Oct 01 2013

New IPCC Report on Climate Change

Whether or not the planet is warming due to human activity is a very important question. That is perhaps the one statement on which everyone agrees. Beyond that we have the usual conflict between mainstream science and motivated reasoning, denialism, industry apologists, and contrarians. Stuck in the middle are sincere skeptics who have not managed to wade through the tsunami of misinformation.

This is the 5th report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) assembled by the UN. The point of this panel is to provide usable information to the UN, and the governments of the world, through robust scientific consensus. They describe the working group as:

A total of 209 Lead Authors and 50 Review Editors from 39 countries and more than 600 Contributing Authors from 32 countries contributed to the preparation of Working Group I AR5.

That sounds pretty robust to me. Of course, consensus is not always correct in retrospect, but the whole point of building a consensus is that it is more likely to be correct than the quirky opinions of any individual or small group. Personal bias, error, skewed perspectives, and misinformation should all average out and the result should, hopefully, reasonably reflect the actual scientific evidence.

One core conclusion of the group is this:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.

Overall the IPCC has been fairly conservative in their conclusions. They felt confident, however, to label the basic fact that the planet is warming as “unequivocal.”

They also conclude (I summarize):

– The oceans are storing most of the extra heat, about 90%

– Arctic sea ice, Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, and Glaciers worldwide have all been losing mass

– Sea levels are rising

– Atmospheric CO2 and methane are at their highest levels in 800,000 years.

– This CO2 is causing increased atmospheric forcing (raising temperatures).

– And – Human influence is clear.

There are more points, adding detail to the above, but those are the big ones. Further, they have upgraded their overall confidence in anthropogenic global warming from 90% in the last report to 95% in the current one. The evidence for AGW, they argue, is getting stronger.

The response from the usual AGW deniers is predictable. The Mail Online, for example, published an article surrounding the comments of:

Amused: MIT climate professor Dr Richard Lindzen blasted the IPCC report, calling it ‘hilariously incoherent’

They refereed to Lindzen as “amused” throughout the piece. Lindzen is a long time AGW denier. Whenever you hear a report of a climate scientist skeptical of AGW, chances are good they are referring to Lindzen. His is definitely a minority opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, minority opinions are good in science. They keep the majority from getting complacent, and can provide a useful alternate view. I see the role of the minority opinion as being critical, in fact. That is why it annoys me all the more when those in the position of the opposition do such a terrible job.

In fact, I often gauge the credibility of the majority view by the quality of the opposition. If the opposition has some solid points to make, then maybe the majority view has some legitimate cracks in it and there is a genuine controversy. If the opposition continues to resort to tired fallacies, bad arguments, and distorted evidence, that only serves to increase my confidence in the consensus.

The Mail reports, for example:

‘Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean,’ the amused scientist said. ‘However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.’

This is one of the AGW deniers favorite current distortions. It has been dismantled repeatedly, and the fact that they desperately keep going back to this argument, without addressing the criticism of it, is very telling.

First, global warming has not paused. There is a background fluctuation to the overall upward trend in global surface temperatures. It is not legitimate to take recent data and proclaim a change in the overall trend, when that data is still compatible with the existing trend. We won’t know for another decade if the last decade’s data was simply the normal background fluctuation or a true change in the overall rate of temperature rise.

But – the most parsimonious conclusion at present is that the warming trend continues without significant change.

Further, it should be noted that surface temperatures are still warming, just not as fast as previously.

The second fallacy in this current AGW denying meme is that the data is referring to surface temperatures only – not the total amount of heat in the earth system. Most of the extra heat, 90%, in fact is stored in the oceans, and so relying on surface temperatures is looking at only a small slice of the total heat.

Lindzen tries to make it seem like this is an argument from ignorance – the heat is “hiding.” But this is not true. There is actually evidence that the deep oceans are warming.

Lindzen’s next ploy is to argue that what this really means is that the climate models are flawed – because the earth is not warming in exactly the same way as they predicted. This is similar to denying evolution because of some detail about the relationship between groups.  This is a classic denialist strategy – confuse uncertainty over the details of a complex theory with uncertainty about the core claims.

No one denies that climate models are imperfect and complex. Predicting exactly where all the heat will go and when is a pretty tall order for such models, and having to make some tweaks (more heat into the deep oceans, less into surface temperature, over a short period of time) does not call into question the bigger picture – the planet is warming due to forcing from human-released CO2.

The Mail article also makes this howler:

Dr Linzen’s derision of the IPCC report comes amid evidence that warming hasn’t occurred over the past 17 years, and that polar ice caps are even expanding.

I already dealt with that issue here. 

Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, I will take the consensus opinion of hundreds of climate scientists working over years to hammer out a conservative evaluation of the evidence.

67 responses so far

67 thoughts on “New IPCC Report on Climate Change”

  1. SteveA says:


    Predicted exactly where all the heat will go when is a pretty tall order for such models

    Should this be?:

    Predicting exactly where all this heat will go and when is a pretty tall order for such models

  2. siggyboss says:

    The author claims Dr Richard Lindzen has committed the fallacy of insufficient statistics. Maybe. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    “This is the 5th report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) assembled by the UN….Whenever you hear a report of a climate scientist skeptical of AGW, chances are good they are referring to Lindzen. His is definitely a minority opinion…I will take the consensus opinion of hundreds of climate scientists working over years to hammer out a conservative evaluation of the evidence.”

    Appeal to the majority twice, and appeal to authority.

    “I see the role of the minority opinion as being critical, in fact. That is why it annoys me all the more when those in the position of the opposition do such a terrible job.”

    Onus probandi (burden of proof on those making a claim is shifted).

    “This is similar to denying evolution because of some detail about the relationship between groups. This is a classic denialist strategy – confuse uncertainty over the details of a complex theory with uncertainty about the core claims.”

    Fallacy of relative privation (any issue less serious than the “core claims” is not worthy of discussion).

  3. Siggy,

    Your use of logical fallacies is not correct.

    Referring to a consensus of scientific opinion is not an argument from the majority or authority. It is a simple recognition that when the experts in a field get together to rigorously review all the evidence and come up with a consensus, that opinion is more reliable than the quirky opinions of an individual and should at least be taken seriously, especially by non-experts.

    Regarding shifting the burden – once there is a strong scientific consensus that a theory is likely to be true, the burden absolutely shifts to those who would deny established science. If you think evolution is not true, you now have the burden of evidence, since evolutionary theory has already met its burden.

    Likewise, a scientific in the small minority opinion has to justify why they are right and the majority of their colleagues are wrong.

    Your last fallacy is simply wrong. You are completely misapplying it. This is not about relative importance, or denying the importance of “lesser” issues. The AGW deniers (like evolution deniers) are using a strategy of arguing that because experts disagree on some details, the larger claims are called into question. This is simply not true, and is a common strategy of distortion.

  4. juga says:

    “The second fallacy in this current AGW denying meme is that the data is referring to surface temperatures only – not the total amount of heat in the earth system. Most of the extra heat, 90%, in fact is stored in the oceans, and so relying on surface temperatures is looking at only a small slice of the total heat.”

    If the oceans are taking up 90% of the heat (which wasn’t foreseen in previous IPCC reports), presumably temperatures are rising at 10% (give or take) of the rate they were predicted to.

    This has always been the nub of the sceptic argument: that global warming is not the imminent disaster that it has been made out to be. The lack of warming over more than 15 years (which the AR5 report confirms) surely proves the sceptics had a point. If the heat is going into the ocean, it isn’t warming the surface, which is surely what we want.

    Finally, I think it’s a little disingenuous to say that the oceans are “storing” most of the heat. It is estimated that this heat represents a temperature rise in the deep ocean of 0.06 deg C. The word “storing” implies it could all be released back into the atmosphere. I think the second law of thermodynamics might prevent that.

    An alternative summary of current climate research could be:

    “We thought the extra heat retained by the earth due to CO2 emissions would heat the planet at an alarming rate. However, to our surprise, this hasn’t happened and it appears that, rather than warming the atmosphere, this heat is being absorbed by the ocean, which is acting as a thermostat. In other words, there is no need for alarm and the expensive measures we thought would be needed are now less likely or urgent.”

  5. BillyJoe7 says:


    Don’t you think you should have a least a modicum of knowledge about climate science before commenting? Your post is so riddled with a lack of understanding about climate science that it’s hard to know where to start.

    For a start you might like to read about the EL Nino Southern Oscillation and how this represents an exchange of heat between the surface and the deep ocean. The heat exchange goes in both directions – surface to deep ocean AND deep ocean to surface – depending on the stage of the cycle. Presently the heat is going from surface to deep ocean. In the next cycle, the heat will go from deep ocean to surface. And it is exactly because of natural variability like ENSO that you have to look at thirty years to see the inevitable trend caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Natural variability goes up and down but, in the long run, it has no effect whatsoever on the inevitable upward trend in total global heat content.

  6. a_haworthroberts says:

    From a (longer) message as sent yesterday to young Earth creationists at Answers in Genesis:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/article … al-warming
    AiG LIES and factual ERRORS regarding climate change:
    My post here at 0.55 am BST on 1 October 2013:
    Will you correct ‘1988’ to ‘1998’? Or will you leave your biased readers in IGNORANCE?

    The article has NOT been corrected (it refers correctly elsewhere to 15 years so this is probably just sheer incompetence rather than deliberate deception).

