record | Subscribe to comments | Leave a comment | Trackback URL

    Please break your silence again Doctor.

    Steve: Google steig and climate.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

      Re: John Norris (#199),

      For the young at heart, the spelling might be “The Stig”. Some say he drives so fast on “Top Gear” that the is just named “The ..”

      But he has been outed and found to be an enterprise of several people who know each other through motor racing. What comments would that draw from Dr Wegman about circles of mutually-supporting author/reviewers?

  105. harry9000
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    I am very disappointed with Dr. Steig’s tone. Roger Pielke had characterized Dr. Steig as a nice guy, and myself, not wanting to believe all AGW proponents are motivated by anything other than the science, was ready to accept that as the case and prepared to hear what he has to say regardless of my personal biases I have on climate science. Now he’s blown that out of the water by taking the tone of defiant arrogance and an unwillingness to conduct a civil discussion (if any discussion at all), that I increasingly find from that quarter. Steve McIntyre has been very diligent in this post to reject comments regarding personal motivations behind AGW proponents, but what are people to think? What do AGW proponents imagine skeptics think, or in their minds is it simply irrelevant? In that case, why write papers at all?

    Im sure Pro-AGW scientists are rational people, but I think they’d be more convincing if they’d act that way.

    Just an observation.

  106. Anthony Watts
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    RE Steve in 191. Note the top line, you have the same problem with dyslexic typing that I do at times.

    Wtih regards, Anthony ;-)

  107. Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

    Now taking bets on whether below comment will pass moderation at RealClimate and if it does how many insults will be hurled at me for asking the obvious:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    27 January 2009 at 11:55 PM

    Conveniently dodging what many would suggest are more intriguing questions:

    Why is this finding trotted out by so many as supporting AGW when my understanding from your summary is that it tells us *absolutely nothing* about AGW?

    Until this study most read into the reports that the Antarctic cooling findings were evidence that climate modelling is robust.

    Are you saying the warming means the models are even more robust than you’d previously thought?

    [INCOMING!]

  108. Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    RCrejects – what a good idea. RC has enough technical challenges that you often can’t know if the comments are lost to Cyberspace or Cybercensorship.

  109. Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

    Eric I’m a fan of the unvarnished truth which sends me back and forth from RealClimate to ClimateAudit, always frustrated that items of interest to the climate community can’t be addressed directly in a single location. I’m often frustrated here by the too-often-snarky nature of the comments and even some of the posts and what appears to be too much concern with issues that may have no effect on key findings or conclusions.

    However on balance I’m far MORE frustrated at RealClimate where explanations all too often dodge the critical points of contention and fail to address criticisms made here – generally with great clarity. Watching how powerfully egos intersect with science over there and how often excuses are made for things like the many half truths in “An Inconvenient Truth” has made me increasingly skeptical of the AGW related findings I’ve been accepting for so long.

  110. Edouard
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

    Hello,

    I still don’t quite understand. Is the antarctic cooling since 1970? Is this due to the ozone hole?

    The ozone hole is of nearly the same size for 20 years. Why should the antarctic still be cooling because of that?

    If the sea ice extent tells us that the arctic is warming, why should the antarctic sea ice extent NOT tell us that the antartic isn’t warming?

    If the antarctic is warming and the models predict that the snow cover should grow, why doesn’t this happen?

    Regards
    Edouard

  111. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    The interesting thing about Steig’s little huff is that he is so offended by the issue of whether Antarctica is heating or cooling or compatible with climate models.

    I would have thought that the scientific contribution of his paper was in the method of data analysis to extract meaningful data where none previously existed. In such case, the results and interpretation of the data are almost irrelevant. The excitement lies in the validation of his new methods.

    But alas, it seems the method is less important than the result. Which raises considerable doubts.

  112. wmanny
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    RealClimate mounting new defense with “Warm reception to Antarctic warming story.” Should be interesting…

    • Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: wmanny (#208),
      I viewed the source of the article and searched for a link to Weart’s article. It appears Gavin chose not to remind his readers of Weart’s discussion.

      As I see it there are two issues being discussed:

      1) Are Eric’s results true? Is Antarctica warming, and is that warmingconsitent with models?
      2) Did RC, by inviting and posting Weart’s discussion foster the opposite impression last February? Thus creating confusion as to the status of knowledge about Antarctica and modeling?

      Question 2 has been discussed here and at Roger’s blog.

