Blog Rules and Road Map

Opinions expressed on Climate Audit, other than those expressed by Stephen McIntyre personally, are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Climate Audit or myself.

Noise
Ken Fritsch makes the following comment that I support:

While your efforts to avoid the implication of censoring of opposing views should be commended, I am not a little distracted by the noise levels that I find come from
(a) personal debates that frequently do not add to the knowledge base of the specific topic at hand,
(b) posters who seem to come to the discussion with the intent of having their feelings hurt or to uncover evidence of a bias towards them and/or people with their points of view,
(c ) posters who raise to the bait of these posters and thus contribute to wasted space (ad hominem ad infinitum),
(d) posters who merely seem to want to let skeptics and agnostics know at every opportunity that the circumstantial case is closed on AGW and only fools would question what they surmise to be an overwhelming and proven consensus from the climate scientists,
(e) those who make their personal cases against AGW with little or no evidence to back it up and
(f) those who seem to want to show that they can turn your efforts as a critic of some sometimes sloppy and vague climate science publishing back on you.

There are lots of places in the world where people can discuss general issues of AGW, but not many places where technical discussions of proxies can take place. I’m getting really tired of technical threads getting hijacked. If there’s a thread on Lago Paco Cocha or Quelccaya Plant Deposits or a technical topic, please do not hijack for general fuming. If anyone wants to vent (and I’d prefer that you don’t), vent on the Bulletin Board and stay away from the technical threads. In order to encourage this, I am warning that I may start deleting off-topic posts on the technical threads. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure that somebody will claim that they are being censored, but I’m going to try it and see if the noisiness will reduce.

Some Site Rules:
I oppose the censoring of scientific comments at realclimate and do not do that here. Unfortunately, light moderation opens the door for ad homs and taunting, which quickly involves everybody. I don’t have time to monitor everything so my handling of taunting has been inconsistent: sometimes I’ve let it go because the person is just making a fool of himself, sometimes I’ve got fed up and deleted it. A reader has written with the following suggested ground rules which are hereby adopted:

Blogs like this one provide a wonderful opportunity to people like me (a retired scientist) to get involved in an ongoing debate and it is very disappointing when the debate generates into one of these slanging matches. May I suggest some ground rules for posts:
1. Refrain from personal abuse and swearing,
2. Never attribute ulterior motives to another participant
3. Be patient with people who know less science or maths than you do yourself.
People who consistently break rule 1 and 2 should be issued with a yellow card by the moderator. If they continue they get a red card and are banned from the site.


Politics

While there’s a little politics from time to time, by and large, I would prefer that you don’t talk politics; there are plenty of other perfectly good places to do that.

Religion
I don’t allow discussion of religion and will mark anything even close as spam. I will not make any effort to snip such posts to recover salient non-offending portions.

New Posters:
New posters sometimes get tripped up in our spam filter. Unfortunately in today’s world, a blog like this gets attacked by hundreds of spams a day and they are screened by a computer filter. Some of the things that the spam filter looks for is a sudden burst of activity from an unrecognized address; it may allow some posts through and then get triggered after a while and start rejecting posts. If one of your posts doesn’t go through, don’t keep sending them in; it just inflames the spam filter. If you have yahoo or hotmail address, the spam filter may also screen you. Sometimes people get filtered for reasons that I don’t understand. However, despite this, we are reliant on the spam filter. Contact us by email if you get caught up- see contact category at right.

Site Road Map
The main topic here has been millennial multiproxy climate studies. I’ve diversified a little, but I want to keep the focus fairly narrow as there are plenty of other places to talk about things and I think that sticking to a niche is a good idea.

Long ago, this site used to be pretty easy to follow through, but it’s now sprawled out with lots of little nooks and crannies. Here’s a roadmap to the site, which covers quite a bit more than our criticisms of MBH.

The Categories bar at the side is quite useful in reflecting what I think are the main themes here. Most posts that I wrote in the spring are just as topical (or untopical) now as they were then. Feel free to revive any of them. It’s also surprising what you can find on google. If you do “climateaudit” and any any other word, you can usually find an old post. (It’s surprising how high we get on google even on topics like “briffa climate” or “mann climate” or even other oddities like “preisendorfer”.)

Some of our articles are listed in the left frame. A longer list is in the page Hockey Stick Studies. A recent exposition to the NAS panel is here. Obviously, the main calling card is the critique of the Hockey Stick diagram of Mann, Bradley and Hughes (MBH), that was featured in the IPCC Third Assessment Report and many government publications.

My own short-form summary of our views on MBH98 is this. MBH98 made 5 main warranties: statistical skill, robustness, careful proxy selection, appropriate methodology and relatively even geographical balance. These warranties were fundamental to its acceptance. (My background is in business and I think in contract terms.) All their warranties have been breached. Their reconstruction failed critical cross-validation tests (we have publicized the R2 failure, but it fails others as well); it is not robust the presence/absence of bristlecone pines; the supposedly carefully proxies included bristlecone growth, which specialists say is contaminated by 20th century fertilization; their methodology includes a wildly biased “principal components” methodology (which is not actually a principal components method). The hockey stick is an imprint of bristlecone growth rate and reflects a non-temperature proxy from an isolated geographic region of the U.S.A. Again read through the articles and the exact language there should be preferred to this short re-statement.

