A picture is worth a thousand words

Bob Carter has managed to get a whole bunch of people to sign a letter touting his warming ended in in 1998 claim. Here’s what they signed:

there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

I bet that they didn’t include a graph of global temperatures:

i-e41085efda34ceb0dcd669b1a667d11d-gat2005.png

You know, even the CEI admits that this “warming ended in 1998″ claim is disingenuous, but look at all the people who signed Carter’s disingenuous letter.

And look who Nexus 6 spotted in the list: Edward Wegman. Yes, the man touted as an independent judge of McIntyre and McKitrick arguments against the hockey stick turns out to be a global warming denier.

Comments

  1. #1 jre
    December 13, 2007

    He got Louis Hissink and Zbigniew Jaworowski, too.
    Drs. Larry, Curly and Moe Howard were unavailable for comment.

  2. #2 Rob
    December 13, 2007

    Actually thats Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Howard.

    Why this is really interesting is that you often hear those names paged in the background on TV shows and movies.

  3. #3 jre
    December 13, 2007

    Thanks, Rob!
    My wretchedly incomplete education in the fine arts just got a boost!

  4. #5 Boris
    December 13, 2007

    Thanks, Mike! Now I know the IPCC blames babies for global warming. Evil, evil babies–that’s the consensus.

  5. #6 pough
    December 13, 2007

    Here is the truth about Global Warming.

    Hmm… no colon. I guess by “here” you are referring either to Deltoid in particular or Scienceblogs in general. Nice endorsement!

  6. #7 JB
    December 13, 2007

    “WEGMAN: Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmospheric profile, I don’t know. I’m not an atmospheric scientist…”

    Perhaps the blue on the graph above is supposed to represent CO2 settling into the valleys.

  7. #8 Thom
    December 13, 2007

    Somebody needs to ask Wegman if H2O is heavier than water and if so, where it sits in the water column. I don’t know ’cause I’m not a water chemist.

  8. #9 John Quiggin
    December 13, 2007

    Disappointing to see Don Aitkin as a signatory to something like this. I know Lindzen has given passing support to “global warming stopped in 1988″ before, but this letter, with its absurd reference to a “plateau” is a much stronger version of the claim.

  9. #10 John Quiggin
    December 13, 2007

    Interesting, on the other hand that McIntyre didn’t sign. Given that it’s published in Canada, you would imagine he was asked.

  10. #11 markg
    December 13, 2007

    I was also disappointed to see Reid Bryson on there. Otherwise the list seems to be largely the usual useful idiots.

  11. #12 Zeno
    December 13, 2007

    Ha! If you go to Mike’s YouTube link for the videos on “Global Warming Fraud,” you get a screen full of video thumbnails, all of them purportedly taking on the notion of human-caused climate change. The only video on the page with a multiple-star rating is one by comedian George Carlin, who delivers a rant about the hypocritical self-absorbed yuppies who want to “save the planet,” mocking the impact of tiny humanity on an earth billions of years old. The crowd eggs him on with cheers and laughter. Then, partway through his rant, after saying several times that we can’t harm the earth, he sticks in the knife by noting that, “The earth isn’t going anywhere, although we are.”

    There’s a pause in the laughter, which probably indicates that the people who were most enjoying Carlin’s diatribe just figured out he is talking about the planet’s survival, not the survival of its ecosystem. Sure, humanity will go extinct, the environment will go into upheaval, and some completely new equilibrium point will eventually be reached. Then I think the people who were probably grim-faced and tight-lipped during the first part of Carlin’s piece take over the laughter and the anti-eco crowd who assumed Carlin was a climate-change denialist must grimace as they realize he isn’t actually: He’s just saying it’s no big deal if we foul our nest and die. The nest will raise up some other form of life. It’s robust. We’re puny.

  12. #13 Thom
    December 13, 2007

    Oh boy, on the same day that these skeptics signed onto Bob Carter’s editorial, NOAA released this:

    NOAA: 2007 a Top Ten Warm Year for U.S. and Globe

    Here’s a gem from the press release: “This currently establishes 2007 as the eighth warmest on record. Only February and April were cooler-than-average, while March and August were second warmest in the 113-year record.”

    I think Bob Carter et al. are truly deserving of the “Rake of the Year Award.”

  13. #14 nanny_govt_sucks
    December 13, 2007

    Once again, that trendline in the graphic does not support your point. It is not a “since 1998″ trendline.

  14. #15 markg
    December 13, 2007

    There is no “since 1998″ trend that has meaning in a climatological context. A few years of variability means nothing, one way or the other. Even the most recent year of arctic melting does not constitute a “new trend”.

    I thought you ‘Anti Global Warming” folks were all top-notch statisticians?

  15. #16 nanny_govt_sucks
    December 13, 2007

    There is no “since 1998″ trend that has meaning in a climatological context.

    That’s beside the point. Tim is trying to discredit the “since 1998″ claim. In order to do so, he should use data and trendlines “since 1998″. The graphic he’s presented doesn’t do that.

  16. #17 JB
    December 13, 2007

    nanny_govt_sucks said: “Tim is trying to discredit the “since 1998″ claim. In order to do so, he should use data and trendlines “since 1998″. The graphic he’s presented doesn’t do that.”

    Tamino put to rest the nonsense about global warming stopping in 1998

    I notice nanny also posted in the comments there, so he is certainly aware that the trend shows warming since 1998 (even if one includes 1998, the peak year of El Nino)

    Nanny seems to go from blog to blog recycling his “skepticism”.

    It gets old after a while.

  17. #18 steveB
    December 13, 2007

    Hmm,

    I thought you all were scientists?

    No one denies that we are in a warming trend. The only doubt I have whether it is anthropogenic or not.

    There are several competing hypotheses as to what is causing our current warming trend. To strip out the BS, here are several of the current debates:

    1) There is an *UNPROVEN* hypothesis that human activity has increased the atmospheric concentrations of some trace chemicals.
    2) There is an *UNPROVEN* hypothesis that changes in solar activity has increased (and decreased) the atmospheric concentrations of some trace chemicals.
    3) There is an *UNPROVEN* hypothesis that changes in the global average temperatures have increased (and decreased) atmospheric concentrations of some trace chemicals.
    4) There is an *UNPROVEN* hypothesis that changes in the
    concentrations of some trace chemicals have increased (and
    decreased) global average temperatures.

    Most of the comments I see here are mistaking correlation with causation, just as the post regarding the NOAA record is.

    Science is not a popularity contest: The number of authorities who subscribe to a given hypothesis has no relationship to its empirical accuracy or validity.
    Theories require proven, predictable results. They do not require a democratic vote of the authorities. If the opinion of a majority of the authorities was all that was required, we would still think the earth was flat. Empirical proof is *required*.

    If there is an increase in the current warming trends due to manmade increases in CO2 levels, then we might want to do something about it. But what if it is caused by sunspot activity, as some very reputable researchers believe? Do we want to take drastic measures which will kill a lot of people as are currently in vogue?

    Think back (if you were alive then) to the Global Cooling predictions of 1975. The proposed solutions were also drastic: things like spreading coal dust across the Arctic and Antarctic. That turned out to be a mistaken prediction. But what if we had actually done it? Where would we be now? Do we have the knowledge–when we cannot even model the effects of clouds in our computer simulations which are the foundation of current IPCC theory–to accurately manage the global climate?

    I personally don’t think so.

    So you can call me a apostate. I believe in climate change; but I do not believe–or disbelieve–in the currently ascribed causes. I will wait for the empirical evidence before making a decision. And based on that, I think we can come to a general consensus on effective means of dealing with it.

