Ian Enting is checking Plimer's claims

Ian Enting has been checking the claims Ian Plimer makes in his error-filled book. His list of errors and other problematic claims is here. [Link updated to version 1.7]. He's found plenty that I missed. For example:

p 409: New Orleans sunk rapidly by about 1 metre in the three years before Katrina struck. This time (unlike p 303, item18) a reference is cited: by Dixon and others Nature, 441, 587-588 (2006) from radar satellite altimetry. They report a three-year average of -5.6±2.5 mm/year, with a maximum of -29mm/year (negative values indicating subsidence). They note that if the motion is interpreted as purely vertical, the mean and maximum become 6.4 mm/year and 33 mm/year.

The overlap between Enting's list of 33 statements and my list of 59 statements is very small -- just five statements are on both lists. We can use the Lincoln-Peterson method that ecologists use to estimate the size of animal populations to estimate the total number of errors and problematic statements in Plimer's book. Let P be the set of errors and problematic statements in Plimer's book and p be the number of elements in P and assume that Enting and I have produced independent samples from P. Then the fraction of elements of P in my sample will be expected to be the same as the fraction of elements in Enting's sample that are also in my sample. That is, 59/p = 5/33 so p = (59*33)/5 = 390. That's almost one for every page!

Of course, our samples are unlikely to be statistically independent since there are some errors that are so blatant (like the Swindle graph) that both us were certain to notice them. This suggest that my estimate of 390 errors and problematic statements is probably an underestimate.

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New Orleans sunk rapidly by about 1 metre in the three years before Katrina struck.

for some times i wondered, what his "earth science" could bring to the topic of global warming. now we know..

ps: if i had published a book containing such crap under my real name, i would be sinking into earth about 1 meter per minute, from pure shame alone...

"They note that if the motion is interpreted as purely vertical, the mean and maximum become 6.4 mm/year and 33 mm/year." ...wow so Plimer wrote.... "about 1 metre in the three years"... this is a serious misrepresentation of the study and clearly proves your theory of AGW.

Surely you can come up with better evidence for AGW than this!

"Surely you can come up with better evidence for AGW than this"

Surely you can come up with any evidence that disproves AGW.

Lank... errr. I think the point is that if someone can ass up anything so simple as this, then it casts doubt on their use of references. Plimers supporters have claimed the validity of his book by boasting the number of citations. If those citations turn out to be misrepresentations, obsolete or in fact don't support the claim being made then the book is just a pile of shit.

By Pete Bondurant (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

Surely you can come up with any evidence that disproves AGW.

how about the ocean temps are going down, the global temps are going down, CO2 is going up? That's a start.

you don't think maybe it's a printing error and it was meant to be .1 meter ?

Lank, just so we're crystal clear here, the highlighted error isn't evidence for AGW, it's eveidence that Plimer is either a fool or a liar.

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

Tim, your use of strict statistical methods to estimate the number of "errors and problematic statements" (a clever use of terminology that allows you to count almost everything you doubt or disagree with under the one heading) in Plimerâs book is very impressive - until one examines the underlying data. In your list of "59 statements" you (1) count the "hockey stick" 6 times, once for every time Plimer mentions it - even if one accepts that the hockey stick is valid, this is one error by Plimer, not 5; (2) offer simply "no cite!" or "no footnote!", with no supporting rebuttal, at least 7 times, (3) include statements of opinion such as "claims Lysenko parallels the global warming movement" and (4) list claims such as "claims IPCC reports are written by just 35 scientists who are controlled by an even smaller number" without any explanation as to why this is incorrect. Your list is a nice diatribe, but no basis for a statistical analysis. You may be right about some things, but frankly I can't be bothered trawling through your list to separate the scientific wheat from the ideological chaff. As an educated lay person I seek out credible sources from which I might learn about this subject. It is apparent to me that you are not a credible source.

janam:
"how about the ocean temps are going down, the global temps are going down, CO2 is going up? That's a start."

I'll repost my answer to jesse, over in the 'science is missing' thread.

No. Wrong. Balls. Only those clueless in data analysis can assert this. There is no statistically significant deviation from the warming trend that has been going on since 1975 - a year that can be identified as a change point by statistically valid change-point analyses. Of if you prefer, there is no statistically significant deviation from the linear warming trend present in the entire instrument record. When you fit a trend line to data, approximately half the data will be below the trend line. If there is structure to the noise - and for temperature, there is - then the deviations above and below the trend line will tend to persist for several years. As the trend continues, then there will be periods of years when every new year's data will be below the trend line.

This is not only not unexpected,it is certain to happen. There IS NO DATA that says this constitutes a cooling tend, or any kind of change from what's been happening for the past 35 years. The only people who say that, are innumerates who derive a trend by picking an arbitrary starting datum, and an arbitrary ending data, and using some method of drawing a line between them. This is a fail.

The only people who say that, are innumerates

Or liars. Let's not forget the liars.

Well Lee - you'd better contact Dr Karoly urgently because he's admitted there is a cooling trend.

I must admit when I look at the temps since 2001 it does appear to be cooling but I'll take your advice and close my eyes and imagine it's going up.

No, Karoly has NOT said there is a cooling TREND.
He says:

Yes, the climate system did cool from January 2007 to January 2008 quite dramatically. That cooling was associated with changes in the ocean temperatures in the Pacific, a well known phenomenon, the El Nino to La Nina switch. It isn't unprecedented.

Normal variation around the warming trend.

I look forward to seeing the results of a study using the same method to estimate the total number of errors and problematic statements of the IPCC reports. Have you had time to do this over the last few years Tim?

Temperatures have dropped a very small amount since 1998 both in Surface Temperature and in atmospheric temperatures measured by satellites.
David Karoly - Lateline 27th April 2009.

Re #14.

How about quoting what Karoly actually said as opposed to what you want to hear:

DAVID KAROLY, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE: Temperatures have dropped a very small amount since 1998, both in surface temperatures and in atmospheric temperatures measured from satellites. But that doesn't mean that global warming has stopped. The temperatures, if we average from 1998 to 2008, they're warmer than the previous 10 years, or the 10 years before that, or any 10-year period over at least the last 150 years.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2554128.htm

It is the bit you left out that provides the context for his comments.

janama:

What I said (paraphrased) is that if you cherry pick a starting datum, and an ending datum, and you don't bother with statistical analysis to see if it is real, you can find a period where it is getting cooler - but that this is not evidence of a cooling trend.

What Karoly said (paraphrased) is that if you cherry pick a starting datum, and an ending datum, and you don't bother with statistical analysis to see if it is real, you can find a period where it is getting cooler - but that this is not evidence of a cooling trend.
----
janama is not only innumerate, he is dishonest, engaging in quote mining that is trivially easy to spot and highlight. Meaning not only is he dishonest, he is stupidly dishonest.

I left out his opinion. When I'm in a plane and the pilot pulls back on the stick we go up and our altitude increases. When the stick goes forward we go down and the altitude decreases. Just like temperature.

we are currently going down. We have been higher in the past so this is not unprecedented..

BTW - if it continues for another 20 years and everyone finally concludes that global warming has stopped, from what date do you think people will say the global warming stopped?

Still no evidence janama.... you FAIL

"we are currently going down."

No.. FAIL

"We have been higher in the past so this is not unprecedented.."

