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The Weekly Standard's Lindzen puff piece exemplifies the conservative media's climate failures

Posted on 6 January 2014 by dana1981

The conservative media may currently be the single biggest roadblock to addressing the threat posed by human-caused climate change. There is virtually no support for any sort of climate policy among Republicans in US Congress, because even acknowledging the reality of global warming guarantees a wave of attacks by the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party and a probable primary election challenge. This politicization of science has been caused in large part by the conservative media like Fox News, who treat climate change like a punch line.

Another conservative media outlet, The Weekly Standard has occasionally run articles encouraging the Republican Party to stop denying science and start engaging in constructive debate about the best climate solutions. Unfortunately, those types of constructive articles are the exception rather than the norm. Last week, The Weekly Standard instead ran a puff piece about contrarian climate scientist Richard Lindzen that embodied the fundamental problems in most conservative media coverage of climate change.

Richard Lindzen is one of the approximately 3 percent of climate scientists who believe the human influence on global warming is relatively small (though Lindzen is now retired, no longer doing scientific research). More importantly, he's been wrong about nearly every major climate argument he's made over the past two decades. Lindzen is arguably the climate scientist who's been the wrongest, longest.

The Weekly Standard devotes the first page of its piece to establishing how smart Lindzen is – and he certainly is a smart man, but as climate scientist Ray Pierrehumbert put it,

"It's okay to be wrong, and [Lindzen] is a smart person, but most people don't really understand that one way of using your intelligence is to spin ever more clever ways of deceiving yourself, ever more clever ways of being wrong. And that's okay because if you are wrong in an interesting way that advances the science, I think it's great to be wrong, and he has made a career of being wrong in interesting ways about climate science."

Make no mistake about it; Lindzen has made a career of being wrong about climate science. Unfortunately, while the Weekly Standard piece goes through Lindzen's many contrarian climate arguments, it misses the key point that they haven't withstood scientific scrutiny or the test of time:

• Changes in water vapor will dampen global warming (also known as Lindzen's "Iris hypothesis")? Refuted by four peer-reviewed studies within a year of the publication of Lindzen's hypothesis. Measurements show that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is increasing as mainstream climate scientists expect, and as a greenhouse gas, is amplifying global warming.

• Climate change over the past century has been "minimal"? In reality, the current rate of global warming is unprecedented over the past 11,000 years.

The 15-year 'pause' myth? Completely debunked – global surface warming over the past decade turns out to be more than double previous estimates, and the climate continues to accumulate heat at a rate equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second.

The accuracy of climate models during that timeframe? Much better than Lindzen claims.

In my extensive research into Richard Lindzen's climate papers and talks, I've never been able to find an instance where he predicted how global temperatures would change in the future, other than to say in 1989,

"I personally feel that the likelihood over the next century of greenhouse warming reaching magnitudes comparable to natural variability seems small,"

The natural variability of the Earth's climate rarely causes more than 0.2°C global surface warming over the span of a few decades to a century, yet we've already seen 0.8°C warming over the past century and 0.5°C over the past 3 decades, with much more to come over the next century. Based on his comments in that 1989 talk, I pieced together what Lindzen's global temperature prediction might have looked like, had he made one, and compared it to the prediction made by prominent NASA climate scientist James Hansen in a 1988 paper (like Lindzen, Hansen is now retired).

lindzen v hansen

Comparison of the observed GISTEMP temperature record (black) with temperature predictions from James Hansen's 1988 modeling study (red), and with our reconstructed temperature prediction by Richard Lindzen based on statements from his talk at MIT in 1989 (blue).  Hansen's Scenario B has been adjusted to reflect the actual observed greenhouse gas concentrations since 1988.

Between mainstream climate scientists like Hansen and contrarian climate scientists like Lindzen, it's clear who has the better track record in making accurate climate predictions. Lindzen has made a career of being wrong about climate science, and he's who The Weekly Standard is relying on to evaluate the risks posed by climate change.

How do Lindzen and The Weekly Standard justify dismissing the 97 percent expert climate consensus? With conspiracy theories, of course.

"[Lindzen] says it mostly comes down to the money—to the incentive structure of academic research funded by government grants. Almost all funding for climate research comes from the government, which, he says, makes scientists essentially vassals of the state. And generating fear, Lindzen contends, is now the best way to ensure that policymakers keep the spigot open."