There has been extensive coverage -see News and Commentary – the most notable of which are the profiles by Natuurwetenschap & Techniek (translated into English) and the front page coverage by the Wall Street Journal – but there has been extensive coverage elsewhere in Science, Nature, The Economist, National Post and European newspapers. Listings here are by no means complete. There have been two published Comments – one by von Storch and Zorita and one by Huybers, both of which we made detailed (and IMHO) complete Replies. realclimate has also criticized our critique on numerous occasions. If you go to the Category – MBH98, you’ll see some of our direct responses to realclimate at Errors Matter #1, # 2 and #3. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce (Barton Committee) has taken an interest in these matters and it has a Category as well.

One of the “so what”s sent our way is that the other multiproxy studies show the “same thing” and so, even if MBH is wrong, it “doesn’t matter”. I’m not convinced that these other studies are much good either. I’ve posting comments about these studies from time to time. Again go to the category Other Multiproxy Studies and there are subcategories for several of the major studies. There is a fantastic amount of overlap of authors and proxies, so that these other studies are not “independent” as ordinary people understand the term and their findings of the relative position of the Medieval Warm Period and the 20th century are very vulnerable to the bristlecones and Polar Urals series being unusable.

I’ve collected information on individual proxy series (see Category), which I’ve posted up from time to time e.g. on bristlecones, on Thompson’s ice cores, etc.

I’ve also started to make posts on statistical topics that I think are relevant: “spurious” regression as this is understood in econometrics (where there is a much more advanced understanding of autocorrelation than exists in paleoclimate); some posts on ARMA time series – I’m interested in ARMA(1,1) processes with AR1 coefficients >0.9, which are characteristic of many processes and have some odd statistical properties.

I have an ongoing campaign to improve standards of data archiving, disclosure and due diligence -(see Category) – which are independent of any particular substantive points on paleoclimate studies. I have no idea why the “Hockey Team”, as they styled themselves, have elected to withhold data and methods from scrutiny; it’s an unwinnable position, but they’ve done so and I’ll continue to criticize them on this point.

Sometimes I lapse into controversy, mostly after I’ve been slagged in print somewhere, but I try to stay cheerful.

As to your host, I’m pretty good at answering many questions, but have difficulty answering the question: what am I? No two public descriptions of my occupation are the same. I studied mathematics at university in a fine undergraduate program at the University of Toronto and was very competitive at it. My skills, as refreshed, are more than sufficient for what I’m doing. I’ve been in business nearly all my working life, most recently in financing and promoting mineral exploration projects. That gives you a lot of experience in the school of hard knocks and that counts for a lot in my opinion. (One of my underlying themes is that disclosure standards for climate scientists should be at least as high as that required of mining promoters.) One public mineral exploration company with which I was involved underwent a reverse takeover and became an oil exploration company (when I ceased to be an officer and director of the company.) I’ve done a very small amount of business consulting for it, but no energy consultant would call me an “energy consultant”, nor would I describe myself as one. In terms of occupation, right now, this is what I’m doing. No one’s paying me to do this and there is a substantial opportunity cost for me personally in doing this, but I enjoy it and can afford to do it for a while. (Given that our work has attracted enough interest that public funds have been employed to criticize it, I see no a priori reason why I should do it for nothing and make no long-term commitment to wear a hair shirt.)

I like the feedback. So look at the Categories to crosscut the sprawl here. I’m amazed at the number of hits that the blog receives. It seems to have found a niche and I’m amazed at some of the people who have found it. I particularly welcome the comments and feedback. Lots of hits are for that exchange rather than for me and, if I didn’t get the feedback, I wouldn’t keep up the blog.

Posting Suggestions: You can insert images into posts – see instructions here. For adventurous people, you can insert Latex commands for math formulae.


47 Comments

  1. Posted Dec 11, 2009 at 5:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Steve:
    I’ve been going through the voluminus material on this site. There is no way I can catch up or keep up given my lack of technical expertise. However, I am trying to get a sense of perspective about what this all means. Is this auditing changing the over-all results? Is the global warming, that I thought was a fact, not in fact happening? Or are the methods used to determine the results just lacking in rigour?
    From a very confused cousin.
    And Merry Christmas!

    Steve: Hi, Sandy! No short answer, I’m afraid. (And yes, Sandy is my cousin.)

  2. Peter Lloyd
    Posted Dec 12, 2009 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t know where to post this – maybe you have had a flood of contacts on this subject, just don’t know where to look. Apologise if being dumb.

    But, for several days I have been unable to download the usual HADCRUT3 temp. graphs. The usual UEA site throws up the UEA homepage that says -

    ‘Due to the present high volume of visitors to this page, you will shortly be directed to the latest news about CRU on the main University of East Anglia website, or you can go there immediately by clicking on this link.’

    Various alternative links on the web always finish up as above. This week I tried to access it at 6 a.m. UK time, at which I guess volume from Europe and USA would be minimal. I could not get access.

