The Australian's War on Science 38: more denial from Ian Plimer

The Australian has a printed a response by Plimer to some of the criticism he has received. Plimer opens with:

In Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science, I predicted that the critics would play the man and not discuss the science.

Then he proceeds to play the man and not the ball, calling his critics "arrogant pompous scientists", saying that they lack "common sense" and the scientists who criticised him on Lateline were merely "an expert on gravity, a biologist and one who produces computer models".

And how does he respond to the numerous specific criticisms of all the science he got wrong? He simply denies that it exists:

No critic has argued science with me.

He even then goes on to refer the Age story which lists several problems with his science:

Some questions Plimer can't answer. His book challenges claims that six of the warmest years since industrialisation were between 1998 and 2006, instead quoting NASA figures that the hottest four years were in the 1930s. He fails to say in the book that this data is for the US alone.

Some of his critics say they are surprised that a former head of the University of Melbourne geology department, with more than 120 published papers to his name, would include unsourced graphs in his book. Asked where he found one graph showing temperatures across the 20th century differing markedly to the data used by the IPCC or the world's leading climate centres, Plimer says he can not recall.

David Karoly, also an IPCC author, says there are other examples of misleading use of data. The first graph in the book contrasts temperature over the past two decades with climate models used by scientists, but averages the models together, removing the variation they factor in.

Here's what he says about the Age piece:

In The Age (Insight, May 2), David Karoly claims that my book "does not support the answers with sources". Considering that the book has 2311 footnotes as sources, Karoly clearly had not read the book. Maybe Karoly just read up to page 21, which showed that his published selective use of data showed warming but, when the complete set of data was used, no such warming was seen.

Well, yes, he has a lot of footnotes, but all too often they don't say what Plimer says they do, for yet another example look at the very footnotes he refers to. In his book Plimer writes:

[Santer] added references to his own work which showed warming from 1943 to 1970.[17] However, when a full set of data from 1905 to after 1970 was analysed by others, no warming was seen.[18]

Plimer didn't just one thing wrong here, he got everything wrong.

Footnote 17 is Santer et al Nature 382, 39 - 46 (1996). It did not show "warming from 1943 to 1970". It looked at the spatial pattern of temperature change in the atmosphere from 1963 to 1987 and this didn't just show tropospheric warming, it showed stratospheric cooling. And the point of the study was not to the existence of warming as Plimer implies but the attribution to human influences on carbon dioxide, sulphates and ozone. That's four mistakes about his footnote that Plimer made in just half a sentence.

Footnote 18 is Michaels and Knappenberger Nature 384, 522-523 (1996). They analysed a different radiosonde data set that went from 1958-1995 (not 1905 to after 1970). By calling it a "full" data set Plimer implies that it was superset of the data Santer analysed and that Santer et al cherry-picked, but it was not. In their reply, which Plimer does not mention at all in his book, Santer et al state that the the data set the Michaels used has instrumental biases and spatial deficiencies. Finally, Michaels' analysis did not find that there was no global warming. Rather he found no warming for the 850-300-hPa layer between 30 and 60° S latitudes. That's four more mistakes in Plimer's next sentence.

And his whole book is like this. Everyone I've spoken to about it has been shocked by the sheer number of errors Plimer packs onto every page.

More like this

Professor David Karoly of the University of Melbourne's School of Earth Sciences is an expert on climate change, so like every other scientist who has read Ian Plimer's error-filled book, he was appalled at how bad it was. His review: Now let me address some of the major scientific flaws in Plimer'…
I agree with Barry Brook that Ian Plimer's approach to climate science in Heaven Earth is unscientific. He starts with his conclusion that there is no "evidential basis" that humans have caused recent warming and that the theory that humans can create global warming is contrary to validated…
Graham Readfern explains how a thorough demolition of Ian Plimer is now in Hansard: Back in October last year, the Senate's Environment and Communications Legislation Committee agreed to table a letter from Cardinal Pell which quoted heavily from Heaven and Earth to claim there were "good reasons…
Looks like it was Pilmer night on the ABC. First, he was on Counterpoint, ABC's anti-Science show, as you would expect from his previous appearance, everything he said, no matter how outrageous was uncritically accepted. This time he blamed the Antarctic ozone hole on CFCs coming from Erebus. (…

In the comment section of the previous Plimer post, we observed how difficult it is to tell the difference between satire and real denialism. Plimer's response illustrates the very same phenomenon, but from the opposite direction.

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Life experiences of rural people are very different from those of city folk who have little first-hand experience of nature. My correspondents feel helpless and disenfranchised with the unending negative moralistic cacophony about climate change. They know it smells but they cannot find where the smell comes from.

now i don t know, how much "first hand experience of nature" Plimer really has, but the [people](http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/16/2544634.htm) who surely have some of it, believe in climate change.

South Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF) is calling on the Federal Government to provide funding in the Budget for drought management and research. SAFF president Peter White says more research is needed to better manage climate change and the environment during the ongoing drought conditions.

or [here](http://dev.saff.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=432&It…):

SAFF fully supports the Federal Government in its drive to reduce our countries emission

looks like the "rural people" just gave him another kick in the @$$.

Chuckle...

>"arrogant pompous scientists", saying that they lack "common sense" and the scientists who criticised him on Lateline were merely "an expert on gravity, a biologist and one who produces computer models".

And this is from a mere mining geologist.

Plimer gives "going Emeritus" a bad name before even formally getting the shove to it.

What is sad is that he is so willing to basically throw away what I understand is a distinguished career. I've read the comments on the other Plimer post and spoken directly to people who studied under him. He is referred to quite glowingly in his specialty.

It would be easy to put this piece of (fiction) work down to a case of misguided belief, however the sheer magnitude of his errors points to something more deliberate. Incorrect references and intentional distortion of others' work is more down the path of scientific fraud. It should be called as such and perhaps we should be writing to his university as well. I know that publicity is great for attracting students and funding, but surely this would have to be regarded as a source of embarassment?

Even sadder is the way that The Australian and all those in the denialosphere are embracing this as a nail in the coffin of AGW. It just goes to show that their position has never been one of healthy scepticism, but wilful obfuscation.

I agree that the Australian has totally misread the situation over plimer and climate change generally. Its credibility as a serious paper has been seriously eroded by their editorial decision on this issue. A serious newspaper would give a senior climatologist like Karoly substantial space (say in their Saturday insight section) to rebut plimer's nonnsense. Instead, we get a reverberated echo of misinformed News Ltd columnists, rehashing praise over plimer's nonsense. And this is a critical journalism. What a joke!

And his whole book is like this. Everyone I've spoken to about it has been shocked by the sheer number of errors Plimer packs onto every page.

This is thing that really gets me. I expected the book to contain a huge litany of examples about how climate has changed in the past and to run along the lines of look how variable past climate has been. I didn't expect that Plimer would include literally any rubbish.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a reference to the scientific studies of Louis Hissink.

By Ken Miles (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Wow.. that is just so completely delusional! He's got it totally backwards.

The criticism has not played the man at all. It's been almost entirely on the science and the specific errors of content. Plimer is being strongly criticised because he made such a massive pile of rubbish in the content. That's not playing the man -- precisely the reverse.

