The Pause: warmaholics tie themselves in knots

Anemometers at ten paces

Anemometers at ten paces

This is the awkward result when reality confronts ideology.

According to Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, the Pause is just a myth:

Climate myth… It hasn’t warmed since 1998

“For the years 1998-2005, temperature did not increase. This period coincides with society’s continued pumping of more CO2 into the atmosphere.” (Bob Carter)

No, it hasn’t been cooling since 1998. Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn’t the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What’s more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.

And in case that turns out not to be correct, there’s always a fallback position:

“There’s also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on surface air temperatures when there are other, more useful [yeah, more useful all right… more useful to plug your agenda – Ed], indicators that can give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called ‘thermal mass’) — tend to give a much more ‘steady’ indication of the warming that is happening.  Records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there is no sign of it slowing any time soon…”

The now-famous ‘dog ate my warming’ excuse. Surface temperatures? We don’t need no stinkin’ surface temperatures… Please just ignore the fact that we obsessed over surface temperatures for the last 25 years, OK?

So how come, Un-Sk Ps-Sc, a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters (a peer-reviewed journal, note) acknowledges the existence of the Pause and tries to explain it?

In his new paper, [Shaun] Lovejoy applies the same approach to the 15-year period after 1998, during which globally averaged temperatures remained high by historical standards, but were somewhat below most predictions generated by the complex computer models used by scientists to estimate the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions.

The deceleration in rising temperatures during this 15-year period is sometimes referred to as a “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming, and has raised questions about why the rate of surface warming on Earth has been markedly slower than in previous decades. Since levels of greenhouse gases have continued to rise throughout the period, some skeptics have argued that the recent pattern undercuts the theory that global warming in the industrial era has been caused largely by human-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Lovejoy’s new study concludes that there has been a natural cooling fluctuation of about 0.28 to 0.37 degrees Celsius since 1998 — a pattern that is in line with variations that occur historically every 20 to 50 years, according to the analysis.

But surely climate models were supposed to take account of natural climate variations, not just the effect of anthropogenic CO2? Why is it that the models failed to predict the Pause? Is it because the variables in the models are set such that CO2 has far too large an influence on the model output, and natural variations have been minimised? Just a thought.

In any case, just enjoy the embarrassing squirming and wriggling of the warm-mongers as they battle it out to explain (or ignore) the Pause.

Hypocrisy alert: Lewandowsky’s a climate scientist now?

Models fail

Models fail

Is there no end to this man’s talents? One minute an ‘expert’ on the conspiracy theories of ‘deniers’, the next, a climate scientist published in Nature!

Psycho-logist Stephan Lewandowsky has broken cover as second-listed author of a paper in Nature Climate Change entitled “Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase”, the abstract of which reads:

The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations. We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

All that guff translates as basically yet another desperate attempt to cover up the utterly woeful performance of climate models (see image). Lew also writes a lengthy post on Shaping Tomorrow’s World on the subject.

Just one tiny question, however, if I may: what the freaking hell is going on?

Surely Lewandowsky cannot have forgotten the golden rule of alarmists, oft repeated by his mates over at Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science? Never take any notice of anything written by anyone unless they are properly qualified to write on the subject. That’s the reason they can continue to ridicule and ignore the views of dissenting commentators (who are not climate scientists) without having to deal with their arguments.

Or maybe he’s just a massive hypocrite. You decide.

Lew has no qualifications in climate or meteorology or anything relevant at all.  The abstract has nothing related to the psychology of climate science communication, conspiracy theories or consensus. So what was Lew’s role on the paper? Why is Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt which discredited anyone who dared question the ‘consensus’, listed as an author as well?

Applying the same standards to this paper that Lew and his mates apply to others with which he disagrees, his and Oreskes’ presence on the list of authors means we can all safely disregard this paper as the ignorant rantings of unqualified commentators with a vested interest and an agenda to plug.

Bin it.

‘Get at the truth, and not fool yourself’

Don't diss me, man

Don’t diss me, man

John Cook’s 97% is, quite frankly, bullshit. A simple statistic by, for and on behalf of, the simple minded, to be bandied about as often as possible, hoping that no-one actually bothers to enquire what it means.

And relying on the old adage that a lie, repeated often enough, will eventually become the truth. “97% of climate scientists agree that… [insert assertion here]” is a big heavy weapon used to beat dissenters around the head.

As always, however, the reality is vastly different. What do they agree on? [Read more…]

UQ: Threats and hot air – and an FoI

Pacman lives!

