Examining Science, part 3

Al Gore

In “An Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore claimed there would be an increase in global hurricane numbers and intensity.

This has not occurred and may not have even been predicted at the time. Weather Underground has a write-up concerning this from both sides. Researchers note that the measurement of the strength of a hurricane is very complex variable to measure. The Dvorak tropical cyclone intensity estimate method was only developed in 1972. Comparisons to data before this measurement came in will not provide an accurate picture of the intensity of hurricanes. As in the case of tornadoes, the intensity is rarely directly measurable. There is a tendency of individuals to accept indirect measurements as correct. This is not necessarily true. Estimates are the best available measurement in many cases, but can certainly be incorrect. Statistics used to calculate the values can and do vary by researcher. Ideally, researchers would start with the same set of raw data values and work through the calculations on their own. However, time constraints probably do not allow this. Keep in mind, however, that any error in the estimates can change the final solution. It is these values that are often the point of contention between scientists.

USGCRP (usgcrp.gov) says: “There is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.” However, as for the number, they note: “There is less confidence in projections of a global decrease in numbers of tropical cyclones.   The apparent increase in the proportion of very intense storms since 1970 in some regions is much larger than simulated by current models for that period.”

I interpret this as: The projections in the global decrease in cyclones are not based on observed trends, but rather some other variables. Larger storms are higher than simulated by models, calling into question the models used. If the models are not accurate, then the conclusions based on these models are based on inaccurate information. There is reason for skepticism concerning the accuracy of the modeling associated with hurricanes.

Al Gore may or may not have been wrong about intensity (due to the new measurement methods) but he was certainly wrong about more hurricanes. This was known by 2006 when the movie came out.

The Missing Hotspot

The issue of the missing hotspot in the troposphere as been making the rounds on the skeptic blogs. Does the absence of the hotspot prove there is no human-caused climate change? No, not necessarily (there can be a theory without the hot spot that still works) but it does call into question the theory itself. If what was predicted by models is not there, we need to know why.

I have read that the hotspot may not be long-term (Skeptical Science) and that the hot spot is not the “fingerprint” of AGW, but rather that stratospheric cooling is the fingerprint. The IPCC does address both phenomena. I was not sure if they labelled the stratospheric cooling as the fingerprint or not. There is considerable discussion about other factors (natural ones) in the mix.

There was also discussion about whether the radiosondes are accurate and whether or not using proxies (such as the thermal wind equation) is appropriate, especially if they more closely match the model. The radiosondes are what the skeptics are hitting mostly. My concern is the proxies that may accepted as better than the radiosondes because of their closer match to the model.

This may be a prime example of why global warming is not well accepted. While people constantly hear that “the science is settled” when it comes to light that reality and the models do not seem to match, there is a skeptic’s claim the models are wrong and the theory is wrong. Climate science then says the models were not understood or may need adjustments. Much of the climate change theory rests on models and proxies, which do not seem to match reality as well as predicted. This leads people to believe there is no validity in the science, rightly or wrongly so.


Where do I start? This appears to be outright fraud. First, Marcott admits the data for the last 100 years is not statistically robust. Then why did it appear in the Science article? What was the reason for the inclusion of data that was not robust?

If you remove the “hockey stick” at the end of the article, we are “not screwed” as some news outlets seemed to like for a headline.

There are claims that the dates were rearranged on the data points so the graph would give the results desired. Only 73 proxies were used with 2/3 of them in the northern hemisphere. Some of the graphs show no warming in the proxies.

These are some of the graphs out there associated with Marcott. If I had written up a science paper with a uptick like Marcott has, I am certain I would have had the paper torn up and been told to try again. Such an increase appears beyond any possible accurate interpretation of the data. The uptick does not follow any trend in the data. Marcott admits there are problems with the data. The paper should not have included this data, if nothing else because it is questionable science. The entire end of the graph and probably the remainder of the graph also, should have been verified by someone outside the paper’s authors or the authors needed to find another way of analyzing the data and verified that the uptick was real. As it is, it looks like case of falsified data and very poor scientific method.

marcott-A-MJ_0 Carbon-Final

Graph One: Found on multiple sights, attributing it to the Science article

Graph Two: Skeptical Science

Other sources:


on hurricanes




As an aside, you might want to check out:


An interesting study. If it is supported by other studies and data, it would mean that we do not understand climate as well as we are told and that something essential is missing from the models that would explain the change


38 comments on “Examining Science, part 3

  1. I understand the desire to cover all things so there can be no mischaracterization, but as you have seen, that tends to just confuse people. I have found that when I am limited in length, as with letters to the editor (300 words, in paper’s case) I learn to focus more closely on one issue.

  2. part of the problem we are having is that i want to be complete so I address every element that you bring up, so there can be no mischaracterization. I can understand it happening once or twice (as I did not pay close attention when you said COPD in children), but the increasing frequency does not give credence to your comaplaint. and you are certainly free to only adress one of my points at a time, which would then lead to our discussing one point at a time,

  3. I am not responding until you learn to address one issue at a time. I reread your comment and I missed the word “avoid” in the sentence. From here on out, unless you address one issue at a time in a brief matter, I am not answering your comments. It’s a simple rule–follow it. Then maybe I will understand what you are saying.

  4. amazing how yoj almsot have to mischaracterize almost everything that I write now.
    Not one issue ( sorry these are multiple issues, but you just stated your objection to that.
    But I find it fascinating that you so glibly say the science is “settled” about vaccines and GMOS. While I would agree with you about the first, the idea that we know everyting about every possible interaction of current GMO’s is of course not true, and the idea that we can possibly gues future interactions is plain ludicorus. Also if you look you will find dozens of websites FILLED with scien ttiifc evidence showing how dangerous vaccines are. You could go on a blog site and argue for months with someone, who would be frustrated that you would not accept their detailed scienitifc evidence and they would accuse you of being rigid deluded by the media and ignoring the huge profits that are fueling the coverup of this terrible problem, and showing you how the consensus position is based on a house of cards that any rational critical thinker could see.
    This of course does not mean that Vaccines are dangerous, and in spite of the almost infinite amount of uncertainty regarding gMO’s does no tmean they are dangerous, and of course they have produced tremendous benefits as you personally have experienced.

    Not a clue how you got it into you head that I was SUGGESTING vaccines are dangerous, when I very specifically said that the precautionary principle can be abused and used the axamples of Vaccine and GMO to illustrate this. Obviously i am aware of the problem of disease caused by people not being vaccinated, since I was using that as an example of the precautionary principle being abused. maybe if i say it twice you will read it correctly? I really don’t understand how you can so often completely misread my actual words. I said Vaccines were an instance of the precautionary principle being abused and you STILL go on and point out to ne how dnagerous not vaccinating can be. MAybe you are jsut hoping is you keep reading the opposite of what I write I will get mad and stop challenging your assertions. But I repeat i have no emotional interest in this since I don;t care whether you pay attention to waht i say or not. it is, as we both agree now, a waste of your time. seems to me it would be less a waste of your time is you accurately describe what my positions are.
    Funny that you prove the worth of the precautionary principle becuase you say that in 1940 there was likited information and no one had a crystal ball, If we HAD stepped up military and diplomatic effrots agaisndt germany and a war had ben avoided there would be those who said we wasted the money it was never needed, but the precautionary principle, in that case would have actually BEEN the right response. We are in the same situation with cliamte change right now. And in spite of your totally impossible economic scenarios; reasonable economic policied based on the precautionry principle around cliamte change will not destroy civilization, and could prevent serious consequneces if applied rationally. You of course have to disagree with this, which is why you present the totally implausible catastrophic economic scenario.
    And of course your genetic example is just meaningless becuase we actually know that gnentic markers do not determine violence. All gneticists know this. Even Dawkins would scoff at your exaggeration of his selfish gene. So your scenario is of no bearing. I would be happy to consider another scenario that is at least plausible.
    And agains with T Boone Oickesn, you completely ignore or totally mischaracterize what I wrote. Why? I am serious. You KNOW i can go and reread what I wrote and i wrote that I was sure he had good reasons. Whatis the point of givng me more info that seems to be trying to show I am wrong, when I am agreeing with you?