Lindzen would have us believe that tens of thousands of climate scientists around the world are all tossing their ethics aside and falsifying data in order to keep the research money flowing, even though contrarian climate scientists like Lindzen have had no trouble obtaining government research grants. Is this more plausible than the alternative explanation that 97 percent of climate research is correct, and Lindzen, whose claims have consistently been disproved by observational data, is wrong?

In the end, the Weekly Standard piece revisits comparisons between Lindzen and Galileo. There's one major difference between the two: Galileo was right. His positions were based on and supported by scientific evidence, and they withstood scientific scrutiny and the test of time. Other scientists at the time also recognized that Galileo was right. On the contrary, Lindzen is an outlier whose arguments have been disproved time and time again, including about the link between smoking and lung cancer.

Click here to read the rest

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Comments 1 to 38:

  1. I think the author nails it when he says that Richard "Tricky Dickey" Lindzen has made a career of being wrong.  I'd say his contrarian nature is psychopathological except that I've noticed he tends always to be contrary in a way that pleases deep-pocketed industries like Big Oil and Big Tobacco.  So just a cynical servant of corporate interests with all the ethical integrity of a mob lawyer.  A fit object for our scorn, not our pity.  

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  2. Dana, the Hansen vs. observed temperature portion of the chart is really useful. Have you written this up in greater detail anywhere (methodology, etc.)?

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  3. "More importantly, he's been wrong about nearly every major climate argument he's made over the past two decades." Are you sure? I remember his BS featuring large on British TV 25 years ago. So it's at least the past three decades. And even if he did start his attacks on the proponents of AGW less than 30 years ago, we can still call it 'four decades' - 1980s, 1990s, 2000s & 2010s.

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  4. The appropriate scientist to compare with Galileo would be Tyndall or Arrhenius, not one who advanced arguments in support of a understanding of the world generally accepted by the public.

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  5. That's certainly a fascinating hypothesis that Lindzen offers--many thousands of climate scientists plus uncounted numbers of opportunistic hangers-on among the geophysical, geochemical, paleontontological, atmospheric, etc., communities earning their livings by telling governments what they least want to hear.

    In that spirit I think I'll go down to my local bank and demand a large unsecured loan for purposes that (as I will explain) are none of its business.

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  6. Some corrections, I think, for the Hansen versus Lindzen figure.

    Scenario A in Hansen et al. (1988) had greenhouse gas emissions increasing steadily at 1.5% annually; Scenario B held them steady at 1988 levels, and Scenario C had them decreasing after 2000. Presumably the caption should read "Hansen's scenario A has been modified..."

    As for Lindzen's 1989 talk, the material relevant with respect to a 30-year prediction appear to be the following two sentences:

    "I personally feel that the likelihood over the next century of greenhouse warming reaching magnitudes comparable to natural variability seems small" and

    "The entire [1880 to date] record would more likely be saying that the rise is 0.1 degree plus or minus 0.3 degree."

    And why is Lindzen's (quasi)prediction offset below the GISTEMP record by 0.3 to 0.4 °C? If anything, his talk would have called for a steady continuation of the mean 1958-1989 temperature with small amplitude random annual variations added.

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  7. Magma @6, the total actual forcings from greenhouse gases to 2010 are 5% less than those in Hansen's scenario B.  Therefore scenario B is the appropriate comparison.

    You in fact quote why it is appropriate to offset Lindzen's prediction.  He claimed that the total warming to 1989 was 0.1 C, approximately half a degree less than the observed increase.  That appears to have been incorportated in the graph, which presumably converges around with observations 1880.  Arguably the error in prediction should be kept distinct from the error regarding observations, but graphing that by using a 30 year baseline centered in 1989 would just produce a graph showing Lindzen to be totally disconnected from reality (at least in 1989).  That would probably make it a fair representation. 

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  8. "Lindzen would have us believe that tens of thousands of climate scientists around the world are all tossing their ethics aside and falsifying data in order to keep the research money flowing"

    He would also have us believe that governments are actively encouraging scientists to come up with data confirming AGW so that they can impose taxes and bring in the one world government (or world communism...or both) Yet when I look around the world, despite allegedly creating this massive consensus, I see few governments actually behaving in a way this little conspiracy theory would expect. Canada's government supressing scientists. Bush administration suppressing scientists. Australia's Conservatives win election with anti-do anything platform. Who is really acting on all this "manufactured" climate science?

