What are the odds?

Graham Readfearn—Desmog Blog

“From hot to fractionally less hot, here are the planet’s ten warmest years on record – 2015, 2014, 2010, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2009, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

These are the numbers according to NASA and include measurements taken on land and at sea in a record that goes back to the year 1880.

Now that’s a pretty remarkable run of hot years for an era when, according to the rusted-on professional climate science denialists, global warming was supposed to have stopped.

But what are the chances of getting a run of “hottest on record” years like that – 14 of the 16 hottest years all happening since 2000 – without all the extra greenhouse gases that humans have been judiciously stockpiling in the atmosphere and oceans?

Well, the chances of this happening, climate scientist Professor Michael Mann tells me, are… wait for it…  one-in-13000.  Mann, of Penn State University, is the lead author of a new paper published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

The study takes in data up to 2014, when the chance of that hot streak was one-in-10000.  Since the study was submitted, Mann has re-run the numbers to include the new “hottest year” of 2015, giving us the one-in-13000 number.”

Hillary won several primary delegates with a 15 in 1000 odds for coin tosses. Odds are just that—odds. They matter only in Las Vegas and other gambling institutions. “Odds” do not prove causality. Even p-values are of very limited use in establishing cause.  In the past, a low p-value was said to show causality, but over time, the goal was to produce a p-value of a desired size and one could manipulate the data to get that answer. Plus, some low p-values “proved” theories that could not be verified with additional research.  It happens over and over that what is a 1 in a million chance happens, sometimes three or four times in a short period. There is NOTHING in this study that proves humans are causing anything or that the globe will get hotter. Statistics are highly manipulative and can be used to prove anything you like if you care nothing about science or procedure. My college statistics books included “How to Lie with Statistics”. We also covered in marketing psychology how to influence people by presenting statistics in a certain way and getting them to buy our products. None of this is about actual “hard” science—it’s guesswork with a computer and carefully chosen wording to SELL the product. Science is about sales now, not truth.

The same technique is used with so-called extreme events.  A 100 year flood does not mean a flood of this size occurs once in a hundred years, but people believe it does because that’s what it sounds like.  It means a flood of this size has a 1% chance of occurring in any one year.  A flood of said size can occur two years in row, also.

Science has less than 200 years of temperature measurement, much of it adjusted or estimated, yet we are to believe that the current warm years are the harbinger of doom.  That’s no rational.  We do not know any such thing.

DSCN4733

What are the odds of seeing me?

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What Has Not Been Addressed

“Having the reality of the destructive forces presented by climate change fully register with people, so they will to act with the needed urgency, is indeed a challenge. And, while the physical and environmental effects of global warming are studied and described, what has rarely been addressed, and is as compelling a topic as any, are the psychological impacts.”
National Wildlife Federation

What has not been addressed is the psychological effect of scamming millions of people based on modeling of a phenomena that is not actually occurring in an effort to get people to hand over cash and let their lives be dictated by the elite rulers of the world. What has not been addressed is the the effect of lying and misleading an entire population telling them humans control the weather and if bad weather occurs, it’s only because humans were so evil and bad as to burn the oil and gas they found for heat and electricity. What has not been addressed is the anger and rage that will be felt when blizzards, tornadoes, heat waves and floods increase in spite of people living in dire poverty in a vain effort to control that which they can never control. What has not been addressed is why people were shamed and humiliated, to point of suicide in some cases, for engaging in activities that better their lives. What has not been addressed is how to explain to children that the environmentalists killed all the eagles, bats and eventually drove to near extinction hundreds of species of animals via their lust for renewable, useless sources of energy. What has not been addressed is the landscape carnage left behind by those useless sources of energy, a barren landscape with ghost towers and broken glass panels everywhere, reminders of what damage greed and lack of caring can do to the planet. What has not been addressed is what happens when the reality of the lie of global warming becomes undeniable.

Call me when it’s safe out there.

Latest developments

News on the global warming front:

Environmentalists reportedly tried unsuccessfully to revoke Doug Ericksen’s degree in political science and environmental policy because the senator opposed mandatory cap-and-trade and low-carbon fuel standards. (http://watchdog.org/220270/environmentalists/)

Seems you either tow the line with the radical environmentalist philosophies or else. Trying to take away a degree that was earned as punishment for disagreement may be a new low. (Actually, see below for the newest low.)