    your next paragraph about corporations and making money i ahve NO idea what point you are trying to make. Yes. I know corporations are trying to maek a profit. I said that. I AGREED with you.the fact that there are people making money off immiral things does not logically show that all companies are doing bad things becuase they want to make money. But again i have no clue what your point was so I am happy to have you explain how it differs from what i actually wrote.

    your last paragraph does make sens and of course I think you are right and wrong. You are , as usual ignorng the most important argument I made. that fossil fuel infrastructure have an complete horizonatal and vertical industry that is totally dedicated to utilizing fossil fuels as the domiant form of energy. Nuclear has done nothing to cnange that. and renewables as yet have not eiher. You are asking a small child who is just learning how to use his body to go into the ring with an adult that has had years of conditioning and years of fighting experience. Not a completey fair analogy, but if your plan for renewables had been put into effect for the automobile, we might have gotten the model T by the 1940’s, after all the issues with cars infrastructre and fuel had been worked out without making mistakes and taking chances and trying alternatives that didnt work for various reasons. Many of those attempts look stupid in hindsight
    Yes renewables are not an immediate solution capable of taking over the complete energy demands of the nation. And if we TRIED to make that happen overnight, then the horrible scenario you painted in you post today would happen in some form. But like most conservatives with an agenda agiasnt climate change, you totally ignore the likely innovations of the next 20 years. Just like those in the 1890’s ignoreed the innovations and changes that would happen in 30 years. foissil fuels are orders of magnitude more dense in energy becuase they have been condensed over millions of years. We are no transitioning to real time energy sources and that requires a completely different apporach to utilizing energy. But it will happen and when it does, rach a tipping point, it will take over extremely fast. You can deny it all you want. but looking a the leading edge research now, I think you do not understand what is happeing with technology these days> it is quite frankly mind boggling

  5. I am pleased you read the articles. The precautionary principle really does not apply to the vaccines, etc because science is very clear that vaccines are more useful than harmful, that GMO’s are not harmful, etc. (I will mention that I tend to launch about GMOs having lived on ecoli bacteria genetically modified for 20 years. I really would be stupid to be afraid of something that keeps me alive and has been tested on millions and millions of people, right?) I could noted that you don’t care about the babies that died from whooping cough because their neighbor was against vaccines, their child contracted whooping cough, then went the park and coughed on a 4 month-old baby that was not vaccinated and contracted a fatal case of whooping cough, but I am thinking that you may not be aware of this problem. Surely, you would not want an innocent baby to die because your neighbor didn’t want to vaccinate their child? That outcomes seems far worse than reactions to the vaccine–plus, it wasn’t even your child that bore the consequences. Your neighbor’s baby died.

    Hitler is hindsight. Everything is 20/20 jn hindsight. No so with future predictions. In 1940, there was limited information and no one had a crystal ball showing World War 2. Let me give you a different example. If we could prove genes were a 90% market for violence and a baby was born with genes that matched Hitler, should we kill the baby? If a baby has the genetic markers, should he/she be imprisoned from infancy to protect society and prevent another Hitler? If the genetic markers were 99% right, should we take your grandchild, if they have the markers, and either kill them or imprison them for life. It’s 99% probable they will kill innocent people at some point. Do we incarcerate them from infancy?

    T. Boone Pickens was quoted as saying “I lost my ass in the wind industry”. I believe that’s pretty clear.

    Corporations are there to make money. If they don’t make money, they don’t exist. Some mesh better with society than others. Truth be told, prostitutuion and gambling are the most successful industries out there, along with illegal drug sales. What does that say about society?

    “Renewables” have had over 30 years and massive money put into them. It is not the money but the physics. These are variable energy–and cannot be stored at present. Had they waited until there was large scale, thoroughly tested storage before deploying massive subsidies, and had the impact on humans and animals been studied (wonder why no one seems bothered by the massive number of transmission lines? In the 60’s those were “evil” but now it is okay to cover the land), we might have gotten a viable source. I have no doubt we will find alternatives to fossil fuels, but government demands and free money won’t be the way. All we got from wind turbines was a massive bleeding of taxpayer money and massive environmental damage. Kind of like from the gold rush. We really don’t learn much, do we?

  6. The precautionary principle is generally used when there is no science, not when you have “consensus” and a theory. See http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=6947. It’s a five-part write-up.

    What if we had taken out HItler and instead, there was a different person who was actually running the show? Could that have launched a more aggressive war that we might have lost? What if we jumped in too soon and the allies we had abandoned us? Hindsight is easy.

    Businesses are changing their behaviour to curry favor with customers. If tomorrow it became expedite to sell high carbon, high petroleum products and burn as much oil as possible, the stores would jump right up and do it. It’s marketing, not care. Or, perhaps more accurately, they care only as long as they can make money off of idea. Much like wind and solar–as long as huge subsidies and negative tax rates are part of the package, it goes in. Witness T. Boone Pickens (google him if you have not heard of him).

    • I read the Briggs articles. that was waht I commented on. As i said the precautionary principle can certainly be abused. I can see it used to avoid using vaccines, or to not eat GMO’s or any number of ways where the unintended consequence is wors than the thing being protected against.
      your what if is jsut flat out wrong in the case of Hitler. If we had taken him out, it would almost surely have put an end to German threat of world war. If you Read any books about him. Albert Speer’s autobiography would be my suggestion since he fell under Hitelr’s spell just before coming to power. But the point is not taking out Hitler but preparing and preemptively limiting Germany’s abiity to wage war. Many people called for it, especially in the military, but they weren’t listened to becuase it would have cost money to make enough of a deterrent. And even if the deterrent didn’t stop him from going to war, he likely would have been defeated much sooner with less loss of lives. many millions less loss of lives, and a much cheaper rebuilding of the world afterwards.
      Of course I have heard of T. Boone Pickens. I do not doubt that he has good reasons, at this point in time for backing off. And to a certain extent you are correct about marketing. Certianly there are many companies marketing as environmentally friendly becuase it sells. That does NOT mean that companies are not taking ther issue seriously. As i posted walmart is and is so large they are impacting other industries. And unlike you I do not beleive that comapnies are just souless entities desinged to make money off people. That is certainly a major factor and a storngly limiting one. but I see corparations as part fo the real social fabric and to varying degrees include moral judgements as part of their operating ethos.
      Part of ther problem with renewable is that the fossil fuel industry has all the economics of extracton, refinement distribution and retail sorted out in complex detail with an enormously expensive ifractruscture designed to dovetail exaclty with current use of energy deve;oped over 100 years with no competition. Without subsidies valuable research could not happen with renewables because there is almost no infrastructure with economies of scale that make them currently feasible. Also fossil fuels have subsidies that dwarf renewable in absolute dollars. As I have said in the past, in the 1880’s suggesting that cars would replace horses in 2 generations would have seemed preposterous, for many of the reasons those who have an agenda against ACC consider renewables to be preposterous. I have a feeling in one generation, the naysayers will look like luddite idiots. People will marvel that any questioned the transition to renewable resources once it was possible to utilize the energy from the sun in direct ways, thorugh solar, wind or other sources. I have a feeling within 20 years there will be massive shift away from fossil fuels and it will happen very quickly when some factor expected or surprising changes the game entirely.