    It's just another example of the anti-science crowd ignoring reality.

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  9. On added bit of info.:  Richard Lindzen holds the Alfred P. Sloan Chair of Meterology at MIT.  The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which endows Lindzen's chair also "funds plays about science." It is the only foundation that specifically funds plays about science.  It has refused funding to "Extreme Whether" through Ensemble Studio Theater which administers its grants, on the grounds that the climate change deniers portrayed in the play are "too evil to be put on stage". We are in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign to try to fund this play which, by the way, has been approved by James Hansen who spoke after an April 8 reading and said "this play certainly resonates with me.":

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  10. The Weekly Standard and its reporters and editors should get no credit for reporting ‘both sides of the climate change argument’. The trend in mainstream media is rather obvious, but is not being reported on for obvious reasons.

    Quoting Sean Wilentz in his “A House Divided” article in Rolling Stone (October 24, 2013):

    “… over the past 40 years, the bedrock principle of journalistic objectivity became twisted into the craven idea of false equivalency, whereby blatant falsehoods get reported simply as one side of an argument …”. He was writing about the distortred media reporting promoting the extemist elements of the US Republicans, but it is equally valid regarding reporting on climate science.

    Many major media are now under the control of greedy pursuers of personal benefit (politically partnered with intolerant people to increase their voting numbers). It is no surprise to find such media displaying a deliberate lack of regard for the legitimacy or substantive validity of a claim. Many reports now prey on the potential to create unsustainable popular support through manipulative impression and image claims. Though the claims are ultimately unsustainable, the greedy and intolerant only care about delaying the inevitable end of their ability to get away with unacceptable things.

    The objective of reporting by the media tools serving greedy and intolerant interests has increasingly become deliberate distortion to mislead public opinion. The callous greedy and extremely intolerant have no ethical limits on their actions in pursuit of what they want. And the current socioeconomic system sweeping the planet develops greedy attitudes among populations and leads to more desperate people. That creates a very receptive audience for deliberate invalid claims like all the attempts to ‘argue against the best understanding of the climate science’.

    I do not consider this to be the actions of ‘uninformed or poorly informed people’. The climate change issue has been around long enough for people wishing to make claims, and particularly people reporting on such claims, to be fully aware of the reality of what is going on. I consider people who are intelligent and able to be well informed on this issue, but who deliberately choose to try to mislead and deceive to be the mot despicable people among us, worse than the callous greedy their actions are providing benefit for.

    The callous greedy are addicted. They do not think rationally. They need help to change their attitude from their unsustainable and damaging addiction. Those who assist them in maintaining the unsustainable and damaging pursuits they are addicted to are like ‘Drug Pushers’, the worst of the worst. And the worst of the worst of the worst are the media like FOX News who do not even attempt to present the valid climate science as ‘an equally valid position in the ongoing argument’.

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  11. "Wrongest longest" I like that.

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  12. Galileo's battle was with the CHURCH and it's power-politics.

    He bite the hand that fed him and faced the consequences - it was never about the "science" !

    Here's an interesting review of what happened from the folks closest to it:

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  13. chrisd3 @2 and Magma @6 - the post detailing the above figure is linked in the text immediately above the figure, where it says "I pieced together".  Tom @7 is correct.

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  14. dana @13, thanks. I'd missed that link to the original post with the full explanation.

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  15. Incidentally the article Ethan did his own botching with his Wegener/Plate Tectonic analogy.

    ~ ~ ~

    He writes:  " “Most people who think they’re a Galileo are just wrong,” he said, much to the delight of a friendly audience of Manhattanites.

    "But Somerville botched the analogy. The story of plate tectonics is the story of how one man, Alfred Wegener, came up with the theory of continental drift, only to be widely opposed and mocked. Wegener challenged the earth science “consensus” of his day. And in the end, his view prevailed."

    ~ ~ ~ 

    Wegener had a great idea, but he had very, very little evidence.  The Plate Tectonics Theory had to wait for the evidence.  And that wasn't gathered until post WWII and especially during the 50s and early 60s.  Only then did Wegener's beautiful idea deserve to be elevated to scientific theory.

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  16. "Only then did Wegener's beautiful idea deserve to be elevated to scientific theory."