Seems it’s very chilly the world over (except for India) and yet it’s almost the hottest April on record. One has to wonder how there can be snow on Memorial Day in Maine, snow in New Zealand, below average temperatures over much of the US and yet it’s hotter than ever. Of course, the global warming advocates are going to say “That’s not global” (neither is India. yet that has not stopped the headlines about global warming and dying citizens of India) but it seems to be very, very widespread. This is a good example of where using “average” can lead to very different ideas than just looking at the temperatures themselves. No one has yet to explain clearly and concisely why averaging widely disparate values after homogenizing them is better than just looking at the data.

Speaking of homogenized values, I am still searching for an explanation of why people are putting their faith in data that is constantly adjusted and often estimated. If the data is that poor, we have a serious problem. Every uncertainty, from the estimated values to the corrections for time of day, missing stations, and many others, the uncertainty accumulated would huge. Consider that temperatures vary radically as little as 5 miles away. A day can start out hot and then get much colder and vice versa. Yes, there are mathematical formulas used for the adjustments. Some are automated. I don’t know that I see this as sinister, but more as a huge introduction of uncertainty. Using data that has to be massaged at every turn is not very good science. The impatience with waiting for accurate data is part of the problem.

Consider: You go to your physician and he weighs you. He then subtracts the 2 lbs he guesses your shoes weigh. Your blood pressure reading seems a bit off. There were problems with the cuff in the past, so he subtracts 10 points top and bottom to cover the cuff not being accurate. Then he takes your temperature. This is adjusted by 2 degrees because he has not been able to get the thermometer properly calibrated. When writing your prescription, he gives you 80 tablets for 90 days at one per day because most people skip a few days so why include those days? He then bills you for a 15 minute visit and adjusts the cost based on his computer software not calculating accurately. At some point in all of this, one should begin to wonder about how accurate your doctor’s diagnosis and examinations are. The cumulative error starts to grow and grow.

Yet, temperatures used in global warming calculations are adjusted over and over. The fact that we do not have a good record of temperatures should have been a clue that it’s highly unlikely we can reach 95% certainty on the predictions. Rather than admit this, the adjustments continue, as the public starts to wonder about the reality of global warming. Add that to the obvious mismatch between what people see and what is being told to us, and one can see why global warming’s credibility is waning.

Update on a new low for so-called climate science: http://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/news/release/whitehouse-compares-climate-denial-to-civil-racketeering-perpetrated-by-tobacco-industry

If you can’t win on evidence, sue the dissenters and silence them. What the actual admission here is that the government is weak and powerless, with a very poor argument that they cannot sell to the American people. The fossil fuel companies, taxes and regulated by the government, are sooo much more believable than Obama or Kerry or Senator Whitehouse that the only way the government can foist its draconian rules upon the people of the United States is to sue them to silence them. These individuals might as well be holding up signs that say “We are losers and not believable.”

Not that this is not in line with most pseudoscience. Personal injury lawyers make millions off of bad science by convincing jurors big companies are evil and lie. One must ask how much the personal injury lawyer makes and why doesn’t that corrupt him? Same question for those receiving government funding. How can they not be corrupted? Except by the magic that makes those on the global warming side pure and unaffected while everyone else is tainted. Sure–and I have beachfront property in Kansas, if any of you are interested.

The New Year

It’s a new year and I thought I’d try to be a bit more organized and look at climate and global warming from several different angles. This may or may not continue depending on my success in creating ideas for posts.

Most scientifically and mathematically illiterate headline I have found to date:

“We may never have another coldest year in history”
(From Salon, Nov 29, 2014)

It is impossible not to have a coldest year. Coldest is a superlative–it is the lowest temperature recorded. It matters not if it’s -20F or 75F. If it’s the coldest (IE lowest) number, it is by definition the coldest. Mathematically, again, the lowest temperature is coldest and the highest is hottest. You see hottest used all the time to describe the temperature in Antarctica. It is the hottest or warmest year ever there. It seems the media understands hottest just fine. Why they can’t grasp coldest is beyond me, but headlines like this one should immediately alert people to the fact that this writer is completely clueless. You’re not going to find anything resembling science written by him/her, except by accident.