  7. I read this, and while aspects of it are important and valid, i find his conclusions to be soemwhat ridiculous. I do not doubt that there is an over reliance on unsupported data that can be used to justify the precautionary principle. I certainlt beleive Cheney’s views on the precuationary priniciple with regrds to the US engaging in military conflict is close to insane.
    But the fact that the idea is mis-applied and misunderstood does not mean that the idea is wrong. For every case he sites where it is annapropriate I can site one that is TOTALLY approriate, and there is room for lots of grey area.
    the most obvious example and the one I use relating to cliamte change is the danger of Hitler in the late 1930’s. Many people argued that hitler was jsut one of a series fo tinpot dictators that Europe always produces. Germany would never start antoehr war. Just let him have some of his somewhat legitimate territorial demands and he would rattle his sword but nothing of matter to US national security would come of him. Also he was a great bulwark against communism, so taking steps agaisnt him would only strengthern the Soviet Union which was a SERiOUS threat to the US.
    Those on the other side said, look at the evidence. He is building up his military, he has set up an almsot total dictaorship run by one party, he has made clear his ambition for taking over the lands of the east to fuel a great empire. technologically the Germans are much mre advnaced the the Soviets and everything points to Hitler being the most serious threat to Europe and possibly the United States.
    teh precautionary prenciple would insist on taking steps to interrupt the military buildup and to challange Germany on territorial conquest. this was not done wby the US and the consequences were devastating to the entire world.
    it is clear to me that there is enough evidence for ACC to use the precautionary principle to at least some degree, and certianly not to block all govenrment efforts at decreasing CO2 and to undermine all efforts at international efforts to limit CO2.
    If temps actually start going down then it is certainly easy enough to reduce any anctions taken that have an negative economic or social effect.
    the problem is the issue has become so politicized that large sections of the population and their representatives in congress are of the belief that there is an unscientific attempt to purposefully damage the economy using a fraudlent science in order to allow some mystical elite to gain power over them. this is based on totally irrational ideological thinking, so there is almost no reasonable discussion of cost benefit or different approaches to solving the problem. Fortunately private enterprise is largely not affected by this and numeorus industires that do not have a direct stake in priofits based on producsing fossil fuels are changing their behavinr and creating the gorundwork neceasary to make certian changes. Walmar ti do not consider a bastion of progressive ideology, yet they have made a number of decisions that not only decrease the CO2 footprint of the company, but decrease costs and they have been able to influence numeorus companies to follow their directives in this issue. One are is in decreasing packaging so it weighs less and Walmart spend less on gas costs. Another is in jumpstarting a new design for trucks to lower air resistance and therefore making it easier for other companies to buy the same sort of trucks that were not available before Walmart but up the money necasary to redesing them.

  8. If anyone is interested in a discussion of the precautionary principal, check out this three part series. I am posting the link to the first part–you can handle rest.

  9. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    Am I right in assuming that you are Sheri Kimbrough, the Accidental Conservationist? In which case I am struggling to reconcile the views you hold about Global Warming with your views about Conservation. They seem deeply at odds with each other.

    Perhaps in exploring that there might be some very useful room for dialog.

    • Yes, I am Sheri Kimbrough, the Accidental Conservationist.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      One can hold a view that “Anthropogenic Global Warming” is hogwash, while simultaneously holding the viewpoint that one should not pollute one’s own nest, and that resources should be conserved. I, for one, hold this viewpoint.

      However, I am NOT a believer in “the precautionary principle”. That is, just because SOME believe that XYZ MIGHT be a problem, I do not believe that XYZ must automatically be curtailed or eliminated. This is because curtailing or eliminating XYZ based upon speculation and insufficient evidence is highly likely to cause unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences such as economic harm, while not actually alleviating any problems whatsoever. In short, “the precautionary principle” is not science.

      A great example of this is compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs (good), which supposedly limits CO2 emissions (which I don’t believe is helping anything really), but they are simply LOADED with Mercury, and if you dispose of them in landfills or break them anywhere at all, a hazardous amount of mercury is released.

      I find it ridiculous that there are stringent regulations on how much mercury can be emitted by a power plant, and yet “environmentalists” are urging us to use light bulbs that are simply loaded with the stuff, and are pitifully easy to break.

      A prime example of where the precautionary principle has led to outright stupidity.

      • Peter,You make a good point about the mercury. though your ominous use of “perhaps intended” smacks of the conspiracy theorizing i just commented on. What “intended” consequences are you hypothesizing?
        In my experience what happens with these sort of environmental issues is that one cause is recognize and is considered of overwhelming importance. so that actions are all compared to that issue without a reasonable assessment of priorities. this is common social psychology and often leads to unintended consequences. However the reality is that the mercury emitted by power plants is many many orders of magnitude higher than the mercury leaked into the environment by broken cfl’s. So there is no real validity to your view that there is a contradiction here. CLf’s certainly need to be properly treated, and that requires more thought thna incandescents, but it has no relevance to the emmision of mercury from power plants, so it is therefore in no way “ridiculous” or outright stupid. there are other contradictoons that are much more valid, but again they are to be expected when there is little understanding of health priorities. the main thing about CLF are that they are a psychological change in the direction of reducing energy use. that is always valuable becuase it support conservation, which is the easiest way to decrease CO2 emmissions. Of course it can also lead to a false sense of “doing” something and lead to being more complacent about much more important factors that could limit emissions.
        You certainly can hold the viewpoint aht AGW is hogwash, and still suppport curbing pollution. You can also not believe in the precautionary principle. And if the evidence fo ACC was as you state “curtailing or eliminating XYZ based upon speculation and insufficient evidence is highly likely to cause unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences such as economic harm, while not actually alleviating any problems whatsoever” I would agree with you that the precautionary principle is meaningless.
        However ACC is neither based on specualtion nor of insufficient evidence, so the analogy is worhtless. One could easily have stated in 1937 that Germany was not a dangeorus threat, that Hitler was a tinpot dictator and he might cause mischief, but aloting lots of resources to contain him would only damage the economy and lead ti increased tensions that might have much worse uninteded consequnces. There were many people who said these sorts fo things. there were others who said. look he is buolding p the military, his rhetoric is over the top, he brutally wiped out or imprisomned all opposition and has literally created ghettos for jews. Sure he is anti communist and a bulwark agaisnt Russia, but what if he overusn western Europe first. Wouldn;t making sure we contain him and not allow his expansionist leanings to bear fruit contian any damage he might due?
        you are right the precautionary principle is not science. it is common sense and rational appraisal of risks. there was clear evidence of Hitlers plans for war, though it was not conclusive, and there is clear evidence of ACC, though all the aspects of it are not clear. You are free to declare valid science hgwash. I will not join you.

