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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #52

Posted on 31 December 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights 

In Contrary to Contrarian Claims, IPCC Temperature Projections Have Been Exceptionally Accurate, Dana adroitly deflates a recent contraian claim that  the planet has warmed less than the IPCC had predicted. In The Y-Axis of Evil, Rob Honeycutt illustrates how science can be manipulated by creating misleading graphics.  

Toon of the Week Season's Greetings

Graphic of Happy New Year from SkS

Quote of the Week

Since his re-election, Mr. Obama has agreed to foster a “conversation” on climate change and an “education process” about long-term steps to address it. He needs to do a good deal more than that. Intellectually, Mr. Obama grasps the problem as well as anyone. The question is whether he will bring the powers of the presidency to bear on the problem.

Time to Confront Climate Change, Editorial Board, New York Times, Dec 27, 2012

The Week in Review 

Coming Soon 

  • New research from last week 52/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • 2012 in Review - a Major Year for Climate Change (Dana)
  • The Dirt on Climate (jg)
  • Temperatures Continue Up the Escalator (Dana)
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Ocean Acidification (Rob Painting)
  • Dutch translation of The Debunking Handbook (John Cook)
  • 2013 SkS News Roundup #1 (John Hartz)
  • Lukewarmerism, a.k.a. Ignoring Inconvenient Evidence (Dana)
  • Putting an End to the Myth that Renewable Energy is too Expensive (Dana)
  • Drost, Karoly, and Braganza Find Human Fingerprints in Global Warming (Dana)
  • Grace under Pressure (doug bostrom)
  • Observed Warming of the Ocean and Atmosphere is Incompatible with Natural Variation (Rob Painting)
  • No alternative to atmospheric CO2 draw-down (Andrew Glikson)
  • Accumulated Cyclone Energy Questions and Answers (Klaus Flemløse) 

SkS in the News

John Cook is an author on three of Greg Laden's Top Ten Science Denialist Books: Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand, The Debunking Handbook, and The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.

We learned this week that Skeptical Science has been endorsed by the Australian Climate Commission, and also Greenpeace and the Bridge Environment blog.

Dana's Contrary to Contrarian Claims, IPCC Temperature Projections Have Been Exceptionally Accurate was featured by Citizen's Challenge and Duckpond.

John Cook's SkS Christmas cartoon was featured on Climate Progress, Quark Soup, and Planet 3.0, and Tweeted by Jonathan Overpeck.

John Mason's Food Security: the first big hit from Climate Change will be to our pockets was featured on Conrad Seitz's blog.

SkS Spotlights

My Big Fat Planet is a blog hosted by Amber Jenkins, editor of NASA’s Global Climate Change website, which won Webby Awards (juried and public vote) for Best Science Website in 2010 and 2011. In addition, she is Project Manager for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Climate Sciences. She is also a Science Writer for JPL’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory, a satellite mission due for launch in 2013, and a research consultant.

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Comments 1 to 6:

  1. Well, that’s very interesting - best/most popular “science websites”. I looked them up and WUWT, Jo Nova etc. are nowhere to be seen. Now best “science blog sites” is a different matter. There are WUWT and the rest of the pseudoscience crowd. Must be the dodgy voting system that the blogosphere folks use to come to such a startling conclusion. Skeptical Science has won an award for demolishing denier’s myths, and if they changed the blogosphere voting system would undoubtedly beat the denier blog sites hands down. Go Skeptical Science, and fully informed New Year to all us readers.
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  2. I have made a comment on the previous open thread, about one article at WUWT: The Geodetic Reference Antenna in Space (GRASP) It claims that the current Terrestrial Reference Frame is riddled with sistematic errors, making satellite Sea surface altimetry (TOPEX-POSEIDON-JASON1-JASON2) and gravimetric (GRACE) measurements to be unreliable data. If this issue is not clarified, it could become a major argument against global warming, perhaps one of the strongest ones.
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  3. From Peru@2 Hasn’t Watts got two eyes in his head?
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  4. From Peru - First of all, the GRACE satellites have a gravimetric resolution on the Earths surface of roughly 100km, and their intersatellite distances are measured on very short time frames (many times per orbit), meaning that any long-term drift in reference frame will have essentially no effect. For gravimetric measurements this is a red herring fallacy, as the issue simply won't affect the measures. Secondly, WRT sea surface altimetry, long-term drifts in reference frame might be more of a problem. In which case we can cross-check against tide gauge data, as per Church and White 2011:
    The linear trend from 1900 to 2009 is 1.7 ± 0.2 mm year−1 and from 1961 to 2009 is 1.9 ± 0.4 mm year-1. However, there are significant departures from a linear trend. We estimate an acceleration in GMSL by fitting a quadratic to the time series, taking account of the time variable uncertainty estimates. From 1880 to 2009, the acceleration (twice the quadratic coefficient) is 0.009 ± 0.003 mm year−2 (one standard deviation). This estimate is slightly less than but not significantly different from the (one standard deviation) estimate of Church and White (2006) of 0.013 ± 0.003 mm year−2, but still significantly different from zero at the 95% level. From 1900 to 2009, the acceleration is also 0.009 ± 0.004 mm year-2...
    Emphasis added - yes, there is an acceleration of sea level rise, shown by data wholly independent of satellite altimeters. "If this issue is not clarified, it could become a major argument against global warming, perhaps one of the strongest ones." Well, no! There are many independent lines of evidence, all pointing to global warming - as with sea level, with both satellite and tide gauge data sets. The 'skeptics' continue looking for a single issue, a silver bullet, to prove their case - and they continue to be shown to be (mixing metaphors a bit here) making mountains out of trivial molehills.
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  5. Thank you KR for the response. You could be 100% sure that I disagree with the Watts et al. crowd arguments and methods (I was some time ago even insulted when commenting at WUWT). I was just worried by the implications of that reference frame issue,because an accurate and precise measurement of sea level rise is key for tracking the both the accumulation of heat in the ocean and ice sheet melting. I guess it would take a whole post to deconstruct this WUWT story...
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  6. From Peru, the report is about a NASA mission which will probably significantly improve the accuracy of altimeter and mass concentration measurements. However, reducing the error bars of measurement (what the Satellite will do) is not the same as reducing the measured trend. It may even result in an increase in the measured trend. Deniers always assume the later is impossible, ie, that any measurement error always works in favour of acceptance of global warming - despite frequent examples to the contrary. We, however, don't know whether trends will increase, decrease or stay the same with more accurate measurement until the data is generated. In the meantime, I will note two points: 1) Even if the GRASP teams simulated corrections turn out to be an accurate prognosis, the sea level rise will still show an acceleration; and 2) It is unlikely that the sea level data will shift appreciably because, as noted by KR above, ground based data shows the same rate of sea level rise.
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