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Biofuels: Some have a higher carbon footprint than oil.

Paul Hudson | 15:09 UK time, Friday, 25 March 2011

Over the last few years there has been a huge drive towards producing more biofuels to replace some of the fossils fuels we consume, which, we've been told, produce lower carbon emissions.

Slowly though there is a realisation that in some instances, the carbon footprint of certain biofuels can actually be higher than conventional fossil fuels.

The UK and the EU has set a goal of obtaining 10 per cent of its road fuels from renewable sources by 2020.

But a report last April commissioned by the EU itself found some biofuels can lead to four times more carbon dioxide polluting the atmosphere than equivalent fossil fuels.

It specifically looked into the indirect emissions from biofuels caused by land use change.

The worst example they found was for soy beans in America.

Because the land that used to grow soy beans for animal feed is now being used for biofuels, more soy beans must be grown in the rainforests of Brazil to make up for the loss in the domestic market.

Soybeans grown in America therefore have an indirect carbon footprint much higher than that of diesel or petrol.

Another example is biodiesel from European rapeseed and bioethanol from sugar beet; it's been suggested that both have been found to have a much higher carbon footprint than conventional diesel because of the indirect use of land in other countries to replace the food crops that are no longer grown in Europe.

And many of these crops have to have a high yield in order to make enough biofuel, and make them a commercially viable entity. In order to reach these high yields in some cases there's heavy use of nitrogen based fertilisers - and one of the by-products of nitrogen based fertilisers is nitrous oxides - itself a greenhouse gas.

This week, a report commissioned by Action Aid and the RSPB and based on research conducted in Kenya, highlighted a crop known as Jatropha, which has been widely planted in order to produce biofuels.

It found that greenhouse gas emissions in producing the biofuel would be between 2.5 and 6 times higher than the fossil fuel equivalents.

The report examined the life cycle of the crop, including amongst other things the clearance of woodland, harvesting and refining.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think that we have to be very careful when we take actions to reduce our Carbon foot print, that we aren't causing the reverse effect. I recycle. But are we doing things as efficiently as we can? Didn't Nicolas Tesla come up with some free ways of producing energy, that never left the drawing board, because they couldn't be exploited for money.

  • Comment number 2.

    As always there are 'unintended consequences' as this Der Spiegel article highlights so well.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,751469,00.html

    Please preserve us from politicians as the more they interefere to 'help' the situation the worse they make it!

  • Comment number 3.

    In theory, biofuels are sustainable, but not when rain forest is directly or indirectly destroyed in order to grow them. Also, growing fuel to feed our cars, rather than food is an absolute disgrace.
    What is needed is an immediate moratorium on destroying rainforests, NO MATTER WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES on people's life styles, but that is unlikely to happen.
    The problem of the destruction of rainforests is one of the most serious environmental issues facing the planet, irrespective of any effects on CO2 emissions.
    Unfortunately it seems unlikely that we will stop destroying rainforests until it is too late.

  • Comment number 4.

    Since when Paul has CO2 been a pollutant?

  • Comment number 5.

    "Since when Paul has CO2 been a pollutant?"

    I'll answer. A pollutant since it got out of hand:
    http://www.cutco2.org/images/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr-2.png

  • Comment number 6.

    Basically I think biofuels, unless specifically a waste product of crops already growing for food, are a red herring and potentially very destructive. They can only be grown on either virgin land (ecologically destructive) or on agricultural land (replacing food crops). We are already told that food production must be increased substantially; so that leaves virgin land. Yet again it is the environment which must pay the price for this latest folly - ironically , in the name of "saving" the environment!
    I agree with QV #3 above, except that I would add that it is certainly not just the rainforest under threat under such schemes. Many grassland, scrub, wetland and even desert ecologies are menaced by various "sustainable" energy projects. In fact over preoccupation with rainforests alone often increases pressure on other habitats which are by implication viewed as less important and unworthy of being protected, though may be just as vital to ecological processes.

    Lets face it- there are just too many humans using too many resources and you can't get a quart into a pint pot.

  • Comment number 7.

    Biofuels have directly contributed to the rapid increase of price of staple foods in the developing world, to the extent that people there can no longer afford to buy food.

    Biofuel also has a lower lubrication ability than fossil fuels thus contributing to fuel pump failure. This is a heavy cost as some fuel pumps cost £1500 to replace. Adding a fuel lubricant adds cost which today is already high enough.

    So biofuels are not the saviour of the planet that the environmentalists pushed for. Regardless of your thoughts on greenhouse gasses and their itinerant theory which still has to be proved the use of biofuels must be rethought.

    As to there being too many people on the planet- if the third world was able to develop then their populations would fall. World population will stabilize because continued exponential expansion will fail due to limited food production.

  • Comment number 8.

    Actually Quake, thats not true.

    Co2 is not a pollutant BUT it only became so as soon as the Mann Made Global Warming (tm) chicken littles found something to pin their desire to rule the world and dictate how every single person has to live their lives on.

    What is it about Mann Made Global Warming (tm) that makes otherwise highly intelligent men stupid and highly aggressive to anyone that dares question their religious beliefs?

    Regards

    Mailman

  • Comment number 9.

    @Mailmannz:
    I'd say it is exactly the other way around. The global warming deniers are the ones with the religious zeal. They ignore the real science and cherry-pick quotes and pseudo-science from any source that suits their agenda. They also seem to think that puny mankind can't possibly have an effect on the natural world. How blind is that? Global warming is real, the real evidence is clear. The science behind the warming effect of CO2 (and other gases) in the atmosphere was understood in the nineteenth century. The difficulty is to predict what effect it will have on our climate and the plants and animals that we share the planet with. That is far from well understood and we may only discover that in detail by observation not prediction.

  • Comment number 10.

    I can understand why CO2 is deemed a pollutant. Here's an even better graph as it shows the future also and puts the speed of the changes into context:
    http://www.actingtogether.co.uk/images/CO2graph.gif

    If it is decided that rise in CO2 is undesirable, then emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere that are causing that rise can be referred to as pollution.

    Pollution is a broad term that isn't easily defined, but given existing types of pollution, CO2 isn't really that unique. I mean we have light pollution (too much light!)...I am sure people aren't saying light itself is harmful..but that too much light is undesirable. Another example would be raw sewage. Human and animal waste is natural! Fertilizer even! Plants thrive on it! Yet dumping raw sewage into rivers is deemed polluting the river.

  • Comment number 11.

    #7 - John Marshall wrote:
    "As to there being too many people on the planet- if the third world was able to develop then their populations would fall. World population will stabilize because continued exponential expansion will fail due to limited food production."
    Unfortunately that will probably take too long.
    I am over 60 and as long as I can remember, large parts of Africa have been reliant on food aid. It has reached the stage now where at least one charity has decided to only give food to those who actually suffering malnutrition, as opposed to the population in general, in order to encourage self reliance. However, it has to be faced that some of these countries, for one reason or another cannot sustain the populations they have. A large part of this is due to political incompetence and corruption. Some of these countries were our colonies and were better off then. Of course we had to give them independence but they cannot govern themselves because they are either incompetent or corrupt. At the rate they are going, they are NEVER going to going to become developed. In any case, it isn't the third world which is using most of the Earth's resources, it's the developed world.
    The solution, according to "The Age of Stupid", is for the developed world to reduce it's demand for resources, in order to provide the third world with the resources to develop, but I can't see that happening.
    The problem is, the Earth's resources are finite and the Earth's demand is growing exponentially. That cannot be sustained.

  • Comment number 12.

    Apparently increased CO2 levels and/or warming have increased the amount of vegitation on the planet.
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2011/03/23/global-greening-continues-did-we-cause-it/
    It doesn't seem surprising that increased CO2 levels are actually beneficial to plant life.

  • Comment number 13.

    If its got " GREEN " anywhere in the title its an investment scam and bad for the true ecology of our planet !

  • Comment number 14.

    and to put current CO2 levels in context:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png

    /Mango

    I don't deny climate change, I know climate changes

  • Comment number 15.

    Mango @ #14

    "and to put current CO2 levels in context......."

    ............ and to put past CO2 levels in their FULL context:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=77

    You might also want to watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5hs4KVeiAU

    Paul

  • Comment number 16.

    Everyone knows, or should know, that the CO2 levels are not extraordinary in the context of geological time. To call it a "pollutant" is bizarre. The global warming movement (or whatever we should call it) has had its day and we must take a pragmatic approach to energy and food production before we cripple our economy by adherence to a discredited theory.

  • Comment number 17.

    Fudsdad @ #16

    "Everyone knows, or should know, that the CO2 levels are not extraordinary in the context of geological time."

    Did you watch the video I linked to in post #15? Whilst your claim is true, it misses the point because it is only part of the story - as always, the devil is in the detail. In fact, evidence from paleoclimate studies has greatly strengthened the scientific consensus in favour of AGW science, for reasons that you may grasp if you watch the video.

    Paul

  • Comment number 18.

    To QV#12 above : re. Co2 and plant growth.

    It is by no means surprising that raised CO2 levels have influenced plant growth. This could either be due to warming (in cold regions) or increased "fertilising" due to the gas itself - or both.
    The problem is that "influence" rather than "bennefit" might be a better description.

    Plants vary in their capacity to photosynthesize in relation to both temperature and CO2 levels. Therefore some will gain more than others, which in a competetive natural ecology could cause significant changes which crude measurements of mere global biomass will not pick out.

    Some research suggests that plants (again some species much more than others) respond to raised CO2 by reducing stomatal abundance. This could have significant implications in terms of transpiration rates giving some species an advantage in dry habitats - or even the ability to grow in places currently too arid. Rapid bulk growth in others by contrast may increase strain on soil moisture or nutrients.

    Although artificially raised CO2 has been used as a crop growth stimulant for years in carefully monitored and "perfect" glasshouse conditions, in complex wild plant communities or even field crops the outcomes are less predictable - and in the former, could, it is thought by some scientists, even be catastrophic (bear in mind also the implications for the further food chain) - for reasons outlined above.

  • Comment number 19.

    EYChris @9,

    I think someone needs to open their eyes and actually take a look at the real world. It is the players at the heart of Mann Made Global Warming (tm) who are the ones that have repeatedly, willfully taken every opportunity possible to obstruct access to their data, to falsify data, to cherry pick data so as to create their so called hockey sticks. And every time their information is looked at in any detail the whole house of cards comes crashing down. And thats without starting on pal review and that can of worms!

    Even in your 5 second posting, you have decided what skeptics are all about. No one denies that the climate changes. That is just silly, yet in your need to control what others think, you make this the central theme of the heretics who dont believe in your religion.

    Now, Paul can post as many links as he likes to his propoganda sites like scepticalscience, but the fact is these sites are advocates for Mann Made Global Warming (tm) alarmism.

    Speaking of alarmism, here is an interesting article, so it maybe a thousand years or so before any drop in temps might be seen if all emmisions are cut tomorrow? Yikes!;
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/mtr_today_march_25/

    Regards

    Mailman

  • Comment number 20.

    @Paul Briscoe

    Why do you keep pointing to (un)skeptical science?

    Do you know the domain is owned and run by a "cartoonist working from home and is currently juggling the tasks of taking care of his daughter, drawing new Sev Space cartoons, casino online, continually developing and programming the Sev Wide Web, developing a new cartoon series Terrible Twos, posting regular updates in his cricket blog as well as obsession about past and future Ashes series, dabbling in screenwriting, programming for PaperWeb Design and consequently getting nothing done!" (I omitted the names for privacy)

    Now don't get me wrong, there are many amateur scientists leading the way in climate science, but don't you think this cartoonist should be a little more sceptical of what he reads and (mis)understands?

    You see on the one hand, he dismisses any possibility that CO2 may not be the cause of recent global warming and on the other points out that there was an ice age during a period of very high levels of CO2. He then tells us Young et al 2009 suggest this "conflict" is due to increased rock weathering balanced by volcanic eruptions, but Young et al actually say is:

    While the 87Sr/86Sr can be reconciled with the paleotemperature curve of Trotter et al. (2008) for the Late Ordovician, Early to Middle Ordovician cooling (Fig. 3) is more problematic. Low rates of organic carbon burial indicated by low δ13C in the Late Cambrian and Early through Middle Ordovician (Figs. 1 and 3; and Saltzman, 2005) could not have contributed to pCO2 drawdown. Volcanic weathering related to the Famatinian arc in the Argentine Precordillera may have lowered CO2, but cannot
    be the primary cause because cooling was already under way (Fig. 3).
    Perhaps the waning Pan-African orogeny and associated decrease in metamorphic degassing could have lowered CO2. Recent work on metamorphic degassing associated with the Himalayas (Evans et al., 2008) indicates that continental orogenic events may potentially be a net source of CO2.

    So, "a straightforward cause-and-effect relationship between volcanic weathering and
    climate is not observed" to quote directly from the paper.

    (Un)skeptical science also tell us Around 446 million years ago, volcanic activity dropped while rock weathering remained high. This caused CO2 levels to fall below 3000 ppm, initiating cooling. It turns out falling CO2 levels was the cause of late Ordovician glaciation.

