Friday, December 28, 2012

"Global Warming caused by the sun's variability"

The latest attack on the IPCC and climate science is spearheaded by Alec Rawls with support from the usual suspects such as Anthony Watts and others.  This time around they are back to their claim it's Galactic Rays and the Sun's variability causing all the recent warming after all.  

These pretenders are accomplishing this by using a science fiction writer's license to misrepresent an IPCC draft and the science behind it.
The thing is that in our non-fiction world the bottom line is that our Sun's output is at a low ebb; and the impact of cosmic ray's is minuscule to vanishing; furthermore cosmic ray observations show no change; so it's implausible that these phantoms are causing observed warming.

Rick Piltz has put together an excellent post at Climate Science Watch listing many sources worth reviewing.  Rick has been kind enough to allow me to repost his collection.
Since it is important for reliable information to get circulated, here's my contribution:  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fake skeptic draws fake picture of Global Temperature

Folks like Mr. Watts and David Whitehouse at WUWT, and Pat Michaels, and those editors at Forbes Magazine among others have been plastering the web with contorted reasoning and false statements in ever more desperate attempts to deny the accuracy of climate models and more specifically projections that the IPCC have made in their various reports.

And since I'm sick and tired of liars manipulating the science surrounding something that will so deeply impact our children I feel like offsetting the astro-turfing they have initiated with some references to websites that discuss the actual science behind these claims.  Please if you want a better understanding expose yourself to the rest of the story:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The cost of understanding

[For the record this is a writing project, an exercise... it has and will be edited as I strive to better express my concerns... ]

The foundation of the contrarian attack on climate science seems to be that the science should be constrained by the potential costs associated with responding to the lessons the science teaches us.

I can dramatize what I mean using a recent exchange I had at  SkepticForum when someone shrugged off some information links I offered with the misdirection:

"I'm not very good at argument by link.  If you've got a case to make, make it.  KISS rule applies...  Pick one topic, one problem, one solution."  
~ ~ ~

my reply: 
As for the links I offered, I can't do your learning for you. 

I know some folks believe all that matters is creating wonderful arguments and distracts and gotchas; and though I sometimes participate in that game...
I know that in the end - learning something new and gaining a better understanding of the world around you is what matters - but no one can do that for you.

Thus, I've made a habit of supplying links that offer the intellectually curious some learning opportunities.

Give your curiosity a chance... do some reading, a little studying and learning - you'll realize that it's not as simple as one topic, one problem, one solution at a time.

~ ~ ~
I see nothing of substance in your dialog.  Sorry.  

1) The problem: your words here. Try to be specific.  Include costs.
2) The solution: your words here. Try to be specific.  Include costs.

Try that.  Maybe then I'll get whatever point you're trying to make. I've got an open mind, wee as it is.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

What does cost have to do with understanding what we are doing to our atmosphere, climate and biosphere?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

An excellent question.  The answer can be summarized: If the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.

Now, without knowing the cost, how can I determine which solution is best?  You don't have to think of cost in strictly monetary terms, but it does help to find some objective measure.  The more objective the better.  For example, 'Lives" would be okay, but "Person-years" would be more betterest.  OTOH, Spotted Owl Life Years would be overdoing it.  A simple count is sometimes more appropriate.  It's also nice to use one currency.  If you must use more than one, provide the exchange rate.

There are times when the exchange rate is hard to calculate.  How many person-years are there to each Spotted Owl? You'll have to come to some agreement with your debate partner. If she insists zero and you are stuck at a million, you might as well save your bandwidth for more productive ventures.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sounds like quite the formula for manipulating the science.
Shouldn't it be like that "blind justice" thing? 

First honestly understanding what is happening upon our planet.

Then, debate the most cost effective ways to deal with it.

But that isn't what you're suggesting...
Your approach is more along the lines of I don't want to know the dangers since that would require a responsible response.

The tragedy is, what economically driven contrarian folks ignore will harm our children and their world.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Curry misrepresents the "Italian Flag" ~ an examination by GWS

Curry's Italian flag - examined by GWS  

I looked into Curry's Italian flag narrative a while back and it reminded me of that old saying: If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit.”

Curry's Italian flag is little more than another example of contrarian crazy-making intent on misdirection and wasting yet more of our precious time with dog-chasing-tail non-issues.

When what we desperately need is a focus on trying to understand our global heat distribution engine... that is, our planet's climate system... the thing all of depend on.  

But, since Curry brought it up and it's all the rage among a certain contrarian crowd as another excuse to ignore the observations, someone needs to offer an educated rebuttal.  Fortunately, that rebuttal is now available and with's permission I proudly reprint GWS's examination over here.


Italian flag curry (via Skeptical Science)
Posted on 21 December 2012 by gws Today’s recipe is what you get when you mix the wrong ingredients. So here it goes … Ingredients An Italian flag, preferably with equal size green, white and red sections Uncertainty, preferably precooked to “we-don’t-know”-tenderness Opinion, better more…

Monday, December 17, 2012

"It's the Sun, Stupid!" ~ {#C} further conversations with Dan Pangburn

Dan, I've got a friend who happens to be studying this stuff.  He's working toward his "Earth Systems Science and Engineering" degree, with a special interest in Climate Science.  