  18. #19 stewart
    December 13, 2007

    Nags, I know you visit ‘Open Mind’. I know you saw Tamino’s presentation of the trends over the past years. I know you didn’t like that the linear trend since 1998 is still relentlessly positive (r = .24 by the raw data used to make up that graph, a slope of +.008 degrees C per year). Not bad, considering the data was cherrypicked to give the opposite impression. Take it out a few years earlier and the slope is much higher (.02 degrees/year), as expected since 1998 was an El Nino year.
    But even though I know all this, I just don’t know why you insist on foisting your own illusions on those of us in the reality-based community. As missionaries for capitalism go, you’re making a lot of converts: for anything but.
    However, we can tell Bob C that the facts go against his nonsense, carefully handpicked though it was. I guess it’s just not vintage nonsense. Perhaps if he used a 2-year trend? It’s -.062 from 2005 to 2006. On the other hand, it’s +.024 from 1999 to now, consistent with the trend over the last 25 years. He loses even when he picks the cards.

  19. #20 JB
    December 14, 2007

    SteveB ‘If there is an increase in the current warming trends due to manmade increases in CO2 levels, then we might want to do something about it. But what if it is caused by sunspot activity, as some very reputable researchers believe?”

    Oh, brother, the sunspots in our eyes are killing us.

    Might I suggest you educate yourself a little on the basics before you assume everyone else is “mistaking correlation with causation”? [sic] (should read “equating correlation with causation” or perhaps “mistaking correlation for causation” )

    Contrary to your own mistaken belief, the question of the source of the recent warming has been quite extensively considered by climate scientists and they have come to the conclusion that most of it is anthropogenic in origin.

    Perhaps you might start with the latest IPCC report.

  20. #21 trrll
    December 14, 2007

    That’s beside the point. Tim is trying to discredit the “since 1998″ claim. In order to do so, he should use data and trendlines “since 1998″. The graphic he’s presented doesn’t do that.

    That would be a stupid thing for Tim to be trying to do, and it is certainly not how I interpret his post.

    The issue is not whether or not the trend since 1998 is up or down. The issue is that it is statistically invalid to cherry-pick a particular year when the temperature is particularly high and insist upon calculating the “trend” from that particular year. This is an elementary and well-known statistical error. Basically, when you have a noisy signal, you can create the appearance of “trend” in whatever direction you choose if you are allowed to choose as your starting point a time when the value is particularly high or particularly low (why start at 1998? why not 2000?). The statistical rule is that you must either use the entire data set, or make the decision as to what intervals to examine trends over before you look at the data.

  21. #22 Richard Simons
    December 14, 2007

    Steve: you say you do not believe in the currently ascribed causes for climate change, presumably referring to increases in atmospheric CO2, methane and other greenhouse gasses. I am curious as to what your views are so perhaps you could say where you disagree with the following.

    It was established about 150 years ago that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation.

    About 100 years ago the effect of a doubling of atmospheric CO2 on Earth’s temperature was calculated. Since then, the estimate has been refined but it turns out that the original estimate was not far wrong.

    There has been a documented rise in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 50 years.

    Evidence from several sources indicates this is a result of human activity, in particular the burning of fossil fuels.

    Given the basic physics, a rise in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is expected to result in an increase in global temperatures, provided there is no massive feedback mechanism or other process acting in the opposite direction.

    No negative process that is remotely close to the magnitude required has been identified.

    Given this, a rise in the Earth’s temperature is to be expected and in fact the observed rise accords quite well with predictions.

    As you seem to disagree with the conclusion, I would like to know exactly which step you feel is incorrect, and the evidence you have to support your views.

    You refer to mysterious trace chemicals that you claim have increased and decreased as a result of changes in solar activity. What are these chemicals? Do you have evidence for changes in solar activity? The graphs I have seen show virtually no change.

    You claim you require empirical evidence. What experiments do you think need to be done and which data do you think need to be collected? What specific results, if they were to be found, would convince you that anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are resulting in global warming?

    BTW Scientific theories are never proven to be correct, at best they merely withstand every attempt to show that they are wrong.

  22. #23 dhogaza
    December 14, 2007

    No one denies that we are in a warming trend.

    First sentence in the original post.

    Bob Carter has managed to get a whole bunch of people to sign a letter touting his warming ended in in 1998 claim.

    This is just the first of the provably false statements in Steve’s post.

    That was easy!

  23. #24 Peter Bickle
    December 14, 2007

    Hi all

    Tim, which graph do you wish to use, the one on this post or the one from the satillite data on your post:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/11/a_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_1.php#more

    The latter shows a levelling off in temperture since 2000. Lets just say 1998 was an anomily. I know in New Zealand 2007 was not a special year temperture wise, in Auckland anyway. The graph even suggests that 2007 is quite cool compared to the last few years.

    So I am a bit confused on which data I should use. Please elighten me.

    Regards from a non warming New Zealand
    Peter Bickle

  24. #25 cce
    December 14, 2007

    Use whichever dataset you wish. The linear trend starting at 1998 through 2006 is positive for UAH, RSS, Hadley/CRU, and NASA. NASA has the most, RSS has the least. Of these, NASA is the only one to cover the poles, which is the primary reason that its numbers are higher (since that is where the highest anomalies are).

  25. #26 Peter Bickle
    December 14, 2007

    Hi all

    CCE, from the post cited by Tim I reckon the trend is linear since the turn of the century.

    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  26. #27 dhogaza
    December 14, 2007

    I know in New Zealand 2007 was not a special year temperture wise…

    Hey, look dude, only we Americans are allowed to substitute our country for the world when speaking of “global” trends.

  27. #28 John Quiggin
    December 14, 2007

    “Hi all

    CCE, from the post cited by Tim I reckon the trend is linear since the turn of the century.”

    Distinguishing between a linear and a non-linear trend over seven years is quite a feat, especially done by eyeball as appears to be the case here.

  28. #29 Peter Bickle
    December 14, 2007

    Hi all

    You can say that John, I made a judgement call. It will not be exact to zero but it will only be a small slope either + or -. All I am saying is that using satillite data there has been no significant warming since the turn of the century based on this.

    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  29. #30 markg
    December 14, 2007

    Of course, by the same argument I might suggest that, based on the the 2007 winter, winter arctic ice mass is asymptotically heading to 0.

    Hmm, I wonder if I can write that up and get it into GRL…

  30. #31 Tony Lee
    December 14, 2007

    Peter B – I didn’t know eyeballing a graph was an effective way to determine statistical significance. (And didn’t you mean to say ‘from 1998′, not ‘from the turn of the century’?)

    Tamino looked at this canard a few months ago by plugging the data into a spreadsheet:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/31/garbage-is-forever/

    His (or her?) conclusion: whether you use the GISTEMP or HadCRU data, the slope from 1998 to the present is positive, and the trend is statistically significant.

  31. #32 Peter Bickle
    December 14, 2007

    Hi all

    Not often I get 3 replies with out abuse, (I am tough skinned though:)), I must be improving my manners!

    All I am saying is that the satillite data looks pretty flat lined for me since 2000. I have no qualms about the rise from 1979, but this rise has now settled down since 2000. Tell me I am wrong based on this graph, but it is a horizontal line from 2000 onwards.

    From this I am going to say the rate of GW increase has decreased in the first 7 years of this century. What is the slope of the trend line since 1999 or 2000, it will be a lot shallower than from 1979 to 2007.

    Also, it looks like ice levels in the artic have returned to normal and the Antartic is not warming, except for the Peninsula. There is more to what is happening than meets the eye, IMHO.

    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  32. #33 David Marjanović
    December 14, 2007

    steveB, your constant repetition of “UNPROVEN” shows that you don’t know what science is. Science cannot prove, only disprove. If science finds the truth, it is incapable of proving that what it has found is the truth. Science is only capable of proving that wrong ideas are indeed wrong.

    Go learn.

  33. #34 markg
    December 14, 2007

    Peter, it’s really not possible to draw any particular conclusions from short term changes in any data time series. It is apparent for instance that in the last 40 years while the temperature has been trending upwards there are plenty of local minima. If global satellite derived temperatures stay as they are for, perhaps, another 10 years we will have some reason to speculate. Increasing CO2 emissions suggest that this is unlikely.

