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Baked Curry: The BEST Way to Hide the Incline

Posted on 1 November 2011 by dana1981

Sadly, the so-called climate "skeptics" continue to find new ways to spin the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) results.  First they came up with bogus excuses why the BEST results are not valid.  Then they tried to change the subject, doubling-down on other climate myths.  Now Judith Curry - a member of the BEST team no less (though her involvement in the project has been relatively minimal) - has claimed that the BEST team has tried to "hide the decline" in recent temperatures.

"This is “hide the decline” stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline."

Curry's comments were in response to a BBC radio interview with the leader of the BEST team, Richard Muller, who said:

"We see no evidence of it [global warming] having slowed down"

So is Muller right that BEST shows no evidence of global warming slowing down, or is Curry correct in accusing her colleagues of hiding the decline in temperatures?

Misguided Curry

Firstly, it's worth noting that the BEST team addressed the myth that global warming stopped in recent years in their FAQ:

"decadal fluctuations are too large to allow us to make decisive conclusions about long term trends based on close examination of periods as short as 13 to 15 years."

In short, Curry's comments are contradicted by actual statistical analysis done by other members of the BEST team.  As SkS has discussed at length with Dr. Pielke Sr., over short timeframes on the order of a decade, there is too much noise in the data to draw any definitive conclusions about changes in the long-term trend. 

On his blog, tamino does the statistical analysis of the BEST data and finds that because the timeframe in question is so short, the uncertainty is too large to say for certain that the short-term trend in question is any different than the long-term trend.  Right off the bat, it's clear that Dr. Muller was correct to say there is no definitive evidence that global warming has slowed down.

Hiding the Incline

The Daily Mail article containing the Curry interview includes a graph of BEST data originating from serial misinformation source GWPF, with a cherrypicked starting point of January 2001, through the final BEST data point in May 2010 (a period shy of a decade).  Figure 1 highlights the magnitude of the cherrypick by comparing the full BEST record to the fraction of the record included in the article.

BEST cherrypick

Figure 1: Entire BEST record vs. the data examined in the Judith Curry Daily Mail article

Eagle-eyed readers may notice a problem towards the end of the record, as tamino did: the April 2010 BEST anomaly is -1.04°C, which represents a sharp cooling of 1.9°C from the previous month, and is followed by a 2.1°C warming the following month (Figure 2).

BEST with outliers

Figure 2: BEST record since January 2001, with the April 2010 anomaly highlighted in red

Was there really such a large temperature drop and rise between March and May 2010?  It doesn't show up in any other surface temperature record.  When we examine the BEST data, the problem is immediately apparent.  The uncertainty levels in April and May 2010 are 2.8°C and 2.9°C, respectively.  Going back to January 2001, the next-largest uncertainty level is 0.21°C, and the average uncertainty is less than 0.1°C.  Tamino plots the monthly data hockey stick-like uncertainties (Figure 3).

BEST uncertainty

Figure 3: BEST monthly uncertainties since 2001, with a huge spike in April and May 2010

So what happened with the April and May 2010 data?  While the March 2010 anomaly was based on 14,488 stations, April and May were based on only 47 stations, all in the Antarctic (h/t Nick Stokes).  In other words, April and May 2010 should be excluded from BEST data analysis because they are incomplete, their uncertainties are just too large, and April 2010 is quite obviously an anomalous outlier.  Frankly they should not have been published in their current state.

Figure 4 shows how the short-term trend changes when we exclude those two unreliable data points.

hiding the incline

Figure 4: BEST data and linear trend since January 2001 including and excluding April and May 2010

The BEST linear trend increases from 0.03°C per decade when including the faulty data points, to 0.14°C per decade when they are excluded.  It's also important to remember that according to NOAA, which is the dataset most similar to BEST, 2010 was the second-hottest year on record over land (behind 2007), and the hottest globally (effectively tied with 2005).  Ironically, the analysis the "skeptics" are using to argue that global warming has stopped ends in a record hot year for global surface temperatures.