      It appears that Gavin’s article fails to even acknowledge the existence of question 2. In comments, Eric doesn’t seem to “get” that people think the answer to “2” is “Yes. RC posted an article that created a false impression on the topic of climate change and Antarctica”.

      The fact of the matter is that, back in Feb. someone at RC felt it was a good idea to post the Weart article. In my opinion that article falls in the category of “accurate but not true.” Now that that peculiar article is no longer required to buttress their position, RC authors want to ignore the discussion of that article, and insist that the only legitimate topic of discussion is question 1 and question 1 only.

      Unfortunately for them, they will not be able to prevent people from reading the Weart article and either a) becoming confused about 1 or b) noticing that RC sometimes posts “accurate but not true” that happen to temporarily buttress their position.

  113. JamesG
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    Another plus though. Hot on the heels of using “contrarian” rather than “denier” we have two realclimate.org contributors visit. That’s also progress. Obviously Steig is a nice guy but he mistook someone else’s criticism as being endorsed by Steve. Probably he’ll realize his mistake now.

    I really don’t understand though why anyone on realclimate.org is making a fuss about what the models said or didn’t say. Models use observations from the past in an attempt to predict the future. Hence it’s entirely natural they’d predict cooling (or flat-lining) if that’s what the observations had said. It doesn’t magically imbue them with any great insight and it certainly doesn’t mean they can be relied upon. Conversely, attempting to suggest that the models, when averaged out, predicted something and, hey presto, the observations agree with it is pure sleight of hand. People who want to believe that will do so but skeptics see the truth. A model is merely a tool, not an oracle.

    The climate community was clearly struggling with explaining the lack of warming in Antarctica and they used the ozone hole to do it, just as they have used the aerosols to explain a (probably natural) cooling elsewhere. This is not explaining the subtleties of climate science as Steig said – it is quite clearly just plain guesswork. When these guesses contradict each other – as they frequently do – then it’s really no surprise that contrarians point that out. It is objectionable being patronized by people who are pretending to know things that they obviously don’t and you don’t even have to be that “clever” to see it – you just have to get off the fan-bus and have a look from the outside now and again.

    Well fine, this is how Science develops: We arrive at conclusions only by comparing various theories to obs. But the trouble with certain climate scientists is that they can never just admit that their previous theory was wrong – they try instead to weave all the conflicting stories together and then blame journalists for any confusion. Presumably this is done so that the lumpen public don’t ever get the impression that they don’t know what they are talking about. But if you loudly trumpet your theories as if they were fact then you shouldn’t expect skeptics to be quiet when you turn out to be as wrong as we said you probably were. Indeed the main thrust of skeptic/contrarian objections is that too many people are too certain of too many things. I don’t think these scientists realize that if you say “we don’t quite know, but we’re working on it” get a heck of a lot more respect from everyone; especially skeptics. Hey, you got your money now, you can say it! In reality we’d all be happy if you could really predict the climate: It would be really handy. You really need to cast out the dogma that nature would flat-line in the absence of man if you are ever going to achieve such a thing though!

  114. Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Spencer Weart asks, “Still laughing?”

    Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I was never laughing when I sent comments to Real Climate on your post, and my comments were censored (never posted). I don’t consider censorship to be a laughing matter.

    But maybe you can answer a question I had for Eric Steig at Roger Pielke’s Prometheus blog, that Dr. Steig seems unlikely to ever answer.

    My question deals with your Real Climate post, where you wrote the following (I have taken the liberty to remove some words, so that my question will be more clear):

    “…we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict…and have predicted for the past quarter century.”

    Don’t you think that paragraph conflates “getting colder” (i.e., cooling) with “cold”?

  115. RicL
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    It is disappointing when RC bloggers are quick to accuse other of “thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud”. I have read this thread and see no evidence of this at all. However, at this thread on Matt Briggs’ website, we see a certain Dr. Schmidt accuse a respected climate scientist of ignoring data “probably because it did not support their theses.” Link here. Dr. Schmidt did not apologize when called on this, nor did he amend his blog posting on RC to correct a false accusation he had made in this regard. I recommend people read the whole thread – it is quite enlightening.

  116. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    #214. If they limited their outreach to peer-reviewed literature, then that might be a sustainable position. But that’s not what happens. They issue press releases, have mbargoed press conferences, write heir own blog posts. Discussion in the “peer reviewed” literature might take a year; meanwhile they’ll have “moved on”.

