Tim Curtin thread now a live show

Hey, remember the Tim Curtin thread? It’s now a live show:

Rsearch [sic] Seminar – Let them not eat: CO2, food and climate.

Presented by: Tim Curtin

Hosted by: Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program

12:30-1:30 Thu Apr 29 Seminar Room B (Arndt Room), Coombs Bldg, ANU

(Via Marco)

Comments

  1. #1 Bernard J.
    August 6, 2010

    [From the dung heap of irony](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2707980):

    The expected rubbish from the usual suspects.

    There is clearly a total mismatch between the text of De’ath et al,Science 2009 (lawd help us), and both its SI Materials and its archived data.

    Let’s pause here for a moment and consider what De’ath et al say in their paper:

    We investigated annual calcification rates derived from samples from 328 colonies of massive Porites corals [from the Coral Core Archive of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (9, 10)] from 69 reefs ranging from coastal to oceanic locations and covering most of the >2000-km length of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, latitude 11.5° to 23° south; Fig. 1, A and B) in Australia.

    Any half-intelligent reader would see that they have samples from 328 colonies, from 69 reefs and, seeing that there are less than these numbers in the NOAA data archives, come (hopefully) to the conclusion that not all of the samples are in this archive.

    And why should there be? There is no stipulation anywhere that coral core data need be archived with the NOAA, is there? If so, please indicate to me where this is so stipulated.

    Further, the paper explicitely indicates that the examined cores themselves are lodged with the Coral Core Archive of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, so all of the data can certainly be accessed and/or replicated by any sufficiently competent researcher in the field. If a self-confessed amateur “statistician” is unable to analyse these cores, or at least form a workable collaboration with the researchers so as to obtain the raw data, then this is simply a reflection of the incompetence of said amateur to participate in any work remotely related to the subject.

    If the material underpinning every paper in the scientific domain were to be prepared for the ham-fisted ignorance pissing-over of every amateur self-styled ‘auditor’, untrained and non-experienced in the disciplines they presume to investigate, then the actual practice of science would grind to a halt.

    To so prepare such material would require providing the lay numpties, who think that they can analyse it, with an education in the discipline – and hell will freeze over if I for one have to give a free education to any nimrod who most likely thinks that I did not pay enough for my own education in the first place, and who derides my experience even in the face of his own complete absence of such.

    It would also take more time, than any hard-working research has at his disposal, to organise in a way that such a lay person could easily understand and process.

    And contrary to what so many Denialati believe, much of the data is not funded by the taxpayer – my own PhD data was acquired using the donations of a non-governmental organisation. The major outcome that they sought was a report of the results: there was no expectation that they would gain the data themselves, as they are completely non-equipped to use them, and it is not their business to do so anyway. Their mission is simply to allow scientists to get on with the business of doing science, and our success is determined by the peer acceptance of our papers.

    And we must have been doing something right, because they were happy to fund us year after year for more work than we could manage to do.

    Curtin, I really do not understand what possesses you to think that you are somehow competent to critique marine biology, population biology, photosynthetic biochemistry, or climatology. And if you were, you would probably not start by sniping for a look at a team’s data – if there is a problem with the results, it might have nothing to do with the data analysis. The way to properly replicate a result is to repeat it entirely, so that experimental design, execution, and analysis are all independently checked.

    As many have indicated previously, peer-review usually picks the errors of analysis and/or interpretation, and independent replication (not auditing or analytical duplication) will confirm or refute the original paper’s results.

    There are avenues for proper professional collaboration to conduct secondary analyses of complex datasets, or to collate small datasets for meta-analyses, but again these processes are not the entitlement of any ignorant wally off the street. If they were, the work would rapidly grind to a halt the first time the wally said “hey, all of this is crap because it is obvious that pH decreases proportionally with salinity, and, hey again, any sea water solution less than pH 7.0 is drinkable”.

    There’s reason why most professions require prior education in their fields before employing candidates. The same necessity for competent understanding applies to assessment of the results of a profession, and Curtin, you display no competence at all in even the first-year basics of any scientific discipline that you have ever cast your eyes over.

  2. #2 Bernard J.
    August 6, 2010

    Let’s look again at the quote from De’ath et al to which I referred in my [previous posting](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2708311).

    We investigated annual calcification rates derived from samples from 328 colonies of massive Porites corals [from the Coral Core Archive of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (9, 10)] from 69 reefs ranging from coastal to oceanic locations and covering most of the >2000-km length of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, latitude 11.5° to 23° south; Fig. 1, A and B) in Australia.

    [Emphases mine]

    Once again, I would ask the readers here to compare it with the version that Curtin quoted:

    “We investigated 328 colonies of massive Porites corals from 69 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia”. [Curtin's response] True, the onlt [sic] truthful statement in the whole paper.

    The thing is, one wonders if Curtin even read the paper, because the version he quotes comes from the abstract, and not the body of the paper itself. The complete text indicates both the location of the coral core archive, and the distribution of the sites from where the cores were sampled, and Curtin omitted these facts from his claims.

    Now, I cannot begin to figure out how many times I’ve warned undergraduates about the dangers of drawing detailed inferences from just the abstract of a paper, and yet this appears to be how Curtin acts – if he did not actually deliberately truncate the quote. In so quoting De’ath et al Curtin has misrepresented their methodology to this thread – or to put it more bluntly, he has lied about their methodology – and in the process he has libelled the authors on the basis of this incomplete quote, immediately after misrepresenting their work.

    I’ve commented on this distortion previously, but I feel that is deserves repeating. If Curtin has to doctor the actual commentary of De’ath et al, when they explicitly indicate that they have essentially sampled the entirety of the Great Barrier Reef, in order to make his claim that they only sampled south of -18° latitude because he only found a web site with data from south of -18° latitude, then he is lying.

    Hear that, Curtin? You are a liar.

    Either that, or you are so incompetent in reading a paper and deconstructing it that you should not be commenting on it in the first place.

    Take your pick.

  3. #3 Bernard J.
    August 6, 2010

    I’ve just realised that Curtin and/or his cronies might [take this](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2708311) the wrong way:

    And we must have been doing something right, because they were happy to fund us year after year for more work than we could manage to do.

    I should more precisely have said:

    And we must have been doing something right, because they would happily have further funded us year after year for even more work than we could actually manage to do.

    If I don’t dot that ‘i’ and cross that ‘t’ I am sure that one of the Denialati would soon enough accuse me and my colleagues of spending grant money on luxury yachts and caviar breakfasts…

  4. #4 MFS
    August 6, 2010

    Bernard,

    You seem to be wondering the same thing as I was when I first asked tim to justify his ridiculous claims, [back in post 933](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2702090). I think There’s a pattern emerging. Look at [Tim's endorsement](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697013) of Tams et al. By his own admission he never even read it, he only parroted [what the NIPCC had to say about it](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2700122). If you [read the paper](http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/22_4/22-4_tans.pdf), well… let’s say it doesn’t exactly say what Tim and the NIPCC are claiming. Moreover, it’s one of many papers on a special issue on Ocean Acidification, a topic that does not exist because, in Tim Curtin’s world, [acidified oceans would be drinkable](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2500054)…

    If you look at the list Tim [asked me](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2703045) to itemise [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2705121), point (e) only makes sense if he was drawing his critique exclusively from the abstract, without having read the text. Funny, though, since he seems to have reserved some of his worst vitriol for this paper, you’d think he would have read it carefully…

  5. #5 Tim Curtin
    August 7, 2010

    Hi BJ and MFS, with love from a NASTY to 2 unspeakables!

    You have access to the data archived at NOAA by De’ath et al (not just “a” website but actual lodgements by De’ath et al in December 2008 – what prevented them from archiving ALL their data to 2005 and later?).

    I know Bernard is just about up to plotting their time series to 2000/2001, even in Excel, but he has not done so.

    Cursory inspection (and regressions) of the data from the 12 coral reefs sampled both before 1990 and after 1989 show that Calcification is above all determined by Extensions, and that given the obvious huge annual variability in E, it is most unlikely that the monotonic increases in [CO2] could have anything to do with such variability, which is self-evidently due to ENSO.

    Even Bernard’s students, if any, self-selected or by him as no doubt they were for ingrained stupidity, might have spotted this, albeit without help from him.