    Arctic ice? it freezes every winter; this is unsurprising. However, that ice is thin and more likely melt quickly in the following summer. (I hope the lack of change in arctic ice in Auckland is reassuring to you.) Frankly noone has any basis on which to evaluate how much of an outlier the 2007 melt season is until the peak of the 2008 melt season. All we know for sure is that 2007 was a long way off the beaten track.

  34. #35 guthrie
    December 14, 2007

    Peter seems to forget that New Zealand is surrounded by ocean, which will greatly moderate changes in temperature.

    A bit snarky, I know, but isn’t it always amazing that confused people or denialists or sceptical people are the first to lecture scientists on how science works, and the last to accept the results when science is actually done.

  35. #36 Chris O'Neill
    December 14, 2007

    I have no qualms about the rise from 1979

    Really? You should have. It went from 0.02 deg C in September 1979 to -0.06 deg C in May 2006. How can you call that a rise?

  36. #37 JB
    December 14, 2007

    Why do people keep responding to Peter Bickle?

    You show him the data and he just responds with the same denial and/or just moves the goal posts: From “The latter [satellite data] shows a levelling off in temperture since 2000″ to “I am going to say the rate of GW increase has decreased in the first 7 years of this century”.

    Most people would be embarrassed to keep posting the same rubbish — and being shown wrong — time and gain.

  37. #38 bill r
    December 14, 2007

    I’m confused. Why is this different from the previous “A picture is worth a thousand words” post? Is there data/documentation publically available for this one, too?

  38. #39 Barton Paul Levenson
    December 14, 2007

    steveb posts:

    [[1) There is an UNPROVEN hypothesis that human activity has increased the atmospheric concentrations of some trace chemicals.]]

    Well, first of all, science doesn’t deal in “proof” — only evidence. But there is overwhelming evidence that humans have raised the level of carbon dioxide in ambient air. Hans Suess first detected the isotope signal of fossil fuel carbon in air back in 1955.

    [[ 2) There is an UNPROVEN hypothesis that changes in solar activity has increased (and decreased) the atmospheric concentrations of some trace chemicals.]]

    Huh? What?

    [[ 3) There is an UNPROVEN hypothesis that changes in the global average temperatures have increased (and decreased) atmospheric concentrations of some trace chemicals.]]

    Are you talking about the way CO2 goes up or down with Milankovic cycles? I don’t think any climatologist doubts it at this point.

    [[ 4) There is an UNPROVEN hypothesis that changes in the concentrations of some trace chemicals have increased (and decreased) global average temperatures.]]

    It’s as close to completely factual as any scientific theory can get. The only reason the Earth isn’t frozen over is because of greenhouse gases — its equilibrium temperature, from solar constant and albedo alone, is well below freezing.

  39. #40 apy
    December 14, 2007

    Could someone please explain how to read the graph to me. Obviously I can see that at some point there is a + in the temperature but what is the 0 mark a reference to? Some average?

    Thank you

  40. #41 luminous beauty
    December 14, 2007

    apy,

    Yes, the 0 line is an average centered on the decade around 1980. It is a reference line. The graph isn’t measuring temperature as such, but the temperature anomaly in comparison to the reference period.

  41. #42 dhogaza
    December 14, 2007

    Also, it looks like ice levels in the artic have returned to normal…

    Repeat until you are blue in the face:

    Volume, not surface area, matters.

    Volume, not surface area, matters.

  42. #43 Dave Briggs
    December 14, 2007

    Yep! I don’t get it! With some people you can put the charts and graphs right in front of them and they still won’t believe! Life can be strange!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  43. #44 nanny_govt_sucks
    December 14, 2007

    Reading Carter’s pulled quote again, it appears he is using the term “net global warming” since 1998. One wonders what the definition of “net” is in this case and whether Tim’s graphic showing a trendline since 1850 is any refutation of Carter’s quote. Perhaps by “no net global warming since 1998″ he meant no years since 1998 have exceeded 1998 temps?

  44. #45 fergus
    December 14, 2007

    For anyone who cares to bother, a modest deconstruction of the statement appears on my blog.
    Advert over. :)

  45. #46 cce
    December 14, 2007

    Forget 1850, the trendline since 1998 refutes Carter’s quote. And if he’s focussing on the year 1998 specifically, then he might as well be arguing that 1998 was the end of strong El Ninos, since any El Nino comparable to 1998 on top of current temps would unambiguously shatter 1998′s record (ignoring NASA’s analysis, which shows 2005 and preliminary 2007 as being higher than 1998). It’s also amusing that the analysis that shows the flattest temperature trend since 1998 (RSS), also shows the steepest trend of all since 1979.

    From these observations, and using the same standards, we might come up with our own headlines, such as “El Ninos stopped in 1998″ or “The Urban Heat Island Effect stopped in 1979.”

  46. #47 JB
    December 14, 2007

    nanny_govt_sucks said: “Perhaps by “no net global warming since 1998″ he meant no years since 1998 have exceeded 1998 temps?”

    And perhaps the moon is made of string cheese?

    There is just one problem with your theory: the very next sentence in Carter’s letter:

    “That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming”

    There is no plateau in temperature since 1998. Plateaus are flat. The trend is upward, as shown by Tamino.

    You know that. I know you know because I can see that you commented on Tamino’s post about the upward trend since 1998.

    Your effort to defend Carter in this case is truly pathetic.

  47. #48 Lee
    December 14, 2007

    “Also, it looks like ice levels in the artic have returned to normal…”

    Well, actually, they havent. even surface area anomaly is still at -1.2 million km2 – a level that in the satellite record was seen once for a short time in 1995, and then often in the last 4-5 years. The arctic is refreezing (duh – its fricking cold up there in the winter) but is still way below the norm up until the last few years.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.jpg
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    Not to mention that area is only one measure – and the loss of thick multi-year ice is extensive, and the late-freezing winter ice is likely to end up thinner that normal 1-year ice. There is a HUGE loss of ice volume, way above that shown by the measures of ice area.

  48. #49 Jack Lacton
    December 14, 2007

    Has there been any warming since 1998?

    No.

    Whatever the reason is irrelevant. The statement is correct.

    Has CO2 increased at a terrific rate?

    Yes.

    It’s not a very convenient position for the Climate Faithful, is it?

  49. #50 Who Cares
    December 14, 2007

    @Jack Lacton:
    Learn about statistics, outliers and anomalies before trying to pull the stunt of claiming that 1998 was a normal year.
    Take a look at the a picture is worth a thousand words post on this same blog. It contains a really nice graph of temperature averages and shows why your argument is worthless.

  50. #51 Charles the Hammer
    December 14, 2007

    Hello. I came here as someone who is interested in learning more about climate change from an unbiased source. I’ve seen Tim Lambert’s name appear on a lot of blogs so I had to check this place out. I am sadly dissappointed. Is this the best we can do, sophomoric name called and politcal rhetoric? Take the topic at hand for example. From what I can gather, I think it’s clear this Bob Carter guy simply states that he is playing with the baseline and purports that the familiar graph we always see does the same. I don’t know who he is but I think he’s being somewhat glib and I also think he has a point. By saying “It’s been cooling since 1998″ is designed to get people’s attention about things like this graph and how it’s constructed. Does the shape of the curve change with a new starting point? If so, how is the ideal starting point determined? Can someone tell me? To the other point regarding Mr. Wegman, again I’m late to the game here but from what I can gather through research he testified before Congress regarding whether or not sound mathematical practices were applied by research scientists, correct? Seems reasonable to me. It therefore also follows that he should stand behind his work and his findings going forward. Anyone with a college degree knows you have to show your work and defend it to get a passing grade. What’s wrong with that?

  51. #52 Eli Rabett
    December 14, 2007

    Charles Martel, yes indeedy, if you pick a small interval, the shape of a fit to a curve does depend strongly on the starting point which is why this is an evil thing to do with a small interval, or a starting point chosen after you have seen the data. See what happens to the estimate if you picked 1982 or 1992 right after El Chichon or Pinatubo blew off.

