Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Charade of Credibility Is Gone

Seems Steyn thinks -- in his endless quest to raise more money for lawyers -- the latest outrage -- outrage I tell you! --  is that this is a problem, which I wrote three years ago:
I think their crimes will be obvious in about a decade.

When I profiled Michael Mann for Scientific American, he said he thought it would eventually be illegal to deny climate change. I had doubts about that, but maybe.
As it turns out, this all came to fore much faster than I expected, and perhaps for you, too, with the revelations that Exxon was fully cognizant of climate science for decades, but pretended otherwise for the sake of money money money.

Their crime will last for 100,000 years.

Steyn can rest easy though -- no one will be coming after him. Or the likes of Anthony Watts -- who I still think will apologize for his denial before he dies. (His heart just isn't in it anymore.) They don't matter to the debate -- personal slanders excepted -- and that debate, wide and global, is over. With temperatures this year far ahead of the 1998 El Nino, by 0.15-0.4°C, it's settled. It's overtaken them. It's proceeded in leaps and bounds, just since the last decade.

And now imagine the next decade from here.

And they know it, you know, and we know it, and we know they know it, even as they eke out the last book, the last check, the last post. At this point, denying AGW, just looks..absurdly silly. Read the comments on any WU-WHAT post -- the reasoning, if you can call it that, gets ever more desperate. This point has arrived faster than I ever the public begins to realize this, that the science was indeed right all along, that the scientists have been right for decades.

Sure, they might still get an interview from the likes of a Sean Hannity -- and tell me, what kind of alternate universe does someone live in where Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are respectible, intelligent people?? -- or a little more money from the Heartland Institute. But the charade of credibility is gone, forever now I think.

Physics always wins in the end. People have been saying this for years. People who knew what they were talking about.

I'm sure glad I'm not taking up the banner against physics. Six months in a row now, HadCRUT4 has been the warmest for its month, in 150 years of monthly records.

Offer out your hand to them. Show a little compassion. This can't be easy for anyone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Does Senator Smith Know NOAA's Adjustments *Lower* the Trend?

I wonder if Senator Lamar Smith, who wants all the data, emails, and the birthdays of the children of the NOAA scientists who contributed to Karl et al, Science (2015), knows that the adustments made to the raw data lower the long-term warming trend?

That would be fun to watch in Congressional testimony..... And that the raw data is easily available, as Karl et al write in their supplementary material:
"The data sets are the publically available ERSST v4 data set of sea surface temperature anomalies (13), and the ISTI Databank v1.0.0 of land surface air temperature (14)" 

Question For Lamar

If Lamar Smith wants NOAA's emails, can we get Lamar Smith's emails?

And his staff's too.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Two Faces of Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas.jpgThe science writer Mark Lynas has an op-ed piece in the New York Times, "With G.M.O. Policies, Europe Turns Against Science."

In it he criticizes the Eurpoean Union for their rejection of crops that are genetically modified. They're "anti-science," he says.
CALL it the “Coalition of the Ignorant.” By the first week of October, 17 European countries — including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — had used new European Union rules to announce bans on the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

These prohibitions expose the worrying reality of how far Europe has gone in setting itself against modern science.
Lynas tugs at our heartstrings, telling you about the terrible things he's seen:
I have spent time with malnourished children in Tanzania whose families were going hungry because cassava crops were wiped out by brown-streak disease. That was particularly painful because in neighboring Uganda I had recently visited trial plots of genetically modified cassava that demonstrated complete resistance to the virus. The faces of the hungry children come to mind every time I hear European politicians boast about their country’s G.M.O. ban and demand that the rest of the world follow suit — as Scotland’s minister did in August.
Those heartless Europeans, going against science and starving children. How could they?

And indeed they are anti-science, in this case. But what Lynas doesn't tell you is the outsized role he had in creating Europe's anti-scientific attitude towards GMOs.
He [Lynas] admitted "... in 2008, I was still penning screeds in the Guardian attacking the science of GM – even though I had done no academic research on the topic, and had a pretty limited personal understanding. I don’t think I’d ever read a peer-reviewed paper on ]asingly inconsistent with my pro-science environmentalism with regard to climate change." [Wikipedia]
Lynas doesn't write a thing about what role his wrting, activism and crimes played in creating the very atmosphere he now wants to excoriate as being anti-scientific.

Lynas is whitewashing his own history. How many children starved because of him?

By the way, GMOs have nothing at all to do with climate change. They're separate subjects with little overlap, and the science on both of them is clear. The science on GMOs has been known for well over a decade -- they aren't harmful, and there's no reason to expect they could be harmful.

But instead of reading and understanding the science, Mark Lynas wanted to be a vandal and a criminal. He wanted to be an activist -- an anti-science activist. I wonder if, in his conversion on GMOs, he offered to pay for the damage he created in the farming and research fields of Europe?