Pacman lives!

UPDATE: Even the Washington Post is now in on this story, with a piece entitled: Is it copyright infringement to post a lawyer’s cease-and-desist letter?

More popcorn required, as UQ jumps the shark on the release of data relating to John Cook’s Consensus Project.

If you google “97%” and “climate” it returns nearly 13 million hits, all thanks to Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science’s attempt to shut down debate. The Consensus Project used a number of raters, the majority of whom were warmists, to review abstracts from 26,000 papers and categorise them as to their agreement or otherwise with the global warming consensus. The results were then published in a journal, the abstract of which reads: [Read more…]

Lew Paper: Dana’s catalogue of excuses

Dana's denial!

Dana’s denial!

LOL moment ahead! Dana is far more of a denier than any of those to whom he liberally applies that moniker. He denies reality itself.

An embargoed post on Un-Sk Ps-Sc, inadvertently published and captured by Google’s cache, lists all the reasons why Dana thinks the Lewandowsky paper ‘Recursive Fury‘ has allegedly been retracted (all links removed):

Given that fewer than 3 percent of peer-reviewed climate science papers conclude that the human influence on global warming is minimal, climate contrarians have obviously been unable to make a convincing scientific case.  Thus in order to advance their agenda of delaying climate solutions and maintaining the status quo in the face of a 97 percent expert consensus suggesting that this is a high-risk path, contrarians have engaged in a variety of unconventional tactics.

  • Funding a campaign to deny the expert climate consensus.
  • Harassing climate scientists and universities with frivolous Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Engaging in personal, defamatory public attacks on climate scientists.
  • Flooding climate scientists with abusive emails.
  • Illegally hacking university servers and stealing their emails.
  • Harassing journals to retract inconvenient research.

That final tactic has evolved, from merely sending the journal a petition signed by a bunch of contrarians, to sending journals letters threatening libel lawsuits.  Unfortunately, this strategy has now succeeded.

Even after repeating (yet again) the oft-discredited 97% lie, Dana has unfortunately ignored [‘denied’ perhaps? – Ed] the real reason, staring everyone in the face:


The Moon-landing paper was the original lump of ordure, and Recursive Fury was that lump multiplied by itself.

On a tip from The Bish, who has more here.

A PDF of the page is here in case the cache is ‘disappeared’.

Is Skeptical Science wilfully dishonest or just plain stupid?


Dishonest or stupid?

It has to be one or the other [or maybe both – my bet is on both – Ed]. Because no matter how many times the 97% figure is shown to be misleading, they keep on plugging away with it, witness the latest example, with the accompanying graphic on the right:

The epidemic of climate science false balance in the media

False balance in media reporting on climate change is a big problem for one overarching reason: there is a huge gap between the 97 percent expert consensus on human-caused global warming, and the public perception that scientists are evenly divided on the subject.

This can undoubtedly be traced in large part to the media giving disproportionate coverage to the opposing fringe climate contrarian views. Research has shown that people who are unaware of the expert consensus are less likely to accept the science and less likely to support taking action to address the problem, so media false balance can be linked directly to our inability to solve the climate problem. (source)

What this translates to is frustration that the media (for once) isn’t being taken in by Un-Sk Ps-Sc‘s statistical gymnastics.

Un-Sk Ps-Sc have refined this kind of nonsense into an art form, in order to maintain their dogmatic narrative in the face of any contrary evidence. For example, many writers on climate from both sides of the debate have acknowledged that there has been some kind of levelling off of temperature in the last decade or so, or a pause, but not Un-Sk Ps-Sc, oh no. Using classic misdirection, Un-Sk Ps-Sc forgets about surface temperatures, on which it previously obsessed, and shifted focus onto the mysterious ‘missing heat’ in the oceans, claiming that warming continues as rapidly as before. See here for more on that.

Likewise with the nonsensical 97% consensus figure, which, each time it is used, subtracts yet another chunk of what little credibility Un-Sk Ps-Sc may have once had [not a lot – Ed]. Notice that “agree on global warming” is vague enough to allow a huge swathe of opinion to be included, therefore supposedly supporting this ludicrous percentage. But maintaining this fictional number is essential to the autocrats at Un-Sk Ps-Sc, because it can then be used to bully media organisations into giving even less time to any contrary arguments than they do already, i.e. to silence critics.

