Data and Corrections for Rosenthal et al 2013

Last year, I wrote a blog post covering Rosenthal et al 2013 – see here. It reported on interesting Mg-Ca ocean cores in the western Pacific from the foraminfera H. Balthica, which is believed to be a proxy for “intermediate water temperatures”.

The press release stated that the middle depths were warming “15 times faster” than ever before:

In a reconstruction of Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 10,000 years, researchers have found that its middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000.

However, the situation was much less dramatic if one parsed the actual data, as shown in the graphic below (taken from my earlier post) redrawn from Rosenthal’s information. Rather than the modern period being “unprecedented”, on this scale, it looks well within historical ranges.

Figure 2. From Rosenthal et al 2013 Figure 2C. Red- temperature anomaly converted from NOAA Pacific Ocean 0-700m ocean heat content. Cyan – Rosenthal Figure 3B reconstruction (my digitization). Orange trend line shows third comparison from Rosenthal SI, taken from first row in Table S3.

In the course of doing the analysis, I observed that Rosenthal’s Table S3 seemed to be screwed up in multiple ways – as I observed in my post.

In addition, Rosenthal had not archived his data (though he has a pretty good track record of archiving data from previous studies.) I asked him for the data and got fobbed off a number of times. I notified Sciencemag of the problem but got no response. The other day, I noticed that Rosenthal had issued a revised SI at Sciencemag and that the requested data had been filed there. Rosenthal discourteously failed to notify me that he had done so.

Rosenthal’s revised SI also included substantial changes to the Table S3 that I had previously criticized, but did not issue a Corrigendum notice. He said that the “errors
have no bearing on the main conclusions of the paper”. In making these corrections to Table S3 (which still has some puzzles), Rosenthal did not acknowledge Climate Audit’s criticism of this table.

Rather than reviewing the analysis, I’ve posted up the revisions as an update to the earlier post here.

51 Comments

  1. kim
    Posted Mar 2, 2014 at 10:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mac moves a mountain, finds a molehill,
    Weasel whisks through data tunnels,
    Credit whistles airy tunes,
    Played your ‘ism’
    Ruins dunes.
    ===========

  2. Skiphil
    Posted Mar 2, 2014 at 10:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    An elementary aspect of academic honesty requires properly acknowledging one’s intellectual and scientific debts. Unless Rosenthal wishes to pretend that he arrived at the corrections and saw the need for the SI before seeing criticism from Climate Audit, it is not academically respectable to fail to acknowledge the source of the corrections.

    Many student papers have received failing grades for less glaring failures than this to acknowledge sources properly.

    • Robin
      Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

      It seems to be the observed protocol among climate scientists to read Steve’s and this site’s criticisms, act on them, and then pretend climateaudit doesn’t exist.

      The field would benefit from some mature leadership in this matter. This type of behaviour makes them look very petty.

  3. Posted Mar 2, 2014 at 11:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    [Rosenthal] said that the “errors have no bearing on the main conclusions of the paper” [emphasis added -hro]

    Seems to me this is the standard “even when we’re wrong, we’re right” Mannian excuse, is it not?! How many times have we heard this song before? Isn’t it way past time that they found another chorus line?!

    • pottereaton
      Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 12:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Here’s another atypical quote that we’ve seen in various forms (Rosenthahl as quoted by Revkin in his column):

      We may have underestimated the efficiency of the oceans as a storehouse for heat and energy…. It may buy us some time – how much time, I don’t really know – to come to terms with climate change. But it’s not going to stop climate change.

      • pottereaton
        Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 12:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

        “Typical” not “atypical.” Long day.

    • Jimmy Haigh
      Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 5:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

      …“errors have no bearing on the main conclusions of the paper” …

      I read that as: It doesn’t matter what data we use, we’re going to come out with the result we want anyway.

  4. harkin
    Posted Mar 2, 2014 at 11:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Great work. My opinion of the alarmists is shaped almost as much by their reaction to having errors pointed out as much as the bad science itself.

    As was said of Michael Mann recently regarding his disingenuous court filings, one naturally assumes the pattern of deceit will also be in his professional work.

    • Martin A
      Posted Mar 4, 2014 at 3:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      harkin
      As was said of Michael Mann recently regarding his disingenuous court filings, one naturally assumes the pattern of deceit will also be in his professional work.