  7. ccbowers says:

    Siggy reminds me that there might something worse in a discussion than a person who uses logical fallacies as arguments… a person who misattributes logical fallacies to others.

    Again, people have trouble understanding informal logical fallacies. Informal logical fallacies are not fallacious by their structure, but by their incorrect application. Referencing the scientific consensus is not a logical fallacy in the way that it is being used here. It is actually background information to understand the state of a complex science, and it not being used as an argument from an authority.

    This type of informal logical fallacy becomes fallacious when either the nature of the authority is detached from the topic of discussion (e.g. because the King or your boss says so), and/or when the weight given to the authority is out of proportion with the quality of the authority and nature of the evidence. A consensus of opinion of a large group of experts of a highly contentious mainstream topic is not to be taken lightly.

    It is not like this is the consensus of the world’s top astrologers and homeopaths, nor is this a consensus shielded from outside challenges. This is just the best information we have, and there are people that simply just don’t like it.

  8. a_haworthroberts says:

    I give up! The other link has become broken too.
    I also commented as follows at the BCSE:

    “Answers in Genesis ALSO at it again:

    AiG are very fond of quoting Bible verses but at a quick glance (without clicking on links) this article contains NO Bible quotes. Yet they dismiss the evidence and request that Christians believe this YEC dogma: “The global Flood created conditions that triggered the Ice Age, the only one Earth has ever experienced. How much of what we are seeing in earth’s climate today could be related to the global Flood and the Ice Age”. Zero per cent I think?

    “Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”” (Genesis 8:21-22, NKJV).

    Ah yes, a promise of no catastrophic global warming post-Flood. And NO ICE AGE post-Flood either (and there has not been one in the last 4,300 years either despite YEC lies to the contrary).


    And just how many qualified climatologists or meteorologists work at AiG?

    “How does the IPCC explain the seemingly favorable non-warming trend since 1988?” They DON’T – because no such thing exists and AiG are either moronic liars or they cannot proof-read their articles properly.

    Yet another mistake in an AiG article that none of the moronic Facebook fans appear even to have noticed so far.

    I will notify AiG but I am 99% sure that they will not amend their article to ‘1998’ (if they do it will be because SOMEBODY else points out the mistake as they seem to have decided that I am a ‘liar’ who must be censored and ignored).”

  9. Martin Lewitt says:

    In order to study the hiatus, Meehl and Trenberth had to search for a model which “produces close to the observed net energy imbalance during hiatus periods, whereas some modelling studies do not.” In order to find out where the missing heat was, because “Observational datasets derived from the Argo float data and other sources indicate that the ocean heat content above about 700m did not increase appreciably during the 2000s, a time when the rise in surface temperatures also stalled.”

    “There have been decades, such as 2000–2009, when the observed globally averaged surface-temperature time series shows little positive or even slightly negative trend (a hiatus period).”


    The importance of the hiatus is twofold, it sheds a spotlight on how poor the models current are and it gives us some perspective on the relative strength of the climate response to CO2 forcing. A corollary of attributing the hiatus to the negative phase of the pacific decadal oscillation which stores heat into the deeper ocean, is that the positive phase of the PDO may also have contributed more to the warming of the 80s and 90s that the scientists realized. The climate consensus had been the there was net positive feedback to CO2 forcing, and this had been implemented in all the models, despite a lack of supporting model independent evidence. The hiatus increases the support that the net feedback may be negative, and the sensitivity only 1C to 1.2C or less, which means it could be less than natural variation. So while the actual climate in the year 2100 will be warmer than it would have been without the increase in CO2, the actual decades are that time may be cooler, especially if the PDO is in a negative phase. We’ll learn more in the next couple decades.

  10. Bruce says:

    I love how Siggy seems to have never come across logical fallacies in the real world. It is like he read them somewhere and then splurged them where he saw an opening, completely disregarding any kind of critical thinking.

    I always like to explain the false authority fallacy in a blind man analogy. If a blind man is given a blue ball, how does he find out what colour the ball is? He would ask a sighted person what colour it is. Does he believe one person, probably not, he would then ask another sighted person and then another. Chances are over time most people would say blue, unless they were trying to trick him or maybe they are blind themselves and are too afraid to admit it, or even if he showed them the ball under a bright red light, which would make it look black, for instance. He could believe that the ball is blue after asking 100 people and 95 of them saying it is blue. A conspiracy theorist would somehow think that those 5 people are right, and that the 95 sighted people they asked were lying to them or that they were not looking at the ball in the right way or that they were all blind themselves.

    We, as non climate scientists are akin to that blind man, we have to ask the “sighted” scientists and if 95 out of 100 tell us that something is happening, then we really have to bow to their vision and say, yes, it is most likely this ball is blue.

    /overblown analogy ended

  11. juga,

    Here’s a nice discussion of “thermal inertia” as it applies to the oceans warming, and what it means for global warming:

  12. tmac57 says:

    Regarding the idea that the IPCC models have failed to predict accurately the observed warming:


    The critics who keep raising that meme,and then disregard the climate scientists who patiently attempt to explain their work,are adding nothing but obfuscation and intellectual dishonesty to this question.

  13. bgoudie says:

    Siggy’s an example of what I like to call cargo cult skeptics. Having heard (actual) skeptics explain how some arguments are logical fallacies they seem to think that calling any argument a fallacy (no matter how poorly it fits the definition) negates it.

    It’s like a fetish or charm for them, letting them skip having an an actual supported argument for their own position.

  14. BillyJoe7 says:

    Martin Lewitt,

    The article to which you linked does not support your subsequent comment.
    Your comment goes way beyond what the article says and is not even a justifiable extrapolation of it.
    The climate scientists’ trend line in surface temperatures since the 1940s has been steadily upward and was not altered by the warming during the 90s and has not been altered during the hiatus over the past 15 years. Despite what you imply, climate scientist are, and were, well aware of the noise caused by climate variables. The warming during the 90s was not s surprise, and the hiatus was also not a surprise. These features have been identified in the surface temperature during at least five time periods before 1998, which is why climate scientists apply their trend lines over the whole of temperature record (or, at the very least, thirty year time periods), not just time periods of ten to fifteen years.
    And, if you subtract the noise introduced by climate variables, the the models are far more accurate than you imply.

  15. sonic says:

    This includes a very interesting means of testing an opposing view.
    I’m thinking one would want to get the best opposing view available.

    Dr. N. isn’t being completely accurate in portraiting the best of the ‘opposition’ by partially quoting Lindzen.

    A better place to find arguments in a more reasoned approach is Judith Curry I believe.

    One thing that happened this time around– the scientists gave a pre-release (leaked) version of what they submitted to the IPCC process.
    The paper that Dr. N. is quoting from isn’t what the scientists wrote, it’s what politicians wrote.
    Here is a transcript from some of the proceedings to get some idea of how what the IPCC publishes is written.
    It is different from what the scientists gave them, at least it seems that way based on the transcripts–


    One of the items from the leaked documents is a graph produced by the scientists. The graph the scientists submitted started out showing something quite clearly in a nicely presented graphic.
    It appears the IPCC version is similar to that graphic with a bunch of squiggly lines over it to obfuscate the information.

    The explanation of how the graph was altered is fine- but to me it seems the IPCC version is just a bunch of squiggly lines hiding the information.

    A bunch of different color squiggly lines.

  16. BillyJoe7 says:


    Judith Curry is pontificating about an area in which she has no expertise.
    She is not a statistician.
    Actual statisticians have continually pointed out her errors, but she refuses to learn.

    In the original leaked graph, the observed and projected temperatures were aligned with the observed temperature in the year 1990. The year 1990 was a particularly hot year, statistically speaking. In other words, the statistical trend line through the year 1990 was lower than the observed temperature in 1990. Therefore the observed temperatures after 1990 were always going to be lower on average than the projected temperatures. If a cooler year like 1985 had been chosen the reverse would have been the case. The final graph accounts for this error by aligning observed and projected temperatures with the trend line through the year 1990 to give a statistically more accurate picture of climate change.

    Judith Curry first came to prominence with her comments about the statistical analysis of the BEACH report in which she was a contributing author. She messed up that analysis as well. Her error was pointed out to her by the BEACH reports lead author, but she has never acknowledged her error. Her analysis as in error because she decided to include an outlier data point which the statisticians wisely ignored. The reason the statisticians ignored it was precisely because it was a single outlier data point that went against the trend of all the other data points in the set, but also because they knew exactly why this was a outlier data point.

    If all you have read about this episode is what Judith Curry has told you, you won’t be able to tell me why that data point was an outlier. And, without now researching it further, I bet you can’t.

  17. Martin Lewitt says:

    BillyJoe7, The subsequent comment was my own, explaining the skeptical position. While the Meehl and Trenberth publication was not intended to support the subsequent explanation, it serves to make some admissions, for instance many of the modeling studies did not maintain the energy balance during their hiatuses, i.e., they were not like Meehl and Trenberth contend this one is, with a 1W/m^2 average imbalance over the years. I quoted the admission of the hiatus. Recall that Trenberth is famous for his travesty statement about the inability to explain what was going on.