As an interested scientist I have been following the response to Plimerâs book with great interest. I created an âIan Plimerâ Google Alert and have therefore seen most of the responses wherever they have been published. The debate has been unfolding as expected. The time honoured approach to dealing with controversial authors is to find a number of inaccuracies / errors and use those to discredit the entire work. A book on the scale of Plimerâs âHeaven & Earthâ will of course contain contentious statements, inaccuracies, and no doubt even errors, and Plimerâs critics are gleefully pointing these out. The surprising thing to me is that with much of the Climate Science establishment gunning for him, how very little of substance has yet been raised that challenges his central thesis ie that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are responsible for climate change. His critics seem to be very much focussed on the trees and not the forest. Some, like ABC reporter Jones, tried to score points by questioning whether the world has been cooling since 1998. This is of course irrelevant to Plimerâs hypothesis as the climate is always changing and temperature is therefore always either rising or falling. It was however amusing to hear Karoly shoot Jones in the foot in the same programme by confirming that temperature had fallen âslightlyâ since 1998. I was also amused to hear one of Plimerâs earliest critics on ABC radio a day or two after the book release comment that had one of his undergraduates submitted âHeaven & Earthâ as a term paper he would have graded it no more than a B and asked him to re-write it. When I was an undergrad a âBâ grade constituted a pass.
The way the debate has unfolded does not do credit to the science establishment. It reminds me somewhat of the response to Wernerâs Continental Drift hypothesis in the 1930âs. He was widely vilified and regarded as a flat-earther until by the 1960s the sheer weight of supporting evidence meant he could no longer be ignored and the study of plate tectonics, now central to our understanding of earth processes, was allowed to unfold.
Whether one agrees with Plimer or not, we should be grateful that we still have such scientists of integrity who are prepared to put their reputations at risk all in the name of generating scientific debate in a topic of great importance.

Glad that someone so promptly rebuffed Plimer's piece.

Unfortunalty, as the comments here illustrate, the only people to read this post will be the one's who, for the most part, don't need convincing.

The middle ground on this issue seems to be shrinking as the public becomes more polarised in their opinions, be they well founded or not.

Isn't it rather odd that, with the general public quite concerned about climate change, the only places in the media getting all contorted about Plimer's book are the ABC and Murdoch's shameless rags?

This ground-breaking work supposedly proving that there is nothing to worry about hasn't had a breath of oxygen on commercial TV. Why would that be? Murdoch (and the ABC) is doing a job, and doing it extremely well.

Neil:

1) Are you suggesting Werner's theory should have been accepted before there was enough evidence to support it?

2) Was Werner "vilified" because he used bogus graphs and misleading footnotes and grossly misrepresented the views of other scientists, not to mention repeatedly cast insulting aspersions on their motivations?

Gaz
In response to your questions:
I mention Werner as an example of how difficult people find it to change their paradigm. One merely has to spin a globe of the world to see that his hypothesis was one worth investigating and an understanding of plate tectonics could have started to emerge 20 years earlier. But scientists & and other professionals (eg more recently economists) erect barriers to new ways of thinking that prevent them from seeing the obvious. If we have published on a topic it seems to be even more difficult. My point is that we should acknowledge this human failing which gets in the way of objective assessment.
I would agree that Plimer has not made it easy on himself by insulting his opponents. But my observation is that of the various errors & inaccuracies raised by Plimerâs critics none has done any damage to his central thesis that global warming is not due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and further that in view of the great variability observed in the past human cause does not need to be invoked.

The failure of 20th century geology to seriously consider Werner's observations until very late in the piece is a stain upon the academic rigour of the field as a whole. More so when you consider some of the deep craziness of some alternative theories such as the Expanding Earth theory. Physics, on the other hand, has weathered significant changes in basic theory in the past 100 years, but has gone where the evidence led with far less kicking and screaming.

So it's truly ironic to use the example of Werner's work now, in this case where a geologist is lecturing physicists on basic physics and stats and is getting it wrong.

Looks like the Emeritus Prof has earned his dream gig of calling bingo at the great hall of deniers. I read the article, the book and note the slavish unquestioning acceptance of his "coterie".

By Eat The Rich (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Neil C, here is a challenge for you: identify one, just one, argument from Plimer's book that offers any evidence for his central thesis that anthropogenic CO2 does not affect the climate.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

#9 & following

Werner and his Continental Drift theory of the 1930s???

Abraham Gottlieb Werner was an 18th-century minearologist, but Continental Drift is generally ascribed to Alfred *Wegener*, who first offered his theories in the 1910s.

American geologists (mostly) rejected them, whereas Europeans were more favorable, but it was way more complex.

This came up in how to learn about science, search for references to Wegener in the original article and comments, especially this one, which I hope clears some of the confusion.

I'd suggest reading Naomi Oreskes on this, i.e., the book that I referenced there, as Wegener's story is frequently misunderstood.

People really, really might want to actually learn a bit more about the history of all this before posting, and at least get a famous scientist's name right.

But, comparing Plimer to Wegener is even sillier. Wegener was early to advance a hypothesis in advance of an understanding of the causal mechanism, he actually got a respectful hearing from a substantial number.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

But scientists & and other professionals (eg more recently economists) erect barriers to new ways of thinking that prevent them from seeing the obvious.

It depends on the point of view one is adopting. I would suggest that rather than Plimer = Werner, it could be climate change = Continental Drift. i.e. the new theory that is being vociferously opposed by vested interests is climate change itself. A better analogy might be Copernicus. Climate change challenges hugely powerful ideologies of the nature and "good" of unrestrained economic development and the exploitation of the Earth's resources.

Perhaps a paraphrase of Galileo, "And yet ... it warms."

Niel C, How many errors have been highlighted in Plimers work? Can you list them here? Should be a simple job if as you assert there are so few?

Which of there errors are fundamental in nature i.e. non-trivial to the argument he is makeing. Eg. is it triaval to use bogus temperatures? Is it trivial to grossely misrepreent author's findings on the scale decribed by Tim above?

It's pretty basic stuff when Plimer can't even corrent attribute the time of the 6 hottest years on the instrumetnal record. Kind of central to his case.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Thanks for the clarification, John Mashey.

By the way, I noticed during my crash course on continental drift, via Wikipedia, this:

"The one American edition of Wegener's work, published in 1925, was received so poorly that the American Association of Petroleum Geologists organized a symposium specifically in opposition to the continental drift hypothesis."

Would this be the same AAPG that has adopted the non-position laid out here:

http://dpa.aapg.org/gac/statements/climatechange.cfm

Those geologists, still at the cutting edge.

As a journalist with The Australian who has copped some flak on this, I'll dip my toe in.

Firstly, I'm not a global warming sceptic. I wrote on Monday that warming could be responsible for declining populations of penguins and elephant seals. There are plenty of similar examples on the public record.

Secondly, by quoting lines such as this from the IPCC report, Tim is guilty of the same kind of selective distortion that he accuses me and others of:

"If a negative surface mass balance were sustained for millennia, that would lead to virtually complete elimination of the Greenland Ice Sheet and a resulting contribution to sea level rise of about 7 m. The corresponding future temperatures in Greenland are comparable to those inferred for the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago, when palaeoclimatic information suggests reductions of polar land ice extent and 4 to 6 m of sea level rise.''

Of course, this statement is not vaguely indicative of the IPCC believing sea levels could rise by 6m as a result of ice melting in Antarctica (or anywhere), and to suggest as much is dishonest. Ditto for the other quotations from the report.

Finally, all that happened is that I visited Antarctica very recently and came back fascinated with the knowledge that East Antarctica was cooling somewhat compared to West Antarctica.I didn't know that; nor did anyone I talked to. That's how this series of stories came about. I don't always agree with my editors but there is no conspiracy here - no evil plot to undo the world.

I've learned a thing or two about how the witches must have felt awhile back.

By Greg Roberts (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Greg wrote:

I've learned a thing or two about how the witches must have felt awhile back.

Lovely! He means he's learned what it's like to be the victim of a witch hunt, but the thing about witch hunts is that they look for witches when there aren't any, not when they are. Greg, you said the opposite of what you meant.