In short, the problem is not that Muller is hiding the decline, the problem is that Curry is hiding the incline.

Enough Cherrypicking Already

As we have recently discussed, although we can't say for certain statistically, it's likely that the global surface temperature warming trend has slowed over the past decade, because virtually all short-term temperature impacts have been in the cooling direction over that timeframe.  Climate "skeptics" desperately want us to believe that the trend has slowed because global warming has magically disappeared, but that's simply not the case.  In fact, as Santer et al. (2011) showed,

"Because of the pronounced effect of interannual noise on decadal trends, a multi-model ensemble of anthropogenically-forced simulations displays many 10-year periods with little warming. A single decade of observational TLT data is therefore inadequate for identifying a slowly evolving anthropogenic warming signal.  Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature."

Although the Santer et al. analysis applied to the temperature of the lower atmosphere, the same argument applies to surface temperatures.  Figure 5 shows the BEST trend from March 1993 to March 2010 (the most recent 17-year period available in the data, excluding the two final unreliable points).

BEST 17 year

Figure 5: BEST most recent 17 years of data with linear trend

Over the most recent 17-year period, the BEST trend is 0.36°C per decade*, clearly showing the anthropogenic warming trend over that period. 

Examining the causes of decadal variability is both interesting as useful, but exploiting decadal variability to try and incorrectly argue that global warming has magically stopped is neither.  And of course those who argue that global warming has magically stopped conveniently ignore the continued increase in ocean heat content (Figure 6).


Figure 6: Total Global Heat Content from Church et al. 2011

Note that Curry has agreed that tamino's analysis (replicated in this post) is correct and useful, but

"my statement to Rose was about the plot with the 10 year running mean ending in 2006 being misleading. It is misleading."

As it so happens, most of the BEST graphs include 12-month running means (i.e. see their research papers).  Moreover, how plotting a 10-year running mean is automatically "misleading" is a mystery (unexplained by Curry), and Curry's accusations of deception remain unsupported, unwarranted, and unwise.

Accusing other scientists (especially one's colleagues) of deceit for doing proper statistical analysis is simply unconscionable, and why Curry would accuse others of "hiding the decline" while herself hiding the incline is a mystery.  On  her blog, Curry complains that the article misrepresented her to some degree (while standing behind some of her worst comments, and acknowledging that the quotes attributed to her in the article are correct), but frankly when dealing with fake skeptics like those at The Daily Mail, most of us know that misrepresentation is the norm. 

We conclude by offering Dr. Curry the same advice we recently offered Dr. Pielke: DNFTD (Do Not Feed The Delayers).  In short, if an interviewer tries to "tease out" from you a quote about "hiding the decline," or some other denialist myth, don't let them.


* There is probably a small contribution to this trend from the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption. The 15-year trend is 0.30°C per decade, 16-year is 0.28°C per decade, and 18-year is 0.41°C per decade.

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Comments 51 to 100 out of 101:

