The Australian‘s War on Science 33

Today’s Australian has a piece by Bob Carter predicting global cooling

Global atmospheric temperature reached a peak in 1998, has not warmed since 1995 and, has been cooling since 2002. Some people, still under the thrall of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s disproved projections of warming, seem surprised by this cooling trend, even to the point of denying it. But why?

Well, look at this graph from my previous post. When you want to talk about climate trends, you need to use at a bare minimum ten years and not cherry pick your starting point.

i-a664f9f04f903fddfa422078e3725bac-smooth.jpg

Carter continues:

There are two fundamentally different ways in which computers can be used to project climate. The first is used by the modelling groups that provide climate projections to the IPCC. These groups deploy general circulation models, which use complex partial differential equations to describe the ocean-atmosphere climate system mathematically. When fed with appropriate initial data, these models can calculate possible future climate states. The models presume (wrongly) that we have a complete understanding of the climate system.

Two things wrong here. Global Climate Models (as opposed to weather models) don’t depend on initial data. They solve a Boundary Value Problem (climate) rather than an Initial Value Problem (weather). And they don’t presume that we have a complete understanding of the climate system (otherwise scientists would just use that model instead of ensembles of models).

GCMs are subject to the well-known computer phenomenon of GIGO, which translates as “garbage in, God’s-truth out”.

Alternative computer projections of climate can be constructed using data on past climate change, by identifying mathematical (often rhythmic) patterns within them and projecting these patterns into the future. Such models are statistical and empirical, and make no presumptions about complete understanding; instead, they seek to recognise and project into the future the climate patterns that exist in real world data.

Because our understanding of atmospheric physics is incomplete, Carter thinks we can get better results if we throw out everything we do know. Fitting curves to the data without any modelling of the processes involved is not a good way to predict the future. See that sixth-degree polynomial fit again.

Carter then gives several examples of folks making such dubious predictions. I’ll look at one of then as an example.

In 2007, the 60-year climate cycle was identified again, by Chinese scientists Lin Zhen-Shan and Sun Xian, who used a novel multi-variate analysis of the 1881-2002 temperature records for China. They showed that temperature variation in China leads parallel variation in global temperature by five-10 years, and has been falling since 2001. They conclude “we see clearly that global and northern hemisphere temperature will drop on century scale in the next 20 years”.

Basically what they did was identify a cooling trend starting in 1881 and another one one starting in 1941 and concluded that there would be cooling every 60 years. This is like rolling a die and getting a five and concluding that you will get a five every time you roll it.

Frank Bi took a more detailed look at Zhen-Shan and Xian:

Which leads me to the main problem with EMD, which isn’t with the algorithm itself, but how it’s used by Zhen-Shan and Xian. They try to extrapolate the IMFs in order to predict stuff. But here’s the breaks: the IMFs are empirically derived functions which aren’t known to correspond to any neat formulae, so they can’t be extrapolated just like that — at least, not without some more work.

And so did William Connolley:

Conclusion: Lambert is right: this is indeed “just a rubbish paper that should not have been published”.

Comments

  1. #1 Jimmy Nightingale
    January 20, 2009

    James Cook University obviously suffers fools gladly. It’s almost as embarassing as the James A Peden piece that is doing the rounds.

  2. #2 mitchell porter
    January 20, 2009

    Tim, do you have any idea who is behind this editorial policy? On any comparable topic (HIV, say) it would be considered grossly irresponsible to do what they’re doing.

  3. #3 Richard McGuire
    January 20, 2009

    Yet another denial piece by Bob Carter, yet another debunking by Tim Lambert. A bit like watching a dog chase its tail. Carter will surely return touting his association with James Cook University. In his most recent effort in the Australian he represented himself as an “adjunct Professor of Geology.” If you go back to “The Australian’s War on Science XXVII” he was ” an adjunct research fellow at James Cook University who studies ancient climate.” In a New Zealand television interview in April last year (see video link in comments #22) same posting, he was a “Professor at James Cook University Marine Geophysical Laboratory.” No wonder James Cook University has trouble keeping tabs on him.

  4. #4 yogi-one
    January 20, 2009

    The climate denialists are a lot like the tobacco denialists of the 1990s. Where are they now? How come 10 years later the tobacco denialists haven’t been vindicated? If they were right, how come it hasn’t been proved to public, once and for all that there are no causative links between tobacco and lung cancer?