No... it is unprecedented. You just can't make states, you need evidence. You still have none.

states = statements

I'm constantly amazed that people think that the ups and downs of the surface temperature record are ups and downs of the net radiative balance of the planet. They aren't. Or that the most recent downs (which are still way amongst the hottest on record) represent a cooling trend despite the ups clearly dominating over longer periods. Or that the hottest decade on record can in any way show that the planet is cooling. Or that a hot spike in a warming trend (1998) can be the foundation for arguments that the world is cooling. Or that people prefer to believe such rubbish when every science body that matters disagrees with such misleading and mistaken interpretations. Or that these arguments continue to be used by people who are smart enough to know better. Plimer surely knows better and is just pocketing the money of the gullible before that long term trend overwhelms short term variability.

what are you on about Ken - what do you mean the hottest decade on record - what record?? do you expect the world to remain static, constantly heating, you don't think there's a possibility it might change and start cooling?? the oceans are cooling and the planet has cooled in the past. The sun's been pretty quiet hasn't it. Get real!

(1) count the "hockey stick" 6 times, once for every time Plimer mentions it - even if one accepts that the hockey stick is valid, this is one error by Plimer, not 5;

If a man steps on the same rake 6 times, is that one error or five?

>If a man steps on the same rake 6 times, is that one error or five?

That's 7 errors. Each individual step on the rake is an error, after the first one there's also a planning error.
On a somewhat tangential note: the first step is as accident, the second one a tragedy and after that it devolves into comedy, or at least a farce.

Anthony and Mark: "Stepping on a rake" is a false analogy and you (should) know it. (In caase you actually don't understand this: It would be an accurate analogy if Tim had been sitting over Plimer's shoulder saying "wrong!" every time he typed a reference to the hockey stick. Bottom line is, Tim has chosen the broadest possible definition of "error" in order to pad his list and then applied statistical techniques to extrapolate from that list.

Where I live, the nightly minimum has dropped about 4 degrees over the last week.

Donning my denialist hat (ala janama), I expect woolly mammoths to be roaming my garden by months end.

And I'm stocking up on nuts for the coming Ice Age.......just popping over to Jennifer Marohasy site, there's plenty over there.

you don't think maybe it's a printing error and it was meant to be .1 meter?

No.

The correct values are 0.0064 and 0.033 metre. How do either of these equate to 0.1 metre?

You are grasping at straws.

I must admit when I look at the temps since 2001 it does appear to be cooling but I'll take your advice and close my eyes and imagine it's going up.

What you are saying is that you do not know how to scientifically interpret time series.

I made this comment a [few weeks ago](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/04/open_thread_25.php#comment-1598…) in response to "Freezer": the same argument applies to your thinking.

Temperatures have dropped a very small amount since 1998 both in Surface Temperature and in atmospheric temperatures measured by satellites.

Comparison of two points, especially where one is a record-breaking one, is not how one determines a trend.

At least, it is not how one does so if one is numerate.

I left out his opinion. When I'm in a plane and the pilot pulls back on the stick we go up and our altitude increases. When the stick goes forward we go down and the altitude decreases. Just like temperature.

Using your analogy, the pilot is simply decreasing altitude in order to avoid turbulence, before increasing altitude again to reach a cruising height.

The aeroplane is not landing, nor is it crashing.

do you expect the world to remain static, constantly heating, you don't think there's a possibility it might change and start cooling?? the oceans are cooling and the planet has cooled in the past.

So, how many times has there been 'cooling' in the last 100 years? By what definition are you determining your answer, and to what cause(s) do you ascribe these cooling events?

The sun's been pretty quiet hasn't it.

Yeah, and look how the global temperature is dragging its heels when it comes to 'cooling' in response...

Richard at #8 (and #27).

Tim Lambert's method is exactly what I, as an ecologist, would have used.

Each of Plimer's errors is a separate use of misinformation to reinforce an incorrect message, and thus stands independently on its own (de)merits, even where it might have been previously referred to. If Plimer had used the same 100 (say) errors randomly scattered through a book of 1000 pages, with 5000 bibliographic items, and the book was referred to on the basis that it was so heavily referenced and so thick, then it's about more than just the 100 errors, especially when each occasion represents usage in a different context or in a different framing.

I'd be curious to see whether 'capture bias' might be incorporated the calculation in order to tease out a more accurate determination the total number of errors. However, the total error count aside, the errors tallied so far are a dismal indictment of the separation of Plimer's ideology from the application of stringent science.

Plimer's mangling of facts in H&E, and the response of his cheer squad here, amply demonstrate why they are simply Denialists and not "sceptics" in any real sense of the word.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

The image of a delusional stepping on the same rake time after time is an image that resonates for me.

What's the bet that Lank thinks 33 mm/year for 3 years equals 1m? So Lank's only out by a factor of 10 while his nutty professor's book is about 390 times as wrong as Lank. So far in these comments here, that is.

....'The correct values are 0.0064 and 0.033 metre'... Yes, Bernard J you are very prone to exaggeration and misquote when it suits your cause. Are you using your alarmist ruler?

I'd be curious to see what the Lincoln-Petersen's error count would be on the Inconvenient Truth Sci fiction but I guess that would just be too hard.

Hey Dopey - just trust Bernard J he's an expert geologist since he 'had' Plimer a few years ago. Now he must know everything or did he flunk geology?

If you are not too lazy to read Plimer's book his contention ... âThe hypothesis that humans can actually change climate is unsupported by evidence from geology, archaeology, history and astronomy. The hypothesis is rejected.â ... is not so dopey.

Anthony (#30): My assertion that the "garden rake" analogy is flawed still stands, then.
Bernard J (#31): Your point is well made. However, I do not accept (and this, perhaps is where we must agree to disagree) that each mention of the hockey stick is in such a 'different context or framing' that it deserves to be counted separately in an alleged list of "errors". And as I said earlier, Tim's list also includes statements of opinion (e.g. Lysenko) and assertions of error such as "no cite!" without even an attempt at rebuttal.

I also look at the "dog that didn't bark" - in other words, the many points that Plimer makes that are not rebutted.

Now, of course I understand that it is unreasonable to expect a detailed rebuttal of every point in a book such as this. But I do think that Tim's list is too sloppy to be taken seriously by someone who is looking for facts and evidence, and certainly too loose to be the basis for a statistical extrapolation.

You know, Plimer's book is actually a godsend for the proponents of the hypothesis of significant and catastrophic AGW. Because Plimer has put his cards on the table, and a detailed dissection and refutation of what purports to be (and may well be) the best available case against AGW could win this battle once and for all.

I know what the response to that is - real scientists are too busy doing real science to bother with that sort of thing. Same (legitimate) argument that is used when the creationists rear their heads and claim victory in the absence of detailed rebuttal.

Nevertheless, like it or not, this is a public debate and not just an argument between scientists. You may need to deal with that if you want to win hearts and minds in the public domain.

Richard, the Plimer stuff that I mark as no cite are errors that are so obvious that I didn't feel I needed to rebut them.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

>This time (unlike p 303, item18) a reference is cited: by Dixon and others Nature, 441, 587-588 (2006) from radar satellite altimetry.

Hold on, i thought satellite altimetry wasn't accurate enough for denialists, so we can't use it to measure see levels. But it is OK for measuring New Orleans sinking???