    “sound” mathematical practices are again one of those things that “sound” good, but often are only cudgels. You may be somewhat disillusioned by the answer. Scientists regard mathematics as a means to an end, the end being learning about the system. Mathematicians regard mathematics as the end and science as a peversion. While the best mathematics is the best tool, scientists feel little compunction about using rough and ready math that happens to be lying about, and on occasion will invent (pull things out of their asses, see for example Feynman integrals, fluxions, Dirac delta fns, etc) things that are not quite mathematically rigorous. Of course, mathematicians want to have perfect answers that are valid for all cases, including the most pernicious, and the cases the scientists look at are almost never in the pernicious category.

  52. #53 nanny_govt_sucks
    December 14, 2007

    “That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming”

    There is no plateau in temperature since 1998.

    But that isn’t what Carter said. You need his definition of “current” before you can level your criticism.

    Your effort to defend Carter in this case is truly pathetic.

    I’m not defending Carter. He seems to have left out his definitions for “net global warming”, and “current”. If he defined these, then I would know better what he is talking about. In the meantime, Tim’s graphic is clearly not addressing the parts of Carter’s statements that ARE understandable.

    Forget 1850, the trendline since 1998 refutes Carter’s quote.

    No it doesn’t. The trendline since 1850 in Tim’s grapnic includes data prior to 1998 to make up the trendline datapoint for 1998 (and probably later). That means that the trendline is not entirely composed of data “since 1998″, so it does not refute Carter’s contention.

  53. #54 trrll
    December 14, 2007

    Peter Bickle:

    All I am saying is that the satillite data looks pretty flat lined for me since 2000. I have no qualms about the rise from 1979, but this rise has now settled down since 2000. Tell me I am wrong based on this graph, but it is a horizontal line from 2000 onwards.

    This is another example of cherry-picking a specific subset of a graph to rationalize a conclusion that you want. It is quite obvious from the graph that the year-to-year variance is such that it is immediately obvious that any trend (or absence of trend) over such a short time period is most likely to be illusory.

    Jack Lackton:

    Has there been any warming since 1998?
    No.
    Whatever the reason is irrelevant. The statement is correct.
    Has CO2 increased at a terrific rate?
    Yes.
    It’s not a very convenient position for the Climate Faithful, is it?

    I suppose that might be the case, if the “climate faithful” were arguing that CO2 is the only–or even the primary–source of year-to-year variation, rather than a factor influencing long term trends. But of course, they aren’t. So this is just another case of deceptive cherry-picking

    Charles the Hammer:

    If so, how is the ideal starting point determined? Can someone tell me?

    The ideal starting point must be determined in an unbiased manner–i.e. without knowing what the data looks like in advance. Unless there is a strong justification for doing otherwise, the best approach is to simply use the entire dataset.

    Alternatively, you could pick several starting dates out of a hat at random, and see what the predominant trend is.

    Or you could randomly pick a block of 5 years or so. Choose the date in that range with the median temperature as your starting point, and measure the trend from that point for a minimum of 10 years onward.

  54. #55 Thom
    December 14, 2007

    NOAA announced yesterday: “Including 2007, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997. The global average surface temperature has risen between 0.6°C and 0.7°C since the start of the twentieth century, and the rate of increase since 1976 has been approximately three times faster than the century-scale trend.”

    Conclusion: Nanny_govT and Jack Lacton can’t read.

  55. #56 JB
    December 14, 2007

    “Does the shape of the curve change with a new starting point? If so, how is the ideal starting point determined?”

    If one is concerned about the “shape” of the curve and “ideal” starting points (and ending points), there is a very good chance that one is up to no good.

    Most scientists (honest ones, at least) prefer trends over “net” changes between endpoints.

    The curve may be oscillating up and down (due to El Nino, for example) and each of the endpoints may fall on a different part of the oscillatory signal (eg, peak and valley), but if the oscillatory signal is sitting on an upwardly trending “ramp”, linear regression will find it — and, importantly, the endpoints will not assume greater weight than any other points in the data series.

  56. #57 Dano
    December 14, 2007

    Speaking of graphing, I’m going to start graphing the frequency of na_gs’ mendacicizations and their type.

    That is: is the frequency related to his presumed length of time it takes us to forget his last foray into FUD?

    Best,

    D

  57. #58 JB
    December 14, 2007

    To my comment “There is no plateau in temperature since 1998. ”

    nags said: “But that isn’t what Carter said. You need his definition of “current” before you can level your criticism.”

    Why does your statement remind me so much of Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what the meaning of is is”?

    You and I both know (from Tamino’s blog) that the temperature has trended upwardly whether one starts in 1998 or 2000.

    (Of course, you would never admit that because you don’t admit being wrong even when Tamino spanks you hard)

    If Carter’s “plateau” comment refers to a period starting in 2001 or later, then he is really playing games because the shorter the period, the less confidence one can have in the trend.

  58. #59 Chris O'Neill
    December 14, 2007

    Peter Bickle:

    All I am saying is that the satillite data looks pretty flat lined for me since 2000.

    Actually the satellite measurements have gone down substantially over 2007. Bickle and co are a bit behind the times. They should be saying we are now experiencing global cooling.

  59. #60 John Mashey
    December 14, 2007

    Speaking of graphing:

    1) “Eyeballing” a time-series chart is not a good idea. In particular, human eyes are drawn to local minima/maxima.

    2) Picking any extreme point and drawing a straight line is also not a good idea.

    3) At the very least, one needs to do a linear regression, or if one is serious, one can do many more things. I recommend tamino’s fine Analyze This tutorial.

    4) People who are mathematically literate knows this stuff. If one is not, it’s easy enough to learn. However, some people who are *not* mathematically illiterate do these things, in which case, keep an eye on your wallet, and read “How to Lie with Statistics”, “How to Lie with Charts”, “How to Lie with Maps”, “Innumeracy”, “Damned Lies and Statistics” in self-defense against against clever cherry-pickers and frauds.

    =====
    For this particular case, I suggest a simple exercise that anyone can do using Excel or equivalent.

    A) Start with NASA GISS Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change, used to create the graph. [I use GISS rather than Tim's Hadley chart because the data is simpler for this exercise.

    B) Select a set of {year, temperature anomaly, 5-year-smoothed anomaly}, ending at 2006. I picked 1977 as an example, but as we'll see, the start date doesn't matter for this exercise.

    C) Paste the data into the spreadsheet, starting at A1, i.e., A1 = " 1977 .13 .00"

    Select A1:A30. Data>Text to Columns
    Choose Delimited, >Next
    Choose Space and "Treat Consecutive delimiters as one", >Finish
    Select Column A and Delete
    (This puts the 3 columns into A, B, and C.)
    Select columns B-C, Format Cells, Number, 2 decimal places.
    Select columns D-E, Format Cells, Number 3 decimal places

    D) Set Cell D1: =(B$30-B1)/(A$30-A1)
    Then Fill Down (Ctrl-D) to cell D29 (2005).
    NOTE: the $ are important.

    D1:D29 gives the temperature slope from each year to 2006, totally dependent only on 2006 and the choice of start year, and ignoring everything else.

    E) Set cell E1: =SLOPE(B1:$B30, A1:$A30)
    Then Fill Down (Ctrl-D) to E29.

    E1:E29 gives the slope fo the linear regression from each year to 2006. Naturally, D29 = E29 (in this case, -.08), since the regression for 2005 to 2006 is the same as the simple slope.

    QUIZ0: Any difference between columns B (yearly) and C (5-year smoothed)?

    QUIZ1: Any difference between columns D and E?

    QUIZ2: If you're a cherry-picker, which of column D or E would you choose if you wanted to prove warming had stopped? Which start years would you pick? [Although, most wouldn't try to pick 2005, since most people understand that year-to-year gyrations happen.] Column D of course is the analog of eyeballing the chart, and if you happen to pick a local minimum or maximum, you can get what you want.

    F) Now, let’s do a graph.

