Where’s the skepticism?

Is a question Open Mind asks re yet more Wattism. And so I looked and found the absurd Another paper refutes the Mann made hockey stick – MWP was ≈1°C warmer than current temperatures. To support his headline, AW highlights:

the conclusion that the early MCA was warmer than the late 20th century by ~ 1 °C

but this is an old trick, and his commenters (well, the ones that are awake and not entranced) quickly see through it:

No, that’s not what this paper says. What they’ve done is to obtain a seasonal analysis of temperatures. They say that *if* you looked at shell evidence for MWP temperatures *without* doing the seasonal analysis you might get the *incorrect* impression that MWP temperatures were on average around 1C higher than the 1960-1990 period. (If you just took a sample of shells of the right age and analyzed their 18O signal, you’d be getting a biased estimate, because more shell is made by these animals in the summer than in the winter).

Their seasonal analysis shows that summers were around 2C warmer, and winters around 2C cooler. In other words, although the seasonal range was greater, on average, the MWP was *no warmer* than the 1960-1990 baseline.

And of course the 2000-2012 period has been substantially above the 1960-1990 baseline.

So I’m afraid this paper says exactly the opposite of what you were hoping it said.

Which makes me quite cheerful. AW has always been posting pap for quite a while now (I think once upon a time when he started the surfacestations stuff there may have been some substance), but this level of drivel shows desperation.

And yes, I am too busy to write any real posts right now.

Refs

* Webcite of AW’s original when I wrote this (I’m learning, you know).

Comments

  1. #1 Paul S
    2012/07/18

    Interesting results though. With many proxy studies you seem to get inferences for single seasons so it’s useful to have contrasts for Summer and Winter.

    A movement towards warmer summers and colder winters at NH high latitudes, when going backwards through the Holocene, would be expected due to orbital/axial forcing, but nothing like a 2ºC swing each way I don’t think. They suggest it could be caused by a weakened NAO. I wonder if any AOGCMS would spontaneously produce sustained regional seasonal shifts like this?

    (Noticed you have the comment count back. Yay!)

  2. #2 Daneel Olivaw (@d_olivaw)
    Buenos Aires
    2012/07/19

    From the actual paper itself:
    “Our findings are consistent with Mann et al. (2009)…”

    So much for “another paper refutes Mann”.

  3. #3 Eli Rabett
    http://rabett.blogspot.com
    2012/07/19

    You ask where the skepticism is? At the beach

    OTOH, tree rings tend to grow better in the summer, so you would assume that dendrology could get at the same information, and indeed Esper has a bunch of stuff on that, but not so warm, which makes you wonder if this is simply local conditions.

  4. #4 Daneel Olivaw (@d_olivaw)
    www.legosalogos.com.ar
    2012/07/19

    “[REPLY - What it means is that WUWT, unlike nearly all alarmist blogs, does not censor contrary points of view. Science is a very back-and-forth kind of thing. Anyone can be wrong. Anything can be wrong. Consider that. ~ Evan]”

    It was written as a response to one comment.
    Strangely enough, I posted the same comment I previously posted here and it doesn’t seem to have pass through moderation.

    ["Evan" is lying through his teeth. Plenty of people are banned from WUWT for expressing views not popular there; see here -W]

  5. #5 Ron Broberg
    2012/07/19

    Evan, the problem is not about publishing contrary points. The problem is publishing misrepresentations of other people’s work. In the common parlance this is known as lying. WUWT frequently lies about the work it is discussing. That its readers tolerate, even welcome, the lies is another.

  6. #6 Russell
    2012/07/19

    The semiotics of the MWP may be more important to the climate debate than the science, because in terms of the popular culture it’s less about statistical temperature averages than Vikings in longboats.

    The observation that “Their seasonal analysis shows that summers were around 2C warmer, and winters around 2C cooler” is accordingly an important one, because while it may represent a wash in terms of annual average temperature, it could mean the difference between life and death by hypothermia to a bunch of hardies trying to navigate the Davis Strait in an open boat circa 1000 AD.

    Two degrees widens the sailing season by as many weeks , and likewise reduces the risk of ice in the water and on the rigging increasing time at sea and the hazards of exposure to those still in the Dark Ages of foul weather gear.

    Imparting this to the public might do more than another repetition of what we don’t know about 11th century weather.

  7. #7 Steve Bloom
    2012/07/19

    ["Evan" is lying through his teeth. Plenty of people are banned from WUWT for expressing views not popular there; see here -W]

    Oh, such a canard! They are always banned for something other than their views, of course. :)

  8. #8 Steve Bloom
    2012/07/20

    I doubt it, Russell. The thing to do is to not let the conversation be shifted to irrelevancies to begin with.

  9. #9 Joseph O'Sullivan
    2012/07/20

    “And yes, I am too busy to write any real posts right now.”

    It’s a good post for people like me who don’t read WUWT or climate audit, but are interested in some de-bunking of the stuff written there.