Can some climate change denialist tell me when, where and what technology is OK to use, because I find the algorithm for working out what is acceptable confusing.

"âThe hypothesis that humans can actually change climate is unsupported by evidence from geology, archaeology, history and astronomy. The hypothesis is rejected.â ... is not so dopey." - Lank

No,it's uber-dopey.

One part of it is half right - of course the geological record, or archaeology, don't provide any supporting evidence that humans can change the climate - but only because they are a record of the past and human mediated release of massive amounts of CO2 is a uniquely modern phenomenon.

Tim (#36) I'm sure that is the case, as far as you are concerned. Which makes the whole list an exercise in preaching to the choir. Just don't expect anyone who doesn't already agree with you to be persuaded, and don't pretend that you are doing anything other than indulging in a mutual back-patting exercise. I refer you to the last 3 paras of my post.

Tim (#36) I'm sure that is the case, as far as you are concerned. Which makes the whole list an exercise in preaching to the choir. Just don't expect anyone who doesn't already agree with you to be persuaded, and don't pretend that you are doing anything other than indulging in a mutual back-patting exercise. I refer you to the last 3 paras of my post.

The correct values are 0.0064 and 0.033 metre. How do either of these equate to 0.1 metre?

because .033m over 3 years is .099m or 0.1m rounded off. and you say you are a geologist?

So, how many times has there been 'cooling' in the last 100 years? By what definition are you determining your answer, and to what cause(s) do you ascribe these cooling events?

From 1940 - 1975 the globe was cooling (negative PDO time) 1976 - 2001 warming, Positive PDO, 2001 - 2009 cooling Negative PDO - get the idea?

The correct values are 0.0064 and 0.033 metre. How do either of these equate to 0.1 metre?

because .033m over 3 years is .099m or 0.1m rounded off. and you say you are a geologist?

So, how many times has there been 'cooling' in the last 100 years? By what definition are you determining your answer, and to what cause(s) do you ascribe these cooling events?

From 1940 - 1975 the globe was cooling (negative PDO time) 1976 - 2001 warming, Positive PDO, 2001 - 2009 cooling Negative PDO - get the idea?

cause? natural variation.

I have to count janama's multiple posts as at least 6 errors. Richard, how many errors has janama made in posting his comment above? Just one?

;)

:) :) no errors mate :)

"2001 - 2009 cooling".

Garbage. A complete abuse of statistics. This tells you a lot about Janama's expertise in stats and science (= nil).

Yup. Another layman. Note how pretty well all of the contrarians habituating Deltoid are scientific neophytes. Dash, Curtin, Tim Wells, Janama, Lank etc. All are very clearly wearing the political and ideological biases on their sleeves.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

[Plimer said] "New Orleans sunk rapidly by about 1 metre in the three years before Katrina struck"... They note that if the motion is interpreted as purely vertical, the mean and maximum become 6.4 mm/year and 33 mm/year [â¡99mm/3yr].

.

To which janama said:

you don't think maybe it's a printing error and it was meant to be .1 meter ? [emphasis mine]

to which I replied

No.

The correct values are 0.0064 and 0.033 metre. How do either of these equate to 0.1 metre?

You are grasping at straws.

Janama, I stand by my point. If Plimer was using the 33mm/yr figure (â¡99mm/3yr, or 0.99m/3yr), and translated it to 1m/3yr, the error is not one of a printing error.

It is either carelessness at the least, in a severely misleading fashion, or it is mendacious misuse of fact (â¡ lying).

Take your pick, but it ain't a printing error.

because .033m over 3 years is .099m or 0.1m rounded off

Printers don't take 99mm and round of to 1m. It's as simple as that. If Plimer had, in the course of writing, rounded 99mm to 0.1m he would have included the "0." part, as is convention in textual reporting of numbers. A printer would not lose the "0." part, and even if such a sequence of event had occurred, Plimer's proof-reading is then condemned to being sloppier that of a drunken first year undergraduate.

and you say you are a geologist?

I have never said that I am a geologist, because I am not a geologist. My qualifications are repeated on Deltoid several times if you care to UTFSE.

I did however have Plimer as a lecturer for first year geology, because I took a range of first year science subjects in order to have a wide and a solid grounding in the sciences. It was a decision that, in hindsight, has stood me in very good stead, and helps me to see the shortcomings and the bullshit of a lot of pufted up Dunning-Kruger afflicted ideologues who think that a few pseudoscientific-sounding catch-phrases enable them to go toe-to-toe with real scientists.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Plimer's incorrect use of the satellite radar data for New Orleans brings up another one of his "misunderstandings". In his talk on Lateline (& I presume in the book?), he rubbished sea level measurements based on tidal gauges because of earth movements. Of course accurate sea-level data comes from the satellites (see http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ which shows sea levels still rising at 3.2 +/-0.4 mm /yr due to thermal expansion of the ocean. No cooling there!) It is not a great feat to find from the Geoscience Australia website that "Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) jurisdictions periodically monitor these gauges to determine any possible local movement of the installation and to link them to a common vertical reference." Plimer's comments were based on ignorance of the field of geodesy and a misguided belief that only geologists knew of earth movements.

2001 - 2009 cooling

pajama, let us know when you've found the 30 year period in 2001-2009 that is needed to calculate climate.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Sinking New Orleans is a perfect example of Plimers ability to take a fact, distort it, and then compound the distortion with either carelesness or stupidity.

The 33mm figure Plimer used to fabricate the 1m/3 yr fantasy was, of coure, the maximum rate of sinkage. Plimer refers to the whole of N.O., so surely the mean would be the correct figure to use - which gives a measly 0.0192m / 3 yrs.

Perhaps a convenient printing error might have rescued the situation by turning it into 1.92m/3yr....and with rounding 2.0m/3 yr. Heck, man the life boats N.O.!!!

Charlie Veron's notes on Plimer's errors include a number of specific points re corals. I've excerpted these below.

Charlie missed a key aspect of the first point: The rugose and tabulate corals that existed prior to 250 mya were wiped out at that time (end-Permian extinction). Replacements (the scleractinians) then had to evolve. While it's not clear what combination of factors wiped out the former corals, the effects of a large pulse of CO2 clearly played a role.

Regardless, that Plimer seems to think that present corals have a 500 mya history is a pretty big lapse for someone whose claim to expertise is geology.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Plimer: ââ¦contrary to the alarmist press view ⦠over the past 500 million years, corals have survived in much warmer and much cooler waters than the modern Great Barrier Reef.â

Science: True, but over the time of its existence, the GBR has not been subjected to temperatures as high as present.

Plimer: âReefs will keep pace [with sea level rise] as it has done in the past. This is contrary to the alarmist press view.â

Science: Under normal conditions reefs grow up to 0.6 m/century century. Even without other climate change impacts, reefs cannot keep pace with present sea level
rise. Reefs have not kept pace in the past â they have grown atop exposed old reefs or drowned.

Plimer: âOver geological time, coral reefs have been bleached and almost all those that did bleach have since recovered.â

Science: There is no evidence of bleaching in geological time.

Plimer: âBleaching is not exclusive to the last 25 years.â

Science: Mass bleaching is very visible â there are no records before 1979.

Plimer: âCoral bleaching has been described as a vivid demonstration of climate change in action⦠most corals like it hot.â

Science: The mechanism of mass bleaching is known in great detail and is due to high temperature.