    So, on the one hand a doubling of CO2 from 400 to 800 ppm gives us (say) 3C warming, from 800 to 1600 ppm gives us another 3C warming, another doubling another 3C (overall +9 by the time we get to 6000 ish ppm), but a halving from 6000 to 3000 ppm causes an ice age.

    /Mango

    I don't deny climate change, I know climate changes

  • Comment number 21.

    As I see it, there are 2 separate issues here:

    The science linking CO2 emissions with a warming planet.

    How to deal with the problem.


    Evidence for the first is so strong that even back in the mid 1990's the Global Climate Coalition's own scientists conceded that it "cannot be denied"......... and the evidence has only strengthened since then.

    However, the question of how to tackle the problem is more intractible and I don't claim to have the answers. I certainly don't believe that biofuels and windfarms are the answer. I'm of the view that nuclear power is inevitably going to be part of the solution, togther with energy conservation and reduction measures.

    I note that Mailman is still calling Skeptical Science a "propaganda" site. Yet, I also note that he is not giving specific examples of where it is getting its facts wrong. Could this be because Skeptical Science is based on the scientific literature, I wonder? In fact, Skeptical Science and the huge body of scientific evidence it represents is precisely the reason why Mailman's arguments are built on sand......... Mailman has no such evidence to back up what he says........ which is why he has no option but to non-specifically dismiss Skeptical Science as propaganda. Could it also be the reason why he has to resort to such a blatantly propagandist "trademark" slogan?

    For precisely the same reason, Mailman quickly has to resort to accusing the scientists of data falsification and cherry-picking etc.. Does he not realise that claims of conspiracy theories are one of the 5 classic traits of denialist movements?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/5-characteristics-of-scientific-denialism.html

    Finally, having followed the link at #19 above, I note that Andrew Bolt is using a rhetorical, circular and frankly silly argument. He is, in effect, arguing that no country on its own can make any material difference to the problem and that no country should therefore be the first to act. Isn't that just another excuse for doing nothing at all?

    It is clear that the World as a whole is finding it difficult to act in any coordinated way, so it is likely to require one or two pioneering countries to start tackling the problem allone to prove that it is possible to do so in an economically sustainable way.

    Paul

  • Comment number 22.

    Mango @ #20

    I think you must be getting desparate if you have to resort to attacking John Cook because he doesn't actually work in science for a living any more. He IS a trained physicist. However, what matters is that the articles on his site ARE based on the scientific literature, with links that you can check if you feel the need to.

    Now sadly, I don't have access to the full version of the Young et al paper, but the abstract clearly states:

    "In the late Katian, outgassing was reduced while volcanic weathering continued, and resulted in a cooling episode leading into the well-known end-Ordovician glaciation."

    This precisely mirrors what the Skeptical Science article is saying.

    Now re-reading the section from the paper you have copied, the first sentence states:

    "While the 87Sr/86Sr can be reconciled with the paleotemperature curve of Trotter et al. (2008) for the late Ordovician, Early to Middle Ordovician cooling (Fig. 3) is more problematic."

    In other words, the rest of the paragraph relates to the Early to Middle Ordovician period and NOT to the end of the period. So, the conclusion stated in the abstract and in the Skeptical Science article is absolutely correct.

    Also, if you watched the video, you'll know that another factor came into play - the position of the continents near the South Pole. This probably accounts for the gradual cooling of the Early to Middle Ordovician, with the sudden drop of CO2 levels towards the end pushing temperatures down still further.

    So sorry Mango, but you are wrong about the cartoonist not knowing what he's talking about. As someone who worked in scientific research and is therefore well accustomed to picking out the details from papers, I have found John Cook to be extremely thorough. That is why I use the site.

    Paul

  • Comment number 23.

    Andrew Bolt makes the very realist case that on balance humans are out for themselves so making potentially disastrous economic decisions that will make unmeasurable differences to global temperature are non sensical when so many others clearly will not follow this path and eclipse the emissions we make (less than 0.1C is basically unmeasureable as you cannot measure the temperature of a planet to that level of accuracy, the error bars are larger than this change). Does anybody really believe China are doing anything but paying lip service to green energy development when building coal fired power stations with reckless abandon? India is similarly more interested in development than carbon saving, and every developing nation behind them demands better living conditions above de-carbonisation - which many see as an imperialist plot to keep them in poverty.
    With the US awash in gas, new finds occurring all the time, a potential oil shale deposit in Israel that could make it as big as Saudi Arabia, I maintain that while fossil fuels are finite we have not yet got anywhere near finding where that finite limit is.
    In the meantime to use food to fuel our cars is monstrous.

  • Comment number 24.

    EYChris wrote:
    The science behind the warming effect of CO2 (and other gases) in the atmosphere was understood in the nineteenth century.

    I've always found this a funny point for someone to make. I even watched a rather comical BBC newsreel were the government science man went into someone's house and demostrated the 'green house effect' of CO2, as if this demonstrated how Co2 behaved in the atmosphere and that was the end of the argument. But of course it isn't the end of the debate. This is the thing, this is were the warmists understanding of the 'science' ends and the skeptics understanding begins.

    A doubling of CO2 per recent studies can only create 0.47C warming and no more. All the other warming comes from assumptions made in computer models. Assumptions around feedbacks and forcings. The science around these forcings and feedbacks is in its infancy. That is to say, not settled. For example if Spencer & Brasswell's paper is correct then the entire AGW debate is settled! CO2 isn't the problem your government wants it to be.

    For my part I have an open mind on Humankind's total impact on the environment. Reading Pielke's Climate Fix just now, he certainly argues for a large human impact. He just doesn't believe CO2 is planet Earth's thermostat control.

    :)

    Paul




  • Comment number 25.

    #23 - millennia wrote:
    "Does anybody really believe China are doing anything but paying lip service to green energy development when building coal fired power stations with reckless abandon? "
    As I recall, at Copenhagen, all China promised to do was reduce CO2 emission "intensity", relative to economic growth, so as long as there was economic growth, CO2 emissions would continue to increase in real terms. Yet, many reporters and I suspect lots of demonstrators, were under the impression that they had promised to "cut" emissions in real terms. At the time I worked out that in reality, Chinese CO2 emissions would rise to over 160% of 2005 levels by 2015 before starting to fall, but would still be about 150% above 2005 by 2020.
    Also, it is often mentioned that China has policy of 1 child per family, but there is some evidence that some families have more than one child, but that any children after the first are simply not recorded, so they become "non people".
    In view of the Chinese record of falsifying output figures under the Communist regime, I wouldn't believe anything they said on climate change and/or the environment.

  • Comment number 26.

    #24 Paul:

    "A doubling of CO2 per recent studies can only create 0.47C warming and no more."

    Where did you get the figure 0.47C from? You say "recent studies" - that's an immediate red flag. I could imagine one study saying 0.47C, but more than one coincidentally reporting the same number?

    The actual number is about 1C direct warming from a doubling of CO2 and that's not from recent studies but it's quite old knowledge.

    "All the other warming comes from assumptions made in computer models. Assumptions around feedbacks and forcings."

    Assumption makes it sound like someone's whim.

    But climate scientists actually try to determine how the climate works (including how much warming there is for a doubling of CO2) based on how the climate behaves today and how it's behaved in the past. The result of this endeavor cannot be crudely described as an "assumption".

    The scientists cannot pin the warming from a doubling of co2 on a precise figure, but there is a range of about 3C warming per doubling of CO2 plus or minus a degree or so. That's kind of the consensus range. There are extreme figures above and below that range given by a handful of scientists

    "The science around these forcings and feedbacks is in its infancy. That is to say, not settled. For example if Spencer & Brasswell's paper is correct then the entire AGW debate is settled! CO2 isn't the problem your government wants it to be."

    This is true, until CO2 is proved to cause as little as 0.5C warming, there is a problem. There is a problem as long as things like 2C, 3C even 4C warming are possible. They don't have to be proven, just possible.

  • Comment number 27.

    Paul @ #24

    "A doubling of CO2 per recent studies can only create 0.47C warming and no more. All the other warming comes from assumptions made in computer models. Assumptions around feedbacks and forcings. The science around these forcings and feedbacks is in its infancy. That is to say, not settled. For example if Spencer & Brasswell's paper is correct then the entire AGW debate is settled! CO2 isn't the problem your government wants it to be."

    Hmmmm! Even Lindzen and Choi, whose study was shown to be seriously flawed, considered that a doubling of CO2 would result in more warming than that........ and every other study that I have seen suggests that the warming from CO2 alone is around 1 Celsius, with feedbacks adding significantly to this figure.

    It's also interesting that you have mentioned models, as though this immediately invalidates any study that uses them........ yet not all studies that have estimated climate sensitivity actually used models. Then in your next breath you mention Spencer and Brasswell, whose work was based on a simplistic model that proved extremely unrealistic!

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JCLI3657.1

    Paul

  • Comment number 28.

    millennia @ #23

    I understand what you're saying, but in truth Andrew Bolt's argument is circular and not constructive.

    Of course any single country can continue to argue that it is too small to make a difference on its own, but that's just a recipe for nobody doing anything. Obviously, if you don't believe that there 's a problem then you'll be absolutely fine with that.

    However, others are pretty sure that there IS a problem and can see that coordinated international action is not happening. In that situation, the only way anything is going to get done is for individual countries to be bold enough to go it alone, prove that it's possible and then shame others into doing the same.

    Paul

  • Comment number 29.

    quake 26 wrote:

    The actual number is about 1C direct warming from a doubling of CO2 and that's not from recent studies but it's quite old knowledge.

    The study is recent and an extract can be found here:

    http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2011/EGU2011-4505-1.pdf

    Also see Judith Curry’s comments on the lack of justification on the 1C doubling hypothesis.

    http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/11/co2-no-feedback-sensitivity/

    I think she did a fuller discussion on it but I couldn’t find it.

    I think assumptions is the correct word to describe what they are doing. The can only ever stop being assumptions when the understanding of all the factors influencing climate are fully understood and a computer model is sophisticated enough to handle all the inputs. Until that time comes, then the models the IPCC rely on are based on assumptions (in my view). I recently read a story that migrating jelly fish should be included in computer models because of the affect they have on CO2 absorption. Had that been thought of before?

    My understanding of the models is that the demonstrate skill by mimicking past climate. However, there are obvious issues in that the margins of error have to be so large. Also, the models tailor the impact of certain forcings & feedbacks until past climate is mimicked. So the models gain skill by making assumptions on how aerosols impact climate. It’s a revolving logic that would not be given any merit in any other scientific discipline.

    Indeed Hal Lewis in his resignation letter to the American APS noted that it was impossible to predict future climate because human knowledge & understanding is so limited.

    http://cbullitt.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/harold-lewis-scathing-resignation-letter-from-the-aps/

    Hal Lewis has an interesting role in the entire debate, but that is another story.

    Paul

  • Comment number 30.

    Paul Briscoe 27 wrote:

    "Hmmmm! Even Lindzen and Choi, whose study was shown to be seriously flawed, considered that a doubling of CO2 would result in more warming than that........ and every other study that I have seen suggests that the warming from CO2 alone is around 1 Celsius, with feedbacks adding significantly to this figure."

    Yes, I guess the science (ahem) isn't settled yet.

    The Spencer Brasswell paper analysed real world data, the IPCC's computer models do not use real world data.

    I rather suspect that Mother Nature herself will decide the argument for us. I don't think She is too bothered about the human CO2 output and will prove that in the next few years/decades.

    I will be interested in the outcome of the new Berkeley Earth project

    http://www.berkeleyearth.org/study

    A new independent construction of world temperatures. I wonder if we will find that the brief period of warming that occurred between 1979 & 1998 wasn't unprecendented or that unusual.

    Paul

  • Comment number 31.

    Paul @ #29 and #30

    I'm doubtful that the Harde article is actually a peer-reviewed paper, because it certainly doesn't take the form of a normal paper and doesn't include full methods or a detailed discussion. Either way, though, Rabett Run has already spotted a major flaw in it:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/03/toy-model.html

    The model on which it is based has only two layers and therefore cannot accurately represent the situation in the real atmosphere.

    Spencer Weart has done an excellent article over at Realclimate discussing the idea of "saturation" of CO2:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    The problem is that higher in the atmosphere water vapour levels become very low but there is still enough CO2 to retain more IR radiation in the atmosphere. A two layer model cannot hope to accurately describe what is in fact a very complex system of multiple layers.

    We have been discussing models at some length in previous threads. The point which most sceptics don't fully grasp is that the scientists openly acknowledge the limitations of the models. However, the wide range given for climate sensitivity and future projections adequately covers the level of uncertainty. Even the lower end of their projections would still be a major cause for concern.

    The bottom line is that there is now more than enough evidence from paleoclimate studies to be confident that climate sensitivity is nothing like as low as you suggest.

    "The Spencer Brasswell paper analysed real world data, the IPCC's computer models do not use real world data."

    The Spencer and Brasswell paper used a very simplistic model with some of the variables set using unrealistic assumptions. Meanwhile, to my knowledge, ALL of the IPCC models at the very least use real world data in their evaluation.