      Absolutely. I have noticed repeatedly that both individuals and organisations behave consistently.

  5. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 2:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    APS CLIMATE CHANGE STATEMENT REVIEW WORKSHOP pp 561-2
    Transcript, Dr Collins speaking, 8th January 2014.
    ” …. And I think we would benefit tremendously from engagement of people who want to think critically about how to do the error right, the measurement right and the modeling right.”

    In climate science as opposed to several other main branches on investigation, attempts to “… do the error right …” have not been up to par. Dr Collins was speaking more specifically of errors in climate modelling, but the problem is everywhere.
    Prof Lindzen to the UK House of Commons in 2014 — I remember a woman once said, “If you have error bars, you know there are errors. Why don’t you do something about it?”

    There seems to be lack of realisation that there are established mathematical procedures for the treatment of error and its propagation; that there are errors of bias as well as more statistical errors of precision; that the grey or blue envelopes (here olive green here from Rosenthal) that are often shown around time series, for example, are more cartoon=like than justifiable. There is a wide belief that many error sources are unimportant because some tooth fairy math will balance positive excursions with negative for a trivial outcome.

    For example, here is part of an email to me from Dr David Jones, then Head of Climate Analysis, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia, June 9th 2009.
    “Your analogy … makes no sense either – the law of large numbers or central limit theorem tells you that random errors have a tiny effect on aggregated values.”

    Pat Frank, in particular, has often raised these error matters. I guess they loom larger when you have had to deal with them formally and with accountability. He is one of the “people who want to think critically about how to do the error right, the measurement right and the modeling right” with respect to this long-since settled science.

    This Rosenthal paper seems to be a prime candidate for error analysis of ocean data. Why, on proper treatment, the problem might disappear in the noise.

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Geoff
      Well put re: “errors of bias as well as more statistical errors of precision”
      Type B errors (including “errors of bias”) are hardly ever mentioned in IPCC/Climate Science. cf GUM BIPM JCGM 100:2008

  6. Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 6:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    He’s not quite a true deceiver but he’s working on it.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/a-climate-of-deception-deceit-lies-and-outright-dishonesty/

    Pointman

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t mean for people to wax as indignant as some seem to be. Rosenthal’s paper contains interesting data and is about much more than the supposedly unprecedented last 50 years, though without the closing genuflection to alarm that either not or weakly supported, he probably wouldn’t have got into Science.

    • Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry to be boring but respect!

    • Robin
      Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve

      There is a significant ethical issue involved with not giving appropriate credit to someone who spots a mistake.

      Individual oversights are no big deal. However, not referencing CA is a persistent pattern of behaviour among the climate community. In my field, we’d grit our teeth and hiss an unambiguous thank you in the acknowledgements to whoever spotted an error.

    • manicbeancounter
      Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 2:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve,

      You are exactly right. Everyone should interpret the entire reconstruction, which spans 8000 years and covers about half the oceans of the world. In Figure 2C, the temperature change from about 6200 BP to 330 BP is about -30 times the temperature change in the last 60 years. The coldest point corresponds to the little ice age.
      If Rosenthal et al 2013 is about right (something that may never be known) the natural influences on ocean temperature seem far more important than human influences. However, such a large fall in ocean temperatures does not seem credible to me. Where has all that heat gone?

      • Manfred
        Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Actually, it makes sense.

        If you assume the little ice age was global and lasted for centuries, and that current temperatures are just about as warm as a 1000 years ago, it will again take centuries to warm up back to medieval temperatures.

    • Ed Barbar
      Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      That’s my read of it too; this statement had to be included to pacify reviewers and for the paper to be published. It begs the question how unbiased the Climate Science “Review” process is.

      Comparing a 50 year sub-cycle to long term cycles over hundreds of years provides little meaningful information, as any honest person will note. However, that the ocean/air system had so much more energy 1000 years ago than today ought to give any Climate Scientist pause when considering dire, imminent predictions.

      Indeed, the more readily the climate system can move heat into the oceans is the extent to which Global Warming will not have an impact for many years, perhaps centuries.