    By yet another amazing coincidence, the AIMS long term reef monitoring data sets have nothing on Sweetlip, which accounts for no fewer than 5 of the 12 archived sets with data to 2001 (at NOAA), nor on Rib (4 reefs to 2000 or 2001). Even the pride and joy of De’ath et al, Abraham 01H (1606 to 2001) does not appear in the AIMS catalogue. Kelso (2 to 2001 in the NOAA database lodged by De’ath et al in 2008) does appear but with no data on extension, density, or calcification, and that is true of the whole AIMS online database so far as I can see.

    AIMS is a lemon!

    Another oddity is the absence of any mention by De’ath Lough & Fabricius 2009 of Smith et al on coral reefs extension, density & calcification in American Samoa, in Coral Reefs 2007 (communicated by K Fabricius, yes that one). If De’ath et al are right the GBR has ALWAYS been in a bad way, since 1606 in fact, with much lower E, D and C rates than in Samoa. Why?

    Did Fabricius even read Smith et al? She communicated their paper and evidently did not notice their statement on their very first page: “Skeletal extension rates of P.lobata and other porites species INCREASE with INCREASING seawater temperatures…”

    Yet same Fabricius with De’ath (how apt!) and Lough opine (Science 2009) that “The recent increase in heat stress episodes (25) is likely to have contributed to declining coral calcification in the period 1990–2005.”

    The luvverlies hedged their bets in other statements in that para., but then proceeded to declaim: “Laboratory experiments [with hydrochloric acid?} and models [sic] have predicted negative impacts of rising atmospheric CO2
    on the future of calcifying organisms (5, 6). Our data show that growth and calcification of massive
    Porites in the GBR are already declining and are doing so at a rate unprecedented in coral records [one of which] reaching back 400 years”.

    OK, look at De’ath’s star performer, Abraham 1606-1989, Ext 0.0013; 1990-2001 Ext .0012. Wow, please note. That is a massive decline from 13/1000 to 12/1000, i.e. one ten-thousandth of a centimetre, well within the error of De’ath’s shaky VB wrist movements.

  6. #6 zoot
    August 7, 2010

    OFFSTCFO

  7. #7 Tim Curtin
    August 7, 2010

    Further to my last (994), if Bernard and MFS were capable of plotting the De’ath et al archived data for the 12 reefs out of 69 which extend to 2001, they would see that it is preposterous to attribute the marginal changes in Extension or Calcification to changes in temperature or [CO2],given the evident non-monotonic changes in Ext or Calc relative to the evident monotonic changes in [CO2], and, allegedly, SST.

    It is abundantly clear that changes from year to year in Ext and Calc depend totally on changes in ENSO, and they have NEVER been traced to changes in [CO2], nor will they ever.

  8. #8 Bernard J.
    August 7, 2010

    Curtin, why is a regression a better way to analyse the coral data than is a linear mixed effects model?

    One or two paragraphs should do it, by way of reply.

    And why do you continue to refuse to [answer my questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697260), and why to do continue to acknowledge that you do so?

  9. #9 Tim Curtin
    August 7, 2010

    Bernard: Why is a regression not the best way to analyse the coral data than is a linear mixed effects model?

    Not the least of the buffoonery in De’ath et al is their failure to deploy regression analysis. They want to show that rising [CO2] and thence rising global mean temperature (itself a non-existent variable) causes whatever minuscule changes in extensions at the GBR in carefully selected locations they claim to have found (without archiving ANY data since 2001).

    Any moderately numerate scientists would begin with a regression of ALL proximate determinants of dEx, including ENSO (or PDO).

  10. #10 Bernard J.
    August 7, 2010

    Odin weeping on a stick!

    Do you even know what a linear mixed effects model is?! Quite obviously not!

    And why do you continue to [refuse to answer my questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697260), and why to do continue to not acknowledge that you do so?

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    August 7, 2010

    Curtin.

    Will you sign and lodge with Tim Lambert a [statutory declaration]( http://www.ag.gov.au/STATDEC) declaring that you believe that De’ath et al 2009:

    1. have “sold their souls to the devil
    2. have “made wholly mendacious claims about the imminent demise of the GBR (funded of course by the late K Rudd to say so)because of “rising acidity/falling pH” without being able to cite a single statistic that there has been ANY change in pH in the GBR (except when they tip hydrochloric acid into selected bits of it
    3. have “fabricated most of [the] data
    4. is a paper that “constitute[s] at least an infringement of the Trade Descriptions Act
    5. like other scientists, “are free to fib as much as they like, and Science will publish it all
    6. is “one of the most disgraceful papers ever published by Science
    7. is “lies, damned lies, and faked statistics
    8. is nothing but a tissue of lies from beginning to end
    9. was analysed where “NONE of their sites has data beyond 2001
    10. is authored by at least one person [Lough] who is “a repository of lies and deceit on all issues
    11. constitutes “any old rubbish
    12. is a part of “everything emenating from AIMS Townsville and De’ath et al plus Guldberg [that] is Hoegh-Garbage
    13. For Madoffian persiflage, … is right up there…
    14. are marine scientists with a mission to extract funding from gullible politicians like Wong
    15. demonstrate that “marine scientists as a breed are right up there with Madoff
    16. is “evidence of gross misconduct both at AIMS and Science”
    17. and that you are both competent and qualified to make any or all of these accusations?

      If not, why not?

  12. #12 Paddy Constantine
    August 7, 2010

    Welcome back Guys, had a busy few days entertaining Royalty, and trying to save the world, so the usual for any ‘Tim Curtin- Deltoid blogger ;-)’

    Certainly been a lot of action whilst ive been away! Though its provided a nice bit of respite from my feather duster, and polishing the silverware!

    Ive had a chance to look at the data thats caused such a stir amongst you crazy ‘fools’! I must say however, surprise surprise, Tim is correct guys!!!! The most cursory glance at the trends in extension of the coral reefs reported by De’ath et al cannot be attributed to rising temperatures or increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, because of the huge variations from year to year in coral extensions. Supposedly both Co2 emissions and global average temperatures increase in tandem from year to year. Any fool can see that there cannot be any correlation between the huge year to year variations in coral reef extensions, and anthropogenic Co2 emissions. I am not a professional statistician but looking at the graph it is evident to me that there is no correlation between Co2 emissions and coral reef extensions!

    Is it me or is this blog reaching 1000 comments? Who’s going to make the 1000th comment, how exciting, do Tim proud guys!

    P.S Does Tim get any royalties for the advertising generated on this blog? He seems to attract most of the talk! You go Tiger Tim!

  13. #13 Paddy Constantine
    August 7, 2010

    Just like to congratulate Bernard on being the 1000th post on the Tim Curtin blog!

    In the wise words of Cliff himself ” Congratulations and celebrations,
    when I tell everyone that you’re in love with Tim”

  14. #14 Wow
    August 7, 2010

    Of course, Paddy wants the lovin’.

    Trolls don’t get the loving they used to any more.

    Weep for the poor trolls.

  15. #15 Lee
    August 7, 2010

    Bernard asks:

    “Curtin, why is a regression a better way to analyse the coral data than is a linear mixed effects model?”

    And Curtin responds:
    “Not the least of the buffoonery in De’ath et al is their failure to deploy regression analysis. “”

    De’ath, of course, uses a linear fixed effects model.

    Timmy, a LME model is a generalization of a regression model. By using a LME model they DID use regression. I first learned this stuff in my first undergrad statistical analysis class.

    You claim to have had a career as an economist, timmy. How on earth you got through a career doing economic analyses without knowing anything about ANOVA and its variations is beyond me. But apparently you did – your statistical understanding seems to begin and end at simple regression tested with R2.

    Timmy, your criticism of De’ath suffers from the simple fact that you are grossly incompetent to understand what they did. You just made that amply clear, with your criticism about regression.

    Stop embarrassing yourself, timmy.

  16. #16 MFS
    August 7, 2010

    So Tim,

    After you answer Bernard’s questions, care to clarify something for me? [In your comment above](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2710753) you state:
    >it is preposterous to attribute the marginal changes in Extension or Calcification to changes in temperature or [CO2],given the evident non-monotonic changes in Ext or Calc relative to the evident monotonic changes in [CO2], and, allegedly, SST.