    Select A1:A29, then CTRL-select D1:D29, so you have 3 columns, 1977-2005.
    >Insert, select Chart
    Chart type: XY (scatter)
    Chart sub-type: 2nd one on mine, shows smooth curves with points marked
    >Finish

    You now have a chart in which:
    Series1 gives the simple slop from that year to 2006.
    Series2 gives the regression slope to 2006.
    Expand the chart for visibility.

    Series1 jiggles all over the place, and even manages to get below zero 4 times. Series2 is much more stable, and only fluctuates much in the last few years, unsurprisingly.

    QUIZ3: What will happen when 2007 results are in?
    A: Series1 may look different, because each point only depends on the values of start and end years, whereas Series2 won’t look much different, except at the very end, because it depends on all the intermediate data as well.

    Series2 hovers around .02 degrees/year.
    Anyway, this all takes 15 minutes or less,

  60. #61 dhogaza
    December 14, 2007

    By saying “It’s been cooling since 1998″ is designed to get people’s attention about things like this graph and how it’s constructed.

    Well, no, the letter is meant to try to convince the world that CO2 doesn’t cause warming and that therefore we should do nothing about it.

    You can read it for yourself, you know? Tim conveniently provided a link.

  61. #62 nanny_govt_sucks
    December 15, 2007

    You and I both know (from Tamino’s blog) that the temperature has trended upwardly whether one starts in 1998 or 2000.

    That’s beside the point. The graphic Tim presented does not support a refutation of Carter. This is not an issue about warming or cooling since a certain time. It’s about whether a trendline is the same from two different starting points.

    If Carter’s “plateau” comment refers to a period starting in 2001 or later, then he is really playing games because the shorter the period, the less confidence one can have in the trend.

    Take it up with Carter.

  62. #63 trrll
    December 15, 2007

    That’s beside the point. The graphic Tim presented does not support a refutation of Carter. This is not an issue about warming or cooling since a certain time. It’s about whether a trendline is the same from two different starting points.

    Wrong. It is about whether it is valid to cherry-pick 1998 as the starting point in order to alter the trendline. The answer is one known to anybody who has studied elementary statistics: it is not. The graphic proves that 1998 is cherry-picked as a statistical fluctuation, much higher than either the years before or the years after, proving that 1998 is an invalid choice of starting point.

  63. #64 Chris O'Neill
    December 15, 2007

    Take it up with Carter.

    The world has a never-ending supply of dishonest nutcases. You don’t “take it up with them” because by definition you don’t expect a rational response. You warn people about them.

  64. #65 Kevin
    December 15, 2007

    Trrll:

    If we can say with confidence it is warmer now than any time even in the past 1000 years, does that reliably entail anything about our knowledge of global climate other than the fact being asserted? Measuring from 1998 or 1558 doesn’t seem to actually entail anything sans knowledge of the necessary and sufficient conditions of the temperatures at the various points in time.

  65. #66 z
    December 15, 2007

    “‘WEGMAN: Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmospheric profile, I don’t know. I’m not an atmospheric scientist…’
    Perhaps the blue on the graph above is supposed to represent CO2 settling into the valleys.”

    Ah, but you see
    “Heated greenhouse gases, which become lighter as a result of expansion, ascend to the atmosphere only to give the absorbed heat away”, making the greenhouse effect physically impossible.
    http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=eabbe10d-3891-41eb-9ee1-a59b71743bec

  66. #67 z
    December 15, 2007

    “Science is not a popularity contest: The number of authorities who subscribe to a given hypothesis has no relationship to its empirical accuracy or validity. Theories require proven, predictable results. They do not require a democratic vote of the authorities. If the opinion of a majority of the authorities was all that was required, we would still think the earth was flat. Empirical proof is required”

    And yet, things the majority of scientists believe tend to be true. Sheer coincidence, I guess.

    For the nth time, I ask: “As somebody who finds the current evidence for anthropogenic climate change unconvincing, what manner of evidence would convince you? And/or what would possibly constitute ‘scientific proof’ of anthropogenic climate change, that mankind has not provided?” Given the howling absence of reply to my queries up to now, I am forced to the conclusion that there is no form of evidence that will suffice to convince ‘skeptics’; which makes their opinions essentially useless.

  67. #68 Tony Lee
    December 15, 2007

    I predict that the “no warming since 1998″ talking point will die out next year, to be replaced by the far more euphonious “no warming in the last decade”.

  68. #69 dhogaza
    December 15, 2007

    If we can say with confidence it is warmer now than any time even in the past 1000 years, does that reliably entail anything about our knowledge of global climate other than the fact being asserted?

    Well, yes, it would give us reason to believe that basic physical attributes of the universe, including the ability of CO2 to absorb infrared radiation, and its contribution to the fact that temps here aren’t hell-freezing cold as would be true if CO2 weren’t a GHG, haven’t changed in the last 150 years. Seeing as this was when the first lab work regarding CO2 and infrared radiation was done …

  69. #70 trrll
    December 15, 2007

    If we can say with confidence it is warmer now than any time even in the past 1000 years, does that reliably entail anything about our knowledge of global climate other than the fact being asserted? Measuring from 1998 or 1558 doesn’t seem to actually entail anything sans knowledge of the necessary and sufficient conditions of the temperatures at the various points in time.

    These measures constitute tests of the validity of our scientific knowledge of the fundamental physical mechanisms that influence climate. This is how science works–scientific models are tested against observational data.

    However, you are correct that measuring from 1998 is meaningless–indeed, a statistician would regard it as dishonest, because an elementary statistical principle tells you that you will reach an incorrect conclusion if you select the peak of a noisy signal and attempt to calculate a trend line from that point. Even if a more typical year were chosen, 7 years is too short to draw a reliable trend forward with this degree of variation. And in any case, merely drawing a trend line is rhetoric, not science, because the models do not predict a linear trend. The real scientific analysis examines the entire time series, and compares it with the predictions of the model.

  70. #71 JB
    December 15, 2007

    nannygovtsucks said: “This is not an issue about warming or cooling since a certain time. It’s about whether a trendline is the same from two different starting points.”

    Which part of Carter’s statement are you having trouble understanding?

    “there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.”

    Your contradictory posts are just killing me (in an uncontrollable laughter sort of way)

  71. #72 dhogaza
    December 15, 2007

    However, you are correct that measuring from 1998 is meaningless–indeed, a statistician would regard it as dishonest, because an elementary statistical principle tells you that you will reach an incorrect conclusion if you select the peak of a noisy signal and attempt to calculate a trend line from that point.

    Except for statistics ace and CA hero Wegman, who heavily criticized a quibbly problem with Mann’s hockey stick analysis but had no problem signing Carter’s letter containing this inherently dishonest cherry-pick of the data.

  72. #73 JB
    December 15, 2007

    trrll said “Even if a more typical year were chosen, 7 years is too short to draw a reliable trend forward with this degree of variation.”

    Actually, that is not correct.

    The temperature trend over the past 7 years is upward and the result is significant statistically as Tamino showed.

    “And in any case, merely drawing a trend line is rhetoric, not science, because the models do not predict a linear trend.”

    Not true. Drawing trend lines is not rhetoric. Hardly.

    Furthermore, the models actually do predict something close to a linear trend over a relatively short period of time.

    According to the models, temperature change is proportional to the change in greenhouse gas radiative forcing, which is pretty close to a linear ramp over a short (decade) time period.

  73. #74 trrll
    December 15, 2007

    Actually, that is not correct.
    The temperature trend over the past 7 years is upward and the result is significant statistically as Tamino showed.

    Perhaps. He doesn’t state what statistical test he did or provide a p-value, nor does he state whether the errors on the slope that he calculated are standard errors, as is conventional, or 95% confidence limits. If the errors on the slope he gives are standard errors, then I’m doubtful if it is significant at p < 0.05, much less p < 0.01. Even if those are 95% confidence limits instead of standard errors, the lower limit on the slope is close to zero, which means that this data does not provide what I would consider to be a reliable estimate of the trend, even if you can say with p < 0.05 that it is nonzero. Moreover, when the error is this large, the risk of a type II error is considerable–meaning that it quite well could have come out nonsignificant even though the trend is real. In other words, this interval of time is marginal at best for determining whether there is a trend, and completely inadequate for obtaining any kind of reliable estimate of its magnitude.