Look, Greg, it's just obvious that the Australian has an editorial line of AGW. You can't seriously deny that the Oz gives a much greater amount of coverage to so-called sceptics than other papers. Do some research and check. So what are you claiming?

Greg:

1) Thanks for your comment. It's always good to see a comment on a blog from somebody in the media.
2) Get your hand off it. Being criticised on a blog isn't even remotely close to being burnt for witchcraft.

By Ken Miles (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Thanks Ken, at least you were smart enough, unlike Neil, to work out what the witches were. Pity you weren't smart enough to work out that my tongue was very much in my cheek.

By greg roberts (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Greg Roberts

You may or may not be a witch (irrelevant). You are definitely not a scientist (irrelevant).

You are a journalist, and in the eyes of many scientists, you have abrogated your journalistic responsibility (relevant).

"There is no conspiracy (or) evil plot to undo the world" by the vast majority of people who practice science (relevant).

Greg, who are you trying to kid? You can't seriously be trying to convince anyone that the pieces you have written over the past two weeks were anything other than beat-ups. And more to the point, beat-ups that served the editorial policy at the Australian. Only the weird choir that you are preaching to thinks otherwise (and even they probably know the truth), so why bother keeping up the pretence here?

There are numerous instances where the sea-ice extent and the temperatures in Antarctica were presented as evidence that casts doubt on mainstream science (what skeptics call AGW). People only need to go back and read those 'articles' to see that this is plainly the intention. It is also clear that the whole series of 'articles' was linked in with gratuitous plugs for Plimer's book (also masquerading as news) and various editorials aimed at influencing public opinion on the ETS. Again, we can pretend this is not the case- but really, why bother? You could claim that this was not your intention- maybe blame the sub-editor? But that would be taking the 'I'm stupid' defense, which I am sure you are loathe to do.

Similarly, the argument that you are/were unaware that recent sea-ice extent in Antarctica and associated temperatures are *not* contrary to global warming scenarios simply does not wash- either you are a bad researcher or you have an editorial agenda. The fact that all this is irrelevant to what happens when you triple atmospheric CO2 is conveniently lost by the lobby group you represent.

And if you are not a 'global warming skeptic' then I guess you operate in a field of amorality as a journalist. In which case, this is all water off a ducks back to you.

Dirk Hartog â here are 3:
â¢CO2 follows T rather than the converse. Even Al Goreâs simplistic T / CO2 graph demonstrates that . It is of course for the very good reason that warming oceans release CO2.
â¢The earth has been in ice ages, even recent ones, at times when atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today.
â¢Human induced CO2 emissions are a very small part of earthâs surface carbon budget
But shouldnât the shoe be on the other foot? In a complex poly-variate system such as the Earthâs atmosphere, shouldnât you be offering the evidence that climate change is due largely to a single human induced emission? (and the much quoted CO2 v T correlation doesnât count as per point 1).
This is not to say we should not get off the carbon economy and clean up our act, but lets do it ona legitimate scientific basis.

Reminds me of a piece we did a while back on our 'Media Page':

"Anguished shill wrestles with inner hypocrite"

Sorry Renzo I can only repeat that there is nothing under the bed here, there's no wicked conspiracy, and the record shows I've written plenty of material about the perils of global warming in the past. What bothers me about postings like this is that they demonstrate what happens to someone when they dare divert from the accepted line. Thank goodness people aren't stoned in this country.

By Greg Roberts (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

15 repeated posts? Thank goodness people aren't stoned in Australian :)

Plimer's ending paragraph in the Australian:

I await the establishment of a Stalinist-type Truth and Retribution Commission to try me for my crimes against the established order and politicised science.

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Roberts, I suggest you go and read the War on Science posts on this blog. Spend a few hours, and come back. Then we can have discussions about whether The Australian consistently misrepresents science.

By George Darroch (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

"It is human arrogance to think that we can control climate, a process that transfers huge amounts of energy."

A statement that does not require reference.

By Earthtide (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Greg Roberts:

I didn't know that; nor did anyone I talked to. That's how this series of stories came about.

You're a journalist who writes about climate change and you admit you don't know your subject? Remind us why anyone should shell out good money for The Australian.

Neil C writes:

my observation is that of the various errors & inaccuracies raised by Plimerâs critics none has done any damage to his central thesis that global warming is not due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and further that in view of the great variability observed in the past human cause does not need to be invoked.

1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
2. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958).
3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955).
4. Temperature is rising (NASA GISS, Hadley Centre CRU, UAH, RSS, etc., etc., etc.).
5. The variations in temperature correlate closely to the variations in ln CO2, as predicted by radiative transfer theory (me).

Which of the above do you dispute?

#49

6. we have no idea how the climate works

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

NEIL writes:

⢠CO2 follows T rather than the converse. Even Al Goreâs simplistic T / CO2 graph demonstrates that . It is of course for the very good reason that warming oceans release CO2.

That's what happens in a natural deglaciation. That is not what is happening now. The new CO2 is coming primarily from fossil fuel burning, which we know from its radioisotope signature. The ocean is presently a net SINK for CO2, not a SOURCE. It gives off 90 gigatons of carbon a year but takes in 92.

⢠The earth has been in ice ages, even recent ones, at times when atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today.

You need to learn about the carbonate-silicate cycle. In "Snowball Earth" situations CO2 has to rise very high before the ice begins to melt again. That's the only situation where you can have high CO2 and extensive glaciation at the same time. The claim about the two coexisting in recent ice ages is simply wrong. CO2 has stayed between 180 and 280 ppmv for the last 800,000 years. It's now 387 ppmv.

⢠Human induced CO2 emissions are a very small part of earthâs surface carbon budget

But Earth's carbon budget is in balance, sources matching sinks. Like a full tub with a tiny trickle of water running in, it's going to overflow just from that tiny extra amount. That's why airborne CO2 has been rising. It is up 38% since the industrial revolution began, or to put it another way, 27% of the CO2 around us right now is artificial.

50

yep...but what about "the climate".

we don't understand the climate

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Greg Roberts writes:

Thank goodness people aren't stoned in this country.

Oh, quit whining about how persecuted you are! All the persecution has been on the other side. Michael Mann had his notes subpoenaed and was hauled before a hostile congressional committee. They tried to muzzle James Hansen. US climatologists had their reports rewritten from the White House. Jim Salinger in New Zealand was fired. Climatologists are constantly accused of scientific fraud.

When you are arrested, tortured with the rack and the boot and hot irons until you're forced to admit you're a witch and to implicate all your friends and family, and sentenced to be burned to death at the stake, then you can whine about how persecuted you are. Until then, shut the fuck up.

53

Yes, but you still don't understand the climate do you?

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Neil C,

Thank you for providing those three examples. It is clear that you
have thought carefully about this. I offer my rebuttals below.

(1) CO2 follows T rather than the converse. This argument has been
refuted any number of times. Plimer is right that in the historical
record CO2 increases have followed temperature increases, by around
800 years. Every climate scientist knows this. And the reason you give
is correct. If you increase the temperature of the earth system by
some means (e.g., the earth's orbital cycles), then the CO2 goes
up. HOWEVER, this says absolutely nothing about what would happen if
you suddenly increased CO2 directly, which is what is happening now.
Science tells us what happens: the temperature goes up.

So, CO2 lags
temperature if something else is causing the temperature increase (and
it then results in a much larger temperature change than would otherwise
have occurred). CO2 leads temperature if the CO2 is the thing that is
forcing the temperature change.

This is a fairly subtle thing to appreciate, and if you
haven't thought it through it is understandable to think the
argument has merit. However, for Plimer to promulugate this is
inexcusable.