    I last downloaded HADCRUT3 on 27th. Nov. last. The annual plots showed 2009, presumably based on year-to-date. The smoothed average showed a clear downturn since 2005, contradicting UK Met. Office public statements at that time that global average temperatures were not indicating any downturn.

    I cannot help suspecting that the sudden disappearance of HADCRUT3 is connected with its clear evidence of a downturn, especially at the same time as the Copenhagen meeting, when journalists and others will probably be looking for such data to inform their reports?

    I am not so dumb as to believe that three or four years’ lower temperature has anything to do with climate, but many people are, and the removal of what could be used as contrarian evidence ‘just in case’ is further evidence of the cynical manipulation of climate data in order to manage public opinion.

  3. Peter Lloyd
    Posted Dec 12, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    PS – the URL I was using was:

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhshgl.gif

  4. Peter Lloyd
    Posted Dec 12, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Good grief! Going senile -

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhshgl.gif

    But this URL produces the data in a different format:

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/

  5. leah
    Posted Dec 12, 2009 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Rather then sitting on your butt crunching numbers, why not take a trip to northern Ontario or Yukon Territories and ask the Inuits what it has been like loosing their caribou, polar bears, seals for their hunt due to the ice melting. How about taking a trip to the North pole and see how it once was compared to now. Why not go by the mountain folks and ask them about the changes to the planet and how it has been affecting them, why not ask the fisherman on the East coast about the lack of fish compared to even 10 years ago. This is what Al Gore is doing. Crunching a bunch of numbers on a computer tell you nothing. Any idiot who thinks there is nothing going on with the planet ought to have their head examined and deemed mentally incapacitated. You sir are a moron. I am a general public who is not a mathematician or a scientist and even I can see what we human beings are doing to the planet. Get off your high horse and look around and ask real questions to people who depend on what the earth provides for their livelihood. My advise to you is to shut down your web site, but before you do that I recommend you appologize to the scientists who are looking and asking the hard questions regarding their environment and providing data that is worthy of them.

    • Christoph
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

      snip – no food fight

    • Peter Lloyd
      Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      leah-

      You are entitled to your opinion, as is anyone.

      But I can assure you that no one – especially the people who maintain and contribute to this blog – with a serious interest in climate change, global warming, AGW, whatever you prefer to call it, thinks that “nothing is going on with the planet”.

      It is just because something is most definitely “going on” that real scientists want to find out exactly what is happening, what is causing it, why, and what is most likely to happen in the near future.

      It’s obvious you feel very strongly about this subject, but I ask you to accept that many scientists feel just as strongly about these environmental problems as you do – perhaps even more so, because their training gives them a deeper insight into how many factors must interact to produce climate change and how few of them we understand properly.

      Your advice, to ask the people who are experiencing the effects of climate change, will do nothing to clarify or solve problems because they do not know why these things are happening to them, or whether they have happened in the past. That is what scientists are for. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to let them get on with their job? And maybe ask them some questions about what they have found out already before calling them morons. I promise you, some of them – not enough, maybe, – are quite smart.


      Steve
      : Please discuss this on Unthreaded. Nothing to do with Blog Rules.

  6. Posted Dec 12, 2009 at 10:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Looks like mine and Leah’s posts both broke the blog rules. Dammit!

  7. Michael Larkin
    Posted Dec 13, 2009 at 7:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I love this blog – only started coming here in earnest when Climategate broke, and must have spent over 100 hours since then trying to get to grips with the science. I think I’ve learnt a lot and feel greatly indebted to Mr. McIntyre.

    One thing I wondered – if it’s not in the spirit of climateaudit that’s fine, of course – would it be possible to have a general thread where people could post interesting links, not really for discussion purposes? Just a place to go for news items or whatever?

    I ask this because when I plough my way through the threads, I often find an interesting link, and I think, wouldn’t it be nice if lots of links like this, with just a brief description of what they were about, were all gathered in one place?

    Just a thought. The blog is wonderful any way, of course.

  8. DavidM
    Posted Dec 19, 2009 at 7:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think you and your site are great. Unfortunately being a lowly Comp Sci grad I can’t contribute much to the scientific discussion, but I can help with proof reading. Do keep it up, I’m sure there’s a lot of very influential people in that hit count. Feel free to delete this post.

    the supposedly carefully proxies included => carefully selected proxies

    “so what”s => “so whats”, “so what’s”

    I’ve posting comments => I’ve posted comments

  9. CathysBlog
    Posted Dec 20, 2009 at 10:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Stephen McIntyre, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the watchdog for the world. I saw the fox news report tonight. It was awesome!

  10. Posted Dec 24, 2009 at 2:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It was very pleasing to see how James Delingpole in the UK Spectator gave Mr McIntyre full credit for his work. And the Canadian Macleans magazine as well.

    It is to be hoped that others with the technical skills and integrity, take the load off Mr McIntryre and assist him in auditing the data from the Institutions belatedly releasing it.

    Nothing will happen with respect to this issue, until public confidence of the climate science community is restored. We have a very long wy to go on that score.