    Even this isn't correct.  Wegener imagined the continents drifting upon the ocean floor like ships upon the sea (thus "continental drift").  The impossibility of that mechanism, and the lack of any other explanation for the proposed movement, is what shot down Wegener.

    Continental Drift was not "elevated to scientific theory".  Rather, plate tectonics tell us that the sea floor itself is composted of sections which themselves move, carrying the continents with them.

    Wegener wasn't the first to notice that the continents appear to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  He was the first to seriously propose (in modern science, at least) that it is not coincidence and to attempt to explain how the continents might move.  Via a proposed unphysical, incorrect mechanism, unfortunately.

    The fact that science was ready to accept a mechanism that wasn't physically impossible and that fit observations (not available in Wegeman's time) was made clear by the relatively fast acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics.

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  17. We mustn't be too dismisive of Lindzen.  He may have been wrong most times but I bet he caused other climate scientists to re-examine their data to make sure they had it right.  Lindzen is no crackpot like monkton (small m). He is not former apologist for big tobacco.  He is genuine in what he thinks and is willing to swim against the flow.  It is far too easy for, yes, even a scientist, to go to off half cocked and go beyond what his data is telling him.  It is good to have a few Lindzen's around and even if he has been 90% wrong, he may come up with that critical insight.  We must continue to proove him wrong and not to dismiss his ideas just because of the source.

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  18. William:

    You are wrong, Lindzen is indeed a tobacco apologist.  Lindzen has testified in court that there is no statistical connection between tobacco and lung cancer.  (This shows the quality of his statistical analysis).  The rest of what you say about Lindzen is also incorrect.  History has shown that Lindzen has been completely wrong from the start.  He should not be respected because he has so strongly contributed to the denier movement.  He has worked hard to hurt our children.

    I was surprised to see this article, there has not been much from Lindzen lately.  I noticed that in the puff piece there was a description of Lindzen's Iris model (not written by Lindzen).  Lindzen himself has admitted that the data shows that hypothesis incorrect.  I note that Lindzen did not correct the writer and have the Iris material deleted.  

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  19. william @17 - I refer you to this quote from the above article, which I think captures the point you're trying to make.

    "It's okay to be wrong, and [Lindzen] is a smart person, but most people don't really understand that one way of using your intelligence is to spin ever more clever ways of deceiving yourself, ever more clever ways of being wrong. And that's okay because if you are wrong in an interesting way that advances the science, I think it's great to be wrong, and he has made a career of being wrong in interesting ways about climate science."

    Lindzen has previously admitted his Iris hypothesis was bad (at least according to one interview), but I think he's since tried to reanimate the hypothesis.  I think he still believes it's valid, although it's been demolished by the observational data.

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  20. There is one god to whom we all give fealty:  "GOD REALITY".

    Denying this god is a losing proposition.

    Right-wing denial of "the facts" is madness.

    Even "Rushboe", who was smarter than everyone else with "half his brain tied behind his back", had to resort to Oxycodone addiction, to deal with the disconnect..

    Ultimately, being on the same  planet, we are on "the same page".  Some folks just don't know it yet. 

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  21. Last I read 98% of climate models have been proven to be falsified and the other 2% are just holding on by the skin of their teeth.      This says it all. Consider for a moment if the economy had failed to grow for the past 16 years but over the last century had increased in size by 5% you could make the claim that economic output for November was the highest it has ever been since recordkeeping began (bumps and wiggles in a time series don’t influence trends) and it was the 345th consecutive month that economic output was above its 20th-century average. At the same time, government statisticians ignored that economic output had remained unchanged for the past 16 years. I am sure you would be screaming from the highest point in Camden that this deceitful practice of reporting economic statistics must end at once. But yet when this exact same practice is preformed upon climate data you are alarmed at a trend that doesn’t exist.

    Steve Hales

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  22. Adrian Smits @21:

    Trend 1880-1997: 0.051 C per decade

    Trend from 1997-Dec 2013: 0.076 C per decade

    Trend from 1880-Dec 2013: 0.066 C per decade

    All trends calculated using GISS on the SkS trend calculator.