(2) The earth has been in ice ages, even recent ones, at times when
atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today.
This is outside my area of
expertise (I am but a humble 17th century Dutch explorer :-)), but the
Antarctic ice cores show that there have been many ice ages over the past
800,000 years, and during that period the CO2 has never been higher than it is
today. Plimer's Fig 24 shows CO2 levels back to 600 million years ago,
but neglects to show the huge uncertainty in these values. I note that
the Ordovician ice age (about 450 million years ago) may have resulted
from a dramatic drop in CO2 levels precipitated by the rise of the
Appalachian Mountains (see the work by Matthew Saltzman).

I am sure that someone else reading this blog can provide a better
explanation of this point.

In any case, whatever the history associated with CO2 and ice, the
fact remains that if you suddenly increase CO2 in the atmosphere, it
will inevitably lead to a temperature rise. Adding CO2 is like putting
on an overcoat in winter: you warm up. The physics is clear.

(3) Human induced CO2 emissions are a very small part of earth's
surface carbon budget: shouldn't you be offering the evidence that
climate change is due largely to a single human induced emission?
This
is precisly what the climate models do. They try to explain the
observed warming trend through all the known causative factors. If
human CO2 is included, the models match observations (averaged over
decadal timescales, not the few years that Plimer uses) rather
well. If human CO2 is excluded, the models fail dramatically. Now
Plimer says that the models are useless, which allows him to propose
any number of crazy ideas (all of which are taken from contrarian blogs, or papers in Energy and Environment) without any onus to provide even the
slightest evidence that they are sufficient in magnitude.

I hope that this has given you some food for thought.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Since neither side understands the climate, no one has a leg to stand on. The end result is Plimer. Until we understand the climate in all complexity, he will always be there....

Each side of the debate is covered in slime

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

55

Thats some nice slime ya got goin there!

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Earthtide

You have not got anything substantive to contribute.

You may learn something by just reading, watching and learning.

Save the planet, boycott the Australian.

Ok, I'll feed the troll. Earthtide - Just because you don't understand how the climate works doesn't mean that others don't (argument from ignorance and probably incredulity as well). This doesn't mean that all processes/mechanisms/interactions/feedbacks are understood at present, but this isn't what you are saying.

Slime? Projection much?

Greg, I pointed out that you didn't say what you wanted to say, and you accused me of stupidity. Just think about what your profession is, for god's sake: You're a journalist. It's a pretty bad thing for a journalist not to be able to be able to say what they mean. Second, I asked you for some evidence that the Oz doesn't publish a higher proportion of so-called sceptical pieces, compared to other papers with pretensions of quality. You reply with assertion and bluster, not evidence. Now some people around here know a thing or two about serious research: we know that saying something doesn't make it so. We know about evidence. So put up or shut up.

Re Continental Drift: From "The New Pictorial Atlas of the World" (Odhams Press, 1930s sometime)

"continental drift: A theory that the continents are not fixed but are slowly drifting, generally in a westwards direction; the continents consist of less dense rocks which slide over denser rocks forming the beds of the oceans...

...The chief evidence in favour of the theory is that South America fits into Africa, and that there is a correspondence between the rocks, fossils and some existing animal and vegetable forms of the two continents. There is also a resemblance between Greenland and Norway. It is further claimed for the theory that it explains the existence of the isolated but distinctly continental island of Madagasgar, and the existence of coalfields within the Arctic circle.

According to recent measurements made by Dr Knud Rasmussen, Greenland is drifting rapidly...Denmark appears to be moving west at the rate of 3 feet in 100 years..."

I presume that the Dr Rasmussen is the Danish/Greenlander polar explorer who died in 1933.

The atlas is definitely pre WW2 but after 1934, British, and I think that the tone of the article is very straightforward and not at all dismissive of the theory.

By brett coster (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

It seems that we are not alone in realising the danger that Murdoch represents to our democracy (and also our planet! What a bastard!)

Please either utilise the ideas we suggest over at "stopmurdoch" or suggest some of your own.

If Greg's paranoia is anything to go by, we already have them on the run.

Neil C:

This is of course irrelevant to Plimerâs hypothesis as the climate is always changing and temperature is therefore always either rising or falling.

So Plimer's hypothesis is just a big strawman.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Sorry Renzo I can only repeat

Yeah.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

It's a pity that Greg Roberts didn't stick around a bit longer to discuss The Australians shabby performance on this topic.

Especially given that it was his name on that mendacious April 18 story that so selectively mis-represented Ian Allisons views on Antarctic ice that they could headline it "Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking", and mis-represented Peter Garrets comments on sea-level rises.

To be fair to Greg, perhaps it was mangled by an editor.

On the other hand, look at the articles that Greg's name appears under from the last few weeks,
"Peter Garrett shifts from claim of 6m rise in sea levels" - that would be the claim he never made.

"Sea ice spread linked to ozone layer" - where Greg again gets his basic facts wrong saying "But the absence of an ice melt overall does put a further question mark over extreme claims....."

"Ministers split over Antarctic ice shelf claims" - Greg says that there is a view being falsely promoted that "catastrophic melting of Antarctic ice was imminent.".

"Icecap science rattles Craig Emerson" - Rattles! How so? - "Minister Craig Emerson has split from Kevin Rudd and ministerial colleagues by declaring science is undecided on key aspects of the global warming debate.". Because he "cast doubt on the assertion that scientific evidence was conclusive for a catastrophic meltdown of the polar icecaps". How so? "He said he would like to see scientists settle the question of what would happen to sea-level rises and the polar icecaps as a result of climate change.". How have they been doing it to now? - "We have been basing our responses to this issue on the basis of scientific evidence". Huh? 'We have been...'?? Was that the royal 'we', or was he talking about the Government?

Here's Emersons full statement,
"I saw the question and the answer [to Garrett]. The question was put that the suggestions that sea levels rises could be around six metres and Peter said words to the effect of well this is why we are so concerned about climate change. Now, what I'd like to see is the scientists themselves settle on some of these issues. We need always and we have been basing our responses to this issue on the basis of scientific evidence and I suppose what's disappointing around the world is that there is so much disagreement around the edges or even in key issues such as what is happening to Antarctica. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of disagreement about this, and that is the climate is warming, the globe is warming and we can't wait to see whether the sea level rises by half a metre, one metre, two metres or more and then act. We need to act now, to get ahead of it now and do everything we can to prevent these sorts of dire predictions from becoming a reality."

What a load of dreadful shiite from The Australian.

But maybe it was all in the editing.

Greg Roberts:

Secondly, by quoting lines such as this from the IPCC report, Tim is guilty of the same kind of selective distortion that he accuses me and others of:

"If a negative surface mass balance were sustained for millennia, that would lead to virtually complete elimination of the Greenland Ice Sheet and a resulting contribution to sea level rise of about 7 m. The corresponding future temperatures in Greenland are comparable to those inferred for the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago, when palaeoclimatic information suggests reductions of polar land ice extent and 4 to 6 m of sea level rise.''

Of course, this statement is not vaguely indicative of the IPCC believing sea levels could rise by 6m as a result of ice melting in Antarctica (or anywhere), and to suggest as much is dishonest.

What? What do you think it means? They are undoubtably (at least to some people) pointing out the consequences of sustained negative mass balance in the ice-caps. Negative mass balance is already quite substantial in the Greenland and West Antarctica ice-caps.

Finally, all that happened is that I visited Antarctica very recently and came back fascinated with the knowledge that East Antarctica was cooling somewhat compared to West Antarctica.I didn't know that; nor did anyone I talked to.