  1. Tom C#43: "Curry is not wrong. She is egregiously in error." This fits the conditions of 'wronger than wrong;' the scientific equivalent to any of these.
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  2. @ muoncounter Congratulations! You've just earned another bookmark in my file of New Climate Definitions. cli·ma·strol·o·gy/klīˈməˈsträləjē/ Noun: The study of the lack of evidence of that which hasn't happened within the field of climate science.
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  3. Thanks - great post and also an excellent discussion thread gents. Sadly - this whole debacle simply demonstrates yet again that climate "skeptics" are better labelled "evidence immune"
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  4. DB#52: Thanks, I'm considering writing a guidebook. Or possibly offering a kit, containing the decision-making tools found here, here and here.
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  5. CBDunkerson @49, you are correct that I presupposed the period of the BEST record. Without the caviate, I think the conditions would need to be stated: There exists at least one interval with a statistically significant positive trend such that: a) The period 2001-2011 is a sub-period of that interval, and b) The interval contains no sub-periods with a statistically significant zero or negative trend. Given that these conditions are satisfied, the statistically significant positive trend is a sound scientific reason to accept an underlying positive trend in the interval 2001-2011, and the lack of any sub-periods within that interval (including 2001-2011) with statistically significant zero or negative trends means there are no defeaters for those sound scientific reasons.
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  6. Dikran Marsupial @50, I dislike likelihood measures because, by ignoring the relative a priori probabilities of two hypotheses, they will often favour the hypothesis with the least a priori probability, while Bayes theorem would favour the other. So, while useful in some applications, likelihood measures are not universally applicable, and I am far from certain that Bayes factor would be applicable in this situation.
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  7. muoncounter @43, I see you have found one of the many examples I leave of my inability as a proof reader. I am glad you found a use for my error.
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  8. Tom Curtis Yes, the Bayes factor does ignore the prior probabilities, however you can put them back in by multiplying the Bayes factor by the ratio of prior probabilities to give you the ratio of posterior probabilities. However the problem with priors is that a "skeptic" can dismiss the argument by saying that your priors are unreasonable. Equally they could say that solar-tidal forces means that the PDO oscillation ... blah blah blah ... natural cycles mean that the prior ratio for cooling to continued warming is 100. The Bayes factor has the advantage of telling you by how much your prior belief should be altered by the evidence provided by the data. The advantage of the Bayes factor is that it is a continuous measure of the relative support from the data for one hypothesis over another, rather than a binary decision of "satistically significant" or "statistically insigniicant". This means the key problem here, that a non-significant trend not necessarily meaning the null hypothesis being true, doesn't arise as it is clear from a Bayes factor below three.
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  9. Tamino has a new post up challenging Dr. Curry: "You stated explicity that warming has stopped, your latest is vague enough to be satisfied by “slowdown” but the first two say “pause” and “stopped.” Either way — slowdown or stop — you need to provide some actual evidence that the trend has changed. The one thing that nobody has yet seen, is your scientific basis for any of these claims. Question #1: Do you still maintain the above statements? No ambiguous answers, please, it’s yes-or-no for each statement. Question #2: If any answer to #1 is “yes,” then what’s your scientific basis for claiming that the trend post-1998 (or post-2001 or whatever) has changed?" I will be surprised is she provided forthright answers. More likely she will engage in more hand waiving and some other carefully constructed narrative to try and caste doubt or suggest incompetence by someone other than herself. Or she will claim not to understand what the fuss is about, or the meaning of Tamino's post. She tends to do that when confronted with inconvenient facts.
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  10. Similarly, anyone using classical stats should use p-values or confidence intervals to describe their results.