  10. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    The Missing Hotspot
    Firstly some issues with logic again:

    “Does the absence of the hotspot prove there is no human-caused climate change?”
    Your question (together with other comments) is conflating several things together and thus by suggesting that that there is a simple yes/no answer (‘prove’ vs presumably ‘disprove’) to the entire question thus tends to suggest that all parts of the question have the same answer and that it is yes/no. Strawman by oversimplification and strawman by conflating multiple things into one.

    ‘No, not necessarily (there can be a theory without the hot spot that still works) but it does call into question the theory itself. If what was predicted by models is not there, we need to know why.’
    Apart from the things I have repeated before about simplifying thinking about uncertainty, additionally you are priming your readers with the presumption that the hot spot is actually missing (the title of this section does the same thing) rather than priming to openly consider 2 possibilities. Missing hotspot, or bad data. Your comments essentially contain the presumption that it is more likely missing rather than bad data, even though there is no good basis for that presumption, rather the oppositeas I will explain shortly.

    ‘While people constantly hear that “the science is settled” when it comes to light that reality and the models do not seem to match’
    How on earth does this statement follow from what went before it???!!! Since the discussion about the hotspot revolves significantly around whether the observational data is reliable or not, no conclusion can be reached whatsoever about what ‘reality’ shows since it is actually what reality actually ‘is’ that is in doubt. This is a huge leap of faulty logic which seems to essentially be a substantial exercise in cConfirmation Bias.

    Then this comment:
    ‘While people constantly hear that “the science is settled”’
    This repeats a common refrain you use. Yet you don’t provide any source for that claim, particularly the ‘people constantly hear’ part. That various parts of the science have varying degrees of confidence is certainly true. Much of it has a high degree of confidence, some of it less so. To try and conflate all of this as being fully settled because you claim this has been said is is again a strawman argument – painting this statement as more black and white than it actually is. Also you give no support in particular for your claim of the frequency of the black and white ‘settled science’ argument; that certainly is not my experience of the blogosphere.

    Now, some science stuff about hotspots.
    A warmer Troposphere/cooler Stratosphere is a fundamental expected signature of an increased greenhouse effect. This because the greenhouse effect is created by the differences in the amount of Infra-red radiation escaping to space that originates in different levels in the atmosphere, particularly the upper Troposphere and lower Stratosphere. With more GH gases added to the atmosphere, the altitude at which IR can escape to space is increased to be in thinner air to compensate for the higher proportion of GH gases present. Thus a higher proprtion of the radiation is from the Stratosphere, less from the Troposphere. With this change i the balance of where the radiation occurs, the Stratosphere will experience cooling relative to the past since it is now losing more radiation.

    In contrast, if warming were to occur due to some other source such as more heat from the Sun, this wouldn’t change the relative proprtions of heat being radiated at different altitudes so there would be a general warming of the atmosphere rather than a differential warming.

    The hotspot on the other hand is predicted from general thermodynamics and is not specific to any particular form of warming. This is the widely understood view, including among skeptic climate scientists. Richard Lindzen for example has said that if the data isn’t showing a hotspot, then the data must be wrong.

    ‘and whether or not using proxies (such as the thermal wind equation) is appropriate, especially if they more closely match the model.’
    The logic of this statement truely is bizarre. You seem to be suggesting that a whether a method should be used depends on what results it gives! Are you actually implying that! Rather than suggesting that methods should be used based on how well the method is likely to give results that have some degree of accuracy based on underlying physical principals!

    Doubts have been raised about the quality of the radiosonde data at high altitude, based on the physical principals of what happens to the radiosonde at that altitude. Since there are doubts about the quality of some data, the usual practice would be to look for another source of data. The physical principals that explain why the wind method would be reasonable are sound. Also the source of the data isn’t going to be affected by any altitude effects the way the radiosondes might be.

    ‘My concern is the proxies that may accepted as better than the radiosondes because of their closer match to the model.’
    You really are suggesting that results are selected based on whether they ‘fit’, rather than because the methods and physics behind them is trusted. Astonishing.

    • Really, not that astonishing.

    • Sorry it took so long to get back to this. I am curious if the instrumental records had matched the theory, what would have alerted the scientists to the need to use proxies? If everything tied together very well and made sense, why would the scientists look elsewhere for validation? I suppose that is why I am suspicious of the use of proxies–if the record had matched, I cannot see scientists throwing out that data and using proxies instead. Perhaps you know why the readings would have been tossed if they agreed with the data?

  11. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    ‘There is less confidence in projections of’ … ‘I interpret this as … The projections in the global decrease in cyclones are not based on observed trends, but rather some other variables’
    I suggest that is a quite incorrect interpretation. Again you are using a form of black and white reasoning, and non-quantitative reasoning. Their statement relates to whether the data they do have on cyclones is sufficient to state whether there has actually been a true decline in numbers, or whether it is just random variability with no clear trend. They are not using some ‘other variables’, they are commenting on the degree to which they can draw a conclusion from the variable they are using. The giveaway here is the word ‘confidence’. In any sort of scientific communication, and often when scientists are attempting to communicate with non-scientists, one needs to be aware of the need to translate from Scientific English, to Colloquial English. Confidence here is being used in the Scientific English form where it is a measure of Statistical Significance, which again is the scientific use of the word significance, not the colloquial one.

    Already you have used 3 words – accuracy, error, confidence – that should all be given a ‘red flag’; this word has a different meaning in a scientific context. You need to take that altered meaning into account when reading anything related to science when forming your judgements about it. Also, when writing for your audience you need to be sure that your message reflects that AND that if you use a ‘red-flagged’ word in your text, particularly in any direct quotation, that you provide an explanation to your readers of it’s applicable meaning or they may draw the wrong conclusion. You have to be the translator because you can’t rely on your readers to even know that a translation is required.

    ‘Larger storms are higher than simulated by models, calling into question the models used. If the models are not accurate, then the conclusions based on these models are based on inaccurate information. There is reason for skepticism concerning the accuracy of the modeling associated with hurricanes.’
    A range of issues with these statements. Much of this revolving how you are using concepts of doubt and uncertainty without ever attempting to convey a sense, or even the need to think in terms of a sense, of degree of uncertainty.
    – ‘calling into question the models used’. Yes, true as a black and white statement. But what degree of uncertainty? The Models? What, every aspect of a model? every physical process they model? All of these things are all in question because the model is wrong to some degree about one aspect? See my comment previously about using a word like accuracy without being careful to give it a quantitative meaning. How do you know to what extent this degree of inaccuracy in one result influences the degree of accuracy of other results and predictions? If you can’t give answers to those sort of questions, then you can’t give any sort of answer to how much uncertainty is involved.

    Therefore you have to be extremely careful in your use of language to guard against your readers over-generalising from your comments. You convey a sense of great uncertainty when actually the best you can say is that you don’t know enough to even estimate what the uncertainty is – again, trying to convey to your readers the need to think of things like uncertainty in quantitative terms, to counter the natural bias in human nature towards seeing things in black and white, either/or terms. Those statements without a strong ‘I don’t know enough to form any conclusion from this’ warning makes them quite misleading.

    ‘Al Gore may or may not have been wrong about intensity (due to the new measurement methods) but he was certainly wrong about more hurricanes. This was known by 2006 when the movie came out.’
    Again, it’s not about Al Gore. And it wasn’t wrong about more cyclones (using the word hurricane brings an American bias into your comments when we are talking of a possible global trend) unless the prediction was specifically for more cyclones by 2004! And so what if it was wrong anyway? To what degree would it be wrong and how significant is that to the evaluation of broader questions of climate change?

