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Did Phil Jones Admit That There’s No Global Warming?

Dr. Phil Jones

I opened up my browser this evening to the Drudge Report headline “The Great Climate Change Retreat!”, which led to this Daily Mail article, which is entitled (take a deep breath), “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995”

The scientist in question is Professor Phil Jones, who is the head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Suffice to say, this has made quite a hubbub around the blogosphere. The article is based on an interview that Jones gave to the BBC. Of course, delving into the article itself, it’s clear that Professor Jones did not say that there is no global warming since 1995. He says that there is no ‘statistically significant’ global warming since 1995. Which still sounds bad.

Unless, of course, you actually read the interview.

B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

That’s hardly the same as “no global warming since 1995” and certainly does not represent a “retreat” or a “U-turn.” (For a good primer on statistical significance and what that means, check out this link).

There are several other flagrant misinterpretations of Jones’ statements in the Daily Mail article, as well, but they’re pretty easy to spot simply by comparing the article to the interview and its companion piece.

Heck, reading the Daily Mail, one might come away with the impression that Jones was renouncing the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change. To correct that impression, let me just quote one more part of the interview:

E – How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

Whether you accept the hypothesis of global climate change or not–and I know that many readers here do not–I’m sure we can all agree that shoddy reporting like the Daily Mail article ought to be repudiated. It’s a deliberate misinterpretation of a fascinating interview (I’d highly recommend reading the interview, though–the reporter asking the questions clearly knows his stuff and it is not a softball).

Frankly, I think this provides an excellent example of why, when it comes to scientific topics, you’re much better off going to primary sources than you are trusting a newspaper reporter.

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About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. Douglas says:

    more thoroughly repudiated than the shoddy reporting of the IPCC?

    I’m indifferent on the matter of climate change, but I’m rabid in hating the scum who’ve been calling me a mass murder for living in a temperature controled environment and using incandescents driving big cars.

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  2. Anon says:

    Interestingly, Jones does not sound at all certain that the warming is caused by human activity.

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  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Douglas,

    There have definitely been some serious issues with the IPCC reports, but not quite as devastating as the media reports. Real Climate has a good rundown:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/ipcc-errors-facts-and-spin/

    I’m rabid in hating the scum who’ve been calling me a mass murder for living in a temperature controled environment and using incandescents driving big cars.

    There are, sadly, extremists of all political stripes.

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  4. Alex Knapp says:

    Anon,

    Really? Even considering what’s quoted above?

    “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 — there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

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  5. DL says:

    “….when it comes to scientific topics, you’re much better off going to primary sources than you are trusting a newspaper reporter.”

    Since we have reached a stage where the moral and political corrution of science (and truth,) are acceptable.Now, believing in the primary source is the problem.

    To assume that a scientist (consensus is scientific fact?) is any less apt to tell the truth over someone else is the worse bias of all or at the very least, naive.

    Objectivity, in a world of consensus science, is no longer a factor -just the opinion of a group of fallable humans who receive awards, grants, acolades to make opinions.

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  6. Cameron Bird says:

    “He says that there is no ’statistically significant’ global warming since 1995. Which still sounds bad.”…..You think! If it’s NOT statistically significant, in science-speak, that pretty much means that it’s not happening!

    I did read the full text of the interview, and unlike Mr.Knapp did find it revealing on a number of levels. First, this is an enormous turn around from the all-knowing certainty that we have become accustom to from the eco-Fascists, and along with Michael Mann, Phil Jones was one of it’s grestest propagaters.
    Secondly, is the unsatisfactory explaination given by Mr. Jones regarding the line containing “trick” and “to hide the decline”, in which we contridicts himself and also admits to omitting data to manipulate the outcome.
    Finally, given the recent multitude of IPCC fourth assessment errors, and the mounting worldwide evidence of data manipulation(Russia, China, Darwin-Australia, New Zealand, and the US)as well as the refusal of NASA to honor a 3 year old FOIA request by CEI, the admissions of this interview would seem to support the sceptics claim that the manipulation of data, and the fraud being committed in the name of AGW is systemic. Something that Mr. Knapp was unable to comprehend. But, this is the type of “half-truth” reporting that we have become accustom to from the eco-Fascist Left!

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  7. Cameron Bird says:
  8. King of Fools says:

    It is easy to pick a side and argue that his quote reinforces your ideas or is out of context or whatever, but with all the graphs of this alarming upward trend in temperature, doesn’t anyone realize that even ‘just barely not warming’ or even ‘just barely warming’ shows at the least a plateau from the constant rise – and not just a blip, but a 15 year plateau (yet carbon continues to be emitted and increase).

    I’m not pro polution by any means but I can’t help but think that there are climate factors that we don’t know about or don’t understand that go beyond “Carbon Bad”.

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  9. Ben says:

    Cameron, his explanation was not unsatisfying or self-contradictory at all. Everyone had a hemorrhage over the fact that the words “trick” and “decline” were in an email, but they WERE taken completely out of context. First of all, the word trick has a meaning that has nothing to do with deception. You realize that don’t you?

    noun – trick (plural tricks)

    1. Something designed to fool or swindle.

    2. An effective, clever or quick way of doing something.

    He made it clear that he used the word with the second meaning in mind. If you don’t believe him, fine. But that doesn’t make it unsatisfying or contradictory

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  10. Steve Plunk says:

    John Christy, one of the lead authors of IPCC report, is backing away from the reliability of gathered temperature data. He now believes local influences like urbanization have had a significant effect.