    As I mentioned before, Steig was quite measured in his QA session with reporters, but reporters don’t have access to data, nor do they do the sort of analysis that can take place on blogs.

    The sort of discussion here is obviously more searching than a QA session. Blogs provide a forum for real-time discussion and analysis.

    Steig was quite happy to answer puffball questions from reporters at the Nature QA but has a hissy-fit when CA asks him for data. If he’d restricted his presentations to peer-reviewed literature, then he’d maybe have a leg to stand on. But he didn’t. Steig was the one who threw this study into the public arena.

  117. Jeff Shifrin
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: 180 & 191

    Steve,

    While no one in their right mind can defend the type of responses you get from Steig, Santer, Schmidt etc., I think I do understand why they respond in such a seemingly unreasonable fashion. Your academic background was in mathematics. You are well aware of the fact that if there is even one minor mistake in one line of a mathematical proof, the proof is invalid. (The actual theorem you are attempting to prove might or might not be true, but without a valid proof, the theorem cannot be accepted.) Most climatology courses are taught by geography departments. The programs leading to a degree in climatology include very few math courses, and the few courses that are included are generally math application courses (rather than the more theoretical math courses that you took). Unfortunately, much of climatology has now become a study that uses unreliable data and/or missing data, and thus requires fairly sophisticated statistics to test hypotheses. Even more unfortunate is the fact that most climatologists (because of their lack of mathematical training) are totally out of their element in dealing with such sophisticated statistics. Thus, when you point out problems with their “proofs”, they just think that you are nitpicking. They don’t understand that what to them are just minor little details that they may have been somewhat careless about, are really important details that invalidate the proof of their hypothesis. They can’t understand why some people (like the people who follow CA) are paying so much attention to these details, and thus doubting the veracity of their studies, which they fervently believe are valid (for no good reason other than the fact that they fervently believe it). To Steig, your pointing out these “minor little details” is equivalent to his pointing out that you misspelled his name in one of your comments. The fact that he would make such a childish, irrelevant point in his “rebuttal” would seem to verify this naïve equivalence in his mindset.

    Steve: It sure is hard to understand. And I don’t think that Steig is even right in his accusation that I (moi) misspelled his name somewhere (aside from the fact that I spelled it right dozens of times and thus knew the spelling. One reader said that a Zedanta “tag” inserted into one of the posts had a misspelling. I personally don’t insert these tags tho I can understand why Steig might think so. A CA reader from time to time inserts tags and was the culprit. We here at CA do not claim to be infallible; hence the emphasis on “audit” and the same principles apply to anything here. So yes there was a spelling mistake in a Zedanta tag at CA, but no, I was not personally responsible. However, I will take responsibility for ensuring that this horrendous “error” is corrected.

    The other part of my background is business where audits are routine. Auditors do not expect to find errors; 99% of all audits sign off. But the discipline has been found useful when people deal with the public and even in private transactions. No one likes an audit, but people organize their files and data on the basis that they are going to be audited. Part of the climate problem is simply that they are disorganized and annoyed that anyone should expects them to be organized and then have a hissy-fit.

  118. Jos Kunen
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    In the keywords

    January 21st, 2009 | Tags: Antarctica, Data, Mann, RegEM, Stieg, Surface Record | Category: Data, Stieg at al, Surface Record | Subscribe to comments | Leave a comment | Trackback URL

    of the thread “Antarctic RegEM” you mispelled Dr Steig’s name twice.

    In spite of such “horrendous errors”, reading your blog is fun.

    Regards,
    Jos

    Steve:
    Had I consistently misspelled Steig’s name, then perhaps Steig might have had a slight complaint. But obviously I spelled his name correctly on dozens of occasions so the complaint “By the way, Steve, you might try getting the spelling of my last name right.” is not only trivial, but fatuous. And as mentioned in inline comment to #217, the Zedanta tags are occasionally inserted by a CA reader; I personally do not insert them. So Steig’s complaint is that on one occasion out of dozens, his name was mis-spelled. Boo hoo.

  119. Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Hi Lucia,

    You write:

    As I see it there are two issues being discussed:

    1) Are Eric’s results true? Is Antarctica warming, and is that warmingconsitent with models?
    2) Did RC, by inviting and posting Weart’s discussion foster the opposite impression last February? Thus creating confusion as to the status of knowledge about Antarctica and modeling?