He has actually taken the time to study and recreate your formulas.   Considering he is in a better position to comment than I'll ever hope to be, I want to share his thoughts regarding the four points you made in your previous comment at

{I have added highlights, paragraph breaks and links.}

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

December 14, 2012 5:30 AM  Dan Pangburn said...
DP writes - A) The Maunder Minimum lasted from about 1645 to about 1715. I started at 1700 because that is the earliest that I found numerical data on the web for sunspot numbers. I made the hypothesis that the integral of sunspot numbers was related to energy added to the planet and, using conservation of energy, reduced this by the integral of energy leaving the planet. 
The equation accounts for this, the effect of ocean oscillations and the influence of atmospheric carbon dioxide and allows the determination of the contribution of each to average global temperature. That is, I included an influence from sunspots and allowed the math to determine how much influence sunspots have. The pdf made public 11/24/11 has more detail and includes a theory of how sunspots through their influence on average cloud altitude (temperature) act as a proxy for average global temperature.
~ ~ ~ 

A) If Dan wants the Maunder Minimum sunspot data he can find that here (here is actually the dataset I used, the previous seems more comprehensive).  NOAA's more detailed page is here.
The point of the Maunder Minimum is that it provides a validation check against the model.  I don't need an explanation on how the model works, since I was quite clearly able to recreate what he made.  Instead, Dan is the one who needs to understand what his model is doing: it is an energy balance equation with a non-energy component.  
Since sunspots do not scale linearly with incoming radiation, as Dan assumes they do with his simple linear scaling factor X, his model will wrongly predict temperatures in extreme cases of sunspot activity, such as predicting a constantly cooling Earth throughout the Maunder Minimum.  This temperature change was, of course, never observed, and thus his model is falsified from comparison to observations.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

DP writes - B) Of course predicting close to absolute zero would be absurd. With no sunspots, and assuming no influence from ocean oscillation or CO2, the equation predicts a steady decline of about 0.1C/decade from the starting temperature.
~ ~ ~ 

B) Which is unphysical.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
DP writes - C) “Does he think the Sun extinguishes if there are no sunspots?” Since I am the person who discovered what actually drives average global temperature, you figure that out.

~ ~ ~

C) No,   I falsified his model, he has not discovered anything.  

He is curve-fitting, ignoring physics while playing around with arbitrary constants for factors he can think of.  

My question, though, about his beliefs on sunspot activity and solar output, would stand whether or not he really did demonstrate something.  It is an entirely valid question, whether or not he thinks the Sun extinguishes when there are no sunspots.  Any solar physicist will of course tell you no, because any solar physicist will know how main sequence stars operate at especially such a rudimentary level, and heck even lay-people could tell you that the Sun has not extinguished.  

Dan appears to believe it does - that's what his model shows it does.  So, I want him to either admit he thinks that, admit his model is wrong, or admit that he doesn't know what he's talking about (the last not being in any sense exclusive to the prior ones).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
DP writes - D) The 110 meter figure for effective thermal capacitance came from this
I have not yet attempted to improve on this. The assumption that some heat gets to a lot lower depth has no influence on effective thermal capacitance.

~ ~ ~ 

D) Except Dan did not use an effective 110m thermal capacitance anywhere in his model.   

Especially with the solar component, the effective thermal capacitance of 110m of water is 110 times what he used (so, not 3886, but 110*3886), at least.   

And of course the thermal capacitance of the top 110m stays the same no matter where the heat goes. 

But the observation of heat accumulation in the deep ocean (there is no assumption about this, it's been published, see Levitus et al 2012 most recently) means that his model is leaving out a very crucial heat transfer component.   

If he wants to accurately model surface temperatures and response to outgoing and incoming energy, he needs to take that into account.  The implication is, of course, that there is far too much heat accumulating that can ever be accounted for by solar activity (I already gave those numbers, and they can be found from Nuccitelli et al 2012), but that conclusion is inconvenient for Dan and as such he sticks to his falsified, unphysical model.

This reply to a recent comment by Dan Pangburg sums up my feeling towards his attitude and approach 
so I figure I'll share it up front.

CC wrote:   "You've got some creative calculations there, but they are one dimensional and in essence science fiction"
~ ~ ~ 

By that I mean, you've isolated your work by steadfastly talking right past the complaints and flaws knowledgeable people have pointed out to you.  Rather than looking at the substance of other's complaints you shrug 'em off with an air of uppity contempt.  

Real science isn't done like it, it requires a certain humility in the face of incoming information.  Along with a desire to digest as much information as possible to build one's learning on.

But, your pdf's and the way you present your comments... well, evasiveness and defensiveness does not breed trust.  Neither does, your isolated position, a position starved of the intellectual nourishment the full community of scientists have to offer.

Far as I've been able to tell, your work hasn't been echoed in any but that extreme conspiratorial thinking portion of the echo-chamber.  No real climatologists, nor grad students, are taking up your discovery and investigating it further. Yet, rather than engaging with explanations, you write off serious critiques with a shrug... as your long train of web comments shows.... makes me wonder how much of your science is emotion based?   

All this begs the question: why should I/we/anyone take your claims seriously?  


