Because of the corrections to the GISS data 1998 and 1934 went from being in a virtual tie, to being in a virtual tie.. This, of course, has not stopped global warming denialists from endlessly hyping it as a big change.

For example, Glenn Reynolds:

Ace wonders why nobody’s talking about the NASA climate data revision.

Because the change is trivial. Duh.

UPDATE: Well, here’s a bit of notice.

The link goes to James Taranto, who gets his facts wrong, confusing the US temperature with the global temperature. Reynolds doesn’t notice.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: “Will the mainstream media report the corrected story with as much gusto as they initially reported the claim that 1998 was the warmest on record? Doubtful. But they should. Good public policy can not be made on bad data.”

In the linked post, Bill Hobbs originally claimed:

NASA’s much-ballyhooed data showing that 1998 was the warmest year on record for the Earth was, uh, wrong.

Which was, uh, wrong. He “corrected” it to write:

NASA’s much-ballyhooed data showing that 1998 was the warmest year on record for the USA was, uh, wrong.

Which is, uh, also wrong. How about we look at how the 1998 numbers were reported:


NASA Says Global 1998 Temperatures Highest On Record
12 January 1999
Dow Jones News Service

WASHINGTON (AP)–Last year was the hottest year on record, according to NASA researchers who say the rising temperatures are further evidence that the world is heating up.

“Global surface temperatures in 1998 set a new record by a wide margin,” NASA said.

In announcing its findings on the Internet, NASA said Monday the average global temperature last year was 0.34 of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than the previous record, in 1995. “And unlike many recent years, the warmth is beginning to hit home; the United States this year is experiencing its warmest year in the past several decades.” …

While temperatures in the United States were the warmest in at least 40 years, final figures aren’t complete, NASA said. But, the agency added, it is clear that 1998 did not match the record warmth of 1934, which occurred during the Dust Bowl era.

NASA’s data about 1998 being the warmest in the US was not “much-ballyhooed”. Because NASA actually reported that it wasn’t as warm as 1934. In 2001, NASA’s James Hansen wrote:

The U.S. annual (January-December) mean temperature is slightly warmer in 1934 than in 1998 …

In comparing temperatures of years separated by 60 or 70 years the uncertainties in various adjustments (urban warming, station history adjustments, etc.) lead to an uncertainty of at least 0.1°C. Thus it is not possible to declare a record U.S. temperature with confidence until a result is obtained that exceeds the temperature of 1934 by more than 0.1°C.

Because the 1998 and 1934 numbers were so close, minor adjustments could easily change their ordering. This is what happened with the GISS numbers released this year. In that data set, 1998 was a tiny amount warmer than 1934. This change was not much ballyhooed. Nor was it a little ballyhooed. In fact, it wasn’t mentioned by anyone at all. Because it didn’t matter. When the data correction made 1998 and 1934 flip back, this change was much-ballyhooed by Steve McIntyre, even though he knew that it didn’t matter.

In a new post he tries to argue that the flipping back really does matter and comes up with this:

Obviously much of the blogosphere delight in the leader board changes is a reaction to many fevered press releases and news stories about year x being the “warmest year”. For example, on Jan 7, 2007, NOAA announced that

The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the warmest on record.

This press release was widely covered as you can determine by googling “warmest year 2006 united states”. Now NOAA and NASA are different organizations and NOAA, not NASA, made the above press release, but members of the public can surely be forgiven for not making fine distinctions between different alphabet soups.

Different organization, different year. Near enough for McIntyre.

Comments

  1. #1 Brian
    August 14, 2007

    Tamara says: “Some of those reasons are part and parcel”

    Yes, fine…of course. I’m not saying there’s no link between the science, conclusions, reporting, policy, and politicking. I think that is all too obvious. What I’m saying is that in the discussions like this, I think a lot of confusion could be cleared up by trying to highlight them separately.

    In my experience, when this is done, much more is accomplished.

    So…your main beef with this specific issue is with the reporting, non-reporting, mis-reporting?