      That’s a good thing, and Climate Scientists ought to rejoice we have much more time to sort out the incremental addition of energy onto planet earth, on account of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

      Rosenthal’s work should be verified expeditiously. Extra heat disappearing into the (deep) oceans should be verified expeditiously, and the models reworked to reflect the learning. If the 2 degree “C” number is centuries away, I think policy makers will focus on more pressing needs.

      • Ed Barbar
        Posted Mar 9, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        You are off the mark.

        Did not Rosenthal state the Pacific Ocean was .67 degrees “C” warmer in the MWP than today? Why, it’s the very title of his paper!

        “Pacific Ocean Heat Content During the Past 10,000 Years”

        See, I’m not making claims. I was quite careful even in the face of a claim in a peer reviewed paper to state it needs to be verified.

        Let me help you: X => Y. If X is true, then Y is also true. Do you disagree with the proposition that the oceans have roughly 1000 times the heat specific heat of the atmosphere? Do you disagree if the Pacific were .67 degrees “C” warmer than today the total energy stored on planet earth would have been much higher?

        If you do not, then explain how the calculation is “silly.”

        It sounds like you have rejected Rosenthal’s results. I suggest you take it up with him.

        For my part, I’ll continue to say the results should be verified, and expeditiously, because if they are correct, and Trenberth is correct that heat is getting sucked into the oceans quickly, we have a very big heat capacitor and it will be much longer than the models assume.

        This seems quite reasonable to me. I’m willing to see the failure in my reasoning, but I don’t. The only failure I see is you not understanding conditional logic, and jumping on something for some odd reason, and I don’t think it is because of Mosher’s statement. I suspect it’s for other reasons.

        Let me ask you something else. If there were two possible outcomes:

        Rosenthal is right: the oceans were substantially warmer (.67 degrees “C”) then than today.

        Rosenthal is wrong: the oceans were about the same temperature as today.

        Which would you prefer?

  8. Brian H
    Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 1:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s another little data surprise: Treemometer records match thermometer records — pre-adjustments. http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/an-entire-science-wrecked-by-data-tampering/

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      please. Goddard is clown. he’s looking at radiosone data in one of data citations. Here is the problem. You have a diligent person like Steve Mc making legitamate inquires into climate science and paleo work.

      Then you have clowns like Goddard throwing FUD around. Guess what, people will over time associate Goddard with Steve Mc even though they are vastly different in terms of knowledge, honesty, and diligence. Goddard gives people who question climate science a bad name. He did the same thing over at WUWT which was why he was kicked off. Skeptics need to make the best arguments and focus on the best arguments if they expect to maintain credibility and be heard. Every time you point to Goddard as an example of good work or an example of an argument to consider you distract people from the best arguments. You fill their heads with the worst arguments, silly arguments, wrong arguments and you give support to people who claim all skeptics are nuts.

      • Ed Barbar
        Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Skeptics need to make the best arguments and focus on the best arguments if they expect to maintain credibility and be heard.

        Just random musing, on my part. If the Rosenthal paper is correct (and accepted), it seems to me Skeptics don’t need to do much more talking. The planet is talking, and we have many ears listening.

        Note, given the .67 degrees “C” difference between 1000 years ago, and the total specific heat of the oceans is about about 1000 times that of the atmosphere, more than .67 degrees “C” has to be taken out of the ocean/atmosphere system in the say 1000 years since the MWP.

        • Ed Barbar
          Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

          Sorry, the equivalent of .67 atmospheric degrees need to be removed each year.

        • Howard
          Posted Mar 6, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

          Ed: Listen to Mosher. It’s not the whole ocean, just a very noisy part of it, so your calculation is a gross exaggeration. Vaughan Pratt lays out the limitations of this data point as compared with the entire ocean:

          http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/01/pacific-ocean-heat-content-for-the-past-10000-years/#comment-407489

        • Ed Barbar
          Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

          Howard,

          I don’t understand your comment about “Listen to Mosher.” Let’s see what I said:

          “Rosenthal’s work should be verified expeditiously.”

          My view is that if he is right, and if Trenberth is right, then we have some time to sort out this AGW issue. That’s a very good thing. Because if the CO2 increases have near term catastrophic effects, given the current world politics, nothing can be done. It’s not a western world problem, you see, except as the west has exported technologies to the rest of the world.

          Regarding Vaughan’s blog posts, are you saying they ought to have equal credence to peer reviewed science?