    • I was addressing a specific claim with the hurricanes. It is important that all claims made be accurate. Brushing aside errors is not in the interest of science. Saying “so what does it matter anyway” implies that errors are acceptable if they don’t seem to harm the overall theory. Perhaps so, but hurricanes are addressed in the science and people look at the data and see that hurricanes are not increasing. (As for intensity increasing, maybe, but newer measurement techniques can easily skew the data to make it look like more are occurring when actually we just estimate wind speeds and categories more accurately.)

      There is only so much that can be done to counter the natural bias in human beings. I state what I have researched and found to be the most probable. That’s the limits of what I can do.

  12. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    ‘Al Gore’
    Oh good grief! How predictable. Skeptics have an absolute fixation with seeing things through the lens of a focusing on what a few individuals say. So many logical fallacies in that.
    – That a focus on individuals is more meaningful than a focus on the science; that we evaluate a message by focusing on who the messenger is and thus possibly whether the identity of the messenger might evoke antipathy or not – a patently misleading trick in rhetoric.
    – That if an individuals reporting or statements about something have any errors that in some way that this constitutes a doubt about the thing they are reporting on.
    – That the science of Climate Change can be reduced down to considering just a small number of individuals. This is a fundamental strawman line of thinking. By reducing ones thinking down to a few individuals one reduces the thing you are considering to a simplified microcosm of the reality. Reducing anything to a simplified version then attacking the simplified version is always a strawman.

    ‘In “An Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore claimed there would be an increase in global hurricane numbers and intensity.
    This has not occurred and may not have even been predicted at the time.’

    More fallacies and faulty logic.
    – Al Gore didn’t ‘claim’ anything! Al Gore reported that climate Scientists ‘claim’ something. He is just the messenger boy, see my comments above.
    – ‘would be’. Did he say that, or did he say something like ‘likely to be’? Dunno, I haven’t seen the movie. However, if he didn’t use a word suggesting certainty of outcome but rather likelihood of outcome then your reduction of your comment to a statement of certainty is a strawman by simplification.
    – ‘would be an increase’. By when? Did Al spell out the time frame? If he was referring to a future time frame, then you claim that it hadn’t happened yet, even though that future time may not have arrived yet then you are making a huge logical fallacy. I might predict that it will rain tomorrow. You reply, but it hasn’t rained today therefore your prediction is wrong. Don’t you see the fundamental fallacy in that?
    – You cite two predictions then claim that ‘This has not occurred’ when in fact, even by what you reference below it, one of them actually has occurred. Your statement is actually wrong in fact.

    ‘Comparisons to data before this measurement came in will not provide an accurate picture’
    – Faulty reasoning here because you are treating accuracy’ as a black and white concept. What degree of accuracy? What degree of accuracy is needed? How do you assess the degree of inaccuracy of earlier values? If, hypothetically, those previous readings where wrong by +/-5% and then using those earlier readings a change of 10% has been observed, we can say with certainty that a change of some extent has occurred, but we are less certain of how much. Data is never something to simply be accepted or rejected. All data has accuracies and one never ignores the possibility of gaining some insight from the data available just because we would like it to be more accurate. Some insight is better than none. Since you haven’t attempted to address this your reader can’t assess whether you have made a good judgement or have engaged in a strawman by oversimplification again.

    • Glen: Tony, in Examing Science, part 2, asked why I so objected to the Gore movie. It was his question that prompted this. Sadly, people do very much evaluate the message by the messenger. It’s a fact of life–though I would say it is one we need to educate people on. To many people, climate change exists because Al Gore said so.

  13. Reality,
    The points you just made seem to be either invalid or not terribly important.
    The documentary is flawed, but on only minor points. ACC theory and the physics behind it very clearly shows that an increase in water temperature results in more powerful storms. The article you posted supports that general conclusion as does empirical evidence since then. Gore’s point about hurricanse was not “wrong”, though I agree that it was not supported universally by experts in hurricane formation. Saying they would increase in frequency has not been borne out, but I am QUITE sure that the victims of Irene ( I live in VT ) and Sandy ( I also live in NY) are not at all upset with Gore for saying that hurricanes are going to be a problem due to ACC. His film was mostly about FUTURE consequences of ACC, so NOAA’s data does not show his claim as being false ( unless he stated that this was already happening). As an example, even if Gore is wrong about that particular, I would not fire a general who said that Hitler was going to attack Belgium first and then Poland, and replace him with a general that said Hitler was just a typical small time dictator who posed no threat to America or our allies in Europe. If temps DO increase by 2-3° in the next 50-80 years no one will be saying bad things about Gore’s film. Likewise unless there is some major new revelations about many different proxies for temps, no one is going to find fault with Marcott et al.
    Yes you Can credit climate scientists for the term cliamte change, you just can’t accuse them of changing the tern for nefarious purposes.
    Also I eas not talking about comment policy regarding blogs I was talking about the views espoused by the authors, who refuse to accept any information that supports climate change and uncritically accept any information that denies it. Those people do not correct well known incorrect views from commenters as long as they attack ACC. Comment policy is a different matter.

    and your argument that I have made it impossible for you to find someone who is calling for a retraction of the Marcott paper is logically ridiculous. Of course there are literally thousdns of scientists who do not have a history of attacking ACC, SOME of whom must surely be honest. Any of thme would be quite acceptable.
    You are also completely wrong in saying how I have defined the people you incorrectly label as skeptics. Just becuase someone has an agenda agaisnt ACC does not make their views off limits to me. I learn a lot from sites that have an agenda agaisnt ACC, and occasionally I get inforamtion ithat is important that i would likely not get form other sources. that is why I read them. A communist or NAZI is capable of having valid points, and i do not dismiss ANY point of view just becuase i disagree with the position the person espousing that view holds.
    I do not in ANY way reject Freeman’s views for the reason you state, and I was very clear about why I rejected his views. He has SPECIFICALLY said that he knows nothing about the actual science or any of the details about climate change and has refused to talk with experts about his disagreements with them. I reject his rejection becuase his rejection does NOT come from an analysis of the science but form his view that his understanding fo the principles involved in modeling is more valid than the actual modelers. I take his view to be arrogant and issufficent to affect my opinion at all. he DOES bring up important issues, and his views were interesting to me.
    I actually have disagreements about various aspects of ACC and have read and discusssed disagreements between supporters of ACC. I have no problem with ANY disagreement with ACC as LONG as it has a valid scientific premis and some empirical evidence behind it. I disagreed vehemently with the few arctic scientists who predicted a new record SIE minimum last summer.
    I disagree with hansen who has said a 5 meter sea level rise could happen this century. I disagree with many people about many aspects of implementation of renewables and about the economics of it. iAs I have repeatedly told you i consider it possible that there are mitigating factors taht are not known that could significantly limit temp increase due to CO2. especially in the biological sphere. I consider cloud dynamics to be enough of an unknown to potentially mitigate tempo increases significantly. I think that deep ocean heat uptake could lengthen the time for the full effects of CO2 on temp to a much larger degree than most supporters of ACC.
    My actual statments and discussion with you completely contradict your assertion that I will not accept anyone who disagrees with ACC. So i question why you would contend such an assertion when there is nothing in what I have written that suggests that possibility

    • I explained I do not have the time to go through the entire movie–perhaps a later entry, though Glen won’t be happy with that. Someone will be unhappy either way. You will believe what you believe, I will believe what I believe.