  2. #2 cce
    August 14, 2007

    A few choice cosmic ray quotes:

    “Past climate changes have clearly been associated with solar activity. EVEN IF THIS IS NOT THE CASE NOW, it is still important to understand how solar variability affects climate.”
    Jason Kirkby, CERN
    http://www.petedecarlo.com/files/448008a.pdf

    “We use the observation of a downward trend in the CR intensity of 2% in the last 35 years and the observation that the solar modulation of the average global temperature is 0.1◦C. From this the temperature rise due to CR must be less than 0.01◦C.”
    Sloan and Wolfendale
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0706/0706.4294v1.pdf

    “Here we show that trends observed in the ISCCP data are satellite viewing geometry artifacts and are not related to physical changes in the atmosphere.”
    Evan, Heidinger, and Vimont
    http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/clavr/amato/2006GL028083.pdf

  3. #3 dhogaza
    August 14, 2007

    Thank you for pointing out what the Post wrote, though. I am sure they don’t know the difference between contiguous and continental. If they were quoting the NOAA press release, I think you’d have to agree they got it wrong.

    Not that any credible scientist, nor Al Gore, is making any such claim, making your fairy-tale a moot point.

    Oh, look at the fear-mongering NOAA piece Tamara uncovered:

    The unusually warm temperatures during much of the first half of the cold season (October-December) helped reduce residential energy needs for the nation as a whole. Using the Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI – an index developed at NOAA to relate energy usage to climate), NOAA scientists determined that the nation’s residential energy demand was approximately 13.5 percent lower than what would have occurred under average climate conditions for the season.

    Yep, NOAA’s out there claiming the sky is falling, yes’m!

  4. #4 dhogaza
    August 14, 2007

    I think it’s wonderful that the denialist camp is making such a big todo over the fact that 1934 is now thought to be 0.01C degree warmer than 1998, even though the number is statistically significant.

    For all you denialist bloggers out there who want to comfort your readers with this fact, here are some photographs that I’m *sure* will make them realize that warmth comparable to that during 1934 is a GOOD thing:

    http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/Dust%20bowl%201935%20–%20NOAA%2004-24-06.jpg

    http://www.gckschools.com/schools/BSIC/geny/gchistory/farmranch/Dust%20Bowl.jpg

    http://www.skyways.org/orgs/fordco/blacksunday35.jpg

    http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/FEATURE/images/dustbowl.jpg

  5. #5 cce
    August 14, 2007

    Not sure if the point is made is serious or in jest, but no one has predicted that sea levels will rise 80 feet by the end of the century.

  6. #6 dhogaza
    August 14, 2007

    Not sure if the point is made is serious or in jest, but no one has predicted that sea levels will rise 80 feet by the end of the century.

    Oh, they like to claim (incorrectly) that Al Gore did, in his movie.

    Because, you know, he’s fat. And, with that beard, he looks sorta like those guys who walk around carrying signs that say “Repent! The End Is Near!”

  7. #7 Paul H
    August 14, 2007

    In the UK last night BBC 2’s Newsnight repeated the claim that 1998 was no longer the warmest year on record without qualify that this was actually only for the USA.

  8. #8 dhogaza
    August 14, 2007

    In the UK last night BBC 2’s Newsnight repeated the claim that 1998 was no longer the warmest year on record without qualify that this was actually only for the USA.

    Exactly what the denialist camp is hoping to accomplish with their ranting.

  9. #9 Ian Gould
    August 14, 2007

    Mike M: “It’s just sickening how badly you people WANT man to be responsible for global warming.”

    Can anyone point to anything in Tim’s original post or in the discussion up to the point of Mike M.’s comment about the cause of global warming?

    As I’ve noted before, you’d think that views on whether warming is occurring; whether humans are causing it and about the likely costs of it would be independent.

    But, oddly, you don’t see many Simonian Cornucopians arguing that anthropogenic warming can be solved quickly and easily by a combination of free markets and technological advances.

    Similarly, it appears Mike M. can’t conceive of anyone who thinks warming is happening who doesn’t blame capitalism and want some form of neo-Stalinist tyranny imposed to fix it.

  10. #10 Ian Gould
    August 14, 2007

    Mr Hansen: We are fast approaching 10 years of no global warming. That’s bad for business, of course.

    What a confident prediction.