    So tell me, did you go out to the reef and measure the dissolved pCO2 on the dates that correspond to the measurements given? Did you download the satellite SST data for the corresponding parts of the GBR and regress the extension vs local pCO2 and SST in order to come up with your statement?

    Or are you trying to convince marine biologists that a local reef responds rather to the global average temperature and average global ocean pH than to its immediate environment?

    Or are you trying to claim that the SST over your beloved Kelso Reef IS the global average temperature, or varies in exactly the same way?

    Are you aware that biological activity in shallow ecosystems like coral reefs causes localised fluctuations of the pCO2? I think you are, since [you allude to this effect](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2507511) when it suits you.

    Yet here you are (in spite of an entire body of research which says temperature and pCO2 are the main effects on coral growth), [again](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2506689), purposefully equivocating by saying that, because the global average has changed monotonically, temperature and CO2 cannot be responsible. What utter garbage. Worse than Madoff.

  17. #17 Tim Curtin
    August 7, 2010

    My real issue with the LME of De’ath et al is that it is not multivariate: “At this stage SST was included as a single [sic] predictor since the spatial and
    temporal components of SST were highly correlated with across and along, and years respectively”. A more reasonable approach would have been to test dExt as f(SST, ENSO) or similar, why did they not do that?

  18. #18 Bernard J.
    August 8, 2010

    Curtin, moving the goal posts once again, [says](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2712047):

    My real issue with the LME of De’ath et al is that it is not multivariate…

    but in quoting the authors he omits the preceding sentences:

    Based on the sampling of the data and exploratory analyses of individual core data, initial models for each of calcification, extension and density included predictors of fixed effects of natural splines in year, SST, and relative distances across and along the GBR, and random effects in reef, colony and natural splines in year.

    and also omits the sentence following:

    All splines had 3 degrees of freedom (df), other than for the fixed effects of year that initially used
    12 df splines.

    Um, is it just me, or does this methodology not appear univariate?

    And then, in response to the sentence that bothers Curtin so much:

    At this stage SST was included as a single predictor since the spatial and temporal components of SST were highly correlated with across and along, and years respectively.

    he asks

    A more reasonable approach would have been to test dExt as f(SST, ENSO) or similar, why did they not do that?

    seemingly oblivious to the fact that the answer is in the very text that he is criticising.

    It just grows sadder and sadder.

    And exactly how many times can I point out the ongoing cognitive dissonance without a response – why does Curtin continue to [refuse to answer my questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697260), and why does he continue to not acknowledge that he does so??

  19. #19 Bernard J.
    August 8, 2010

    There’s gay banter and then there’s drivel.

    Paddy Constantine has managed to cross the divide between the two.

  20. #20 Lotharsson
    August 8, 2010

    > …seemingly oblivious to the fact that the answer is in the very text that he is criticising.

    Given the surprisingly high frequency with which TC displays it, this phenomenon may need a suitable name. Perhaps “Curt-in-ism” will suit – “a criticism of a paper likely based on a far-too-brief perusal and far-too-limited understanding – because the refutation exists within the paper itself”.

  21. #21 Lotharsson
    August 8, 2010

    TC apparently [complains that](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2710618):

    > …show that Calcification is above all determined by Extensions…

    Well, not having delved in any depth into marine science, the quote doesn’t seem all that surprising if calcification rate is defined as:

    > …(the product of skeletal density and annual extension; grams per square centimeter per year)]”.

    If the skeletal density doesn’t vary much with changing conditions, then wouldn’t you expect exactly what you’re complaining about?

    TC also opines:

    > …it is most unlikely that the monotonic increases in [CO2] could have anything to do with such variability, which is self-evidently due to ENSO.

    Missing the forest for the trees, perhaps? By the same argument, one could try to claim that monotonic [annual; not monotonic on various shorter temporals scale] increases in atmospheric CO2 cannot cause warmer climate because the CO2 increases cannot possibly have anything to do with the large variability demonstrated by (annual) weather metrics. And yet it warms…

    So why do you think this line of argument is valid, TC?

    And perhaps you could ponder in your extensive marine science experience and knowledge how:

    > “Skeletal extension rates of P.lobata and other porites species INCREASE with INCREASING seawater temperatures…”

    and

    > “The recent increase in heat stress episodes (25) is likely to have contributed to declining coral calcification in the period 1990–2005.”

    might BOTH be simultaneously true. (You might even relate it to some of the land-based agricultural research I pointed you to much much earlier when you were essentially proclaiming that warmer climates were an unmitigated positive agricultural force for every crop.)

  22. #22 Tim Curtin
    August 8, 2010

    Hi Haters;

    I have started regressions on the De’ath et al archived data (alas, only available to 2001 from 1990).

    The first up is Kelso 02A, a stellar performer in terms of “reducing calcification”, and it shows how important it is to include ALL relevant variables (unlike AR4 WG1, which eliminates all except CO2).

    Regressing Calcification at Kelson 02A on just SST anomalies, we get the result that De’ath seek: R2 = .54, t-stat 4+, and highly significant. Hallelujas from them, as in their Abstract:

    “Calcification increases linearly with increasing large-scale sea surface temperature but responds nonlinearly to annual temperature anomalies”.

    Far be it from me to suspect a certain inherent contradiction there, but then who am I as a non-marine scientist to question the imams?

    BUT, if we next regress calcification at Kelso as per De’ath et al against both the temp. anomaly AND [CO2] at Mauna Loa, we get another hallulujah, R2= 0.87, but, argh, now it’s [C)2] that has by far the best t-stat, and the Temp anomaly variable becomes both NEGATIVE and insignificant.

    However, that result depended on setting the constant = 0, thereby eliminating other variables (as the IPCC always does). Set k not = 0, and the outcome WITH NO OTHER CHANGE is for R2 = – 0.02, and both Temp anomaly and [CO2] now have negative coefficients, albeit insignificant.

    Bringing in the global PDO does improve matters slightly, and it does have the best t-stat.

    No wonder De’ath et al refused to report basic multi-variate regressions and resorted to LME, all too often the last refuge of scoundrels.

  23. #23 Bernard J.
    August 8, 2010

    Personally, I’d say that [refusing to answer very fundamental questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697260), and persistance in not acknowledging that he does so, is more likely “the last refuge of [a] scoundrel”.

    Take care that it doesn’t lead to your presence under a knife, after the ([most](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Rudd#2010_campaign)) recent fashion of Kevinus Cæsar…

  24. #24 Bernard J.
    August 8, 2010

    Personally, I’d say that [refusing to answer very fundamental questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697260), and persistance in not acknowledging that he does so, is more likely “the last refuge of [a] scoundrel”.

    Take care that it doesn’t lead to your presence under a knife, after the ([most](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Rudd#2010_campaign)) recent fashion of Kevinus Cæsar…

  25. #25 Lotharsson
    August 8, 2010

    > Hi Haters;

    One does wonder what’s going on in TC’s mind here. Projection? Conflation of criticism of (pseudo-)scientific claims with criticism of the person? Conflation of ideas with ego?

    > …unlike AR4 WG1, which eliminates all except CO2.

    Interesting. And here I was quite certain I’d read quite a bit in there about other variables.

    > …as the IPCC always does…

    Apparently after all the breathless claims of mendacity etc. that you’ve made, you STILL are clueless about WHAT the IPCC does (and does not) do. Astounding.

    And no, I’m not referring to regressions.

    > Far be it from me to suspect a certain inherent contradiction there, but then who am I as a non-marine scientist to question the imams?

    Far be it from you indeed – given that you have regularly demonstrated that your hubris in making scientific statements is exceeded only by your ignorance of the fields you make pronouncements about.

    Especially as I just recently [hinted](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2712272) to you that I had shown evidence to you much earlier that biological systems can indeed exhibit the very behaviour that you suspect embodies a fundamental contradiction.

    Perhaps you are making progress on understanding the limits in your own knowledge and its impact on the level of certainty of your analysis?

  26. #26 Tim Curtin
    August 9, 2010

    Time to stir the pot again! – you guys are slacking, not least in the failure of all you but especially our resident marine scientist MFS to perform any independent anlayis of De’ath et al. and their data.

    I believe the D et al paper has possibly more serious deficiencies than those I have previously addressed.

    In particular, the declines in calcification growth rates which they consider so alarming are really trivial, e.g. at 0.0007 GRAMS per sq.cm p.a., so it would take 1000 years for a cumulative decline of 0.7 grams!

