Friday, November 30, 2007

Climate Cuttings #14

Once more, our Ecclesiastical Eminence has risen to the climate change challenge and collected many of the latest stupidities from this particularly dodgy area. Before we start though, I'd like to point out that Tom Nelson has been pumping out tons of links to such stories so, if you are interested in this area, he is a good first port of call.

Now, onto Climate Cuttings #14, and the first item concerns the use of bristle-cone pine trees as temperature proxies.
We know that when you are making a reconstruction of the historic temperature from tree rings, you shouldn't use bristlecone pines (BCPs). This was the advice of the US National Academy of Sciences who observed that these species are thought to be prone to CO2 fertilisation—which is to say that increased growth might be due to more CO2 in the air, rather than temperature. Of course the IPCC doesn't care about this and uses BCPs all the time, most notoriously in the "Hockey Stick" graph. Now, a new paper from Craig Loehle finds that if you don't use any tree rings in your reconstruction, you don't get a hockey stick at all—in fact the medieval warm period looks warmer than the present. This is upsetting to "warmongers" who claim that the MWP was a local phenomenon.

As is par for the course, the Loehle paper was either ignored or attacked on the most spurious grounds.
Julien Emile-Geay, a colleague of hockey stick manufacturer, Michael Mann, gave a bravura performance in a thread at Climate Audit, in which he called the Loehle paper "pseudoscience" because, amongst other things, it didn't calculate error bounds. He become rather bashful when it was pointed out to him that none of his colleagues did this either. Nobody seemed to be able to explain how error bounds for this kind of reconstruction should be calculated. Which is odd, when you think about the idea that the science is apparently "settled".

As anyone who has been following developments in the science of this area—rather than the announcements by politicos (including Al Gore)—knows, the science is very far from settled. One of the really big problems that we have is measuring whether, in fact, the world is warming at all.
Loehle's approach to calculating a global temperature turns out to have been rather unique. The proxies he used were each calibrated against local temperature to give a reconstructed local temperature record. Then the reconstructed temperatures for each locale were averaged to give a global temperature. This is very different to the way this kind of thing has been done in the wacky world of hockey stick climate science. Here, proxies of different kinds, some calibrated, some not, are aggregated and then some kind of a global temperature signal is looked for by statistical means. The idea is that proxies will correlate in some way with temperatures elsewhere in the world by means of something called "teleconnections". This seems, shall we say, unconvincing.

"Unconvincing" is, I would suggest, a rather mild word for what is shoddy science of the very worst kind.
One of the proxies used in a recent temperature reconstruction was rainfall records. If you're wondering, these are thought to teleconnect to temperature, so you can look for a temperature signal in there. This sounds daft enough, but when you learn that the coordinates of the locations used were not correctly aligned with the temperature data, so that, for example, the rainfall in Philadelphia was compared to the temperature in Bombay, it sounds truly crazy.

But, really, it gets even better...
However the really amazing, fall-off-your-chair laughing bit, is that this error had also been observed in one of the author's previous papers, and that he had had his gaffe pointed out to him then! And the author? Hockey stick guy, Michael Mann! Who else?

You couldn't make it up! Well, actually, you can, as Mann so ably demonstrates. Is this sloppiness or an outright attempt to deceive? Well—given that Mann had had his error pointed out previously—your humble Devil would have to go with the latter option: it's fraud.

Lest anyone should wonder if Mann's "hockey stick" could be annihilated any further, I am pleased to report that, yes, indeed it can be.
Meanwhile a recent PhD thesis raises important questions about some of the bristlecone pine records. The hockey stick graph is driven by a surge in growth in bristlecone pine trees in the latter half of the twentieth century. One of the most important such records is the Graybill chronology from Sheep Mountain. The new thesis updates these records, but shows none of the growth surge that was previously reported. Unfortunately, no attempt was made to reconcile the two sets of records, but this would appear to kill the hockey stick stone dead. Not that this will bother the IPCC who will, no doubt, continue to use it.

I have no doubt that they will continue with this and the other frauds that it perpetuates upon the world. Seriously, everyone on the IPCC should be prosecuted for fraud and a deliberate attempt to stir up panic. Or however, you want to couch it.