    As an aside, I think that this kind of thing playys into the hands of the denialists. I don’t think that any scientist would realistically try to forecast a trend over such a short interval with this degree of variation. A denialist could just as well pick out the uncertainty of the slope and argue that this means that the rate of increase in temperature could very likely be so small that we don’t need to worry about it any time soon. Worse, it could be perceived a accepting the validity of fitting trends to short intervals with cherry-picked starting points, inviting denialists to find other intervals over which the trend is not significant.

    And drawing a linear trend, which is a statistical rather than physical model, reinforces the denialist misrepresentation that climate predictions are fits or statistical extrapolations of temperature data, rather than being based on physical models, with the data being used to test the validity of the model.

  74. #75 JB
    December 15, 2007

    I agree that the shorter the period, the greater the uncertainty, but that certainly does not mean trends are “rhetoric”. I would note that the positive value given for the trend in the case I linked to above exceeds the probable error.
    Doing a linear regression from 1998 -present is certainly more meaningful than taking the difference between the endpoints as many people who claim global warming stopped in 1998 do.

    And whether trending plays “into the hands of the denialists” is quite a separate issue from whether trends are useful from a scientific standpoint.

    Let’s face it, people who want to play games are going to find a way no matter what you do.

  75. #76 dhogaza
    December 15, 2007

    As an aside, I think that this kind of thing playys into the hands of the denialists. I don’t think that any scientist would realistically try to forecast a trend over such a short interval with this degree of variation.

    That wasn’t Tamino’s point, though.

    His point is that EVEN IF cherry-picking the start point at 1998 coupled with the fact that there are only 9 years of data 1998-2007 were a reasonable basis for declaring a trend, it is STILL a rising trend.

    Not a trend that supports the oft-heard “global warming stopped in 1998″ denialist schtick.

    He’s well aware the the underlying claim that a trend from 1998 to present is of any particular usefulness is bogus to begin with …

  76. #77 Lance
    December 15, 2007

    The “trend” has been positive since the end of the little ice age. Despite efforts of some scientists to rewrite climate history the earth seems to be returning to the warmer temperatures before the little ice age known as the medieval warm period.

    Even accepting the toned down claim that temperatures are higher than they have been in “four hundred years” the appropriate response is “so what?” The earth did just fine when the temps were at those levels, unless someone can show me evidence of great climate related calamities four hundred years ago.

    Whether statistical evidence shows that temperature since 1998 is slightly on the rise is besides the point.

    z and others have asked “what would convince skeptics?”

    Well, for me, that depends on what you are claiming.

    Do I doubt that the global mean temperature has risen all of 0.6C in the last hundred years? I guess that would be a qualified no. The qualification being, is there really a meaningful metric described by a “global mean temperature” and what confidence do you have that you have measured it correctly?

    Do I doubt that CO2 is a “green house” gas? No. The question is “what is the sensitivity of the climate to specific levels of CO2?” This is far from “settled science”. Most sources I have seen claim that a doubling of CO2 alone, without positive feedbacks, will result in about 1 degree C of warming. Not the stuff of catastrophe.

    Do I doubt that humans are contributing CO2 to the atmosphere? No.

    Do I doubt the accuracy of climate models? You bet! Anyone that has ever worked with systems of coupled non-linear equations knows that obtaining meaningful results is extremely difficult, if not impossible, depending on the precision of boundary conditions. If I have to explain the difficulty in choosing boundary conditions in a system as complicated as the earth’s climate system you probably don’t understand the issue.

    Do I doubt that we face 2.5C to (you name it) warming in the next 100 years if we continue “business as usual” carbon dioxide emission? Yes. The fact is these projections are based solely on the climate models I have already commented on.

    Do I doubt that we could convert from a carbon based fuel economy in a few decades without major negative economic consequences? Absolutely. If you think otherwise you don’t understand the challenge that would be.

    I have no emotional attachment to petroleum. If economically viable alternatives exist surely $100 a barrel oil should bring them online without forcing the entire world to go cold turkey on oil. If not, then the burden rests squarely on advocates of “alternative energy” to show that we would not be making a disastrous mistake by legislating an end to the main source of energy for the entire world.

    So, z, I guess it would take more than a puny 0.6 degree increase over the last century and scaremongering claims of doom predicated on unproven climate models for me to get behind a plan to radically change the entire world’s economy.

    It would take temperatures that it could be proven were truly outside the bounds of natural variability and a falsifiable theory explaining those temps that withstood falsification. I’m sorry but despite the rancor, sarcasm and outrage commonly displayed here at Deltoid there is nothing that comes close to that level of evidence supporting the theory that we face “dangerous” global warming from burning of fossil fuels.

    (For those that will quibble with the qualifier “dangerous”, why would we care, let alone demand that the whole world change its energy supply, if that was not the issue.)

  77. #78 Robin Levett
    December 15, 2007

    @Lance (#77):

    Do I doubt that CO2 is a “green house” gas? No. The question is “what is the sensitivity of the climate to specific levels of CO2?” This is far from “settled science”. Most sources I have seen claim that a doubling of CO2 alone, without positive feedbacks, will result in about 1 degree C of warming. Not the stuff of catastrophe.

    Can we take it then that you don’t believe that water vapour is an important greenhouse gas; and that warmer air will not hold more water vapour?

  78. #79 Boris
    December 15, 2007

    Most sources I have seen claim that a doubling of CO2 alone, without positive feedbacks, will result in about 1 degree C of warming. Not the stuff of catastrophe.

    But that’s irrelevant. There are feedbacks. They are certainly positive. Model estimates and observational estimates put climate sensitivity between 2oC and 4.5oC. Extremely high sensitivities are unlikely but cannot be ruled out.

    The fact is these projections are based solely on the climate models I have already commented on.

    This is wrong. There is observational evidence for climate sensitivity. If you go by observational evidence alone, then significantly higher sensitivities are more likely. Unless James Annan is right, then CS is quite close to 3oC.

    Denialist claims of a low climate sensitivity are based on zero evidence and amount to no more than a guess.

  79. #80 Lance
    December 15, 2007

    Robin Levett,

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. Warmer air does generally hold more water vapour. Much of that vapour however forms clouds which as anyone familiar with this topic knows can give both positive and negative feedbacks.

    Also the hydrological cycle is a good deal more complex than your simplisitic, and insulting, remark would indicate.

    If you have a real question please ask it, but this sort of pockshot non-question is hardly constructive, or even polite.

  80. #81 Ken
    December 15, 2007

    Time is thinning any real sceptics from the ranks of global warming denialism. We’re left with the ones for whom evidence is never enough if it says what they don’t want to hear (and of course the flimsiest of evidence is jumped on when it does). Trying to voice support for logically unsupportable positions increasingly shows them to be closed minded and out of touch with reality, more concerned with rhetorical games than science. Although the US is deliberately dragging it’s heels on targets for GHG emissions, the existence of AGW has faded away as an issue in negotiations about climate change policy. A kind of rear guard, stomping the nonsense that Carter and others who still come out with is still worthwhile, but the real issues that ought to be engaging smart, informed people is how to get workable mitigation policies happening sooner. Mitigation has to begin in earnest now. Adaptation is going to be needed too but failing with mitigation will only make adaptation harder.

  81. #82 Robin Levett
    December 15, 2007

    @Lance (#80):

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. Warmer air does generally hold more water vapour. Much of that vapour however forms clouds which as anyone familiar with this topic knows can give both positive and negative feedbacks.

    And the net effect is?

    You’ll have to forgive me; the anti-AGW position is usually that water vapour is a far more important factor that CO2, so it is surprising to find someone on that side of the aisle claiming that air carrying more water vapour won’t cause increased warming.

    Your reference to the effect of CO2 “without positive feedbacks” was at best disingenuous, since so far as I am aware from my limited knowledge, no climate scientist says that the anticipated warming will arise solely from the physical efefcts of CO2 with no intensification from feedbacks.