    Not only that, that sort of declining growth has yet to yield any switch to negative changes in actual levels of either extension or calcification. That is because the D et al growth rates are second derivatives, if I am not mistaken.

    That means they are totally misleading when they say in their Abstract that “skeletal records show that throughout the GBR, calcification (sic) has declined by 14.2% since 1990, predominantly because extension (sic) (linear growth) has declined by 13.3%”. In no instnace of their archived data sets at NOAA is there negative calcification or extension, as stated.

    The Abstract announces actual reduction in absolute levels of extension and calcification, whereas both their Figs. 2 and 3 and their archived data (at NOAA) show only declining but still positive growth rates.

    If I am right this is an absolute howler! Am I right?

    BTW, their archived data show no evidence of Michaelis-Menten kinetics, which appear not to be applicable at coral reefs, as there is no sign of any ceiling to cumulative extension or calcification in any of the D et al. archived data sets.

    I have also analysed their NOAA-archived Kelso 02A in some detail (although it ends in 2001).

    For example, although De’ath et al claim that CO2 is the villain behind their claims of imminent tipping points etc, when I do a regression on calcification at Kelso since 1958 against ENSO and atmospheric CO2, I find that the coefficient on the latter is just positive (it should be negative if D & co are right) but is not significant, while that on ENSO is strongly positive and highly significant, with D-W at 2.319 indicating absence of auto-correlation despite the very high Adj R2 of .974.

    If De’ath & co had ever plotted their extension, density, and calcification data for each of their reefs, they might have noticed the huge variability in Ext and Calc (whereas CO2 and temps are much more stable), which itself denotes some other predictor is needed, and that is of course ENSO. Adding ENSO to a plot of Calc. shows the incredible correlation between the two duly confirmed by regression, while [CO2] is of course irrelevant.

  27. #27 Paddy
    August 9, 2010

    Tim i must commend you for your standard regression analysis, and for exposing the garbage in dea’th et al! Many thanks!

  28. #28 MFS
    August 9, 2010

    Tim,

    >”If I am right this is an absolute howler! Am I right?”

    You are totally correct, it is a howler! As has been said before, you keep finding ways of being wrong that have not even yet been invented!!!!

    Pray, tell us, do you even know what ‘calcification’ and ‘extension’ mean? In your latest howler, you appear to not know the difference between a decline in a measure of growth (calcification and extension both being measures of accumulation) and an actual shrinkage!

    Now, after you were a wee boy, and growing fast, your bone extension eventually declined. Presumably, once you reached the age of about 18, the decline in your bone extension reached 100% and thus you stopped growing altogether. Tell me, when your growth rate declined 100% at the end of puberty, did you shrink to nothing? Do you now see the utter absurdity of your comment?

    You seem unable to resist making a remark about MM kinetics, and how they appear not to apply to coral reefs. Why did you expect them to? Did you even know coral is an animal? How on earth do you expect a fertilisation effect on an animal?

    Now, as to your regressions on a single core at Kelso, do you think a single core in one reef is a valid substitution for an analysis of 328 cores in 69 reefs? Please list the reasons why this is so.

  29. #29 Lotharsson
    August 9, 2010

    > You seem unable to resist making a remark about MM kinetics, and how they appear not to apply to coral reefs.

    Not only that, but yet again he merrily extrapolated from the specific to the general (in perhaps two different ways) without any justification for why this might be valid.

    But hey, at least it was convincing for Paddy.

  30. #30 Lotharsson
    August 9, 2010

    > …when I do a regression on calcification at Kelso since 1958 against ENSO and atmospheric CO2…

    TC, what do you actually regress against when you regress against ENSO? What metric, measured in what units?

  31. #31 Tim Curtin
    August 9, 2010

    I can scarcely believe the idiocies in multi-factorially stupid MFS and slothful Loth. Paddy has more brain than both of you combined.

    Multi-factorial stupid: the first point in my post was exactly the confusion in De’ath et al between as you put it “the difference between a decline in a measure of growth (calcification and extension both being measures of accumulation) and an actual shrinkage”. Just so! Death et al show no shrinkages.

    Yes I have always known corals are living and should therefore be subject to M-M, why are they not? On this point I just love De’ath et al as they refute Wigley.

    Loth: your idleness knows no bounds. Just regress Calcification on any one of the Death reefs against the ENSO index and the [CO2]; units are immaterial.

  32. #32 Jeff Harvey
    August 9, 2010

    *Paddy has more brain than both of you combined*

    Given the crap Paddy has spewed out here, it takes a lot of hubris to make this kind of remark. Tim would say a micofilarial tissue cell is intelligent if it made any kind of statement defending his rubbish.

    BTW Tim, I am not surprised that you have not at all commented on the Kleypas et al. rejoinder to the McNeil et al paper you cited last week, nor, more importantly, of McNeil et als own response to the Kleypas et al. rejoinder in which they admitted that there were many uncertainties in estimating the effects of climate warming and ocean acidification on coral reefs. Why have you not responded to this? A: because you are super-selective in citing papers and you downplay or impugn anything that does not fit in with your worldview. Why else would you completely ignore the second McNeil et al. discussion in GRL?

    By the way, er, um, when you write, *Yes I have always known corals are living*, you did not address the point made by MFS, and that is that corals are animals and not plants. You see Timmy, plants and animals are BOTH living organisms; or did this simple fact also escape your self-taught biology courses?

  33. #33 Bernard J.
    August 9, 2010

    From [the Great Cretin](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2714282):

    Death [sic] et al show no shrinkages.

    De’ath et al were not, at any stage, implying that there were shrinkages. When they say:

    …skeletal records show that throughout the GBR, calcification has declined by 14.2% since 1990, predominantly because extension (linear growth) has declined by 13.3%.

    it is very obvious to a biologist what it is that they are saying. In fact, it should be very obvious to an intelligent lay person what it is that they are saying. That you say:

    In no instnace [sic] of their archived data sets at NOAA is there negative calcification or extension

    indicates that you interpret this to mean that De’ath et al were saying that the coral skeletons were losing calcium mass, and top-to-bottom length. That they were, indeed, shrinking.

    It seems that only you made this interpretation.

    It seems that you arrived at this interpretation because you do not understand the subject matter in the first place.

    Yes I have always known corals are living and should therefore be subject to M-M, why are they not?

    [Because](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2668739).

    And you obviously don’t know much about corals, Curtin, or you could have reminded MFS that they are a symbiosis of cœlenterates and zooxanthellæ. Of course, the latter are quite sensitive to unusual temperature increases, and are very frequently expelled from the polyps when such occurs, so there are in fact several physiological negatives for corals that result from increased atmospheric CO2.

    And I am sure that you must be very close to finally posting your answers to at least some of those [bothersome questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2697260) that I keep putting to you…

  34. #34 Bernard J.
    August 9, 2010

    Paddy.

    The fact that you praise Curtin for his use of a pissingly simple, high-school level regression analysis, on a small fraction of the dataset to boot, when the authors used the more appropriate linear mixed effects modelling, shows how completely out of your depth you are.

    Just shut up: it’s better to be quiet and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    Not that anyone on this thread but Curtin would ever doubt for a nanosecond your indisputable foolishness.

  35. #35 Lee
    August 9, 2010

    Curtin:
    “Yes I have always known corals are living and should therefore be subject to M-M, why are they not? On this point I just love De’ath et al as they refute Wigley.”

    Timmy, Wigley uses MM to model terrestrial NPP.

    Terrestrial. As in, on the land. ie, not coral.

    NPP. As in, photosynthesis. ie, plants. Not coral.
    Yes, I know that coral have mutualistic zooxanthellae – but the algae ain’t doing the calcification. And they aren’t terrestrial.

    Not to mention that even for terrestrial NPP, the use of MM in Wigley does not cause any noticeable decrease in the growth rate of modeled NPP until CO2 levels near 3x what they are today.

    Curtin, stop embarrassing yourself.

  36. #36 Bernard J.
    August 9, 2010

    I have a gnawing thought…

    Could it be that the Tim Curtin is actually a Turing test, designed to see how long otherwise intelligent people will persist in trying to correct its obvious incapacity to handle science?