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  11. Tristan, reporting the outcome of a frequentist hypothesis test is a rather subtle issue, the problem with reporting the p-value is that it is only half the story. It is the probability of observing a statistic at least extreme assuming that the null hypothesis is true. The key point is that the alternative hypothesis doesn't enter into the calculation anywhere, and the probability of observing a statistic at least as extreme under the alternative hypothesis might not be greatly different. The danger if presenting the p-value is that it will be interpreted as the probability that the null hypothesis is true (the "p-value fallacy"). The thing to do is to always interpret the result of the test in the way that provides the least support for the argument you wish to make, and Prof. Curry is doing the exact opposite of that in suggesting that the non-significance of the warming trend is evidence that there is no warming. Like Prof. Pielke she is arguing for the null hypothesis, rather than against it, so she needs to talk about the statistical power of the test to make her case (or to re-frame the test so that warming at the long-term rate is the null hypothesis).
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  12. 61 - Dikran Marsupial Just for clarification... I'm a bit confused about what her (or the) Null hypothesis actually is. Surely it's not "no warming". That statement is just "the slope of the line is zero" and 'zero' there is just an arbitrary number, could be any other number. (the zero in no warming is not the same as Null!) I'd have though the null hypothesis should be "the trend in period X is no different to the trend leading up to period X" for some reliable measure of preceding trend. Surely? No? As an analogy. If I wanted to test the breaks on my pushbike, either I could stand next to the thing (bike not moving... [zero] null hypothesis applying the breaks makes no difference to the speed) and squeeze them a 10,000 times (nice low p-value) and go, well the bike isn't moving so they must work. Or I could roll the bike at some speed (null hypothesis; applying the breaks makes no difference to the speed) and squeeze the breaks once (horrid low p-value, illustrating the p-value fallacy while we're at it) and see if the bike stops.
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  13. Yup Dikran, the p-value only provides an 'answer' to a specific numerical proposition. They're better than your standard alpha=0.05 but I much prefer confidence intervals.
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  14. "There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped [since 1998]" Which is wrong, but what she meant to say was: "One cannot reject the null hypothesis of 'the warming has stopped since 1998' using the BEST data" She's right but it's pretty meaningless.
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  15. les Essentially the important issue is that frequentists hypothesis tests are not symmetrical; if we exchange the null hypothesis with the alternative hyopthesis, we do not necessarily get the opposite answer. Essentially the test assumes that the null hypothesis is true and it is up to you to prove that it isn't. This gives a correctly cautious approach to assessing the evidence for our hypothesis. Prof. curry though is arguing FOR the null hypothesis used in the test for the presence of a warming trend. So she is assuming that she is right and it is up to the data to prove he wrong, which is very different and frankly dangerous approach to statistical analysis. The correct thing to do would be for Prof. Curry to re-frame the argument, so that warming at the long term rate were the null hypothesis and that the alternate hypotheisi were that there had been a change in the trend. She would then have to demonstrate that the null hypothesis (no change in the warming rate) were unlikely to be true. In this case, the time period is so short that the null hypothesis is unlikely to be rejected in either test, which is because there is too little data to be sure either way. However, Prof. Curry is the one arguing that there has been a change in something, so Occam's razor (the simplest explanation is probably correct) suggests that we should have a preference for "no change" over "change" to some degree. If this sounds confusing, don't be worried by that, the more I look into frequentist hypothesis testing, the more I wonder how we arrived at the recipe we currently use in science!
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  16. Tristan Have you read E.T. Jayne's paper on confidence intervals. It is well worth a read, I especially liked the example of a correctly constructed confidence interval where you caoul be 100% certain from the sample of data that the true value of the statistic could not possibly lie within the confidence interval. While it is a bit polemic in style I found it very helpful in understanding what confidence intervals tell you and what they don't.
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  17. 65 - Dikran Yes, thanks. I think it helps to emphasis that she is not testing for a change of rate / rate staying the same (null hypothesis). But that the specific time period shows no warming... then here statement from Tamino post "“There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped” is talking about whether things changed .... so she has clearly applied the wrong test for the statement. as an aside... talking about the strangeness of hypothesis testing... this The Cult of Statistical Significance and thisare quite fun.