    "A new independent construction of world temperatures. I wonder if we will find that the brief period of warming that occurred between 1979 & 1998 wasn't unprecendented or that unusual."

    Very unlikely, as every temperature record tells the same story:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Ten-temperature-records-in-a-single-graphic.html

    Paul

  • Comment number 32.

    Paul Briscoe 31 wrote:

    "I'm doubtful that the Harde article is actually a peer-reviewed paper, because it certainly doesn't take the form of a normal paper and doesn't include full methods or a detailed discussion."

    I think the link provides an extract not the full paper. It is my understanding that it has been peer reviewed, but...

    I do find your requirement to have full method published ironic in light of your later comment on paleoclimate.

    My comment on the IPCC not using real world data relates to impact of forcings & feedbacks...absolutely no real world data to justify their use in the computer models...

    I remain open minded on what the Berkeley Earth project results will be. However, there are only what three existing data sets on global temperature for the last century - GISS, NOAA & CRU temp. The Berkely Earth will be a forth set. In my view GISS & CRU prestige has been weakened by the names associated with those data sets.

    Professor Richard Muller (who is behind the Berkely project) view on GISS & CRU are in this Youtube film.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbR0EPWgkEI

    I like UAH data set, as it uses the satellite readings. I like the idea of satellite readings as it doesn't involve human beings making arbitrary judgement calls:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Feb_2011.gif


    The debate for me, should be on understanding of feedbacks & forcings. I have not read or seen one informed discussion on this on the BBC. I hate to say it, but I find this shocking.

    Paul

  • Comment number 33.

    Paul,
    'Pielke's Climate Fix' is written by an environmentalist, not a climatologist. (Would you send your car to a plumber for its service or a car mechanic?) It is a book, that needs to attract readers to increase its sales. It is not a peer-reviewed paper.

  • Comment number 34.

    Re #33 One would go to an expert who displayed skill, integrity and had a proven track record so I guess that rules out your 'climatologists'!!!

    And as for 'peer review' or more accurately 'pal review' in this particular field, I'm afraid it simply doesn't have the kudos it once had, certainly not after the exposure given in the Wegman report and more recently by Climategate.

    Appeal to authority simply doesn't work when that 'authority' is now held in the utmost contempt!

  • Comment number 35.

    33 EYChris wrote:

    "'Pielke's Climate Fix' is written by an environmentalist, not a climatologist"

    Chris, he is what he is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_A._Pielke,_Jr.

    Excluding people this way is a way to manufacture a consensus. Not saying that every published work should carry equal weighting. Although, Roger is well within his area of expertise when writing on climate science.

    IPCC AR4 included information from WWF promotional literature (for example) despite there being a requirement to draw from peer reviewed literature.

    Given the nature of our discussion I found this post interesting:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/18/epistemology-of-disagreement/

    Paul

  • Comment number 36.

    Here's an interesting back and forth between the other anti-christ (Lawson) and Beddington (the Governments biggest science brain), this coming from Beddington;

    "…short-term temperature trends are meaningless in the context of global warming… In order to see the effects of greenhouse gases, it is necessary to examine the long-term trend, which has clearly been upward (global average temperatures are now about 0.75°C warmer than they were 100 years ago, and the last decade has been the hottest since records began)."

    So let me see if Ive got this right, in around 100 years the planets temperature has only risen .75 degree's?

    How the hell do you even record that infinitesimally level of warming in a planet who's weather system we dont fully understand?

    Take all the alarmism away from Mann Made Global Warming (tm), how the hell do you even notice that kind of warming?

    Some be so kind as to remind me why Im paying more and more for the evils of that evil pollutant, Co2?

    Also interesting to see Beddington has swallowed hook, line and sinker certain statements from a certain university over certain activities of its staff that became known to the real world in a certain leak of certain emails. Funny old world how the old boys network works isnt it? :)

    Mailman

    ps. That quote is from the alarmist site;
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 37.

    Paul @ #32

    "I do find your requirement to have full method published ironic in light of your later comment on paleoclimate."

    The point I was making was that the lack of detailed methods suggested that it was not a true peer-reviewed paper. Meanwhile, papers studying paleoclimate are still required to carry details of the methods used.

    Certainly, there is a greater margin for error when using proxies, but this does not mean that no valuable data can be gathered from them. There have been several occasions in the Earth's history when changes have been on such a massive scale that there is not much room for doubt. The following article links to a position statement from the Geological Society which describes some of these:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Geological-Society-discuss-climate-change-evidence-from-the-geological-record.html

    The implication of these events is clear - climate sensitivity is not low (ie. the net feedback effect is significantly positive). Further evidence for this comes from the fact that Milankovitch cycles are sufficient to initiate the transition from glacial to interglacial periods.

    “My comment on the IPCC not using real world data relates to impact of forcings & feedbacks...absolutely no real world data to justify their use in the computer models...”

    The values for forcings can be calculated fairly easily and it seems that even Spencer and Lindzen don’t question the values for forcings used by the IPCC – in fact I’m pretty sure that they have used the same values themselves. Water vapour feedback too can be calculated. The biggest question mark has been over cloud feedbacks, but there is now increasing evidence that even these are not significantly negative (and are actually more likely to be positive). Most importantly, as I pointed out above, the available evidence points to the NET effect of feedbacks being significantly positive. Not knowing the precise magnitude of every individual feedback does not prevent high confidence in this.

    So personally I think you are overstating the level of uncertainty. It’s clear that most scientists feel the same way I do.

    I have already seen some of Richard Muller’s contributions to the debate and my own view is that he is nothing like as well informed as he believes! The bottom line is that various reviews have found nothing wrong with the various surface temperature datasets……… which are actually in close agreement with the satellite data that you do seem to trust!

    Paul

  • Comment number 38.

    Sparklet @ #34

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. However, I put it to you that there isn't actually any REAL evidence to justify your lack of confidence in the integrity and competence of the thousands of scientists who have studied the science of AGW over the past 100 years or so. There is also no REAL evidence to back up your claims for "pal review" - just unfounded claims in certain sceptic blogs.

    Could this be the reason why all of the scientific academies, having reviewed the science for themselves, actually accept the consensus view? They clearly don't view the climate scientists with contempt!

    Paul

  • Comment number 39.

    Re#38
    On the contrary, Paul, there is ample evidence of the lack of integrity of the 'hockey stick' team.

    Unlike you I have an independent mind and don't need to wait to be told what to think as your comment on the last thread indicated.

    "The latest "revelation" is so recent that none of the scientists have yet responded to the allegation. I would prefer to wait until they have had their say before commenting in detail."

    And as for your comment
    "I also understand from a response to the allegations that the full details of the methods and the ranges used are described within the body of the paper"
    - the lack of integrity was displayed by the range they DIDN'T use so this comment is somewhat disingenuous.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/steve-mcintyre-uncovers-another-trick/

    This was simply the latest in a long line of misdemeanours and it's ludicrous to suppose that the strawmen arguments you try to put forward are an adequate response.

    Wegman amply demonstrated the 'pal review' as did the Climategate emails, themselves, the very fact that such shoddy papers appear in supposedly professional journals is proof enough of a serious breakdown in the process and as I've said before Mann himself has criticised the peer review process and no-one should know better than he with his upside down Tiljander and disappearing/reappearing MWP!!!

    The facts remain - CO2 emissions have massively increased in the last 30 years, just look at the output of China alone

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co2_emissions_by_country

    and even Phil Jones admitted that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Added to this the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 are not statistically significantly different from each other.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8511670.stm

    There are a lot of vested interests in this so called AGW 'science'.

    Hal Lewis put it very well in his resignation letter to the American Physical Society

    "I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

    In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work".- Hal Lewis

  • Comment number 40.

    Sparklet @ #39

    We've been all of these things before and I have more than adequately demonstrated that the sources you use to make these allegations are totally unreliable. Feel free to believe them if you want to, but thankfully the people who count know that the allegations being made against the scientists are untrue.

    Now specifically in relation to the latest "scandal", I note that you conveniently ignored the point that the file being used by McIntyre actually POST-DATES the paper! Have you checked for yourself to see if Briffa and Osborn gave a justification for what they did? I also note that part way down the thread Craig Loehle even suggests a scenario in which it would be entirely legitimate (scientifically correct even!) to leave out the early data.......... yet you, together with most at Climateaudit are so set on the idea that the scientists must be guilty of malfeasance that you are unable to even consider the far more likely possibility that there was a good reason for what they did!

    In other words, you are pronouncing the scientists guilty BEFORE YOU'VE EVEN GIVEN THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THEIR SAY.

    Nobody who was genuinely "independent minded" and committed to finding the truth would use such an approach.

    "The facts remain - CO2 emissions have massively increased in the last 30 years, just look at the output of China alone

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co2_emissions_by_country

    and even Phil Jones admitted that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Added to this the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 are not statistically significantly different from each other."

    We've been through all of that too! Seeing as you persist in using this argument despite being told repeatedly why it is flawed, once again I must draw your attention to the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23iGJbkbzzE

    The 15 year period was cherry-picked by those you support because it was known it was JUST too short for the warming trend to reach the 95% significance level - that's not sound science, Sparklet.

    Then, comparing the rate of warming in the various periods you selected, the following shows clearly that the most recent period has shown by far the fastest warming trend:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton-Myth-2-Temperature-records-trends-El-Nino.html

    Add to this the fact that earlier warming periods coincide with increasing solar activity (whilst the present one does not) and once again the data actually ties in very well with what the scientists are actually saying.

    ......... and once again you have forgotten about thermal inertia, which means that much of the warming from recent emissions is still "in the pipeline".

    "Hal Lewis put it very well in his resignation letter to the American Physical Society"

    ........ and my recollection is that the American Physical Society put a very different perspective on things. Of course, Prof Lewis then nailed his colours to the mast by joining the GWPF!

    Paul

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Huh, some good typonese in my last post- apologies.

  • Comment number 43.

    Paul Briscoe @ 37 wrote:

    Paul Briscoe wrote: “The point I was making was that the lack of detailed methods suggested that it was not a true peer-reviewed paper.”

    As I said, I understand it is an extract not the full paper J

    Paul Briscoe wrote: “Meanwhile, papers studying paleoclimate are still required to carry details of the methods used. “

    I find this comment unsupported by what was revealed by Climategate. Any reconstruction using Bristlecone Pines & strip bark or reconstruction that hide the decline in their proxies by appending thermometer data are not worth their salt.

    Paul Briscoe wrote: “Further evidence for this comes from the fact that Milankovitch cycles are sufficient to initiate the transition from glacial to interglacial periods.”

    I find it funny that you would attempt to use the Milankovitch cycles to argue that CO2 is planet earth’s dominant forcing agent. The ice core records show the relationship between CO2 & temperature clearly. That is, temperature rises and CO2 levels follow hundreds of years later.

    Paul Briscoe wrote: “The values for forcings can be calculated fairly easily and it seems that even Spencer and Lindzen don’t question the values for forcings used by the IPCC – in fact I’m pretty sure that they have used the same values themselves.”

    If that were the case then the debate would be over. Certainly the Spencer & Brasswell paper more or less argues that the IPCC have mixed up cause and effect with their understanding of feedbacks & forcings. In Lindzen’s testimony before congress he said that as a result of the IPCC view of feedback forcings that cataclysmic global warming was nothing more than a computer model artefact. Was going to supply the link but they’ve changed the web address…

    Paul Briscoe wrote: “So personally I think you are overstating the level of uncertainty. It’s clear that most scientists feel the same way I do.”


    Judith Curry blog had a three blog series that looked at uncertainty:

    http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/24/overconfidence-in-ipccs-detection-and-attribution-part-iii/

    I like her blog (probably because I agree with it) but also because she has an open mind and can speak with authority on her area of expertise and stays away from areas she has less expertise (eg the role of clouds & bristlecone pines heheheheh).

    I don’t know how you can claim that the satellite temperature readings agree with the three main temperature data groups. I mean it doesn’t.

    Per the IPCC CO2 forcing agent could only begin around 1957, so from 1957 to 1979 no global warming. Per the big three data sets global warming from 1979 to 1998 & no global warming from 1998 to 2010 (unless you can predict the future like James Hansen manages to do with the GISS dataset). It all seems Much Ado About Nothing to quote the Bard!

    I’ve got the flu btw…hence my posts…

    Paul J

  • Comment number 44.

    Paul @ #43

    "I find this comment unsupported by what was revealed by Climategate. Any reconstruction using Bristlecone Pines & strip bark or reconstruction that hide the decline in their proxies by appending thermometer data are not worth their salt. "

    Sorry, I presumed that you would realise from my link to the submission from the Geological Society (which you have not commented on) that I was meaning studies from much further back in time than the bristlecone pines.

    However, since you've mentioned "hide the decline" I will comment on it. You may have gathered that I used to work in scientific research, so I have a pretty good idea what is acceptable and what is not. There is NOTHING sinister about hiding the decline - indeed it had been openly discussed by scientists LONG before the sceptics got hold of it from Climategate. Indeed the sceptics initially presumed that it must be referring to the instrumental record. What has gone on since is just an attempt to continue making mileage out of a non-story.