      The reason I doubt that I can find an authority you will accept is you keep referring to skeptics as having “an agenda”. I will try and ignore that and see if you will accept any of my references in the future.

    • I gave you three references on the problems and questions on the Marcott paper.

  14. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    “Always has, always will. My point was, that ALL ON ITS OWN, in spite of what us puny little humans do, we get EVERYTHING from Ice Ages, to the Roman Optimum, and everything in between.”

    Correct. Climate changes. For all sorts of reasons. Caused by a range of factors through a range of cause and effect mechanisms. Most of which are understood fairly well.

    And we humans have now grabbed hold of the levers, grabbed hold of some of those factors and are changing them ourselves. We are manipulating some of the very things that caused climate to change in the past. So if climate changed in the past due to a factor changing, and we change that factor today, why is the idea that climate would change today so hard to accept.

    As to us being puny. Peter, no we are not! We are now one of the most powerful forces on the planet. A few bits of information to highlight that point.

    Since the beginning of human agriculture, the amount of sediment flowing down the worlds rivers has tripled compared to the long term, geological average. The long term average over geological time is around 10 billion tonnes a year. Now the worlds rivers are carrying around 28 billion tonnes. Erosion due to our use of land is changing the world.

    It is now commonplace for major mining projects to routinely remove billions, 10’s of billion of tonnes of overburden to reach ore bodies underneath. We are carving the tops of mountains, delving vast holes in the Earth that will take millions of years to fill.

    Total geothermal heat, all the energy that flows out from the Earth is at the rate of around 47 TeraWatts. Total human energy consumption is around 16-17 TeraWatts – 40% If our use of energy continues to grow on it’s historical trend within 40 years humans will be consuming as much energy as all the geothermal heat produced by the Earth.

    We have devastated entire fisheries that have never recovered. When the USA was settled, in less than a century or so one of the most prolific birds in the world, the Passenger Pigeon, which was estimated to have had a population of around 6 billion was extinct. We are changing the chemistry of the oceans.

    From all the evidence we have from past geology a period 55 million years ago called the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was the situation closest to our current situation. It was warmer than now, then a major event that released large amounts of CO2 & Methane into the atmosphere caused the world to warm rapidly by further 4-6 degC. A substantial extinction occurred. Ocean Acidification occurred devastating marine life – we have the fossils showing the damage. A shutdown of ocean currents must have occurred, causing the ocean depths to be deprived of oxygen and turn anoxic. Massive build up of toxic Hydrogen Cyanide occurred in the depths. We know that because we have seen the layer of sulfur-rich black mudstone that can only form in those conditions.

    And we have detailed sediment cores telling us how quickly CO2 built up in the atmosphere during the PETM.

    And CO2 is building up in the atmosphere today 10 TIMES faster than it did back then.

    Every year, in one year, we burn amounts of Fossil Fuels that took 100,000’s of years to be laid down.

    There are 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet Peter, with massive technology at our disposal. We are not puny! We are a Geological Force. That is the whole point.

  15. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    Yes they have changed since the early reports. Do you understand why?

    The first report in 1990 was based on the available research a quarter of a century ago! A hell of a lot of research has been done since then so now we have a much better idea of what occurred in the past.

    Essentially the first graph was based on the record of temperature from one location – central England. The field of science called paleoclimatology had barely begun prior to 1990 so they presented the limited data that was available. In later reports they were able to include results based on much much more data, including, importantly, data from around the world rather than just one region. What this larger body of data shows is the warm period reported in Europe during the medieval period, the only region they had data for in 1990, was replicated around the world. Some parts of the world were warmer then, some cooler. Overall it was only a little bit warmer globally back then, if at all.

    In contrast the data does suggest that the Little Ice Age was more global in nature, with an obvious culprit for why – the Maunder (and perhaps Dalton) Minimums.

    So exactly what was the point of your comment?

  16. Tony–I do not have the time to go through the Gore movie right now. Perhaps later. In a documentary, I consider false claims VERY serious, as are errors in fact. I think one owes it to their viewers. Even if there is only one “mistake” on hurricanes, that is very bad. Gore is a spokesman for climate change and received a Nobel Prize. That means he does not get cut any slack. Errors are errors. One is too many, especially when the data was there when the movie was made.

    NOAA’s data shows Al Gore’s claim was false. If you won’t accept NOAA, it’s pointless to discuss this.

    So I can go back to crediting climate change advocates for the term “climate change”?

    Thank you for the offer to point out blogs that accept no views that disagree but I know of blogs that that limit input both on the skeptic and believing sides. You can save the effort.

    Your comment: show me anyone that does NOT have a history of attacking ACC who is calling for a retraction” results in it being impossible for me to name any one you will accept. You have effectively said I cannot answer the question any way but what you choose for me. It’s asking me to lift a rock that is too heavy to lift–a logical impossibility. You have DEFINED skeptics as having an agenda in virtually every case. No matter who I present, you will reject it. The same for anyone who dared to disagree. I believed you would reject Freeman for exactly the reason you did–even though he quit the field because he believed the models were very flawed, as long as he does not have the title of “acceptable climate scientist”, you reject him. There’s NO way to answer your questions when you set up a logical impossibility: You define who is acceptable and then tell me to find one among those who disagrees. You will not include anyone who disagrees. A rock too heavy to lift.

    I am pointing out flaws in the paper-It’s what a good scientist does. Looks for flaws in the theory to be sure nothing has been missed.

    Try checking http://www.theinconvenientskeptic.com for further analysis of the paper.

    Others commenting on the paper:
    https://www.facebook.com/bjornlomborg/posts/552303471456645I (believes in climate change)

  17. peter,
    Without describing what “stable” means it is a rather meaningless tern. the global temps in the holocene, according to this paper, have not varied by more than about 2°C. If your standard is 3°C then that is prety stable. if your standard is 1° C then it isn’t. they certianyl show a HUGE change form the last ice age. I don’t think they would acall that stable. Don’t see waht your point is. And with current temps rising significantly int he last century and CO2 the likely ofrcing of much of that, the argument agaisnt stability seems to lend credence to the idea of dangerous consequences from ACC

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      There is no “anthropogenic” climate change. Never has been. However, climate changes NATURALLY all of the time. Always has, always will. My point was, that ALL ON ITS OWN, in spite of what us puny little humans do, we get EVERYTHING from Ice Ages, to the Roman Optimum, and everything in between. As late as 2001, even the hallowed IPCC admitted this, but they no longer do.

      Look at how the IPCC temperature graphs have changed since 2001!!!