I ran into the argument from a skeptic that if you don’t use your “real” name, it’s okay to ignore you. The logic seems to be that if you don’t care enough to sign your name, why should a reader care what you wrote? Interesting. I thought skepticism was science, not authorities, who is and isn’t using their real name, etc. I fail to see why it’s okay for a skeptic to dismiss information because it was written by an anonymous person but it’s wrong for a global warming advocate to dismiss evidence not written by a professional climate scientist in a peer-reviewed journal. The rule of science says the evidence count. Shutting out evidence for whatever reason is extremely unscientific on either side.

Claims of the “hottest year ever” are out once again. We return to the land versus satellite dilemma. In most sciences, more data points from a more uniform distribution are considered better than fewer. That does not seem to be the case with global warming. Global warming reports that form the basis of news headlines are based on land temperatures, which reportedly show warming. So why not use satellite? The only reason I can find is that land gives the answer some individuals and institutions seem to want.

While I was working on this, Gavin Schmidt admitted to the Daily Mail that 2014 may NOT have been the hottest. It was impossible to decide between three years that were statistically the same. The headline read: “Nasa climate scientists: We said 2014 was the warmest year on record… but we’re only 38% sure we were right” So there is higher than 50-50 chance 2014 was not the warmest year, yet NASA told the media it was the hottest year. Lying does little to make people more believing of the global warming scientists.

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2915061/Nasa-climate-scientists-said-2014-warmest-year-record-38-sure-right.html#ixzz3PHwACZiL)

Another dilemma in the global warming saga–is there a pause or not? At first, a pause was denied. Then all kinds of reasons for the pause were advanced. Currently, it’s a toss up on whether the global warming advocates will agree there is a pause or loudly proclaim there is not. Which means “follow the experts” is useless in this case. I am now referring to this as a “leveling” or a “flattening” of temperatures, which gives no clue as to whether the temperatures will stay the same, go up or go down. That reflects the truth of what we know now.

There are cries from many of the global warming camps that “something must be done” before it’s too late. If reports of “Hottest Year Ever” contradict each other and there’s no agreement on whether or not the temperature increase has flattened or stopped, there is no way, scientifically speaking, for us to know what to do. The answers we are hearing now are pure politics.

Scientific badger

Scientific badger

And the “winner” is…..

There are members of the Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry who are calling on the media not call skeptics “skeptics”, but rather “deniers”. One can only think they are angry that skeptics of climate change have done so well while the Skeptical Inquiry folks maybe not so much so. Signers of the petition include Bill Nye, the comedian/actor guy and James Randi, the “appeal to authority” champion and religion/paranormal hater. There are also science writers, journalists, and a film producer. Remember when attacks were constantly made on genuine scientists who signed petitions saying they disagreed with global warming being a huge problem? Now, as seen with J. Cook, anyone can chime in as long as they are on the global warming side. New criteria–you’re only a scientist if WE say so. It’s interesting that skepticism is now defined by dogma and the threat of “if you’re not with us, you’re denying science” when at one time it was just asking questions of science and for data and proof. It appears those days are long gone as far as these individuals are concerned. (One also wonders if this is in part because those who tore apart pseudoscience are very uncomfortable having the same skeptical eye turned on their beliefs.)

This is really not all that surprising. The unskeptical “Skeptical Science” has been out there for years. Psychologically, it seems to be a case of “if you can’t convince them with facts (perhaps because you have so few), then club them with nasty names and shrieking. “Plus, you can claim the name “skeptic” is taken and “denier” is the only remaining name for those not following the designated truths.

I dropped reading many of the conventional skeptic sites when it became apparent that much of what they believed or did not believe was based on appeal to authority, or a hatred of religion and paranormal phenomena. (Note: Religion cannot be proven by science and trying to dissect it with science shows a lack of understanding of both science and religion.) So-called “skeptics” seem to follow the appeal to authority in part because many lack the science education that would let them form their own questions and theories and in part because it’s a CYA move, allowing them to blame scientists for any failed theory. Since they are not scientists, they cannot be held responsible for advocating what turns out to actually be pseudoscience or very bad science.

There’s a question of what the “deniers” are denying. If the scientists are skeptical, are the deniers denying that the scientists are skeptical? What parts of science specifically are they denying? Are they simply questioning if the theory is sufficiently developed to keep pouring billions into measures that do not seem effective and actually are very damaging to the environment? Are they denying that money and politics are the way to “solve” the “problem” as presented–is it really scientific to believe money, socialism and a return to pre-industrial lives are the only possible solution to the dilemma?