    Back in the IPCC FAR (2007) if climate scientists were not surprised by the natural variability and the hiatus, it wasn’t because the models represented it, they didn’t:

    “The magnitude of multi-decadal variability (relative to sub-decadal variability) is lower in AOGCM control simulations than is observed, and cannot be reproduced in current model simulations with external forcings (Osborn, 2004; Gillett, 2005). However, Scaife et al. (2005) show that the observed multi-decadal trend in the surface NAM and NAO can be reproduced in an AOGCM if observed trends in the lower stratospheric circulation are prescribed in the model.”


    The subtraction method that you mention from F&R and skepticalscience.com has been rejected because, current hypotheses have la Nina and el Nino energy balance effects persisting for years making their subtraction as if the system was linear, invalid. 30 years is probably not long enough given the length of multidecadal ocean modes like the PDO, 60 years might capture 1 statistical sample.

    “The evidence, therefore, indicates that the current generation of climate models (when run as a group, with the CMIP5 prescribed forcings) do not reproduce the observed global warming over the past 20 years, or the slowdown in global warming over the past fifteen years. [S]uch an inconsistency is only expected to occur by chance once in 500 years, if 20-year periods are considered statistically independent. Similar results apply to trends for 1998–2012. In conclusion, we reject the null hypothesis that the observed and model mean trends are equal at the 10% level.”

    “For this reason the moderating influence on global warming that arises from the decay of the 1998 El Niño event does not occur in the models at that time. Thus we employ here an established technique to estimate the impact of ENSO on global mean temperature, and to incorporate the effects of dynamically induced atmospheric variability and major explosive volcanic eruptions. Although these three natural variations account for some differences between simulated and observed global warming, these differences do not substantively change our conclusion that observed and simulated global warming are not in agreement over the past two decades.”


  18. BillyJoe7 says:

    I am at a disadvantage here.
    The first link is not accessible from my server.
    The second link is to the front page of a website with nothing relevant that I can see.

    (BTW, it’s IPPC FAR (1990) or did you mean IPPC AR4 (2007))

    So, I’m not sure what you are trying to say and, therefore, the following may not be relevant..
    If you draw the trend line in the observed surface temperatures since the 1940s, they agree pretty well with the projections. Moreover, by drawing in the trend line, you can identify the contributions of natural variables like ENSO to the actual observed surface temperatures. In the El Nino phase they deviate upwards from the trend line and during the La Nina phase they deviate below the trend line. And, of course there is independent physical evidence of when these phases occur. Even contributions by volcanic eruptions can be identified in the record. And, of course, we know also know when volcanos erupt. In this sense, the natural variables can be “subtracted out” of the record. In effect, this is exactly what the trend line does. Moreover, the duration of these deviations from the trend line demonstrate that thirty year running averages are more or less sufficient to see the trend. Certainly not the fifteen years the contrarians harp on and on about. But, of course, longer intervals are always going to be more accurate.

  19. Martin Lewitt says:

    BillyJoe7, The you are correct, it is AR4 instead of FAR, you will find that the visible portions of links are correct. For some reason there are hidden characters after the “.html”s

    The 60 year trend, that would include a previous negative phase of the PDO is about 0.1C per decade.

  20. sonic says:

    I’m a bit surprised. I thought you would have a different response.

    The situation I’m concerned about is this–
    I saw parts of the report the scientists sent the politicians. I see the report the politicians produce is different from what the scientists gave them.
    Dr. N. (and others) reads the political announcement, thinking it is ‘consensus science’ when in fact it is not.

    That’s the one aspect of the situation I find most bothersome– as you know I have no problem with the notion that humans cause warming and that I wouldn’t mind reducing the use of fossil fuels considerably. I’m not certain we need to, but I admit that a large part of my difficulties come from my perception of this situation– that politicians are altering what the scientists say to further a political agenda. I suspect this influence is larger than anyone would want it to be… and when it is done openly and obviously– no problem.

    You seem to defend any change the politicians make. I find that very odd. Why are you defending removing peer reviewed literature in favor of non-peer reviewed literature? I point to a person who is making it clear the politicians are altering the science and you complain that the author of over 100 peer reviewed papers made an error in one of them.
    Are you kidding? Like I say– I’m surprised.

    To reword the issue– it seems the scientists sent some information to the politicians. The politicians then change the information and now publish what is called ‘consensus science’.

    Doesn’t that bother you?

    Perhaps I’ve misperceived the situation. Perhaps you could inform me of the more correct version of events.

  21. BillyJoe7 says:


    “I’m a bit surprised. I thought you would have a different response”

    What do you mean?
    I didn’t make any response at all to your misrepresentation of the IPPC process!
    I chose to deal with your claim that Judith Curry is a person with a more reasoned approach.

    “you complain that the author of over 100 peer reviewed papers made an error in one of them”

    Exactly where did I say that?

    I made no references to any of her papers, and I made reference to two errors not one.
    These errors were in articles written for consumption by the general public.
    She is influencing public opinion about climate change with erroneous analysis of articles about climate change. And she made the additional error of omission by not correcting these false impressions by failing to correct these errors when they are pointed out to her.

    The first was a newspaper article about the BEACH report. This report confirmed what is generally known by climate scientists about climate change. But her commentary about this report, in which she was an author, gave the contrary view that climate change is nothing to worry about. And it was based on a misunderstanding about statistical analysis, in which she has no expertise. Actual statisticians were employed for this purpose.

    It seems you have no idea what this error was, so I’ll tell you:

    She included two data points which where excluded by the statisticians because they were obvious outliers. That, alone, was enough to exclude them. But, in addition, the reason these data points were outliers was because a technical error resulted in only a very small percentage of thermostats recording the temperatures which, of course, meant that the average tempertures based on them were totally unreliable.

    The second error was passing comment on a leaked graph, which contained an error which she failed to detect. The error was obvious to statisticians but not to her because statistics is outside her area of expertise. But then why is she commenting. And, again, she made a further error of omission by not correcting the false impression she left with her reading public.

    So, you think she has a more reasoned approach?
    Well, congratulations!

  22. BillyJoe7 says:


    ” it seems the scientists sent some information to the politicians. The politicians then change the information and now publish what is called ‘consensus science'”

    Where did you get this misinformation?
    Oh, yes, Judith Curry.
    Here is a reference to what actually happens:


    Here is a relevant excerpt:

    Review is an essential part of the IPCC process to ensure objective and complete assessment of the current information. In the course of the multi-stage review process – first by experts and then by governments and experts – both expert reviewers and governments are invited to comment on the accuracy and completeness of the scientific, technical and socio-economic content and the overall balance of the drafts. The circulation process among peer and government experts is very wide, with hundreds of scientists looking into the drafts to check the soundness of the scientific information contained in them. The Review Editors of the report (normally two per chapter) make sure that all comments are taken into account by the author teams. Review comments are retained in an open archive on completion of a report.

    After the first order draft has been reviewed by experts, authors prepare a second order draft of the report and a first draft of its Summary for Policymakers (SPM). The second order draft of the report and the first draft of the SPM are subject to simultaneous review by both governments and experts. Authors then prepare final drafts of the report and SPM. These are distributed to governments who provide written comments on the revised draft of the SPM before meeting in plenary to approve the SPM and accept the report.

    All IPCC reports must be endorsed by a Working Group and the Panel meeting in Plenary Session.

  23. BillyJoe7 says:



    So what is your problem here.

    Most of the comments seem to be based on the science of climate change and the rest serve to attempt to water down the message. So the political input would tend to lead to a more conservative report. Indeed, despite what climate contrarians will tell you, that has proven to be the case.
    Consensus, by its very nature tends to be conservative, especially if you add politics into the mix.
    But, in order to get action on climate change, politicians must be involved.
    This is the whole purpose of the IPPC.

    Here are some examples:

    “Saudi Arabia said the statement was “alarmist,” urged qualifying the terms “unequivocal” and “unprecedented,”
    An attempt to water down the results.

    “The Russian Federation proposed “changing,” rather than warming of the climate system”
    Another attempt to water down the results.

    “Germany, supported by Belgium and Ireland, argued for an opening sentence singling out the fact that the first decade of the 21st century has been the warmest decade since 1850.”
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “The WG Co-Chairs and CLAs suggested focusing on 30-year time periods due to the multi-decadal nature of global warming.”
    This is also supported by the science of climate change.

    “Canada proposed adding the word “successively” for the sentence to read that: “Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “Germany, supported by Belgium, Luxembourg and others, suggested adding that the rates of warming were higher in the preceding 15-year period”
    An attempt to water down the results.

    “Norway noted that only periods of 30 years are sufficient to draw conclusions about rates of temperature change as defined in the glossary of the report.”
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “The US, with Belgium, Luxembourg and others, proposed adding that the rate of warming since the late 1990s is very sensitive to the choice of a start year, referring to a strong El Niño effect in 1997-1998.”
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “Concerning text on the Medieval Climate Anomaly, Belgium and Ireland underscored that this phenomenon was regional in nature, unlike global warming in late 20th century, and suggested clarifying language to reflect this.”
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “Canada, supported by Norway, raised the issue of the Arctic experiencing a greater increase in surface temperature than globally, and text on this was introduced in other parts of the SPM.”
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “The US said that a period of 10-15 years is too short for model evaluation. The most contentious point concerned differences between simulated and observed short-term trends.’
    This is supported by the science of climate change.

    “The US, Austria, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation, Germany, Belgium and others supported reference to 10-15-year periods in general.”
    An attempt to water down the results.