"The IPCC Got it Wrong" {#B} further conversations with Dan Pangburn

I want to take this opportunity to look over another one of Dan Pangburn's comments. They provide a good vehicle for presenting the real science behind the smoke and mirrors of smooth talking contrarians.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dan Pangburn has left a new comment on your post "AGW Mistake Disclosed by Dan Pangburn - an unauthorized guest post": 
AGW Mistake Disclosed by Dan Pangburn - an unauthorized guest post
“…to imply that ocean oscillations can be a source of global warming.” Yes that would be absurd. However the oscillations do influence the average global temperature (agt) that is reported by the agencies at any one time. As oscillations, they go as much down as up in any period of the oscillation. Thus they have no net influence on the energy that the planet either gains or loses. 
Please Dan, consider our global heat distribution machine for a moment. 

Some of those oscillations are about transferring that "agt" from the surface into the depths... where do you account for that injected thermo energy into our global heat distribution machine?  

I ask, because you seem to treat that as lost heat.


DP says:  I discussed this on page 7 of the pdf made public 4/10/10 with “There is no intrinsic net gain or loss of energy over the entire circuit of a current, in spite of the oscillation of the measured surface temperature.” I would now replace ‘circuit of a current’ with ‘oceans’.


No intrinsic gain or loss of energy!?  Are you kidding?
On what basis do you claim such a thing? 
What about the observed warming of the deep oceans?
~ ~ ~ 
Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise
~ ~ ~  
"Why ocean heat can’t drive climate change, only chase it"
DP says:  Effective thermal capacitance determines the rate at which true average global temperature (not agt which includes ESSTA oscillations) responds to changes in the energy gained or lost by the planet.

How does thermal capacitance determine the rate of energy gain or loss response?  

We are talking about thermal energy being added into a system*, not the thermal capacity of a system!  {* that is our global heat distribution engine}

Do you appreciate the distinction?

DP says:  “…actively increasing our atmosphere's insulating properties” This is untrue and misleading. The discussion starting on page 3 of the pdf made public 4/10/10 explains more.

Here's a link to short informative read, along with an excellent response to one of the comments:

"Why ocean heat can’t drive climate change, only chase it"
"SkS Response: The mechanism of transferring heat from the atmosphere to the ocean is an increase in the amount of downward infrared radiation. Normally a certain amount of infrared radiation escapes out to space. But with greenhouse gases increasing in the atmosphere, this extra gas both absorbs and scatters the outgoing radiation and some of it returns to the Earth's surface. 
There are various independent lines of empirical evidence that this is happening. A series of papers analysing different satellite data find less infrared radiation escaping to space. Similarly, a number of different papers find more infrared radiation returning to the Earth's surface. So we have a mechanism for warming the oceans and evidence that this mechanism is indeed at play." 

As for your "pdf-rd4/10/10" come on please stop playing chase me games!  If you know what you're talking about then write it down.
~ ~ ~ 

As for what I may clumsily call our "atmosphere's insulating properties" here's a better explanation of some important details you seem to overlook.
2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
Climate sensitivity is low
Is the CO2 effect saturated?
DP says:  Prediction of the average global temperature trend until 2037 is made and shown in Figure 4 of the pdf made public 10/24/12. {ditto the above!} The equation has been verified. What actually happens to the agt trend depends heavily on what happens with the integral of sunspot numbers which is fairly well known through 2020. Since yearly reported agt includes random fluctuation with standard deviation of about +/-0.1 °C, only the trend is an accurate measure. Expect an update in a year or so.

It doesn't matter if your equation has been "verified!" An equation is just an equation.  Simply because the equation works don't mean it represents physical reality... even if a short term correlation can be composed.

There is no evidence to support your sunspot supposition either on a physical basis, or on an observational basis.

Allow me once again to refer any interested onlookers to examine the evidence over at and friends.

What does Solar Cycle Length tell us about the sun's role in global warming? 
Are we heading into global cooling?  
Comment on EER interview with Fritz Vahrenholt
Also published in European Energy Review (EER). 
"Greenhouse gases are responsible for warming, not the sun"

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"The IPCC Got it Wrong" {#A} further conversations with Dan Pangburn

The following comment at another thread gives me the perfect introduction into examining another denialists memes, the belief that there has been no warming and that IPCC estimates are way off the mark... proving to denialist's once again that global warming is all a hoax, never mind the upward trending turmoil within our global weather patterns.
Dan Pangburn writes:  The 'experts' estimate of the current trend would put the average global temperature trend about 0.2C higher than it is. The temperature trend calculated using my equation is spot on. 
I have checked the equation as a predictor (but using actual sunspot data) since 1965. It has never been off in predicting the average global temperature anomaly trend by more than 0.06°C. The equation is calibrated using measurements prior to a date and then used to predict average global temperature trends after that date. The predictions are then compared to the actual measurements to see how well the equation predicted. 
That I got it right is demonstrated by accurate calculation and prediction including the flat temperature trend since 2001. Results are shown in the graphs that you saw. The equation predicts an average global temperature downtrend for at least two decades.

To begin you've been accused of butchering the laws of physics, by picking the parts of the equations you like and then substituting fudge constants for the parts you doesn’t like.  
"... as explained at least twice, you’re using a correlation metric, not an accuracy metric, so the most you can say is that your equation calculates “something which is sort of correlated with temperatures since 1895″ with a “correlation” of 88%."  
I'm sure you remember the conversation at
~ ~ ~ 

But, what has really prompted this post is your false claim about estimates being wrong. 

People can't understand models or expert estimates through hostile soundbite!  

We need to take the time to appreciate the complexity of the data and considerations that go into these estimates, only then are you in a better position to judge dodgy claims.