    Then:

    In comments, Eric doesn’t seem to ‘get’ that people think the answer to ‘2’ is ‘Yes. RC posted an article that created a false impression on the topic of climate change and Antarctica’.

    However, Eric Steig DID “get” it. At least initially. Here’s what he initially said to Roger Pielke Jr.:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/consistent-with-chronicles-antarctic-edition-4897#comment-11629

    I have to admit I cringed when guest writer Weart wrote the article on RealClimate, which I didn’t get a chance to read first. I’m not sure what models he was talking about that said Antarctica should be cooling.

  120. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    I just submitted the following at RC

    ———————-
    Eric writes (#19):

    “They [NSIDC] don’t say anything about the “models predicting cooling” that Roger Piekle and others have blathered on about.”

    Would Spencer Weart be among those “blathering on about” cooling?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/02/antarctica-is-cold/

    According to Eric Steig, Weart was talking about models predicting cooling:

    “I have to admit I cringed when guest writer Weart wrote the article on RealClimate, which I didn’t get a chance to read first. I’m not sure what models he was talking about that said Antarctica should be cooling.”

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/consistent-with-chronicles-antarctic-edition-4897#comment-11629

    If RC posts an article about models predicting cooling, and Eric acknowledges such, perhaps you might understand the confusion among your readers who may then blather about what you post here.

    • Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

      Re: Roger Pielke Jr. (#221),

      Hi Roger,

      You’re much too charitable. (But then again, your comments will probably get posted, whereas mine probably wouldn’t. ;-)) (At least they didn’t when I first commented. And having them censored the first time doesn’t incline me towards more charitable comments on the second attempt. ;-))

      Mark

  121. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Is “the Antarctic” “warming”? Yes and no. More like no.
    Is “the Antarctic” “cooling”? Yes and no. More like no.

    The trends are up and down variously, most all around +/- .5 or so.

    Center interior

    NW and SE coasts

    Troposphere around area

    More here

    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/READER/temperature.html

    http://www.ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/2-CSPP-antarcticatemp.pdf

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507132855.htm

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ndp032/ndp032.html

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

    ———-

    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/gjma/


    Maps showing near-surface temperature trends around Antarctica
    The trends ilustrated in the maps are computed using a standard least-squares method.
    The methodology used to calculate the significance levels is based upon:
    Santer B.D., T.M.L. Wigley, J.S. Boyle, D. J. Gaffen, J.J. Hnilo, D. Nychka, D.E. Parker and K.E. Taylor. 2000: Statistical significance of trends and trend differences in layer-average temperature time series. Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, 7337-7356.
    Briefly, an effective sample size is calculated based on the lag-1 autocorrelation coefficient of the regression residuals, This effective sample size is used for the computation of the standard error and in indexing the critical values of the Student”s t distribution.

    Also see

    Steig E J, Mayewski P A, Dixon D A, Frey M M, Kaspari S D, Schneider D P, Arcone S A, Hamilton G S, Spikes V B, Albert M, Meese D, Gow A J, Shuman C A, White J W C, Sneed S, Flaherty J, Wumkes M. High-resolution ice cores from US ITASE (West Antarctica); development and validation of chronologies and estimate of precision and accuracy. Annals of Glaciology 41: 77-84 (2005).

    Schneider D P, Steig E J, van Ommen T D, Dixon D A, Mayewski P A, Jones J M, Bitz C M.
    Antarctic temperatures of the past two centuries from ice cores. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L16707, doi:10.1029/2006GL027057 (2006).

    Monaghan, A. J., D. H. Bromwich, W. Chapman, and J. C. Comiso (2008), Recent variability and trends of Antarctic near-surface temperature, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D04105, doi:10.1029/2007JD009094.

    Steig E J, Schneider D P, Mann M E, Rutherford S D, Comiso J C, Shindell D T. Antarctic
    temperatures since the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Nature, in review (2009).

  122. Terry
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    The arrogance, impudence, and immaturity displayed in posts 51 and 180 are amazing.

    [Steve, feel free to snip, it's a guess, but probably editorializing too]
    In the case of the post by Steig, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and guess that he was “celebrating” after the $450 million cash infusion they got today . If so, it might be wise to turn off the PC after that 4th Wild Turkey – you’re not helping your cause. Just a theory. In any case, it should be interesting to see how much of the money is spent doing studies that improve the models, vs. money spent proving they’re right.

