More Monckton

Gavin Schmidt explains where Monckton went wrong in his calculations of climate sensitivity. John Quiggin collects some of the nutty ideas the global warming denialists have latched onto.

I exchanged a few emails with Monckton. He conceded that

  • the 1421 claim was rubbish

  • that the graph in his article was bogus (he said the the Telegraph insisted on its inclusion and that they were the ones who sexed it up)

  • that Hansen did not predict temperature rise of 0.3 degrees and a sea level rise of a few feet by 2000

We got stuck on his claim that the Andean glaciers had vanished in the medieval warm period. He wouldn’t admit that this was wrong even when I pointed out that his own pdf of supporting material refers to ice core proxy measurements of temperature in the Andes during the medieval warm period. I asked him how could you have ice cores covering the MWP if there was no ice there then, but he wouldn’t budge.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul
    November 9, 2006

    Tim,

    As I mentioned earlier I corresponded with Monckton at the beginning of the week on the issues now raised by Gavin Schmidt. I made it patently clear that he (Monckton) was ignoring feedbacks and still trying to compare his value for sensitivity to those who do consider feedbacks, apples and oranges I told him. His response was to try and belittle me with patronising remarks advising me to consult a climate physicist! This is where our conversation ended.

  2. #2 QrazyQat
    November 9, 2006

    I asked him how could you have ice cores covering the MWP if there was no ice there then, but he wouldn’t budge.

    In case anyone is wondering, this is the precise point at which something changes from fringe science to pseudoscience.

  3. #3 guthrie
    November 9, 2006

    Or in other words, precisely what caught my eye as being very odd and yet oddly convincing (If I wasnt already a hardened anti-AGW warming anti) when I scanned his screed earlier today, turn out to be junk.
    Ho hum.

  4. #4 Eli Rabett
    November 9, 2006

    If the Andean glaciers vanished in the MWP, please explain the various ice cores that go back further http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/quelcoro.htm

  5. #5 Steve
    November 9, 2006

    In other news, check out [Andrew Bolt using stratospheric cooling as an argument against AGW](http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/nasa_still_waiting_for_warming/)

  6. #6 Eli Rabett
    November 10, 2006

    So much for Bolt as all right thinking animals know stratospheric cooling is a prediction of the models. OTOH, the discussion at Boltsville is so full of strange confusions that you would need a chainsaw to start parsing it.

  7. #7 Eli Rabett
    November 10, 2006

    Oh yeah, do they censor right thinking posts over in Boltsville? Can’t seem to get through to them that stratospheric warming is a feature of greenhouse gas increases, not a bug.

  8. #8 z
    November 11, 2006

    Just occurred to me: is there the slightest doubt that the folks who are currently arguing that global warming and more CO2 will be a Good Thing and increase agricultural productivity, would be beating the Drums of War had Russia announced a plan to put more CO2 into the air to raise global temperature and increase agricultural productivity in Siberia?

  9. #9 Jack Leicester
    November 15, 2006

    Perhaps Mr. Monckton is incorrect regarding the Andes Glaciers and Chinese Squadrons sailing around the Arctic.

    Thusfar, however, no one has answered the question as to how the UN disposed of the Medieval Warm Period. Perhaps the critics of Mr. Mockton’s analysis can nit pick this?

  10. #10 Eli Rabett
    November 16, 2006

    Well one hint is that it really was the European Warm PeriodTM. OTOH, you first have to figure out that “graph” in the First Assessment report that Monckton is referring to was a Wagner(Wild Assed Guess, No Explanation Required). Someone just drew a line where he )I’m sure it was a he( thought it should go. So no one takes the magnitude of that graph very seriously.

    Now, when anyone like Monckton dredges it up again, eyes simply roll.

  11. #11 Chris O'Neill
    November 16, 2006

    “Oh yeah, do they censor right thinking posts over in Boltsville?”

    I don’t know if he censors right thinking posts but they seem to be the only ones that ever get thanked.

  12. #12 z
    November 18, 2006

    “Thusfar, however, no one has answered the question as to how the UN disposed of the Medieval Warm Period”

    The IPCC pretty clearly establishes the position that the MWP and Little Ice Age aren’t global phenomena, but are the results of a hugely Eurocentric bias of records and history. Which could mean nothing more than fluctuations in the Gulf Stream, which we see from time to time.

  13. #13 z
    January 7, 2007

    Getting in some late licks here:

    “That graph, recently condemned by the US National Academy of Sciences as ‘having a validation skill not significantly different from zero’ – i.e. as being useless” – Monckton

    I was puzzled by the reference to a “US National Academy of Science” report “condemning” the graph; took a bit of search, but it turns out that it wasn’t the National Academy of Science that “condemned” the graph as “having a
    validation skill not significantly different from zero”, that was von Storch, at ClimateAudit, and definitely not to be confused with the National Academy of Science.