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  18. Thanks for the link DM. [OT]You have no idea how frustrating it was to go through a stats major (The MA was no different either) at university learning nothing but frequentist stats even though my lecturers acknowledged that significance testing was outdated and that bayesian analysis was a better approach. There was nothing in our textbooks (~2005) more recent than procedures from the 1950s. I've been meaning to teach myself bayesian stats for a while now. Is there a text you'd recommend?[/OT]
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  19. les thanks for the links. The best summary of the key problem I have seen is that "we want evidence of a significant difference, not significant evidence that a difference exists". It is very rare for two samples to actually have the same population parameters (e.g. for a drug to have precisely no effect - if that were true it wouldn't have gone as far as a clinical trial in the first place), so if you have a large enough population, you can always reject the null hypothesis even if the actual difference is way too small to have any real meaining. Testing for normality is the classic example of this. Random variables are only truly normally distributed in some assympotitic limit, which never actually applies in the real world. So when you are testing for normality you usually know that the null hypothesis is false from the outset, you are just checking to see that your sample is small enough that it could be confused for a normally distributed sample, and hence assuming it is normal to make the maths easier probably won't cause a problem!
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  20. Shocked by Prof. Curry. Until today I had her down as a genuine skeptic, but if so then her Daily Mail interview indicates that she is hideously naive with regard to the press. If she's a genuine skeptic, how can she be so daft as to give ammunition to a newspaper that will turn her into a mouthpiece for the denial industry, whether she likes it or not? Can she not understand that the damage she's done by talking to the Mail far outstrips any flaws in the BEST analysis, even if she's completely right about all of her gripes? Or maybe she's been seduced by the dark side. Wonder if David Bellamy has a spare Darth Vader helmet he can lend her? Or perhaps she feels insulted by something Muller has done, and is getting her own back, not caring about the effects on public opinion (except against him). There is no way of looking at this that casts her in anything other than a very poor light.
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  21. Tristan E.T. Jaynes' book is very good, it is hard going, but worth the effort. The real problem with Bayesian methods is that while they are conceptually easier to understand that frequentist methods, and harder to misinterpret, the computation is generally much more difficult, which I suspect is the reason they are not used more widely. I myself am a Bayesian by inclination, but I end up using frequentist methods a lot of the time for that very reason.
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  22. Wonderful, thanks a lot. :) From what I gathered frequentist and bayesian stats give similar results except in corner cases (limited data and very low success/fail rates). I know one of my friends used bayesian stats when he was working at LIGO trying to find those elusive GWs.
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  23. @ Comment 47 - Kudos on a wonderful graph showing how AGW people see the cooling trends, as compared to the actual warming trend.
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  24. Note: AGW - Anti Global Warming
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  25. Dikran Marsupial @71, the heavy computational load of Bayesian methods was why frequentist methods came to dominate science before the invention of computers. Why they continue to dominate science is a more open question.
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  26. Two additional points that are worth noting: 1) The BEST data clearly shows a continuing global warming trend since 1998. In fact, Judith Curry, as co-author has commented on just that fact, saying:
    "Though it is sometimes argued that global warming has abated since the 1998 El Nino event (e.g. Easterling and Wehner 2009, Meehl et al. 2011), we find no evidence of this in the GHCN land data. Applying our analysis over the interval 1998 to 2010, we find the land temperature trend to be 2.84 ± 0.73 C / century, consistent with prior decades."
    (Rhode et al, 2011, h/t to Tim Lambert) As the confidence interval on the trend indicates, they even find the trend to be statistically significant, with a minimum value for the confidence range of 2.11 degrees C per century. Based on Tamino's analysis, and critique of the use of white noise models for temperature, that confidence is overstated. Tamino shows a minimum trend inside the confidence interval of around -0.4 degrees C per Century (on the full BEST data) for the trend since 1998. Never-the-less, Judith Curry's official position is that the trend since 1998 is large, and statistically significant. If she now disagrees with that, as she apparently does, she has no honourable course but to either persuade her fellow authors to ammend that claim, or to withdraw as an author of the paper. Observant readers will note that the quoted trend is for GHCN stations only. However, the paper in question shows the difference between NOAA (GHCN) and BEST values in graph 8b. In 1998 NOAA shows a higher value than does BEST, but by 2010 it shows a lower value. That (consistenly) declining trend over the interval shows that the full BEST trend will be larger than that quoted above, not smaller. As the full BEST temperature series uses more data, it will also have a more tightly constrained confidence interval. Given that Muller is also a co-author of this paper, his claimed vacillation on statistical significance on just that interval is even more bizzare. It means he is either unaware of the contents of the paper of which he is co-author, or he has (quite reasonable) doubts about the statistical model used in calculating the confidence interval. If the later, however, it is incumbent on him to ensure those doubts are expressed in the paper. 