  123. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    Lucia #189 writes,

    the Weart paper uses the “accurate but not true” type construction so often used in advertising.

    I don’t quite get what you mean by this. I can see a construction that enumerates a number of true facts that do not accurately convey the big picture, but wouldn’t this be “true but not accurate”?

    See also #211.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (#225),

      I don’t quite get what you mean by this. I can see a construction that enumerates a number of true facts that do not accurately convey the big picture, but wouldn’t this be “true but not accurate”?

      I think that a statement like “true but not accurate” would cover a number of the representations of the facts that I see by way the IPCC and scientists being advocates. That is also why fraud is not issue and points to the importance of thinking people to analyze these papers from which the evidence flows and to arrive at their own interpretations.

      Which leads to my wish that we can see the Steig paper intermediate data soon for analysis and judge for ourselves the appropriateness of the authors’ stated peer-reviewed paper and blogged conclusions.

  124. Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    ‘Nice guy’ Steig is threatening Marc Morano over ‘libel.’

    First Author of ‘Antarctic Warming Paper’ Claims Libel:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/01/led-author-of-antarctic-warming-paper-claims-libel/

    • Alex Harvey
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: Paul Biggs (#226), wow… hmm… I’m sure Steig really is a nice guy though… he’s out of his depth. I imagine he’d be better suited to really being a scientist than playing this RealClimate game of scientist-activist… he’s just in the wrong job. These outbursts show that he’s certainly not a politician though.

    • Bob Koss
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

      Re: Paul Biggs (#226),
      From Steig’s email to Morano.

      In any case, the ‘analysis’ you cite is wrong. If you look at Figure 3.7 from the IPCC report

      you will see that the average temperature trend for Antarctica was positive (warming) not negative (cooling). This figure shows the average of the Antarctic station data. This demonstrates that the statement that “the station data shows a 50-year cooling trend” is plainly wrong. In the interest of being honest with the American public, don’t you think you should correct this?

      How does an Arctic circle land temperature graphic demonstrate Antarctic warming?

      Steve: The 3rd panel of the graphic shows Antarctica,

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

        Re: Bob Koss (#232),

        you will see that the average temperature trend for Antarctica was positive (warming) not negative (cooling).

        Actually it looks pretty flat to me after 1970. Even more, since we know the portion of land warming in Antarctia is primarily the peninsula it’d be be awful hard to prove warming which would be acceptable to a judge or jury.

        • Gerald Machnee
          Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

          Re: Dave Dardinger (#235),
          It is interesting that they went back to 1957 “because that is when the observations started”. However the satellite data is from about 1979. If they would have used infilled data from 1979 they would not have got warming. I have looked at the paper but have not digested how many stations they used back to 1957 and how they filled the data before the satellite comparisons. There is another temperature chart posted elsewhere that shows there was warming about a hundred years ago. This would have given cooling. As well they have admitted that there was a very warm period in the 1940’s. So how can this be warming if the 1940’s were warmer?. The best they can do with their study is say that Antarctica may be “warmer” now that in 1957, but there has been cooling in the last while, so it is not “warming” now. In any case they may not have commited errors in their calculations (but RegEm is beyond my stats) but they have clearly cherry-picked.

        • Sam Urbinto
          Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

          Re: Dave Dardinger (#235),

          There seems to be no obvious huge difference between coast and interior, depending on where you look at these (surprisingly all negative) anomalies. If you look at my graphs in 222, there’s downward trends and upward trends on the ground for both interior and coasts. And of course the downward trend of a small value in the satellite readings. Too close to call?

          I picked the ground locations at random, just to be in a “straight” line and get a mix of locations.

          I don’t think anyone can reliably make a statement about “what Antarctica is doing” from the last 50ish years. Probably not even about the subsections. After all, the largest upward trend I found isn’t even in the Antarctic circle, it’s in the ocean sort of in between NW Antarctica and the bottom of South America (Orcadas) and unlike the rest, goes back about 100 years, too.

          http://www.climateaudit.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=650

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: Sam Urbinto (#251),

          There seems to be no obvious huge difference between coast and interior,

          So why are you bringing this up in the context of my message? I purposely didn’t say anything about the coast vs interior. I just mentioned the peninsula.