Now, one would have thought that the recent court case might have convinced people that Al Gore's film was a hunk of shit, but apparently not; so, never mind, we'll just keep kicking the shit out of the rest of his crappy, lying film until the Nobel Committee take the Peace Prize from both him and the IPCC.
If you've seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", you will remember the long, long graph with the surge in temperatures at the end, which was incontrovertible evidence that the Earth is warming in an unprecedented fashion... apparently. Gore claimed that the graph was from ice core records and that it therefore supported the hockey stick and refuted its critics. Except it wasn't from ice cores at all, it was just a reprint of the hockey stick itself. Yes folks, he made it up.

What a surprise! Not.

Still, even those of us who do not subscribe to this anthropogenic climate change bollocks do tend to think that moving away from a carbon-based economy would be a good idea. There are several reasons for this, but they are mainly political (we really aren't keen on the regimes that tend to control the oil) and supply-based (it'll all run out at some point). Luckily, there's options.
In the last edition of Climate Cuttings, I reported Tim Worstall's observation that the global warming panic should recede, now that the global economy seems to be following the Stern report's "warmer but richer" scenario, rather than the more unpleasant poorer one. Now Tim has also reported that the whole crisis should be over in a couple of decades because of the rapidly falling price of solar cells. The end of the carbon economy is is sight. Don't do something—stand there!

All good news, I'm sure you'll agree. Still, there's a few years to go yet: what about the disasters in the meantime, eh?
There is no link between global warming and typhoon activity.

Reports that sea level will rise when the Greenland ice sheet melts are less certain than previously advertised. The glaciers are sitting in a bowl of rock. It has been demonstrated that James Hansen at NASA knew this, but made his scaremongering claims of sea level rise anyway.

Don't ask me why these scientists feel the need to continually lie to us (although I have a few suggestions) but lie they do. Is anyone else angry yet?—after all, there are apparently children having nightmares about this shit.

Anyway, whilst the kiddiewinks' nightmares disturb their parents, the warming is still resolutely failing to occur.
According to satellite records, October was the second coolest month on record.

Northern latitudes should be warming fastest, according to global warming theory. Why then is there no warming apparent in the Baltic?

Global warming might thin cirrus clouds and release all the extra heat, according to a new paper.

Oh well, never mind, eh? The politicians are committed now and they are just going to forge ahead with all of their targets. No matter that a few billion people remain in poverty and another few million die unnecessarily; at least the scientists' reputations are safe, eh?

Once again, thanks to Bishop Hill for collating all of this stuff and for not getting stroppy when I quote virtually the whole thing verbatim; it's not my fault that he writes so damn economically that I cannot actually cut anything out...


Tomrat247 said...

Not only are kiddies having nightmares about giant killer bees, typhoons stealing their transformers and heatwaves melting their calypso's but scary moonbat mentals who deserve honourable mentions in the Darwin awards have deliberately sterilised themselves (and in one case aborted a perfectly viable foetus) in an attempt to "curb" the global warming effects of children.

Now not only is this insane but also very hypocritical; its fine not to want children but I would posit (at least in western countries) that carbon footprints per head are higher for more impoverished individuals, therefore the best logic here would be to not have children yourself and adopt - the life of some of these abandoned/abused kiddies live will never change otherwise and will condemn them to the dreggs to continue emitting without contributing. Now that would be noble, not their brand of ecowibble.

Sacerdote said...

As far as moving away from a carbon economy goes, I'm a big fan of concentrating solar power. If you have a look at they make a very good case for providing 90% of the worlds power needs just from putting mirrors in the deserts to focus sunlight. You can see how big an area would be needed here:
As a by-product, you can even desalinate water and make the deserts bloom. And make mirrors out of sand. Pity there isn't the political will to make it happen.

Devil's Kitchen said...


To be fair to the lassie in question, she did actually propose doing exactly that.


Indeed. And such mirrored focusing forms the central energy conversion platform of the zinc oxide powerstations that I have been banging on about for the last couple of years.


Bishop Hill said...

Keep quoting me! It makes me feel important. ;-)

Tomrat247 said...


Indeed; I misread the article - I stand corrected.

"We used to say that if ever we did want children, we'd adopt, as there are so many children in need of a loving family."

My concern here I suppose goes to the numerous kids out there with such (self)destructive attitudes; if her attitude truly was based on altruism and sacrifice she would remove a child from such an environment and tried focusing their energies on a more constructive, if misguided, venture.

Roger Thornhill said...

Focused sunlight and stirling engines are a fav of mine - the "dish engines", as it were.

I always wonder how soon such devices will end up creating an ecosystem living in the shadows they create. Less evaporation, lower temperatures etc etc.