        • Howard
          Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

          Ed: You made a silly calculation in response to Mosher’s suggestion not to be silly. You don’t see how Dr Pratts’ point about the special physiochemical oceanography of the Rosenthal data point verifies the silliness of your calculation. Ideas, assertions, observations, etc. are valid, not valid or in between. If you cannot determine quality on your own, then yes, stick to peer reviewed science as a debate tool to dismiss ideas that don’t support your bias. If Stanford isn’t lofty enough for your intellect, perhaps MIT will do: http://mseas.mit.edu/Research/Straits/PDF/oceanography_18.4_gordon.pdf
          Cheers

        • Howard
          Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

          BTW Ed

          Dr. Pratts’ point also supports the silliness of the 15-times greater recent warming rate press release headline. It’s an area that’s “twitchy”, so the whole meme that it’s worse than we thought has another layer of silliness to it.

      • DEEBEE
        Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 5:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

        That seemed a bit extreme. In the spectrum of “deniers”. No one in their right mind would put Steve Mc in the same category as Goddard. Just as no one would put Gav in the same category as Cook. So chill or take your personal crusades elsewhere.

        • Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

          I chided Mosh just a little last week but read this one and felt I agreed with every word. The varying of mileage may depend on the week and month I guess.

      • stan
        Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Using Mosher’s analysis re: Goddard, we can conclude that Mann, Jones and the rest of the alarmist hockey team have given the world proof that AGW is a scam.

      • Posted Mar 8, 2014 at 6:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Mosh, it would be nice if you ever figure out that you don’t know WTF you’re babbling about. You can disagree with Goddard’s views and perspectives, and even point out the rare occasional error he makes. But, Goddard doesn’t spread FUD. Much of what he writes is the antithesis of FUD. He writes to show people that there isn’t anything to fear about the imaginary global warming. When reading Goddard, there is a rare clarity in his statements which all could benefit by borrowing such a style, you especially.

        If we are to be making statements about who gives what a bad name, in my opinion, yours would be at the top of the list. Dredging up events from years ago so you can spew your spite, and you say Goddard gives skeptics a bad name? You got in mirrors in your house? Do you ever use them? FUD? Uncertainty? Is this coming from the same guy that helped write the BEST data? How’s that land temp from the 1700s working out? Oh, you think that was an honest representation because you included error bars? Oh look!!! We’ve 12 thermometers!!! Let’s plot them!!! But, you would disparage others, and question, not the information presented, but, the integrity of a person because you happen to disagree more with his style than anything.

        Over the course of many years, I’ve read both yours and his writings. When the issue of character and integrity comes up, Goddard wins, hands down.

      • Posted Mar 8, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The difference I see is McIntyre is a math major and Mosher is a liberal arts major (B.A. English Literature and Philosophy). So I generally do not entertain Mosher’s opinion unless it is something relevant to his background like the Gleick memo.

        • Posted Mar 8, 2014 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

          Amen, brother, amen.

      • Posted Mar 8, 2014 at 8:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Not to mention I would never take advice from anyone that was associated with the fake “Muller is a recovering skeptic” meme, that I had to waste days setting straight.

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 9, 2014 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

          I guess Steve knows what he’s doing WRT confidence and Mosher.

          But at Curry’s, Mosher was saying WRT Mann’s claims of exoneration, that “all” means “some”.

          “Thisisnot.

          All means some.
          of course none of the reports will come in as evidence without some work
          on the part of Mann’s lawyers.
          here is the argument: Steyn was negligent because he read documents
          that didnt mention Mann directly, never looked at Tiljander and gaspe,
          and because she should have realized that these exonerated mann.”

        • thisisnotgoodtogo
          Posted Mar 9, 2014 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

          This type of twisting of the ordinary meaning of words is on thing, but the continual attacks on skeptics and the support of people like Hansen – as an honest scientist – after the less than impressively honest reaction Hansen had when Steve pointed to a problem – seem to put Mosher as a “Risk” game player, not the “truth finder/ so obviously non tribalist” he seems to want believed.

  9. DayHay
    Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,
    Sorry, I did not look, but what is the resolution of the data? Seems we continually see new high frequency high resolution data conflated with smoothed low frequency low resolution data from way in the past? Is the near term data smoothed? Would it even show up in longer smoothed curves at all?