  18. finally you assert that it is worng to blindly accept a scientific paper. I agree. Yes MArcott specifically sadi that the most recent proxies are not robust. that rather undermines the objections of those with an agenda against ACC, and the calls for a retraction. EVERYONE agrees that that is the case. So what makes you question the analysis of the paper. Is there other research that you know of that disputes or calls into question this paper?if not and you are just dismissing it becuase it can’t be proven you are not using science. Does this paper mean that we know everything about Holocene temps? no and no one suggests that. it is however, evidence and unless someone shows that the evidence is wrong, there is no valid scientific reason to object to it

  19. As for retracting the marcott paper, you are once again making assertions with no basis in fact. it is actually possible to objectiviely determine WHO is calling for a retraction. the only ones I have seen are form those with an agenda agaisnt ACC. where as I have sen no calls for retraction from any one else. It is a logical fallacy to therefore make a comparison to those that support ACC as the only ones not calling for a retraction. If you can give show me anyone that does NOT ahve a history of attacking ACC who is calling for a retraction you might have the beginnings of a point. there are literally thousands of scientists who have the expertise to analyse and call for a retraction of this paper and it has gotten a tremendous amount of publicity. if there are grounds for retraction there it seems reasonable that there would be many scientists who are not beholden to the theory of ACC who would come forward and demand a retration. Unless YOU are postiing a conspiracy oamong almost all scientists competent to analyze the paper.
    your referal to Freeman Dyson as somehow proving that ACC cannot be disagreed with is another false connection. i have listeened to Freeman Dyson’s commplaint’s and he freely admits he has not understadniong of the specifics of the science since the 1970’s, and his objections are based on his ‘feeling” that models are not adequately reflecting reality. Certainly a reasonable position to take, but he has not bothered to look at or engage specifically with anyone aboust any speciifc issue. he raises some valid points but does not dispute any specific evidence. So his objectiosn may have theoretical validity but are not actually adressing any of the specific science of cliamte change. If that has changed in the last couple of years I would be interested in his analysis.

  20. Reality,

    you are once again ignoring the ponts I am making and making conclusions that do not seem to be based on much other than your feeling. Gore’s movie had innacuracies. In my view they were minor. The one instance you bring up is NOT a major point that in any way invaldiates the premise of the movie. It is an issue that is not resolved. If you have more substantive problems with the movie let me know and we can discuss that actual facts.

    I find it rather odd that you are suggesing to me to present compelling evidence to change your opinion. That is what I have been asking of you in almost all my comments. As you know. i use that long phrase because you have arbitrarily banned the use of the word that the phrase is describing. i have been very specific in my definition of that word and told you repeatedly in what contexts i would use it, yet apparently you will not accept a descriptive word to be used if it offends your sense of what is acceptable. I have no problem with the word alarmist. it is descriptive and i think it fits people like Hansen and McKibben quite accurately. If you want me to present evidence of blogs that do not accept any evidecne supporting ACC and accept any evidence against ACC uncritically, i am happy to do so. if I do that will you allow me to use the banned term? That would be worth the effort on my part.
    Also a minor correction the term “cliamte change” has been used for many decades by cliamte scientists. the ISSUE is that those that object to climate change have acccused cliamte scientists of changing Global warming to climate change in an effort to mislead the public. Both climate ACC and global warming are fine for general use, but it is a historical fact that Frank Luntz sugested Republicans use Cliamte change as a way to make global warming sound less dangerous.

  21. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Marcott et al along with many other paleo-reconstructions I have seen, makes the false claim that climate had “stability” in the past. Nope… never had it, and never will. It has upper and lower bounds that are not terribly well characterized, but that’s about it.


    A fairly unbiased history of the past 15,000 years or so of Earth’s climate. As you can see, “stability” is nowhere to be found.

  22. Al Gore received a nobel prize based on his “documentary”. Yes, I did expect accuracy.

    Your constant referral to “blogs where no one will accept any contradictory ideas” is interesting. Science is not a political process–or it was not supposed to be–where one “compromises” or agrees to go along with some evidence to be deemed reasonable. If the evidence is not compelling and the studies seem flawed, a scientist and a reasonable person does not agree to it. Perhaps some overdo it, but there is no reason to keep using the term. If compelling evidence presents, I will adjust my beliefs. Thus far, I have altered some ideas that I went in with due to new evidence (and corrected a false belief that climate change advocates created the term “climate change”). I will agree with things when the evidence is sufficient, not to just sound reasonable to someone. Present me with evidence that is compelling and I will adjust.

    Your statement “The calls for retracting the paper are ONLY coming from those with an agenda gaisnt ACC that I can see. ” is equivalent to “The persons who believe the paper are only those who are part of the ACC agenda as far as I can see.” It might also classify as a conspiracy belief, though it would be a very mild correlation. In truth, virtually no one can ever disagree with ACC or they are declared to have an agenda. The New York times called Freeman Dyson a heretic for disagreeing with the modeling in ACC, yet the man is a genius who is compared to Einstein. This effectively eliminates all possibility of the theory being proven wrong–no one can prove it wrong because if you don’t believe it, you have an agenda and an agenda makes you wrong.

    Marcott states IN THE PAPER and multiple interviews that the data for the last 100 years is NOT robust. He makes that statement about other data also. The certainty is not there. Should I disregard his assessment of his own paper? (It appears that the peer-reviewed version is not quite the same as the paper, though I cannot prove that since there is a paywall to the paper. I have to go by those who have read and reviewed the paper who are making the claims of errors.)

    The point is to make sure they are not wrong. It is unacceptable and wrong to not question science. Science is not god and is not infallible. Part of the process of science is falsifiability. If the theory cannot be proven wrong, there is a problem. This is more difficult when dealing with probability studies, but it does apply. There are statistical methods for dealing with this. No science should be given a free pass. Looking for errors is a basic part of the scientific method.

  23. Reality,
    good to see that you are engaging in a failry coonstructive manner.
    Yes Gore’s movie was not completely accurate. It was a movie advocating for decreasing CO2 emissions not a treatise on Hurricanes. Your’s is a valid criticism and does not undermine the key premises of the movie. Are you suggestiong that if some idea is not backed up perfectly by the exact state of the understanidng of the science then the entire idea is therefore invalid?
    there are a few other areas where the movie is either incorrect or exaggerats or is not how I would present the issue, yet on the whole, for a piece that is for the general public and for the science explained I think it did a good job and fairly explaiend the sciecne for what was known at the time.
    You can dismiss Irene and Sandy if you want, but they are impirical evidence taht completely supports a key element of ACC theory. In looking at the paper you posted on hurricanes it seems that there is other empirical evidence BEFORE Irene and Sandy that suggested the possibility of those two storms, as had been predicted by people like hansen. Hundred year events are not supposed to happen two years in a row and dismissing them in my mind is just trying to ignore reality They may not be conclusive, but they sure as hell ought to be paid attention to.

    As for Marcott, i think you are again misunderstaidng the scientific process or what the paper is actually about, which seems oddd. You clearly have read quite a bit about it, but you inly seem to be suggestiong ideas I have seen in blogs run by “people who “refuse to accept any evidence that supports ACC and accept uncritically any evidence that does not support ACC”. the paper is analyzing OTHER research that has been peer reviewed that shows proxies for temperatures from numerous sources and from various different time periods. yes, it is only one paper but it seems to totally confirm all the other research that has ben conducted on overlapping time periods. there is nothing about this paper that presents an issue of quality about the data used because it si agregating data from other direct research/ that is EXACTLY why it is so useful. because it is just firming up the understandign that has already been established and it is showing that the numeros other direct research attempts have ben consistant and are likely accurate.
    The authors clealry state in their paper and in public comments that the most recent data is not accurate, they do not vouch for it and make no claims that it syas anything worth discussing. So the arguments about that data are moot. they PRESENTED the data as has bee the demands from those who “refuse to accept any evidence that supports ACC and accept uncritically any evidence that does not support ACC”, and are quite happy to compare their stdy with the current instrumental records. their data appears to fit fairly well with that data.
    The calls for retracting the paper are ONLY coming from those with an agenda gaisnt ACC that I can see. And you have not addresse my initial points about the paper and have mischaracterized wha i actually wrote.
    Of course the paper needs to be checked and other research needs to be compared to it. If there is other research that shows it to be wrong or innacurate or in some other way lacking then of course it’s conclusions should be re assessed, but since it seems to reaffirm other research that has already been published why would one question the results if there is no research taht contradicrts it. it is rather unscientifif to refuse to accep tje conclusions of a paper if it confirms what has already been studied.
    If i see mainstream scientists poinitng out problems that affect the conclusions of the paper I would be hapy to reassess my opinion, but as yet i see none. Again the ONLy paper I have seen retracted is the Wegman paper that attacked the Mann paper that has NOT been retracted.
    Agian none of these papers is going to be perfect because of the various levels of uncertainty inherent int he subject. the point is not to look for ways that they might be wrong, but to see waht information they give that is adequate enough to come to likely conclusions.