    So, the situation is, the trend over the last 16 years is greater than the trend up to that point.  Further, the trend from 1880 to the present is made larger than the trend up to 1997 by adding the additional data.  Yet you insist that that increase in the trend is "a trend that doesn't exist".  You have the gall to call accurate reporting of the temperature trends lies because they do not suit your agenda - but are so careless about the facts that you have not even noticed that the 16 year of so called stalled global warming is a period of more rapid global warming than the average over the twentieth century.

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  23. adrian smits @21 (aka Steve Hales?)

    So where is it that you "Last ... read 98% of climate models have been proven to be falsified and the other 2% are just holding on by the skin of their teeth." Is this perhaps the Daily Mail you are reading? Be warned that David Rose, investigitive reporter of that rag, is not the sort of person that you should take at face value. In that respect, he has a lot in common with Dick Lindzen.

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  24. adrian smits - To expand a bit on what Tom Curtis said, the years since 1998 are exhibiting Regression to the Mean, and the variations below the longer term trend has not gone as far as the 1998 3-sigma El Nino varied above that trend.

    Short and longer term trends - regression to the mean


    As Tom noted, including that most recent 16 years actually increases the long term trend estimate, as they average above the 1975-1997 trendline; warming has not halted

    And despite misleading graphs from a few 'skeptics', the climate models continue to be accurate, with temperatures remaining within predicted trends +/- short term variations. You should take a more critical view of the sources of your misinformation. 

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  25. Let's please not forget that as our own Cowtan & Way showed, the surface temperature record has a cool bias over the past 15 years, during which time the actual trend is about 0.12°C per decade.

    adrian @21 - what you read is wrong.

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  26. KR @24,

    When I put in 1975 and 1997, I got a warming trend of .155 C/dec, which is more than the number Tom indicated, so your logic does not follow.  I would have used the years 1981 - 1997 (same duration as 1997 -2013), which has a value of .116 C/dec, which is also higher than the .076 C/dec ---- so the trend is slowing, not increasing!

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  27. franklefkin - First, Tom Curtis didn't give figures from 1975. Second, warming rates have increased over the last 150 years (not monotonically, a notable dip ~1940-1975), meaning that the last 50 years have a higher trend than the last 130. You are comparing apples/oranges.

    Finally, and most importantly, 16 years is just too short a time period to draw conclusions from - one of the mistakes most often made by 'skeptics'. There simply isn't enough data to separate trends from null hypotheses, or to separate trends that differ less that a quarter degree or so per decade. You simply cannot say from that limited subset of the data if the trend is slowing, increasing, or remaining steady - that statistics don't support such claims. As I've said before:

    Examining any time-span starting in the instrumental record and ending in the present:

    • Over no period is warming statistically excluded.
    • Over no period is the hypothesis of "no warming" statistically supported WRT a null hypothesis of the longer term trends.
    • And over any period with enough data to actually separate the two hypotheses – there is warming.

    Short term surface temperature variations are large enough that discussions of 16 year trends wrt climate are just noise about noise. 

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  28. KR,

    I was referencing your statement

    As Tom noted, including that most recent 16 years actually increases the long term trend estimate, as they average above the 1975-1997 trendline; warming has not halted.

    When I said that the number was larger than the number Tom indicated.  It was you who brought 1975 into the discussion.  I just pointed out that your numbers were incorrect.  16 years is too short, I didn't say otherwise.  Since a comparrison of the rate during the last 16 years was made to the previous 16 years, I thought the correct trend, and the correct time duration should be used.  FWIW, it should probably be 1980 to 1996 however, but since you used 1875 to 1997, I kept 1997 as the end point.

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  29. franklefkin - I fail to see where you have an issue. Both Tom Curtis and I noted that the additon of the last 16 years to the previous record shows a higher rate of warming (acceleration), and while that increase is not statistically significant there is certainly _no_ evidence of a slowdown. You should really read up on regression to the mean

    Your assertion that "the trend is slowing" is simply not supported by the data. 

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  30. KR,

    Your assertion that "the trend is slowing" is simply not supported by the data.


    The trend for the last 16 years (17 inclusive) as calculated by Tom     0.076 C/dec

    The trend for the 23 years inclusive, just prior to the above, as calculated me    0.155 c/dec

    The rate has dropped to half.  I'd say that the data does support my claim.


    Again, I am not adding anything regarding statistical significance to the argument, nor am I saying that the 17 year "slowdown" means anything at this point.