    Let’s face it, this is unraveling in many places.

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  11. Alex Knapp says:

    @Cameron – The CEI request continues to baffle me, as the GISS raw data is available on the NASA website for anyone to download.

    And re: the IPCC AR4 and Africa, please see this article for some elucidation. The Telegraph article is focused on the AR4 summary, but not the actual data contained within the report.

    @King of Fools – It’s better to look at large time scales, and the trend since 1850 is up, up, up. But even in short time scales, 2000-2009 is the hottest decade on record.

    @Steve – John Christy is a former climate skeptic who now believes that global warming is real, and is caused by man-made emissions. However, he takes the position that climate change will prove to be a net benefit. I would not be surprised to find that he’s backing away one way or the other, but the few papers he has published in the climate change area have had a lot of serious statistical errors to them (for example, he has a bad habit of not publishing whole ranges in his extrapolated datasets, relying on only one throughline.)

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  12. Grewgills says:

    f it’s NOT statistically significant, in science-speak, that pretty much means that it’s not happening!

    What it means is that there is less than 95% confidence in the hypothesis. Fisher is indicating a confidence of between 5-8%. So, no it does not mean it is not happening.
    As mentioned before the issue here is sample size. Small sample size means little statistical power and so considerably less chance of a statistically significant result. Expand the time frame and so increase the sample size and the statistical power increases and you are more likely to confirm any trends that are present.

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  13. Drew says:

    Speaking of shoddy reporting, you failed to include other relevant commentary:

    The United Nations climate panel faces a new challenge with scientists casting doubt on its claim that global temperatures are rising inexorably because of human pollution.

    In its last assessment the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the evidence that the world was warming was “unequivocal”.

    It warned that greenhouse gases had already heated the world by 0.7C and that there could be 5C-6C more warming by 2100, with devastating impacts on humanity and wildlife. However, new research, including work by British scientists, is casting doubt on such claims. Some even suggest the world may not be warming much at all.

    “The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change,” said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.

    Member of climate inquiry panel resigns
    Science chief demands climate change honesty
    The doubts of Christy and a number of other researchers focus on the thousands of weather stations around the world, which have been used to collect temperature data over the past 150 years.

    These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site.

    Christy has published research papers looking at these effects in three different regions: east Africa, and the American states of California and Alabama.

    “The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

    The IPCC faces similar criticisms from Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Canada, who was invited by the panel to review its last report.

    The experience turned him into a strong critic and he has since published a research paper questioning its methods.

    “We concluded, with overwhelming statistical significance, that the IPCC’s climate data are contaminated with surface effects from industrialisation and data quality problems. These add up to a large warming bias,” he said.

    Such warnings are supported by a study of US weather stations co-written by Anthony Watts, an American meteorologist and climate change sceptic.

    His study, which has not been peer reviewed, is illustrated with photographs of weather stations in locations where their readings are distorted by heat-generating equipment.

    Some are next to air- conditioning units or are on waste treatment plants. One of the most infamous shows a weather station next to a waste incinerator.

    Watts has also found examples overseas, such as the weather station at Rome airport, which catches the hot exhaust fumes emitted by taxiing jets.

    In Britain, a weather station at Manchester airport was built when the surrounding land was mainly fields but is now surrounded by heat-generating buildings.

    Terry Mills, professor of applied statistics and econometrics at Loughborough University, looked at the same data as the IPCC. He found that the warming trend it reported over the past 30 years or so was just as likely to be due to random fluctuations as to the impacts of greenhouse gases. Mills’s findings are to be published in Climatic Change, an environmental journal.

    “The earth has gone through warming spells like these at least twice before in the last 1,000 years,” he said.

    Questions about the validity of the measurement sites has been very well publicized, and by many people. And yet its only now, when the global warming data integrity issue is unraveling does it get play. Hmmm.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Alex, you are a biochemist. You know that when the data can’t be trusted you are back at square one as far as hypotheses go. This whole thing is coming apart at the seams.

    From where I sit, the most charitable thing that could be said is that the global warming scientist advocates are the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, and they have been blinded by preconceptions. At worst, they are just common every day frauds.

    In any event, in no way shape or form is “the debate over.” Its a total redo.

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  14. Alex Knapp says:

    Drew,

    Do you have any links to the data you refer to so it can be examined?

    Considering that there are thousands of weather stations used by CRU, GISS, et al, is there any statistical significance to the location of a handful? Considering that the satellite record generally agrees with the surface temperature record, does this really represent bad data?

    I think there are quite a few questions I would have before I say that the science is “unravelling.”

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  15. John Cole says:

    I find this story fascinating.

    I’m used to the deniers latching on to the scientific ignorance of the general public. I’m used to them making specious arguments like “if it’s snowing, there can’t be global warming.” I’m used to them launching personal attacks, claiming all scientists are socialists and just want to control what you do.

    But this, to me, is breathtaking. They took an interview, completely lied about the contents of the interview in a British tabloid, and now are running around claiming the exact opposite of what the guy said- and citing the interview in which he said the exact opposite! And, they think they have a point.