It is likely that a similar percentage of sceptics ‘agree on global warming’ to the extent that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, humans have added CO2 to the atmosphere and that the additional CO2 will have caused some warming of the planet. But if the question were more honestly framed, for example, what percentage of climate scientists ‘agree on global warming’ AND consider that the effects on the climate are likely to be catastrophic AND consider mitigation to be the only option, and I suggest the figure would be considerably lower.

The ‘false balance’ that Un-Sk Ps-Sc harps on about isn’t about whether climate change is happening or whether humans are in part to blame, but more about the magnitude of the problem and how we should respond.

But that doesn’t make for anywhere near as nice a graphic, does it?

They can’t back away from it now, of course, given that there’s a Guardian column, written by Un-Sk Ps-Sc’s Nuccitelli, with 97% in the freaking title…

Cook ‘n’ Lew’s propaganda war

Propaganda war

Propaganda war

John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky, the Laurel and Hardy of pop climate psychology, are back with more self-serving consensus nonsense in The Conversation.

The question posed by the first article, “The truth is out there – so how do you debunk a myth?” seems to be answered by the response “replace it with a different myth”:

First and foremost, you need to emphasise the key facts you wish to communicate rather than the myth. Otherwise, you risk making people more familiar with the myth than with the correct facts.

That doesn’t mean avoid mentioning the myth altogether. You have to activate it in people’s minds before they can label it as wrong.

Secondly, you need to replace the myth with an alternate narrative. This is usually an explanation of why the myth is wrong or how it came about. Essentially, debunking is creating a gap in people’s minds (removing the myth) then filling that gap (with the correct explanation).

If you had to boil down all the psychological research into six words then it can be summed up as follows:

fight sticky ideas with stickier ideas.

Myths are persistent, stubborn and memorable. To dislodge a myth, you need to counter it with an even more compelling, memorable fact.

But Cook’s first ‘memorable fact’ is itself another myth. The 97% consensus figure is as meaningless as any other factoid. Nothing in that figure conveys the subtlety of the arguments in play – it’s a typical black/white result chosen to mislead. Putting aside all the statistical sleight of hand (which others have dealt with), even if we accept the conclusion, what does it tell us? That almost all papers conclude that the climate is changing and humans have an influence? Count me in.

What it doesn’t show is the range of views within that group – from those like me, who acknowledge the effect on climate but question its magnitude and the proposed response, to those like Cook ‘n’ Lew, who think there is no natural component to the recent warming, it’s all man-made, and we should wreck the global economy in a pointless gesture that won’t change a thing.

The second ‘memorable fact’ is simply misleading and emotive: the Hiroshima bombs analogy.

Global warming is a build up in heat. Greenhouse gases are trapping heat which is building up in our oceans, warming the land and air and melting ice. When scientists add up all the energy accumulating in our climate system, they find the heat build-up hasn’t slowed since 1998.

The greenhouse effect continues to blaze away. It turns out the laws of physics didn’t go on hiatus 16 years ago.

Creating a metaphor

To communicate this, we used a metaphor. We toyed with many metaphor ideas but found none able to conceptualise the heat build-up in a stickier manner more than this:

Since 1998, our planet has been building up heat at a rate of 4 Hiroshima A-bombs per second.

We released a website with an animated ticker widget to show how much heat our planet is building up each second. The widget, which can be freely embeded on other websites, also includes a number of other metrics such as the amount of energy in hurricane Sandy, an earthquake and a million lightning bolts.

This is intentionally and cynically misleading, since it plays on the ignorance of the general public as to the amounts of energy flowing into and out of the atmosphere. As pointed out in this post, 4 Hiroshima bombs per second is very small compared to the 1000 launched at us by the Sun every second. But your average man in the street wouldn’t know that. They would look at the destruction of Hiroshima and link that with the ‘destruction’ wrought upon the atmosphere.

Cook is then joined by Lew for another defence of the fake Consensus, this time against an attack from their own side. Mike Hulme argues that simply quoting figures (like the 97% fake consensus) has little influence on the political actions that are needed (or not) to deal with the problem (or lack of a problem). Cook and Lew disagree, naturally, since the fake Consensus is their baby:

The data we have just reviewed show otherwise: there is strong evidence that the public’s perception of an overwhelming scientific consensus is key to stimulating the constructive policy debate we should be having.

All of this is wrapped up in cliched comparisons with the tobacco lobby (whereas many do and will continue to die from lung cancer as a result of smoking, the planet is refusing to warm as expected despite increasing CO2 emissions; whereas stopping smoking will reduce your chance of dying from lung cancer, taxing CO2 will make no difference to climate change; etc etc) and the citing of fake data about the funding poured into the denial machine.