  11. Chris
    Posted Dec 25, 2009 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    I guess I could have posted this under the Von Storch article thread, but I had a comment deleted on the ‘Jones reviews Mann’ topic with a note of “breaches blog policies” so I came here to try and figure out what I did wrong. I think the deleted comment referred to CO2 not being a pollutant and expanded on that issue very briefly in reply to Norbert, whose comment was removed also as “OT”.

    The minutiae of that particular set of snips is not my point here though. It seems to me that for many people coming to Climate Audit, the Von Storch editorial could be seen as somewhat analogous to at least part of Climate Audit’s blog policy. In brief, the hockey team behaved badly, but the science of AGW is still sound.

    I say this because of the repeated snips of anti AGW comments. I realize that many posters make duplicate points, and many others blather on and go off topic. I would suggest allowing general anti AGW comments on most of the non-technical posts (there have been plenty since Climategate broke) while perhaps snipping restatements of the same content. (Perhaps some code could be written to highlight duplicates to facilitate this. Its usefulness would extend beyond any one type of offending comments.)

    I get the idea about not wanting to hear someone disprove AGW in a few sentences, but at some point you have to consider the big picture that’s been alluded to by a number of warmists who have commented here. Is Climate Audit only about poking holes in specific scientific disciplines (which are used to support AGW theory) while AGW theory in general otherwise remains sound? If yes, does the substantial work of Climate Audit really matter in the big scheme of things?

    I know I got here years ago compliments of Steven Milloy of Junkscience.com, which obviously focuses much more on the policy/political aspects of things. I appreciate the detailed technical focus, but at the same time I think at some point the detail needs to lead to some big picture conclusions. Otherwise it may seem to many to just be a case of trivial scientific one-upmanship.

    Perhaps you’ve already considered this sort of thing since the deluge of site hits since Climategate. If not, my request is that you consider that sometimes it is very difficult to avoid the general case against AGW. Staying on topic is critical, but this is ‘Climate Audit’ and not just ‘Proxy Audit’.

    • MrPete
      Posted Dec 25, 2009 at 7:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      By definition, this blog is not about policy.

      Not only that, this blog is not about pro- or anti- AGW.

      Surprised?

      This blog is about science. And more specifically, this blog tends to specialize in statistical aspects of climate science.

      Thus, general comments reflecting pro/con opinions are not helpful, because they have no bearing on the science at all.

      You ask:

      Is Climate Audit only about poking holes in specific scientific disciplines (which are used to support AGW theory) while AGW theory in general otherwise remains sound?

      I don’t think you’ll find anyone here claiming the “soundness” of AGW theory in general. Perhaps a frustration to you: you won’t find people here demonstrating that it’s been falsified (in general) either. The unknowns are too large in any direction.

      And that’s the problem with making blanket statements.

      We are all wired to want to come to a conclusion, quickly. But it ain’t that easy.

      Hope that helps.

      • Chris
        Posted Dec 25, 2009 at 8:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

        MrPete,

        Thanks for the feedback. I wasn’t suggesting the allowance of primarily policy comments. When I say anti AGW I’m referring to the science.

        I’ve been following the weather since back in the mid 1970s when the articles were talking about the coming ice age, and I was skeptical of that scenario back then as a kid. The AGW theory “broke out” sometime back in the late 1970s or at the latest around 1980, so I hardly think the term “quickly” has applied to AGW scientific theories/conclusions for at least 10 years or more.

        And when I say conclusions I mean “opinion” is also the wrong term. While someone’s well informed conclusion may be proven wrong, it is still far beyond a simple opinion. You can play with semantics and call someone’s position a scientific theory or downplay it and call it an opinion. The Climategate material clearly shows some strong “opinions” among the guys who were supposed to be doing “science”. I don’t think your position that “opinions have no bearing on the science at all” can be supported across the board.

        It’s not a frustration either. I think you missed my point. My suggestions are more geared towards the relevance of Climate Audit in the big picture. Given the decades now invested in AGW research the science ought to be leading somewhere. I see overwhelming evidence for where it’s leading based on years of reading various scientists as well as policy makers, and I’m suggesting Climate Audit be a bit more tolerant of well articulated comments that go beyond just the science guys hashing out their arguments. That doesn’t mean Climate Audit is taking a position on the big picture, either. That’s a step further.

        I know Climate Audit has allowed additional commentary in many ways already, so I’m not suggesting a big stretch. Obviously I’m just someone who reads Climate Audit among many other sites on AGW, so no one has to take my suggestions. Based on my reading of thousands of the comments posted here I don’t think I’m out on a limb, however.

      • MrPete
        Posted Dec 26, 2009 at 1:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Given the decades now invested in AGW research the science ought to be leading somewhere.

        That’s the point though, isn’t it.

        If the investment has been seriously watered down by invalid and even poor analysis, then we’ve made much less progress than we ought.

        And if people have been hiding the real uncertainty levels in their work, then we’ve made much less progress than we’ve been led to believe.

        Steve has been pretty articulate about his conclusions. They just aren’t conclusions that make people happy. Listen to his recent Fox interview.