    I’m simply astonished.

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  16. davod says:

    you..when it comes to scientific topics, you’re much better off going to primary sources than you are trusting a newspaper reporter.”

    RealClimate.org is hardly an impartial arbiter.

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  17. Alex Knapp says:

    davod,

    RealClimate.org is hardly an impartial arbiter.

    True, but I agreed with their interpretation of the IPCC reports in this regard. Since they included links to the original, I thought it might be useful for folks to review the blog post rather than delve through the full IPCC report if they so chose. I have read the full report and I concur with RealClimate’s analysis on this point.

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  18. Wayne says:

    There is a youtube parody of Hitler denying the Global Warming Hoax is falling apart. That is the mentality that many seem to be using. The so call “expert studies” have been shown to be severely flawed as well as many of its supporting studies.

    Having raw data “sometimes” and having studies base on it, doesn’t make it a good study, especially when many of those studies have been shown to be severely flawed. Unless you examine the raw data yourself and go through all the calculations and underlying theories of the studies then you are relying on the honesty and ability of those who did the studies.

    In other words you “believe” in someone’s conclusion.

    It reminds me of three-card Monte. Just because it has been proven to be a scam several times doesn’t mean all three-card Monte games are scams. Stating that not all of them are scams does little to convince me the next one I come across isn’t.

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  19. davod says:

    Christy’s Publications:

    * Douglass, D.H., J.R. Christy, 2009: Limits on CO2 climate forcing from recent temperature data of Earth. Energy & Environment, 20, 178-189 (Invited paper, reviewed by Editor.) (pdf)

    * Christy, J.R. and W.B. Norris, 2009: Discontinuity issues with radiosonde and satellite temperatures in the Australian region. J. Atmos. Oc. Tech., 26, 508-522. Doi: 10.1175/2008JTECHA1126.1

    * Sakamoto, M., and J. R. Christy (2009), The influences of TOVS radiance assimilation on temperature and moisture tendencies in JRA-25 and ERA-40. J. Atmos. Oc. Tech., doi:10.1175/2009JTECHA1193.1

    * Christy, J.R., W.B. Norris, and R.T. McNider, 2009: Surface Temperature Variations in East Africa and Possible Causes. J. Climate, 22, 3342—3356

    * Klotzbach, P.J., R.A.Pielke, Sr., R.A.Pielke, Jr., J.R. Christy, R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.

    * Christy, J. R., W. B. Norris, R. W. Spencer, and J. J. Hnilo, 2007: Tropospheric temperature change since 1979 from tropical radiosonde and satellite measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D06102, doi:10.1029/2005JD006881.

    * Douglass, D.H., J.R. Christy, B.D. Pearson and S.F. Singer, 2007: A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions. International J. Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651. (pdf)

    * Christy, J.R. and W.B. Norris, 2006: Satellite and VIZ-Radiosonde intercomparisons for diagnosis on non-climatic influences. J. Atmos. Oc. Tech., 23, 1181 — 1194.

    * Spencer, R.W., J.R. Christy, W.D. Braswell and W.B. Norris, 2006: Estimation of tropospheric temperature trends from MSU channels 2 and 4. J. Atmos. Oc. Tech., 23, 417-423.

    * Christy, J.R., 2006: The ever-changing climate system. Cumberland Law Review, 36 No. 3, 493-504,

    * Christy, J.R., W.B. Norris, K. Redmond and K. Gallo, 2006: Methodology and results of calculating central California surface temperature trends: Evidence of human-induced climate change? J. Climate, 19, 548-563.

    * Christy, J.R. and R.W.Spencer, 2005: Correcting temperature data sets. Science, 310, 972.

    * Christy, J.R. and W.B. Norris, 2004: What may we conclude about
    tropospheric temperature trends? Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, No. 6, L0621.

    * Christy, J.R. and R.W. Spencer, 2003: Reliability of satellite data sets. Science, 301, 1046-1047.

    * Christy, J.R., 2003: Climate Research – Response to “Wanted Scientific Leadership on Climate” by Pielke, Jr. and Sarewitz. Issues in Science and Technology. Spring 2003, 9-10.

    * Christy, J.R., R.W. Spencer, W.B. Norris, W.D. Braswell and D.E. Parker, 2003: Error estimates of Version 5.0 of MSU/AMSU bulk atmospheric temperatures. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech. 20, 613-629.

    * Christy, J.R., 2002: When was the hottest summer? A State Climatologist struggles for an answer. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc. 83, 723-734.

    * Christy, J.R., D.E. Parker, S.J. Brown, I. Macadam, M. Stendel and W.B. Norris, 2001: Differential trends in tropical sea surface and atmospheric temperatures. Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 183-186.

    * Winter, A., O. Tadamichi, H. Ishioroshi, T. Watanabe and J. R. Christy, 2000: A two-to-three degree cooling of Caribbean sea surface temperatures during the Little Ice Age. Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 3365-3368.

    * Hurrell, J., S.J. Brown, K.E. Trenberth and J.R. Christy, 2000: Comparison of tropospheric temperatures from radiosondes and satellites: 1979-1998. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 81, 2165-2177.

    * Gaffen, D.J., B.D. Santer, J.S. Boyle, J.R. Christy, N.E. Graham, R.J. Ross, 2000: Multidecadal changes in the vertical structure of the tropical troposphere. Science, 287, 1242-1245.