    The decline was not in fact "hiidden". It was openly discussed and the reasons for leaving out that portion of the data were entirely valid. The instrumental data was added in by means of a comparison but using different symbols (or colour, depending on which version you look at). In other words, NO attempt was made to deceive anyone with this. From my point of view as a scientist it was entirely proper.

    "I find it funny that you would attempt to use the Milankovitch cycles to argue that CO2 is planet earth’s dominant forcing agent. The ice core records show the relationship between CO2 & temperature clearly. That is, temperature rises and CO2 levels follow hundreds of years later."

    You're missing the point. Climate responds to ANY forcing, not just CO2. The fact that a small forcing such as the Milankovitch cycles could ultimately lead to very large changes in global temperature is actually very strong evidence that climate senstivity is much higher than people such as Lindzen and Spencer claim.

    "If that were the case then the debate would be over. Certainly the Spencer & Brasswell paper more or less argues that the IPCC have mixed up cause and effect with their understanding of feedbacks & forcings. In Lindzen’s testimony before congress he said that as a result of the IPCC view of feedback forcings that cataclysmic global warming was nothing more than a computer model artefact. Was going to supply the link but they’ve changed the web address…"

    I have even seen Lindzen quoting the forcing from CO2 as being what the IPCC claim. So I repeat, this is not in doubt. Spencer and Lindzen disagree with the IPCC over the feedbacks, but they are the ones who are out on a limb and other work casts very serious doubts over their claims.......... which is why the overwhelming majority of scientists disagree with them.

    http://skepticalscience.com/Roy-Spencers-Great-Blunder-Part-1.html

    http://skepticalscience.com/Roy-Spencers-Great-Blunder-Part-2.html

    http://skepticalscience.com/Roy-Spencers-Great-Blunder-Part-3.html

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Lindzen-Choi-2009-low-climate-sensitivity.htm

    I'm familiar with Judith Curry's blog, but I don't agree with most of her claims and she is certainly moving further and futher away from the consensus view. She is entitled to her opinion, but I believe that she is mistaken.

    "I don’t know how you can claim that the satellite temperature readings agree with the three main temperature data groups. I mean it doesn’t. "

    On the contrary, the satellite data match the surface data remarkably closely in terms of trend (bearing in mind that these are anomalies and may have different baselines):

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Ten-temperature-records-in-a-single-graphic.html

    "Per the IPCC CO2 forcing agent could only begin around 1957, so from 1957 to 1979 no global warming. Per the big three data sets global warming from 1979 to 1998 & no global warming from 1998 to 2010 (unless you can predict the future like James Hansen manages to do with the GISS dataset). It all seems Much Ado About Nothing to quote the Bard!"

    I suggest that you too watch this excellent video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23iGJbkbzzE

    So it is a mistake to read too much into short "lulls" or even falls in global temperature when the underlying trend is clearly upwards. Furthermore, you need to remember that there was cooling during the middle part of the 20th century due to sulphate aerosols (prior to the clean air act).

    Paul

  • Comment number 45.

    Mailman @ #36

    You too appear to have forgotten the importance of thermal inertia. Around half of the increase in CO2 levels has happened in the past 30 years. The huge bulk of the oceans, which take a very long time to warm, means that the full effect of CO2 emissions to date may not be realised for around 40 years.

    Paul

  • Comment number 46.

    @Paul Briscoe #21

    In a previous post, I pointed out to you where your favourite web site was wrong(and I pointed this out with peer reviewed papers), but that doesn't seem to have stopped you using it?

    So,

    "Yet, I also note that he is not giving specific examples of where it is getting its facts wrong."

    ...... it seems a bit rich for you to have a go at someone else for not pointing out/picking out any errors in it. As, even when this happens you just ignore them.....

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

  • Comment number 47.

    Paul B@ 45 "You too appear to have forgotten the importance of thermal inertia . . "

    Paul, I really don't understand how you can argue the case for long term atmospheric warming of the oceans with a straight face. In previous threads you've dismissed solar activity as a minor forcing with only temporary effects. Does it not strike you as even a remote possibility, that the additional energy from Sol throughout the middle to latter 20thC may have had both an immediate and longer term effect?
    As you know, temperatures tracked solar variation very well until around 1960. That divergence is the most commonly used argument for "well it can't be the sun". But of course, if you consider the oceans as heat stores, there will inevitably be a long term warming of the atmosphere (by the oceans) due to the slow release of captured energy. In fact, the 100 year temp record fits this description quite well. Sharp increases in solar activity, matched by temp increases, followed by flatter, shallower temp decreases (as energy is released) when compared to decreases in solar activity.

  • Comment number 48.

    blunderbunny @ #46

    "In a previous post, I pointed out to you where your favourite web site was wrong(and I pointed this out with peer reviewed papers), but that doesn't seem to have stopped you using it?"

    You may have believed that you had spotted a flaw, but I certainly don't recall you coming up with any convincing evidence. Furthermore, even if there are one or two errors (which is quite likely on a website carrying so much information), there is certainly not the pattern of misrepresentation that is so evident in much of the so called "evidence" that sceptics present here.

    You may also remember me saying that if anyone does spot an obvious mistake in the Skeptical Science site I will be the first to point it out to John Cook.

    I suspect that you are referring to the various proxy studies you provided links to in a previous thread. However, as I pointed out to you at the time:

    1. At least some were not peer-reviewed.

    2. Some of the studies were probably incorporated into the Mann et al paper.

    3. None of the studies undermined the findings of the Mann et al paper.

    The point you seem to have missed is that the Mann et al paper identified some parts of the Earth as being cooler than normal during the MWP. None of the studies you presented provided data which contradicted this.

    Paul

  • Comment number 49.

    lateintheday @ #47

    Thermal inertia is believed to cause a lag of up to 40 years between CO2 forcing and its full warming effect. However, the lag for solar activity, as shown by other studies, appears to be much less (around 2 years). There is actually a good reason why this would be expected. A solar forcing warms the oceans directly (because of increased incident radiation) whilst CO2 's warming effect is manifested in the atmosphere, so transfer of heat to the oceans is more gradual. I don't think that's the whole story, as the very short lag seen for solar cycles may be partly to do with the shortness of the cycles, but the lag would certainly be expected to be shorter for solar forcings.

    In a recent thread I pointed out that the rise in global temperature due to increased solar activity is believed to have been only around 0.5 Celsius even from the bottom of the Maunder Minimum. The majority of this increase had already occured by the 1850's, so any residual warming effect from the sun carried forwards into the recent (1979 onwards) warming period would be tiny.

    "But of course, if you consider the oceans as heat stores, there will inevitably be a long term warming of the atmosphere (by the oceans) due to the slow release of captured energy."

    There are 2 problems with this argument:

    Both the atmosphere AND the oceans have been accumulating heat.

    Satellite data shows that the planet as a whole is accumulating heat.

    Neither of these facts are consistent with what you are suggesting.

    Paul

  • Comment number 50.

    Best add here that I'm not suggesting that it's simply a case of measuring overall solar output. While TSI seems to remain fairly constant, there are great variations in particular wavelength emissions during solar cycles which could point to the actual mechanisms in play, whether it be chemical, magnetic or cosmic ray effect on cloud formation.

    Earlier (in this thread I think), you said you were following 'Wonders of the Universe' presented by Brian Cox. Ever noticed how many times he says "we used to think . . ." and then follows up with "but we now know . . . "

    I find it infuriating. I'm sure back then, they also said "we now know". The point being that science always moves on, and not always down the right path. I'm sure that in twenty years time, what we "now know" about climate will become "we used to think".

    There are so many uncertainties and dubious proxies underpinning AGW that one must have absolute FAITH and TRUST in the scientists themselves. Hardly a great advertisement for science. Hansen, Jones, Briffa and Mann etc have not done themselves any favours in this respect and although you defend them skillfully and valiantly, many of us would prefer you to acknowledge the bleedin' obvious and say - "fair do, they messed that up", every now and again.

  • Comment number 51.

    Paul Briscoe @ 44 wrote:

    Paul Briscoe wrote “Sorry, I presumed that you would realise from my link to the submission from the Geological Society (which you have not commented on) that I was meaning studies from much further back in time than the bristlecone pines.”

    You are correct there are proxies which are better than the tree ring proxies used by Man Jones Biffa & and favoured by the IPCC & given prominence by All Gore & our Government. Makes you wonder why these people/groups favour tree rings that require them to hide the decline.

    Paul Briscoe wrote “There is NOTHING sinister about hiding the decline - indeed it had been openly discussed by scientists LONG before the sceptics got hold of it from Climategate. Indeed the sceptics initially presumed that it must be referring to the instrumental record. What has gone on since is just an attempt to continue making mileage out of a non-story.”

    I think you are losing credibility here Paul. Deleting the proxy data & replacing with thermometer readings is deliberately misleading. As was the presentation of many of the graphs that used this ‘trick’. Showing a convergence of coloured lines into one creates the impression of agreement in the data, where there was no agreement. If the proxy records are so persuasive it makes you wonder why this ’trick’ was necessary & why Mann especially went to such lengths to prevent access to his workings and data. I refer you to your earlier comment about providing workings & data in peer reviewed science.

    The ’trick’ demonstrates that the proxy data used in these graphs (which made it through peer review???) are not reliable and therefore should not be used to understand paleoclimate. The divergence problem is an unresolved issue…

    Paul Briscoe wrote: “You're missing the point. Climate responds to ANY forcing, not just CO2. The fact that a small forcing such as the Milankovitch cycles could ultimately lead to very large changes in global temperature is actually very strong evidence that climate senstivity is much higher than people such as Lindzen and Spencer claim.”

    I wasn’t missing the point, I just didn’t want to make your point for you. But you are correct the premise behind the IPCC & our government’s concern about Anthropogenic Global Warming is because they have a belief in a deeply sensitive climate. That is to say, the world is forever on a precipice were the smallest of nudges could send it either way, into runaway green house warming or running global cooling. This belies the historical record. Earth’s climate is actually relatively stable, it doesn’t change very often.

    Paul Briscoe wrote “So it is a mistake to read too much into short "lulls" or even falls in global temperature when the underlying trend is clearly upwards. Furthermore, you need to remember that there was cooling during the middle part of the 20th century due to sulphate aerosols (prior to the clean air act).”

    Again you’ve hit on one of the known unknowns the impact on aerosols. It does create an issue for climate modellers, but it seems that when their models are proved wrong they just say we’ve underestimated the impact of aerosols! A convenient copout! I would again note the climate models demonstrate their skill by mimicking the past. This allows them the claim that they can mimic the future. Mimicking the past becomes worthless when they arbitrarily adjust for the impact of known unknowns like the impact of aerosols on past climate.

    My view is that we have naturally variability in our climate that could explain all of the recent brief spell of warming. But I am not a climate scientist or a statistician so my view doesn’t carry much weight. But it is what Pat Michaels has recently been trying to statistically demonstrate.

    Joseph D’Aleo website has some interesting & clear graphs on natural variability.

    http://www.weatherbell.com/jd/?p=400

    Paul

  • Comment number 52.

    to many pauls

  • Comment number 53.

    "My view is that we have naturally variability in our climate that could explain all of the recent brief spell of warming"

    Wait, what if natural variability has actually been dampening the warming for the past 20 years? What happens when natural variability suddenly switches to a warming spell?

  • Comment number 54.

    lateintheday @ #50

    In my opinion, you are missing the most important point of all.

    Hansen, Jones, Briffa, Mann et al are just ordinary scientists who happen to be researching in a field that has attracted more public attention and scrutiny than any other in history.

    For around 20 years now, powerful interests have been using highly dubious tactics to undermine confidence in the science and these interests think nothing of attacking the scientists themselves. If you're in any doubt about this, check out how advocacy groups attacked Rachel Carson for daring to uncover the environmental threat from DDT........ or the tactics the same advocacy groups used to undermine the scientific evidence linking smoking to serious disease.

    Yet now we have individuals linked to those self same advocacy groups using exactly the same tactics to undermine the science of AGW. The only difference now is that it is easier than ever because of the internet. In a matter of hours a new bogus claim can be copied and pasted right across the web........ and they're produced at such a rate that scientists cannot hope to counter them all AND continue their important work. The bottom line is that a huge proportion of what is written online regarding AGW science is at best a gross misrepresentation of the facts.

    My own area of research was related to the environment and ecology (although it also included quite a lot of chemistry). Quite a lot of the same problems that face ecologists are common to climate science. So when I hear the latest claims of a "scandal" and actually go and look at what has been done, all I see is evidence of scientists doing what scientists are supposed to do. The REAL problem is that most ordinary people don't have a clue how scientific research really operates.

    The ONLY thing you can really argue that SOME of the scientists did wrong was to withold data from certain individuals.......... but given that those individuals have links to the same advocacy groups that attacked the science linking tobacco to cancer AND attacked Rachel Carson over DDT, I have a great deal of sympathy for the scientists! I also know that in my own field of research it was not considered normal practice to share data with others - in any case, supplying the data doesn't give any kind of guarantee that it has been properly collected!