2) Although I criticized BEST for including the two Antarctica only values for April and May of 2010 in their analysis, on reflection it is not clear that they have done so. Certainly none of their graphs show the precipitous decline in the final values (though none of their graphs are unsmoothed monthly graphs). They may have, in fact, done the correct thing in including the data in record (the data has been collected), but excluding it from their analysis. If that is what they have done, it raises two issues. A reason for excluding the data should have been given in their papers. Indeed, if they have not excluded the data an even better reason for not doing so should also appear in their papers. What should not occur is either inclusion of dodgy data, or exclusion of any data without comment. Again, if they have excluded the data, Judith Curry should have recognized the inclusion of dodgy data in the graph she was asked to comment on, and made a point about it. She certainly should have indicated the dodgy nature of the data when she made her clarifying blog post. Her failure to do so shows either that she is quite happy to use data she knows to be misleading, and which biases the data in favour of the case she is arguing; or that she was not aware of data issues in a paper of which she is co-author. Neither reflects well on her.
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  27. Being a bit pedantic. Due to very warm years 2000 to 2010 global warming is accelerating.
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  28. green: BEST's data ends in the spring of 2010. As the full year was tied with 2005 for the 2nd warmest on record and 2011 to date hasn't exactly been cool, when those data are appended, you may well be right. Let's see them spin that into 'no evidence that warming hasn't stopped.'
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  29. She has put up a post supposedly addressing the issue of a "pause," and says that while there isn't a statistically significant pause, there's no evidence to say it didn't happen. Also she is now claiming that BEST can't say anything about global warming because it's a land-only data set. Apparently since land only covers 30% of the globe in a reasonably well-distributed manner, it's unable to say anything about global climate... Tamino has already called her out for dodging his question about having a scientific basis for her claims that warming paused since 1998 with BEST data, and using that claim to attack Muller.
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  30. Wheels#79: "there's no evidence to say it didn't happen." Curry's new discipline, the study of the lack of evidence of what hasn't happened, is the core principle of climastrology. As opposed to the cold, hard reality of science, this field prefers to embrace such traits as selective myopia ('it was over here the last time I looked') and an allergy to gestalt ('can't see the forest for the trees'). A tendency to believe that 2 + 2 = 5 is also helpful. A plausible conclusion is also that 'there isn't any evidence that we haven't been invaded by aliens.' Be afraid, be very afraid.
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  31. When ever this topic comes up (has warming stopped?), it's useful to point to the AP study where they hired a group of statisticians and gave them climate data without telling them what it was and asked them to characterize the trends, if any. They clearly came to the conclusion that the recent decade was noise and not a change in the trend. Could there be a better "blinded" study? The link I had to that has died - wasn't a permalink - but there are many reports of it that are easy to find.
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  32. 81 dmyerson: Here is one such report. Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book. Only one problem: It's not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press. Of course, the usual characters deny the validity of this because it is "not based on the much more robust metric assessment of global warming as diagnosed by upper ocean heat content." Moral of story: When you don't like the answer, change the metric.