    “China maintained that reference should only be made to the past 15 years”
    An attempt to water down the results.

    “Saudi Arabia strongly urged incorporating language from the Technical Summary on models overestimating the warming trend”
    An attempt to water down the results.

    “On equilibrium climate sensitivity, several delegations, including Australia, the Netherlands and others, noted that the message that the lower limit of the assessed “likely” range of climate sensitivity is less than the 2°C in the AR4 can be confusing to policy makers”
    This lowering from 2 to 1.5 degrees was solely on the basis that the rise in global surface air temperatures was not statistically significant, even thought there are many reasons why the lower limt cannot be lower than 2 degrees.

    So, here we go again.
    You provide the link and I do all the work.
    Stay tuned for a one line dismissal.

    Round and round the merry-go-round.

  24. Doctor Evidence says:

    it seems to me that there is a logical fallacy involved in the GW debate
    which has not been clearly discerned (a false dichotomy).
    specifically, it is plausible that:
    1. anthropogenic climate change is occurring, *and also*
    2. politicians and others are insincerely and cynically using this issue to manipulate the public.

    point two is personified by the hysterics of a certain mr. Gore.

    humans are good lie-detectors, but oft poor fallacy-detectors, and may not
    be able to disentangle items (1) and (2), leading us to throw out the
    scientific baby with the political bathwater.

    (of course there could also be a point 3 of counter-manipulation by
    insincere and cynical GW deniers).

    too bad these points are blended together. that’s the biggest problem.

  25. BillyJoe7 says:

    Doctor Evidence,

    Many groups can be discerned in the climate change debate:

    Some are science based commentators who can be either climate scientist, or science journalists, or both. Some are climate contrarians who seem to relish being against the evidence of climate science for the sake of being contrarian. Some are genuinely mistaken. Some are cynically manipulating the debate to make money on speaking tours financed by oil companes. Some are just railing against the prevaling mainstream view because of what could be decribed as a knee jerk anti-authoritarian stance. Some, like libertarians, have with a political axe to grind and try to manipulate the situation to achieve their political ends. Some are climate denialists in that they cherry pick the evidence, continually find fault where there is none, and never correct their errors when they are pointed out to them. Even some climate scientists are climate denialists.

    There are probably more groups, and the groupings are not mutually exclusive.

    The upshot is that confusion and doubt reigns amongst the general public who, as a result, believe that climate scientists are equally devided on the question and therefore that nothing needs be done until they actually come to some agreement about how the climate is changing and what should be done about it. And, while doubt and confusion reigns amongst the voting public, politicians are inclined to do nothing about climate change. This, of course, leads right into the hands of the financial drivers against climate change because all they need to do is create doubt and confusion and they’ve won. The IPPC, as a cooperative effort between governments and scientists, is a positive move trying to dispell this doubt and confusion, which is why it has become a prime target for the climate contrarians and deniers.

  26. sonic says:

    I am aware that Ms. Curry has made at least the two errors you mention. She has written over 140 peer reviewed papers. Are you suggesting the other 138 were perfect?
    I doubt that. 🙂
    You seem to be thinking that because she has made some error in the past, what she says now must be wrong.
    I think there is a well known fallacy that you are employing in your thinking here but I can’t remember the name.
    Can you tell me what it is?

    It is obvious the politicians are rewriting what the scientists sent in. You say they ‘water it down’, OK, let’s assume that is true.
    So now the politicians are writing an altered version of what the scientists sent in and calling it ‘consensus science.’

    If I had a copy of what the scientists sent to the IPCC and a copy of what the IPCC published- which would be the ‘consensus science’ paper?
    They don’t match. That is not meant to be rhetorical.

    Here is the situation as I see it–
    In 1988 James Hansen predicted that with an annual increase in CO2 emissions of 1.5%, the temperature would rise by 1.5°C by 2011. This is the basic prediction of AGW.

    What has happened is that CO2 emissions have increased by 2.5% per year. 🙁

    But the temperature ended only 0.3°C higher.

    So his prediction was at least 5 times too high. (so far)
    Now the justification for political action is the attempt to keep horrible things from happening due to an increase of 2 degrees.
    But if Hansen’s predictions are that far off– well we don’t need to do anything to keep it under 2 degrees.

    At the same time the measured surface temperatures have shown no increase for over 15 years despite increases in CO2 concentrations. And the models don’t predict this sort of behavior and it is hard to say what is going on– but one thing is clear– Hansen’s predictions have not been accurate and are way too high. (so far)

    But in Germany, for example, they have spent large sums of money to avoid ‘climate change’. The effect of these large expenditures is that the average citizen pays about 60% more on his power bill than he used to. Apparently something like 800,000 Germans are now without power, for the first time in decades due to the expense.

    If these changes were done for poor reasons–
    taking away the power to 800,000 people and making everyone else spend billions they wouldn’t have had to otherwise—
    You know what the political climate is like in Australia.

    So the Germans ask that the ‘pause’ not be mentioned.
    Can you blame them?

    Does that help you understand why a politician would want the wording changed? It doesn’t have anything to do with watering down or support from science. Politicians make decisions on political basis. That’s their profession.

    BTW-I was actually relieved by what I’ve seen from the draft.

    From graph 1.4 we can see the models are all over predicting the heating effect– that makes me think it is more likely the CO2 sensitivity will be less than the current models predict– and less likely the models are assuming too low a multiplier.
    (I am basing this on the graph sent to the IPCC by the scientists which clearly shows the poor model behavior. Apparently this graph has been replaced by a graphic from non-peer reviewed literature which hides the information the scientists apparently wanted to show. This brings back the question– is the IPCC version the science, or is the version the scientists sent in the science?)

    Anyway– That’s good news to me.

    Further- from table 12.4 it seems there is high confidence that it is extremely unlikely there will be ice sheet collapse.
    In fact most of the things I have been concerned about are covered in table 12.4 and it appears those things are very unlikely. Have you seen the table 12.4?

    Couple that with the likelihood the models are overestimating the heat– well I am relieved. I don’t think we need to do anything about the situation right now based on these things.

    Do you think we need to do something? If so, why?

  27. BillyJoe7 says:


    I’ll say this just one more time…
    Judith Curry’s errors are in her communications to the public via newspaper articles.
    Do you want that in capital letters so that you’ll actually read what I wrote?

    They are always contrarian views and always based on errors of understanding.
    I would like you to provide me with one newspaper article that she has written where she has not distorted the science of climate change or made any errors of understanding.
    She is a go to person for climate deniers and vice versa.

    Regarding James Hansen.

    Firstly, you’re cherry picking again.
    One quote from one climate scientists at one point in time.
    In no way can that effect the consensus of experts on climate change.

    Secondly, I will need a link, because i’m almost certain you have misinterpreted what he said.
    In fact I have a good idea what those misinterpretations might be, but I’m not going to comment till I see the references.

    “surface temperatures have not increased over the past fifteen years”

    Well, at least I’ve got you to say global surface temperatures instead of global temperatures!
    But wrong again.
    And there’s no excuse because i’ve corrected you many times before…
    Global surface temperatures have increased over the past fifteen years, but the increase is not statistically significant.

    “the models don’t predict this sort of behaviour”

    They are not programmed to.
    The models make predictions over time periods appropriate to climate, not weather.
    The models are accurate over time scales of at least thirty years during which the effects of natural variability cancel out to zero.
    Look at the record over the past 140 years and the truth should be obvious.
    There are at least five flat bits in the graph, each of 10-15 years duration, but the inevitable trend is upwards.
    The analogy is to an elevator.
    Get the picture?

    But I’ve told you all this before!
    In your usual style you simply ignore the answers and just keep posing the same questions.

    “I’m basing this on the graph sent to the IPCC by scientist”

    The graph was not sent to the IPCC by scientist!
    Those scientists are part of the process.
    Politicians AND scientists work on the draughts.
    And I’ve explained the now obvious error in that graph.
    In your usual style, you have simply ignored that explanation.

    “Have you seen table 12.4?”

    Is this yet another diversion?
    You can’t grasp what we’ve already covered and so you want to move on to yet another topic for you to spin? Yet another topic for you to ignore my explanations of your misinterpretations.

  28. sonic says:

    First off- I suggested that Judith Curry was a better example of the ‘opposition’ than is Lindzen, I did not endorse her views. But I find your attacks to be off the wall.
    Here is a list of ‘refereed papers’-

    Perhaps you can find one thing that she said that is correct.

    Here is a blog posting- what is wrong with it?

    Again– I’m not saying she is correct – I’m asking what is wrong- and I’m saying she is a better example of the ‘opposition’- what I would call a person who disagrees. But this is politics and a scientist who has a different opinion is now ‘opposition’.

  29. sonic says:


    I made an error– I should have used GHG instead of CO2 when discussing Hansen’s predictions- right? So I did the analysis with GHG–

    But first– An odd thing. I thought that NASA or Hansen would be keeping track of this prediction– you know a ‘countdown’ type comparison of the predicted values to the actual. I couldn’t find any such comparison. Don’t scientists usually compare their predictions to the observations? Odd that it took me this long to think of it– and odder still that I couldn’t find any such comparison…

    Here is the data for CO2 emissions I’m using-

    emissions have increased 1.5 times between 1990 and 2008- (that’s the 2.5% figure I was using)

    Now for the non-CO2 emissions I’m using this source–

    From 1990- 2005 non-CO2 emissions grew by 10%– less than 1% per year.