In case you haven’t noticed, this is all propaganda. It is about creating a consensus where none exists, in order to fool the public.

But, guys, it ISN’T WORKING. Despite all your desperate attempts to manufacture agreement, the Australian public (and around the world) are even more sceptical of the exaggerated and alarmist claims of extremist environmental groups, Western governments, the UN and the IPCC. The more you try, the worse it gets.

In other words, keep it up!

Skeptical Science: heads in the sand

Un-Sk Ps-Sc on the Pause and models

Un-Sk Ps-Sc on the Pause and model accuracy

Even Nature has acknowledged that the Pause is real, and that the models are missing something:

Average global temperatures hit a record high in 1998 — and then the warming stalled. For several years, scientists wrote off the stall as noise in the climate system: the natural variations in the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere that drive warm or cool spells around the globe. But the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field. Although there have been jumps and dips, average atmospheric temperatures have risen little since 1998, in seeming defiance of projections of climate models and the ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. […]

But none of the climate simulations carried out for the IPCC produced this particular hiatus at this particular time. That has led sceptics — and some scientists — to the controversial conclusion that the models might be overestimating the effect of greenhouse gases, and that future warming might not be as strong as is feared.

But let’s take a look at the headbangers over at Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science. To start with, the Pause. In 2008, the page read as follows:

Did global warming stop in 1998?

1998 was an unusually hot year as it featured the strongest El Nino of the century. In fact, from Jan to May, 2007 is tied with 1998 as hottest year on record. The WMO reported in August that January and April 2007 were the hottest on record.

However, when determining trends, you don’t pick one month or year out of isolation – particularly if that year features a short term weather anomaly like El Nino. By this method, based on the fact that 2005 was .17°C hotter than 2000, you could conclude that the rate of global warming doubled from 2000 to 2005.

Using the fudged surface temperature sets, Un-Sk Ps-Sc was still able to claim the climate was still warming (phew). Fast forward to 2014. Another six years of no warming, and the only alternative is to… er, change the subject to ocean heat instead:

There’s also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on surface air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called ‘thermal mass’) — tend to give a much more ‘steady’ indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there’s no signs of it slowing any time soon.

And the evidence for this is from a paper by one of their own – Dana Nuccitelli. Handy!

How about the accuracy of models in 2008? Un-Sk Ps-Sc used some graphs cut and pasted from the IPCC’s third assessment report (in 2001), to fool the sheep into believing that models were just perfect:

Cut and paste from 2001

Cut and paste from 2001

They then claim that observed temperatures “closely match” Hansen’s Scenario B, helped no doubt by the multiple fudge factors applied to GISS temperature data. If satellite data had been used instead, the argument would be far less compelling.

Today’s version of the page is still using those graphs from 2001, now a whole two IPCC reports out of date. It still plugs the Hansen Scenario B, despite the observed temperature series ending in 2005.

And just today, Nuccitelli, writing in his ‘97%’ column in the Guardian uses a figure which conveniently supports the same position, despite the fact that balloon and satellite data show an increasing divergence between observations and models.

Which image do Cook & Nuccitelli pick?

Which image do Cook & Nuccitelli pick?

When the usually warmist Nature concedes that something is happening to the climate system which was not forecast by the models, then you should listen.

And in fact, most ‘proper’ scientists would look at this as an opportunity to further the understanding of the drivers of climate change, both natural and anthropogenic, but the headbangers at Un-Sk Ps-Sc would much rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend nothing has changed.

It could almost be said that they were denying the reality… but that would be petty, wouldn’t it?

Group-think described

Group-think rules…

Group-think rules…

Christopher Booker, writing in the UK Telegraph, points to a fascinating extract from a book entitled “The Blunders of our Governments” by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe. The extract in question refers to the work of an American psychology professor in the 1960s, Irving J. Janis, who studied the cultural phenomenon of group-think.

When reading the following paragraphs, keep in the forefront of your mind the following:

  • the ABC (and its ideological twin the BBC);
  • John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science;
  • Stephan Lewandowsky and his psychology mates, and
  • the majority of the ‘consensus’ community in climate science

and see how much of it can be applied to them.