    Don't get me wrong. Scientists are human beings and human beings make mistakes from time to time, but what I find deeply offensive is the way any potential problem (many of which are not actually problems at all!) is immediately copied and pasted around the internet and presented as "evidence" of deliberate malpractice. The example described above by Sparklet is a case in point - the chances are that the scientists have done nothing wrong at all, but the presumption amongst bloggers is that they have from the moment Climateaudit makes the claim.

    You talk of the way our understanding of science changes over time. This is true, but in the case of AGW science the basic understanding has not now changed in around 60 years......... and nor will it, because there is no question that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it DOES have a warming effect on the planet. The underlying science does not depend on proxies - the proxies simply provide extra useful information which adds to the "big picture". Yes, there are still uncertainties, but those are more than adequately covered by the wide range given for projections of future temperatures. The scientists are NOT incompetent........ which is why the rest of the scientific community is prepared to accept the science - if there was the amount of doubt that you suggest, they would not!

    Paul

  • Comment number 55.

    Paul @ #51

    "I think you are losing credibility here Paul. Deleting the proxy data & replacing with thermometer readings is deliberately misleading."

    No Paul! What you need to remember is that these are scientific papers written primarily with the aim of informing others working in the field. Any trained scientist would spot straight away that the instrumental data was different - it was labelled differently and marked as such in the legend. In fact, as a scientist I would see it as entirely sensible to plot the instrumental data on the same graph for comparison. It was also made very clear that some of the tree-ring data from after 1960 had been left out and the reasons why were given.

    So there were no secrets here - the problem is simply that many of the people attacking the work lack the necessary scientific expertise and rigour to properly evaluate the papers - this is a common problem in this debate!

    "That is to say, the world is forever on a precipice were the smallest of nudges could send it either way, into runaway green house warming or running global cooling."

    That is an exaggeration, as it is clear that there wasn't runaway warming during the interglacials. In fact, I haven't seen any claims from the IPCC that there will definitely be runaway global warming. The biggest unknown is clathrate, which DOES have the potential to greatly amplify the warming. Many scientists actually believe that the IPCC is erring on the conservative side.

    Regarding aerosols, the scientists DO have a better understanding of these than you appear to be claiming and my understanding is that they are increasingly being included in models. However, all available research indicates that their effect is small compared to CO2, so even if the estimates of their effects are slightly out, it wouldn't be expected to stop climate sensitivity being in the right ballpark.

    The other thing you appear to forget is that the scientists' estimates of climate sensitivity are just as likely to be underestimates as they are to be overestimates - it is only the insistence of people like Lindzen and Spencer for large negative cloud feedbacks that leaves many assuming that the real figure will be below the IPCC's estimate.

    "My view is that we have naturally variability in our climate that could explain all of the recent brief spell of warming. But I am not a climate scientist or a statistician so my view doesn’t carry much weight. But it is what Pat Michaels has recently been trying to statistically demonstrate."

    The big problem with this argument is that recent warming can only be explained by a forcing. Natural variability cannot explain why there is a significant positive energy imbalance at present........ and remember that this is continuing while many sceptics continue to insist that global warming has stopped!

    Paul

  • Comment number 56.

    Paul Briscoe @ 55 wrote:

    Paul Briscoe wrote “What you need to remember is that these are scientific papers written primarily with the aim of informing others working in the field. Any trained scientist would spot straight away that the instrumental data was different - it was labelled differently and marked as such in the legend. In fact, as a scientist I would see it as entirely sensible to plot the instrumental data on the same graph for comparison”

    The IPCC report is there to advise governments and to inform the public. You are mistaken when you suggest it is their to inform others in their field, and besides Judith Curry among others has stated that it mislead her. The graph in question adorned the front cover of the report, it was given prominence. The front cover did not contain labels and legends although the chapter did contain legend. However, the explanation was not complete and the reader was deliberately left with a false impression. At the time it certainly persuaded me on the issue.

    Knowing that the proxy data disagreed with temperature data for a significant period of time negate the worth of the proxy data. It’s that simple. I’m not mentioning what they did to the proxy data pre 1550 as recently noted by Steve McIntyre in his blog.


    Paul Briscoe wrote: “That is an exaggeration, as it is clear that there wasn't runaway warming during the interglacials. In fact, I haven't seen any claims from the IPCC that there will definitely be runaway global warming… Many scientists actually believe that the IPCC is erring on the conservative side.”

    Just to note, in case you didn’t notice yourself the paradox in this statement. The IPCC don’t claim that there will be runaway global warming, but you claim that the IPCC are too conservative in their estimates on future global warming.


    Paul Briscoe wrote: “The big problem with this argument is that recent warming can only be explained by a forcing. Natural variability cannot explain why there is a significant positive energy imbalance at present........ and remember that this is continuing while many sceptics continue to insist that global warming has stopped!”

    I liked the theme in the link I gave you on the past post. The 30 year PDO cycle seems to be a good candidate to me. I would also mention that temperature trends have been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age. I note that the existence of the LIA was so inconvenient that the creators of the hockey stick decided to delete it from history!!!

    For my part, I am interested in the new solar minimum and the impact that will have on climate in the next 30 years. The last time we had a solar minimum equivalent to NASA’s current predicted minimum was during the last LIA.

    I also note in post 44 you left a video on the statistics for recorded temperature increase over since 1995. Paul, I think most people accept that the world has got warmer since 1850, the end of the LIA. Although, I do think it is important to note that the rate of increase since 1998 is well minus 0.4C (per the UAH dataset). I wonder what would happen if the stats graph in the video was reproduced in the timeframe for 1850 to 2010?? I don’t know obviously, but would be interested to see it. I would be more inclined to trust the Berkeley Earth data. I am curious to see if the Berkeley Earth decide that the 1920s were hotter than the period 2000 to 2009.

    Paul

  • Comment number 57.

    #44, Paul Briscoe wrote:
    “ …..
    There is NOTHING sinister about hiding the decline - indeed it had been openly discussed by scientists LONG before the sceptics got hold of it from Climategate. Indeed the sceptics initially presumed that it must be referring to the instrumental record.
    ….. “

    All serious skeptics new about the 'decline' long before Climategate and exactly what it meant. A few journalists were indeed confused but most still are.

    P.S. Your favourite blog gets a mention on WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/28/model-trumps-observation-dam-operator-caught-in-fabrication/

  • Comment number 58.

    RobWansbeck @ #57

    Did you read John Cook's article?

    I'm not even clear why Anthony Watts included it in his feature because apart from being a report on the flooding it bears no relation to the claims Watts himself is making.

    Without digging a lot deeper, I can't confirm whether the allegations at WUWT regarding SEQWater are correct. However, why Watts should think that John Cook needs to retract his article escapes me.

    John Cook only made a passing reference to the dam and didn't comment at all on whether it had done its job. In fact, he didn't even enter into the debate over whether it was a record event. The only point he made, which was entirely correct, was that AGW would be expected to make such events more extreme!

    So what exactly was Anthony Watts' point?

    Paul

  • Comment number 59.

    In a previous blog, during the discussion on the comparison of actual global temperatures with IPCC model predictions in scenario A2, I think I made a comment about the possibility that as well as being below 15 of the 17 models outputs in scenario 2, it was possible that they may even be lower than the year 2000 Constant Concentrations projections, although at the time, I had no actual evidence to support that.
    I have now had a chance to look at this, using the IPCC "Commitment" scenario figures, which are defined as “An idealised scenario in which the atmospheric burdens of long-lived greenhouse gasses are held fixed at AD2000 levels.”
    As a result of this, it appears that, that the 3 year average HadCRUT3 figure (centered on 2009), was about 0.09c below the average of the 16 model projections in the "Commitment" scenario figures, and below 12 of the 16 individual model projections.
    Otherwise, based on HadCRUT3 (adjusted to 1980-99), global temperatures appear to be not only below most of the model projections based on increasing levels of greenhouse gasses, but also they are lower than they should be if greenhouse gasses had not increased since the year 2000.
    I should add that I have so far been unable to find an actual data files containing the anomaly figures and as a result, I have had to calculate the anomalies, and do the necessary calculations to adjust the HadCRUT3 figures to 1980-99, so it is possible that there is a miscalculation in there somewhere, but I think I am correct.

  • Comment number 60.

    Paul @ #56

    "The IPCC report is there to advise governments and to inform the public. You are mistaken when you suggest it is their to inform others in their field, and besides Judith Curry among others has stated that it mislead her. The graph in question adorned the front cover of the report, it was given prominence. The front cover did not contain labels and legends although the chapter did contain legend. However, the explanation was not complete and the reader was deliberately left with a false impression. At the time it certainly persuaded me on the issue."

    I would certainly agree that some might be misled by it on the front cover (although I don't recall seeing it myself). However, that certainly does not apply to the graph as presented in the original paper or in the main body of the IPCC report. If Judith Curry was misled by these then I am seriously concerned about her! The Working Group I report of the IPCC is in effect a literature review and as such uses the same approach as any scientific paper, whereas the synthesis report summarizes the science for policy makers.

    I certainly don't believe for one moment that there was any intent to mislead. Also, this is a complex science and in my opinion it is only possible to do it justice by continuing to present it in scientific terms (rather than "watering it down"). Perhaps there needs to be another "layer" in the dissemination of the science to make it more accessible to ordinary people, but I think the scientists themselves have more than enough to do, so that should fall to someone else.

    "Knowing that the proxy data disagreed with temperature data for a significant period of time negate the worth of the proxy data. It’s that simple."

    The US National Academies of Science did an in depth review of this and they clearly disagree with you! The view amongst the scientific community was that the "divergence" problem was specific to recent times.

    "Just to note, in case you didn’t notice yourself the paradox in this statement. The IPCC don’t claim that there will be runaway global warming, but you claim that the IPCC are too conservative in their estimates on future global warming."

    No, I specifically said that some scientists believe that the IPCC are underplaying the likely warming. It is clear that some scientists believe that "slow feedbacks" will add to the warming in the longer term.

    "The 30 year PDO cycle seems to be a good candidate to me."

    As I stated before, natural cycles such as the PDO cannot explain recent warming as they have no "trend" and hence no long-term warming effect. The PDO can only ever transfer heat between the oceans and the atmosphere, so any climatic influence from PDO would manifest itself as a warming in one and a cooling in the other. Both the oceans and the atmosphere have been warming. This can only occur due to a forcing.

    "I would also mention that temperature trends have been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age. I note that the existence of the LIA was so inconvenient that the creators of the hockey stick decided to delete it from history!!!"

    Please can you point me to the point where Mann et al "deleted" the LIA? Now regarding the suggestion that the Earth is still warming after the LIA, the following article explains in some detail why this is not true:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-little-ice-age-advanced.htm

    "For my part, I am interested in the new solar minimum and the impact that will have on climate in the next 30 years. The last time we had a solar minimum equivalent to NASA’s current predicted minimum was during the last LIA."

    The extended and unusually deep solar minimum may well explain why global temperatures are currently in the lower half of the range projected by the IPCC. However, to my knowledge the minimum has now passed and sunspot numbers are increasing.

    Regarding your final paragraph, one of the points I wanted to make with the video was that it demonstrates brilliantly how natural cycles, superimposed on a positive trend, result in periods when the trend APPEARS to be reversed, even though the trend is KNOWN to be positive (ie. he created the trend himself to demonstrate the point). This explains why it is meaningless to look at short periods of data (and 15 years is quite a short period of time with a gradual trend). We KNOW that the Earth has still been accumulating heat pretty rapidly during this apparent slow-down in warming, so global warming clearly hasn't stopped. The difference is that less of the extra heat is remaining in the atmosphere at present............ almost certainly due to natural cycles.

    Paul

  • Comment number 61.

    QV @ #59

    I seem to remember that the last plot I saw comparing the global temperatures with projections showed the anomaly moving significantly back up towards the centre of the range, so I would be surprised if just a few more months' data have pushed it right back down.

    However, I think it's what global temperatures do in the next couple of years, now that solar activity has started to recover, that will be really telling.

    Paul

  • Comment number 62.

    Moderators,

    Please can you now delete my post at #60 as I am going to re-post the key points of that post below.

    Thank you,

    Paul

  • Comment number 63.

    Paul @ #56

    I actually think we are discussing 2 separate issues here. On the one hand there is the scientific debate, which in my opinion should always be based on the peer-reviewed literature. Then there is the problem of communicating the science to the public.

    Regarding the scientific papers of Mann et al (which are what I was actually referring to), they were indeed intended for use by the scientific community and I am absolutely convinced that there was nothing deceptive or improper in them. If there had been, the USNAS review would have found it. Apart from anything else, the details of what had been done were there for all to see if they cared to read them!

    However, I openly acknowledge that the communication of the science has often left something to be desired. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the scientists themselves for this as their job within the IPCC is simply to put together the Working Group I report, which is in effect a comprehensive literature review and needs to retain the level of detail one would expect from a scientific document. However, I do accept that using the Hockey Stick graph on the front of the IPCC report might be misleading to some. I would imagine that Mann himself did not make that decision!