Plimer: âSome coral species are killed by unusually elevated temperatures. These are not the long-lived massive coralsâ¦â

Science: Mass bleaching affects massive corals as much as others â huge colonies 600 years old have been killed en masse during mass bleaching.

Plimer: âIf sea temperature rises, corals just migrate.â

Science: Warmer waters could in theory extend distribution ranges, however acidification will contract them. There are no instances of coral âmigration".

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

janama, lank

Pilmers calculation is simply disasterously wrong. Let's calculate the correct value first. Dixon states a 3-year average value of -5.6±2.5 mm/year. So if you are interested in the average height within 3 years you take that value and multiply it by 3 years, not the maximum speed, which results in -16.9±7.5 mm, which is about a factor of 60 smaller than 1 meter.

To come up with 1 meter in 3 years
a) make the assumption, that all movement is vertical, so that you can use the mean value of 6.4 mm/year and the maximum value of 33 mm/year.
b) use the maximum speed of 33 mm/year instead of the average speed.
c) Fudge an additional factor of 10.

Let us assume, these errors have been made in good faith, it should give any physicist a pause to find a sinking of 1 meter within 3 years plausible. Sinking speeds like that would go hand in hand with massive damage to the infrastructure. Just having speeds in 10s of millimeters per year and ending up at 1 meter alone should raise all sorts of red flags.

Let us assume, these errors have been made in good faith, it should give any physicist a pause to find a sinking of 1 meter within 3 years plausible. Sinking speeds like that would go hand in hand with massive damage to the infrastructure.

nice catch. Plimer obviously never read his own book...

just imagine what sinking 1m would do to the building you re currently sitting in...

Janama,

If Roy Spencer is one of America's leading climate scientists, why is he giving credence to the Loehe 2007 paper. As described here it is is very dodgy, and should be obviously so to anyone purporting to be a climatologist.

Gavin Schmidt concludes in that review of the paper:
"Unfortunately, the number of unsuitable series, errors in dating and transcription, combined with a mis-interpretation of what was being averaged, and a lack of validation, do not leave very much to discuss. Of the 18 original records, only 5 are potentially useful for comparing late 20th Century temperatures to medieval times, and they don't have enough coverage to say anything significant about global trends."

I'm amazed at how willing you denialist folk are to dismiss the careful analyses of Mike Mann and other paleo climatologists analysis while at the same time accepting obviously dodgy screeds that supposedly support your beliefs. Denialists laud a paper containing 18 mostly mis-analysed records, and yet winge and moan about Manns work which in his latest paper includes 1209 temperature series going back to 1800, 460 back to 1600, 59 back to 1000 AD, 36 back to 500 AD and 19 back to 1 BC.

Go figure!

By Craig Allen (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Steve Bloom

There are no instances of coral âmigration".

so how come the coral reefs in the Bikini Islands that were completely destroyed by US Nuclear tests have fully recovered and are the most pristine coral reefs on the planet today? http://www.uq.edu.au/news/index.html?article=14473 plus there used to be coral reefs off the coast of southern western Australia - when the waters were warmer than today - how did they get there and regarding bleaching, how warm were the waters off Broome at that time?

Even without other climate change impacts, reefs cannot keep pace with present sea level rise

so you are saying that the GBR is drowning? That's news to me. BTW sea level rise has flattened out. http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

Plimer: âBleaching is not exclusive to the last 25 years.â

Science: Mass bleaching is very visible â there are no records before 1979.

you call that answer science?? sheesh!

Craig Allen - I'm amazed at how willing you denialist folk are to dismiss the careful analyses of Mike Mann

I didn't dismiss his work - The National Academy of Sciences did.

Jeff - All are very clearly wearing the political and ideological biases on their sleeves

you have absolutely NO idea of my political leaning. It might surprise you who I voted for in the last 5 elections.

Janama your reference does not back up what you say. It says that the reefs around Bikini are recovering nicely, but it does not call them pristine let alone the most pristine in the world.

It does call the reefs at nearby Rongelap Atoll pristine and speculates that they may be seeding Bikini since Bikini is downstream.

Regards,
John

By John Cross (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Janama I'm constantly amazed at the ability of people to believe, without any evidence, that what people do hasn't and won't change the climate despite every major scientific institution that studies climate saying we have and do. Or believe rubbish like Plimer's is of equal, let alone superior standing, to all the leading science institutions of the world.

John Cross - probably my error - I just grabbed the first reference I found to it - the original one I read did say the Bikini reefs were pristine and had impressed the scientists who went in to check them out. Apparently all but a small number of the species had fully recovered - to their total amazement as it wasn't expected.

Ken - obviously we have some affect on climate through landclearing and deforestation - the question is HOW MUCH??

I don't accept the gloom and doom presented by the Flannerys and Hansens of the world - we don't influence the climate to that extreme. In fact to find our unique footprint is extremely hard and no one has found it so far.

To use the "every major scientific institution" argument is just silly - all I have to say is Stomach Ulcers.

Pinko Punko (#48): Like the garden rake, a false analogy. Bernard J is the only one who has made a sensible rebuttal of my assertion about the multiple hockey stick references - thank you Bernard, even if I don't agree with you. (and thank you Tim for your comment) Of course I have no more right than any other commenter to "demand" rebuttal of anything I write. Just don't expect me, or any other critical reader of this blog, to be persuaded by false analogies.

And the stomach ulcer issue was settled by science - once the evidence was in, it became the accepted explanation.

It has some similarities to the whole AGW debate- but not in the way you seem to think.

The old received wisdom was that global climate was too big and too stable to be influenced by the activity of mere humans. But as the evidence has come in, scientists have begun to overturn this long-held view.

janama, you're now in the position once held by those who though that the bacterial explanation of ulcers was 'heresy'. The main difference now is that the field of the doubters is filled by non-scientists.

The main difference now is that the field of the doubters is filled by non-scientists.

Not at all - some of the world's leading scientists are sceptical of the degree of influence we have on climate.
That's what you guys don't seem to get, you act as though only scientists believe in AGW and all the deniers are non scientists.

Janama

What you don't seem to get is that the vast majority of scientists who believe in AGW are not "alarmists" and think human induced climate change will not lead to catastrophic climate change - a meme trotted out by (for example) the Heartland Institute, the WUWT coterie and Jen's Jackals, ad nauseam.

Janama,

"Not at all - some of the world's leading scientists are sceptical of the degree of influence we have on climate. That's what you guys don't seem to get, you act as though only scientists believe in AGW and all the deniers are non scientists."

This statement doesn't actually mean anything. Think it through...

Some of the world's leading scientists (ok, that's easy)

are skeptical of the degree of influence we have on climate (???? What???? - this does not mean anything)

Skeptical of the degree of influence... Hmmmmm.... Nope... Means nothing.

care to elaborate? Perhaps you could say skeptical of the IPCC conclusions?

Anyway it's typical of the rubbish you write Janama.

"you act as though only scientists believe in AGW and all the deniers are non scientists." Big straw man here, Ian Plimer is a scientist, although you could rephrase it as "typically they are non-scientists". They seem to be mostly engineers. More accurately deniers don't seem to use much science in their arguments.

What would you need to prove AGW to you Janama?