The entire proposal bodes very badly for science. Theory of global warming appears to be crumbling due to that lack of statistically significant warming in RSS temperature measurements, there are studies that show the ocean may not be warming as much as believed and people snowed under with 8 feet of snow are not very willing to believe “warming causes cooling”. The science is not convincing to many, including some who work in the field and associated fields and many who have examined the science and found it lacking. Rather than answer questions about the science, the “scientists” (in quotes because no real scientist would ever behave this way) call names, and refuse to address the problem. Those who do try to answer often give explanations that are lacking in believability and science to back them up. Too many of the activists in the field have made wild predictions and statements (ice-free arctic by “X” date, boiling oceans, etc) and these were allowed to stand. Sadly, at this point, the science has basically lost its credibility. All that’s left is name-hoarding, ad hominem attacks and trying to suppress opinions.

Another disturbing trend is trying to “market” the science. That seems to fall under the “if you can’t win them with facts (because you lack such things), dazzle them with BS” or terrify them with promises of a horrible, hot, wet future if they don’t go along with your “solutions”. There’s even an attempt to figure out a way to market to specific political preferences by rewording the solutions to disguise the real intent. Marketing science is truly a desperate attempt at replacing facts and data with BS and fear. Climate science has dragged science into tap dancing, threatening and smearing tactics in an effort to “win” with their theory. They simply cannot admit that the theory may be flawed and needs further research to explain the lack of warming, the natural variations and the failed predictions. Climate science is now playing the role the Church did in suppressing and vilifying Galileo, something science criticized religion for doing. The hypocrisy just screams out at you: “It’s not about science, it’s about winning”.

Not that Certain

A new paper (A probabilistic analysis of human influence on recent record global mean temperature changes–Kokic, Crimp, Howden) states a 99.999% certainty humans are causing the warming on the planet, IF the model contains all factors with significant (ie measurable and large enough to affect the outcome) influence on climate.

The model only has four factors: CO2 (GHG as measured by Kyoto Protocol), ENSO, TSI, and volcanoes. It’s highly unlikely that there are not more factors–for example oceans storing heat, albedo of arctic and antarctic ice, back radiation, convection currents, etc, just to name a few I have read about on various sites. If any of these have a large effect, the model does not match reality and any outcome or prediction may be useful by chance but most probably useless other than to grab headlines.

Also, if the measurements of any of the factors is not accurate, the conclusion is void. That does not mean the conclusion is not true–it means the models and statistics used to create the model and certainty are invalid. In other words, the model is back to an unproven hypothesis. It is possible for an incomplete model might be useful in some ways, but the 99.999% certainty is most certainly exaggerated and should be scrapped. A four factor model of climate that shows this kind of “certainty” is very unlikely to be accurate or even useful.

The modeler’s use a bootstrap calculation, something that seems to be used more and more in the studies I have been reading. In theory, the bootstrap yields multiple data sets to increase the likelihood that the model cover all data. (Correct me if my explanation of this is poorly stated. I am sometimes not very good at explaining statistics so it makes sense to readers.) They ran the bootstrap 100,000 times both leaving in and leaving out GHG. From this, they reached the incredible (or perhaps not-so-credible) 99.999% number.

There is no information on whether or not the model was run eliminating other factors one at a time in the same fashion as GHG. This is vital to gauge whether something else may have just as strong an effect.

The model B also indicated only an approximate 25% of 304 months of continuous record breaking temperatures, but that was one of the original questions in the model–how likely are 304 months of record breaking temperatures without human influence? That would seem to indicate the model missed the mark. Model E also showed only about a 53% chance of this temperature streak happening. Why can’t the model reproduce the 304 months of record setting temperatures? With 99.999 % certainty, one would expect nothing less.

An interesting thing that did show up in the study was the prediction of periods of flat or colling temperatures and the number of periods of cooling was closer to observed in the runs with GHG left in than those without. The number was still not matching actual recoded data but was closer with GHG.

What does this tell us about humans, GHG and certainty? IF the models are sufficiently accurate, there could be a strong case for humans causing warming. However, the small number of variable in the model call into question whether all significant factors have been included. Without a 99.999% certainty that these are the only factors needed the conclusion is not valid. If any measurements of input variables are even slightly off, the conclusion does not hold.

All in all, the study, while it addressed some interesting points fell far short of being definitive proof of humans causing climate change. The certainty is far over stated when one compares reality to the model and its conclusions.