    I’m interested in your claim that much of the water vapour in the atmosphere forms clouds – which I take to mean that at any one instant, most water vapour in the atmosphere is there in the form of clouds. If you don’t mean that, but instead that much of the water vapour in the atmosphere will, at some point in its passage through the hydrological cycle, form clouds, that is uncontroversial but irrelevant.

    Which did you mean, and if the first alternative, what is your evidence for that?

  82. #83 Robin Levett
    December 15, 2007

    @Lance (#77);

    One more comment before I go to bed; you said:

    Do I doubt that we could convert from a carbon based fuel economy in a few decades without major negative economic consequences? Absolutely. If you think otherwise you don’t understand the challenge that would be.

    When do you believe that fossil fuels – specifically oil, upon which most of the global transportation rests – will be priced out of the global economy through scarcity

  83. #84 trrll
    December 15, 2007

    JB:

    I would note that the positive value given for the trend in the case I linked to above exceeds the probable error.

    I always get nervous when people use terms like “the probable error,” as if there were one unique value. How probable is probable? Scientists usually accept p < 0.05 (1 chance in 20 that the effect is not real) in cases where the conclusions do not ride critically on that result, or where there is other corroborating evidence. Where a result is pivotal or surprising, they usually demand p < 0.01 (one chance in 100 that the effect is not real and due to a statistical fluctuation) or even lower. Unless otherwise specified, averages are normally stated as "mean +/- standard error of the mean." If that range does not include the null hypothesis, and if everything is nice and Gaussian, that means that there is about a one-third chance that the effect is not real. Most people would not accept this as significant.

    dhogaza:

    That wasn’t Tamino’s point, though.
    His point is that EVEN IF cherry-picking the start point at 1998 coupled with the fact that there are only 9 years of data 1998-2007 were a reasonable basis for declaring a trend, it is STILL a rising trend.

    I am aware that is what he is trying to say. My point is that it is generally unwise to let an opponent define the terms of the argument, particularly when those terms are invalid. Accepting their reasoning “for the sake of argument” will frequently be perceived as validating that reasoning. So what happens if we have a particularly cold winter and the trend since 1998 is no longer significant? Remember when the denialists made such a fuss over whether a tiny correction changed whether 1998 or 1934 was the warmest US year on record, even though the temperatures for those two years were not significantly different either before or after the correction?

  84. #85 John Mashey
    December 15, 2007

    Peak Oil:
    T. Boone Pickens: http://www.resourceinvestor.com/pebble.asp?relid=10766
    Google: boone pickens peak oil 2007 gets lots of videos

    ASPO USA a few months ago:
    http://www.aspousa.org/aspousa3/

    David Strahan:
    http://www.lastoilshock.com/

    Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsch_report (and follow links)

    So, my answer: it will be a long time before oil is priced out of the market due to scarcity. Conventional oil is just too useful.

    Of course, if you believe the Hirsch Report comments, we should have started at least a decade ago to start phasing oil out, because it is definitely going to get more and more expensive, and when that happens faster than infrastructure and transport can easily handle, the world economy will be very different.

    If you’re some oil companies, what you wish for is for everybody to keep burning oil like crazy, right up to the point where little is left, and it can be sold for a true fortune … then you use the money you made to buy up alternate competitor. It is NOT in your short-term interest for people to economize or seek alternatives, as that will reduce your profits out a ways.

    After all, in most curves, it is a few decades to producing about 50% less oil/year….

    Of course for anyone who can read those charts, ignoring climate change, there is a huge impetus to:
    a) Conserve oil/gas and stretch them as far as possible, i.e., all-out efficiency.
    b) While reworking oil/gas-burning-related investments to be more efficient
    c) And scrambling very hard to get renewable replacements in place, because there is a huge gap to fill, even with all-out efficiency.

    [This is what CA thinks it's doing, more or less.]

    Of course, if you also worry about AGW, you do the same things, although you may even hope they find extra oil, if that helps stave off extra use of unsequestered coal … which is where the real trouble will be. We will burn all the conventional oil and gas.

    Presumably, there will be a museum in 100-200 years that exhibits a barrel of oil in the archaelogy section, presumably well-guarded.

  85. #86 Kevin
    December 15, 2007

    Trrll:

    Perhaps referring to anyone that disagrees with your position as a member of some monolithic group of ‘denialists’ is not a great rhetorical choice. Also you didn’t seem to answer the question I posed. I understand you think 7 years is too short to draw a trend and using a high temp. peak year is dishonest. Why is 1000 years sufficient? I understand ceteris paribus assumptions, but I don’t understand how they allow for more accurate prediction when cobbled together with needlessly multiplied entities. A temperature trend by itself doesn’t seem meaningful in this instance.

    I have seen it asserted that warming is not proceeding apace with GCM model predictions, the GCM models are adjusted to fit the data retroactively, and also that the models are not empirically founded and that current climatology is not sufficiently accurate enough to allow for modelling with any predictive value at all. The last two I read asserted by Kevin Trenberth. How would you characterize those claims?

  86. #87 Ian Gould
    December 15, 2007

    “Do I doubt that we could convert from a carbon based fuel economy in a few decades without major negative economic consequences? Absolutely. If you think otherwise you don’t understand the challenge that would be.”

    Presumably if Lance were concerned about the cost of having asbestos removed from his house his response would be to doubt the science linking asbestos and cancer.

    Lance, is there even any point in pointing out that most economists disagree with you here?

  87. #88 trrll
    December 15, 2007

    Perhaps referring to anyone that disagrees with your position as a member of some monolithic group of ‘denialists’ is not a great rhetorical choice.

    What I’ve observed is that denialists of all stripes–evolution denialists, AIDS denialists, germ theory denialists, global warming denialists–use the same deceptive, dishonest arguments. Cherry-picking, in particular, is virtually the sine qua non. And picking a year that is an obvious statistical outlier–much higher than the years either before or after it–as the point to draw a trend line from is a classic example of cherry-picking. You would not encounter any genuine scientist using an argument of this type.

    Also you didn’t seem to answer the question I posed. I understand you think 7 years is too short to draw a trend and using a high temp. peak year is dishonest. Why is 1000 years sufficient? I understand ceteris paribus assumptions, but I don’t understand how they allow for more accurate prediction when cobbled together with needlessly multiplied entities.

    Look at any basic statistics book on linear regression. You will find that the greater the random fluctuations around a trend, the longer the time base you need to be able to reliably detect the trend. However, it is important to note that climate prediction is not based upon extrapolation of trends, but upon physics. The importance of the temperature data is that it provides one method (out of many) of testing the validity of the physical models. Obviously, a long period of time, over which many things, not just CO2, have varied, provides a more stringent test of the models.

    I have seen it asserted that warming is not proceeding apace with GCM model predictions, the GCM models are adjusted to fit the data retroactively,

    This is the sort of confusion that talking about trends leads to, because people start to think that a climate model is just a complicated trend fit. A trend or curve fit has arbitrary parameters that can be adjusted to fit the data, but a physical model is not a fit, and its behavior depends largely upon physical constants that cannot be arbitrarily varied. If the model’s output does not agree with the data, it indicates that some aspect of the model’s physics is oversimplified. So what is done to try to improve correspondence of the model with reality is to pick areas of the model that rely upon approximations and simplifications, and try to improve the level of detail and accuracy of the physics models.

  88. #89 Boris
    December 15, 2007

    The last two I read asserted by Kevin Trenberth. How would you characterize those claims?

    Go reread Trenbreth.

  89. #90 Lance
    December 15, 2007

    Robin Levett,

    Carbon fuels include coal which supplies about half of the US’s electricity. We also have about four hundred years of coal by current estimates. Any switch to other fuels would greatly increase electricity prices. Not to mention the fact that there really is no non-carbon alternative at the moment other than nuclear, which of course is frowned upon by many of the same environmental groups that tell us that we must abandon coal. How about more hydro-electric plants? Oops again opposed by those same groups. That doesn’t leave much. Wind power? Geothermal? Solar?