    No, something more sinister is going on. They are smart enough to know they aren’t right. They are simply buying time. The whole point is not to prove that AGW isn’t happening; they know it is.

    People like Carter are similar to insurgents who throw IEDs under trucks of a conventional army. They know they are outmanned, outgunned, out numbered, and the enemy has better training, better equipment, and better strategists than them.

    The strategy becomes to make diversions – to sidetrack the other side, distract them, and prolong the ultimate victory for the better armed forces.

    Carter doesn’t have to win. As long as carter can keep the Carter-Lambert tail-chasing happening it accomplishes two goals for Carter: it provides a way for him to get his hands in the pockets of the interests that want to fight against change (fossil fuel industries, arch-conservative politicos, etc), and it provides a way for him to prolong this source of income.

    Despite the fact that his views are unpopular, and his “research” is just plain faulty, he can become the darling of moneyed interests, and the longer he can drag it out, the more money and influence he himself acquires.

    Not unlike the attorneys who represented Big Tobacco in the 90s, not unlike aspiring jihadis wanting to gain rank and prestige among their own extremist factions. The case of Big Tobacco shows what the outcome of this will be. They will ultimately fail, but by buying time, they may be able to escape with their personal fortunes intact, and a good resume to present to the next bigshots who are invested in technologies, ideologies, or shady business practices that can’t otherwise survive.

  5. #5 T. Parsons
    January 20, 2009

    As a simple lay person, I frankly don’t know who to believe and suspect that none of the so-called “experts” on either side really know what’s going on, but I feel compelled to point out that the Australian author used 1998 as his starting point which, I believe, is ten years ago. So he seems to be employing your recommended minimum period…?

  6. #6 Bob Clip
    January 20, 2009

    Re: T. Parsons #5

    Perhaps you might go this link published today:-

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/uoia-ssa011609.php

    The real experts don’t have any doubt.

  7. #7 Dunc
    January 20, 2009

    Alternative computer projections of climate can be constructed using data on past climate change, by identifying mathematical (often rhythmic) patterns within them and projecting these patterns into the future.

    So how did that work out for your stock portfolio over the last couple of years?

  8. #8 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 20, 2009

    T. Parsons,

    The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more. Ten years doesn’t tell you anything, because it’s not long enough to tease the signal out of the noise.

  9. #9 Chris O'Neill
    January 20, 2009

    The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more.

    It follows that you can’t possibly determine a change in climate with less than 30 years of data.

  10. #10 Vagueofgodalming
    January 20, 2009

    Interesting, though, that Carter has decided to explain the difference between modelling and curve-fitting to his troops. It’s been obvious that plenty of the denialist commenters don’t understand (or don’t acknowledge) this distinction, so this seems to represent some sort of change of tack, or perhaps strategic retreat.

  11. #11 Chris O'Neill
    January 20, 2009

    I like this Carter statement:

    Nonetheless, by coincidence, growing recognition of a threat of climatic cooling is correct, because since the turn of the 21st century all real world, long-term climate indicators have turned downwards.

    There ain’t no such thing as a long-term climate indicator SINCE the turn of the 21st century because there hasn’t been 30 years since the turn of the 21st century.

  12. #12 WotWot
    January 20, 2009

    Nonetheless, by coincidence, growing recognition of a threat of climatic cooling is correct, because since the turn of the 21st century all real world, long-term climate indicators have turned downwards.

    I really don’t get it.

    Why does Carter make claims like that? He can’t be that stupid.

    Does he just have a strong contrarian personality, and is driven to reflexively take the minority view on these kind of issues?

    Or is it for the sort of reasons that yogi-one postulated @ #4? In which case, if he knows he is wrong and cannot ultimately prevail, then what is he trying to achieve? It certainly will not be posthumous heroic fame.

    And what is he going to say when the next El Nino comes along, with the high probability of another round of record high temps?

    I really don’t get it.

  13. #13 Brian Schmidt
    January 20, 2009

    Two years ago, I offered Carter 2:1 odds in his favor that temps would continue to go up. He declined the bet, saying temps were a random walk (which meant he should have taken the bet):

    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2006/04/bob-carter-wont-bet-over-global.html

    I guess I could try again, but I doubt he’ll put money behind his prediction.