As for explaining some of these more technical aspects, to my mind no one does it better than the volunteers over at ~ they present clear explanations along with references and links so that you can continue your investigation independently.  

So I'm going to take advantage of their generous sharing policy to repost one of their threads.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Add Frame and Stone to the List of Papers Validating IPCC Warming Projections

Posted on 11 December 2012 by dana1981

Just a few weeks ago, a paper in Environmental Research Letters by Rahmstorf, Foster, and Cazenave (2012) confirmed the accuracy of the global surface warming projections made by climate models used in the 2001 and 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports (the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports).  Now a new paper published in Nature Climate Change, Frame and Stone (2012) has confirmed the accuracy of the temperature projections made by the climate models in the 1990 IPCC First Assessment Report through 2011 (Figure 1).
FS12 Fig 1
Figure 1: Observed changes in global mean surface temperature over the 1990–2010 period from HadCRUT3 and GISTEMP (red) vs. 1990 IPCC business-as-usual best estimate (dark blue), vs. projections using a one-dimensional energy balance model (EBM) with the measured greenhouse gas (GHG) radiative forcing since 1990 (light blue) and with the overall radiative forcing since 1990 (green). Natural variability from the ensemble of 587 21-year-long segments of control simulations (with constant external forcings) from 24 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) climate models is shown in black and gray.  From Frame and Stone (2012).

Frame and Stone Methodology

The paper tests the IPCC warming projections using a simple one-dimensional energy balance model (EBM) comparable to the main model used to make the 1990 prediction, using similar input parameters.  Frame and Stone then ran the model using just the radiative forcing (heat imbalance) caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) changes from 1990 through 2011, represented by the light blue line in Figure 1.  Because the IPCC model projection is based on GHGs-only, this is the most applicable comparison.  They also simulated other radiative forcings like changes in solar activity and particulates in the atmosphere, represented by the green line in Figure 1.

Results Similar to Prior Skeptical Science Analysis

We at Skeptical Science previously conducted a similar analysis to that in Frame and Stone (2012).  The 1990 IPCC report ran simulations using models with climate sensitivities (the total amount of global surface warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, including all feedbacks) of 1.5°C (low), 2.5°C (best), and 4.5°C (high) for doubled CO2 (Figure 2).
FAR temp projections
Figure 2: IPCC FAR projected global warming in the BAU emissions scenario using climate models with equilibrium climate sensitivities of 1.5°C (low), 2.5°C (best), and 4.5°C (high) for double atmospheric CO2
In reality, GHGs have increased about 20% slower than the IPCC's "business-as-usual" scenario, in part because of the success of the Montreal Protocol in reducing chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions (CFCs are GHGs), and in part because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, among other reasons.  
As noted above, the light blue line in Figure 1 is the most appropriate for comparison, and is very similar to our own previous analysis at Skeptical Science (Figure 3).
IPCC adjusted projections since 1990
Figure 3: 1990 IPCC business-as-usual "best" global warming projection reflecting the observed GHG changes (blue) vs. observed average global surface temperature change from GISTEMP (red) since 1990.

Observed Warming Not Natural Variability

Frame and Stone (2012) also simulated the possible range of natural temperature variability since 1990 by using the ensemble of 587 21-year-long segments of control simulations with constant external forcings from 24 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) climate models.  These give a 90% range of about ±0.19° C, and are shown in black and gray in Figure 1.  The observed warming from 1990 through 2011 was approximately 0.39±0.20°C (95% confidence range); thus there is only a very small chance that the observed global surface warming over the past 21 years could be explained purely by natural variability.

IPCC Has Excelled at Global Warming Projections

Ultimately, Frame and Stone note that while there is a fairly large range in the envelope of all climate model projections, and while to some degree they may have gotten the right answer 'for the wrong reasons', the IPCC has thus far done quite well in projecting future temperature changes.
" seems highly likely that even in 1990 we understood the climate system well enough to make credible statements about how its aggregate properties would change on timescales out to a couple of decades, even in the presence of considerable uncertainty surrounding the exact forcing trajectory."
Rahmstorf, Foster, and Cazenave (2012) arrived at a similar conclusion by taking a very different approach, first using the statistical technique of multiple regression to filter out much of the short-term variability, then showing that the IPCC temperature projections have been very accurate (Figure 4). 
RFC12 Fig 1
Figure 4: Observed annual global temperature, unadjusted (pink) and adjusted for short-term variations due to solar variability, volcanoes and ENSO (red) as in Foster and Rahmstorf (2011).  12-month running averages are shown as well as linear trend lines, and compared to the scenarios of the IPCC (blue range and lines from the 2001 report, green from the 2007 report).  Projections are aligned in the graph so that they start (in 1990 and 2000, respectively) on the linear trend line of the (adjusted) observational data.  From Rahmstorf, Foster, and Cazenave (2012).
Frame and Stone have also shown it is very unlikely that natural variability alone can account for the observed global surface warming over the past two decades.
While it has underestimated many climate impacts, thus far the IPCC has done very well at projecting average global surface temperature changes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For further learning

Did global warming stop in 1998199520022007, 2010?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jim Cooks says: Thanks for Playing “It’s Global Cooling,” Dan!