    The non-CO2 emissions are more important in that they have a higher ‘warming potential’ so the non-CO2 emissions are adjusted to reflect ‘CO2 equivalents’.
    When we do this we get that non-CO2 emissions account for about 25% of the total GHG (CO2 equivalent adjusted).

    Given these changes– I get that the GHG (CO2 adjusted) has gone up by about 1.9% per year– not the 2.5% I had estimated earlier.
    This doesn’t change the analysis because I assumed that the 2.5 would yield higher predictions than the 1.5 he assumed in scenario A.
    Well, the 1.9 will yield higher results than the 1.5 would as well.

    So the at least 5 times over estimate stands.

    This is quick and dirty work on my part– perhaps you can tell me where to get better– like I say I was rather surprised when I realized that neither NASA or Hansen is keeping a running record of the prediction vs. the actual. (at least not publicly).

    How do you like my analysis of the German’s request?

    Oh, and the table 12.4 I refer to can be found if you google ‘IPCC draft report table 12.4’ It is not off topic. It covers the things most usually used to support the notion that we have to do something about this.

  30. BillyJoe7 says:


    You still haven’t supplied a link to James Hansen’s prediction, so there’s not much more i can say on that topic.

    “The Germans asked that the pause not be mentioned”

    No problem, they can ask whatever they want.
    But, the fact is that the so called “pause” was mentioned.
    Presumably other politicians or the scientists had more sense than not to mention the obvious fact that the rise in global surface air temperatures over the past fifteen years was not statistically significant.

    “IPCC draft report table 12.4 is not off topic”

    I didn’t say it was.
    I said that you were creating a diversion by bringing up yet another topic instead of dealing with the topics already under discussion.
    I’m not interested in responding to a “Gish Gallop”

  31. BillyJoe7 says:

    Regarding your link to a JC blog post:

    Her whole purpose is to minimise climate change and she does this dishonestly.

    The first graph is of observed global air temperatures since 1950.
    This graph also shows the 95% confidence interval of the predictions of climate change modelling.
    You can see for yourself that the observed temperatures goes to both the top and bottom of the 95% CI on many occasions during this record.
    The flattening over the period 1998-2013 is the result of an abnormally high temperture in the year 1998 due to the El Niño effect followed by many years affected by La Niña.
    If these effects are subtracted from the graph, there is indeed warming similar to that which occurred before 1998.
    The period 1998-2013 is cherry picked by climate deniers for the reason that it creates the false impression that the planet has stopped warming. It hasn’t.
    If you pick the period 1983-1998, the opposite appears to be the case with warming seemingly ocurring at a much faster rate than what actually occurred during this period if you subtract the short term effects of climate variability.
    And, remember, this is only global surface air temperatures where only 2.1% of the heat goes compared with 93.5% into the oceans.

    At the end of her piece, JC says this is her favourite graph and you have to wonder why?

    I’ve already explained the second and third graphs.
    Briefly, the baseline in the second graph is wrong.
    The baseline is the abnormally high temperature in the year 1998 (El Nino effect).
    The correct baseine is the termperature on the trend line through the year 1998
    The second graph corrects this error.
    Yet, somehow, for JC this is “hiding the decline”.

    After this she again gives the false impression that the fifteen year falttening between 1998-2013 is significant.
    Clearly it is not.
    A significant time period to see (long term) climate change (freed from the short term effects of climate variability) is at least thirty years, not fifteen years.
    In fact why not use the entire record?
    If you do that, temepratures can be seen to be steadily increasing since the 1940s in line with increasing CO2, in line with the known physics of the Greenhouse Effect, and in agreement with climate change modelling.
    It is misleading or disengenuos or both for her to say that modelling does not predict the flattening over the past fifteen years, when climate modelling models climate (ie 30 years or more).
    Short term climate variability is not predictable (ie you cannot predict when El Nino or La Nina, or volcanic eruptions will occur) except for the fact that, over the long term periods that are of interest to climate change, the effect is zero.

    (There are probably other points to comment on but I’ve lost my response once already when i looked back to her blog post, so I won’t risk it.)

    But, I’m repeating myself and I really should stop.
    In fact, if you make no meaningful response to my post this time round, I do instead to stop.

  32. sonic says:

    I read the claim that the deep oceans had warmed by .06 degrees.

    I’m unwilling accept the extraordinary claim.

    I’m sure that is a smaller amount than the measuring techniques would allow to be captured. I’m sure it’s much smaller than the claimed margin of error for ARGO, for example. It is a claim of data from a source where we have nearly no measurements- and certainly no measurements that would allow for the level of accuracy required for the claim to be meaningful.

    What is the extraordinary evidence that allows one to be so certain that the heat is in the place we can’t measure to the degree of accuracy required for the claim to be meaningful?

    I’m sorry, it seems I’m emulating the south end of a north bound horse. 🙂

    But please tell me it’s understandable why I’m less certain now that the temperatures are going to rise than I was 15 years ago- and am suspicious of someone who isn’t.

    I understand- just because things aren’t going one way doesn’t mean they won’t revert at any moment. Random walk is one of my things. I get it- there can be a trend that doesn’t manifest all the time or immediately. And that is a perfectly good way to describe why ‘the pause’ may not be meaningful.

    But it doesn’t say the pause is not meaningful– it says it might not be.

    I don’t understand the justification of repudiating the actual measurements based on things that can’t possibly be known.

  33. sonic says:

    I do understand about volcanos and difficulties in modeling and so forth– you need not go into all that.

    The graph of interest on the Curry site is Figure 1.4 from the Second Order Draft of the AR5SPM.
    I don’t think the scientists who recommended the graphic were attempting a ‘deniers trick’. You seem to be saying that parts of Chapter 1 of the draft report is a trick put together by deniers. You seem to be saying the people who put together the draft reports don’t understand how to compare a prediction to an actual observation. What kind of scientists are these?

    Imagine the graph that was picked was picked because it displayed the information the scientists wanted to convey clearly. That seems more likely to me than they picked it to hide something or because they wanted to try a ‘deniers trick’– don’t you agree?
    Of all the graphs they could have used, they probably picked the one that showed the information of interest most clearly. Right?

    Now ask yourself if the information is still clearly displayed with the new graphic.

    And what is the justification for altering the graph? The ‘climate scientists’ who worked on Chapter 1 of the IPCC report don’t know how to compare a prediction to an actual observation.

    From Ben Santer-
    “LIVERMORE, Calif. — In order to separate human-caused global warming from the “noise” of purely natural climate fluctuations, temperature records must be at least 17 years long, according to climate scientists.”
    So in 2011 we had to wait 17 years before a ‘pause’ would be meaningful– now we wait 30 years. When did that change come about?

    You know- we could look at the longer record. Why not start our analysis of the earth’s warming with the ‘little ice age’? Some cherries are built into the system by historical accident. Oh well.
    I’d like to send you to the NASA site for the Hansen stuff, but the site is down– apparently the US government is shut down. You can find the data anyway with a google search– I’ll leave that to your capable hands.

    If you want to see cherry picked– try this-
    You can see the temps are cooling over the last 12 years per HADCRUT4 measurements.

  34. BillyJoe7 says:


    “I’m unwilling to accept that extraordinary claim”

    To reject an evidence based positive result is equivalent to putting that result at zero with no evidence at all.
    Large error bars do not change this fact.
    Do you not understand this simple point that I have put to you now for the third time?
    You are unwilling to accept the evidence-based positive result, but you are willing to put that result at zero with no evidence at all.

    “things that can’t possibly be known”

    Nobody is rejecting the observed surface air temperatures!!!
    They are explaining them.
    CO2 is rising therefore, in line with the well-established scientific principle known as TheGreenhouse Effect, the heat content of the globe is increasing.
    It’s not found in the 2.3% that goes into surface air.
    Perhaps it’s going into the 93.5% that goes into the oceans.
    The Argo measurements find it in the deep oceans.
    And then there’s ENSO with it’s (surface air warming/deep ocean cooling) El Niño effect followed by it’s (surface air cooling/deep ocean warming) La Niña effect.
    That is the mechanism whereby the heat is transferred between deep ocean and surface air.

    PLease respond to this line of reasoning which I have put to you at least three times.
    Please stop not responding to the answers to your questions.
    Please stop asking questions that have already been answered.

  35. BillyJoe7 says:

    Regarding fig 1.4

    They simply made a mistake which they corrected once it was pointed out.
    Is that so hard to understand?
    You still don’t seem to grasp why it was a mistake to use, as the baseline, the observed temperature in the year 1990.
    Wouldn’t you object if the baseline used was the observed temperature in the year 1983.
    Hint: This would produce a graph that exaggerated climate change.
    You still don’t seem to understand why the baseline should have been the temperature on the trend line through the year 1990 as in the new graph.
    Really, think about it. It’s just obvious once it’s pointed out.

    Please respond directly to my explanations instead of simply restating your erroneous opinion.

  36. sonic says:

    Re graphic 1.4–

    I would say the best graphic to determine the accuracy of a prediction would be one that starts on the day of the prediction and goes to the present moment- more like what the IPCC did in 2007 with the AR4 report–


    Notice the start date?