  14. #14 Paul
    January 20, 2009

    >Nonetheless, by coincidence, growing recognition of a threat of climatic cooling is correct, because since the turn of the 21st century all real world, long-term climate indicators have turned downwards.

    That would be the 6th degree polynomial turn downwards.

  15. #15 Dano
    January 20, 2009

    I agree with Vauge in 10, and we should also note that he is explicit in stating that the “models” use coupled circulation. There are still some denialists arguing otherwise. This signal doesn’t rise above the noise, however.

    Best,

    D

  16. #16 Michael Kerjman
    January 20, 2009

    Perhaps, one’s recent couple hottest nights recorded cannot deny generally lower average summer/winter temperatures in Melbourne since 2005, and much colder winters in the northern hemisphere, in Europe these days, for instance.

    As understood, having a British-style professional employment inherited in semi-colonies of England especially, could hardly address issues rationally as collecting their secured royalties pragmatically rather than producing something practically is the most since and before captain Cook’s discoveries:
    http://story.atlantaleader.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/37e8860164ce009a/id/390282/cs/1

    All English-related insinuations if any, could be addressed to Microsoft Spell Checking creators not always perfectly incorporating grammar-correcting tools into languages’ softwares.

    And no computer is helpful to p r o d u c e intellectual abilities themselves anyway.

  17. #17 Chris O'Neill
    January 20, 2009

    WotWot:

    And what is he going to say when the next El Nino comes along, with the high probability of another round of record high temps?

    That’s easy. He’ll just ignore everything he said in the past and just point out that El Niño is a temporary variation in weather, unlike the idiots around now who say that La Nina is not a temporary variation in weather.

  18. #18 bi -- IJI
    January 21, 2009

    > All English-related insinuations if any, could be addressed to Microsoft Spell Checking creators not always perfectly incorporating grammar-correcting tools into languages’ softwares.

    w00t. Best blame game ever.

    Last I knew, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, George Orwell, Thomas Jefferson, etc. were able to write perfectly good English, even before Microsoft was born.

    Maybe you should express what you mean in plain, simple language, instead of throwing in big words at random.

    * * *

    Oh wait, here’s some found poetry!

    > in semi-colonies of England especially,
    could hardly address issues rationally
    as collecting their secured royalties pragmatically
    rather than producing something practically

  19. #19 ChrisC
    January 21, 2009

    Micheal Kerjman@16

    “one’s recent couple hottest nights recorded cannot deny generally lower average summer/winter temperatures in Melbourne since 2005…”

    From the Bureau of Meteorology:

    Summer 2006/2007 -> “Maximum temperatures were well above average across the whole State, with temperatures throughout Central Victoria 2 to 3 degrees above average.”

    Summer 2007/2008 -> “Temperatures were generally within 1°C of average across the state during the summer. Warm conditions during December and January, combined with cool conditions during February, resulted in a seasonal average which was only slightly warmer than normal across the state.”

    Winter 2008 -> “After a series of relatively warm winters, winter 2008 saw temperatures close to the long-term (all years of record) normal”

    You are wrong about Victoria being cooler than average between 2005 and now.

    “…and much colder winters in the northern hemisphere, in Europe these days, for instance.”
    < \blockquote>

    Not according to NASA GISS:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

    Have a play with the maps, you’ll see that most of the years since 2005 show a positive temperature anomaly in both summer and winter.

    You’re wrong again.

  20. #20 Bobl
    January 21, 2009

    The very first sentence of the Australian article contains an inaccuracy and a misleading cherrypick. The claim in the first sentence is actually taken straight from a Watt’s blog post.

    You may or may not be interested in the forum post I made about this first sentence, but here it is:
    http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/environment-energy/56371-facts-debunk-global-warming-alarmism.html#post592008

  21. #21 Michael Kerjman
    January 21, 2009

    ChrisC. #19,

    Your spelling of “Micheal” felt as much noticed on this page as a real state of summer temperatures in Melbourne, Victoria: 1992-2004 were much hotter till 2005 in reality.

    Perhaps, local metrologists are so flexibly–reliable as any others securing their employment in Melbourne / Australia.

    Message’s spelling and grammar were checked with the latest software as usual.