    * Christy, J.R., 2000: Global Climate Change: Scientific and Social Impacts. Bridges. 7, 39-57.

    * Christy, J.R., R.W. Spencer, and W.D. Braswell, 2000: MSU Tropospheric temperatures: Data set construction and radiosonde comparisons. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech. 17,1153-1170.

    * Stendel, M., J.R. Christy and L. Bengtsson, 2000: Assessing levels of uncertainty in recent temperature time series. Climate Dynamics, 16(8), 587-601.

    * Christy, J.R., R.W. Spencer, and E. Lobl, 1998 Analysis of the merging procedure for the MSU daily temperature time series. J. Climate, 11, 2016-2041.

    * Christy, J.R., R.W. Spencer, and D. Braswell, 1997 How accurate are satellite ‘thermometers’?, Nature, 389, 342-3.

    * Christy, J.R. , 1995 Temperature above the surface layer. Climatic Change , 30, 455-474.

    * Christy, J.R., R.W. Spencer and R.T. McNider, 1995 Reducing noise in the MSU daily lower tropospheric global temperature data set. J Climate , 8, 888-896.

    * Christy, J.R. and J. Goodridge, 1995 Precision global temperatures from satellites and urban warming effects of non-satellite data. Atmos. Env. 29, 1957-1961.

    * Christy, J.R. and R. T. McNider, 1994 Satellite greenhouse signal. Nature, 367, 325.

    * Christy, J.R. and S.J. Drouilhet, 1994 Variability in daily, zonal mean lower-stratospheric temperatures. J. Climate, 7, 106-120.

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  20. Steve Plunk says:

    If we’re going to throw in some links this one is a must.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

    As for claims skeptics are using the recent snow storms as proof of no warming it must be pointed out how the proponents claimed various hurricanes, droughts, and other anomalies supported their claims of warming. In many cases skeptics know the difference between weather, climate, and long term trends but enjoy poking the opposition.

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  21. Alex Knapp says:

    Davod,

    I haven’t read Christy’s 2009 papers, but most of the others you reference I have read and they have been pretty thoroughly refuted. The quintissential paper demonstrating the flaws in the Christy-Douglass methology is Sanger 2008, which you can read here:

    https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-10-05-article.pdf

    I will check out the 2009 papers, though.

    @Steve –

    With respect to Anthony Watts, when you look at the record, the stations that Watts claims produce a warming bias actually produce a cooling bias:

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf

    The NOAA paper is based on Watts preliminary data. Watts claims that data he has gathered since refutes this claim, but he has yet to provide publish results that back up his claim. When he does, I’ll give them a look.

    To my knowledge, Watts has not provided comment on the Sanger paper above, so I’m at a loss as to how he can maintain the UHI effect in light of tropospheric satellite data. Christy may have responded in one of the papers davod cited that I haven’t read yet.

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  22. Anon says:

    Alex, probably just poor wording on my part in regards to Jones certainty of human-caused GW. He sounds very certain that there has been warming. But when he talks about the cause of the warming, he sounds like although he thinks it is likely to be anthropogenic, he is leaving room for responsible debate.

    Anyway, I don’t follow the whole global warming debate that closely, so I’m probably just over-interpreting a single quote from him.

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  23. spago says:

    He says that there is no ’statistically significant’ global warming since 1995. Which still sounds bad.

    I guess that depends on what constitutes as “bad” to you…yes?

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  24. Cameron Bird says:

    Alex,

    I suppose that all the reported manipulation of data and IPCC errors can be explained away. That all of the studies sceptical of the AGW claims can be dismissed, generally by the same sources that are proping up the entire scam. Tell me, how come you haven’t addressed any of the IPCC anomalies in it’s supposed strictly peer reviewed material? Seems to me that the claims of the AGW gatekeepers have been sufficiently brought into question, and if there was any doubt, Mr. Jones through his new revelations certainly has made it clear that there is much that climate “science” has yet to settled.

    When I said that Mr. Jones contradicted himself, look at what he said. First he claims that he still believes that the warming is being caused by human’s and then he states that he is not certain if the Medieval Warm period was warmer than present temps? And that we do know that this warming of course was not influenced by humans. Which is it? Is his just a blind belief based on incomplete data? Sounds like religion to me?

    As for CEI, I suggest that you contact Mr. Horner at chorner@cei.org, I think maybe he can help you better understand the nature of their 3 year old FOIA request.

    Maybe you would like to take a shot at discrediting Dr. Lindzen’s study on CO2 sensetivity:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/23/new-paper-from-lindzen/

    Also, some simple math for you to toy with:

    98% of the Earth’s warming is produced by the Sun, leaving 2% remaining for all other causes. .036% of the Earth’s atmosphere is CO2. 78% is Nitrogen, and 21% is Oxygen. Of the total of CO2 produced, only 4% is emitted through human activity. This means in the most extreme case, that being that CO2 accounts for ALL warming not caused by the Sun, man’s contibution based on these numbers and with all things being equal, would be .00029%. Of course, this is only a mathmatical explanation.

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  25. Alex Knapp says:

    @spago –

    Heh. Fair enough.