    I am aware of what regression to the mean is.

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  31. franklefkin - Short data sets do not allow drawing any conclusions about underlying trends, as they are overwhelmed by noise (short term variation). Data trends without statistical significance, yes. Climate trend identification, which I consider far more relevant, no. My apologies if that was unclear; I thought that my discussion of statistical significance clarified matters. 

    As to the comparison of 1975-1997, 1997-present, and 1975-present, you do see that the 1997-present data (0.076 ±0.119 °C/decade 2σ), while crossing over the previous trends, has _not_ gone as far below the 1975-1997 or 1975-present slopes as 1998 raised it above? And therefore (as both Tom and I noted) that the inclusion of the most recent 16 years increases the observed long term climate trends? The temperature data is exhibiting behavior consistent with regression to the mean and short term variation over the recent (again, not statistically significant) period.

    You've miscompared trend periods between Toms and my posts, and although as discussed we have insufficient data from the last 16 years to determine if climate trends are slowing, or for that matter accelerating (see here), you continue to emphasize it. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I just don't see where you are going with this...

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  32. Frankelfin @various:

    1)  Mathematically, it is inaccurate to talk about a linear trend slowing.  At the trend is linear, it has constant slope.  So, at most you can claim that the trend from 1981-1997 is greater than the trend from 1997-2013, but see (2) below.

    2)  More importantly, mathematically when you calculate the OLS trend, you apply a statistical model that assumes there is an underlying linear signal, plus some random noise.  The calculated OLS trend represents a best estimate of the underlying trend, but it is inaccurate to say the trend has changed just because the best estimate of the OLS trend differs between two segments.  Rather, you need to show that the difference is statistically significant.  If you do not, the calculated difference has no bearing on the slope of the underlying trend.  As it happens, the difference in slope between 1997-2013 and 1975-2013 is not statistically significant, so there is no basis to claim the trend has changed.

    3)  Restricting ourselves to just the annual (or monthly) global temperature observations, we have more reason to think that the underlying trend has increased rather than decreased with the addition of the last 16 years data.  That is because the best estimate of the long term trend (whether calculated  from 1880, 1901, 1975, or 1981) has increased as a result of adding those years to the data.  Indeed, from 1991 to 1997 the Gistemp OLS trend is 0.068 +/1 0.01 C per decade, whereas from 1901 to the end of 2013 it is 0.084 +/- 0.009 C per decade.  That is, the additional data from 1997 onwards results in a statistically significantly greater trend.  Deniers attempt to misrepresent this state of affairs by falsely describing the temperature data after 1997 as "a pause" or "no warming" even though it results in a statistically significant increase in the centenial trend

    4)  We do not have to restrict ourselves to the temperature data alone to determine whether or not the difference in short term best estimates of the trend are due to differences in the underlying trend or simply due to noise.  We can actually look at some of the known sources of noise to determine their likely effects.  In particular we can look at ENSO, which is known to be the dominant source of short term noise in the temperature record:


    The inverted SOI is the best characerization of the ENSO signal, IMO.  Other ENSO indices rely on temperature records, often of a single region.  As a result they must inevitably include the global warming signal as part of their ENSO record.  By using a pressure difference rather than temperatures, the SOI avoids that trap.  Consequently the inverted, lagged SOI is an ideal independent characterization of the noise in the temperature record (excluding that from volcanoes).  As can clearly be seen, the noise shows a strongly negative trend over the last 16 years.  It follows that the underlying temperature trend will be significantly greater than the best estimate of that trend from temperature data alone over that period.

    In summary, in your dispute with KR you are trying to make a narrow mathematical point, ie, that the best estimate of the OLR trend from 1997-end 2013 is less than the best estimate of the OLR trend from 1975 (or 1985) to 1997.  If you are going to be a stickler on mathematical points, however, you don't get to stop halfway.  Being entirely accurate mathematically supports KR's contention.  Further, we have independent evidence that the supposed "pause" in warming over the last 16 years depends entirely on treating known noise as part of the long term trend. 

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  33. Hi Dana,

    Re your concerns about trolling, expressed elsewhere.

    I have previously noted that the amount of trolling on there goes up inordinately as soon as WUWT publishes an attack-piece on your work, or those of other regulars.

    Imho, it would be very helpful if you, somebody, possibly me, possibly their own mods were to at least politely welcome the new arrivals, so that everybody is aware of what is going on.