Fluke me. I have been reading this site for a while, and my word, what a laugh. Janama and Lank need a show, you guys are hilarious. You could tour primary schools and debate the pupils, get a few lessons. I'm not surprised your fans of Pilmer's fabrication, being students of that art yourselves.

What other topics do you guys post on? I could always do with more laughter in my life - electric universe theory perhaps? Ever try to build a joe cell?

By Dicksonator (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

janama said: "That's what you guys don't seem to get, you act as though only scientists believe in AGW and all the deniers are non scientists". No, we act as we do because honest scientists show AGW to be true and dishonest scientists deny the facts.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

No, we act as we do because honest scientists show AGW to be true and dishonest scientists deny the facts.

Ok so Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels are all dishonest. Do you see the fallacy in your statement?

Dicksonator - what an apt screenname.

Why did Spencer "publish" on a 'denialist' blog site before it was (not) published in a reputable science journal?

janama said: "OK so Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels are all dishonest." Hey, first thing you have got right in I don't know how many posts. I guess it's a start.

What is the fallacy? You have just proved that my statement is true.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

John Cross - probably my error - I just grabbed the first reference I found to it...

followed by

I don't accept the gloom and doom presented by the Flannerys and Hansens of the world - we don't influence the climate to that extreme.

Hang on...

You accept the "first reference [you] found" because it agreed with your ideology, but you "don't accept the gloom and doom presented by the Flannerys and Hansens of the world", even though their information is based on the best peer-reviewed science?

And upon what evidence do you claim that "we don't influence the climate to that extreme"?

I see where you're coming from...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Why did Spencer "publish" on a 'denialist' blog site before it was (not) published in a reputable science journal?

obviously because the "reputable" journal's editorial board disagreed with content of the paper.

It's pretty horrendous when one of the world's leading climate scientist who is in charge of the world's latest and most sophisticated climate satellite can't get the results of his work published because apparently it challenges the current theories.

Ian Forrester - may I suggest you write to the aforementioned scientists and accuse them of the dishonesty you perceive.

And upon what evidence do you claim that "we don't influence the climate to that extreme"?

simply by comparing their predictions with the actual outcomes. You should do it one day - it's very interesting.

here's a chart Lucia has posted demonstrating it.

http://users.tpg.com.au/johnsay1/Stuff/HANSEN.jpg

janama, are you insane? Hansen's projections look pretty good.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Hi Tim - well, I must admit heâs fairly close to outcome C - unfortunately outcome C is his projection if we stop emitting CO2 - which we havenât - outcome A is what we are supposed to be following as itâs based on us continuing as normal with no reductions.

Janama:

Calling Spencer "one of the world's leading climate scientist" (sic) is a big stretch. Academics are often ranked by how often they publish and how often they are cited - not by what their job title they possess.

Fact is, Spencer has published few and far between in recent years, and in this list of updated climate science citations (http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table.html), he is ranked 374th.

And, rather than go all whacko and cite a conspiracy - let me posit something else. Spencer did not get published not "because apparently it challenges the current theories," but because his work was not up to scratch.

Bottom line - if you write crap, do expect to get rejected by the editors of reputable journals. Nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is to publish it on a blog and expect it to be taken seriously by others.

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Janama:

Please read this - and the comments that follow - before taking Lucia's and Nick Stoke's comments at Blackboard about Hansen's 1988 projections at face value.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/hansens-1988-proj…

FWIW, I'm still waiting for Lucia to publish her work. *If* her conclusions are valid, it'll be a first step towards that Nobel Prize for disproving AGW. But methinks I'll be waiting for a loooooooooong time for her stuff to be published in Nature/Science/PNAS. :)

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

The estimated 390 errors is cute but can only be an order of magnitude. Unlike Tim, I am not bothering much with "questionable statements" other than add them to my "to do" list (e.g. the solar composition stuff that Michael Ashley picked up on).
Since the New Orleans number appears twice, a printing error seems unlikely.
I am told that a blog post somewhere asks why I didn't do a similar scathing review of Gore's book. The main reasons are
(a) I wasn't engaging with the pseudo-sceptics until 2007 (b) Gore's book has a lot fewer errors (see UK court judgment) (c) I am paid to work on science: Plimer claims to be a scientist producing a scientific work - Gore is a politician. When writing Twisted I made the point of saying that the only thing that I would quote from Gore is the political comparison between greenhouse denial and the activities of tobacco companies ("doubt is our product"). As a scientist I avoid secondary sources (and that includes the IPCC) -- the IPCC quotes in my document are not for demonstrating the science, they are for demonstrating that Plimer is misrepresenting the IPCC. Using secondary sources takes away credit from the scientists who did the original work.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

Lank, here's something of the analysis you requested.

If readers are interested a reading of the review documents for the latest IPCC reports at http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/ipcc/ provides a revealing insight into the way IPCC authors dealt with their own set of "problems". The main means being to simply to ignore them. Chapter 6 of Working report 1 on Palaeoclimate is a good example. This is a mere 64 pages long yet the list of problems in the first draft is 222 pages long with 1789 âproblemsâ noted. Thatâs an average of 28 problems per page! You would have thought the second draft would have been âproblemâ free yet the list of âproblemsâ still runs to 185 pages or about 3 pages of âproblemsâ for every page of the final report. Based on the review of its own reports the hard sell given by the IPCC that the science is settled clearly remains a lie.

This of course does not take into account the "problems" of the second draft! And this is only one chapter out of 9 by one working group. Taking into account that there are 9 chapters and assuming a similar rate of errors per draft this provides us with (9x1800)x 2. So at least 32400 problems in working report 1. Applied to the series of 3 IPCC reports for the three working groups this represent almost 100,000 "problems". So it appears that Plimer is batting above average compared to the IPCC on this.

Former Skeptic
Gavin Schmidt rates 518 on your chart and Michael Mann doesn't even make it.

Spencer's 374 is admirable - you can read Spencer's bio with a list of his publications and awards here:
http://www.uah.edu/News/climatebackground.php
- he doesn't put that sort of stuff on his homepage, obviously thinks it's irrelevant..

Why did Spencer "publish" on a 'denialist' blog site before it was (not) published in a reputable science journal?

Janama ->

obviously because the "reputable" journal's editorial board disagreed with content of the paper.

It's pretty horrendous when one of the world's leading climate scientist who is in charge of the world's latest and most sophisticated climate satellite can't get the results of his work published because apparently it challenges the current theories.

Your naivety precedes your stupidity if you believe in those conspiracies.

At least we know you think denialist blogsites are more reputable than, say; Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, Journal of Climatology, Geophysical Research Letters, Climate Dynamics, Royal Society A, etc, etc, etc.

Actually, I don't think he even made it to E & E ... strange that.

"obviously because the 'reputable' journal's editorial board disagreed with content of the paper".

Where is the proof for this claim? This must be how the denialists find solace with themselves. Their groundbreaking studies do not pass 'go' because of editorial conspiracy'amongst the major journals. The idea that the 'science' underlying contrarian claims is crap never enters into the picture. I have a feeling many creationists use this same, discredited argument. Few statured scientists would.

As a former Editor at Nature, I find this kind of simplisitic drivel more amusing than anything else. It follows on from the claims that scientists must alarm the public to secure research grants. Again, no evidence is ever produced, just heresay. The grants that I have been funded to study multitrophic interactions have never required addendums suggesting that the world will end if the grant is not successful.