      • Bob Koss
        Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

        Re: Bob Koss (#232), mea culpa. The vertical part of the graphic fit so well on my screen I didn’t realize there were multiple grahics combined.

  125. PhilH
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I believe, was exactly right when he said early in this post that Steig had “fallen in with a bad crowd” at RC. Their response to critique, good or bad, is always to attack. Whenever someone points out that another stone in their ivory tower is crumbling, or that their moat is leaking,their reaction is to pour boiling oil (corn ethanol)on the barbarians below. It has nothing to do with science. It’s fear masked by arrogance.

  126. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    I think Eric Steig needs to consult a lawyer. Not to file a lawsuit, but to get some consultation on what constitutes libel.

    Mark

  127. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Yes. HIS accusations of scientific fraud, however… ahem.

    His comment that the trend is positive is, btw, highly dependent upon the start point as well as length of trend – not a surprise. It is also highly biased by the peninsula that sticks out into the warming (previously) southern Pacific, which is easy to see from RomanM’s plotting utility in the other thread.

    Mark

  128. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Hehe, cross-posting almost identical comments. :)

    38 years (since 1970) might be seen as some as too long since apparently a 30 year trend is desired… *cough*.

    Mark

  129. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Oops, 39 years. Forgot about that whole “New Year” thing.

    Mark

  130. Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this 2008 GRL paper, which has a nice graphic showing some regional Antarctic cooling:

    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2008/antarctica.jsp

    “The authors compared recently constructed temperature data sets from Antarctica, based on data from ice cores and ground weather stations, to 20th century simulations from computer models used by scientists to simulate global climate. While the observed Antarctic temperatures rose by about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.2 degrees Celsius) over the past century, the climate models simulated increases in Antarctic temperatures during the same period of 1.4 degrees F (0.75 degrees C).”

    And, West and East Antarctica have had divergent climate histories over the past 14 million years:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/320/5880/1152

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Paul Biggs (#240),

      Unless I’m mistaken, I believe there was some recent article someplace in which Michael Mann is saying that Andrew Monaghan has acknowledged errors in his work pointed out by Michael Mann and now supports the Nature article of Steig, Mann, et al. I apologize in advance if this impression is mistaken, but thought someone may recall seeing the article too.

    • Gerald Machnee
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: Paul Biggs (#240),
      I referenced the first paper on my post #160 above.

  131. Wondering Aloud
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    I am likewise puzzled by post 180. This appears to be totally nonsequitor with the post here and far from shifting blame to the host, throws up a huge red flag to me.

    “I will not further respond to queries from Steve McIntyre by email, nor via this blog. I have always given you the benefit of the doubt, but your thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud (by association!) have crossed an important ethical line. Shame on you.”

    This is not the way a scientist responds in this situation. You are going to provoke the very accusation you claim already exists. I decided to post the following because of your comment 180.

    When I read your abstract my immediate response was “B.S.” It appears what you did here is replace a data set with a model of what you imagine might have been, perhaps this modeling exercise better fits what you want the actual facts to be. But, you better have a mighty strong case for doing it. Much stronger than you have. I am getting mighty tired of people finding reasons to modify or throw out data points because they don’t fit preconcieved expectations.

  132. Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    “Andrew Monaghan, also of NCAR, said that he agreed with the broad findings of the study, which line up with similar studies he has done of Antarctic temperature trends. He told LiveScience that the biggest finding of the study was the warming of West Antarctica, which is part of the broad ice sheet contributing to ice melt — “it’s a Greenland-sized chunk of Antarctica,” he said.”

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/090121-antarctica-warming.html

    I don’t think Steig et al trumps the Monaghan et al study.

  133. David Cauthen
    Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    Do you think there might be an email floating around amongst these guys that is the Antarctic equivalent of the ” We’ve got to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period?”

  134. Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    West Antarctica is Warming? Yeah, We Knew That!

  135. kim
    Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

    Heh, Paul, my book review on ‘The Discovery of Global Cooling’ was found unsuitable for publication.
    ========================

  136. kim
    Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    I made that one up on DotEarth last year when he posted on RC that climate sensitivity to the feedbacks after initial CO2 forcing was not ‘settled’.
    ========================================

  137. Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    Eric Steig appears to be ultra sensitive about the spelling of his surname. But with a name that contains “ei” which is directly opposite to the “i” before “e” except after “c” rule us older English speakers had drummed into us when we were kids, it is hardly surprising that his name would be misspelt. Given the spellings of my surname I’ve seen in correspondence addressed to me over the years, anything and everything is possible!