    I am equally confident in predicting that even if warming continues for the next decade, Mr Hansen or someone like him will be predicting in 2017 that cooling is just around the corner.

  11. #11 Ian Gould
    August 14, 2007

    “I’m a Robert Heinlein agnostic, fool. Keep it up though. That anti-Christian attitude will ensure that “progressives” are a permanent angry minority.”

    Yeah Bob was real big on Christianity, just read Revolt in 2100.

    Oh and that “minority” currently appears to include around 70% of the US electorate.

  12. #12 Ian Gould
    August 14, 2007

    “Like a “progressive” would understand anything about climatology. Look at how badly you do in economics.”

    Yes, who could forget the soup kitchens, mass mortgage foreclosures and soaring unemployment of the 1990’s?

  13. #13 Ian Gould
    August 14, 2007

    “And is anyone ever going to explain to me why you WANT man to be responsible for global warming?”

    I don’t WANT 2+2 to equal 4. I don’t WANT gravitational acceleration on Earth to approximate to 9.8 metres per second squared.

    It’s just that all the available evidence leads to me to conclude that these statements are probably correct.

    Get the facts as straight as possible first THEN form your opinion.

    It’s something Bob Heinlein taught me.

    Oh and as for Svensmark, his data sets are dubious, his analysis is questionable and his theory falls down because there are plenty of condensing nuclei in the atmosphere at all times regardless of cosmic ray levels and they AREN’T the determining variable for cloud formation rates.

  14. #14 Brian
    August 14, 2007

    Ian says: “As I’ve noted before, you’d think that views on whether warming is occurring; whether humans are causing it and about the likely costs of it would be independent.”

    Well said. It seems whenever I press denialists to explain their position within this context, either (1) a much more civil and constructive debate ensues about policy (which is the true debate to be having at this point), or (2) they are revealed as being a nincompoop with nothing to offer to the discussion at which point they call me a commie and then leave the thread.

    So…we could tag the comment w/ (1) warming, (2) attribution, (3) policy, (4) hatred for Al Gore, or (5) incoherent mixture of all of the above. Maybe a color-coded system?

  15. #15 Boris
    August 14, 2007

    I was depressed this morning when I saw the high today would be 106, but then I saw some pictures on the internet and now I am pleased to know that this is only because of air conditioners. I look forward to my mid-afternoon jog. Might take a sweater.

  16. #16 Chris O'Neill
    August 14, 2007

    “”Tamara:”Was it fair to say that 1998 was the hottest on record (and I mean the media/bloggers/joe blows on the street who touted that claim), if it was not hotter by a significant degree?”””

    “”GISS did not claim that 1998 was the hottest on record in the US.

    If GISS didn’t claim it, who did?””

    “Here’s one. Is it really necessary to find more? Or, do you think I made the whole thing up to get funding from Exxon.

    “[Last year] was also 0.04ºC higher than 1998, the previous hottest year in US history, the Data Centre said.”

    http://iafrica.com/news/worldnews/569012.htm

    Obviously we have moved on from the original subject of this thread which was to do with GISS. In that case…

    You are referring to journalistic reporting of NCDCs report of 2007/01/09 (updated on 2007/05/01) which said:

    “The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the warmest on record and nearly identical to the record set in 1998. Based on preliminary data, the 2006 annual average temperature was 55°F, 2.2°F (1.2°C) above the 20th Century mean and 0.07°F (0.04°C) warmer than 1998.”

    Note the words “nearly identical” and “preliminary data”. That report also had a table in which 1934 was 0.03°F cooler than 1998. 0.03°F is a bit smaller than 0.07°F, so I’d expect if NCDC had said something about 1934 they would most probably have also said 1934 was “nearly identical”. Note that in NCDCs report of 1998, they said:

    “Preliminary data indicate that the United States average temperature in 1998 was 54.62 degrees F (12.57 deg C), which placed 1998 in a virtural tie with 1934 as the warmest year in records dating to 1895.”

    Note the words “virtual tie”.

    So NCDC in its original report did not state that 1998 was the warmest on record without saying it was in a virtual tie with 1934.

    It is not fair comment for journalists or others to selectively quote NCDC’s original reports. This does not reflect on the integrity of NCDC’s original reports however.

