Bob Carter has been cherry picking for a long time, trying to make global warming go away. Tamino examines Carter’s latest effort. This, for me, was the highlight

Carter does pay lip service to the idea of a trend. But he disdains the trend for the entire data set — in fact he seems to disdain trends altogether — instead showing these two straight lines, one ending at 1997, the other beginning at 1999:


He then tells a fable about the 1998 el Nino causing some kind of “shift” in the fundamental state of the climate system, after which it “settled in” to a different basic temperature level. There’s a name for his kind of theory.

More to the point, the two lines he draws aren’t trend lines. He just drew two flat lines to give the impression of no change. There’s a name for that too.

Here are actual trend lines up to 1997, and after 1999:


I note that even his cherry picked horizontal lines don’t fit the data as well (i.e. have a higher chi squared statistic) as the trend line through the whole data set.


  1. #1 Robert Murphy
    July 13, 2011

    That graph from Carter looks very much like one from
    [this page](
    It has the same flat lines before and after 1998. It also claims that all of the warming since 1979 occurred in ’98. I’ve actually seen a denialist use the same graph before, about a month ago. It’s mind-bendingly stupid, so I’m sure it will soon be one of the top denialist memes for some time to come.

  2. #2 Rob Jase
    July 13, 2011

    Mr. Carter clearly failed high school math when it comes to interpreting graphs.

  3. #3 derecho
    July 13, 2011

    That “appinsys” website is run by a fellow who describes himself: “I am an engineer with 30 years experience”.

    ‘Nuff said.

  4. #4 Lotharsson
    July 13, 2011

    Tamino’s post refers to a post by wannabe “grammar Nazi” Iain Hall. He made a comment on Tamino’s post, but I think it didn’t go so well. C’est la vie.

  5. Bob Carter’s trick? Debunked by Tamino?

    Nah. The Free Market? (as represented by the Sydney Mining Club) has decided that up is down, warming is cooling, and non-flat is flat. Surely if up is not down, then the Price Mechanism? of Cattalaxy? would’ve kicked in to correct the error, no?

    — frank

  6. #6 Brian Angliss
    July 13, 2011

    Hey, not all engineers are clueless when it comes to climate. And some of us actually can do math and analyze data properly. 😉

  7. #7 SP
    July 13, 2011

    It’s Fr–d.
    If you or I or any of us tried this rubbish in a journal we all know the result.

    How does he maintain support from James Cook?
    Don’t write to the editor… write to the Vice Chancellor.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Office
    James Cook University
    Townsville Qld 4811

    Dear Professor Harding,

  8. #8 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2011

    SP @7,

    Yup, scientific fr–d, and perhaps scientific misconduct too.

  9. #9 MarcH
    July 13, 2011

    All this fuss over one climate cycle. Is that the weather at the door? Looking at the last 4-5 cycles, as revealed in surface temps, the overall trends don’t appear to be leading towards Climate Armageddon, or did I miss one of the indoctrination lectures?

  10. #10 Robert Murphy
    July 13, 2011

    “Looking at the last 4-5 cycles…”

    What “cycles”?

  11. #11 SteveC
    July 13, 2011


    Tamino’s post refers to a post by wannabe “grammar Nazi” Iain Hall

    Ah yes, Mr Iain Hall, well known in various locations, not least here on Open Thread 60 and here on Carbon Tax Backflips. He was once a regular ummm… feature on Pure Poison, until they waved the banning stick at him.

  12. #12 Bob
    July 13, 2011

    Robert Murphy @10:

    Harley-Davidsons, of course. Don’t you know that the price of a freshley minted hawg is closely correlated to the number of communist polar bears seen in my back garden? I’ve demonstrated this fact with a remarkable 13th-order polynomial that also happens to be a (patented) cure for the common cold.

  13. #13 Shinsko
    July 13, 2011

    This is a better graph than Carter’s:

    [Here we go again with another Arctic scare](

  14. #14 Rattus Norvegicus
    July 13, 2011


    Tell me that graph was really posted at Denial Depot. Please.

  15. #15 frankis
    July 13, 2011

    @7 I think that’s the right idea. I’ve just sent a brief polite note to the VC.

  16. #16 Rattus Norvegicus
    July 13, 2011

    Now that I go and look at some of the other posts there, I see it appears to be a version of Denial Depot from Oz.

  17. #17 Shinsko
    July 13, 2011

    Rattus Norvegicus – it’s mostly an Andrew Bolt parody. But it sometimes has a similar flavour – upside down graphs and the like.

  18. #18 Charles
    July 13, 2011

    Do check out the graph linked to by Shinkso. Freaking brilliant. This is the one Bob Carter, Monckton, and the others should use. Clear as any graph could be.

  19. #19 charles
    July 13, 2011

    Oops, I meant “Shinsko.” Apologies. Anyway, the graph gives new meaning to the phrase “hide the decline.”

  20. #20 Lotharsson
    July 13, 2011

    > Anyway, the graph gives new meaning to the phrase “hide the decline.”

    Well worth a clickthrough 🙂

  21. #21 rhwombat
    July 13, 2011

    Ratus: Clot=Shinsko (cue: rapturous applause)

  22. #22 MobiusKlein
    July 14, 2011

    don’t just reference ‘4-5 cycles’ and ‘don’t appear’.

    Would you find some way to quantify that, showing data and graphs? Chi squared values, etc? It’s all well and good to get a hunch from looking at a graph, but you really have to go the next step and show the numbers, explain how you pick cycles (to avoid the appearance of cherry picking), and tie it up in an explanation.
    You have more work to do to explain.

  23. #23 MikeH
    July 14, 2011

    Carter acolyte, John McLean has been posting at The Conversation. He is redefining the meaning of [stupid](

  24. #24 bruced
    July 14, 2011

    2 weeks ago Carter wrote in the Sun Herald “The world has cooled slightly over the past 10 years despite a 5 per cent increase in carbon dioxide”. ( But even his own graph above falsifies this claim or just maybe, poor Bob doesn’t understand what hot and cold are. Maybe he turns his heaters on in summer and the air-conditioner on in winter. Because otherwise he really has lost touch with reality.

  25. #25 cynicus
    July 14, 2011

    Wow, this is the level at which intelligent (Prof. Carter!) ‘skeptics’ try to convince the public? Does he think the general public is that stupid?

    Where is the outrage of the prominent ‘skeptics’? Where is Climate Audit, WUWT, Mosher, Id, Knappenberger, Lucia, etc etc? Please ‘skeptics’, is this the sort of intelligence corruption that you support or promote? Show some honesty and denounce this sort of FUD by Carter.

  26. #26 John
    July 14, 2011

    >Wow, this is the level at which intelligent (Prof. Carter!) ‘skeptics’ try to convince the public? Does he think the general public is that stupid?


  27. #27 Vince whirlwind
    July 14, 2011

    And he’s not too far wrong on that at least.

  28. #28 Bernard J.
    July 25, 2011

    Oh dear.

    Eric Abetz has just had a brain explosion of national TV, on Q and A, where he whines that ABC science reporting has an agenda and that it has not given Bob Carter (I think that Abetz used the word “eminent”) a fair go.

    I’ll link to the episode when it’s finished airing.

  29. #29 Lotharsson
    July 25, 2011

    Abetz should be careful what he wishes for. Imagine if wotsisname what interviewed Plimer to such revealing effect were to also interview Carter?

  30. #30 Brian Dodge
    July 25, 2011

    Why are y’all castigating Professor Carter for a graph that’s clearly not intended to be a factual representation, but merely illustrative of how the neocon empire is acting to create its own reality?

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