Dan Pangburn wrote: Perhaps you are having trouble understanding the equation that has been made public on the web that, using only one independent variable, has calculated average global temperatures since they have been accurately measured world wide (about 1895) with an accuracy of 88%. Including the influence of atmospheric carbon dioxide (a second independent variable) increases the accuracy to 88.5%. 

Actually the trouble is with Dan's manipulation and cherry picking as Tim Cook explained over at IrregularTimes back in July 2011.  Furthermore, it's silly thinking the lay public is in any position to judge Dan's work.  But, that's what Dan seems to expect.

The comments section expose's Dan's ability to side step serious critique.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Thanks for Playing “It’s Global Cooling,” Dan!

According to Dan Pangburn, we’re encountering Global Cooling:
People have no significant influence on what the climate does no matter how assertively they shout and stamp their feet. As average global temperature continues on its downtrend, the credibility of AGW declines.
See what the average global temperature anomalies are (through Dec, 2010) for the five agencies that report them in the pdf made public 3/10/11 at . The average for May, 2011 is a tiny bit lower than Dec, 2010.
This recent steep decline is coming off an El Nino and will not continue. The huge effective thermal capacitance of the oceans (about 100 times everything else) puts the long term slope of the global temperature decline at only about 0.1 °C per decade; 0.2 °C per decade if sunspots stop completely. Just as it rose faster over land (compared to global), it will decline faster over land.
If you follow Pangburn’s link you’ll see the chart he references:
Let’s take Pangburn’s global cooling claims apart piece by piece. I’ll be referencing NASA GISS Data because it’s handily available; as Pangburn’s graph handily shows, NASA GISS data on global temperature follows the pattern of the other data sources. Read more about NASA GISS temperature data here.
1. The “2011″ graph point contains only information for January 2011 and February 2011.
In the text above Pangburn also mentions global temperature for May 2011, but not March 2011 or April 2011. Why does Pangburn only reference January, February and May? Because the global temperature anomalies for March 2011 and April 2011 were higher. Pangburn’s picking his data points selectively.
If you include all five months’ worth of data for 2011 currently available, you get a warmer result for 2011:
2. Pangburn’s “global cooling” remarks refer to changes since 2010, the hottest year on record.
That’s like watching Usain Bolt set a new world record for sprinting in the Olympics, turning to watch silver medalist Richard Thompson follow him across the finish line, then turning to your friend and saying, “you know, there’s a slowing trend in track and field.”
3. The data are truncated to drop temperature data from before 1998.
Why? Not for a nice round number of say, ten or fifteen years. Pangburn chooses to go back thirteen years because 1998 was the hottest year for its decade, the hottest year on record. If Dan Pangburn truncates the temperature record at 1998, then viewers will be inclined to think that the first few years of the 21st century mark a cooling trend, too.
Let’s look at the long-term trend Dan Pangburn chopped off of his graph, including all available years of the global temperature record:
Some “global temperature downtrend” there.
If the topic interests you, and you want a better understanding of the math involved - here's a good place to start:
Statistics and ClimateSome basics on statistics for beginners:
Statistics and Climate – Part One – independence, sampling, and the central limit theorem
Statistics and Climate – Part Two – sampling, sample size, Type I and Type II errors and Student T-test
Statistics and Climate – Part Three – Autocorrelation – the effect of autocorrelated time-series
Statistics and Climate – Part Four – Autocorrelation – how to handle statistical uncertainty with AR(1) autocorrelated time-series
Statistics and Climate – Part Five – AR(n) - introducing AR(2) and ARMA models and the problems of assuming AR(1) when the model is more complex


Or for something simpler:

How reliable are climate models?

Monday, December 3, 2012

AGW Mistake Disclosed by Dan Pangburn - an unauthorized guest post

Dan Pangburn left a comment at my previous post 

"Has there been "Little change in global drought over the past 60 years"? - info links"

I'm familiar with Dan's work so followed his offered link, then followed that to ~ then I decided to reproduce those conjectures over here, along with my commentary and links to sources of authoritiative information that underscore the bankrupt nature of Dan's assertions.

AGW Mistake Disclosed 
Dan Pangburn - 17 October, 2012
Consensus Mistake
Paraphrasing Richard Feynman: Regardless of how many experts believe it or how many organizations concur, if it doesn’t agree with observation, it’s wrong.

CC:  Right from the start Pangburn emotionalizes the issues.
He ignores that those many scientific organizations that have "subscribed" to the AGW "theory" have done so precisely because the observations demand it!

DP:  The IPCC, some politicians and many others in the ‘consensus’ stubbornly continue to proclaim that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) was the primary cause of global warming. 

CC:  This is a pep rally not any attempt to understand what is happening.

The physical properties of these gases are known quantities,
the end result being that our planet's biosphere retains more of the sun's radiant energy.  It is that simple.  

It's ironic that Pangburn's sleight-of-hand relies on an appeal to authority.
DP:  Measurements demonstrate that they are wrong.

CC:  Why do you not offer a list?
All we get is a link, that doesn't work, but that goes right back to "climaterealists" as if an advocacy blog is better than peer reviewed ~ and argued over ~ studies and papers.
DP:  Some of their mistakes were discussed more than two years ago at us.pdf . The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now increased since 2001 by an amount equal to 25.9% of the increase that took place from 1800 to 2001 (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; Sept, 2012, 393.35 ppmv). The temperature trend, which was declining through 2009, was raised to flat through 2011 by the El Nino that peaked in March, 2010.That is the observation. The average global temperature trend since 2001 is flat. 
No amount of spin can rationalize that the temperature increase to 2001 was caused by COincrease but that 25.9% additional COincrease had no effect on the average global temperature trend after 2001.