    That just covers electricity. A comprehensive list of the costs of eliminating all carbon fuels would run well into the trillions of dollars. Not to mention that there exists no readily available alternative.

    I fail to see the relevance of your asbestos red herring. Please try to stick to the topic at hand. Are you claiming that a “consensus” of economists are saying that abandoning fossil fuels is cost effective? Please don’t present the Stern Report as representing the opinion of main stream economists. It certainly does not.

  90. #91 trrll
    December 15, 2007

    Carbon fuels include coal which supplies about half of the US’s electricity. We also have about four hundred years of coal by current estimates. Any switch to other fuels would greatly increase electricity prices. Not to mention the fact that there really is no non-carbon alternative at the moment other than nuclear, which of course is frowned upon by many of the same environmental groups that tell us that we must abandon coal.

    I think that many people are re-evaluating nuclear power, as it becomes increasingly clear that the concerns people had about nuclear power are relatively minor compared to the likely consequences of global warming.

  91. #93 Lee A. Arnold
    December 16, 2007

    In this thread we have people “doubting the accuracy of climate models” (but of course the models return a range of estimates, each with a different probability) while asserting in nearly the same breath that we cannot “convert from a carbon-based fuel economy in a few decades without major economic consequences” — and assuring us that “if you think otherwise you don’t understand the challenge.” Pessimistic nonsense. (As well as a straw-man argument: There is no 100% changeover from fossil fuels being called-for, much less mandated anywhere.)

    Consider solar thermal electric generation. It is scalable from village to city. It has no fuel cycle. It is so abundant and harmless that inefficiency and waste are secondary. Easy co-products could be water desalination and heating. It is transportable by the existing electric grids. The energy can be stored as thermal or potential gravitational energy, for nighttime regeneration. It doesn’t need a police state to protect radioactive material nor a militarist foreign policy to insure oil supply. If you convert the automobile economy to electric, which is already starting to happen, then you will have well over half of every nation’s economy taken care of by an energy source without a fuel cycle on the planet. All that would remain to be dealt with among major carbon uses are trucking, aircraft, and ocean shipping.

    Starting to convert from carbon is an easy “no-brainer.” Nuclear is hardly necessary. There is simply no reason to side with the pessimists on this, and it does not incur only “costs.” It will create jobs and economic growth. The denialists are not mounting scientific or economic arguments — only seeming so. This has become entirely a political argument, now.

  92. #94 dhogaza
    December 16, 2007

    I see that Lance, our resident physics PhD dropout wannabee, is back repeating EXACTLY the same crap that he’s posted several times before, crap which in each case has been refuted two or three or more times before (I’m not keeping score).

    Don’t feed the troll. Lance lives in a fact-free world.

  93. #95 Ian Gould
    December 16, 2007

    ” Please don’t present the Stern Report as representing the opinion of main stream economists. It certainly does not.”

    You took a poll of mainstream economists to reach that conclusion, I take it?

    Tell you what, go hunt down the report the GAO did back around 1997 on the cost to the US of implementing Kyoto. The report summarized the results of about a dozen different economic modeling exercises – which on average predicted a net cost of around 1% of GDP.

    Since then there have been two principal changes:

    1. Oil has gotten much more expensive, therefore the net cost of substituting other fuels for oil has gone down significantly.

    2. The cost of wind-power and solar power has been significantly reduced.

    Both changes mean that we can now go much further than Kyoto for a similar cost. (And let’s note that those costs fail to capture the offsetting benefits such as avoiding the 30,000 deaths a year in the US caused by air pollution from coal-fired power plants.)

    But hey that’s only what a few tens of thousands of economists say, I’m sure they lack the deep understanding of economics possessed by the average Physics post-grad.

    Oh and Lance the significance of the asbestos analogy is that “I don’t WANT it to be true” isn’t a valid argument for the falsity of a hypothesis.

  94. #96 Ian Gould
    December 16, 2007

    I guess Robert Solow; James Mirrlees; Amartya Sen; Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs aren’t mainstream economists.

    Somebody call the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, they’ve got three Nobels to revoke.

    Richard Tol, one of the few mainstream economists who did extensively criticise the Stern Review has subsequently repudiated most of his criticisms.

    But Bjorn Lomborg criticised him too, he’s an economist right?

  95. #97 Ian Gould
    December 16, 2007

    Maybe Professor William Nordhaus of Yale University is that unicorn-like chimera, a “mainstream” economist, after all he’s eminent in the field ad has criticised Stern.

    Nope, he can’t be.

    See he published this paper in September 2007:
    http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/dice_mss_091107_public.pdf

    In which he argues (page 124):

    “The optimal policy reduces the global temperature rise relative to 1900 to 2.8 °C in 2100 and to 3.4 °C in 2200. If concentration or temperature limits are added to the economic optimum, the additional cost is relatively modest for all but the most ambitious targets. For example, imposing a constraint in which CO2 concentrations are limited to a doubling of pre-industrial levels has an
    additional present-value cost of $0.4 trillion, while limiting global temperature increases to 2½ °C has an additional present value cost of $1.1 trillion over the
    optimum.

    Note that while the net impact of policies is relative small, the total discounted climatic damages are large. We estimate that the present value of climatic damages in the baseline (uncontrolled) case is $22.6 trillion, as
    compared to $17.3 trillion in the optimal case.”

  96. #98 JC
    December 16, 2007

    I guess Robert Solow; James Mirrlees; Amartya Sen; Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs aren’t mainstream economists.

    Robert Solow is a good guy , but the rest are left wing economists in the same way as the old Soviet economsists. They’re enablers.

    Sen makes frequent idiotic pronouncements. Joe Stigliz has become quite deranged since his Nobel. Sachs almost single handedly wrecked Eastern Europe with his shock therapy after coming out of commieland and still hasn’t apologized..

    Please show me what Solow said. I wanna see what he said.

    In any event Gouldiechops, you don’t need these dudes giving you any advice. You can easily just rely on me. Stern screwed up big time and he ought to apologize and give his consultancy fees back.

  97. #99 JC
    December 16, 2007

    Richard Tol, one of the few mainstream economists who did extensively criticise the Stern Review has subsequently repudiated most of his criticisms.

    Bullshit he has. He was always a warmer. Howver he hasn’t repudiated anything. Tol has not repudiated anything he said about the problem of Stern using a discount rate 1/70 below the cost of capital.

  98. #100 cce
    December 16, 2007

    FWIW, I’ve recalculated the linear trends of GISS, Hadcrutv, RSS, and UAH covering the period of time that is common to all.

    Here are the Jan ’79 to Oct ’07, the Jan ’79 to Dec ’98, and the Jan ’98 to Oct ’07 trends. In other words, the whole dataset, the dataset ending with and including ’98, and the dataset since and including ’98. All in degrees C per decade.

    ’79-present/’79-’98/’98-present

    GISS 0.172/0.145/0.188
    HadCrutv 0.171/0.152/0.057
    RSS 0.178/0.185/-0.031
    UAH 0.143/0.114/0.392

    For all but RSS, when you include the data after 1998, the trend since 1979 increases. However, when you cherry pick the “Super El Nino” year 1998 as the starting year, Hadley (instruments) and RSS (satellites) do show flat trends since then, while GISS (instruments) and UAH (satellites) show strong warming. RSS shows the highest trend over the entire dataset, but the lowest trend since 1998. UAH shows the lowest trend over the entire dataset, but the highest since 1998.

    These graphics should put things into perspective. Look at the dots in relation to the trends. Note if they are above or below the trend. To my eyes, nothing of the last ten years looks unusual compared to any of the previous 20. In all cases, I’ve shifted the anomalies up or down so that the linear trend has a y intercept of 0.

    http://cce.000webhost.org/giss.jpg
    http://cce.000webhost.org/hadcrutv.jpg
    http://cce.000webhost.org/uah.jpg
    http://cce.000webhost.org/rss.jpg

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