    @Cameron –

    I suppose that all the reported manipulation of data and IPCC errors can be explained away.

    Without specifics it’s difficult to assess this statement. There have certainly been errors on the part of the IPCC, but very little of it is data manipulation. Some of it has to do with some bad choices in providing press summaries (minor). Some of it has to do with accepting fallacious data (ie Himalyan flooding), major.

    That all of the studies sceptical of the AGW claims can be dismissed

    Not really. Studies skeptical of AGW should be judged according to their merit.

    generally by the same sources that are proping up the entire scam.

    I think that by reference to “scam”, it’s possible that you’re admitting your own bias in the matter?

    Tell me, how come you haven’t addressed any of the IPCC anomalies in it’s supposed strictly peer reviewed material?

    Because I only have so much time in the day and there are people who do it better than I can. Also because nothing I’ve seen shows any real undermining of the primary theories of global warming.

    Seems to me that the claims of the AGW gatekeepers have been sufficiently brought into question

    Which claims in particular? By what data?

    Mr. Jones through his new revelations certainly has made it clear that there is much that climate “science” has yet to settled.

    Of course not everything is settled. In science, nothing is. But the framework for the hypothesis is very well established, and has its underpinnings in the basic laws of physics and chemistry, particularly thermodynamics.

    First he claims that he still believes that the warming is being caused by humans

    Specifically, he said the warming trend since 1950.

    then he states that he is not certain if the Medieval Warm period was warmer than present temps

    He says that the MWP may have been warmer in Europe and North America than in the present day in Europe and North America but that there currently isn’t any data to support the proposition that average global temperatures were warmer in the MWP than average global temperatures in the present day. If there is such data, he readily admits that that would necessitate “back to the drawing board” for some portions of climate science. I’m not so sure about that, but I do agree it would certainly entail some more work in the temperatures of that time period. Does that make more sense?

    As for CEI, I suggest that you contact Mr. Horner at chorner@cei.org, I think maybe he can help you better understand the nature of their 3 year old FOIA request.

    I have been following the story with interest. All I can say about it is that the raw data is up, on the NASA website. I’ve downloaded it myself. I am extraordinarly puzzled by the nature of the request.

    Maybe you would like to take a shot at discrediting Dr. Lindzen’s study on CO2 sensetivity:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/23/new-paper-from-lindzen/

    The best rejoinder to the Lindzen and Choi paper is simply that nobody has been able to reproduce their results. Additionally, it appears that Lindzen and Choi were operating off of old datasets, and excluded data without explanation. A rejoinder was published several months later in the same journal, but the only link I have is subscription only. However, the authors of the rejoinder did provide a rundown here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lindzen-and-choi-unraveled/

    There’s also a pretty good PowerPoint presentation from a NASA conference on climate, which you can examine here:

    http://science.larc.nasa.gov/ceres/STM/2009-11/22_Wong_1109.pdf

    98% of the Earth’s warming is produced by the Sun, leaving 2% remaining for all other causes.

    What’s your source for this data?

    .036% of the Earth’s atmosphere is CO2. 78% is Nitrogen, and 21% is Oxygen. Of the total of CO2 produced, only 4% is emitted through human activity. This means in the most extreme case, that being that CO2 accounts for ALL warming not caused by the Sun, man’s contibution based on these numbers and with all things being equal, would be .00029%.

    This assumption presumes that Nitrogen, Oxygen, and CO2 have substantially similar thermal properties, but they don’t. CO2 traps much more heat than either N2 or O2 because has a much greater opacity to infared.

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  26. Steve Plunk says:

    “The best rejoinder to the Lindzen and Choi paper is simply that nobody has been able to reproduce their results”.

    Which is a basic rule of the scientific method, reproducible results. Cold fusion anyone? This has been the Achilles heel of climate science, no real way to test theories or reproduce results in a lab. Making computer models reproduce results just doesn’t make sense.

    Let’s not forget water vapor in the math equation. A much more influential and often neglected factor.

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  27. Cameron Bird says:

    98% of the Earth’s warming is produced by the Sun, leaving 2% remaining for all other causes.

    “What’s your source for this data?”

    Two things, common sense, and:
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/did_phil_jones_admit_that_theres_no_global_warming/

    “Mars and Earth, for instance, have experienced periodic ice ages throughout their histories. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions may have made a contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but they cannot compete with the scale of solar irradiance we receive daily. 98% of the Earth’s warmth comes from the sun. By studying fluctuations in the warmth of the sun, solar cycles — 11 to 14 years — and much longer term solar irradiance patterns over centuries, scientists have begun seeing connections that fit with the ups and downs in climate we witness on Earth and Mars in similar time periods.”

    I’m no climate scientist, but I have to believe that 98% sounds about right. I think a good way to look at this would be to refer to one of the outer planets, say Neptune:

    “The average cloud temperature ranges from about -240 degrees to -330 degrees F. Voyager II found the clouds to be ever changing and rapidly circling the planet.”

    Neptune is 2.8 billion miles from the Sun.

    “This assumption presumes that Nitrogen, Oxygen, and CO2 have substantially similar thermal properties, but they don’t. CO2 traps much more heat than either N2 or O2 because has a much greater opacity to infared.”

    This is true, but I did say all things being equal, and also made the assumption that “CO2 accounts for ALL warming not caused by the Sun.”