  17. #17 Fade
    August 14, 2007

    A-HA! Got you Leftists again! Continental Warming is a lie!!! A Lie I tell you!!!

  18. #18 elspi
    August 14, 2007

    Tamara
    From YOUR OWN LINK!!

    “In an update to the 2006 average annual temperature for the CONTIGUOUS U.S., NCDC scientists report that 2006 was the 2nd warmest year on record and nearly identical to the record set in 1998. Seven months in 2006 were much warmer than average, including December, which ended as the eighth warmest December since records began in 1895″

    So you have what is almost a dead heat between 2006 and 1934 and you look at
    http://tinyurl.com/247as3
    and you see that the temperature in Alaska in 1934 was 3.5 F colder than it was in 2006. You take a weighted average and you admit that 2006 was warmer than 1934 for the continental US.

    It is called honesty. You should try it.

    And yes I know that one year proves nothing, but the reason that 2006 just kicked 1934’s ass is that the random variation that put 1934 ahead in the lower 48 got run over by the Mac truck that is the AGW at the poles. Tamara was wrong because she has filled her ears with wax and glued her eyelids closed so she could claim she didn’t notice the Mac truck.

  19. #19 Vernon
    August 14, 2007

    Actually this brings several problems to light:

    1. The actually code, station selection, etc. is not available for reproducing the GISS temp adjustments:

    http://www.realclimate.org

    [Response: The methodology is important to the results, and the methodology is explained in detail (with the effect of each individual step documented) in the papers. The fact that the results are highly correlated to the results from two independent analyses of the mostly the same data (CRU and NCDC) is a strong testimony to the robustness of those results. However, you are I think wrong on one point, the rhetoric for more access and more data is actually insatiable. As one set of code is put out, then the call goes up for the last set of code, and the code and results from the previous paper, the residuals of the fits, and for the sensitivity tests and so on. Given that all this takes time to do properly and coherently (and it does), there will never be enough ‘openness’ to squash all calls for more openness. Whatever the result from releasing the current code (which very few of the people calling for it will ever even look at), the ‘free the code’ meme is too tempting for the political advocates to abandon. People who are actually genuinely interested in all of these questions, will, I assure you, be much happier in the end if they code it themselves. Think of it as tough love. ;) – gavin]

    So NASA/GISS pretty much does not make the code, processes, and algorithms available. You can read the papers but they do not lay out which stations are used, which are rejected, and which are modified. Anyone attempting to validate and verify would find reproducing exceptionally hard.

    2. The argument is that this is a global problem and that CO2 is a well mixed gas so what happens in one region does not matter but only the whole world.

    Well, if CO2 was that well mixed, then why are pretty much all CO2 measurements prior to MLO measuring rejected because they are too close to the source of the CO2? If that is true, then the GHG warming in that area should be greater but the US data shows that did not happen.

    We have had CO2 steadily increasing but there has not been any steady heating and we are quickly approaching 10 years of no warming.

  20. #20 Tamara
    August 14, 2007

    “Vanity Fair published a “worst-case scenario” photo illustration of Manhattan drowned by an 80-foot sea-level rise, the skyscrapers poking up from what has become part of the Atlantic Ocean.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/23/AR2006052301305_pf.html

  21. #21 Tamara
    August 14, 2007

    Brian,

    To answer an earlier question you asked, yes, I am sick to death of the misreporting and exaggerations. I am actually quite sure that warming is occuring. But I don’t think that the above referenced Vanity Fair article, nor Al Gore’s mockumentary are at all useful. Yet, people who claim to adhere to science will continue to defend his and other’s blatant hyperbole, because it is “all for the cause.” I’ve read many journal articles, and I’ve never encountered a subject in which the research indicates as much certainty as AGW. If you’ve read or written journal articles, you know that it is the usual pratice to word your conclusion so that it only represents facts that can clearly be shown from the data or observations. Most concluding paragraphs contain more uncertainty than anything else. But, when the subject is global warming, suddenly we have total certainty of our hypotheses. That’s just not realistic, to put it mildly. Albert Einstein said of his Theory of Relativity, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Do you think he would say the science is settled?