The contrarians should face the facts: many of those involved in denial are distorting science in defense of a pre-determined worldview that has strong, political and economic roots. The science which they hate is merely being used as a tool to ensure that business-as-usual is the only business.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

that website ~prall/climate/AR4wg1_authors_table.html requires an underscore_ between AR4wg1, authors, and table.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

mark Byrne - please accept my apologies, you are correct - I missed it. It's an awkward page to handle - tends to lockup.

The contrarians should face the facts: many of those involved in denial are distorting science in defense of a pre-determined worldview that has strong, political and economic roots. The science which they hate is merely being used as a tool to ensure that business-as-usual is the only business.

On the button Jeff. It really is unfortunate, but the real 'debate' is not about the science, it's about political and economic (and I would add, socio-cultural) ideology.

These issues are what the bun fights are about within the UNFCCC and its member states, not the science (just look at Australia's Rudd and Turnbull dancing to the same tune). I just hope they get it sorted in Copenhagen for a post 2012 action plan.

janama keeps repeating variations on

the oceans are cooling

No, janama, they're not cooling. Read:

Domingues, C.M., J.A. Church, N.J. White, P.J. Gleckler, S.E. Wijffels, P.M. Barker, and J.R. Dunn 2008. "Improved Estimates of Upper-Ocean Warming and Multi-Decadal Sea-Level Rise." Nature 453, 1090-1093.

janama writes:

Craig Allen - I'm amazed at how willing you denialist folk are to dismiss the careful analyses of Mike Mann

I didn't dismiss his work - The National Academy of Sciences did.

The hell they did. They said his analysis was basically sound. Here's a link to the NAS report:

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676

Jeff - All are very clearly wearing the political and ideological biases on their sleeves

you have absolutely NO idea of my political leaning. It might surprise you who I voted for in the last 5 elections.

I have no way of knowing, so I'm just going to throw out a wild guess, no doubt incorrect: The National Socialist White Peoples' Party?

janama writes:

some of the world's leading scientists are sceptical of the degree of influence we have on climate.

Do you understand the difference between "scientists" and "climatologists?" William Shockley was a Nobel-prize-winning physicist, but that didn't make him competent to talk about race and IQ. Similarly, Freeman Dyson is a great physicist, but what he doesn't know about climate would fill volumes. There are no great climatologists who doubt AGW.

janama writes:

Ok so Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels are all dishonest. Do you see the fallacy in your statement?

There's no fallacy; they damn well ARE dishonest. I discuss an egregious case of Spencer's dishonesty here:

http://www.geocities.com/bpl1960/Spencer.html

Lindzen repeated the "global warming stopped in 1998" fallacy, even though he knew it was wrong--dishonesty. Michaels made it look like Hansen's presentation to Congress had only consisted of Scenario A, the highest-end one, when there had actually been Scenarios B and C as well, and B matched what actually happened pretty well. Dishonesty again.

Roy Spencer and John Christy have a long record of downplaying the importance of human induced climate change. Nevertheless, when they were part of a brief to the US Supreme Court to support the EPA not regulating CO2 emissions,
they testified that "the expected warming from such increases [of greenhouse gases] is 1.8 degrees C for this century...".
faced with the potential for cross-examination, that would be as low as they dared to go. (Details on my book Twisted, but it was fairly easy to track down the actual brief using google.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

Here is an example of

1) what kind of "science" Roy Spencer posts on blogs

2) me showing by example why his conclusion in this case is rubbish

3) mathematical proof his conclusion is unfounded.

The sad thing about it, Tamino's short explanation ought to have sufficed for any physicist to catch the point. Roy Spencer instead ignored his error without comment or correction, dropped that point and substituted another equally bogus "proof" instead. BTW, Anthony Watts was all too happy to completely ignore my arguments and instead claim Spencer's piece to be a reply. None of the above would (or rather should, you've got to be careful today) ever pass peer review.

This must be how the denialists find solace with themselves. Their groundbreaking studies do not pass 'go' because of editorial conspiracy'amongst the major journals.

Yes. It's the same reason creationists can't get published in leading journals that deal with evolutionary biology or geology.

re: #98 Ian Enting

Ian's book *Twisted* looks pretty interesting, and I've ordered one, but to save other people some time:

a) It's not on US, UK, or Canada Amazons, so don't bother.

b) Here is the direct link to where you can buy it, and outline of chapters.

Minor nit: having the chapter outline as a separate PDF didn't really add much.

The website of course requires that you register, and provide credit card info. It does allow for outside-Australia addresses.

c) However, the *only* shipping option allowed seemed to be "Australia-wide shipping - $5.50", which made me nervous, as California is not part of Australia. I hope that means "world-wide shipping".

[Ian, you might want to tweak them about that, as I almost canceled my order from concern that it wouldn't get shipped here.]

Bottom line: looks like good book, but there is a little more friction in the buying process than seems necessary.

This is too bad, as the book looks like it could have a wider readership (by geography and nature of audience) than many of the other publications of AMSI.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

In addition to a correct caveat from BPL, we have to point out every time that Dyson loves to speculate, and when you pin him down he hedges - necessarily - far more than maintream climate scientists do. If you took Freeman's statements as error bars, they'd be enormous, with respect to his proposed solutions.

The other issue, of course, is that any of us could write some people's response to anything whatsoever:

Dyson: There's a highly engaging technical fix for that just around the corner. Hence, it's no problem.

Lovelock: Won't do any good, sorry. But maybe the bacteria can rebuild.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

I usually warn people that it is a bit oriented to Australia so that much of the "cast" is of little interest (but of course is does look Bob Carter's testimony for Inhofe). Michael Tobis (he of the "in it for the gold" blog)didn't think it too Australian. Getting it out involved a bunch of compromises, including ending up with a restricted distribution (but it makes the price managable on a small print run, c..f re-sellers wanting 70% or more of cover price). So hopefully it will get to you. If you don't have it withing 3 weeks, let me know.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

re: #102 Ian

Thanks. Actually, I'm fairly familiar with many of the "cast", I think a lot of the obfuscatory techniques are similar, and where they are different, that's instructive as well. I am also interested in studying the patterns by which anti-science memes propagate via the Internet. Hence, I suspect it will not be too Australian.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

I'm up to page 3 Ian Enting's rant and I read this:

p. 112: IPCC computers donât do clouds â totally unsurprising â IPCC computers
donât do climate modellingâpresumably they do things like e-mail, desktop publishing,
accounting etc. The climate modelling used by the IPCC is done by major research groups
using models that do include clouds.

ha de ha - very droll - it's obvious what he is saying and if you check Wiki for example ( well known for it's pro AGW bias) it reports regarding climate models:

[7]. The behavior of clouds is still poorly understood and is parametrized.
The effects of clouds are a significant area of uncertainty in climate models

i.e. climate models don't do clouds!

if this is the level of your critique I won't bother reading any further.

well google says

â¢parameterization - The representation of physical effects by simplified parameters in a computer model rather than by computing them dynamically

The behavior of clouds is still poorly understood and is parametrized. The effects of clouds are a significant area of uncertainty in climate models.

Janama ->

i.e. climate models don't do clouds!

Yes they do, but:

The behavior of clouds is still poorly understood and is parametrized. The effects of clouds are a significant area of uncertainty in climate models.