    I would suggest the reason for that start date (1990) is because it is the correct way to judge a model’s predictions of the future– they start at the time of the predictions and come forward to the present.

    A model is used to make predictions. Part of what goes into the process is checking to see how well it would have worked given the past data. There are numerous mathematical means of making a model fit the past better.
    Once the model has been properly ‘tuned’ (it fits the past as well as can be expected), then the ‘predictions’ begin.

    The best graphic to show model performance then is one that shows the models future predictions at the time it started and compares to the actual data collected since the model started making predictions of future values.

    Much like the IPCC did in the AR4, 2007 report.

    But you probably know this. Or did you forget?

    Please explain why it was OK in 2007 to start at 1990 and why it isn’t now.

    And please explain why it is better to include a graphic that starts before the model began making predictions than one that starts closer to the time of actual prediction.

  37. BillyJoe7 says:


    Please pause and think for moment, because you are misunderstanding this.

    It does start in the year of prediction.
    It’s just that it is incorrect to use the observed temperature in that year as the baseline for the graph.
    The correct baseline temperature is the temperature on the trend line through that year.
    But you’re never going to understand this, so I’ll just up trying to explain it to you.

    And the IPPC did the same in 2007.
    They do not use the observed temperature in the year 1990 as baseline.
    They correctly used the temperature on the trend line through the year 1990 as the baseline.
    I don’t think you get it.

    Have another look at that graph from IPCC 2007:

    Do you see the black dot above the trend line at the year 1990?
    That’s the observed temperature, and it is the baseline temperature that graph 1.4 erroneously used.
    The graph from IPCC 2007 correctly uses as baseline the temperature on the trend line passing through the year 1990…which is some distance below the observed temperature.

    In other words, you’ve proven my point about graph 1.4 not using the correct baseline.
    Do you not understand this?
    If not, I don’t know how else to explain it to you.

  38. sonic says:

    Re: graphic 1.4–
    I see! It really is kinda obvious– the graphic was misaligned.

    Thank you ever so much for your patience on this.

    I missed something I would usually see (I think) — I’m using this opportunity to re-evaluate a number of things.
    I’ll get back to you on this topic later.

    Again– thanks for the patience.

  39. BillyJoe7 says:

    …anything for a friend (:

  40. sonic says:

    An update.
    I have re-evaluated much of what I know about this and I have been hyper-critical of the science.
    I think the situation is very difficult- trying to do data analysis on such noisy data sets and so forth, I tip my hat to those who have hung in there. I am impressed by the methods and techniques used to try to figure out the past climates.

    The main difficulties seem to come from the influence of the political.

    When I look at the data- the earth is warming, people have something to do about it, if we continue to use fossil fuels, it is likely the CO2 concentrations will continue to rise and this will lead to some amount of warming which might lead to any number of situations-

    It doesn’t surprise me that people who like large government programs in general would think this calls for a large government program. It doesn’t surprise me that those who don’t like large government programs don’t see a need for a large government program.

    I believe this is true among scientists as well as the general public.

    Anyway- I wanted to give you this update on my thinking and thank-you for pointing out how I was missing something obvious– a wake up to me that I was being overly critical– and I was.

  41. BillyJoe7 says:

    Just two points…

    If the trend line through the noise of the historical record has a positive gradient, then the conclusion of the scientific evidence is that the thing being tested is increasing over time. To say that the trend line is flatter than what the scientific evidence says is to make a statement for which there is no evidence at all. To ignore all the scientific evidence because of the noise is to assume without evidence that the trend line is flat. If you do either of these things you are not doing science.
    I still don’t know if you understand this point.

    Secondly, politics has for decades denied climate change. In recent years it has been forced to respond but the response totally inadequate and as little as they can get away with. In other words, politics has always worked in the interests of climate denialism. Meaning that you argument about the politicisation of climate change doesn’t have much teeth.

  42. BillyJoe7 says:

    I don’t want to rekindle this debate (particularly as the opposition has already been blown out of the water |: ) but here is some further evidence of deep ocean heating:


    This is a secondary source, but the AWI site has not yet been updated.

  43. sonic says:

    The oceans have been warmer in the past than they are now-
    It looks like this paper will re-instate the medieval warm period.

    Here is a blog report on how this paper is being ‘spun’ by Mann and Revkin in a manner that is unwarranted by the data.

    I like this from the editor of ‘Science’-
    “The findings support the view that the Holocene Thermal Maximum, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age were global events, and they provide a long-term perspective for evaluating the role of ocean heat content in various warming scenarios for the future.”

    So does this mean anyone who thinks the ‘hockey stick’ correct and have claimed the MWP didn’t really happen– are they the deniers?

  44. BillyJoe7 says:


    It’s depressing that you seem to learn nothing at all from our exchanges.
    You’re still making the same errors you have always made.
    I haven’t the time or energy to deconstruct that abstract or the blog post, so I’ll just leave you with a bit of advice that you can do with it what you will.

    1) Stop cherry picking.

    Your link is to a single paper.
    A single paper cannot possibly overthrow the consensus which is based on ALL the evidence.
    It is simply a bit more evidence that needs to be evaluated by climate scientists.
    This will happen in due course and will affect the consensus according to its merits.

    2) Do not rely on abstracts.

    You need to read the whole paper.
    Always assume that the information contained in the abstract of a paper is author spin.
    The information in the abstract of a paper is nearly always at least partially, and sometmes almost completely, at odds with the actual data provided in the body of the paper.

    3) Stop reading denialist blogs.

    They are written by people with vested interests who cherry pick, misinterpret, misunderstand and misrepresent the data, who never even respond to corrections of their often obvious errors let alone correct them.
    They are dong you a disservice.

    4) Ignore editorials.

    As in this case, editorials in science mags tend spin the authors’ spin and are thererfore of even less value than the abstracts.
    Read the editorial comment and the abstract and see if you can find the disconnect.
    Also, consider why you “like” the editors comment.


    If you really do think a single paper is going to overturn the consensus, then what about this paper published earlier this year which says the exact opposite of your linked paper. Unfortunately, like your linked paper, only the abstract is available unless you have $32 to spare.


  45. BillyJoe7 says:

    Here’s another thing I noticed from the abstract and editors summary you linked to:

    “Observed increases in ocean heat content (OHC) and temperature are robust indicators of global warming during the past several decades.”

    “Global warming is popularly viewed only as an atmospheric process, when, as shown by marine temperature records covering the last several decades, most heat uptake occurs in the ocean”

    In view of the fact that you linked directly to both the abstract and the editors summary, can I take it that you now agree that most heat uptake is in the oceans and that increases in OHC are robust indicators of global warming?
    Or are you just cherry picking (cherry picking within a cherry pick!) the bits you “like”.

  46. sonic says:

    Of course one paper doesn’t overthrow a consensus. I suppose the editor of science knows that too. That’s why I gave you links to about 100 papers that show the MWP was real and worldwide. Did you forget?

    Apparently the oceans are about .6 degree cooler now than they were during the last warm period, so I would think it might continue to warm for a while. It seems the oceans have been warmer for most of the past 8000 years, but the cooling trend stopped a few hundred years ago.
    Thank goodness for that.

    I understand the problem of people who can’t admit an error.
    I suppose if we could be confident that the Medieval Warm Period was real, worldwide and warmer than today, we will see how long it would take for some to admit the error.
    It does seem to me that this paper is a major step in the ‘data gathering’ process and might be the piece that completes the puzzle picture- and it might show the MWP was real, or it might show otherwise- I don’t know for sure.
    Let’s see how this plays out over the next year and see how the data is handled and analyzed.

    My current favorite cherries-
    ‘extreme weather’– the ultimate cherry pickers delight.

    ‘the arctic ice’ – I’m concerned about this cherry. It replaced the ‘antarctic ice’ a while back and now the arctic ice extent is growing again. It seems it is a cherry for both sides now, and that makes for a rotting cherry. It may lose it’s value as it becomes known the polar bears are not in danger and the ice is not melting further. Of course the ice might melt more and make this a sweet cherry once again.
    It seems we may have more photo ops for the polar bears yet!
    Time will tell.

    (I’m a bit concerned about the ‘extreme weather’ cherry too– I don’t think the data support the claims. Not that that would stop the claims…) 🙂

    Clearly the ocean is part of the earth and a warming ocean implies a warming earth. I’ve only questioned the accuracy of the ‘deep ocean’ data and the analysis that shows it has warmed by less than 1/10 of the margin of error of the measurements that haven’t been taken over a very long period of time.

    The science about climate will change over time. The political demands for more money will not.

    That’s one way to distinguish the two.

  47. BillyJoe7 says:


    I have dealt with all of this before, but you are uneducatable on this topic.
    You simply ignore what I say and repeat your errors.
    You’re never going to learn anything that way so I’m simply going to give up.

    Well, there was one exception.
    But aren’t you just a little concerned that it took about a week for you to understand that simple baseline graph error recently. At least you were gracious enough to admit your error. But the people who made that error and passed it on to you, have still not corrected it. And these are the people you go to for information about climate change!

    Did you even look up the blogger of your most recent link?
    If not, have a look at some of his other posts. The man is clueless.
    How you can credit someone who doesn’t understand simple climate mechanisms is beyond me.