  22. #22 winston
    August 14, 2007

    Tamara seems a bit unafraid to make the argument from personal incredulity: “I as a person with a degree in Biology do not understand the science underlying this journal article – I refute it thus!” with snooty handwave.

    How about you quit citing Einstein in support of you Tamara and instead back up one of your sweeping assertions with a more relevant reference? “… many journal articles … when the subject is global warming, suddenly we have total certainty of our hypotheses …” – you might consider citing a journal article you’ve read that would exemplify your modest claim?

  23. #23 Brian
    August 15, 2007

    Tamara says: “…yes, I am sick to death of the misreporting and exaggerations. I am actually quite sure that warming is occuring.”

    Okay…this is what I’m talking about…it’s the coverage and not the data for you. Excellent. I would generally agree with you regarding some of the reporting…they are after headlines and attention after all.

    you say: “Albert Einstein said of his Theory of Relativity, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Do you think he would say the science is settled?”

    I don’t see that as a fair comparison. You can’t point to a single person for the ‘Theory of Global Warming’…that’s the whole point…it is much more like other paradigms that strengthen over time as more studies are done, as more data is collected and analyzed. And as errors like the one that has spawned all the posts and subsequent comments in the past few days are corrected and integrated into the overall understanding.

    As for the statements of certainty in magazine and other popular press, I notice well-placed words of uncertainty in a lot of them….take BBC for example: “The changes we’ve seen over recent years and those which are predicted over the next 80 years are thought to be mainly as a result of human behaviour rather than due to natural changes in the atmosphere.”

    ‘thought to be’ …. and ‘mainly’ …relating to the conclusions based on the available evidence and the relative contribution.

    But, maybe it’s a matter of perspective…the people out there that truly believe it’s a hoax to install a communistic new world order aren’t gonna be satisfied with a few words of uncertainty, are you kidding?.
    “It doesn’t matter, global cooling, global warming; it’s crisis; it’s we’re in trouble; it’s we need big government to fix it; we need to punish people; we need to control their lives.”
    That’s Rush Limbaugh…he has a few choir members. So, don’t sit there and even pretend that the hyperboles are all coming from those who accept AGW. But, I guess Rush is just saying this ‘all for the cause’. The ‘faith’ of Limbaughites requires them to reject AGW….no matter how much evidence. That’s where the discourse has gone, w/ the MikeM’s and DF’s above. Nonsensical and partisan. Even though I disagree with you, at least your not an irrational loon.

  24. #24 cce
    August 15, 2007

    80 feet of sea level rise is the “worst case scenario” and is comparable to what the geologic record tells us we are in for if we continue the BAU scenario. No one says it will happen by 2100.

    The theory that we are contributing to climate change is one of the more well founded and established in all of science. The exact degree of warming and the speed at which the feedbacks kick in is where you will find various degrees of disagreement. But given the consequences, we have been and continue to be fools for putting off policy decisions. It’s like waiting until the asteroid has a 1 in 2 chance of hitting the earth before building the missile. It is insane.

    No one is debating the basics of Newtons laws. The fact that relativity, quantum mechanics or string theory revises our understanding doesn’t mean that the apples stop falling from the tree.

  25. #25 Tamara
    August 15, 2007

    Brian,
    Thanks for not thinking I’m an irrational loon.

    CCE,
    Knowing the mechanisms of global warming are at least as important as knowing the mechanisms of gravity, if we are going to make good decisions about it. I freely embrace the idea that humanity’s activities are altering the climate. But, it seems that, for the most part, we as a culture have decided to ignore many of our worst affronts to nature in favor of reducing CO2 emissions. Tell me, how much warming results from the CO2 that is produced by burning a forest? How much warming results from the removal of the forest itself? Is burning ethanol in your gas tank better than shipping all that corn to a developing country where desertification is occurring due to local farming practices? Newton knew something about gravity, but he didn’t put a man on the moon. (Can we stop an asteroid with a missile?)

  26. #26 cce
    August 15, 2007

    The amount of warming due to burning a forest would be equivalent to the warming due to the net CO2 released, minus the avoided warming due to the albedo change.

    Corn Ethanol is a boondoggle of epic proportions and very little global warming abatement or energy independence will be gained from it.