        Asked if AGW is real, his response in essence was: I don’t think we know if it is a big problem, a medium problem, or a tiny problem. Elsewhere, he’s opined that it may take decades to get a better answer.

        At its heart, this is why the science is still such an important challenge. And, this is why it is important to let CA still be about the science. There are lots of places to make declarations of this or that,…

  12. Dale Nason
    Posted Dec 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Steve,

    As a research chemist by profession, I have felt frustrated by the lack of hard source data in most media stories about global warming. So, I was pleased to discover that the National Geographic website now boasts an interactive climate change simulator based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data.

    The following table shows the results of different scenarios when worldwide CO2 emissions are varied from a 50% increase in emissions from 2012 to 2050 to a 95% reduction in emissions over the same time period. All other factors held constant. The model’s predicted CO2 Level, Temperature Change and Net Change shown are for the year 2100.

    CO2 CO2 Temp. Net
    % Change (ppm) Change Change
    +50 626 +3.5 —
    0 552 +3.2 +0.3
    -50 479 +2.8 +0.7
    -80 434 +2.6 +0.9
    -95 408 +2.4 +1.1

    The predicted 3.50C global temperature increase by the year 2100 (if CO2 emission levels increase 50% by 2050) did not surprise me, since this data point has been fairly widely publicized in the media. What did shock me was the relatively small effect a 95% reduction in CO2 emissions had compared to my baseline of a 50% increase. How could a 145% overall reduction in CO2 emissions generate only a 1.1 0C drop in the predicted temperature increase?

    In my judgment the IPCC’s own model makes it abundantly clear that too much attention is being focused on CO2 levels. I have often wondered how a gas that only comprises about 0.04% of the atmosphere, could have such a strong effect on global temperatures. Your exploration of the somewhat ignored role of boundry layer clouds might provide the answer.
    Perhaps water vapor is the real culprit.

  13. Anand Rajan KD
    Posted Jan 4, 2010 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve been consuming climate information from CA heavily in the past month and a half. The site is very informative and the tone of discussion is just right. Climategate is most certainly not ‘business as usual’ – to use a tired phrase – and if there have been some heated discussions, it is only so because it is appropriate!

    Much appreciated!
    Anand

  14. Posted Jan 8, 2010 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Nice post about the fallacy of the AP ‘review’ of the Climategate e-mails…
    http://bigjournalism.com/lotts/2010/01/08/as-climategate-becomes-pressgate-questions-for-the-media/#more-342

  15. kzb
    Posted Jan 14, 2010 at 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s been put to me that, despite all the excitement about the CRU files, there is no evidence the computer codes therein were ever actually used to produce published material. As such, it’s a big fuss over what could be effectively doodles.

    I don’t believe this however, the whole thing looks suspicious to me. As a relative novice to this world, can someone tell me what the actual concrete allegations are. WHAT published reports or articles contain plots thought to be generated by the codes in question (the briffa “fudge factor” codes), and what misleading conclusions did they come to as a result of the plots?

  16. Posted Jan 15, 2010 at 4:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This is how I sometimes feel about posting here.

    Only kidding. I wanted to try the image tag somewhere safe. Works well in preview as well.

    I did have a more serious question. Why did the first of my posts to The Mosher Timeline this morning (3:37 blog time) get referred to moderation (if that link works for anyone but me) and is still there AFAICT, but my second went through right away?

    Steve: probably due to links. The referring to moderation is by the WordPress algorithm not a manual moderation,

    • Posted Jan 15, 2010 at 4:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Aha, the image didn’t work out so good once it was posted. The moderation question remains though.

    • Posted Mar 2, 2010 at 6:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve managed to get two successive, quite different posts “referred to moderation” this morning. They both have five external links, is that the clue? I think I’ll go and do something else for a bit!

      Steve: I don;’t see it in moderation.

  17. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: Mesila (Jan 22 15:46),

    This isn’t the place to post your message. Try Unthreaded instead. If your message disappears, which I expect it will, try reposting it there. Of course admitting that you don’t know the science (and that shows in your post), isn’t going to make Steve Mc likely to bend over backwards to keep it around there either.

  18. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Jan 25, 2010 at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: DeWitt Payne (Jan 25 13:20),

    Now it’s not doing it and the buzz on the internet is that it was a false positive.

  19. Dean Brooks
    Posted Jan 30, 2010 at 9:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hello Steve,

    I’ve got a draft of a paper explaining some very serious flaws I found in the core equation set of the general circulation models used on IPCC 2007. I wanted you to look at it and recommend people who could review it. I e-mailed you at the contact address (smcintyre25 at yahoo.ca) back on the 22nd and again yesterday. I think maybe I’m getting spam filtered.

    I would very much appreciate any help you can give.

    Steve: This is outside my area. Jerry Browning, Tom Vonk like this sort of thing. You could try them. I’d suggest care in making confident assertions.