    This we know is not the case for a number of reasons. First, this would discount all other “greenhouse” gases, of which water vapor is the most prevalent:

    Greater solar activity means less cosmic radiation and less cloud cover; and less solar activity means more cosmic radiation and greater cloud cover. In this sense, scientists have confirmed that the total cloud cover over the Earth’s surface, measured by satellites since 1979, oscillates between 65% and 68%, and this variation seems to have coincided, in terms of low cloud cover (up to an altitude of 3 km), with variations in the incoming cosmic radiation reaching the Earth.

    VARIABLE gases in the atmosphere and typical percentage values are:

    Water vapor 0 to 4%, desert/oceans
    Carbon Dioxide 0.035%
    Methane 0.0002%
    Ozone 0.000004%

    Nevertheless, based on your response I will go one step futher. Let’s forget all other factors and say that CO2 is 100% responsible for the planets greenhouse effect. And, starting over, let’s again say that 98% of the Earth’s warmth comes from the Sun, and that humans produce 4% of all CO2. In this very extreme mathematical case, humans would still only account for .08% of the Earth’s warmth. Explain to me in very simple terms how man’s contribution could be any larger?

    Maybe this explains why over the 4.5 billion years that the planet has been here, that there have been periods with much higher levels of CO2,when temps were much cooler:

    “Over the Earth’s history, there are times where atmospheric CO2 is higher than current levels. Intriguingly, the planet experienced widespread regions of glaciation during some of those periods. Does this contradict the warming effect of CO2? No, for one simple reason. CO2 is not the only driver of climate. To understand past climate, we need to include other forcings that drive climate. To do this, one study pieced together 490 proxy records to reconstruct CO2 levels over the last 540 million years (Royer 2006). This period is known as the Phanerozoic eon. ”

    http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf

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  28. bm says:

    not significant at the 95% confidence level

    yet

    he maintains he’s 100% confident.

    As a scientist, how does he reconcile this?

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  29. Gertrude Steiner says:

    “Anyone who doesn’t think that humans negatively impact their environment has never been in a public restroom”
    -Mark Twain

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  30. spago says:

    hitlerarious

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  31. grabski says:

    Runaway global warming leaves the CRU head saying that it doesnt’t even reach the significance leve he set?

    And that the ‘anthropogenic’ portion, all the discredited IPCC can say is ‘there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity’. Philly Boy, there also evidence it’s solar activity.

    Sure, the earth has warmed. My hometown in PA was once covered by 2 kilometers of ice. So it’s not really genius to say that we’re warming.

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  32. grabski says:

    Alex Knapp

    realclimate is part of the fraud. Why would you quote them?

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  33. Alex Knapp says:

    Cameron,

    I’m no climate scientist, but I have to believe that 98% sounds about right.

    A-ha–I see the issue now. You said “warming” when you meant “warmth” and I thought you were referencing the now-discredited solar cycle hypothesis. But within this context, “warmth” and “warming” are two entirely different things.

    This is true, but I did say all things being equal, and also made the assumption that “CO2 accounts for ALL warming not caused by the Sun.”

    Yes, but your math fails here because you’re confusing overall warmth with driving upward temperature. CO2 is a significant contributor to warming–much moreso than 2%.

    This is true, but I did say all things being equal, and also made the assumption that “CO2 accounts for ALL warming not caused by the Sun.”

    This we know is not the case for a number of reasons. First, this would discount all other “greenhouse” gases, of which water vapor is the most prevalent:

    No reputable climate scientist believes that CO2 is the sole driver of the current warming trend–merely that it is the dominant factor. To my knowledge (off the top of my head), water vapor is relatively constant for the past 160 or so years. Methane, CFCs, and CO2 (all greenhouse gasses) have increased in concentration.

    As for the Royer paper you cite, allow me to quote from the conclusion:

    “Many factors are important in controlling the average surface temperature of the Earth, including solar luminosity, albedo, distribution of continents and vegetation, orbital parameters, and other greenhouse gases. The message of this study is not that atmospheric CO2 is always the dominant forcing (see Section 3.7 for an early Paleogene example). Instead, given the variety of factors that can influence global temperatures, it is striking that such a consistent pattern between CO2 and temperature emerges for many intervals of the Phanerozoic. This correspondence suggests that CO2 can explain in part the patterns of globally averaged temperatures during the Phanerozoic.”

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  34. grabski says:

    No reputable climate scientist

    It’s been proven that there aren’t any. Hansen, Jones, Mann, Schmidt, Ternbeth et al on the Team are Fraudsters who will spend time in jail.

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  35. KdNicewanger says:

    “As for claims skeptics are using the recent snow storms as proof of no warming it must be pointed out how the proponents claimed various hurricanes, droughts, and other anomalies supported their claims of warming.”

    Snow in winter is not an anomaly.

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  36. Wayne says:

    Re”Snow in winter is not an anomaly.”

    In this amount it is.

    Snow “storms” can be considered anomaly if the word is use in the same sense that many of the manmade global warming crowd try to claim hurricanes and drought are anomaly.

    The point still remains that proponents tried to use weather events to prove global warming and scream now that their own tactic is being used against them.

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  37. Wayne says:

    Alex
    You tend to have some interesting posts although I disagree with some and think others are a bit of a leap.