... I won't bother reading any further.

Your comprehension skills would make further reading difficult.

No "Parameterized" means simple represention. Stop trying to translate - just read my post.

In some models, simulation of marine lowlevel
clouds, which are important for correctly simulating sea
surface temperature and cloud feedback in a changing climate, has also improved.

this is from chapter 8, 4th assessment report. you will find clouds being mentioned a lot.

why not do some reading, once in a lifetime?

this is from chapter 8, 4th assessment report. you will find clouds being mentioned a lot.

mentioning doesn't mean they know anything about them.

They still aren't included in the playstation climate model.

They still aren't included in the playstation climate model.

what part of

models, simulation of marine lowlevel clouds,

did you not understand?

105 janama,

A "rant"? Surely you mean point-by-point demolition?

And what else could we call Plimer's book but a collection of lies, misrepresentations, and (actual) rants?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

112 janama,

What is this "playstation climate model"? Perhaps you could enlighten us? Is there just the one? Are there other models? Have you examined them so see how they are coded?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter janama:

I don't need to read the IPCC report to know that the climate models used by the IPCC don't handle clouds! (And I'm never going to read the IPCC report, because I'm afraid it'll fill my head with Marxist ideas.)

> Here is an example of

> 1) what kind of "science" Roy Spencer posts on blogs

> 2) me showing by example why his conclusion in this case is rubbish

> 3) mathematical proof his conclusion is unfounded.

> [snip] BTW, Anthony Watts was all too happy to completely ignore my arguments and instead claim Spencer's piece to be a reply. None of the above would (or rather should,
> you've got to be careful today) ever pass peer review.

Most amusing, thanks for the links.

Funniest of all is Mr. Science Blog of the Year tucking his tail between his legs and running away from the failure of his "Yeah, but Clinton..!" argument.

Hilarious.

Janama

I applaud you, notwithstanding you have difficulty in comprehending the science ... you have courage to come to this site and argue your case (you might find it much easier at Jen's Jackals site).

janama is simply channeling Plimer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFtKmornITQ

See time mark 5:00, emphasis added

but the rabid environmentalists have grasped onto this as a new religion. And I have the holy book, the IPCC books, which I have not read, but most religious people have not read the holy books anyway. I have the guru, or the leader, which is Al Gore, and they blindly follow this, without reasoning, without questioning.

bluegrue, re your quote of PLimer "..the IPCC books, which I have not read..".

I think to be fair to Plimer he actually said "the IPCC books, which THEY have not read". He just didn't enunciate it very well.

Of course it's an unfounded claim and an attack on the science using the extreme fringe as a proxy rather than tackle the science head on.

It may also be the expression of the hope that because his supporters filter their understanding of climate science through people like him then his detractors must also.

Whatever it is, it isn't an admission that he is deliberately ignorant, nor is it a ready-made explanation of why his depiction of climate science is so screwy.

This is funny. Here, Janama is arguing that the models 'don't do clouds.'

Over on the "Ian Plimer lies..." thread, Janama is quoting Christy to argue that the models don't get clouds right - apparently because what happens with clouds in the models doesn't match the IRIS hypothesis

Note that Plimer also said this:

". p. 365: Clouds are not factored into climate models. Untrue. See for example sections 12 and 13 of CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research Technical Paper no. 26, available on-line from the CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research website. "

So Plimer is making a very clear statement that the models dont deal with clouds - which is absurdly wrong.

As a practising scientist I have been following the debate over Plimerâs book with considerable interest. To do this I placed a âPlimerâ Google Alert and many of the hits since the release of his book have led to this site. The debate the book has started will someday be an interesting study in âadversarial scienceâ where the objective is to discredit the opposition rather than determine the truth. In my case it has caused me to shift from a fairly unquestioning acceptance of the mainstream AGW view of warming driven by C02, to a general acceptance of the picture Plimer paints in his rambling book of an ever changing planet in which there has been a series of alternating warm and cool periods. There is abundant evidence that even recent warm periods such as the Roman warming and the Mediaeval warming were at their peaks warmer than today. None of these former periods of warming & cooling can be related to CO2 content (and certainly not anthropogenic CO2). Why would we think the current warming period as we come out of the little ice age would have a cause different from the earlier ones? This I take to be the central thesis of Plimerâs book.
The response on this site has been fascinating. Prof Ashleyâs attempted demolition in The Australian was an excellent and well constructed example of how to demolish an opponent without addressing his central arguments. Ashley dismissively notes that a number of Plimerâs beliefs are âlaughableâ when in fact at least some of these are well established observations by reputable scientists (eg CFCâs in volcanic emissions (refer Brasseur et al 1992 on CFCs in Mt Pinatubo aerosols), the declining efficacy of CO2 as a greenhouse agent as concentration increases (the logarithmic relationship is well accepted). He refers to Plimerâs reference to mass diffusion in the sun as displaying âignoranceâ when in fact Plimer is quoting from an article in a peer reviewed journal Astrophysics, and in any case this was mentioned as an aside and is irrelevant to Plimerâs model of an ever changing Earth. If these are the only criticisms Prof Ashley can produce about Plimerâs book it is indeed praise. And then as the coup de grace he suggests Plimerâs book be put up on the shelf with Von Daniken. An excellent example of Adversarial Science!
Then there is Tim Lambertâs and Ian Entingâs more numerical approach of combing the book for inaccuracies, errata and omissions, while in the process not seeming to read the central ideas. I have done only a quick scan of Entingâs list and noticed it points out obvious typoâs like âadsorbâ instead of âabsorbâ. I also noticed Timâs gleeful report that he had discovered one of Plimerâs references cites a subsidence of New Orleans considerably less than the metre quoted by Plimer. Again, irrelevant to the story (and in fact as a subsequent poster pointed out the referenced author had elsewhere mentioned subsidence in places of about 3 feet).
Then there is the frequent demand for peer review. While peer review has a useful place in publication, it also has downsides. E.g the Wegman Committee report to Congress on Mannâs temperature reconstructions noted âIn this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review which was not necessarily independentâ.
It seems to me that Plimerâs book is largely a history of Earthâs climate pieced together by voluminous observations from many disciplines. Much of the evidence could be called âcircumstantialâ, and at times even conflicting but the sheer weight of it gives a clear picture of an ever changing climate, alternating periods of warm & cold, and a climate derived from a complex mixture of processes. Plimerâs approach is broad brush, whereas his opponents are focussed in the minutiae (e.g. a significant portion of the original hockey stick graph which figured prominently in earlier IPCC reports was derived from tree ring measurements from a very small number of trees. Little wonder it failed to detect the Mediaeval Warming and Little Ice ages for which evidence abounds). Similarly it is not important to Plimerâs picture of the Earthâs Climate whether one interprets a cooling trend since 1998 or, by eliminating outliers, draws an upward trend. The point is that all historical evidence suggests we are likely to shortly move out of this current warming into another cooling a la the Little Ice Age, if it hasnât already started. And more worryingly that it is a near certainty that sometime in the next 1000 years or so we will move into another glacial period of c. 100,000 years, of the sort that will put many major cities under a km of ice, as we have done 9 or 10 times before in the current glacial epoch. Now that will really pose some problems for humanity.
It seems to me the likelihood is that both sides of the debate are at least partially correct i.e. rising CO2 levels may well be contributing to warming, but a la Plimer this is insignificant in the light of normal climate variability.

the picture Plimer paints in his rambling book of an ever changing planet in which there has been a series of alternating warm and cool periods.

you are missing a big part of that big picture. the planet just doesn t have "warm and cool periods occasionally". their is a CAUSE for each of those phases!

s. There is abundant evidence that even recent warm periods such as the Roman warming and the Mediaeval warming were at their peaks warmer than today.

no, there isn t. Loehle for example finds basically no difference, and when using a better method would find modern temps ABOVE the MWP.

in fact at least some of these are well established observations by reputable scientists (eg CFCâs in volcanic emissions (refer Brasseur et al 1992 on CFCs in Mt Pinatubo aerosols)

CFCs from volcanoes are IRRELEVANT, in comparison with those produced by us.