    • Dean Brooks
      Posted Jan 30, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry not to be clearer about this. I’m aware you don’t normally deal with Navier-Stokes equations. In the letter that went astray, I gave some reasons why I think this actually is your area nonetheless. You’ve been covering the failure of the “big red spot” to appear — faster warming in the upper troposphere — and the question of whether it’s a “fingerprint” of AGW. I think I can show very simply why it’s an artifact of GCM design and will show up as a response to all warming as such. And the same design defect leads to some even more interesting questions about water vapor feedbacks in general.

      I don’t want to dump unpolished arguments in a public blog. Any chance you could e-mail me, so my reply will get past your spam filter? I will send a brief summary and you can decide whether it really is in your domain of expertise.

  20. Malcolm Shykles
    Posted Feb 13, 2010 at 7:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Education of Anthropogenic Global Warming and the proposal; the effect is totally overwhelmed by convection.

    Explanations of Anthropogenic Global Warming seem to miss the point that both water vapour and C02 need to be present for the effect to work.

    Two examples:-

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/sci_nat/04/climate_change/html/greenhouse.stm

    Also in “Classic Chemistry Demonstrations” published by the Royal Society in 1995.

    An experiment which is supposed to demonstrate the Greenhouse Effect only appears to work, but is reliant on CO2 being 1½ times heavier than air. Carbon dioxide heated in a beaker via an infra red lamp will get hot because its density is too high to get convection going in an atmosphere of air. The equivalent beaker of air stays cool.

    What is more worrying is that the author replied to my query as follows “ it does seem that your interpretation of the results may be valid. This did not occur to me at the time, nor to any of the several teachers who trialled the demonstration, and you are the first to point it out.

    The Greenhouse Effect cannot be demonstrated in an earthbound laboratory simply because the effect is totally overwhelmed by the transfer of heat by convection currents; as it probably is in the atmosphere itself. See below:

    “The sun raises the vapours of the equatorial ocean; they rise, but for a time a vapour screen spreads above and around them. But the higher they rise, the more they come into the presence of pure space; and when, by their levity, they have penetrated the vapour screen, which lies close to the earth’s surface, what must occur?
    It has been said that, compared atom for atom, the absorption of an atom of aqueous vapour is 16,000 times that of air. Now the power to absorb and the power to radiate are perfectly reciprocal and proportional. The atom of aqueous vapour will therefore radiate with 16,000 times the energy of an atom of air. Imagine then this powerful radiant in the presence of space, and with no screen above it to check its radiation. Into space it pours its heat, chills itself, condenses, and the tropical torrents are the consequence. The expansion of the air, no doubt, also refrigerates it; but in accounting for those deluges, the chilling of the vapour by its own radiation must play a most important part. The rain quits the ocean as vapour; it returns to it as water. How are the vast stores of heat set free by the change from the vaporous to the liquid condition disposed of? Doubtless in great part they are wasted by radiation into space. Similar remarks apply to the cumuli of our latitudes. The warmed air, charged with vapour, rises in columns, so as to penetrate the vapour screen which hugs the earth; in the presence of space, the head of each pillar wastes its heat by radiation, condenses to a cumulus, which constitutes the visible capital of an invisible column of saturated air.”

    John Tynsall, Esq. FRS On Radiation through the Earth’s Atmosphere Royal Institution Lecture. Friday, January 23, 1863

    • Eric Kwiatkowski
      Posted Mar 22, 2012 at 4:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Hello Malcolm – I read your post with interest. I agree that a laboratory simulation can’t mimic the real world for the reasons you describe, but I think a properly conducted experiment in a professional laboratory would nevertheless be of interest.
      As far as I can tell (for example personal enquiries to the Met Office in the UK and Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center in the USA)it seems that no-one has formally investigated the effects of varying concentrations of CO2 and water using modern technology and published the results, which I find surprising.

  21. Joe Brannan
    Posted Mar 6, 2010 at 6:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Tried to e-mail the following to Steve M but quoted e-mail does not work. Did not know how otherwise to get in touch.

    Steve,

    I am a climate sceptic sympathizer who admires your tenacity in unearthing inconsistencies in the AGW argument. However I am profoundly dismayed that none of the arguments ever gets a fair hearing in the mainstream press. I am British and used to pride myself on the quality of newspapers such as the Independent and Guardian. But these same newspapers simply parrot the AGW line with none of the curiosity one would hope for in investigative journalism.

    To me it seems that no matter how good your blog is, you will not win the argument without mainstream journalist support. The question then becomes how you can persuade one or two scientifically literate writers to critically look at some of the evidence.

    Is there no journalist out there who you are aware of who can start this off? I am sure that once the first reputable journalist queries any aspect of the AGW case, the dam will burst. But who will cast that first stone?

    Regards
    Joe Brannan

  22. Graham Green
    Posted Mar 7, 2010 at 11:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hello All,

    I have been writing some little bits of code to look at data available from the UK Met Office Historic Station Data page here:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/stationdata/

    There are a couple of stations with very long records dating back to the 1860′s and uninterrupted by the wars etc (Armagh, Northern Ireland and Oxford, Central England). It would seem from reading other sources that the Armagh data in particular have been very dilligently reconstructed.

    The temperature data consist of an average maximum and minimum for each month (they also have sunshine and rainfall).