I recall reading a New Scientist in the 80s that pointed out that West Antarctica was far more vulnerable to losing ice mass than East Antarctica. But I guess I probably read more scientific information than Greg Roberts. Also, is this meant to be a justification for The Australian completely avoiding any mention of what's happening to the West Antarctic ice-cap? At best it comes across as selective journalism.

That's how this series of stories came about. I don't always agree with my editors but there is no conspiracy here - no evil plot to undo the world.

At best it is sloppy and selective journalism.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

continental drift: A theory that the continents are not fixed but are slowly drifting, generally in a westwards direction; the continents consist of less dense rocks which slide over denser rocks forming the beds of the oceans...

In other words, when geologists claimed that Wegener was wrong - they were right.

Plate tectonics is an entirely different mechanism which, unlike Wegener's early attempt, successfully explains that the continents were, as their shapes suggest, once locked together.

we have no idea how the climate works

I think you speak for all deniers on that one.

By Marc Abian (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Tim, I wanted to make sure you had seen Charlie Veron's rebuttal of Plimer's coral reef-related material. Among Charlie's comments:

"(T)his author has not wasted time reading. I turn to his treatment of corals and coral reefs: every original statement he makes is incorrect and most are the opposite of the truth. If he ever read anything on this vexing subject (cited or not) he either has a selective memory or just ignored it. This is unusual, even for pseudo-science(.)"

He concludes:

"If you, reader, are a climate change sceptic and want to stay that way, this book is for you. All those issues of climate science that you have ever heard of have been nicely re-cycled: uncontested, unspoilt by expert opinion and, above all, bravely presented in the face of thousands of scientists who (do you really believe) have banded together in a diabolical plot to misguide you. Well done Professor Plimer, you have given new meaning to the notion of 'failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data'."

Charlie's scientific qualifications:

"Charlie Veron is best known as the author of the three volume Corals of the World, and is the author of 100 scientific articles, including 14 books and monographs, on subjects ranging from climate change, molecular biology, palaeontology, coral identification, biogeography, coral reefs, conservation, marine science policy, marine science history, cell biology, reptilian physiology and biography. He is former Chief Scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. He has been the recipient of the Darwin Medal, the Silver Jubilee Pin of the Australian Marine Sciences Association, the Australasian Science Prize, the Whitley Medal and received special mention in the Eureka Awards. He has discovered and described 20% of all coral species of the world. He has worked in all the major coral reef regions of the world, participating in 66 expeditions and spending 7,000 hours scuba diving. He continues to work in many different fields although he now concentrates on conservation and the effects of climate change on coral reefs."

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Why is everyone trying to talk Greg Roberts down? He's so much more amusing on the cross. Speaking of which this:

Reminds me of a piece we did a while back on our 'Media Page':

"Anguished shill wrestles with inner hypocrite"

I will keep always. I mean, I just shed tears.

By Majorajam (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

OK, OK.

Greg's got a point.

I too was just down in the Antarctic and was surprised to find that it was cooling. April was much colder than Feb and March. No one I've talked to seemed to know this.......but I've only been talking to the cat.

"Ok, I'll feed the troll. Earthtide - Just because you don't understand how the climate works doesn't mean that others don't "

No you are wrong.
YOU do not understand the climate.
You have to accept it.

Are you suggesting there is a secret society of people who are in the know?

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Earthtide, I know where that secret society is. Try here.

I've just discovered it and think these people really know what they're talking about.

I suppose when one enters the Lion's Den, one expects to get eaten. I'll make a final observation before bowing out. It's been my experience in writing stories about science for newspapers over 30 years that many scientific experts expect newspapers to be like scientific journals. I have edited a scientific journal so I know a thing or to about it. There's a view out there, reflected in the vitriol of some of these postings, that a failure of journalists to immediately embrace the accepted wisdom of most experts on a particular topic is somehow intolerable. For instance, is it really that appalling that I, like 99 per cent of the population, was not initially aware of the difference in conditions between West and East Antarctica? Journalists may be required to become experts on 5 or 10 different subjects in a week. I thought that by sticking my head up we might have had an intelligent exchange and it's a little disappointing that instead I'm dodging arrows.

By Greg Roberts (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Re #76.

But experts (and anyone being interviewed by the media for that matter) do expect their views to be represented fairly. Lying by omission is still lying.

We're not talking about "a failure of journalists to embrace the accepted wisdom of most experts on a particular topic", Greg. We're talking about deliberation misrepresentation of the evidence. Yes, that is "somehow intolerable", from a newspaper.

Ditto to Jimmy & Neil

Daniel AND St Sebastian in one post, Greg? Maybe a little more journal reading and little less of the Big Book of Christian Matyrs might help.

I was about to post about the John McLean article in the Oz today as well. Same old story - climate scientists commit fraud (which is implied even if not spelled out) in order to get more funding to do more fraudulent "research" to get more funding ...
Do people really believe that there are hundreds of scientists out there that go to this trouble to keep doing fake research? What are they really supposed to be gaining? Do people think that they get to personally keep all this funding and go off and build a mansion or something? I mean, they do realise that research funding is used to fund actual research don't they?
Of course McLean must know all about it because he's a "climate data analyst" ... whatever that is. I see that Tim has encountered him before.

Also in the opinion pages today they have Mike Sandiford setting the (geological) record straight - which is good to see, but they had to make sure that readers could choose to believe that he's just after funding rather than giving us an accurate account of the science.

Leigh Dayton is a awesome science journalist, and the Oz's AGW writings would be infinitely better if she wrote a higher proportion of them.

By Ken Miles (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Just repeating this from another, less active, thread, and still hoping someone can help me find the source.

Can anyone tell me the source for the data shown in Plimer's graph on page 355, figure 4.2?

It isn't the UAH satellite data at http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

I'm assuming it's from some dodgy source rather than Plimer's own research because the graph extends, as far as I can tell, only to the latter months of 2006.

Greg

Iâll expand on my ditto. You must realise that scientists (in whatever field) are a very pedantic species â they have to be. When they publish a paper they not only have to do the research on countervailing hypotheses, but also dot the iâs and cross the tâs on their own. One word wrong âhereâ or a miscalculation âthereâ could spell the end of their career â credibility is very important.

You obviously realise the issues surrounding âclimate changeâ are very big and as a consequence âclimate scienceâ and those at the coal face are being scrutinised under a microscope, from all quarters. Needless to say, scientists today are very particular (and somewhat conservative) in their conclusions - when scientists ring the âalarm bellsâ, you can be sure they are concerned. This does not mean they are alarmists.

Compare the scientistâs âlotâ in life to journalism, where you have deadlines to meet, limited space to fill and editorial policy to consider, often on a daily basis. It is not surprising that what scientists need or want to convey sometimes gets distorted or misrepresented in the popular press/media, unintentionally or otherwise.

Scientists have to be able to get their message across in terms that non-scientists can understand. Unfortunately, this often means simplifying complex processes and is quite easily taken out of context (you would/should be aware of this) and used by antagonists to denounce what the scientists are trying to say.

Disseminating science to the general populace is a conundrum â scientists are not journalists. All we ask is that journalists report the science with due diligence. In my opinion, this is not being done - particularly with respect to The Australian.

When it comes to comparison of our current situation with the climate of 500 million years ago, the level of CO2 is not the whole story. On such long timescales due consideration to the power output of the sun (it has increased approx 30% during the life of the Earth), to the location of the continents (continental drift being a major shaper of climate through changing the location of the land itself, location of various albedo effects, ocean currents, and many other factors), and to the geo-chemistry possible on a large scale (carbonates, buffering effects, etc).