Janis became intrigued by a sequence of unfortunate episodes in modern American history that seemed to him to display a number of common characteristics: the Roosevelt administration’s faiure in 1941 to prepare for a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; the Truman administration’s rash decision in late 1950 to invade North Korea; the launching of President John F. Kennedy’s clownish Bay of Pigs expedition in 1961; and Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War during the mid-1960s. To that original list, he later added President Richard M. Nixon’s attempt to cover up his own and his henchmen’s complicity in the notorious Watergate break-in of 1972.

According to Janis, whose views are now almost universally accepted, group-think is liable to occur when the members of any face-to-face group feel under pressure to maintain the group’s cohesion or are anyway inclined to want to do that. It is also liable to occur when the group in question feels threatened by an outside group or comes, for whatever reason, to regard one or more outside individuals or groups as alien or hostile. Group-think need not always, but often does, manifest itself in pathological ways. A majority of the group’s members may become intolerant of dissenting voices within the group and find way, subtle or overt, of silencing them. Individual group members may begin to engage in self-censorship, suppressing any doubts they harbour about courses of action that the group seems intent on adopting. Latent disagreements may thus fail to surface, one result being that the members of the group come to believe they are unanimous when in reality they may not be. Meanwhile, the group is likely to become increasingly reluctant to engage with outsiders and to seek out information that might run counter to any emerging consensus. If unwelcome information does happen to come the group’s way, it is likely to be discounted or disregarded. Warning signs are ignored. The group at the same time fails to engage in rigorous reality-testing, with possible alternative courses of action not being realistically appraised.

And the following paragraph could have been written for our friend Professor Lewandowsky:

Group-think is also, in Janis’s view, liable to create “an illusion of invulnerability, shared by most or all the members, which creates excessive optimism and encourages taking extreme risks”. Not least, those indulging in group-think are liable to persuade themselves that the majority of their opponents and critics are, if not actually wicked, then at least stupid, misguided and probably self-interested.

Denial, conspiracy ideation, extreme free-market adherents – add those to the list and we’re done! It continues:

Irving Janis’s own conception of group-think is tightly bounded. It refers only to situations in which members of a face-to-face group feel, consciously or subconsciously, a need to maintain the internal cohesion of the group. It is, in that sense, a purely psychological concept. But of course the notion of group-think can be extended and used more widely to refer to a variety of situations in which there exists such widespread agreement among the members of a group about the desirability of a given course of action that no threats to the group’s internal cohesion ever arise. Because there really are no dissenters in the group, no one in the group ever expresses dissent. There are no nay-sayers. Everyone is agreed. But such situations can be just as dangerous as the ones Janis describes. The decision-making processes associated with unforced agreement may be just as defective as the ones associated with suppressed dissent.

As Booker concludes:

[Janis’s] account of “the illusion of unanimity”, and how group-thinkers regard anyone daring to question their belief-system as an “enemy” to be discredited, superbly characterises the mentality of that small group of “climate scientists” at the heart of driving the warming scare. This was never more clearly brought home than by those Climategate emails, showing how they were ready to fiddle their data to promote what they themselves called “the cause”, and to suppress the views of any scientists they saw as a threat to their illusory “consensus”. We all casually use the term “group-think”, but I had not known how comprehensively Janis explains so much that is puzzling about this world we live in.

Perhaps Cook, Lew, Nuccitelli and the rest of the “consensus” crew should take a good, long, hard look in the mirror now and again, instead of applying pseudo-psychology to their critics.

Dana’s dummy spit

Dummy-spit Dana

Dummy-spit Dana

One half of the Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science team, Dana Nuccitelli, has recently made a twit of himself on Twitter (appropriately enough). Nuccitelli claimed Roger Pielke Jr was “misleading” the public about tornadoes in an op-ed. Unfortunately, Pielke Jr wasn’t one of the six authors.

Rather than do what normal people would do and simply apologise for the obvious error, instead Nuccitelli dug deeper and deeper. Don’t forget that he and John Cook are two of the most rabid climate ideologues on the planet, who refuse to acknowledge that any doubt exists surrounding the strength of the “consensus”, and therefore anything that challenges it must be attacked and destroyed at all costs.

What is so telling about all this is that it reveals the underlying desperation of the alarmists to maintain the facade. No cracks can ever be revealed, no points conceded (no matter how trivial – witness the above), no contrary view left unchallenged, and most importantly, of course, no opponent un-smeared. As Roger Pielke Jr said about the whole incident:

“I do appreciate your willingness to dig in your heels and continue this display. I agree with you that those paying attention will be fully empowered to reach fair conclusions.

Thanks again for the exchange. Very educational, and not just for me.”

So very, very true.

You can read it all herehere and here.

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