    NASA put a man on the moon despite many mistakes (deaths, among them) getting there. No one else, not even McIntyre, has done this.

    It was a proverbial missile. We can’t stop an asteroid with a missile.

  27. #27 Chris O'Neill
    August 15, 2007

    “I am sick to death of the misreporting and exaggerations.”

    So am I. They provide credulists with smokescreens that hide the important facts such as the fact that the world’s 14 year average teperature to 2006 is 0.4-0.5°C higher than the 14 year average around 1934 (1928-1941). (You need at least a 14 year average to filter out short term variations.) I wouldn’t expect too many people outside the US to be influenced by the fact that the contiguous US had nearly the same average temperatures in 1934, 1998 and 2006. On the other hand a lot of USAians, considering how parochial they are, would probably think this is a very significant fact with respect to global warming.

  28. #28 JB
    August 15, 2007

    The only thing “much ballyhooed” is Steve McIntyre, on his own blog — by himself and by his personal cheer-leading squad.

  29. #29 slickdpdx
    August 15, 2007

    Chris: Surely, there must be some significance to “the fact that the contiguous US had nearly the same average temperatures in 1934, 1998 and 2006.”

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    August 15, 2007

    “Surely, there must be some significance to “the fact that the contiguous US had nearly the same average temperatures in 1934, 1998 and 2006.””

    No, very little, for two reasons. 1. They’re only single years. Single years are highly influenced by short term variations e.g. El Nino. 2. The US covers only 2% of the Earth’s surface so has very little weight in global average temperature. When climate changes for whatever reason, different parts of the Earth’s surface change in different ways.

  31. #31 JB
    August 16, 2007

    Tamara
    “I am sick to death of the misreporting and exaggerations.”

    Yes, the denialists are sickening aren’t they?

    Pathetic, too.

    Anyone who believes that a 0.15C correction to the surface temp record of the US means that global warming is not real should have his or her head examined for evidence of brain activity.

  32. #32 z
    August 16, 2007

    “Hansen refused to provide McKintyre with the algorithm used to generate graph data, so McKintyre reverse-engineered it. The result appeared to be a Y2K bug in the handling of the raw data”

    Hah? I haven’t had the time to track down the source of the latest parrot screeching, so is that it? The same crowd who whines about the inapplicability of mathematical modeling in science believes in the absolute reliability of reverse engineering an algorithm? And they wonder why we don’t give them the keys to the planet’s thermostat?

  33. #33 z
    August 16, 2007

    “We know the world is warmer because…”

    Group1:
    Glaciers are melting.
    Large chunks of Antarctica are now floating around the shipping lanes.
    The Arctic Ocean is navigable without icebreakers, all of a sudden.
    Plants and animals in North America are moving to new territories, further north.
    The USDA has just announced a new hardiness climate zone map for the US in which most(? all?) locales now are listed with warmer climates.
    Group 2:
    The IPCC reports make a good case using valid arguments of the type normally seen in scientific writing, whereas the publications of the “skeptics”, whether on an individual basis or all together, not only do not make any kind of coherent case for anything except sophomorically nihilistic “we just cannot know absolute reality with absolute certainty”, but in addition are internally inconsistent (“there’s no warming, and it’s caused by cosmic rays” etc.)
    The arguments of the nonscientific authorities who believe in AGW are saner, less paranoid, and in general more convincing than the arguments of the “skeptics” (“It’s all a plot by liberals who want to control everybody and ruin the economy and the climatologists who wish to retain their vast wealth which they would lose if AGW were not true”)
    “Skeptics” seem to get caught in odd errors much more often than people who believe in AGW; confusing radians with degrees, for example. This seems to affect a great majority of their publications, yet they continue to emit publications with the same conclusion but different reasoning at a high rate. This suggests that the conclusion is driving the evidence, rather than vice versa.
    The monetary motivation for professional “skeptics” is vastly greater than that for proponents; any decent scientist recognizes the very real phenomenon of unconscious bias, rather than flatly denying it. This, of course, doesn’t even bring up deliberate publication of opinion for pay, which is the source of many of the “skeptic” mantras; such as “there is actually no consensus in the scientific community on AGW”
    And that’s without
    1) even looking at NASA temperature measurements or
    2) looking at other temperature measurements or
    3) noting that increased CO2 in the atmosphere will tend to absorb IR, unless there is something preventing it from doing so.