    Anyway as for warmth and warming being two entirely different things, isn’t one a condition of temperature and the other a measurement of increase of temperature? Not exactly entirely different things. If something is a factor of warmth(one temperature measurement) couldn’t it be a factor of warming(increase of two or more temperature measurement)?

    As for CO2, one of the key part that you recited is “This correspondence “suggests””. As some have hypothesized, it is possible that Global warming caused a rise of CO2. Also since warming has existed without significant rise of CO2, it is possible that it was a coincidence during the times that it did or perhaps a side effect of what cause global warming at that time. Massive volcanoes above and below sea level can cause warming while releasing massive amount of CO2. “IMO” probably a combination of things.

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  38. davod says:

    “A-ha–I see the issue now. You said “warming” when you meant “warmth” and I thought you were referencing the now-discredited solar cycle hypothesis. But within this context, “warmth” and “warming” are two entirely different things.”

    Discredited is a word I would not use lightly. The e-mails leaked show that some “scientists” took steps to discredit opposing research. The discrediting did not always include scientific research.

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  39. greg says:

    Wayne:

    Anyway as for warmth and warming being two entirely different things, isn’t one a condition of temperature and the other a measurement of increase of temperature? Not exactly entirely different things. If something is a factor of warmth(one temperature measurement) couldn’t it be a factor of warming(increase of two or more temperature measurement)?

    You’d be wrong. The given level of something and change in those levels not only do not always come from the same source, but seldom do. Easiest example: you fire a gun. Unless acted upon by another outside force, that bullet has the same velocity, forever. On earth, it will be acted on by outside forces, though. Those forces can be relatively minor (the effect of drag forces slowing it down), moderate (gravity, pulling it towards the ground) or major (the bullet hits something, and either stops, or continues on, at a much slower speed). Whatever the base level is, and how those base levels got there in the first place, is largely irrelevant to the question of whether the later forces matter: the fact that you fired a gun at time 0 doesn’t make air resistance not exist.

    Leaving that analogy aside for a second, keep in mind also that relative to the range of temperatures that exist in the universe (i.e, starting just above ABSOLUTE ZERO), there is a tiny band of temperatures that are habitable by life as we know it. Our nearest planetary neighbors are extremely close to us, in astronomical terms, but are nevertheless completely uninhabitable for thermal reasons, alone. And, yes, if you’re starting just above ABSOLUTE ZERO, then 98% of the Earth’s levels of warmth comes from the sun. Substantially more or less, and Earth would be another Venus or Mars, though- completely uninhabitable. So, no, talking about levels of warmth is not terribly productive to talking about changes due to global warming. Taken on the scale of the entire range of universal temperatures, the difference between our tropics and our poles falls within statistical error.

    It’s also less than clear to me that that 98%-solar number doesn’t include solar radiation trapped by greenhouse gasses -GHGs themselves don’t emit heat, after all. Rather, I assumed they meant 98% solar, as distinct from radioactive decay and chemical reactions, the other thermal inputs into the system.

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  40. Cameron Bird says:

    As for the Royer paper you cite, allow me to quote from the conclusion:

    “Many factors are important in controlling the average surface temperature of the Earth, including solar luminosity, albedo, distribution of continents and vegetation, orbital parameters, and other greenhouse gases. The message of this study is not that atmospheric CO2 is always the dominant forcing (see Section 3.7 for an early Paleogene example). Instead, given the variety of factors that can influence global temperatures, it is striking that such a consistent pattern between CO2 and temperature emerges for many intervals of the Phanerozoic. This correspondence suggests that CO2 can explain in part the patterns of globally averaged temperatures during the Phanerozoic.”

    You are good at cherry-picking!

    Did you also note that this study cited periods when the CO2 was much greater than today, and during times of glaciation? The problem that they had in determining causality was solar output, which during this period may have been reduced. There are also many other studies that point to periods during our 4.5 billion year history in which the Earth was much warmer with lower levels of CO2, and much cooler with elevated levels of CO2. You also have the problem of determining causality. Does elevated CO2 proceed warming or is it a condition thereof? Having read your posts, you no doubt have a nice big file of studies to refute almost every arguement, but the way that I also look at it (and much of the recent IPCC debacle, not to mention Mr. Jones admissions, of which not all can be spun away) is that there are an equal if not graeter number of studies that refute most of your arguement. That said, when the gatekeeper raises questions about his own research, I think that we can at the very least assume that this question is far from “settled.” As one prominent meteorologist recently said, Mother Nature will provide the answer in about 20 years.

    One other question: How many trillions of dollars would it take to reduce the Earth’s temp by 1 degree. The EPA couldn’t give me answer, maybe you can pull this from your bag of tricks?

    http://bigjournalism.com/rtrzupek/2010/02/16/unintended-consequences-battling-climate-change-creates-famine/

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/climate-change/mcclintock-proofnotco2-2009.pdf

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  41. The Daily Mail and lousy climate reporting…

    If this headline were true, it would indeed be major news.Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995 (source)But it’s not true at all. Consider what RealClimate has to say, or……

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  42. Wayne says:

    Greg
    Your gun analogy fits fine. It is like someone saying that a gun shorts “far” and the same gun later shots “farther”. The factors that affect how far it shots the first time often are in factors in how far it shots the second time. A change in one factor may change it but a change in another factor can change it farther in the other direction. So saying far and farther is two completely different things are inaccurate.