    Steve: There was one mis-spelling of his name (and not by me) in dozens of references. Yes, that qualifies as more than “ultra-sensitive”.

  138. jae
    Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    You gotta watch out for that old rule: “i before e, except after c, or when sounding as a, as in neighbor and weigh”—because it doesn’t hold for the word weird, either. Isn’t that weird?

    • Neil Fisher
      Posted Jan 31, 2009 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#252), “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’, but you must know the exceptions” – clearly, Steig, like the Neil’s, is exceptional. ;-)

      • Posted Jan 31, 2009 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

        Re: Neil Fisher (#254),

        Neil
        I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of “Niel”, even “Noel” and surprisingly I even get “Ian” as well.
        Neil

        • Neil Fisher
          Posted Jan 31, 2009 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

          Re: Neil Crafter (#255), Indeed I have seen plenty of spelling mistakes. Explaining, as I did in #254, that I am “exceptional”, is usually enough of a mnuemonic that people remember from then on – oh yeah, they groan at it, but they do remember. ;-) As to Ian, it’s worse for me, as my elder brother is an Ian.

  139. Brian Macker
    Posted Feb 1, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    I’m the guilty party that typed Stiegl instead of Steig.

    I touch type. That is I don’t look at my hands when I’m typing. I often do not proofread when writing to comment sections. If someone brings up typos to counter an argument I known they are on thin ice. :)

    I might have been influenced with the “i before e” rule. More likely that my right hand was faster than my left being that I’m right handed and type very rapidly. Even though I know the spelling of receive and believe, I often mistype them. I have no theory about where the trailing “l” came from.

    Then again I also type “hear” instead of “here” even though I damn well know the difference. Also “their” vs. “they’re” and “there”. Again I know the difference yet my hands seem not to.

    No malice was involved. No insult should be taken.

    If this was an sorry attempt at equivalence then I say that the mistakes being made by climate scientists are far more serious and far more dangerous than typos.

  140. Posted Feb 2, 2009 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Steig has shown a propensity for being sensitive to claims of fraud, and a complete inpatients with reasonable questions. His comments were completely unfair, like he was being attacked. I am really beginning to wonder what he has against providing the code and data. It’s like he doesn’t realize he would have very few detractors if CA found the work to be valid.

    Mann’s 08 work was really bad, it deserves the bad rap it got. If this paper is good, I for one would love to know about it. After my experience with M08, there’s no way I’m trusting any of it until I see everything.

  141. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Steig at RC:

    [Response: I do routinely make all our data available, as does everyone else that I know. In this particular case, anyone legitimate who has asked for all our data, including the intermediate steps has received it. To continue to analogy with financial auditing, let me very clear on what I mean by legitimate: In the business world, auditors 1) don't publicly accuse a company of withholding data prior to requesting said data; 2) are not self-appointed; 3) have to demonstrate integrity and competence; 4) are regulated. On this point, if you are suggesting that Steve McIntyre be regulated by an oversight committee, and have his auditor's license revoked when he breaks ethical rules, then we may have something we can agree on.–eric]

  142. Mark T.
    Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    This guy’s a joke.

    Mark

  143. Ra
    Posted Feb 4, 2009 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

    Wht does anyone worry about Gavin Schmidt. He’s acting as a political activist and should therefore be treated like one.

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] entrails are required for exegesis of these seemingly contradictory Delphic utterances.” . Steig’s Silence Climate Audit . _______________ . Snow falls in the United Arab Emirates! (But they do not have [...]

  2. [...] Antarctica cooling so hard that they now show a tiny warming – have come under immediate fire from many quarters, not just for ignoring a possible volcanic influence, but for statistical gymnastics: According to [...]

  3. [...] Steig’s Silence [...]

  4. [...] yes the unfalsifiable hypothesis what the left calls, real science.   Commenters who threaten anyone while here because they are not smart enough to come up [...]

  5. [...] reviewers did not see this vital information.  No word on the code, but the lead author (Steig) has said he will archive the data [...]

  6. By The Gracious Communicator « Climate Audit on Dec 11, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    [...] couple of days later, Steig broke off communications with the following comment at CA: If you happen to find any legitimate errors in our work, when you try to duplicate it, I will be [...]

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