    After all, any self respecting sentient being, with a modicum of self-respect and an even passing acquaintance with psychological health, would avidly – strenuously – avoid subjecting its ego and super-ego to the humiliations that rain upon it here.

    Just a thought…

  37. #37 Jeff Harvey
    August 9, 2010

    Just for Timmy, straight from an A-level biology class:

    http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/coralreef/CRcoralreefs.html

    Clearly, invertebrate zoology is one of many weak points in the Tim Curtin lexicon. God knows what he will say when he tries to expand his discussion to include echinoids and primitive chordates. I have had a sample of Tim’s ‘expertise’ in his vacuous comments on the parasitic Hymenoptera…

  38. #38 Wow
    August 9, 2010

    Timmy is just doing for biology what Nasif does for mathematics.

    They both KNOW how incompetent they are, but they want to keep the myth that there’s two sides to the climate science. Therefore they MUST CONTINUE to spout alternatives. Even if they’re alternatives to the truth.

    Unfortunately, this DOES mean that you have to waste your time killing each insane point as it turns up, just like Nasif. If you don’t, it will be taken as *PROOF* that AGW is false, because otherwise you’d have a counter.

    It’s the pisser about fighting the deliberately mendacious: they can spout any old crap. If they’re found wrong, well, they were wrong in the first place, so nothing lost. If YOU have an error, then that’s *PROOF* you’re wrong and therefore AGW is wrong. QED.

    Pauling once said “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas”.

    Problem is the easiest way to have lots of ideas is to have lots of BAD ideas. You don’t have to sweat the comprehension or veracity then.

    The difference being Pauling was talking about people who wanted to find useful ideas. Timski et al don’t care about that.

  39. #39 MFS
    August 9, 2010

    Alright Curtin,

    Up to this point I thought you were actually capable of maintainig a discussion without resorting to insults. Apparently not. Interesting. Maybe being proven mindbogglingly ignorant, woefully incompetent and a habitual l!ar over and over again must be rattling that pickled brain cell you have left.

    Go do your homework. You are yet address your very own ['tissue of lies'](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2705121). Particularly the one where you say
    >”They claimed to have sampled all 69 in 2005 and that ALL had 400 years of data across the length and breadth of the GBR, when in fact only one did”

    And I notice you again try to wiggle out of your situation by pretending you didn’t say what you did. This is a quote from [your comment](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2713904) #1015:
    >”That means they are totally misleading when they say in their Abstract that “skeletal records show that throughout the GBR, calcification (sic) has declined by 14.2% since 1990, predominantly because extension (sic) (linear growth) has declined by 13.3%”. In no instnace of their archived data sets at NOAA is there negative calcification or extension, as stated.

    As stated where??? By your next comment # 1020, after I pointed out to you that a reduction in a measure of growth is not a reduction in mass, [you were claiming](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2714282):

    >Multi-factorial stupid: the first point in my post was exactly the confusion in De’ath et al between as you put it “the difference between a decline in a measure of growth (calcification and extension both being measures of accumulation) and an actual shrinkage”. Just so! Death et al show no shrinkages

    Your first comment clearly shows that you believe they are stating that the corals actually lost calcium (I made this bit bold for convenience). Where in the paper, as you claim, do the authors state there was a reduction in mass? So the only confusion appears to be in your own lonely pickled brain cell. De’ath et al deal exclusively in measures of growth and no confusion should arise if you paid attention when reading [the paper](http://www.barrierreef.org/Portals/0/GBRF%20Files/Articles/Death%20et%20al%202009%20Science.pdf) and its accompanying [Materials and Methods](http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/323/5910/116/DC1/1). The authors even go to the point of providing a detailed explanation of the units and measures and what they mean. You obviously neglected to read this bit… tsk… tsk…

  40. #40 Lotharsson
    August 9, 2010

    > Paddy has more brain than both of you combined.

    Wow. That statement indicts the both of you – and your likely predictable response will further demonstrate that you’re not skilled enough in this particular domain to make these kinds of pronouncements.

    > units are immaterial.

    You firstly criticise them in De’ath for being (what was it?) an avocado pear concoction, then are rather cavalier with them yourself (yet again):

    > at 0.0007 GRAMS per sq.cm p.a., so it would take 1000 years for a cumulative decline of 0.7 grams!

    That would be 0.7 **g/cm^2**.

    I guess that counts as “immaterial”. But read on…

    > Loth: your idleness knows no bounds.

    Apart from being an unsupported and muddle-headed assertion – which, given the ample counter-evidence on this very thread (better spell it out for you seeing you clearly have an odd definition of “idleness” – spending lots of time addressing your largely unsupported and often ludicrous ideas), and given your history of frequently being 180 degrees wrong, I take as a compliment – your response completely misses the reason I was asking the question.

    What I’m getting at is that – at first glance – it seems to me that you might be doing a John McLean et al – focusing on the variability to the exclusion of the trend, and then proclaiming or implying that you’ve shown that the trend has no impact.

    For example, does rising CO2 also affect ENSO indices? Does it affect the number and severity of (on a biological timescale) sudden significant temperature anomalies? And given that many corals respond poorly, abruptly and non-linearly to those kinds of sudden significant temperature anomalies, how much of an impact is temperatures rising due to rising CO2 having and likely to have via this kind of phenomenon, and why do you think your regressions can answer that question?

  41. #41 Tim Curtin
    August 9, 2010

    Lotharsson:

    Thanks for those questions. Here are my answers;

    1. “…does rising CO2 also affect ENSO indices? No. It is easy to find the [CO2] data at CDIAC, and ENSO as well. See if you can spot a relationship – many have tried including the IPCC WG1, without success. A priori it is implausible that there is one, given the wide swings between ENSO for El Nino and La Nina, while [CO2] trends inexorably upwards. Here are the linear trends 1958-2001, note the R for [CO2] vis a vis those for ENSO and calcification. Polynomials give better fits than linear for calcification and ENSO, but still nowhere as good as the linear for [CO2]. Hence it is not surprising to find no statistically significant relationship between [CO2] and ENSO.

    [CO2]: y = 1.3618x + 309.83
    R² = 0.9895

    ENSO: y = 0.0007x + 27.009
    R² = 0.0002 .

    Calcification: y = -0.0007x + 2.2951
    R² = 0.0006

    2. “Does [CO2] affect the number and severity of (on a biological timescale) sudden significant temperature anomalies?” . Again many have tried, and none have succeeded in proving any link between rising [CO2] and say hurricane frequency or intensity in the Gulf of Mexico.

    3. “ And given that many corals respond poorly, abruptly and non-linearly to those kinds of sudden significant temperature anomalies, how much of an impact is temperatures rising due to rising CO2 having and likely to have via this kind of phenomenon?…”.

    Well, I have done a regression run of calcification against actual temperature anomalies, ENSO, and [CO2] at the GBR for 1990-2001, and there is indeed some effect with the right sign, i.e. negative, but it is not statistically significant, whereas rising [CO2] has a strongly POSITIVE (i.e. beneficial) effect which is strongly stat. sig.

    However as De’ath et al sagely note, anything is possible:

    “However during warmer years it [effect of SST] was highly variable, suggesting increasing calcification in some warm
    years but declines in others” . Here’s the full quote:.

    “SST is an important environmental driver of coral growth. Our data confirmed previous studies
    (10, 22) that coral calcification increases linearly
    with large-scale mean annual SST. However, studies
    addressing shorter time periods show declining
    calcification at BOTH high and low SST (18, 23, 24)
    and that thermally stressed corals show reduced
    calcification for up to 2 years (19). In our study,
    calcification was likewise reduced during cooler than-
    average years (negative SST-ANOM)”. My caps.

    4. “and why do you think your regressions can answer that question?” Well, they just did, SST has only a marginal and non-stat.sig. influence, and rising [CO2] is a major plus for calcification (as it is for all life on land and sea), hardly a surprise given the chemical composition of corals.

    Next question?!

  42. #42 Anonymous
    August 9, 2010

    From the Great Cretin

    Dim Cretin rhymes better.

  43. #43 Tim Curtin
    August 9, 2010

    Apolgies this para. should read (i.e no ref to ENSO): “Well, I have done a regression run of calcification against actual temperature anomalies and [CO2] at the GBR for 1990-2001, and there is indeed some effect from T anom. with the right sign, i.e. negative, but it is not statistically significant, whereas rising [CO2] has a strongly POSITIVE (i.e. beneficial) effect which is strongly stat. sig.”