    Re “So, no, talking about levels of warmth is not terribly productive to talking about changes due to global warming.”

    Isn’t the change of warmth assuming it is increasing the same as saying there is global warming?

    I agree that changes due to global warming are different than if it is happening. However the argument being discussed is if global warming is happening and if so how much of it is due to man.

    If you want to change discussion on the impact of climate change then start with these two questions. Can you say with certainly that global warming will do more harm than good? What is the ideal temperature for Earth?

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  43. greg says:

    You’re modifying my example, a bit there. Saying that a projectile is traveling at a given speed and saying that a projectile is *changing speed*- i.e, slowing down, or speeding up- are wholly different things, in this example. This isn’t even calculus, honestly- it’s algebra: there’s a variable, and a constant. If you’re trying to figure out whether or not there’s a slope, you can ignore the constant. It’s irrelevant. How far it travels -a product of both initial velocity and acceleration throughout- doesn’t actually have an analogue to what we’re discussing, which is probably why you introduced it at all. We can all agree that there is warmth on the planet -at absolute zero, the chemical bonds that make up matter would break apart completely- so discussing the constant is largely moot. What *does* matter is the accelleration -is it increasing or decreasing, and whether it’s quickly enough to be a serious concern. Unless you *are* attempting to claim that solar variation is a major effect that trends in the direction of what we’re seeing now (the reasons it’s regarded as not, on both counts, are extremely intuitive and straightfoward, relative to a lot of the rest of the climate stuff), that’s not all that much of a point.

    As far as your second question, it seems the best answer is probably the easiest. Even if you choose to ignore the thing where the climate is being altered faster than evolution can keep up, in a manner that will likely lead to extinction events (many climate change deniers happen to also be Creationists, coincidentally enough), there’s a very simple answer.

    For us, speaking today, the best climate range would probably be that in which we’ve built most of our civilization. A great honking deal of our technology, working all the way down to agriculture, is highly climate sensitive. We see that today, even in the US, when we look at the massive energetic demands it takes for us to, say, build and maintain cities in the middle of the desert (Los Angeles), or maintain order and clean up in the aftermath of Katrina. Our species may be generalists, and we might be pretty good at adapting to different climates, but as we get displaced to less and less efficient places to live, we end up burning through more and more resources to live there.

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  44. Cameron Bird says:

    ” it appears that Lindzen and Choi were operating off of old datasets”

    “Enter 2009 and a new study by Dr. Richard Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi from MIT that uses temperature data from satellites. As background we start with the predictions. The climate models say that as the oceans warmed by one degree Celsius from the 1980s into the 1990s, the amount of heat escaping to space would decrease. More heat would be trapped in the atmosphere, ultimately due to the burning of fossil fuels. The warming of the oceans was natural and part of the large multi-decadal temperature changes that have been known for years. Now if only we had a way to measure the amount of heat going out to space, then we could get some answers. We do, it’s called the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment Satellite (ERBE). It was in orbit above the earth measuring outgoing long wave radiation (heat) for 16 years from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. This is very significant. Now we had a tool, and real world data, that we could compare to the computer model predictions. It is the ultimate climate system umpire.”

    Mid 80’s to late 90’s? Conducted over a 16 year period? Does’t square with old?

    Also, given that the tree ring data from 1960 to 2000 would appear not to be reliable, based on Mr Jones admission, then why would it be considered reliable for use up to this time? And, why don’t their climate models work? Or, is lying about there being no “statistically significant” warming for the past 15 years?

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  45. Cameron Bird says:

    “For us, speaking today, the best climate range would probably be that in which we’ve built most of our civilization. A great honking deal of our technology, working all the way down to agriculture, is highly climate sensitive. We see that today, even in the US, when we look at the massive energetic demands it takes for us to, say, build and maintain cities in the middle of the desert (Los Angeles), or maintain order and clean up in the aftermath of Katrina. Our species may be generalists, and we might be pretty good at adapting to different climates, but as we get displaced to less and less efficient places to live, we end up burning through more and more resources to live there.”

    Bunk! Historically, conditions for life are always better when the Earth is warmer. Not a lot of wildlife and vegetation thriving above the Arctic circle. We even know that Greenland was settled and farmed by the Vikings. Not a lot of farming going on in Greenland these days!

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  46. Wayne says:

    Greg
    So what is the constant of warmth and warming beyond it being above absolute zero?

    The argument is if warmth and warming are “two entirely different things”. They are different as I already describe but they are related. Factors that contribute to the warmth of the planet can and often do contribute to the warming or cooling of the planet. Just like the bullet example where the bullet with the descriptive of going far and going farther. Warmth and warming are after all descriptive words that share many commonalities..

    Re“there is a tiny band of temperatures that are habitable by life as we know it”

    That band has expanded quite a bit in the last few decades.

    Solar variations have been shown to be a great factor on the planets temperatures.

    Claiming today is an ideal temperature is farfetched. Humans have lived through a good deal higher and lower temperatures. Some think that higher temperatures would create more rainfall, longer growing seasons, and less harsh winters. We may go back to much of the world turning back into tropical paradises.

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