If at some time past C02 was at say 2000ppm and the world was 10C hotter than now, then a comparison must at the very least also take into account the above items, or it is not a realistic comparison. From Ian Plimer's public comments I suspect that he isn't comparing apples to apples when he talks about modern climates and climates in the far geologic past.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

DavidK @ 74 - lulz. Excellent pisstake!

That bit about data integrity had me in stitches.

By David irving (… (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Question for Greg Roberts

You write in the Australian:

"Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m."
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25348657-401,00.html

Explain how 1.67m of ice is less dense than 1.89m of ice?

-- Hank (no relation that I know of) Roberts

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

David K,I agree with much (not all) of what you say and it's nice to see a considered, tempered contribution to this thread for a change

By greg roberts (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Greg Roberts:

it's a little disappointing that instead I'm dodging arrows

Poor old Greg. He can't take criticism.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

So all of Timâs friends donât like the book? Thatâs great science. Very scientific.

I have a better argument: Religious green policies are starving Africans. I win.

Greg-

Your attempt to paint yourself as someone victimized because 'they dare divert from the accepted line' is simply a disingenuous attempt to recast the issue of your sloppy reporting and/or misreporting.

Similarly, stating that there is 'no conspiracy' in your reporting, is another attempt to restate the claims against you in an outrageous manner.

The idea that there is an ideologically driven editorial policy at a newspaper is hardly a conspiracy theory, and the idea that some reporters fall in line with this policy is also unspectacular.

And what other viewpoint are you putting forward, such that you feel you are being hunted down and victimised? You should clearly state (not vaguely state) which views you feel are causing you to feel so threatened.

There is a huge gap between ensuring science is faithfully reported and 'going after' people who do not agree with you. For example- in areas of public health and welfare- there is an onus on scientists working in a particular area to make sure that the correct science is communicated. That's a concept called professional responsibility.

You would hardly suggest that medical researchers were engaging in a witch-hunt by seeking to ensure that people did not go around saying that smoking was fine for your health. Further, such reporting would rightfully be seen as reprehensible. On the issue of climate change- your newspaper takes the view that providing non-expert, unpublished counterpoints to solid science is virtuous.

The attributable risk of dramatic climate change on an Earth with double and triple the current atmospheric CO2 concentrations is as compelling as the smoking-cancer link. There has not been a single published paper in 40 years that says otherwise. Making sure this fact is understood is the responsibility of climate scientists- they are doing their job properly. They also have to stand by their published work.

If you think that the analogy with the smoking 'debate' is incorrect- you should clearly state why.

If you agree with the analogy, then your employer is clearly culpable.

Your newspaper continues to give more than equal time to opinion columnists that have not published any science. In other words, they refuse to submit themselves to the same level of accountability as the scientists they misrepresent.

"If you think that the analogy with the smoking 'debate' is incorrect- you should clearly state why."

- Good analogy? Both complex. Is the planet a patient?

- Bad analogy? Science is all about statistics. How many dead smokers /planets?

- Good analogy? you are a piece of slime.

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Earthtide-

Your contribution makes no sense.

Science is all about statistics- which is why the attributable risk is relevant to risk assessment for CO2.

You should look up attributable risk in wikipedia or elsewhere.

Is the planet a patient? No.

Are smokers and non-smokers taking part in a control experiment patients? No.

They are subjects- analogously.

The probabilistic evidence shows overwhelmingly that an atmosphere with double or triple current CO2 concentrations will be dramatically warmer.

You can extend the analogy further if it doesn't do your head in. A population of rabbits could be substituted for humans in a medical study. As such, the rabbits become MODELS for the humans. Now, suppose that the study showed that rabbits exposed to drug A had an enormously higher probability of death than rabbits not exposed to drug A. You now have a basis for risk assessment based on the rabbit as model.

And I'm betting you would not take drug A- because you have correctly assessed the risk of death to yourself, based on the rabbit as model for human.

No doubt you are much braver when it comes assessing risk to future generations from CO2. Good for you.

OK, no-one wants to admit to buying Plimer's book, that's OK, but maybe someone's "borrowed" a copy and worked out the source for the data behind figure 4.2 on page 355.

It must come from somewhere.

"Science is all about statistics- which is why the attributable risk is relevant to risk assessment for CO2."

Yep that's correct...but only in part.

Remember the analogy is the patient, isn't it?

Just because we don't know every-thing there is to know about human biology, doesn't mean we throw away all there is to know....Is this what you mean? Mr. Slime?

By Earthtide (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Gaz it just looks like monthly UAH data. I'd say he got a 2006 version graph from a website and it got redrawn for his book.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Gaz, I'll admit that I did not buy Plimer's book.

Earthtide

We only have one test-tube to experiment with (remember, there is no control either).

It would be wise to take risk assessment seriously - some do: Swiss Re Munich Re.

It appears you would conduct the experiment. This is not bravery (apologies Renzo), it's stupidity.

Roberts: What bothers me about postings like this is that they demonstrate what happens to someone when they dare divert from the accepted line.

And therein lies the issue. For the media it's all about the story, not the science. And the story that sells is the one of the little guy up against the system, the battler against the stern faceless judgemental voices of authority. So it's Plimer versus the scientific establishment. But that shouldn't be the story. The story should be the scientific evidence for climate change and the policy response by governments and corporations. Maybe that's too hard for the media to tell.

Earthtide:

you are a piece of slime.

Earthtide's just another name-caller.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Ahh

At the end....

At the end, you are the one with the experiment, not me....

Very good thing about scientific literature.. it remembers everything. Why bother using up to date references....think about that.....in 50 years time

By Earthtide (not verified) on 06 May 2009 #permalink

Greg Roberts is feeling aggreived by the criticism he's copped.......on a blog.

Just imagine how he'd feel if his name was Ian Allison, Peter Garrett or Craig Emerson and his words had been mis-represented and then splashed all over the pages of a national newspaper?

Greg Roberts:

I've learned a thing or two about how the witches must have felt awhile back.

...

Thank goodness people aren't stoned in this country.

I remember stories of witches getting tortured and burned at the stake.

You're being "hit" with pretty mild criticism.

Your complaint is reminiscent of the Inquisitors sketch in Monty Python. Watch it buddy, or we'll bring out the Comfy Chair.

It's good that Greg read the blog and made some comments, but I don't think he should be surprised at the arrows coming his way. The Australian's behaviour on this issue has been disgraceful. I read an interview (David Karoly?) which said that serious climate scientists just don't even bother with it now. Greg might like to have a look through some of the "The Australian's war on Science" in this blog. At the very least I would love an explanation for Number 36 with the the selective quoting of John Quiggin to make it seem he said something that he didn't. I think that's the most blatant and unanswerable one I've seen. Mind you they're all pretty appalling.

Greg Roberts, meet Karen Ryan. If this troll the Australian hires to play journalist were to breed with her, perhaps that would give the Japan Defense Force something to do.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

Two responses I should be praised for passing up:

1. Someone kick the PR bot, it's stuck!

2. I think there's hard evidence here people are really stoned in Australia.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
2. Temperature averages are rising.
3. CO2 is rising.
4. The variations in CO2 correlate closely to the variations in temperature, as predicted by radiative transfer theory.

Which of the above do you dispute?

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

In other words....of course CO2 levels go up with rising temperatures. It gets released from the warming oceans and as ice melts!

By Peter Smith (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

From Leigh Dayton's article about Plimer in the Australian:

"He says that as there's less atmospheric CO2 than nitrogen or oxygen, a bit more won't make much difference."

Good grief. Coming from guy who was a respected scientist, that is a shockingly ignorant view. Can anyone point to a link to a relevant excerpt from Plimer's book?

Never mind.