    I don’t pretend to have the answer to the problem of communicating the science, as I think it relates to science generally. Perhaps there needs to be another “layer” in the dissemination of the science to interface between the scientists and the public. The synthesis report, which is intended to summarise the main findings for policy makers, may not be sufficient for members of the public with a specific interest.

    “Knowing that the proxy data disagreed with temperature data for a significant period of time negate the worth of the proxy data. It’s that simple.”

    Again, the US National Academies of Science review of the work of Mann et al didn’t agree with this. The scientific community appear to be of the view that the divergence problem is specific to recent climate conditions.

    “Just to note, in case you didn’t notice yourself the paradox in this statement. The IPCC don’t claim that there will be runaway global warming, but you claim that the IPCC are too conservative in their estimates on future global warming.”

    No, I specifically said that some scientists believe the IPCC is understating the likely warming – they believe that “slow feedbacks” will gradually add to the warming.

    “The 30 year PDO cycle seems to be a good candidate to me.”

    As I explained before, natural cycles such as the PDO cannot explain the recent warming. The PDO has no “trend” and as such cannot produce a long term warming effect. All that the PDO can do is transfer heat between the atmosphere and the oceans, so any climatic effect of the PDO will warm one at the expense of the other. Yet in the past 30 years both the oceans and the atmosphere have been warming – only an external forcing such as CO2 can achieve this.

    “I would also mention that temperature trends have been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age.”

    The following article explains in some detail why the Earth cannot simply be warming up from the LIA:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-little-ice-age-advanced.htm

    I have to say that I’m not sure where you got the idea that Mann et al “deleted” the LIA!

    “For my part, I am interested in the new solar minimum and the impact that will have on climate in the next 30 years. The last time we had a solar minimum equivalent to NASA’s current predicted minimum was during the last LIA.”

    The unusually deep and extended solar minimum may well explain why global temperatures are currently tracking towards the bottom of the IPCC’s projected range. However, as I understand it, the solar minimum has now passed and sunspot numbers are increasing.

    Regarding your final paragraph, one of the reasons I linked to the video was because it shows brilliantly how natural cycles, superimposed on a gradual warming trend, frequently lead to periods where the trend is apparently reversed, even though it is KNOWN that the trend is positive. This explains why it is not sound science to draw conclusions from a short period (and 12 years is a short period in climate terms).

    Paul

  • Comment number 64.

    #61 - Paul Briscoe wrote:
    "I seem to remember that the last plot I saw comparing the global temperatures with projections showed the anomaly moving significantly back up towards the centre of the range, so I would be surprised if just a few more months' data have pushed it right back down."
    If your referring to the "fool me once" graph, I believe that the anomaly did increase but nowhere near the centre line. I should have mentioned that my figures are based on annual projections and anomalies, so only go to the end of 2010 (the 2nd or 3rd warmest on record), so don't include any of this year's cooler figures. The simple reason for that is that I haven't been able to find any monthly projection figures on the IPCC website.
    "However, I think it's what global temperatures do in the next couple of years, now that solar activity has started to recover, that will be really telling."
    As I think I have previously stated, the actual figures are more likely to move away from the centre of the range over the next few years. For the 3 year average to fall, all that is required is for 2011 anomalies to be lower than 2008. Of course, I only use the 3 year average because that is what is used in the "fool me once" graph.



  • Comment number 65.

    Just a point of order on my own post @ #63............

    The divergence problem relates specifically to the work of Briffa and not Mann. What Mann did was to add the instrumental data to the proxy data, but clearly labelled as being different.

    Paul

  • Comment number 66.

    Paul Bristlecone @ #63 wrote:

    “The scientific community appear to be of the view that the divergence problem is specific to recent climate conditions.”

    Translation:

    We, the Hockey Team, are of the view that the divergence is very inconvenient and we intend to hide the decline.

  • Comment number 67.

    CessnaStream @ #66

    Just last night I was reading a paper which presented clear evidence that the divergence is a phenomenon which is specific to recent times, meaning that the scientists were quite correct to exclude the recent data for trees that were affected.

    Meanwhile, the Muir Russell review concluded (1.3.2):

    "On the allegation that the phenomenon of “divergence” may not have been
    properly taken into account when expressing the uncertainty associated
    with reconstructions, we are satisfied that it is not hidden and that the
    subject is openly and extensively discussed in the literature, including CRU
    papers."

    and:

    "We do not find that the way that data derived from tree rings is described
    and presented in IPCC AR4 and shown in its Figure 6.10 is misleading."

    Paul

  • Comment number 68.

    @ paul

    "“Knowing that the proxy data disagreed with temperature data for a significant period of time negate the worth of the proxy data. It’s that simple.”

    Again, the US National Academies of Science review of the work of Mann et al didn’t agree with this. The scientific community appear to be of the view that the divergence problem is specific to recent climate conditions"

    This point sepcifically is where you loose credibility.

    If you cannot see that this is scientific misconduct-regardless of who supports it then your opinion is wholly compromised.

    I may not agree with a lot of what you say, but you at least argue with a view to trying to actually support your arguments and for the most part i can follow your logic and it makes sense.

    this is not a point you can argue, i'm sorry paul it really isn't. There was no excuse for what they did- not scientific excuse. A political one yes, but not scientific. Any organisation that supports it is as damned as those who did it.

    It IS scientific fraud. Simple as.

    The maddening aspect is if they'd just dropped that series the same message would have remained anyway. So why include it?!?!?! All it does is cast doubt on the other proxies.

    I repeat, i would loose my job and be facing criminal charges had i done anything HALF as serious as this. What gives?

  • Comment number 69.

    So is it "fraudulent" for global temperature records to cut off before 1880 too? Because they do. HadCRUT only goes back to 1850. GISTEMP only to 1880. There is more data going back further into the 1700s. It's just deemed too inaccurate to use so they leave it off. That's not fraud, that's making a call on which data is too inaccurate to present.

    With regard to Briffa's pre 1550 cutoff, it's much the same except Briffa has one bonus in that he can compare pre 1550s to other reconstructions and see that his does something weird. Hence the pre 1550 data is not correct. Likewise the post 1960 data is not correct - the instrumental record overrides the proxy record in terms of reliability.

  • Comment number 70.

    #21 PB- the link between a warming planet and CO2 has NOT been proved. In fact there is a link between CO2 and temperature in the ice cores, from both Antarctica and Greenland, which shows temperature rising BEFORE the parallel rises of atmospheric CO2. The time difference between max. temperature and max. CO2 is from 500-1500 years. So how could CO2 affect temperature? The research papers, all peer reviewed, on this are available on the internet!

    Temperature changes are cyclic so too are those of CO2, or they would be if natural production was constant which it is not due to the unknown volumes of CO2 produced at the ocean ridges where 70-80% of global volcanism happens. It has now been discovered, just last year, that CO2 production here is many times what was once thought. Again this paper is available on the internet.

    There is also the missing heat in the mid troposphere which all models say proves the GHG theory. This heat has not been found and any heat actually found in the troposphere is due to the adiabatic cooling of convecting air, as modeled by the combined gas laws.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ quake #69

    You're being deliberately facetious, either that or you have no idea what you’re talking about. You cannot just decide which parts of a data set are more accurate or not and remove at a whim.

    If parts of the data set are thought to be wildly inaccurate it casts doubt on the ENTIRE data set. This is proper scientific process- you don’t just get to pick and choose which bits you pay attention to, you include it all or not at all.

    Further- the selection of the data specifically for the briffa data, is completely out of the realms of what you ARE allowed to do via data manipulation. To suggest that the start of the series and the end are inaccurate, but the middle section that just so happens to match your theory is fine is so laughable that I really do despair if this is the current state of international science.

    I’d get laughed out of the board room if I attempted something similar, probably to find my P45 waiting for me on my desk.

    This is simply un-defendable and as I pointed out above- all they had to do was not include the entire set (briffa) and their ‘message’ would still have remained. ALL this has done is cast SIGNIFICANT doubt on the other proxies (and you can be damned sure they’re being thoroughly examined now as well). Its madness, all they’ve done here is spectacularly shot themselves in the foot.

    Further still, if they’d held their hands up saying- “whoops, that shouldn’t have been included- lets remove it now” they’d still have some scientific credibility left. As it stands they and all who defend them are bankrupt in this regard.

  • Comment number 72.

    "You cannot just decide which parts of a data set are more accurate or not and remove at a whim."

    Wrong way round. Think of it as determining the earliest part of a dataset is inaccurate and removing it for that reason.

    For example the station temperature data exists in the 1700s, but it's so sparse and regionally clustered that researchers consider it should not be included in records. That of course appears to be a "whim", but the researcher has used their expertize concerning the data and the methodology to decide where to set a cut off point. Different researchers could pick different cutoff points (eg HadCRUT cuts off before 1850 and GISTEMP cuts off before 1880)

    It is common with historical records to find that data actually goes back further but the researcher who has compiled the record decided to cut off some of the data that wasn't deemed accurate enough.


  • Comment number 73.

    Here are some examples:
    Central England Temperature
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_England_temperature

    "Although best efforts have been made by Manley and subsequent researchers to quality control the series, there are data problems in the early years, with some non-instrumental data used. These problems account for the lower precision to which the early monthly means were quoted by Manley. Parker et al. (1992) [1] addressed this by not using data prior to 1772, since their daily series required more accurate data than did the original seies of monthly means; MBH98 only used data from 1730 onwards. Before 1722, instrumental records do not overlap and Manley used a non-instrumental series from Utrecht compiled by Labrijn (1945), to make the monthly central England temperature (CET) series complete. Between 1723 and the 1760s most observations were taken not from outside measurements but from indoor readings in unheated rooms, and thus are of little or no use."

    Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI)
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/

    Starts in 1950, even though data does go back further. The paper notes:
    "The instrumental record of ENSO events is unreliable during the two World Wars. Furthermore, the 1940s saw a revision of virtually every observational technique aboard ships. Therefore this paper focuses on the period from 1950 onwards."

    Evidentially all these researchers aren't engaging in "fraud".

  • Comment number 74.


    Biofuels.. its appears much worse than we thought.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/biofuels-policy-may-kill-200000-per-year-in-the-third-world-118770124.html

    Yet another Green initiative turns to brown and negatively impacts the poorest.

  • Comment number 75.

    quake.

    where the results are obviously patchy or inconsistent it is acceptable to give further weighting to the more 'accurate' results- however the less accurate should STILL be included.

    They may not be comitting fraud in the sense of the briffa data, where data was deliberatley omitted to give a different image to what it actually showed, but neither are they presenting the full picture.

    Full justificatoin must be given for data that has been left out and the criteria that has been applied to assign the 'inaccurate' status, should NOT be present in the 'core' or accepted data sets. You have to be exceptionally careful about these kind of things, with the fallout from the briffa data a good explanation as to why.

    Now- i am by no means saying that it is not scientifically justifiable to give different weighting to data depending on the level of credibility, so long as these 'weightings' are sufficiently defined and it is confined to a single, continuous (and ideally small) section of the data. However, where you get on dodgy ground is where you start omitting multiple sections of data from seperate parts and only present the 'best fit' data with your theory.

    regardless of the motivation, it can be described as fraud (and is so in industry).

    As i've said, the best course of action would have been to omit the WHOLE data series, as it wasb't really crucial to the 'set' anyway (as other data existed). But in including it and subsequently defending it they have left themselves open to justifiable accusations of fraud.

    This is further complicated by the type of measurement- which is where i think you're getting hung up.

    For example, the switch from thermometers to satellite measuremnts would be an example of a long 'inaccurate' section of data with a short 'accurate' section. HOwever, as the two can be calibrated against one another, a lot of this issue dissapears and can be accounted for. I.e. two measurement techniques were used and brought into line.

    You do not have this 'excuse' with proxies. They're a continuous series as it were. So- if you call into question on section of the series you call into account the whole series (especially given it's nature).

    This context- they TYPE of measurement (i.e. one continuous or many disparate but linked) plays a huge role in the specific argument and actually undermines their attempts to explain the issue away.

  • Comment number 76.

    Even more frightening than the dash to biofuels is the madeness that is wind farms.In a letter to the Times today,Prof.Anthony Trewavas (probably a right winger in the pay of big oil) said that recent calculations indicate that new nuclear power costs £59/MWh including development construction and decommissioning reducing to £50/MWh. Offshore windfarms are estomated at £203/MWh and onshore £118MW/h. Replacing one nuclear power station (1.2gw) by onshore wind would require about 300 sq.miles "carpeted" by 1500x100 metre high turbines. UK usage at the moment is 100GW. You can work out for yourself how many would be needed to replace our present systems!
    Time for a re-think Mr.Huhne!
    By the way, I am not a "sceptic" I am a proud " climate realist"

    Nature rules, always has and always will!!

  • Comment number 77.

    As long as we have people like Professor Robert Watson, the Chief Scientific Adviser for Defra, continuing to use the word denier and not open to discussion about climate change the more we will get these ill thought out policies that cause more problems than they are worth.