CC:  There is a thing called the Dunning-Kruger effect, WIKI describes it as: "a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes..."

It is dishonest to pretend that you can look at one specific data source and make global extrapolations.  Or put another way, there is more to our warming planet than one set of measurements.  
I've noticed that ocean heat content is something denialist, including Pangburn willfully ignore, yet it's a key component to understand this global heat distribution engine.

For a little more background on the science, the geo-physical dynamics and other issues involved has put together some information gold mines:

DP:  Without human caused global warming there can be no human caused climate change.

CC:  There is a thing called the Dunning-Kruger effect, WIKI describes it as: "The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes"

But, facts of life are simply that.  Because you can't believe it, don't make it go away.
Or to put it another way,
What you don't know, can hurt you.
DP:  Melting Ice DelusionThe Warmers’ perceptions were reinforced when more artic ice than usual melted this Northern Hemisphere summer.
With all else equal, ice melts when the surrounding water becomes warmer than it was when the water froze. The observation that more arctic ice than usual melted during the 2012 Northern Hemisphere summer is evidence that warmer water temporarily got to the Arctic Ocean but says nothing about whether or not the planet is still warming. 

CC:  What a sadly dishonest way to portray the situation.  Why not mention how nothing is equal to what it used to be even a couple decades ago?

Please notice that Pangburn makes no attempt to give any sort of overview of the various heat distribution dynamics at work both above and below the Arctic Ocean.  Nor how they have changed in recent decades.  

Pangburn claims: ~ unusual melting... says nothing about whether or not the planet is still warming. ~
Come on, can we get serious?  Warming causes melting.  
Consider Earth observations:

"Ten Signs of A Warming World"

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Arctic Sea Ice Decline

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Here's a cool video

NASA | A Tour of the Cryosphere 2009
DP:  Arctic ice area is graphed at extent-in-arcticThe planet has warmed about 8°C since the end of the last glaciation (about 16,000 years ago) when ice was over a mile thick in present day Minnesota and the continental shelf was dry land. Ice has continued to melt, off and on, and it has been warming more or less regularly since the depths of the Little Ice Age (about 400 years ago). 

CC:  Another example of blatant misrepresentation.
Here is the record:

We were blessed with a goldilocks state of the climate for the past ten thousandish years.  But, we undertook a grand atmospheric experiment.
And we have succeeded in rattling the hell out of our biosphere 
you know the thing that enabled that wonderful period in climate... and human history.
DP:  It stopped getting warmer in about 2001. The assertion that it is warmer at the end of a warming period is, to be charitable, not very profound.That the continental US, which occupies less than 2% of the planet surface, experienced a heat wave also does not mean that the planet is still warming.

CC:  Pangburn never mentions the massive amounts of heat our oceans are collecting.
Nor does he acknowledge that scientists speak of a lag time between input and resulting climate dynamicss.

DP:  Credible Source DataAverage GLOBAL temperature anomalies* are reported on the web by NOAA, GISS, Hadley, RSS and UAH. The first three all draw from the same data base of surface measurement data. The last two draw from the data base of satellite measurements. Each agency processes the data slightly differently from the others. Each believes that their way is most accurate. To avoid bias, I average all five.The averages since 2001 are listed here.
Average anomaly °C
A straight line fit to these data has zero slope. That means that, for over a decade, average global temperature has not changed. If the average thru September, 2012 (0.35) is included, the slope is down.

CC:  Look at this Pangburn has cherry picked ten years, of one data set and is attempting to make global assumptions with no reference or background.
DP:  These data, but with noted offsets applied to approximately compensate for differences in reference temperatures, are graphed (through the month noted) in Figure 1, below.*A temperature anomaly is simply the difference between a measured temperature and a reference temperature such as the average for some previous time period.(page 2)pastedGraphic_12.pdf
Figure 1: Comparison of reported temperature anomalies since 1998.

DP:  Rising Atmospheric COLevel and Not-Rising Temperature
Another indication of the weak connection between the atmospheric carbon dioxide level and average global temperature is revealed by Figure 2. This graph is constructed by, each month, subtracting the percent change of the temperature anomaly since 2001 from the percent change of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 2001.
Figure 2: Growing separation between rising level of atmospheric COand not-rising temperature.

(page 3)
DP:  The NOAA temperature anomaly data used in this comparison are from 2000mean.dat . The percent change of temperature anomaly is calculated by subtracting the current value from the average value for 2001 and dividing the difference by 0.74°C which is the usually accepted value for average global temperature increase during the 20th century.

Similarly, the percent change in COlevel is obtained by subtracting the Mauna Loa season-corrected value for June, 2001 as given at from the current season- corrected value and dividing this difference by 89.2 ppmv which is the increase from 1800 to June, 2001.
The Mauna Loa data are representative of the entire planet as demonstrated by a co-plot of the atmospheric COlevel at several places and times in a graph on page 7 of Reference 1.