  10. #10 Russell
    2012/07/20

    Steve, relevance often stems from popular preconceptions, and the MWP was first popularized in connection with the discovery of Vineland – it’s a narrative as inescapable as turkey on thanksgiving.

  11. #11 J Bowers
    2012/07/20

    WUWT heading should be:

    ‘Another paper confirms Mann made hockey stick – climate sensitivity possibly higher than previously thought

  12. #12 Hank Roberts
    2012/07/21

    Did this one ever get sorted out?
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/03/24/the-borehole-mystery/

    [Not really. the 20 kyr study is just quietly being forgotten; which is probably what it deserves -W]

  13. #13 Russell
    2012/07/23

    Under WUWT headline

    “Monckton: Be skeptical, be very skeptical, of Skeptic magazine’s skepticism of climate skeptics”

    The Heartland Institute’s Jim Lately hails
    “”Be skeptical of Skeptic’s skepicism of skeptics”,

    an attack by the viscount on the quarterly’s recent lead article ,”How We Know Global Warning is Real and Human Caused ?”

    Lakely begins by asking :

    “if the very name of your magazine is Skeptic, shouldn’t readers expect you to carefully examine the spoon-fed doctrines of the likes of Al Gore, … and be … well … skeptical of “doctrine” ….?

    Readers comparing Al’s 1992 best seller , tThe Earth In The Balance , with 21st century reprints will notice that a curious graph has been redacted. from the newer and more elegant edition. It depicts the number of species man has rendered extinct annually , from prehistoric times to the year 2000, which lay a decade in the future when the book was written.

    Calculus was never my old classmate Al’s strongest suit, and while the graph begins modestly enough with the loss of a few species a year from BC through the dodo ‘s demise, it roars off thereafter , passing 100,000 species a year in the1990′s to go dead vertical in the year 2000.

    Being obliged to Al and Al Sr, for jointlly approbating skeptical view of Carl Sagan’s apocalyptic hypothesis at a 1987 Virginia Tech symposium, “Is Nuclear Winter Real and Relevant ? “, I gentle in noting in The Skeptical Inquirer, as the magazine was then known , that the calculus-challenged Al’s infinite rate of extinction entailed dissapeanace of humanity before the 2000 election.

    I wonder how many confirmed climate skeptics will rush to their back issues of The Skeptical Inquirer to confirm this ?

  14. #14 Ned
    2012/07/23

    Credulousness (towards any claims that appear to support their agenda) is one of the defining characteristics of WUWT.

    I just wandered over there and found this: Some thoughts on radiative transfer and GHG’s. In it, the author muses at length about how adding radiative cooling plates to an engine helps it lose heat. He then concludes that perhaps greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere similarly cool the planet.

    No, I’m not making that up.

    [I almost blogged that pap. Someone should keep a list of wacko theories that WUWT (and Curry, and...) have propounded. Apart from the utter stupidity it displays, the other key characteristic is the total lack of equations and quantification -W]

  15. #15 American Idiot
    2012/07/23

    Much of this follows directly from what I call Anthony’s Zeroth Law, which is that Anthony doesn’t actually understand even the most basic aspects of the science of climate and climate change.

    I sometimes wondered why he didn’t filter out some of the really crazy stuff on WUWT since this would give him more credibility. Then it dawned on me that he doesn’t separate the wheat from the chaff because he doesn’t know the difference.

    Giving credit where it”s due, I think Watts did a service by his surfacestations work because it spurred the community to look more closely at the data. But one could have inferred the eventual result (that contaminated stations showed less cooling warming than the good ones) from simple physical arguments. Anthony was incapable of doing this, and expected the opposite.

    [Apologies for not approving this earlier. Oh, and per request I've corrected cooling to warming -W]

  16. #16 dhogaza
    2012/07/25

    The thread Ned refers to includes The. Best. Smackdown. Ever.

    By Roger Brown of Duke, a physicist who proclaims himself to be somewhat skeptical of AGW’s impact but not the underlying physics, of course …

  17. #17 Ned
    2012/07/25

    Yes, the comment that dhogaza links to is pretty hilarious. But if you brush aside the stuff where he’s just ridiculing a previous comment (that is truly deserving of ridicule), Roger Brown does seem to have more than a trace of that same arrogance that leads some (not all) physicists and engineers to decide that they’re the only smart people in the room. For example, from RGB’s comment:

    “I can and do justify my opinions about almost anything all the way down to the microscopic level — or admit ignorance.”

    Oh really?

  18. #18 dhogaza
    2012/07/25

    And actually, reading further, Brown buys into other standard denialist memes, i.e. there’s no or very little water vapor feedback, net feedbacks are probably negative, etc etc.

  19. #19 paul Middents
    2012/07/31

    For more from Robert Brown see John N-G’s lengthy exchange starting with this:

    http://www.google.com/reader/view/#stream/feed%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Ffeeds2.feedburner.com%2Fhoustonchronicle%2Fclimateab

  20. #20 paul Middents
    2012/07/31

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