    With all appreciation of your info, it contradicts NO notion of a climate change as a gradual occurrence upon a planetary history:
    http://omega.twoday.net/stories/302957/
    ( The X- Challenge )

  22. #22 Chris O'Neill
    January 21, 2009

    Michael Kerjman:

    Melbourne, Victoria: 1992-2004 were much hotter till 2005 in reality.

    Thank you for bringing us a weather report. I’ll file you with Bob Cater.

  23. #23 Don Smith
    January 21, 2009

    I would just like to point out that those wishing to use the last ten years must start with 1999.

  24. #24 bi -- IJI
    January 21, 2009

    Michael Kerjman:

    > Message’s spelling and grammar were checked with the latest software as usual.

    So you can’t even write proper English without a automatic grammar checker, and you’re proud of it.

    Microsoft needs to develop an automatic detector for Regurgitated Idiotic Pseudo-scientific Pile of Dung, because clearly you need some help in that department. Ideally, the moment you type

    > it’s colder in my room this night than last morning, therefore GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH!!!!!!!!!

    the Microsoft software will automatically correct the text to read

    > I am a douchebag.

    and then pop up a hologram of Clippy bludgeoning your head with a clue bat.

  25. #25 KA
    January 22, 2009

    Bi-iJi,

    If you are paid for your Englishness only, please, quietly read rather than produce a crap in professional topics as your message #24 did.

  26. #26 bi -- IJI
    January 22, 2009

    > please, quietly read

    Oh, the irony.

  27. #27 Bernard J.
    January 22, 2009

    With supplementary evidence, it seems that the plausible computer-generation theory is growing a bit wobbly on its legs… and just when I was almost persuaded.

    And so I stand by the first two sentences of my earlier observation on the matter.

  28. #28 Michael Kerjman
    January 22, 2009

    “Computer-generation theory” – is it “the man-made global warming”, or?

    In any case, it’s a typically unprofessional expression-in any language on the Earth if even presented in a plain native English.

  29. #29 Bernard J.
    January 23, 2009

    Yep.

    Babelfish, or for the younger amongst us, Google Translator.

    Shame there’s no application to translate ignorance into enlightenment.

  30. #30 Ki-Ssm-Yass
    January 23, 2009

    On #24: no spelling check to correct: “So you can’t even write proper English without A AUTOMATIC grammar checker, and you’re proud of it.”

    What are you, bi-IJI, proud of-either your poor grammar or a crap you write mentioned already???

    No English could help to cover an elementary NOTHING of paid-only-for-being-English AUSSIEs: MARKDOWN is a next sound example of such a stupidity on these pages.

  31. #31 bi -- IJI
    January 23, 2009

    What’s with these people that wear their ignorance like a badge of honour?

  32. #32 Dolly
    January 25, 2009

    It is not ignorance, bi-IJI, it is an anti-racist position.

  33. #33 bi -- IJI
    January 25, 2009

    Dolly:

    Bragging about ignorance isn’t an expression of racial tolerance.

    Whether it’s ignorance in English grammar, or ignorance in Swahili, or ignorance in climate science, or ignorance in any subject.

    Bragging about ignorance isn’t an expression of racial tolerance.

    Bragging about ignorance is… just ignorance.

  34. #34 P
    January 25, 2009

    [Bob Carter is listed as Adjunct Professor at JCU](http://www.jcu.edu.au/ees/staff/adjunct/JCUDEV_014954.html) he also states he is a [Research Professor at the University of Adelaide](http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/index.htm) but the University of Adelaide does not list him in [their online directory](http://www.adelaide.edu.au/phonebook/).

  35. #35 Tully
    January 25, 2009

    Bragging about English instead discussing any issue professional is xenophobia and racism, bi-IJI.

  36. #36 bi -- IJI
    January 25, 2009

    Tully, Dolly, or whatever sock puppet name you decide to give yourself next:

    > Bragging about English instead discussing any issue professional is xenophobia and racism, bi-IJI.

    Or do you mean, writing in proper English grammar without Microsoft’s grammar checker, and without bragging about it, is… the Die Freigabe der Vernichtung Lebensunwerten Lebens of Liberal Fascism?

    Interesting, also, how you insist on shouting RACIST!!!!!!!!! RACIST!!!!!!!!! RACIST!!!!!!!!! instead of discussing “any issue professional”, according to your own advice, isn’t it?

    So what have you to say about Bob Carter’s article?

    Nothing?