    E.g. thinking that wind power will replace many of our conventional power stations. There are periods when all over the country the wind velocity is poor so that less than 5% of the turbines are producing power at any one time, yet the LibDems seek to ignore this. If we are not careful we are going to have massive power outages soon as we pension off our conventional power stations without replacing them.

    Hide the decline – What they haven’t explained is why, if the instrumental data covering the same period as the tree ring data diverged so much, did they just discard the whole of the tree ring proxies. Either the instrument data is wrong or the proxies are wrong. You can’t just discard the bits you don’t like, not if you are a proper scientist. Just think how many advances in science happened because the experiment didn’t turn our the way it was expected. The proper scientists examined what happened and made further discoveries.

    Paul B, please don’t quote the Muir Russell review, we all know it was deeply flawed and a white wash. It does you no credit.

  • Comment number 78.

    LabMunkey @ #68

    "It IS scientific fraud. Simple as."

    Sorry LabMunkey, but I completely disagree.

    The point was that other evidence indicated that the divergence was specific to the post 1960 period, meaning that it was entirely valid to use the data from earlier periods. As I said in a previous post, I read this point just a couple of nights ago. I didn't make a note of the link, but I'll see if I can find it again.

    The divergence problem was discussed in great detail in a number of papers, so the suggestion that the scientists were somehow being "fraudulent" is utter nonsense.

    Paul

  • Comment number 79.

    Talking of windpower, came across an excellent report which compares output to capacity

    http://www.ref.org.uk/images/PDFs/REDs10/Wind%202010%20v1.pdf

    Much lower than many govt. sites claim.

    Also look up the "Warwick wind trials" to find out just how useful Micro Turbines are, I believe it was an average output of less than 1% of capacity!!!

  • Comment number 80.

    Re #67. At 08:07am on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    Meanwhile, the Muir Russell review concluded (1.3.2):

    "On the allegation that the phenomenon of “divergence” may not have been
    properly taken into account when expressing the uncertainty associated
    with reconstructions, we are satisfied that it is not hidden and that the
    subject is openly and extensively discussed in the literature, including CRU
    papers."

    and:

    "We do not find that the way that data derived from tree rings is described
    and presented in IPCC AR4 and shown in its Figure 6.10 is misleading."

    Paul

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Ah, yes, the 'Inquiries' which led one prominent MP and member of the Sci Tech Committee in Parliament to comment

    ""There are proposals to increase worldwide taxation by up to a trillion dollars on the basis of climate science predictions. This is an area where strong and opposing views are held. The release of the e-mails from CRU at the University of East Anglia and the accusations that followed demanded independent and objective scrutiny by independent panels. This has not happened. The composition of the two panels has been criticised for having members who were over identified with the views of CRU. Lord Oxburgh as President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and Chairman of Falck Renewable appeared to have a conflict of interest. Lord Oxburgh himself was aware that this might lead to criticism. Similarly Professor Boulton as an ex colleague of CRU seemed wholly inappropriate to be a member of the Russell panel. No reputable scientist who was critical of CRU's work was on the panel, and prominent and distinguished critics were not interviewed. The Oxburgh panel did not do as our predecessor committee had been promised, investigate the science, but only looked at the integrity of the researchers. With the exception of Professor Kelly's notes other notes taken by members of the panel have not been published. This leaves a question mark against whether CRU science is reliable. The Oxburgh panel also did not look at CRU's controversial work on the IPPC which is what has attracted most series allegations. Russell did not investigate the deletion of e-mails. We are now left after three investigations without a clear understanding of whether or not the CRU science is compromised.".—(Graham Stringer.)

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmsctech/444/44411.htm

    And read what the indomitable Steve McIntyre has to say

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/15/new-light-on-hide-the-decline/

    Paul B. / Quake, you are simply trying to defend the indefensible!!

  • Comment number 81.

    Re #78. At 16:02pm on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe

    As the indomitable Steve McIntyre points out

    "CRU Submission to Muir Russell

    In their submission to Muir Russell (page 38), CRU described the “hide the decline” methodology used in IPCC and most other publications (as opposed to the WMO splice) as follows:

    (b) Depict the reconstruction over the period for which it can be considered to be a reliable estimate of past temperature variations (typically we have curtailed it in 1960, considering the post-1960 data to be a poor representation of temperature) and overlay separately the appropriate instrumental temperature observations.
    They purported to justify the deletion of adverse data (“hide the decline”) as follows:

    Presentation type (b) has typically been selected for publications whose purpose is to convey the available range of evidence for past temperature variations. In this situation, it is arguably reasonable to show only data that are considered to provide some information about temperature variations. In the same way that the early parts of a reconstruction might not be shown if they were considered to be unreliable (due, for example, to unacceptably low replication), the post-1960 values are also excluded. This avoids the presentation of values that are known to be unrepresentative of the real temperatures. Of course, the recent divergence in these data will be less clear if post-1960s values are excluded and that represents a potential disadvantage of this exclusion if this divergence is important for assessing confidence in the earlier reconstructed values. Section 1.2 outlines various situations where this is or is not a concern. If this is a concern, then to avoid the exclusion of the recent period resulting in an overly confident impression being given of the accuracy to which past temperatures can be reconstructed, we include appropriate caveats and references to the articles where the limitations are explored in greater detail. Examples of this type of presentation include Plate 3 of Briffa et al. (2001); Figure 2A of Jones et al. (2001); Figure 8 of Briffa et al. (2004); Figure 6.10b of Jansen et al. (2007); and Figure 5b of Hegerl et al. (2007).

    The Muir Russell “inquiry”, with their typical negligence, failed to address this “explanation”, which, in Graham Stringer’s words, is “difficult to parody”. Obviously the divergence is “less clear” if the adverse data is deleted.

    CRU stated that “If this is a concern, then to avoid the exclusion of the recent period resulting in an overly confident impression being given of the accuracy to which past temperatures can be reconstructed, we include appropriate caveats and references to the articles where the limitations are explored in greater detail.”

    This assertion is a fabrication. In virtually all cases in “presentation (b)” style, they included no caveats whatever. To date, I have not identified a single publication in which they explicitly state that they have deleted post-1960 data and why. In some cases, the caption says that the Briffa data is from 1402-1960, but in such cases, there is no explicit statement that data was deleted and why. In other cases, there is not even a hint that the data has been chopped back to 1960.

    Jones et al 1999

    Jones et al 1999 is a pernicious example where there is not even a hint that data has been deleted. Worse, the running commentary all too often depends on the deletion of the adverse data.

    Over the last few years, a number of compilations of proxy evidence have been assembled following the pioneering work of Bradley and Jones [1993]. In Figure 6 we show three recent reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature for part of the last millennium. The reconstructions are all of different seasons (annual [Mann et al., 1998, 1999] and two definitions of summer [Briffa et al., 1998; Jones et al., 1998]). The short instrumental record on an annual basis is superimposed.

    Agreement with the annual instrumental record is poorest during the nineteenth century, partly because of the different seasons (summer in two of the series) used. The instrumental record also rises considerably in the last 2 decades, and this cannot be seen in the multiproxy series because they end before the early 1980s, as some of the proxy records were collected during these years. The most striking feature of the multiproxy averages is the warming over the twentieth century, for both its magnitude and duration. The twentieth century is the warmest of the millennium and the warming during it is unprecedented (see also discussion by Mann et al. [1998, 1999] and Jones et al. [1998]). The four recent years 1990, 1995, 1997, and 1998, the warmest in the instrumental
    series, are the warmest since 1400 and probably since 1000. The end of the recent El Nin˜o event (such events tend to warmer temperatures globally) and the greater likelihood of La Nin˜a (which tends to lead to cooler temperatures) as opposed to El Nin˜o conditions during 1999 and 2000 means that 1998 will likely be the warmest year of the millennium. The coolest year of the last 1000 years, based on these proxy records, was 1601.

    Neither the caption nor the running text gives any hint that the reconstruction of Briffa et al 1998 (Nature) has been deleted after 1960. Yes, the article cites Briffa et al 1998 – which reports the decline – but Jones et al 1999 contains no “caveats” about the decline or about the deletion of data.

    Important comments in the running text on Figure 6 also depend on the deletion of the decline. For example, Jones et al state: “Agreement with the annual instrumental record is poorest during the nineteenth century.” Actually, the worst agreement is between the Briffa decline and the late 20th century temperature increase – but that’s been hidden.

    Jones et al say: “The instrumental record also rises considerably in the last 2 decades, and this cannot be seen in the multiproxy series because they end before the early 1980s, as some of the proxy records were collected during these years.” Again, this is completely misleading. The Briffa multiproxy series do not end before the early 1980s because of they were collected during those years, but because the post-1960 was deleted.

    Jones et al say: “The most striking feature of the multiproxy averages is the warming over the twentieth century, for both its magnitude and duration.” Again, this statement depends entirely on the deletion of the decline. If the Briffa series were shown, the inconsistency of the Briffa reconstruction with the 20th century temperature history becomes the most striking feature of the graphic – calling the validity of the reconstructions into play."

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/15/new-light-on-hide-the-decline/

    Paul, you are desperately trying to defend the indefensible and losing all credibility in the process!

  • Comment number 82.

    John Marshall @ #70

    "...the link between a warming planet and CO2 has NOT been proved. In fact there is a link between CO2 and temperature in the ice cores, from both Antarctica and Greenland, which shows temperature rising BEFORE the parallel rises of atmospheric CO2. The time difference between max. temperature and max. CO2 is from 500-1500 years. So how could CO2 affect temperature?"

    The CO2 follows temperature argument is an old one and it is a red herring, as I've explained many times before. In the ice age scenario it was Milankovitch cycles which were the forcing, with outgassing of CO2 from the oceans as they warmed - hence the reason why CO2 followed temperature in that case.

    The present scenario is completely different, with anthropogenic CO2 acting as the forcing and the oceans actually absorbing a lot of the CO2 rather tha releasing it.

    When it comes to linking CO2 to the present warming trend, there are several incontravertible facts which dictate that it MUST be at the very least the main factor.

    That CO2 is a greenhouse gas and as such causes a warming effect is NOT in doubt.
    Then consider the following:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Quantifying-the-human-contribution-to-global-warming.html

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Empirically-observed-fingerprints-of-anthropogenic-global-warming.html

    You can also add to this strong evidence from the fossil record.

    Once you take all of this evidence together (the "big picture" I keep mentioning) AND the fact that empirical physics can exclude all other likely causes, the case for CO2 being the cause of recent warming becomes overwhelming.

    "There is also the missing heat in the mid troposphere which all models say proves the GHG theory. "

    This too is a red herring. What sceptics don't appear to realise is that the tropospheric hotspot is NOT specific to AGW. Anything which causes a warming of the surface would be expected to have exactly the same effect - again, this comes from empirical physics, NOT computer models. A bias has been discovered in the radiosonde data and this is the most likely reason why it has been difficult to measure.

    Paul

  • Comment number 83.

    Sparklet @ #80 and #81

    It's funny how you have concentrated on the OPINION of just one member of the Science and Technology Committee in Parliament and ignored the detailed findings of the entire committee!

    Then you go on to quote the OPINIONS of Climateaudit as though those opinions are gospel truth. I have given many, many examples of where Climateaudit has grossly misrepresented the facts and it's time you started asking yourself a very important question............

    Could it be that the various enquiry teams, like me, believe that the testimony from Climateaudit is unreliable? Could it be that they know that indivduals at Climateaudit are closely linked to a prominent advocacy group that previously denied the environmental dangers of DDT and smoking?

    I could equally copy and paste the testimony of scientists who give an account which is completely at odds with the one you've provided here. It's clear that the various review teams found these far more compelling than the ones from Climateaudit.

    Paul

  • Comment number 84.

    Re #83. At 16:54pm on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    "I have given many, many examples of where Climateaudit has grossly misrepresented the facts "

    Paul, this is totally untrue, I have asked you many times to substantiate your criticisms of CLimate Audit but you have been unable to do so. Enough of this, please cite examples NOW giving LINKS.

    The facts are that the testimony of CRU has been proven to be unreliable - please copy and paste the caveats the 'scientists' have put in their reports that give a detailed description of why they omitted the data they did.

  • Comment number 85.

    Sparklet @ #84

    Try in this thread @ #80:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2011/01/the-met-office-winter-forecast.shtml

    You may not like the sources, but if you check what they're saying there's no question that their claims are correct.

    "The facts are that the testimony of CRU has been proven to be unreliable"

    No! Those at Climateaudit express the OPINION that the testimonies of individuals from CRU are unreliable. What counts is that the various reviews found the testimonies of the scientists more credible.

    The data was omitted for valid scientific reasons which those at Climateaudit, who have no experience in this type of science, did not grasp.

    Paul

  • Comment number 86.

    Re #85. At 18:00pm on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe

    No, not good enough Paul, I am not going to wade through an entire thread to try and find comments that give a non answer. You have made serious allegations against the reliability of Steve McIntyre - now is your chance to substantiate them. Please link to his web and identify what comments of his you have found to be untruthful or unreliable. Opinions from Realclimate or Sceptical Science really will not do.