  44. #44 Lotharsson
    August 9, 2010

    > “…does rising CO2 also affect ENSO indices? No.

    Good. So isn’t ENSO essentially a trendless oscillation around a mean? Do you expect to explain trends by regressing against a trendless oscillation?

    > Again many have tried, and none have succeeded in proving any link between rising [CO2] and say hurricane frequency or intensity in the Gulf of Mexico.

    I wasn’t talking about hurricanes – hence my use of the term “**biological** timescales”.

    Try again.

    > Well, they just did.

    I suspect there’s an assumption in your answer that you are oblivious to.

    And I’m not talking about the assumption that (on biological timescales) sudden significant temperature anomalies means hurricanes (in the Gulf of Mexico).

  45. #45 Bernard J.
    August 10, 2010

    “and why do you think your regressions can answer that question?” Well, they just did…


    Next question?!

    Would you use a series of univariate analyses of variance where others use three or four parameter general linear models? Heck, would you use a series of t-tests rather than a GLM, a la Harold Pierce Jnr?

    …rising [CO2] is a major plus for calcification (as it is for all life on land and sea), hardly a surprise given the chemical composition of corals.

    And with a few strokes of a… keyboard… the Mighty Curtin rewrites entire textbooks on chemistry and marine biology.

    Who needs empirical evidence when one’s personal ideology and ignorance can over-ride the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology?

  46. #46 P. Lewis
    August 10, 2010

    CO2 is plant food, really. Yes, it really works. A higher rice yield with higher daytime temperatures, too.

    So, is Tit Curtin really right? Whaddya think!?

  47. #47 Bernard J.
    August 10, 2010

    And then there are matters of increased herbivory attack, weed competition (rice is C3..), and the inconvenience of migrating precipitation distribution – amongst many other things.

    Curtin must be conflicted. The study is a straightforward multiple regression analysis, and says exactly what P. Lewis, myself, and a few others have been trying to tell Curtin for several years. Of course, it is in PNAS… but it’s a regression!!!

    Oh, the humanity! Oh, the leaking from the ears, of a 73 year old brain.

    Spin in 3, 2, …

  48. #48 P. Lewis
    August 10, 2010

    Apologies.

    That should have read “Tim Curtin” not “Tit Curtin”.

    Don’t know what came over me. Whilst it might be what I think, it shouldn’t have made it into print.

  49. #49 Tim Curtin
    August 10, 2010

    Lotharsson: Again thanks, I’ll try once more.

    You asked “Do you expect to explain trends by regressing against a trendless oscillation?” Why not, if the dependent variable (calcification) proves to have the SAME trendless oscillations, resulting in a high Adj R2 of 0.95 (D-W 2.319) and the coefficient on ENSO is 0.078, SE .0386, so t = 2.03, p = 0.049; while for [CO2] those stats are .000485, 0.158, and 0.875 respectively.

    My apologies re hurricanes. So I’ll try again. Your question was:

    2. “Does [CO2] affect the number and severity of (on a biological timescale) sudden significant temperature anomalies? And given that many corals respond poorly, abruptly and non-linearly to those kinds of sudden significant temperature anomalies, how much of an impact is temperatures rising due to rising CO2 having and likely to have via this kind of phenomenon?…”.

    Well perhaps for once you can provide some data, as I see very little evidence for any of that in the De’ath data, with R2 at Kelso for Calc. regressed on T anomaly and [CO2] from 1990 to 2001 at 0.87, but coeff. on T anom negative 0.67, SE .63, so t = -1.06, not significant, while for [CO2] the coeff. is .007 but highly significant with t = 10.68.
    The poor results for Calc on T anom are to be expected from casual inspection of the annual data itself, which confirms the De’ath et al comment that anything is possible, good or bad calc in both cool and hot years.

    Perhaps you could define what constitutes “a sudden temperature anomaly”?

    Here are the data for Calc and T anom at Kelso 02B 1990-2001 (Kelso is at 147 Long and 18.42 S. Lat).

    Calc Temp Anoms
    2.641 0.29655
    1.636 0.32055
    2.899 0.50215
    1.880 0.26335
    2.835 0.37280
    1.901 0.43505
    2.731 0.26930
    2.124 -0.03275
    2.350 0.75145
    1.960 0.17285
    2.370 0.00535
    1.746 0.43605

    Is T anomaly minus 0.03275 in 1997 followed by plus 0.75145 in 1998 “sudden” enough for you? But calcification was actually higher in 1998 than in 1997, fell back in cooler 1999, rose in even cooler 2000, and fell in hotter 2001.

    Take your pick, mate! have you been picked for AR5 yet? – they like experts with a simplistic view of the world.

  50. #50 Gaz
    August 10, 2010

    they like experts with a simplistic view of the world.

    you wish

  51. #51 Jeff Harvey
    August 10, 2010

    C’mon guys, if this was a boxing match the referee would have stepped in by round 4; Tim Curtin’s logic has been pummelled, his arguments cast into the dustbin of history.

    Note his ‘bait and switch’ tactic which he has used throughout this thread… most recently noted in his citing of the McNeil et al. (2004) article in GRL but his complete and utter silence on the rejoinder and on McNeil et als. own admission that they admit there are many uncertainties in their work and that their aim was to ‘stimulate discussion’. Tim Curtin is super-selective in his attempts to (1) defend the alleged fertilizing effects of atmsopheric C02, and (2) in downplaying climate-related effects of this on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. I am waiting for him to admit (which he never will IMO but this is a test) that the uncertainties McNeil et al. referred to in GRL mean that there are potentially negative consequences to the ‘global experiment’ that is currently well underway. Do not hold your breath. Our Timmy will not admit to anything, except to (1) defend his vastly shrinking intellectual position, and (2) ignore any arguments or evidence to the contrary, even those from the same people he cite to support his own arguments.

    Lotharsson, MFS, Lee, Bernard, I and others have pointed out the vast number of inconsistencies and plain faults in Tim’s models and logic, and yet he persists. But as WOW says above, he has no recourse but to defend the indefensible. The most important point is that Tim’s arguments, for the most part, will fall on deaf ears (except for the very few people that swallow his nonsense here and opn his web site). The De’ath et al. paper has been cited 28 times in the year that it was published (mostly to support the results of those who cited it) and thus the article reached a wide audience of scientists. Tim’s angry denunciations will, as far as I am concerned, get nowhere. Judging by the annihalation of his arguments on this thread, it is easy to see why.

  52. #52 P. Lewis
    August 10, 2010

    Lotharsson

    That would be 0.7 g/cm^2. I guess that counts as “immaterial”.

    You might also like to point out to TC for good measure that the avocado pear concoction factor required is AGBR ≅ 345,000 km2.

  53. #53 Lotharsson
    August 10, 2010

    > …have you been picked for AR5 yet? – they like experts with a simplistic view of the world.

    `` Blind projection is rather amusing.

    You’re the one who has an *incredibly* naive and simplistic model of biological systems, as actual experts keep pointing out to you, despite it never sinking in.

    And I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m no expert, nor do I claim to be.

    > Perhaps you could define what constitutes “a sudden temperature anomaly”?

    Think about those papers I pointed you at all those comments ago about potentially catastrophic grain vulnerability to a few days – or even only *hours* – of badly-timed high temperatures, and the questions asked about how much more likely these kinds of events will be if you raise the average temperature of the globe (or a growing region). Apply the analogy to coral…and then you’ll see why *annual* temperature anomalies on their own are insufficient to anwer that question.

  54. #54 Tim Curtin
    August 10, 2010

    P.Lewis, many thanks for that link, really hot off the press, to which unfortunately I do not have ready access.

    Until I do get to see the full paper, can you confirm that the authors do not consider increasing [CO2]? It seems not, from this in their Abstract:

    Temperature and radiation had statistically significant impacts during both the vegetative and ripening phases of the rice plant. Higher minimum temperature reduced yield, whereas higher maximum temperature raised it; radiation impact varied by growth phase.

    Perhaps you could check out the slides in my Seminar (available at my website) showing the offsetting effects of rising [CO2] in the face of rising temperatures.