    But here is an example of your ignorance, courtesy of misinformation and misunderstanding supplied to you by all the usual suspects:

    “Now the arctic ice extent is growing again”

    Give us a break, sonic.
    To quote a certain physicist, that statement is not even wrong.
    But I’m done trying to educate you.

  48. sonic says:

    I agree: Many of the bloggers are clueless.

    Regarding the ‘ice extent’-


    “This summer, Arctic sea ice loss was held in check by relatively cool and stormy conditions. As a result, 2013 saw substantially more ice at summer’s end, compared to last year’s record low extent. The Greenland Ice Sheet also showed less extensive surface melt than in 2012. Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, sea ice reached the highest extent recorded in the satellite record.”

    See, the ice extent is on the rebound– makes for a cherry for the ‘nothing to worry about crowd’, while the longer term picture is the cherry the ‘there is much to worry about’ crowd uses.

    Both sides using the same cherry– not as tasty that way– right?

    I’m glad you continue to attempt to educate me. Perhaps my attempts to return the favor will be recognized in the future.

  49. BillyJoe7 says:


    “the arctic ice extent is growing again”

    This graph shows why your comment is “not even wrong”


    Do you understand what this graph is saying?
    Do you understand why I said that your comment is not even wrong?

  50. rezistnzisfutl says:

    Except that the “longer term picture” is where climate is actually defined, so there’s not any cherry there, it’s simple reality. It’s the same false equivalency Mlema is using in the Golden Rice thread about “both sides” of the so-called GMO debate.

    The nature of denialism isn’t actual ignorance of a subject but rather a knowing denial of established, demonstrable science-based evidence and an unwillingness to understand or grasp a subject, typically based on some form of motivated reasoning.

    I always find it funny when those who are the most ideologically driven claim those whose supposed ideology actually corresponds with the science and evidence. I suppose that when accusations of scientism kicks in.

  51. tmac57 says:

    Arctic sea ice area doesn’t tell the real story. Sea ice volume has been decreasing dramatically since 1980 as this excellent animation shows:


    It takes an enormous amount of excess energy to melt that volume of ice.

  52. sonic says:

    You are correct– that is a better measure of the situation in the Arctic.

    Yes, your graphic clearly depicts the ice extent larger now than it was last year. 🙂
    I see the trend is down- but that is what makes it such a good cherry- it’s useable for anyone- as Dr. N. pointed out earlier on this site.

    If the extent continues to grow, then the cherry is no longer tasty for the warming crowd of true believers.
    On the other hand, if the extent gets smaller, then the cherry is no longer of value to the ‘no warming’ crowd of true believers.

    The cherry is in danger either way. But the true believers will continue to believe either way.
    That’s what makes them ‘true’. 🙂

    Of course there is a cherry there. Dr. N. pointed this out recently on this blog.
    Do I think this is a good argument?
    No, I don’t think the ice extent is a good argument that the warming has ceased.

    A better argument would be the RSS measurements-
    as this matches an earlier statement by Ben Santer:
    “We compare global-scale changes in satellite estimates of the temperature of the lower troposphere (TLT) with model simulations of forced and unforced TLT changes…Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

    So with 17 years of cooling (the trend is slightly down) one might suggest-
    1) the human effects on the global mean tropospheric temperatures is to reduce them
    2) the models aren’t right
    3) 17 years is not enough after all
    4) ???

    I think you will be seeing this cherry more. And you will be hearing about the cooling since 2002–


    On the other side we will have ‘extreme weather’.

    Cherries jubilee!

    I’ve decided it might be best for me to learn to enjoy the cherries… I’m pretty sure the only way I’m going to know what the future climate will be like is to live long enough to see it and I understand stress can reduce one’s life span.

    Is there any part of that you can agree with?

  53. tmac57 says:

    sonic- It seems to me that you are trying to misuse the ‘cherry picking’ metaphor to mean that any individual piece of evidence used by either side could be considered ‘picking cherries’. That is clearly a distortion of the intent of the metaphor.
    What climate scientists are saying is that a preponderance of evidence in diverse fields support the AGW hypothesis,while the climate ‘skeptics’ are just taking random potshots using bits of data (sometimes very questionable) here and there (and often out of context) to make it appear that there is no clear trend,when if all the data are taken as a whole,the trend is evident and rock solid.

    The great fiction (and hope) of the deniers is that they will finally find that one thread that will undo the vast tapestry of the scientific case for AGW,and it will all come unraveled by some sweet-sweet cherry. It won’t happen of course,but it will and does cause misunderstanding and confusion for those who are outside of the scientific debate,and that is a very bad thing,since those are the ones who must elect the leaders that have the most say in what must or should be done to address the problem.

    The science will still be correct whether you accept it or not.The earth’s climate will not be affected by motivated reasoning,but only by physics.

  54. BillyJoe7 says:


    “Yes, your graphic clearly depicts the ice extent larger now than it was last year.”

    Which is why I did not say that you are wrong.
    I said that you are not even wrong.
    If you haven’t come across this phrase before, it means that, although your actual statement as it stands is not wrong, it IS wrong on a more fundamental level.
    Yes, sea ice extent recovered this year, as it has every few years since 1870, but the trend line over the whole record is an almost exponential decrease in sea ice extent. Moreover, sea ice volume is a more accurate measure of the effects of climate change, and the trend line in sea ice volume is falling even more rapidly.
    Incredibly you even admit both of the above facts, but still you puppet the fundamental-level climate-denying mantra that sea ice extent is recovering.
    Will the real sonic please stand up.

    “I see the trend is down- but that is what makes it such a good cherry”

    You just don’t understand the term.
    Looking at the WHOLE record from 1870 when greenhouse gas emissions first became an issue, is NOT cherry picking. It is the reverse of cherry picking!
    Cherry picking is, for example, picking just the last two years of the record, like the climate denier you quoted, and making an idiotic statement that is not even wrong.

    “If the extent continues to grow, then the cherry is no longer tasty for the warming crowd of true believers”

    The trend line since 1870 suggests that this will not happen.
    There was a massive decline in 1998 due to an El Niño effect, and a partial recovery since then due to several La Niña influences. But the trend line is inexorably downwards in line with increasing greenhouse gases.
    So, no, we are not true believers, we have reasons why things are happening.
    On the other hand, there are no reasons to believe that the recovery will continue.
    If you think there is, please educate us on those reasons.
    Otherwise look in the mirror to see the face of a true believer.

    “On the other hand, if the extent gets smaller, then the cherry is no longer of value to the ‘no warming’ crowd of true believers. The cherry is in danger either way. But the true believers will continue to believe either way”

    You don’t even know the meaning of “true believer”.
    Warming is based on the physics of greenhouse gases, looking at the entire record, looking at all the records, identifying and explaining climate variables such as ENSO, and coming to a considered conclusion.
    Cooling is based on nothing more than ignorance of physics, ignorance of climate mechanisms and cherry picking data to support a pre-conceived view.

    “That’s what makes them ‘true’”

    You have no idea.
    Here are your failings in just your last post:
    You don’t understand the meaning of…

    1) Not even wrong
    2) Cherry picking
    3) True believer

    I am sorry to say, sonic, that you have become an embarrassing irrelevancy in discussions about climate change. You need to educate yourself about climate change. You need to get an understanding of the terms you use. And, most important of all, you need to stop reading climate denier blogs. They almost always gets things wrong. They never respond to explanations of why they are wrong. And they never correct their errors.

  55. tmac57 says:

    If an AGW doubter is of the opinion that surface temps from the recent time frame are an indication that the overall trend of rising temperatures has halted or even reversed,then they need to step up and present a plausible,empirical and testable hypothesis as to why that would be so,given that most of climate scientists see the evidence going the opposite way.To put it another way,Skeptical Science has asked the question :


    The problem with the claim that all the climate changes we are already witnessing are within the bounds of natural variability is that those making the claim cannot identify the forcing – the change in energy levels – required to increase the global temperatures rapidly over three decades, to melt glaciers, to warm oceans, to change seasonal periodicity, to expand deserts, to cause extreme weather, change precipitation patterns, to decrease Arctic ice volume or increase Antarctic sea ice extent.

    All these and many more changes in our environment require energy, and what climate change contrarians cannot produce is even a convincing alternative hypothesis to explain where this energy is coming from, let alone produce empirical evidence for it. Yet this is their ‘theory’, their alleged explanation for what is happening to the climate. I think they owe us more than some vague, hand-waving generalisation. They owe us a scientific explanation of what drives this ‘natural variability’, because without it, they are asking us to dismiss a cohesive, consistent, consilient scientific theory in favour of nothing but untestable, unprovable, unfalsifiable superstition. They might as well be asking us to dump science in favour of magic – and then again, perhaps that’s exactly what they are doing

  56. sonic says:

    I’m stretching the metaphor. Did I break it?
    But come on- ‘extreme weather’ is a cherry pickers delight, isn’t it?

    Buddy, learn to laugh.
    I have no idea what will happen with the climate.
    I’m surprised you would think I would not know the reference behind ‘not even wrong’.
    You sir, are very wrong about that. 🙂

    If the temps were warmer about 1000 years ago than they are now, what forced that?
    What forcing caused the little ice age?

    If the theory is testable, then it might be wrong, correct?
    If it can’t be wrong, then it isn’t testable, is it?

    The paper I linked to shows the problem- 17 years of no warming for the lower troposphere indicate no effect from human CO2 emissions over the period. But that can’t be right as the emissions are continuing and the CO2 concentrations are up.