    You seem to have severe difficulty with what represents facts and what represents opinion. Please look them up in the dictionary. Are you saying that the quotes Steve presented us with are inaccurate? That the Scientists didn't actually say that? Where was the 'Opinion' he gave that is unreliable?

    I see you have been unable to find the caveats the 'Scientists' put in their reports.
    It would be easy to disprove what Steve said by reproducing them here - but you have been unable to do so - that speaks VOLUMES!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Paul Briscoe. Just out of interest, have you ever read any evidence from climate realists that have made you think that perhaps there may be other reasons for climate change. If you have I've certainly seen you admit it! Come on Paul, you must have some doubts!

  • Comment number 88.

    Should have said "I've never seen you admit it!"

  • Comment number 89.

    Sparklet @ #86

    "No, not good enough Paul, I am not going to wade through an entire thread to try and find comments that give a non answer. You have made serious allegations against the reliability of Steve McIntyre - now is your chance to substantiate them. Please link to his web and identify what comments of his you have found to be untruthful or unreliable. Opinions from Realclimate or Sceptical Science really will not do."

    I am NOT going to paste the links here when they are perfectly accessible where I posted them before. The link is there for you and others who want to follow it up, but I'm quite sure that the moderators would not want us copying text and links across to this thread unnecessarily.

    Now, with respect, it is Climateaudit which made serious allegations of misconduct against the scientists. The links I posted DO point to specific claims from those at Climateaudit which are demonstrably misrepresentations of the facts.

    "You seem to have severe difficulty with what represents facts and what represents opinion."

    Not at all!

    "Are you saying that the quotes Steve presented us with are inaccurate?"

    No, I'm saying that his characterisation of them is incorrect - in other words, his claim that they are misleading or false is simply an opinion. Also, using words such as "pernicious" in a submission implies a judgemental approach rather than an objective one!

    As I said above, the reviews clearly didn't find McIntyre's submission any more convincing than I do!

    Paul

  • Comment number 90.

    Skepticalscience continue to demonstrate their lack of understanding here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Muller-Misinformation-1-confusing-Mikes-trick-with-hide-the-decline.html

    Muller does indeed seem to treat multiple 'tricks' as one but the article then goes rapidly downhill.

    The multiple 'tricks' complete with their long before Climategate discovery dates are discussed here:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/29/keiths-science-trick-mikes-nature-trick-and-phils-combo/

  • Comment number 91.

    Re #89. At 18:53pm on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe

    "I'm quite sure that the moderators would not want us copying text and links across to this thread unnecessarily"

    What a ludicrous excuse - this has never stopped you before from churning out the same old links. You are simply unable to identify any instance of what you have claimed as inaccuracies in Steve McIntyre's articles.

    As I've said before it would be easy to disprove what Steve said by copying and pasting the caveats the 'scientists' put in their reports that give a detailed description of why they omitted the data they did - that you have been unable to do so speaks VOLUMES.

  • Comment number 92.

    A problem with discussions on global warming is that one or both sides have less-than-objective viewpoints, or sets of data. I have not made a fully scientific exploration, to quote a phrase, of the evidence available of these discussions, but I do seem to notice that the pro-climate-change camp are the less objective ones, and do not proffer any possibility that they might be wrong, or deeply misled. Yet all their hard-won 'facts' are based on supposition. You wouldn't put money on a horse they had chosen in a race, which is based entirely on belief and not reason, so why take them at face value?

    Another problem to keep in mind, which has been briefly mentioned as 'cherry picking', is the absence of information that contradicts or fails to support your own theory by sampling bias. If 95% of the evidence would fail to support your theory, but 5% does, that 95% is not included in reports. Like advertising on TV, you only get disclosed the commercially-relevant stuff, even though the other 95% might tell a completely different story.

    My main problem with this cyclical (to quote a phrase) discussion going on here, is that it does seem to be a lot of geography. Geography is chosen at university by people who aren't really capable of anything scientific. Geography courses, and the people who study them, also spill over to environmental science. Generally the geography students tend to be better at sport than the environmental science people, who would probably regard sport as dangerously disciplined and regimented. Geography students like to drink - they are the real ale buffs at university, in their hiking boots.

    There is very little chemistry here. It's all geography. Geography is all done at the macroscopic level. Science isn't.

    There are at least 1 billion undernourished people in the world. They are constantly hungry. Many people do not have clean water to drink. It has reached the point where there is not enough food to go around, and that situation cannot be changed - there is simply too many people for the quantity of food. Using available land to plant crops for biofuel, when the world has already reached the point where the supply of food is not enough for the population, is extravagant.

    I would advocate people growing their own vegetables. People might eat less fat too. Growing your own is less energy-intensive - all it needs is sunlight and some water.

  • Comment number 93.

    RobWansbeck @ #90

    "Muller does indeed seem to treat multiple 'tricks' as one but the article then goes rapidly downhill."

    This pre-supposes that the Climateaudit claims are correct in every detail! I note that both Schmidt and Mann have denied what is being claimed........ and in my experience they do not lie.

    Nevertheless, I will follow it up with John Cook if he hasn't already responded.

    Paul

  • Comment number 94.

    Sparklet @ #91

    "What a ludicrous excuse - this has never stopped you before from churning out the same old links. You are simply unable to identify any instance of what you have claimed as inaccuracies in Steve McIntyre's articles."

    No Sparklet! I stated that I had previously provided examples showing that the claims made by Climateaudit are frequently misrpresentations of the facts. You challenged this, so I gave you the link which confirms what I claimed. If you won't follow that link it isn't my fault!

    The truth is that I would prefer to discuss the science. It is yourself and others who have repeatedly claimed that the scientists are fraudulent. This leaves me with little option but to point to the lack of credibility of those who make such libelous claims.

    "As I've said before it would be easy to disprove what Steve said by copying and pasting the caveats the 'scientists' put in their reports that give a detailed description of why they omitted the data they did"

    In my humble opinion the brief reference they made in their submission was more than sufficient, because the caveats and reasoning are amply discussed in both the scientific literature and the IPCC reports. The job of the Muir Russell review was to consider the full CONTEXT of the various issues. The McIntyre submission was misleading specifically because it totally ignored this context.

    Paul

  • Comment number 95.

    Re 94. At 21:23pm on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    "No Sparklet! I stated that I had previously provided examples showing that the claims made by Climateaudit are frequently misrpresentations of the facts. You challenged this, so I gave you the link which confirms what I claimed. If you won't follow that link it isn't my fault!"

    No, Paul it does not confirm what you claim, as so many of your links do not.

    "because the caveats and reasoning are amply discussed in both the scientific literature and the IPCC reports."

    Then link to the caveats they claimed they gave in their reports. That you are unable to do so simply confirms what Steve McIntyre has said.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sparklet @ #95

    "No, Paul it does not confirm what you claim, as so many of your links do not. "

    In which case you haven't read them objectively! Tell me which is more reliable:

    The findings of several independent reviews of the science.

    The submissions of bloggers who are not experts in the field and are linked to a known sceptic think tank with a history of scientific denial.


    "Then link to the caveats they claimed they gave in their reports. That you are unable to do so simply confirms what Steve McIntyre has said."

    Sparklet, the divergence problem and the caveats WERE discussed in detail in Chapter 6 of IPCC AR4. Also, if you had checked CRU's submission for yourself, you would have noticed that McIntyre missed out the odd sentence here and there. Specifically, he missed out a sentence in which CRU pointed to a figure from a Briffa paper which they reproduced in the submission (as Figure 3.2.2) to illustrate the approach used. No, it didn't specifically state that data since 1960 had been deleted, but it clearly stated the period covered and gave the reference to where more details were available. McIntyre ASSERTS that this is wrong, but as a former research scientist I can assure you that in scientific circles such an approach is not only acceptable but quite normal practice. Scientists apply a rigour which goes way beyond the average blogger. If they want the details of how a study has been carried out they KNOW that they have to read the methods in the original paper.

    This is why the review team will have dismissed McIntyre's submission - he clearly doesn't understand normal scientific practice. I can see how someone without that knowledge might get the wrong idea, but that does NOT mean that scientists are being fraudulent by following normal practice in scientific literature. All it really goes to show is how easy it is for non-specialists to inadvertently misrepresent the science.

    I note that the CRU submission also went into a great deal of detail regarding the divergence problem in the first section:

    "In the late 20th century, the correlation between the tree ring record and instrumental record of temperature change diverges from that for the earlier period. The cause of this divergence does not appear to be understood. If the method used to deduce temperatures from tree ring proxy metrics for the earlier tree ring record is applied to the late 20th century tree ring series, then declining temperatures would be deduced for the late 20th century. It is alleged that if the
    cause of divergence between the tree ring and instrumental temperature record is unknown, it may have existed in earlier periods. Therefore if tree rings had similarly failed to reflect the warming of the early Middle Ages, they may significantly under-estimate the warming during the Medieval Warm Period, thus falsely enhancing the contrast between the recent warming and that earlier period. (It is this contrast that has led to statements that the late 20th century warming is unprecedented during at least the last 1000 years.)"

    Further on they state:

    "We will show that the observation of ‘divergence’ is real; that CRU has not ignored or concealed its potential significance; the cause or causes of divergence are not fully understood; that divergence does not entirely invalidate even those tree-ring reconstructions that are affected by it; and finally, because divergence does not affect any of our tree-ring-based temperature reconstructions that extend back to medieval time, the divergence phenomenon does not undermine the validity of our current estimates of the degree of warmth during the Medieval Warm Period."

    CRU then go on to discuss the issues and their justification above in some detail (amounting to several pages) and as far as I can see, none of this is actually covered in McIntyre's submission, presuming that you have presented it accurately and in full.

    So McIntyre's submission is clearly not the damning indictment of the CRU scientists that he believes it is.

    Paul

  • Comment number 97.

    Hudsonfan @ #87

    "Paul Briscoe. Just out of interest, have you ever read any evidence from climate realists that have made you think that perhaps there may be other reasons for climate change. If you have I've certainly seen you admit it! Come on Paul, you must have some doubts!"

    There are plenty of other factors that CAN cause climate change. The problem is that none of them can readily explain the present warming.

    Paul

  • Comment number 98.

    Paul,

    Here is your Mann Made Global Warming (tm) propoganda activist site in action;

    Models trump observations;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/28/model-trumps-observation-dam-operator-caught-in-fabrication/

    Regards

    Mailman

  • Comment number 99.

    Mailman @ #98

    It's become quite a long thread, I'm afraid!

    You'll find my response to the WUWT article at #58.

    Paul

  • Comment number 100.

    Re #96. At 23:54pm on 29th Mar 2011, Paul Briscoe

    "Sparklet, the divergence problem and the caveats WERE discussed in detail in Chapter 6 of IPCC AR4."

    Strange - you have provided no link to this detailed discussion in the 2007 report, odd when you are so happy to produce so many links to the alarmist sites. Please provide the link or simply an excerpt of this 'detailed' discussion of the divergence problem and the caveats.
    No doubt it was also provided in the Summary for Policy Makers, where our 'Policy makers' would see it, perhaps you could also provide a link to this!!!
    Remember they said "to avoid the exclusion of the recent period resulting in an overly confident impression being given of the accuracy to which past temperatures can be reconstructed, we include appropriate caveats"

    And interesting to see if it includes the sort of detail that Steve gives in Rob's link at #90

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/29/keiths-science-trick-mikes-nature-trick-and-phils-combo/


    "No, it didn't specifically state that data since 1960 had been deleted, but it clearly stated the period covered and gave the reference to where more details were available. "

    Which is exactly what Steve McIntyre said in the passage I quoted in #81 above

    "In virtually all cases in “presentation (b)” style, they included no caveats whatever. To date, I have not identified a single publication in which they explicitly state that they have deleted post-1960 data and why. In some cases, the caption says that the Briffa data is from 1402-1960, but in such cases, there is no explicit statement that data was deleted and why. In other cases, there is not even a hint that the data has been chopped back to 1960".

    So where are the caveats they claimed they used in any such reports 'to prevent and overly confident impression'?

    "I can assure you that in scientific circles such an approach is not only acceptable but quite normal practice."

    Then you have simply not moved in the right scientific circles. And this simply calls into question your own area of 'expertise'. Certainly Professor Muller didn't find the exclusion of conflicting data acceptable under the circumstances given!

    More obfuscation by claiming they go into some detail in their submission to the 'Inquiry' - not good enough - the 'detail' should have been contained in their original reports.

    "CRU then go on to discuss [in their submission]the issues and their justification above in some detail (amounting to several pages) and as far as I can see, none of this is actually covered in McIntyre's submission, presuming that you have presented it accurately and in full."

    If by McIntyre's submission, you mean his submission to the Inquiry then one would hardly expect him to be commenting then on the CRU submission to the Inquiry

    Steve's comments I quoted are from the link below. Is this simply deliberate obfuscation on your part?

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/15/new-light-on-hide-the-decline/


 

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