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  33. Muoncounter @82, That is interesting, because in the 2009 article by Pielke that you linked us to he says: "Nonetheless, the article is correct that the climate system has not cooled even in the last 6 years." But then a couple of sentences later he claims: Perhaps the current absence of warming is a shorter term natural feature of the climate system. However, to state that the “[t]he Earth is still warming” is in error. The warming has, at least temporarily halted." We now know that his claim about the earth system not warming is demonstrably false. Pielke saying "temporarily halted" sounds like an oxymoron to me. Sadly Pielke and Curry and others can keep playing this game ad infinitum. But their game has been outed here and elsewhere (by Tamino, for example), they can no longer claim ignorance. They can choose to keep cherry picking and cherry picking those data that and metrics of subsets of metrics (e.g., 0-700 OHC) that conform to their preconceived notions, but in doing so they lose all credibility and fool only themselves. Now what trick/s will they use next I wonder? ;)
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  34. 83 Albatross: So Pielke says: a. the statistician's report is not valid because it uses an incorrect metric, b. the article is correct and the system "has not cooled" and c. the "warming temporarily halted". That's not even a cherry-pick; it's blatant contradiction. Are there choices d. None of the above and e. All of the above?
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  35. Muoncounter @84, Yes, I too thought at first that he was contradicting himself, but I think that he was trying to say that temps. had (allegedly) neither gone up or down. So no cooling, no warming, no change. And the models are wrong, inadequate and misleading and useless, of course, unless they support Pielke's personal point of view :) But that is how subtle his messaging is. Things are worded so that it is easy for those in denial about AGW to read into it what they want, ideally that warming has stopped and that "CAGW" is not a concern. Either that or he is very confused. These word games and cherry-picking games that people of Pielke's and Curry's stature play are not only incredibly annoying, and they betray their bias. They are no longer in pursuit of knowledge and truth, but ever more creative was to feed the doubt and uncertainty monsters. Those are pretty much the only options they have now... To answer Pielke and Curry's own question. The statisticians were correct, the warming has not stalled or stopped, it has not cooled and Pielke's pet metric contradicts his own claims (at least when one looks at all the data).
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  36. Curry seems to have started channelling Monckton by referring to "CAGW idealogues". Maybe that nice meal she had with him recently turned her around to his way of thinking...
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  37. 86 JMurphy: "Curry seems to have started channelling" But she's supposed to be a peacemaker!
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  38. Peacemaker ? I think we all know that that is nonsense. It would be far more rational to believe that she is putting it all on and is merely taking the 'peace'...
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  39. There is an article in the International Business Times which claims that Curry is now denying that humans have caused any warming. I doubt this is true, as it would indicate that Curry had completely lost touch with reality... but I have to wonder how she plans to continue in her role of 'peacemaker' now that she has become the de facto standard bearer for global warming denial.
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  40. JMurphy @86 and CBDunkerson@89, Oh goodness, the wheels really are coming off now. Even the ever patient and reasonable Dr. Bart Verheggen is troubled by her musings. And Neven is having nothing of it: "Neven | November 8, 2011 at 6:43 am | Reply Dr Curry, if you think I’m a CAGW ideologue, I would again kindly urge you to remove the links to the Arctic Sea Ice blog and graphs page from your blogroll. We don’t want to be associated with each other." So Curry has just burned another bridge. She can add Neven to her list which now includes Schmidt, Trenberth, Verheggen, Tobis, Muller and many more. Fine job she is doing of being self-professed 'peacemaker". The juvenile and vitriolic crowd on her blog are now projecting their petulance on Neven, but whatever. Right now, I would not be too surprised if Curry claimed that the earth is flat. Bad times. Pretty pathetic times too given that we are even having this discussion instead of how aggressively we should be reducing our GHGs.
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  41. 90 Albatross: Surely you must admit that there is no basis for saying the world isn't flat. Don't try to show me 'photographs' or some other such 'data;' that's all clearly manipulated to hide the flatness. -- source Based on this one image, there is no consensus. If you suggest otherwise, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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  42. 91, muoncounter, Your photo is obviously fabricated. Where is the turtle on which the earth rests? Surely you can do better than this.
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  43. @Albtross #90: Who is Neven and why is his reaction to Curry significant?
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    [DB] Neven is the proprietor of the Arctic Sea Ice blog - probably the finest blog resource of its kind in the inter-tubes.  Imagine John Cook on ice...