  10. b4llzofsteel
    Posted Mar 3, 2014 at 6:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I asked him for the data and got fobbed off a number of times.

    Rosenthal discourteously failed to notify me that he had done so.

    Change your name in “Benefits” so the next time they can say “I’m friends with Benefits”.

  11. Posted Mar 4, 2014 at 12:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If I am remembering correctly, when Revkin pressed the authors about the 15-times faster bit in his video interview, I think the authors admitted that they didn’t have the resolution for that type of determination.

    • Manfred
      Posted Mar 4, 2014 at 8:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The “15-times faster” is even falsified by the low resolution data in their own table.

  12. Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If I get a result showing a change FIFTEEN TIMES greater than any other change in the record, first thing I do is go back to look for where I screwed up; if I can’t find the problem I go find someone smarter than me to help me find it. If that person can’t find the error I keep going to smarter and smarter people till we do find the error, there just aren’t that many places in nature where you find an unprecedented 15x change, at least without some major markers in the environment pointing arrows at it – like a planetesimal impact.

    W^3

    • Howard
      Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s even more puzzling than your example. The 15x change is based on interval cherry-picking and comparing rates over millennium to centuries and decades.

      Look at Figure 2C from 7,500 to 7,300 BP Temp increases ~1.5C. That’s 0.75C/Century, or about 3-times faster than the modern rate (1965-2010 @ 0.24C/Cent)on the corrected Table S3. 2,750 to 2,500 BP rate was 0.4C/Cent

      The fact is that rapid warming is the rule in earth climate, not the acception.

      However… That does not mean that the future CO2 effects are known to be benign. It just means that whomever wrote the press release was doing some Mad Men inspired selling.

      • Posted Mar 5, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Howard,

        What surprises me most is that a researcher can produce such an extraordinary result, without any other apparent sequela, and [apparently] without feeling internally driven to recheck his work. The fact of the matter in science is that extraordinary results of that magnitude are *usually* the result of an error. The scientific method, including a healthy respect for one’s own fallibility, is supposed to prevent gross errors from reaching the larger world.

        W^3

        • Posted Mar 9, 2014 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

          I thank you for “sequela”.

        • Posted Mar 9, 2014 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

          A simpler way to put it – were always supposed to looking for simpler ways to communicate things – is that there seems to be a breed of researcher who are *searching* for sensational results and are consequently seduced by their own errors. Too much TV as children???

  13. Brian B
    Posted Mar 6, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m almost certainly not smart enough to be a scientist or statistician so could someone who is help me out?
    Are there not since 1600, as I eyeball the above graph, two periods with considerably steeper uptrends than that of the trend depicted in red?
    And are there not many periods from ~50 to nearly a thousand years with considerably steeper trends than either the last 60 years or since the trough at roughly 1650AD in the last 8 or 9,000 years?
    The graph at the earlier CA article Steve links seems to show 15 or more such short term trends that are steeper in the last 2000 years.
    What am I not getting?

    • kim
      Posted Mar 6, 2014 at 10:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Yup, BF, you must take some roughs with the smooths.
      =====

  14. EdeF
    Posted Mar 7, 2014 at 6:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nice to have the entire 9k yr data plotted, it is obvious that the
    15X assertion does not hold up between the instrumental period, and
    several like-number-of-years periods that I could choose over the
    whole span. Wonder what was going on 7.5k yrs ago?

  15. slimething
    Posted Mar 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    @Steve Mosher.

    I’m wondering if you can explain the upside down greenhouse effect, whereby the surface is warming at a faster rate than the troposphere. Why is GISS, NOAA et al diverging from satellite data? Also, where is the hotspot (Gavin and the Big Red Dog)? That is the main tenet of AGW is it not?

    Still waiting for greenhouse.

  16. Posted Mar 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

  17. michael hart
    Posted Mar 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So a vestigial blade is consistent with it taking a lot more energy to play hockey under water?

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Don’t get me wrong, the critiques are legitimate, but, what comes of it?  For instance, McIntyre is running down the details of Rosenthal et al 2013, mostly because of was stated in support of the lunatics, even after contradicting the […]

  2. […] http://climateaudit.org/2014/03/02/data-and-corrections-for-rosenthal-et-al-2013/ […]

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