  34. #34 JB
    August 16, 2007

    Tamara said: “Vanity Fair published a “worst-case scenario” photo illustration of Manhattan drowned by an 80-foot sea-level rise, the skyscrapers poking up from what has become part of the Atlantic Ocean.”

    So, what’s the take home lesson here?

    How about this? — “One should not get one’s science from Vanity Fair”.

    Scientists can’t be held responsible for the garbage printed by tabloids like Vanity Fair, the Washington Post and the NY Times.

  35. #35 z
    August 16, 2007

    “But, when the subject is global warming, suddenly we have total certainty of our hypotheses.”

    What are you reading? Everything I read has the usual scientific caveats built in, whereas the “skeptics” deal in absolutes, then declare victory since they are 100% certain and their opponents not.

  36. #36 winston
    August 16, 2007

    Looks like most of the Instacrowd has been distracted by its next chance for a group hug, gang rap thing and has pertly decamped elsewhere; Scienceblogs will be the quieter for its passing. That’s quality commenting there z and friends.

  37. #37 z
    August 16, 2007

    “Plus, MikeM, in addition to dhogaza’s questions…I’m still very curious about why ‘us people’ want AGW? ”

    Because, silly boy, it’s all about who’s smarter than the other person. There is no reality to be discerned, it’s a pure test of intellectual superiority, and you science geeks have made us Bushie types feel inferior all our lives, but no more.

  38. #38 JB
    August 16, 2007

    z asked: “What are you [Tamara] reading?”

    The Washington Post — that paragon of accuracy on Iraqi WMD, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and everything else.

    I know I get all my science from the Washington Post — usually from columnits like George Will. I find that it’s a lot easier to understand such columns than abstruse math-laden papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals that use statistics and graphs with error bars and all the rest. (Yech!)

    George Will’s column tells me everything I always wanted to know about global warming but was afraid to ask my kindergarten teacher.

  39. #39 dhogaza
    August 16, 2007

    Tamara “I am sick to death of the misreporting and exaggerations.”

    That’s why I quit reading the Wall Street Journal’s editorial and op-ed page.

  40. #40 Hank Roberts
    August 16, 2007

    So, where were the self-appointed auditors when the credit rating agencies were deciding how to value piggyback mortgage packages? Could they have seen the risk of loss of the billions of dollars that disappeared last week? If their big argument is really that doing something about climate change is too expensive, why aren’t they doing something about the financial system? Now _that_ is expensive, and expensive last week, not expensive in some future discounted dollars.

    Surely they ought to be talking to the bankers and credit agencies and making sure the financial models are fully disclosed and checked by outside experts. Since we _know_ they melted down.

  41. #41 Larry Paulson
    August 17, 2007

    Toronto Star story sez:

    NASA officials have dismissed the changes as trivial. Even the Canadian who spotted the original flaw says the revisions are “not necessarily material to climate policy….” However Stephen McIntyre… …described his finding as a “a micro-change. But it was kind of fun.”

  42. #42 JB
    August 18, 2007

    Z said: “you science geeks have made us Bushie types feel inferior all our lives, but no more.”

    That’s a pretty good summary of what has motivated 99% of the decisions in the US (my country) during Bush’s reign.

    Millions of Americans (several of them in my immediate family, I am sorry to say) voted for him because they liked the idea that he “thinks” like them.

    The problem, of course, is that Bush does not really think at all — not in the usual sense.

    Most of his decisions are not motivated by rational thought informed by knowledge, but instead by the desire to prove that he is smarter/better than the competent “smartypants intellectual” types (especially his father) who have been running the show all of his life. He (and the people who voted for him) don’t need academic types (especially not scientists) to tell them what to do.

    Science is about reality and reality means nothing to them. As one Bushie said, “We are the players who create our own reality and everyone else is left to merely react.”

    Unfortunately, they were right about the latter. Lots of people have “reacted to” the reality that the Bushies have created. (In other words, lots of people have died)

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