    I too found the article interesting and am glad you posted it. Yes new information iike that can impact large aspects of an issue like climate science. i am sure our understanidng wlll be different in 20 years in significant ways, and i assume it will be much more sophisticated and accurate, and predictions will be much less uncertain by then

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      How do you account for the far more frequent and far more powerful hurricanes which affected the New York Area prior to the “global warming era”???


      As you can see, the most powerful, most destructive hurricanes all seem to have hit the New York area prior to 1973, and were far more numerous before “global warming”

  24. Quick answers–will try to return later with more. Internet is very slow for the last few days. Could be the snowstorm.

    page 15 gives number and intensity per decade for many years
    One of the charts I was working from went to 2004. Even if Gore had data only to 2000, there is no trend. I got the information from the NOAA website, though not the document listed above.

    As for Irene and Sandy (cat 3 and cat 2) hitting the east coast two years in a row, that has no significance other than it is probably interesting to people. Two incidents that occur in a row do not show pattern or have any statistical significance. It takes a minimum of 3 to go to pattern and considerably more to show an enduring pattern.

    Marcott: I did not dispute that graph behind the last 150 years.
    The paper itself is just a paper. It proves nothing until the data has been re-analyzed and confirmed by other researchers. That is how science is supposed to work. Your assertion that it does not work that way just means my lack of belief in some of the science theories and data is well-founded. It’s bad science if no one is replicating the study and verifying the methodology and results.

    There is an effort, I believe, to get the paper retracted or at least to address the inaccuracies. Things take time, as you well know.
    (You can check out the thesis. It’s online.)

    Yubanet: If the climate does not respond to CO2 now as it did in the past, then current models that go back to the time before the change should reflect that. In as much as few models go back that far, it may to be possible to actually verify if they do or do not. However, If the climate behaved differently in the past, in order to fully understand why CO2 would be causing an increase now, it would be important to understand why it did not back then. Something changed–and if we knew what it was, we would have a better idea of how the totality of climate functions. IF the change occurred, why it occurred could help us deal with any CO2 induced changes now. There’s no guarantee. The study presented an interesting new idea. Of course it is not at all proven and does not currently change anything in the climate science debate. Not everything is an attack on CAGW. Some of what I post is just because I find new ideas interesting.

  25. Reality

    So there are some important issues here. i am glad you are posting science and then making comments that can be discussed reasonably.
    I agree that Gore was likely wrong about the hurricane issue. this is something that I ahve never been convinced about, and is something Pilke has long been complaining about, and he has real expertise in this issue. rthe idea that it was “known” by the tome the movie came out is a problematic statement. Movies are no tmade instantaneously and I knwo there were scientists making this claim even in the last few years. I agree with you that this sort of thing should not have ben included but I see it in no way being “dishonest”. the movie was a movie that was advocating doing soemtuing about CO2 and this was an issue that had more thna a fringe nimber of scientists supporting when the movie came out. Yes, one can question the overall validity of modesl based on innacuracies, but I nver saw this as a crucial test of the models for ACC. And I certianly think it has been shown that the overall energy of some hurricanes has increased dramatically. I do not know how the anecdotal stacks up to the statisitcal but the fact that Irene and Sandy happened in subsequent years on the east coast. both of them being huge storms with more overall energy than amost any other atlantic storms (if that is correct) indicate a corroboration of the idea that increased temps from ACC cause increase in energy and size of storms by increasing the total water content of storms. this to me is valuable empricial evidence that supports ACC, even while it may show that there are impantant aspects of models that are innacurate ( storm strength and frequency).
    On the other hand your assertion of Marcott being outright fraud seems like pure propaganda to me. I have read numeorus accounts about this paper, and the only issue seemse to be that blogs and scientists who opposes ACC are upset that the Mrcott paper has an analysis that states modern temp increase is possibly unprecedented. I have seen absolutely no objections to the actual science in the paper aside from some statistical tehniques that at least some experts in statisitcs consider to be quite valid. Marcott and authors madequite clear that ther proxies in the most recent data are not particuarly valid, but that is rahter moot since we have actual temps for the last 100 years so there is no relevance to the actual content of their paper.
    if you can link to any scientific examination that contends their analysis for anything but the last 150 years is innacurate please show it to me. i would be rather shocked at not ahving seen it since clearly all the anti ACC blogs would have been touting that analysis quite strongly. All the objections I have seen have been for the proxies in the recent past, which are of very limited number and of dubious accuracy. Just the fact that there has been no refutation of the vast majority of the analysis and that they admit both in the paper and in public pronouncements that the most recent proxies are not important reinforces my belief that those that don;t eant to believe in ACC are desperate to find any excuse to attack any science that supporters of ACC can use to bolster their case. it seems transparently political to me.
    Your assessment of what “should” have been done seems like a miisunderstaind of how science works. It seem pretty obvious to me that if they had NOT included the most recent data they would have been accused of hiding information and attacked for that. they included ALL The data, and ecpalined that the final parts of it were highly innacurate. this in no way invalidates the rest of the data nor does it invalidate actual intrumental temperture.
    The idea that the “rest” of the graph should have been verified utside fo the paprs authors once again indicates to me you do not understadn how science is done or how peer review works. If it was peer reviewed and it was in Scince that means that at least one or two reviewers and likely more DID independantly check their analysis. And now likley dozens if not hundreds of people with expertise in this ausse have checked it and found nothing worng with the science or the data. Just people who “refuse to accept any evidence that supports ACC and accept uncritically any evidence that does not support ACC).
    This same sort of hysterics greeted the BEST paper which so shocked those who “refuse to accept any evidence that supports ACC and accept uncritically any evidence that does not support ACC”, and caused hundreds of blog posts in attempts to discredit it.
    If there is real fraud in the paper, i find it hard to beleive that the thousadns fo scientists that can judge that would remain silent and NOT force it to be retracted. Again i point out to you that the only cliamte articel i know that has been retracted is the Wegman article which attacked the Mann hockey stick in a similar way.

    Similarly your yubanet article does suggest intersting changes to the udnerstanding of how CO2 impacts climate, and o ahd not read the specifics of the hypothesis suggested int he articel. but i have read numerous explanations aof past climate change related to changes in the physical structire fo the continents adn ocean currents. that concept has been weel established and I do not know how this specific possibility impact actual cliamte models. You imply that this paepr somehow throws into questiont eh validity of cliamte models on a very baisc level. I do not know enough aboit the issue to make such a bold claim. Can you explain your understanding of how climate models actually operate and why this would lead them to be less reliable than previuously thought?
    The specifics of the articel said that CO2 is actually more important than in previuous eras ( the Miocene in particualr) and that the argument of those that “refuse to accept any evidence that supports ACC and accept uncritically any evidence that does not support ACC” is less valid than even climate modeling would currently suggest.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s