Just read Michael Ashley's review: there is far worse stuff in the book. Plimer is evidently off his rocker.

Of course more CO2 is released as ice melts and oceans warm!

Isn't it quite funny how from 1998-2007 we had the biggest worldwide boom in economic activity, released more man-produced CO2 than ever before...and the world cooled!!!

The AGW Zeolots on sites such as this need to just take a note from the climate and just cool it. You guys are way too hot an bothered. The science is as simpe as reading a thermometer.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Sally wrote: Isn't it quite funny how from 1998-2007 we had the biggest worldwide boom in economic activity, released more man-produced CO2 than ever before...and the world cooled!!!

What's funny is that you believe that lie uncritically. Or is it willingly?

Take a look at the 20th century temperature record and you will see sharp yearly variations in average global temperature. By picking the second hottest year ever recorded, (1998) as your starting point, you can create a 10-year series that looks somewhat flat. That is known as cherry picking; it is trickery, not science.

And, by the way, 2005 was hotter than 1998. That fits your definition of cooling?

Peter Smith wrote:

In other words....of course CO2 levels go up with rising temperatures. It gets released from the warming oceans and as ice melts!

In that case, the CO2 content of the oceans will be decreasing by an amount sufficient to account for the increased quantity in the atmosphere. Are you quite sure about that? Have you looked at the actual data?

(It is, of course, nonsense.)

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Isn't it quite funny how from 1998-2007 we had the biggest worldwide boom in economic activity, released more man-produced CO2 than ever before...and the world cooled!!!

Why start at 1998? Why use old data? Try analyzing 1999-2008 temperature data instead! Temperatures during these period were *warming* at a rate *much faster than before!!!!!!11111oneoneone!!!* (http://newscenter.lbl.gov/press-releases/2009/05/01/climate-experts-war…)

Tsk Tsk. If you want to be taken seriously, Sally, do read up on science from the IPCC and not swallow crap from denialist blogs/newspapers. There's no point in rehashing stupid falsities like the one your brain just farted out. It only stinks up the forum.

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 16 May 2009 #permalink

Ho ho ho! Your sense of humour is exceeded only by your free time.

Sally makes a good point about the last decade. We are constantly told by AGW alarmists of rapidly impending rising sea levels of 60-100 ft and other nonsensities and here most everyone admits temperatures are cooling in the last ten years.

But for arguments sake, lets get back to more meaningful statistical analysis and look at global temps over the last 1500 years. How would you explain away the Medieval Warm period, which was as warm or warmer than today's temperatures?

AGW arguments might make some folks feel in some way more relevant in today's world, but we are not experiencing it. We are experiencing 'Modern Global Warming'. It is a natural occurance and it is as simple as that.

By Peter Smith (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Peter Smith:

How would you explain away the Medieval Warm period, which was as warm or warmer than today's temperatures?

Blatant lie.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

here most everyone admits temperatures are cooling in the last ten years.

no one here admits anything like that, because temperature actually was WARMING over the last 10 years!!!!

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1999/plot/wti/from:1999/trend

your talking point is over 1 year old. the "cooling for a decade" claim was sort of true then, because the period would start in 1998, which was a warm OUTLIER. the claim is simply false today!

So ten years of data is better than 11? I doubt it.

But you conveniently hide from the real point I made that we have enjoyed warmer periods than now over the last 1500 years without the doomsday scenarios predicted by today's alarmists and without the human produced levels of CO2 production. How do you explain it?

By Peter Smith (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Sod: I have already debunked your woodfortrees chart. It relies on NSAS data which is widely considered manipulated for political gains in the AGW debate. See my other posts.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Peter Smith:

The globe was cooling over the last 10 years, and even if it wasn't, it was cooling over the last 11 years, and in any case this is just nothing but a distraction from the Medieval Warm Period!

Shorter Sally Johnson:

Any and all evidence supporting the global warming theory can be debunked by my handy conspiracy theory.

So ten years of data is better than 11? I doubt it.

doubt whatever you want. yes, 10 years of data NOT starting with an outlier is better than 11 years that DO start with an outlier.

anyway, it wasn t me, who brought up the 10 years claim. you brought up the claim that 10 years show a cooling trend. your claim was false.

man up and admit it.

we have enjoyed warmer periods than now over the last 1500 years without the doomsday scenarios predicted by today's alarmists and without the human produced levels of CO2 production. How do you explain it?

the evidence that GLOBAL temperature were warmer during the "MWP" is slim at best. but i ll look at your data. when you finally provide some.

Sod: I have already debunked your woodfortrees chart. It relies on NSAS data which is widely considered manipulated for political gains in the AGW debate. See my other posts.

Sally, i doubt that you will debunk anything that i write during this life.

if you don t like the NASA GISS data, try the satellite UAH data. it shows WARMING as well, over the last 10 years.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1999/plot/uah/from:1999/trend

So ten years of data is better than 11? I doubt it.

So eleven years of data (starting with an outlier) is better than 12? I doubt it.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1997/plot/wti/from:1997/trend

Sally: We use Woodfortrees because it's a handy way to express and compare multiple datasets. As Sod notes, the satellite data from UAH concurs with GISS's, and has ever since UAH's arithmetic error was uncovered ages ago.

Peter Smith:

But you conveniently hide from the real point I made that we have enjoyed warmer periods than now over the last 1500 years without the doomsday scenarios predicted by today's alarmists and without the human produced levels of CO2 production. How do you explain it?

You're telling a lie. There is no evidence that this is true. Tell us what you think it is and I'll point out where it is wrong.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Sally Johnson writes:

Of course more CO2 is released as ice melts and oceans warm!

The oceans currently give off 90 gigatons of carbon per year and take in 92. They are a net SINK for carbon dioxide, not a net SOURCE. You could have looked this up. Please do some research before posting next time.

If you believe such theories then a little ice melting and raising the sea levels will also increase oceans' abilities to take in CO2, the cause of global warming according to the alarmists, thus bringing everything back into equilibrium and giving so-called AGW no long-term net effect.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

Sally Johnson:

thus bringing everything back into equilibrium and giving so-called AGW no long-term net effect

"long term" meaning around 100,000 years.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

Wow! An AGW Alarmist who now wants to risk talking time periods longer than 150 years. This puts you on very thin ice my friend because it will force you to acknowledge the Medieval Warm Period, the 1500 year climate cycle and a lot of evidence you alarmists are consistently attempting to debunk in your one-eyed AGW proclamations.

By Paul Levinson (not verified) on 19 May 2009 #permalink

Tim Lambert.

Can we lose the troll who used a portion of Barton's name to say nothing sensible at all?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 May 2009 #permalink

Sally Johnson is ... Graeme Bird in drag, funnier and with feathers.

You stick to childish name calling and I'll focus on facts.

Fact: Australia has not experienced a significant warming trend in the last 100 years. Check stats at the National Climate Centre.

Fact: The USA has not experienced a significant warming trend in the last 100 years.

In fact, the opposite is true. It was warmer in the first half of the 20th century. Even James Hansen admits this much.

So called "global temperature averages", are devised in arbitrary ways by folks such as James Hansen at NASA, who have been provenn to massage their numbers with subjective formulas to create a trend favouring global warming.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Sally Johnson:

"Global average temperature" is obviously an arbitrary construct. But "Australian average temperature" is obviously not an arbitrary construct. And, it's a conspiracy.

Not a conspiracy. Just a bunch of sheep blindly following James Hansen's global temp formula.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Sally Johnson:

You stick to childish name calling and I'll focus on facts.

Fact: Australia has not experienced a significant warming trend in the last 100 years.

Check stats at the National Climate Centre.