    Pretty much needless to say none of the data show anything like an uptick. In particular I have been analysing the trend of the monthly deltas. That is to say the monthly difference in temperature (max, min and mean) from the previous month.

    Perhaps I’m just hugely naive but I expected to see a positive bias in the sum of deltas over such a comparatively long period. What I actually get is more or less no slope at all.

    Am I just being dumb or is there any validity in looking at deltas?

    All comments welcomed.

    Best Regards
    Graham

    • gnmw2
      Posted Oct 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      There is an upward trend in the Armagh data of approximately 0.31 degrees Celsius per century for the average monthly maximums and 0.39 degrees per century for the minimums. Whether it’s statistically significant I don’t know.

  23. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I was noticing a number of track-backs which just appeared and seem to link from Climate Audit to other places in Climate Audit. Is this something Steve is doing for research or to draw attention to something, or is is something which can be done by an outsider just for the fun of it. If the latter, it might need to be looked into as it could be used for malicious purposes, I expect.

    Steve: I added some tags to old posts and updated. This seems to have triggered the pingbacks.

  24. G.S. Willliams
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 12:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi,

    Steve, may I commend you for what you have done, and what you are doing for us all.

    if anyone deserves an honour, it’s you.
    Congratulations, Steve.

    i have a question, which is “Where is the proof of “Catastrophic” global warming””. I am sure that there is non.

  25. Cameron McNab
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi,

    Do you have any useful links on the climate computer modelling that is used? This is one area that seems highly suspect. I just read Booker’s Real Global Warming Disaster. It seems that there would be huge potential for model fiddling – you could get almost any answer you wanted.

  26. Cynthia Maher
    Posted Oct 10, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi, I’m looking for a broad overview of your perspective about the climate.
    It seems that the IPCC has concentrated on a relatively small, recent time-frame for data, and a relatively small part of the available data. I was hoping to find a wider understanding that includes millions of years, extinctions, appearance of new species, soils, affects due to galactic position, solar flares, and so forth.
    Can you suggest places to look for that level of earth systems science understanding?

  27. Malcolm Shykles
    Posted Oct 18, 2010 at 3:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    No
    The best I could find is:-

    “Shaping the Australian crust over the last 300 million years: insights from fission track thermotectonic imaging and denudation studies of key terranes”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1440-0952.2002.00942.x/full

  28. Posted Apr 20, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The following was submitted to Science Magazine as a letter in response to Jeffrey Kiehl’s Perspective piece [14 January 2011]. It was not accepted (perhaps not a surprise).

    LESSONS FROM THE EARTH’S PAST

    Jeffrey Kiehl [1] in his perspective “Lessons from Earth’s Past” computes a climate feedback factor of ~2 oC w-1m2 by computing the difference in mean global temperature ~35 million years ago during the late Eocene compared to pre-industrial times and the net radiative forcing due to the difference in carbon dioxide concentrations between these two times. This method of computing the feedback factor implicitly assumes that the difference in carbon dioxide concentrations (~1000 ppmv vs ~300 ppmv) is the only relevant factor that could be responsible for the temperature difference. Indeed, in arguing for this he first accounts for the slight difference in solar constant over this period and then maintains that the paleogeography ~35 Myr ago “was not radically different from present-day geography”. From this he concludes that Earth’s sensitivity to changes in CO2 concentrations may be much larger than that obtained from climate models. There are good reasons to be cautious about this conclusion.

    It is well known that the amount of carbon dioxide required to produce sufficient warmth at high latitudes during the Eocene would result in too high a temperature in the tropics [2]. The concern that CO2 forcing is not adequate to explain the temperature difference between the present and the Eocene has also been raised by P.K. Eijl, et al.[3], the source used by Kiehl to determine the temperature at that period. These authors found that the cooling during the Eocene occurred mainly at the poles and, if this cooling were due to a reduction in CO2 concentration, the tropical regions should also have cooled. Since their data shows that they did not, the authors suggested that high-latitude climate feedbacks such as differences in cloud and water vapor distributions might have been much more important than previously thought. There is good reason to believe that this may have been the case. Meridional temperature gradients were much smaller during the Eocene, and perhaps the most important outstanding question about climate during that period is the mechanism that would allow warm poles without warming the tropics. The argument can, of course, be reversed: if the increased temperature at the poles going from the late to early Eocene were due to CO2, the tropics should have been much warmer than was the case.

    Kiehl’s claim that “The paleogeography of this time was not radically different from present-day geography” is simply incorrect. As seen in the figure, the paleogeography ~35 Myr ago was significantly different than today. In particular, the Isthmus of Panama was open as was what is today the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. The closing of the Isthmus of Panama is thought by many to have contributed to the initiation of the cyclic ice ages. The formation of the isthmus took some 10-15 million years. After its final closure 3 million years ago, it cut off the Atlantic and Pacific oceans forcing a reorganization of global ocean currents. Although there are indications from modeling studies that North Atlantic deep water formed during the Eocene [4], the reorganization following the closure likely also included the thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic.