    Regards

    Tim

  55. #55 Jeff Harvey
    August 10, 2010

    P. Lewis,

    The PNAS paper is very interesting, and adds to a growing body of information showing that abiotic factors will impact primary production both negatively as well as positively. Factor in biotic variables, which just about every scientist realizes plays a profoundly important role as well (of course this excludes Tim ‘the green world hypothesis is garbage’ Curtin, but, then again, he is not a scientist), and it is clear to realize that it is virtually impossible to predict the effects of warming and increased atmsopheric C02 on crop production.

    As Bernard said, an increase in the number of crippling heat waves, as well as shifts in the distribution of rainfall patterns, a consequence of a rapidly warming climate, will hammer crop productivity in some areas. Moreover, a warmer climate will extend the growing season, but this will also reduce the impact of of cold winters, which are important in killing the larval or pupal stages of many crop pests. For instance, a number of noctuid moths which are serious pests in crops such as cabbage, wheat, soybean, and alfalfa in the United States are restricted in their winter ranges to areas of the southern United States with minimum temperatures that do not fall below a certain critical threshold. These pests spread north during the growing season but only have short generation times in the north, because they are killed by winter cold. Even modest increases in winter minimum temperatures will allow many of these pests to successfully overwinter further north, allowing for longer generations there. Thus, factor in an increase in the number of generations that pests will have in warmer climatic regimes, as well as an increase in the frequency of pest outbreaks and cmore intense competition of crops with weeds under increased temperature and C02 regimes, and it is easy to see that there will be potentially serious consequences for the functioning of both natural and agro-ecosystems.

    And lest I forget: increases in atmospheric C02 will impact plant and consumer stoichiometry, leading to changes in primary and secondary metabolites that will certainly cascade upwards through food chains and ecological communities. Therefore it is patently absurd IMO to claim that further carbonizing of the atmosphere will reduce hunger. This simple idea expunges a wide array of both direct and indirect effects.

  56. #56 Tim Curtin
    August 10, 2010

    P. Lewis. It appears that Welch et al is not yet available online, aprt from their SI, which I now have in front of me.

    Regrettably their SI confirms that they are in truth Madoffian, as in their Abstract they conclude:

    “Diurnal temperature variation must be considered when investigating the impacts of climate change on irrigated rice in Asia”, while their SI makes no mention of [CO2].

    Why not, given that rising [CO2] is what they believe causes the diurnal temperature variation (as if that had never before existed)?

    The fact is that their SI nowhere even mentions [CO2] despite some 50,000 papers documenting that higher [CO2] is associated with higher yields.

    This is as much actionable false accounting as any at Enron, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup or Madoff. For example, just 2 weeks ago Citigroup were found for years to have classified billions of their borrowings as “sales”, duly certified as such by all their honest accountants, just as Welch & Co ignore the benefits of rising [CO2].

    P. Lewis, do YOU endorse the FALSE ACCOUNTING of Welch & Co?

  57. #57 P. Lewis
    August 10, 2010

    Yes Jeff. I’m perusing the supporting info currently (and scouring for a non-paywalled pre-print).

    I was being a little facetious in the original link text on the CO2 food aspect, but I see they utilise the IPCC A1B scenario in their Table S11, so perhaps it was less facetious than I intended.

    One reason for providing the link, other than its obvious germane science content, was the possible irony in the economics affiliations and credentials of (at least) some of the authors of Welch et al.

    Thank the deity-free heavens that all economists are not of TC’s ilk.

  58. #58 Tim Curtin
    August 10, 2010

    Jeff; you said yet again – “increases in atmospheric C02 will impact plant and consumer stoichiometry, leading to changes in primary and secondary metabolites that will certainly cascade upwards through food chains and ecological communities. Therefore it is patently absurd IMO to claim that further carbonizing of the atmosphere will reduce hunger. This simple idea expunges a wide array of both direct and indirect effects.”

    Ever heard of costs and benefits, or net trade-offs?

    It is patently obvious that further carbonizing of the atmosphere MUST reduce hunger, given the carbon content of the TOTAL feedstock for the whole biosphere. No carbon, no biosphere, more carbon, more biosphere. Please write that out 100 times.

  59. #59 Wow
    August 10, 2010

    “Ever heard of costs and benefits, or net trade-offs?”

    No, I haven’t.

    Maybe you can explain, tim.

    I’m all ears.

  60. #60 Wow
    August 10, 2010

    “It is patently obvious that further carbonizing of the atmosphere MUST reduce hunger, given the carbon content of the TOTAL feedstock for the whole biosphere”

    ‘fraid that isn’t obvious.

    What has the total carbon in the atmosphere got to do with the total carbon in the biosphere?

    And what does the total carbon in the biosphere have to do with how much food we can eat.

    I don’t eat alfalfa. And if I eat what eats alfalfa, then that is only 10% efficient.

    This is obvious, therefore your conclusion cannot be.

  61. #61 Lotharsson
    August 10, 2010

    > Regrettably their SI confirms that they are in truth Madoffian…This is as much actionable false accounting…

    What an idiotic statement, even for you. You apparently have no clue how science proceeds, yet you pontificate about “false accounting”. The hubris (or blind self-ignorance) is staggering, especially given:

    > Ever heard of costs and benefits, or net trade-offs?

    Yes. That’s **precisely** Jeff’s point. It’s **been his point all along**. Sheesh, it was specifically his point in the very comment you responded to with “ever heard of costs and benefits”! Glad to see you’re finally getting it.

    To use your language, you’ve been touting some cherry-picked benefits, and pretending that the costs are known and negligible – when there are actually some known costs and plenty of anticipated costs whose magnitude is unknown and potentially large.

    If **anyone’s indulging in false accounting here, it’s you**. Even after you’ve been called on it hundreds of times!

  62. #62 Lotharsson
    August 10, 2010

    > No carbon, no biosphere…

    TC: if you think ANYONE is advocating “no carbon”, you’re even more blinded by your position than I pegged you for. Please write out 1000+ times (one for every comment on this thread) “**I must not indulge in fallacious strawmen**”.

  63. #64 Jeff Harvey
    August 10, 2010

    *It is patently obvious that further carbonizing of the atmosphere MUST reduce hunger*

    Wrong. No it is not patently obvious. Please write that out 1,000 times.

    As I have said many times before, your understanding of the world is linear. But the processes I have spelled out many times are non-linear. You think that quantity = hunger eradication. I am saying that, even were there to be an increase in plant biomass under your scenario, this ignores the effects on plant quality, which may drop quite dramatically in response to increases in C02. This is because plants will reduce levels of primary metabolities – such as amino acids – in favor of increasing secondary metabolites – such as phytotoxins. The trade-off will not necessarily be equal, meaning that herbivores will have to ingest much more plant biomass to accrue the same net nutrient intake, whilst ingesting more toxins. This is not a recipe to reduce hunger but to increase stress on herbivores and their ability to deal with plant defenses.
    And of course there will be all kinds of other hidden effects that have also been spelled out many tiumes on this thread alone but which you have repeatedly ignored or have, without any kind of discussion, denigrated as ‘garbage’ or ‘rubbish’. Then you have moved on to your next fallacious arguments, without ever satisfactorily addressing many previous arguments that have undermined your conclusions. Some people (sunspot, Paddy) apparently think this shows how much on top of the subject you are; merely claiming the GWH is ‘garbage’, for example, apparently resonates with their world views as well, even when there is little or no empirical proof offered up by you to discuss the topic. Just ignoring it or ridiculing it is used as a ploy to make it appear to be be trivial. I am just happy that real science does not operate according to the Tim Curtin approach.

    And of course I know all about trade-offs via net costs and benefits. Given that you do not understand basic ecophysiology, you have ignored most of them in favor of a simple linear approach. I deal with these approaches to life-history evolution in plants and insects in my research all of the time. And as I said, there are many potential outcomes of carbonizing the atmosphere that will lead to significant costs at various scales of organization. How these play out up the food chain and across biomes is anyone’s guess, but you would be hard pressed to find any systems ecologists who would share such a puerile view of C02 and the outcomes for ecosystem assembly and functioning.