    In an ideal world, you might even be able to coordinate with one of the burgeoning WUWT satire/rebuttal sites and link to the rebuttal by way of a welcome. In my own opinion, a dose of hotwhopper, What'sUpWithThatWatts, or similar, would be very good for some of them.


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    Moderator Response:

    [PW] Eliminated unnecesary white space.

  34. I read the link in 12 giving the Catholic Church's view of the Galileo inquisition, and I think it is somewhat self serving. From wikipedia, " On February 24 the Qualifiers delivered their unanimous report: the idea that the Sun is stationary is "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture..."; At a meeting of the cardinals of the Inquisition on the following day, Pope Paul V instructed Bellarmine to deliver this result to Galileo, and to order him to abandon the Copernican opinions; should Galileo resist the decree, stronger action would be taken. On February 26, Galileo was called to Bellarmine's residence and ordered, "to abstain completely from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion or from discussing it... to abandon completely... the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing."

    In addition, the January Scientific American has an article titled "The case against Copernicus." There was substantial scientific controversy about Copernicus' heliocentric theory well after both Copernicus and Galileo. Below are the final paragraphs. The full article requires a subscription.

    " The acceptance of Copernicanism was thus held back by a lack of hard scientific evidence to confirm its almost incredible claims about cosmic and stellar magnitudes. In 1674 Robert Hooke, curator of experiments for the British Royal Society, admitted, “Whether the Earth move or stand still hath been a problem, that since Copernicus revived it, hath much exercised the wits of our best modern astronomers and philosophers, amongst which notwithstanding there hath not been any one who hath found out a certain manifestation either of the one or the other.”

    By Hooke’s time a growing majority of scientists accepted Copernicanism, although, to a degree, they still did so in the face of scientific difficulties. Nobody convincingly recorded the annual stellar parallax until Friedrich Bessel did it in 1838. Around that same time, George Airy produced the first full theoretical explanation for why stars appear to be wider than they are, and Ferdinand Reich first successfully detected the deflection of falling bodies induced by Earth’s rotation. Also, of course, Isaac Newton’s physics—which did not work with Brahe’s system—had long since provided an explanation of how Brahe’s “hulking, lazy” Earth could move.

    Back in Galileo’s and Riccioli’s day, however, those opposed to Copernicanism had some quite respectable, coherent, observationally based science on their side. They were eventually proved wrong, but that did not make them bad scientists. In fact, rigorously disproving the strong arguments of others was and is part of the challenge, as well as part of the fun, of doing science."


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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Interesting as this may be, can we please not have this topic derailed by historical discussions.

  35. Dana, I note you say that there has been 0.8C temperature increase since the start of the last century. Isn't this understating it? The AR5 summary has 0.85C warming since 1880 (to 2012), though the draft AR5 full science document has 0.89C between 1901 and 2012. With the Cowtan and Way work, 0.89 might be closest to the truth. Many people seem to have used the 0.8C figure for a few years but if it's now almost at 0.9, shouldn't that be highlighted whenever possible? Hansen says above 1C is almost certainly dangerous and we are almost there, with what it built in already definitely destined to take us past 1C.
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  36. @adrian smits,

    I'm late to this argument, but I have to agree with you that the climate models are wrong. But that's because all models are wrong. I have a model sitting in front of me, its a model of the earth about 30 cms in diameter that spins on an axis tilted at 23 and a half degrees and its wrong! Everybody knows that the real Earth is about 13,000 klm in diameter and weighs about 5.97219 exp24 kg

    But it's useful for teaching kids geography.

    That's the point, all models are wrong somehow, but a good model is useful.

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  37. A suggestion: Write an Op-Ed givng examples of convervatives and conservative media getting it right on climate change and energy policies. Start here:

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  38. Mike that ( looks interesting, thanks for the link. Unfortunately, I noticed "ConservAmerica was founded in 1995 to resurrect the GOP's great conservation tradition and to restore natural resource conservation and sound environmental protection as fundamental elements of the Republican Party's vision for America." Tragically it seems they haven't had much impact on the GOP mind-set.
    ~ ~ ~

    Hope you don't mind me sharing a link myself:

    Friday, January 31, 2014

    "Dr. Richard Lindzen, scientist as fiction writer"

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