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!

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