    But of course we are back to square one here, Tim: IMHO you, a layman economist who is trying to support some kind of political ‘business-as-usual’ agenda using the spectre of hunger as a beating stick and me, a scientist, arguing against it by trying to incorporate and understand huge suite of potentially serious effects on natural and managed ecosystems. In reality this is not a debate at all because we both come into it armed with vastly different levels of knowledge and expertise; its more like some kind of street dispute in which you appear to be attempting to drag the discussion down to the simplest common demominator: that complex adaptive systems will enjoy net benefits from C02 increases and warming, yet these are systems whose functioning we barely understand (as I have said many times before). You can disputer this all you like, but I know what I am talking about. It is part of my job.

    To reiterate: you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Most importantly, the scientific community by and large does not, and never will in all likelihood, take the arguments you and others like you make, seriously. This is because they have been taught that ecosystems and biomes are exceedingly complex entities whose functioning can never be explained on the basis of one parameter – in this case atmospheric C02 concentrations.

  64. #65 adelady
    August 10, 2010

    ” Ever heard of costs and benefits, or net trade-offs?”

    Honestly. I’m not a scientist and I’m a decade younger than you Tim, but you’re really working hard to make the idea of conversation with non-science oldies really unpleasant for the others around here. I’m fed up and thoroughly annoyed – I was looking forward to people respecting words of wisdom from me as I get older. Now I’m having to prove myself as not one of those stubborn old b*stards. Though this last effort leads me to the view that you’re just doing that annoying 11 yr old boy routine. Men of all ages do it, and it doesn’t improve with practice.

    As I said, Fed Up.

    Sorry guys. As you were.

  65. #66 Lotharsson
    August 10, 2010

    > Though this last effort leads me to the view that you’re just doing that annoying 11 yr old boy routine.

    I’ve been wondering the same as an alternate explanation to [TC as Turing test](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2714513).

  66. #67 Bernard J.
    August 10, 2010

    [Adelady](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/tim_curtin_thread_now_a_live_s.php#comment-2716368).

    I for one appreciate your words on Deltoid.

    The fact that you are not a scientist just makes it all the easier to appreciate them, because it demonstrates that you are applying your hard-won wisdom to matters at hand.

    Conversely, Curtin is the classic example of an ideologue who hasn’t budged one ångström from his callow, partisan world view, facts be damned. That his age does nothing to ameliorate his stance only serves to heighten the fact that wisdom does not come automatically with time, but rather with a receptive and enquiring mind.

    Just so you know!

    I often quote this to my undergrads, in the hope that it might serve them in their future endeavours:

    “You must always be students, learning and unlearning till your life’s end, and if, gentlemen, you are not prepared to follow your profession in this spirit, I implore you to leave its ranks and betake yourself to some third-class trade.”

    Lord Joseph Lister (1827-1912)

  67. #68 Lotharsson
    August 10, 2010

    I will add that were TC a machine undergoing a hypothetical specialised Turing test via this forum (i.e. a test designed to determine whether the machine appears to be a competent scientist to other humans), then it would have clearly failed – and its creators would not have seemed to have learned very much (to date) from the failure cases.

  68. #69 Bernard J.
    August 18, 2010

    Could it be that Tim Curtin is finally learning?

  69. #70 Tim Curtin
    August 19, 2010

    I realise Tim Lambert will delete this Reply to Adelady (at #10) as soon as he sees it here, so I will also post this at the one thread here where I am allowed to exercise some free speech.

    [To Jarrod Welch et al, PNAS, 2010]

    I am disturbed by several features of your otherwise very impressive co-authored paper in PNAS that appeared this week.

    In particular I would be interested to know why the paper ignores any positive impact on rice yields from the rising atmospheric level of carbon dioxide (hereafter [CO2]) that one suspects the paper attributes to be the proximate cause of the rising temperatures that it claims will produce declining rice yields.

    So far as I can see, the paper only mentions [CO2] once, and then inaccurately, as a “fixed effect” whereby the ambient CO2 concentration is “common to all farms at a given site in a given season and year” (p.2 of online version). Sure, that is true not only for any given year but for every year, but the level of [CO2] is of course higher in every successive year, so to describe that as a “fixed effect” is unacceptable, or so it seems to me.

    That is especially the case when many thousands of papers have described both the fertilizing effect of [CO2], without which of course there would be no rice at all anywhere, and the impact of rising [CO2] on yields of all crops everywhere, whether in greenhouses, in FACE experiments, or in general, as I have myself shown in a peer-reviewed paper (2009).

    Your paper assumes that the rise in [CO2] from 356.7 ppmv at end 1993 to 367.89 ppmv at end 1999 had no impact on rice yields at the locations of study, but it certainly does not verify that assumption.

    To do so, you and your co-authors need to show why Krishnan et al., for example, are mistaken to have found that in eastern India while “for every 1 °C increase in temperature, ORYZA1 and INFOCROP rice models predicted average yield changes of −7.20 and −6.66%, respectively, at the current level of CO2 (380 ppm)… increases in the CO2 concentration up to 700 ppm led to the average yield increases of about 30.73% by ORYZA1 and 56.37% by INFOCROP rice” (2007:233, my italics).

    Your failure even to mention the Krishnan paper when their eastern India covers your site in Tamil Nadu is not acceptable practice – except of course in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

    It would also be interesting to have your explanation for how Vietnam managed to become the world’s second largest rice exporter when reckoned in terms of exports as a % of its total production from 1990, despite both its own rising population and rice consumption, in the face of the alleged falling yields there from 1995-99 resulting from the adverse weather trends in Welch et al.

    Even more interesting would be to have your co-author David Dawe’s explanation for how in Welch et al (2009) he endorses your paper’s claim that the observed national yield growth in the Philippines was only 1.51% p.a. “at the end of the 20th century (Table 1), when in the book he edited and largely wrote for IRRI, he reports larger increases in rice yields in the Philippines, despite his claims that yields are falling in his co-authored with Welch PNAS paper.

    Here is Dawe in the IRRI book:

    “Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) show that the average national yield increased from 2.99 tons per hectare in 1997 to 3.33 tons per hectare in 2002. How much of this yield change can be attributed to the use of quality seeds? (Quality seed as defined here includes
    foundation, registered, certified, and good seeds.) Based on a large PhilRice-BAS random survey of rice farmers, the percentage of farmers who used quality seeds in at least one cropping season increased from 38% in 1996-97 to
    49% in 2001-02.

    The same data set showed that the average yield advantage of using quality seeds over farmers’ seeds was around 300 to 470 kilograms per hectare in irrigated areas and 500 to 650 kilograms per hectare in rainfed areas (Table 2). Thus, from 1997 to 2002, it was calculated that only around
    9% of the yield increase was due to increased use of high-quality seeds. The other 91% of the gain must be due to other factors such as fertilizer or chemical
    use, improved irrigation, or weather [!!!]”.

    So Dawe simultaneously holds beliefs that “weather” can over much the same 5 years explain both rising and falling average yields in those years!

    What about the rising [CO2] that in Welch 2010 causes the rising temperatures? Or do Dawe and the other authors of Welch et al. deny that rising [CO2] has ANY fertilizing effect?

    Finally, please explain in what respects your paper does not fully vindicate Bernard Madoff’s version of investment analysis?

    I am sorry if I appear abrasive, but, dear Dr Welch, you yourself made large claims about your paper in Science Daily, August 10, 2010: “’We found that as the daily minimum temperature increases, or as nights get hotter, rice yields drop,’ said Jarrod Welch, lead author of the report and graduate student of economics at the University of California, San Diego”.

    That is a wholly misleading statement, and actionable had it been made in connection with an issue of shares on the NYSE.

    References:
    Curtin, T. 2009. Climate Change and Food Production. Energy and Environment, 20.7: 1099-1116.

    Krishnan, P., D.K. Swain, B. Chandra Bhaskar, S.K. Nayak, R.N. Dash 2007.Impact of elevated CO2 and temperature on rice yield and methods of adaptation as evaluated by crop simulation studies. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, 122, 233-242.

    PS I have since calculated the 2nd derivative (i.e. rate of change of growth of rice yields) from 1990 to 2008, and in 10 out of 14 countries in SE Asia there has been NO decline in the rate of growth of rice yields.

  70. #71 Michael
    August 19, 2010

    Tim’s been out of his box trying to get the attention he craves.

    Perhaps a suitable punishment would be to close down this thread?

  71. #72 Tim Lambert
    August 19, 2010

    Yes, I think the discussion has more than run its course.

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