  37. #37 Hugh M.
    January 27, 2009

    Is the rest of this publication of equal quality? Do they at least print it on reasonably soft, non-scratchy paper?

  38. #38 Barry Brook
    January 27, 2009

    Yes, Bob Carter is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences (Discipline of Geology and Geophysics) at the University of Adelaide.

  39. #39 Tully
    January 27, 2009

    bi_IJI, this plain-English article asserts what a world already knows: short on terrestrial time-scale warmings have always been followed by more longer periods of cooling.

    If in Australia so-called “scientists” were good in something really professional but playing a sort of English only-even that SOMETIMES, they need no more explanations because ones acquainted with elementary calculus and physics know ways functions work.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    January 27, 2009

    Is the Tully character a Turing test in the mould of Michael Kerjman?

  41. #41 Dano
    January 28, 2009

    Key indicator that certain commenters type while wearing oversize shoes and a big red ball on their nose: scare quotes around “scientists”.

    Give it up son, you can’t raise your game enough.

    Best,

    D

  42. #42 bi -- IJI
    January 29, 2009

    Joy, Tully, and Dolly are all sockpuppets of the same master, and I claim my ten shillings.

  43. #43 KA
    February 1, 2009

    “I claim my ten shillings” – shillings?

    That is a start and finish of this “modern” discussion.

  44. #44 Kelly Howell
    May 2, 2009

    I hope you people on this site realize that the “myth” of global warming is NOT just “a few crackpots”. The TRUTH of the matter is that there were only 12 (twelve) people (not even all were scientists or academics) who were involved with the final UN document (IPCC) and the total number of proponents numbered less than 3,000. Al Gore was one of the 3,000. He has/had virtually no credentials to establish his bona fides in the field. Less than half of the 3,000 were of any standing in the scientific community, and some number of those have now acknowledged that the “definitive IPCC report” was “severely flawed”.
    On the “global warming is a myth” side of the argument stands over 70,000 (seventy thousand) academics, scientists, researchers (over 9,250 holding PhD’s IN the fields relating to climate or associated areas of research)ALL of whom have maintained ALL along, and as recently as April 7, 2009 signed documents denouncing any validity to the global warming scam.
    Rather than demonize those who tell the truth, who have NO political vested interest or business interest in “selling” global warming, why not do your own research and find the truth about why people like Gore and some of the organizations who jumped on the bandwagon have to gain. The sad news is that it ultimately comes down to money. The “cap and trade” legislation (US and UN push) will result in TRILLIONS of dollars for a very few to gain control. It has NOTHING to do with REAL science, NOTHING to do with REAL climate change and CERTAINLY nothing to do with “real” concern over this worlds environment. It is about money and control.

  45. #45 Chris O'Neill
    May 2, 2009

    Kelly Howell …………………

    Otherwise known as proof by uppercase letters.

  46. #46 Bernard J.
    May 3, 2009

    Kelly Howell.

    You will of course be able to name the “12 (twelve) people (not even all were scientists or academics) who were involved with the final UN document”. Furthermore, as you ‘know’ that “the total number of proponents numbered less than 3,000″, you will have a record of these too, and in providing these names to us you will therefore be able to exclude all other scientists from around the world.

    Additionally, you will be able to document your claim that “the “global warming is a myth” side of the argument stands over 70,000 (seventy thousand) academics, scientists, researchers (over 9,250 holding PhD’s IN the fields relating to climate or associated areas of research). Please do so, in order that we can check the bona fides of each and every one.

    What, you can’t do this?

    I wonder what that means…

  47. #47 DavidK
    May 3, 2009

    Kelly

    You may have a point (most scientists don’t see a catastrophic climate change any time soon, unless we pass some real major tipping points of course) so it is very important that you let the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat know of your concerns. Their contact details:

    Main office
    Haus Carstanjen
    Martin-Luther-King-Strasse 8
    53175 Bonn
    Germany

    Mailing address
    P.O. Box 260124
    D-53153 Bonn
    Germany

    After all, this is the organisation (comprising about 180 signatory countries of the world) that will need to know about these “70,000 academics, scientists, and researchers … that have signed documents denouncing any validity to the global warming scam” before they meet in Denmark later this year, December.

    Can you let me know how I can sign the document?

    Anyway, forget the IPCC (they obviously don’t know what they’re talking about) – best bypass them and go straight to the real decision makers.

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