    I would think that at this point a person might entertain some doubt.

    You claim the theory is testable, what is the test you want to put it to?
    Or is it ‘settled’ and not really testable after all?

    Note: As I said, I have no clue what is going to happen so I have nothing but doubt, so perhaps it is ‘projection’ on my part that another might have any doubts.

  57. tmac57 says:


    If the temps were warmer about 1000 years ago than they are now, what forced that?
    What forcing caused the little ice age?

    1)They probably weren’t warmer,but comparable to those prior to 1950 due likely to increased solar activity and decreased volcanic activity:

    2)The Little Ice Age most likely occurred because of the reverse of above: http://www.skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-little-ice-age-advanced.htm

    Also this video by Peter Hadfield covers ground on both issues while also exposing discussing flaws on the AGW side as well as exposing the dishonest way that deniers misrepresent and hide the data that they know weakens their case:

    You claim the theory is testable, what is the test you want to put it to?
    Or is it ‘settled’ and not really testable after all?

    We are running the experiment as we speak,you just don’t want to acknowledge the obvious results.

  58. BillyJoe7 says:


    “I have no clue…”

    Stop right there.
    That has been amply illustrated.
    You don’t have a clue and I have given you advice to rectify the situation.
    Take it if leave it.

  59. BillyJoe7 says:


    I see that you do have a clue.

    I suppose you can also see the typical denialist strategies engaged in by our mutual opponent.
    The most recent being to change the topic when you are losing the argument.
    The “arctic ice is recovering” nonsense has been left behind now, unsupported and uncorrected, and now he is into the MWP, LIA, and tropospheric temperatures.
    There are answers to all his questions, but he is in denial.
    He makes a false equivalence between climate scientists and climate bloggers and therefore remains perpetually “In doubt”. He is unable to distinguish between genuine science, pseudoscience, and fringe science. Look at his postings on any subject. He is just unable to make any reasonable assessment at all. He thinks everyone could be correct and therefore he doesn’t need to make a decision about anything. He seems incapable of weighing the evidence and going with the probabilities.

    On the last topic, he pretty well admitted all aspects of the argument against the denialist mantra that arctic sea ice is recovering, but he will continue to puppet that denialist mantra till the cows come home.

  60. tmac57 says:

    BJ- I honestly have no idea who I am even debating in these types of exchanges anymore. You sometimes think that you are dealing with a person that just naively went down the path of buying in to the denialist alternative science, and then after a while you see signs that they are just screwing with you,and don’t even really believe what they are saying.
    Other times it looks like a paid shill trying to counter any narrative that their sponsors want challenged.
    Who really knows,and does it even matter? The important thing is that nonsense and misinformation needs to be challenged and corrected,and if I make an error then I too want to know that I have,and I really want the truth,not just confirm what I already believe. After all,I would be much happier if AGW really was a big mistake,but it sure doesn’t look that way, and I don’t see any sign that any of that is changing.
    So keep up the good (and frustrating) fight,and realize that this is a marathon rather than a sprint.
    Thanks for your support.

  61. sonic says:

    I didn’t know this was a debate and I was an opponent.
    Do you think if I say, ‘non-warmists use the Arctic as a cherry because the ice extent has increased recently’, that I mean to say this is a correct analysis of the situation?

    What do you think of using ‘extreme weather’ as a talking point for CAGW?

    I generally believe what I say. For example, I actually do believe that both warmers and non-warmers use the Arctic as a cherry to make their case.
    Does my saying that imply that I am for or against something?
    I mean, if I say the ‘non-warmers’ use the Arctic as a cherry, do you take it to mean I’m in agreement with that?
    And of course the threat of danger to the polar bear is a heartstring puller.
    Does that description sound like I’m advocating that activity?

    I try to use a smiley icon or whatever when I’m joking.

    I notice you continuously avoid any discussion of extreme weather.
    Shall I accuse you of denialist tactics? 🙂

    See- the first statement is what I mean, the second is my joking about the situation.

    I should say– the medieval warm period has been a sort of focus for me. I have been suspicious that the ‘hockey stick’ is a misrepresentation of the past since it came out as I had known about the MWP for sometime.
    As time has gone on, I note the evidence for the MWP has grown and the arguments against have become weaker. This ocean study is weighing heavily in favor of the existence of the MWP.

    At this point I have less doubt and I’m more on the side the MWP was real and worldwide.
    I want to see how this goes.

  62. BillyJoe7 says:


    “What do you think of using ‘extreme weather’ as a talking point for CAGW”

    A straw man.
    A diversion.

    And I see you are withdrawing from your statement that “the arctic sea ice is recovering”

  63. tmac57 says:

    sonic- Again with the false equivalence of the arctic data? The evidence seems clear that there is a continuous trend downward of both volume and extent of sea ice since 1980. That is not a ‘cherry’,that is solid data.
    The cherry for the denialists is the so called ‘recovery’ every time they see an upswing for a short period of time,rather than acknowledging the obvious trend,and coming up with a plausible scientific reason why the long term trend should not be considered an indicator (along with the many others) that we are seeing the effects of AGW because of the excess GHG forcing.

    Focus all you want on the MWP,as Hadfield noted in the video (I hope you watched all of it) it really doesn’t matter if warming were localized to the northern hemisphere or global,because the forcings for it were likely to be increased solar activity and decreased volcanism . Those forcings are not in effect today,and we have the added negative forcing of man made particulates that are ‘hiding’ some of the warming potential of GHG’s (also man made). It’s an apples to oranges sleight of hand.

    As for your continuous bait-and-switch tactic of trying to seem open minded and accepting of evidence,only to turn around and cite long debunked denialst propaganda and link to their rubbish blogs,and make snarky veiled insults only to play the JK card,then all I can say is 🙂

  64. tmac57 says:

    Oh by the way,I forgot to address the extreme weather question. I generally don’t go there,because while I do believe that AGW contributes to extreme events (sea level rise,droughts,wildfires,stalled rain storms,etc.),it is impossible to prove it causes any particular event. The only thing you could do is chart the data and do statistical analysis to see if they are increasing in number and or severity.
    The insurance companies seem to be taking it seriously though.

  65. BillyJoe7 says:


    Regarding sonic and the MWP:

    Sonic is going to refer you to some obscure internet website that, somewhere, if you can find them, contains 100 papers that presumably demonstrate that the MWP was warmer than today. I would be surprised if sonic has actually read all 100 papers and confirmed that this is, in fact, what they do say rather than take the word of the website’s authors. I would be even more surprised if sonic actually had the background knowledge and critical faculties to properly evaluate them, because he has shown neither of these attributes to date in relation to climate change. And I would be astounded if he had actually read and understood the contrary view. Finally, I’ll bet that he has not even considered the question “so what?”

    Finally, even though he is adept at sending you off on wild goose chases like the 100 papers mentioned above, I’ll go out on a limb and say that sonic hasn’t bothered to look at your linked video. Why do I say this? Well, on the previous thread on climate change, I mentioned at least three times, something called “The Beach Report”. I will now reveal that such a report does not exist. That is, the report does exist, but it is not called “The Beach Report”. This showed that, not only did he not understand my criticism of one of his “go to” persons for his misinformation on climate change, but that he didn’t even try.

  66. sonic says:

    I was waiting to see if something would happen- it did. I was going to send this earlier, but I’ve had no internet for a while…

    Re: MWP
    If the MWP was real, then Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ is an inaccurate depiction of the past.
    At this point I’m thinking the MWP was real for various reasons.

    If that is correct, then it bothers me that those demanding trillions of dollars be spent by governments are actively promoting a false history. Either they don’t know enough about the climate to know the hockey stick was false, or they do know the hockey stick was false and it doesn’t matter to them.
    Either way– it bothers me.

    Of course if the hockey stick is accurate, then it is accurate.

    I read something recent from Mann– it seems he’s promoting the ‘extreme weather’ thing now.
    Cherry-picking tragedies. Now we can have hollywood stars tweeting about how the latest tragedy is the result of global warming.
    Nice ad campaign.

    Alarming pronouncements based on false reports of the past coupled with demands that large sums of money be spent for things that will have little or no impact on the situation—
    It seems the term ‘climate science’ gets abused these days. 🙂

    I believe we can agree the experiment is underway.
    I have special interest in what happens to the vegetation if the CO2 gets to 500.
    I wonder if and when that might happen.

    I have not read all the papers at the site I linked to re:MWP. I have looked at a sample and they each contained evidence that the area under study was as warm or warmer during the time frame called the MWP. I extrapolated to the conclusion the other papers where of like kind.

    Would you like to know the premises that the extrapolation is based on? 🙂

    You confuse things when you assume I agree with the things I link to. I link to things of interest, or to arguments that I think are the best of the kind, my link to a website is not an endorsement… I have mentioned this before.

    I have no idea what you are talking about ‘the beach report’.
    Was I talking about it? I have no memory of a ‘beach report’.
    You say you mentioned it– I have no recollection. What was it in connection with?
    You say it was part of some lie to try to trick me?
    Did it work?

    Oh, and I don’t trust any of the bloggers about this stuff.

    There are good arguments and there are silly ones. And in a perfect world the best arguments would be the silliest. 🙂

    That is an attempt to try to trick you into laughing.
    Did it work?

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