It seems to me that Plimerâs book is largely a history of Earthâs climate pieced together by voluminous observations from many disciplines. Much of the evidence could be called âcircumstantialâ, and at times even conflicting

in short: he is writing rubbish, but a lot of it. GOOD BOOK!

we have been dealing with the "controversial" arguments from denialists for some time now. you need a CAUSE for what is warming earth today. if you don t have a theory, the stick to the mainstream!

Neil C,

If you are a practising scientist as you say, how about practicing some science and question your following statement: He refers to Plimerâs reference to mass diffusion in the sun as displaying âignoranceâ when in fact Plimer is quoting from an article in a peer reviewed journal Astrophysics.

What you will find is that there is no journal called "Astrophysics".

Plimer's reference is wrong.

There is publication called "The Astrophysical Journal", but the page number that Plimer gives refers to another paper.

There are many of us here who have gone to the trouble of carefully examining Plimer's book, and when you do so, the whole thing falls apart. Rather than believe what Plimer says, why not do a bit of digging yourself? Look up a few of the 2311 footnotes. See how many of them are wrong, or don't support the argument. Maybe contact an expert in the field and ask them about a specific point.

You say that in any case this was mentioned as an aside and is irrelevant to Plimerâs model of an ever changing Earth. So, if we strip away all the errors in Plimer's book then all we are left with is "an ever changing Earth"? No one disagrees with that. I would hope that we were left with something substantial, like the proof that human-produced CO2 has no effect on the climate, something that Plimer says he has provided repeatedly.

And I question if it is just an "aside" to believe a paper that says that the sun has the same chemical abundances as a meteorite. How many of these sort of "asides" are you willing to tolerate before you have an inkling of a suspicion that Plimer might not be reliable about anything?

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

Neil C.

As a practising scientist I am very sceptical of your claim that you are a practising scientist.

If I were to publish a paper or a monograph as riddled with errors of fact and of editing as Plimer's is, I would be mortally embarrassed to show my face to my colleagues. In fact, if I produced a document with a tenth as many errors I would be ashamed.

Your dismissal of some of the points raised by Ian Enting, Tim Lambert and Barry Brook indicate to me that you are not sufficiently acquainted with the material involved to be able to make a critical analysis of Plimer's book, nor of those who are deconstructing it. Your aversion to carriage returns indicates to me that you are certainly not a publishing scientist, and that if by some chance you are, that you must employ someone else to edit your material.

Perhaps if you engaged this same person to edit your assessment of the facts in this case, you might be able to pursuade us of your real understanding of the science.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 17 May 2009 #permalink

#120 Grat,
thanks for listening into the interview. I took your cue with regard to I/THEY, however, after repeated listening he still sounds to me like saying
> the IPCC books, which ___I___ have not read

instead of
> the IPCC books, which ___THEY___ have not read

I conceed, that I am not a native speaker and could be wrong. It could also be a slip of tongue on Plimer's part..

Would please some more native speakers listen to the 30-second segment of Plimer's interview, starting at 5:00
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFtKmornITQ
and report back? TIA. My transcript is at comment #119.

Neil C:

There is abundant evidence that even recent warm periods such as ... the Mediaeval warming were at their peaks warmer than today.

If you're referring to global temperatures then the above claim is just not true.

In my case it has caused me to shift from a fairly unquestioning acceptance of the mainstream AGW view of warming driven by C02, to a general acceptance of the picture Plimer paints

So you've gone from being unquestioning and presumably not very knowledgeable to supposedly knowledgeable just through reading Plimer's book. Pardon me if I think that means you're still pretty ignorant.

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

Neil C:
As one practising scientist to another...I'm intrigued by your claim that within 1000 years we'll enter a new glaciation. Would you elaborate on this?

By san quintin (not verified) on 18 May 2009 #permalink

NEIL C writes:

There is abundant evidence that even recent warm periods such as the Roman warming and the Mediaeval warming were at their peaks warmer than today.

No, there is not. Neither of those "periods" seems to have been global. There are good evidence for warm periods in Europe and China during the middle ages, but at different times.

None of these former periods of warming & cooling can be related to CO2 content (and certainly not anthropogenic CO2). Why would we think the current warming period as we come out of the little ice age would have a cause different from the earlier ones?

Because CO2 is rising steeply, we know CO2 is a greenhouse gas, temperature is rising, and the changes in temperature correlate with the changes in CO2 (r = 0.86 for 1880-2007). What more do you want?

Re #119: I listened to the clip and I'm fairly sure Plimer says "...which *they* haven't read..."

I'd give him the benefit of the doubt on this. Still unclear how "I" and "they" can sound so similar...

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 19 May 2009 #permalink

NEIL C: CFCs from a volcano? I looked for a paper by Brasseur et al. 1992 and found this: Guy Brasseur. Volcanic aerosols implicated, Nature 359, 275-276 (24 September 1992) doi:10.1038/359275a0 â sure enough the article mentions CFCs and mentions chlorine emissions from the volcano, but not even a scientist of Brasseur's standing was able to turn a volcano into a CFC factory. He clearly differentiates between artificially-produced CFCs and atmospheric chlorine, without mentioning a specific compound. Neil, if you haven't gone away, have I found the wrong reference? After all this one is Brasseur alone, not et al. I would be fascinated to find out how a volcano could manufacture CFCs.

re: #101 (me, on Ian Enting's book Twisted)

It did get here to California, got the head of my input queue and I read it.

I recommend it highly, and it is to bad that it is not more easily available.
It is well-presented, and I think (mostly) accessible to a general audience.

It is obviously relevant to Australia. For others interested in understanding the structure of anti-science, it really helps to have multiple instances for comparison, and this gave me some more context for Oz.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

NEIL C:
"It seems to me that Plimerâs book is largely a history of Earthâs climate pieced together by voluminous observations from many disciplines. Much of the evidence could be called âcircumstantialâ, and at times even conflicting but the sheer weight of it gives a clear picture of an ever changing climate, alternating periods of warm & cold, and a climate derived from a complex mixture of processes." A good description of Plimer's book, the one called: A Short History of Planet Earth. But Heaven + Earth is to a first approximation, the Short history .... padded out with fabrications.
Like many other's on this blog, I find it hard to credit that a "practising scientist" can read things like New Orleans sinking 1 meter in 3 years, rocky composition of the sun, or earth has less water than other planets and asteroids, without a whole lot of alarm bells ringing.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 10 Jun 2009 #permalink