  44. 92 Sphaerica: Ha! You have no evidence that there are no turtles on the side you cannot see. The primary metric must be the number of unseen turtles.
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  45. 94, muoncounter, Are you admitting to having used Mike's Nature trick to hide the turtles?
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  46. Actually, the most significant number is the missing denominator, for without it the turtle budget cannot be balanced...
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  47. 95 Sphaerica, But they are not hiding; some have gone deep underwater, where they cannot be measured. And anything that cannot be measured does not need to be hidden. It is sufficient to say that we have no evidence of their lack and hence, they must not be lacking.
    `Take some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. `I've had nothing yet,' Alice replied in an offended tone, `so I can't take more.' `You mean you can't take LESS,' said the Hatter: `it's very easy to take MORE than nothing.'

    In any case, until we have enough turtle measurement floats deployed, to say they are 'missing' would be a travesty.

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  48. The most recent justifications I've seen from Curry seem to involve the "but they did it too" defence. She has been writing things like : 'the WWF are/have/would do the same'; 'the IPCC spread disinformation...probably'; 'Mann is political'. Basically, it's : 'It's not me, or if it is (which I deny or have been misunderstood about), what about them over there...' It is so juvenile, I don't know whether to laugh or cry - probably a bit of both !
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  49. Hi, nice blog. I have a few questions, if anyone could please comment on, thanks. 1. The point to the warming (or lack thereof) in the 21st century, is that we are constantly reminded that CO2 levels are the highest they've been in a very long time. And CO2 level INCREASES are also at a high point. If CO2 truly controls temp, shouldn't there be MORE warming now, not less? Isn't this the point Curry was trying to make? 2. There are daily global warming TEOTWAWKI articles, r.e. The above quotes 9 degrees of warming this century, etc. How in the world do you get there with current or past temp trendlines? 3. RE has already exceeded nuclear in the US. PV could reach grid parity in 3 years. Crude production has peaked since 2005. Why does anyone think we will still be burning coal, and running cars on gasoline 90 years from now? 4. Isn't it true that we are in a declining temp trend point of the current Holocene period? A decline that will last for another 80,000 years? Isn't this a much bigger problem than a few degrees of CO2 induced warming?
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  50. skepticsince1988 @99 1) The Earth's climate has a significant annual variability based on a number of factors including the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the 22 year solar cycle which is visible as an 11 year sunspot cycle (among others). As it happens, many of those factors favoured a warm Earth 5 to 10 years ago, but currently favour a cool Earth. In the absence of an over all warming trend, we would therefore expect current temperatures to be significantly lower than they where in the period 2002-2007, and even lower than during the years 1999,2000. As it stands, current temperatures are significantly above those of 1999,2000 and comparable to those of 2002-2007. That is very hard to explain in the absence of an overall warming trend. What Curry is trying to do, by all appearances, is to use the short term variability, which is well known, to get us to ignore the long term trend. What is more, apparently, she is happy to use dodgy data which she should know (as she was on the project that gathered it) was only drawn from Antarctica and treat it as though it was representative of the whole world. That is the sort of behaviour you expect from used care sales men, not scientists. 2) The temperature quoted in Rolling Stone (a US magazine) is probably in degrees Farenheight, and as such only represents about 5 degrees Celsius, ie, the probable temperature difference between temperatures in the nineteenth century and the harshest period of the last "ice age". That is an unprecedented increase in temperature for a couple of centuries, and it is unlikely that such an increase in temperature will be any easier to adapt to then an equivalent decrease, with the difference being we only have a century or so to adapt. Current statistically significant trends are on track with the model based predictions which lead us to expect those temperatures if we do not drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 3) (i) For almost the entirety of my 50 plus years, researchers into fusion power have predicted viable fusion power in 50 years time. That is a clear sign of the folly in predicting future technological development. In the future, research may bring down the cost of renewables so rapidly that fossil fuels become obsolete in very short order. But research may also bring down the cost of extraction of fossil fuels so that price wise, it always has an advantage of RE. We just do not know. Therefore the wise thing to do is to load the dice in favour of renewables with a carbon price. If we get lucky and renewables become cheap very quickly, the carbon price costs us very little. On the other hand, if we are not so lucky, the carbon price will prevent us from making a disasterous mistake. (ii) Eliminating fossil fuels at the end of the century will not save us from the 5 degree temperature increase that we may be heading for. For that, we need to effectively eliminate their use by 2050, and start rapidly decreasing the growth in their use immediately. 4) The short answer is no. It is not true that we are heading for an 80,000 degree decline in temperature. Indeed, even absent fossil fuel emissions we may well have avoided an "ice age" at this stage of the Holocene. As it stands, CO2 levels are rapidly heading towards levels such that the Earth has never had ice at either pole with levels that high. That means the prospect of a future ice age are permanently on hold. Finally, all but your first question where of topic for this thread. If you wish to respond further, please find the appropriate thread or the moderator is likely to delete your further posts as being off topic. The comments policy is your friend. Read it and take it to heart and you will enjoy many discussions on this site. From experience, however, people who think they are above the comments policy are quickly disabused of that notion on this site.
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