    FIGURE AVAILABLE FROM MY WEBSITE POST OF THIS RESPONSE AT gemarsh.com

    Fig. 1. Oligocene paleocoastline map—30 Myr ago. Note the gap between south and north America and the opening of what later became the Mediterranean into the Indian Ocean. (Adapted from A.G. Smith, D.G. Smith and B.M. Funnell, Atlas of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Coastlines (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1994).

    It is very likely that the distributions of water vapor and clouds were significantly different during the period considered by Kiehl compared to today, and that the climate feedback factor was no where near as large as calculated by him.

    References
    1. J. Kiehl, “Lessons from Earth’s Past”, Science 331, 158 (2011).
    2. P.J. Valdes, “Warm climate forcing mechanisms”, in: B.T. Huber, K.G. Macleod, and S.L. Wing, Warm Climates in Earth History (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and references therein.
    3. P.K. Bijl, et al., “Early Palaeogene temperature evolution of the southwest Pacific Ocean”, Nature 461, 776-779 (2009).
    4. M. Huber and L.C. Sloan, “Heat transport, deep waters, and thermal gradients: Coupled simulation of an Eocene Greenhouse Climate”, Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 3481-3484 (2001).

    Gerald E. Marsh

    • Peter Messenger
      Posted Jun 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Dear Mr Marsh

      I followed the link to your website and will take the time to investigate more of the material in due course.

      I would like to say that the PDF titled
      2010 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE (May 16-18) was very interesting.

      As a layman, I’ve spent a lot of time recently simply trying to get a handle on all aspects of cAGW (pros & cons) principally to enable me to hold rational debates with those in the pro camp.

      Sites such as your’s and Mr McIntyre’s are a great resource for folk such as me, containing balanced viewpoints without all the rancour evident on a superficial search of the Web.

      Thank you both.

  29. Godfrey Powell
    Posted Aug 16, 2011 at 12:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As ” … a wonderful opportunity to people like me (a retired scientist) to get involved in an ongoing debate … ” I would like to ask a naive question:

    A simple back of the envelope calculation suggests to me that the Earth’s total vegetation absorbs atmospheric CO2 at an average rate that would – in the absence of all other CO2 sources and sinks – completely deplete atmospheric CO2 in four months, though I have never seen this result discussed anywhere. Is this calculation (a) correct (b) incorrect (c) irrelevant or (d) just uninteresting.

    • macumazan
      Posted Aug 16, 2011 at 2:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

      the earth’s mature forests absorb no carbon dioxide whatsoever. The only way a tree can fix carbon is to incorporate it into its own mass. That is to say, a growing tree can certainly take carbon from the atmosphere because it is incorporated into its trunk and branches. There is some cyclical variation in the carbon content of the atmosphere due to leaf growth and decay with the seasons in the great deciduous forests of Eurasia. But in a mature forest, net growth is zip – new growth can only occur as old trees die – and so there is no net carbon absorbed. The carbon sequestered into trunks and branches of newly growing trees is released by decaying dead trees and a mature forest is thus steady-state with respect to carbon, unless old trees vanish into the soil. Even with process however, saturation must still be reached. The only way that forests could get rid of carbon in the air, is if they were cut down and buried in preparation for replanting for the next forest crop and further re-burials. To reduce carbon in the atmosphere, we should cut down the rain-forests, bury the timber and plant them again for the next crop in this forestry cycle. Bur not even the most lunatic carbon absorption zealot should want this! In summary, however, forests absorb no net carbon-dioxide at all, unless they are regularly harvested and their wood turned into long-lasting carbon-store items such as furniture or paper products that then get buried.

      • Godfrey Powell
        Posted Aug 16, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I learnt at school that every carbon atom in every plant cell came from a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere. Is this incorrect?

    • Simon Roberts
      Posted Sep 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Godfrey,

      Perhaps you should have a look at Prof Murray Salby’s work in OZ; there is a recent podcast of his work on the net carbon issue, which blows most of the AGW case wide open. Judith Curry’s blog also refers. Not strictly this site’s business, but a name we shall hear a lot of once he is published in 2012.

      Simon

  30. Godfrey Powell
    Posted Aug 16, 2011 at 8:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    OK, I’ll take it as a given that atmospheric CO2 is a necessary reactant in the photosynthesis reaction and that all living plants photosynthesise. So my question reduces to two very simple questions:

    How many atmospheric CO2 molecules undergo the photosynthesis reaction in one year? How does this number compare with the total number of CO2 molecules in the planet’s atmosphere?

  31. Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I can’t find the bulletin board you refer to above, nor is there anything in the pulldown list of Categories. I wanted to follow the Stokes-Kaufman comment thread but only the last circa 10 comments are visible. How do I view previous? No scroll bars that I can see. I have GreaseMonkey and CA Assistant added into Firefox. Thanks!

    • RomanM
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      By default, CA Assistant hides comments older than a certain age. You need to either disable CA Assistant or to set the age quantity to a different value – something that I have been unable to do successfully.

      Maybe MrPete can help you on the latter aspect.

      • Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks RomanM, when I click on “Settings” it opens the CA Assistant page in a new tab with a little window top right. Inside this little window are three tabs and no matter which one I select, it’s blank. MrPete can you please enlighten us?

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