This graph is a joint product of the National Climate Centre and the Bureau of Meterorology. Anyone who thinks it has no significant warming trend is plainly delusional.

Fact: The USA has not experienced a significant warming trend in the last 100 years. In fact, the opposite is true. It was warmer in the first half of the 20th century. Even James Hansen admits this much.

James Hansen admits that 1934 in the contiguous US was within 0.01 deg C of 1998. i.e. they cannot be distinguished. This does not amount to 1934 being warmer than 1998. The graph of this data clearly shows that there was no sustained period in the first half of the 20th century that was warmer than recently.

This Sally Johnson is a delusional nutcase who can't even read a graph.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Quoting James Hansen: "The U.S. has warmed during the past century, but the warming hardly exceeds year-to-year variability. Indeed, in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934."

Hansen continues: "Yet in the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases â in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country."

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Nutcase who cannot read a graph? Why do you continue to post graphs of temperature anomalies when perfectly fine graphs of min/max temperature averages are available based purely on hard data and not subject to someone's idea of a formula for averaging to make it look the way they want it to.

Chris O'Niel: Using your own Met Bureau as a source, it is obvious average temperatures have not changed. For example, looking at raw data of annual highest temps from Gayndah Post Office in QLD from the late 1800s through till recent years you can see there is NO INCREASE in average highs.

http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/avpdisplaytype=dataGraph&pstnnum=039039&pnccObsCode=40&pmonth=13

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

You may have to look up the max temp averages directly yourself. This blog does not appear to permit cutting and pasting of web links to well.

Sally Johnson @136.

That Hansen quote is from August 1999. That was 10 years ago. It was true then - it is not true now, 10 years later. The decade since Hansen said that has been clearly and substantially warmer than the decade of the 1930s.

Why do you denialists keep quoting decade-or-more old comments on recent results, as if they are current comments or recent results?

Oh, yeah....

Sally Johnson is a Poe, yes?

She is seriously using a data record consisting of the high temperature only from the one hottest day in each year? Throwing away the high temperature data from the other 364 days, and throwing away all 365 days of the low temperature data, and reducing the entire year's worth of temperature records to a single datum reflecting a couple hours of the one day with the highest high temperature, and then arguing that the data analyses that include all this data are inferior to hers?

Is it really possible for anyone to be that anive or sttupid?

Fine - click on my name to get the "mean maximum temperatures" graph then.

Lee, please work on your spelling (or typing skills, but I know you are feeling very alarmed right now so it must be difficult).

One station? Throwing away all the data from every other station? And still throwing out the low temp data?

Why are you so devoted to throwing out so much of the data?

Because the more you mix and convolute data the less meaningful it becomes.

The AGW Alarmists claim the earth is getting hotter. What better data to look at than mean maximum temperatures to prove this is not the case?

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Sally:

It is more meaningful to deduce Australia climate trends by looking at a single measure from a single station in a single location, than to use all the data from all the stations in Australia.

snicker.

Meanwhile, for anyone who wants to see what is really happening in Australia, click MY name.

You can select the data used, and the analysis, in that page. Look at mean minimum temperature, and it become really clear why Sally doesn't want to use minimum temps.

That graph is the result of the Bureau's "weighted average scheme" as it likes to call it. This 'scheme' also includes "reconstruction" of data not actually available.

I'll take the hard data results of individual stations to draw my conclusions.

By Sally Johnson (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Sally, that 'weighted average scheme' is simply a gridded averaging, to make sure that trends in regions with a lot of stations in a small area, don't swamp trends with fewer regions in a larger area.

You are taking an amazingly anti-science position, that analysis of data is impermissible. That is an absurd position.

Sally:

Stations, plural?

Aside: Your rhetoric is virtually identical to the SurfaceStations.org crowd, who in one moment decry any form of data adjustment but in the next shout loudly about the urban heat island effect or other siting problems (which are adjusted for with publicly-available methods). This would seem to be a double standard -- preferring raw data from individual stations over amalgam data weighted according to geographic impact practically requires you to demonstrate why the SurfaceStations.org complaint is wrong.

Of course, mutually contradictory claims have never been a problem for those who deny reality. After all, there is no global warming and we're not the ones doing it and stopping it would hurt the economy and it's too late to try anyway.

"Sally Johnson", "age 20", at #132: "You stick to childish name calling and I'll focus on facts".

Sally Johnson can't _handle_ the facts, it's nothing but denialist talking points gleaned from antiscience websites for her. Arguing that max temp data from _one_ location is in some way significant in the context of global climate change? It isn't "fact" it's delusion, as everyone with any training in science would know.

Aside: Your rhetoric is virtually identical to the SurfaceStations.org crowd, who in one moment decry any form of data adjustment but in the next shout loudly about the urban heat island effect or other siting problems (which are adjusted for with publicly-available methods). This would seem to be a double standard -- preferring raw data from individual stations over amalgam data weighted according to geographic impact practically requires you to demonstrate why the SurfaceStations.org complaint is wrong.

very strong point. shouting: "why are they adjusting their data at all?" and "they don t adjust their data for UHI!" at the same time, is a trademark of the denialist crowed.

that is, why they deserve the denialist name..

Sally Johnson:

Quoting James Hansen: "The U.S. has warmed during the past century, but the warming hardly exceeds year-to-year variability. Indeed, in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934."

This is an out-of-date quote mine that was written in 1999. The warmest decade in the US in or around the 1930s was 1930 to 1939 inclusive which had an average anomaly of 0.49 deg C. The warmest decade on record was 1998 to 2007 inclusive which had an anomaly of 0.76 deg C or 0.27 deg C WARMER THAN 1930 TO 1939.

Sally Johnson is dishonest or delusional or both.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 20 May 2009 #permalink

Another example of bias in "The Australian": Christopher Pearson's "Chairman Manne's no to climate of dissent" is arguably full of half truths at best. Quoting from the mid-April Rasmussen poll, he says "...belief in global warming primarily caused by human activity is falling fast. For example, a mid-April Rasmussen poll tells us that in the past 12 months the number of Americans who say they believe it has fallen from 47% to 34%. Given that Australians have historically been more temperametally inclined to a sceptical attitude, its likely that we'll be seeing an even greater swing locally."

What Pearson failed to tell his readers is that:
The poll was of 1000 "likely voters." In other words it was already significantly filtered before it was carried out.
At the time of the poll, Americans were just coming out of one of the coldest winters since 1995 (ref http://www.climatelogic.com/system/files/forecasts/winter09/Reg110Dv00E…), hardly an auspicious time to poll them on global warming. Incidentally, although cold, this was still significantly above their mean winter temperature for the period 1895 to 2009. Australians, on the other hand, have had some very severe weather (floods in Queensland and unprecedented drought, high temperatures and bushfires in Victoria). As such, they may understandably be somewhat less sceptical of global warming.
The Rasmussen poll also reported that "64% of voters now regard global warming as at least a somewhat serious problem, with 41% saying it is very serious."
58% of the respondents in the Rasmussen poll were of the opinion that "more nuclear power plants should be built in the United States." This begs the question that if they don't believe that coal fired power stations are significant in contributing to climate change, why go to nuclear power?
In a separate American poll "Climate Change in the American Mind" of mid March 2009, researchers from Yale and George Mason Universities published results from a poll of more than 2164 Americans which indicated that "despite the economic crisis, over 90 percent of Americans said that the United States should act to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs."
The statistics quoted by Pearson from the Rasmussen poll are arguably worthless, and as a professional journalist, Christopher Pearson has clearly failed in his duty to supply objective and unbiased information to his readers.

By Don Cooper (not verified) on 23 May 2009 #permalink