CC:  Why not spend a little time and learn about CO2 Monitoring at Mauna Loa:
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Earth System Research Laboratory
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Measuring CO2 levels from the volcano at Mauna Loa
Posted on 25 October 2010 by Andy S

"But how about gas from the volcano? It is true that volcanoes blow out CO2 from time to time and that this can interfere with the readings. Most of the time, though, the prevailing winds blow the volcanic gasses away from the observatory. But when the winds do sometimes blow from active vents towards the observatory, the influence from the volcano is obvious on the normally consistent records and any dubious readings can be easily spotted and edited out (Ryan, 1995)..."
DP:  Variation of Temperature MeasurementsThe substantial scatter in these data primarily results from artifacts of the temperature measurement process as discussed starting on page 4 of Reference 1.
A major contributor to this scatter is demonstrated in animations of sea surface temperatures shown at
Recent global temperature anomalies reported monthly by the five agencies are graphed in Figure 3. This graph shows the erratic behavior (at this expanded temperature scale) of the reported values. However, the huge effective thermal capacitance of the oceans (about 30 times everything else) absolutely prohibits such rapid changes in actual average global temperature. Thus the measurements contain a substantial random component that is an artifact of the measurement process.
CC:  It's easy to make a claim, such as "measurements contain a substantial random component" but it has no solid foundation.  The random nature of the oceans thermo properties is being honed narrower with every passing observation season.  {Oh yea I just recalled Pangburn believes Earth Observation funding is wasted money...  Shameful and an indication that willful ignorance and sawing doubt are Dan's only goals.  Or kids deserved better than that.}
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What about deep ocean temperatures?

Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise
September 20, 2010
"Scientists analyzing measurements taken in the deep ocean around the globe over the past two decades find a warming trend that contributes to sea level rise, especially around Antarctica..."
DP:  An explanation of the causes of the variation in reported surface temperature data obtained via meteorological satellites is at causes-the-large-swings-in-global-satellite-temperatures/
The ’29&71’ anomalies shown in Figure 1 are simply 29% of the land temperature anomaly reported by NOAA added to 71% of the ocean temperature anomaly reported by NOAA at the stated website. The percents are simply the fraction of the surface area of the planet covered by each.

CC:  What's the point that Earth Observations can't achieve the types of parameters that lab physics can?

What does this have to do with coming to grips with our planet as a global heat distribution engine?

(page 4)DP:  NOAA also reports a single four-digit number for the average global temperature anomaly each month at 2000mean.dat . The plot identified as ‘NOAA ref’ in Figure 3 displays these values.

Reporting a value with four significant figures for anomalies is mathematically possible because many separate measurements are averaged. It is a misleading indication of accuracy, however, because the reported values have an apparently random variability with a standard deviation of approximately ± 0.1°C with respect to the trend. This magnitude of variability in actual average global temperature is prohibited by the physics. The uncertainty of the trend average for the 11 years is about 1/√11 times the standard deviation of the individual measurements or only about ± 0.03°C.

CC:  What is your point Mr. Pangburn?
You know damned well that scientists are well aware of the various influences and artifacts that influence our weather/climate and actively screen for them. 

Opposite to denialist-lore scientists strive for accuracy and I trust the process, because there are serious hungry scientists crawling all over each other's work, mistakes get found out and capitalized on.

Pangburn you on the other hand, (along with a handful of others), create this alternate universe isolated from that sort of mass scrutiny.  And now believe you are discriminated against for diabolical reasons... when it really, it comes down to plain old competence and quality of one's work... in the face of the hard-ball critique of a professional community.

pastedGraphic_15.pdf pastedGraphic_16.pdf pastedGraphic_17.pdfFigure 3: Average Global Temperature Anomalies that are reported monthly contain substantial random scatter.

DP:  Long Term Assessment
Three agencies report temperature anomalies since 1880. They are Goddard Institute of Space Studies, GISS, reported at
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, reported at 2000mean.dat and
HADcrut3 from the Met Office Hadley Centre, UK, reported at
(page 5)
DP:  The average of the three each year is shown in Figure 4 along with calculated and projected trends.
Figure 4: Measured average global temperature anomalies with calculated and projected trends.
DP:  Here again is seen that the reported values exhibit random and impossibly rapid fluctuation. A simple check of the random variation reveals that it is equivalent to a standard deviation of about ± 0.1°C with respect to the calculated trajectory.
Calculated Anomaly Trajectory
The calculated average global temperature anomaly trajectories and projections on Figure 4 were obtained using the equation developed previously, from the physical phenomena involved, and presented next:
anom(Y) = calculated average global temperature anomaly in year Y
N(i) = average daily Brussels International sunspot number in year i
Yt = number of years that have passed since 1700 (or any other year where the net
summation is approximately zero such as 1856, 1902, 1910, 1938, or 1943) T(i) = average global absolute temperature of year i in °K,
ESSTA(c,Y) = ESSTA (Effective Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly) in year Y
calculated using an ESSTA range (peak-to-peak magnitude) of c. ESSTA is a simple surface temperature approximation of the net effect of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the other natural ocean oscillations. It has an amplitude of
(page 6)
about ± 1/6 °C with no net energy change between the beginning value and the end value of its estimated 64 year period. Reference 1 provides details on its development and implementation.
CO2(Y) = ppmv COin year Y CO2start = ppmv COin 1880
The derivation of the constant, 6.519E-9, is provided on page 3 of Reference 1 along with a detailed description of the development of this equation.
Note that the simple expedient of selecting a constant value for T(i) causes the summation containing T(i) to be a constant. Since T(i) varies very little, the end result is barely different but invites the criticism that actual yearly temperatures were not used.
a, b, c, and d are calibration coefficients which have been determined to make the best fit to measurements (maximum coefficient of determination, R2). 
Some have mistakenly interpreted these coefficients to indicate mathematical curve fitting, which is something that is entirely different. Instead, the coefficients allow the accurate quantification of the amount that each of the three major contributors has made to the total temperature change.
The calibration coefficients that produced the calculated trends in Figure 4 are provided in the following table.
End year
Energy devisor, b
ESSTA magnitude,c
COchange multiplier, d
Best correlation
No COinfluence
Estimated 2012 sunspot number = 74
The validity of the form of the equation is demonstrated in Figure 4 and also by a historical accuracy of at least 88% (R2=0.88 or more).