    ***ClimateAudit’s*** press release
    http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/von_Storch/pressrelease_vonStorch_NAS_report.html
    states “With respect to methods, the committee is showing reservations concerning the methodology of Mann et al.. The committee notes explicitly on pages 91 and 111 that the method has no validation (CE) skill significantly different from zero. ” But looking at the report
    page 91 http://orsted.nap.edu/openbook.php?chapselect=yo&page=91&record_id=11676
    and page 111
    http://orsted.nap.edu/openbook.php?chapselect=yo&page=111&record_id=11676
    do not note that, explicitly or implicitly, or discuss it in any way, stating only that “The ensuing debate in the scientific literature continues even as this report goes to press”, citing von Storch, (which is probably why he suggests that page). Being more interested in facts than nitpicking, I plowed through the online version quite a bit and used the search engine, but still can’t find anything that “notes explicitly … that the method has no validation (CE) skill significantly different from zero”. In fact, the closest thing to that statement is on page 95, where they say “Some recent results reported in Table 1S of Wahld and Ammann (in press) indicate that their reconstruction, which uses the same procedure and full set of proxies used by Mann et al. (1999), gives CE values ranging from 0.103 to -0.215, depending on how far back in time the reconstruction is carried”. To get from that to “condemned by the US National Academy of Sciences as ‘having a validation skill not significantly different from zero’” represents either a major lack of understanding, or a deliberate overstatement.

    The NAS paper does conclude with the well known

    “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late
    20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes …

    “Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding
    millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age
    cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the unceartainties inherent in temperature
    reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods, and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales.”

    Maybe I’m not as brilliant as Monckton, von Storch, McIntyre et al, but I read that as, although the noise level in reconstruction of shorter intervals makes them not all that confident that 1998 was the warmest individual year in 1000 years or that the 1990s are the warmest individual decade in 1000 years, they remain pretty convinced that the last few decades of the 20th century were the warmest in 1000 years. To summarize that conclusion as “With respect to methods, the committee is showing reservations concerning the methodology of Mann et al.. The committee notes explicitly on pages 91 and 111 that the method has no validation (CE) skill significantly different from zero.” is enormously misleading in itself, even without the fact that the comittee never notes that explicitly, does not suggest it implicitly, let alone that it is discussed nowhere on the two pages referenced.

    And, just to add to what is now becoming a steaming pile, I note that, although that von Storch/Climate Audit press release is titled “Press release and comment on the NAS report” (National Academy of Science), in the text it always refers to the “National Research Council’s Report”. The two organizations are linked under the same umbrella but they are distinct, and it’s yet another (at best) sloppy error, making it harder to track down the primary source and check their assertion, in what I now think of as a steaming pile of misinformation; which is further added to by Monckton quoting ClimateAudit’s dubious statement but attributing it to the rather more prestigious National Academy of Science. Is that just a sloppy error? Because he managed to correctly attribute it to the NAS, not the NRC as von Storch does.

    The fact that all of these accumulated errors have the effect of either making their statements look more well supported than they are or making it harder to track down the original they cite to see that it does not support their statements, is really despicable for somebody who purports to speak in some position of authority in this business; but unfortunately completely normal for the denialists and those who quote their ponderous pronouncements uncritically.

  14. #14 Chris O'Neill
    January 8, 2007

    “The committee notes explicitly on pages 91 and 111 that the method has no validation (CE) skill significantly different from zero.”

    This is an example of how these people exploit naive readers’ ignorance of the subject for their own biased objectives. They ignore the fact that a CE (coefficient of error) of 0 does NOT mean that the reconstruction skill is zero. If one does simulated reconstructions using noise then the median CE will most probably be quite negative. You can check this analytically for white noise where CE = -1 if the validation standard deviation equals the calibration standard deviation. Thus your reconstruction has to be doing a lot better than white noise to get a CE of zero. The frauds never mention this fact.

    Closely related to and more important than the issue of CE is RE, the reduction of error parameter. McIntyre has pursued this issue with continuing incompetence. In his first attempt to discredit the climate scientists, McIntyre came up with an RE value of 0.59 as sufficient for a less than 1% probability that the proxies are no better than noise. Huybers pointed out where McIntyre screwed up, and McIntyre subsequently agreed that the correct RE value should have been 0 for the simulations he ran. However, in the same paper, he then came up with an incredible choice of noise proxy substitutes, i.e. he used 21 white noise proxy substitutes in addition to the red noise proxy substitute for the North American PC1 that was used on its own in the original simulations. McIntyre apparently thinks that there is absolutely no need to check that the other 21 proxies do indeed have the same statistical properties as white noise. Conveniently, white noise proxies greatly raise the required value of RE. Of course, McIntyre’s sycophants think this ludicrous RE benchmarking procedure represents the “current state of the science”. This is just another episode in his long running series of attempts to discredit the climate scientists. Somehow, he doesn’t seem to notice that every time he fails, his credibility takes another dive. He’s not just a global warming denialist, he’s in denial about his lack of credibility.

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