The simultaneous rise in atmospheric COand temperature over the last century somewhat obscures the influence of CO2. The small increase in R(to 0.885) that is obtained by including the COinfluence demonstrates that 
CC:  This makes me think of the old joke:
"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." 
Who's kidding whom, 
what you presented above is beyond the ability of the public this is addressing.  
It's why we have experts and why an electrician wires your house and a dentist works on your teeth instead of the other way around.
It's presumptuous and political performance and has nothing to do with trying to explain the dynamics at work within our global heat distribution engine.
DP:  COis definitely NOT a major factor but may be a minor factor.

The flat temperature trend since 2001 indicates that COmay have had enough influence to compensate for the decline that would have taken place since about 2005 as a result of the two other factors. However, it cannot yet be completely ruled out that the failure of the measured temperature to show a decline simply results from the variability of the measurements.
CC:  With one confident claim we are supposed accept that a century's worth of physics is deluded?  
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs, 
Pangburn offers nothing but fancy wordsmithing.
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Notice there is no mention of the satellite observations of Earth's Radiation Budget. 

If you want to learn about it you need to spend some time reading and thinking about it, please do not rely on a few sweeping paragraphs of a partisan:

DP:  The continuing increase in CO2, the flat observed temperature trend since 2001 and the decline of the trend following 2005 as predicted by equation (1) will reduce, before the (page 7) year 2020, to near zero, any residual uncertainty in the demonstrated minor influence of COon average global temperature.

CC:  Pangburn makes no sense here, 
. . .  sometimes folks get so caught up in their equations and the "map" of their own construction that they lose sight of the fact that the map is not the territory.

Pangburn makes absurd claims regarding temperature trends.

If you want to learn about temperature trends you'll need to make more of an effort than trusting a few soundbites.  Here you can find a list of authoritative explanations along with links to original sources and other information.
DP:  Future Average Global Temperature
Prediction of future average global temperature is reduced to the predictability of the sunspot time-integral. The sunspot time-integral is an accurate proxy for the influence that solar magnetism has on energy radiated from the planet. The mechanism by which sunspots influence average global temperature is described on page 13 of Reference 1.

CC:  It's sad how Pangburn reaches for sunspots while ignoring the known quantified physics of atmospheric greenhouse gases

Worse he withholds the knowledge that climatologists are very well aware of and sensitive to sunspots and other natural variables in Earth's overall temperature trends and history.

The Earth Radiation Budget Experiment   (ERBE)
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Solar Cycle Prediction (Updated November 11, 2012)
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Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis

(9.4) FAQ 9.2 - Can the Warming of the 20th Century be Explained by Natural Variability?

"Can the Warming of the 20th Century be Explained by Natural Variability?"
DP:  Post ScriptHumanity has wasted over $100,000,000,000 in failed attempts 

CC:  "Failed Attempts" 
Pangburn's assertions are extreme, hysterical even.  Think about it, he's advocating we do no Earth observations studies at all, it's all a waste... failed attempt.  Why would one trust this man's opinion?
DP:  using super computers to demonstrate that added atmospheric COis a primary cause of global warming and in misguided activities to try to do something about it. 

CC:  "Misguided" ? 
What is misguided about wanting to understand how our planet's climate operates?

What is misguided about assessing humanity's impacts with an eye towards minimizing extreme ecological upheaval?

Mr. Pangburn, I'm curious why you and others who harbor such extreme convictions, not believe (understand) that our collective survival depends on a healthy "ecology" - that is nature; weather; stable growing seasons; thriving life forms; all that stuff...

Why all your contempt?
DP:  An unfunded engineer, using only a desk top computer, applying a little science and some engineering, discovered a simple equation that unveils the mystery of global warming and describes what actually drives average global temperature.Reference: 1.

CC:  The touching age old story of the lonely genius, who out smarts decades worth of experts.  A bit of the deluded don't you think?

Don't most all passionate students and graduates relate to that brilliant beautiful insight...  the answer, it was so clear and complete... in the solitude of one's own room... only to see that brainchild get smashed to smithereens when brought out into the bright glare of critical scrutiny.  

It's the way of the active minds, that's why we need critical peer review to keep us honest.  Many denialists claim that this critical peer review process is damaged within the climatological community - but, notice that shrill as their claims are, their actual objective evidence is next to non-existing!

And instead what they have to offer is notions hatched in the solitude of private incubators, not strong enough to handle the rough and tumble day today out in the school yard.
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State of the Climate - Global Analysis
October 2012

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center