Who knows what Lynas will want to be next month? Whatever it is, it probably won't be determined by science. Maybe by just whatever position gets him in print.

PS: The New York Times has been rejecting a comment that points out Lynas's hypocrisy. Why would they be protecting Lynas?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hellish Photo of Colima Volcano

This is from the Colima volcanic eruption in July of the year, not Hurricane Patricia (as I first thought.) Via Twitter:

Embedded image permalink

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Global Warming, Productivity Loss and Economic Costs

There is an important paper published in Nature today:

"Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production,
 Marshall Burke, Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel,
Nature (10/21/2015) doi:10.1038/nature15725

Since it puts an economic model atop a climate model, I'm automatically somewhat dubious. The climate models have enough uncertainities. Economic models have so much uncertainty that modelers there don't even try to establish error bars or confidence intervals. Or at least it seems that way to me, with my quite limited knowledge of economics. 

For example, suppose you wanted to project U.S. GDP to the year 2100. Here are the historical data, from FRED:

Clearly the Great Recession of 2009-2010 took a big bite out of GDP -- a bite that, so far, looks to be permanent. 

If you were to project GDP in 2100 based on the historical values from before the Great Recession, 1950-2008, you'd clearly get a number that is much bigger than if you project from using the full 1950-2014 data. 

I should put up a nice little graph here showing this. Bad blogger. Instead I'll just use this:

U.S. Real GDP growth and trend

The point is, economic projections seem to have at least as difficult time anticipating nonlinear events, like the Great Recession, as do climate models based on the well-established laws of physics. 

With that said, here are some results from the paper. First, they use results from others that found
"...overall economic productivity is nonlinear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13°C (55°F) and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries. These results provide the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate and establish a new empirical foundation for modelling economic loss in response to climate change."
In graphical form:

55°F isn't very warm. Salem, Oregon's normal annual average (1981-2010) is 53.7°F, so we're talking about a latitude just a little south of here. (I'm two miles south of the 45th parallel.)
Using this knowledge and the results from global climate models, Burke et al make the following projections for national per capita GDPs, which divides the world up into winners (blue), slight losers (pink), and serious losers (red):

Europe wins big. So do Canada and Russia.

The US loses between 0% and 50% of per capita GDP. That's a big range, but big consequences if you're on the wrong side of it. (Consequences I find difficult to imagine near the 50% side. I'm spoiled by the times I've lived in.)

China loses more. This is why the Chinese will want (and are wanting) to stop global warming -- not from the goodness of their hearts, but because they know they are vulnerable to it.

And -- same old same old story -- the poor get slammed.

Perhaps you can consider these the best case scenarios? Are there nonlinear economic events that are positive, not, like the Great Depression or Great Recession, negative? I can't think of one...perhaps the aftermath of WWII, at least for the US, certainly not many countries. It seems economies hum along at an exponentially increasing rate until they stutter and miss a step, a step that is almost impossible to catch up on.

The authors conclude:
"If societies continue to function as they have in the recent past, climate change is expected to reshape the global economy by substantially reducing global economic output and possibly amplifying existing global economic inequalities, relative to a world without climate change. Adaptations such as unprecedented innovation or defensive investments might reduce these effects, but social conflict or disrupted trade—either from political restrictions or correlated losses around the world—could exacerbate them."
I don't know what to make of this paper -- it seems so easy to dismiss the economics as about as reliable as, say, CBO projections of GDP made in 2005 for 2015 -- who foresaw the crash? Yet crashes exist. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Australia High Temperature Records 12 Times Cold Records

A September paper in GRL by Sophie C. Lewis and Andrew D. King looks at hot and cold temperaure records in Australia for the last one and a half decades. Their conclusion:
"...during 2000–2014, new hot records outnumber new cold records by 12 to one on average." 
which is a pretty large ratio. They emphasize (which should be obvious if you think about it) 
"In a stationary climate, the probability of setting new temperature records should decrease rapidly from the beginning of the sequence of observations."
Here's the graphical version of their results:

Finally, here are the temperature time series going back to 1910:

The Problem of Slicing a Cake

I'm reading this little book by Timothy Gowers, Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction. I'm mostly reading it to see how he, as a major mathematician, thinks about mathematics, which sometimes can be pedantic (for the purposes of the book), but at other times he shows how careful thinking is needed, which isn't always how sciency people think about things. Here's a good example in his book that I'd never seen before.

Suppose you want to slice a cake, and you want to know how many pieces you get with 1 cut, or 2 cuts, or 3 cuts, etc. You don't have to start slicing from the middle, and each piece of cake need not be the same size, but you have to slice all the way through the cake.

So you get slices, and pieces of cake, like this:


The number below each circle is the number of pieces of cake. Each dot is where your knife enters or leaves the edge of the cake.

For n slices, how many pieces of cake will you get?

For a small number of slices, it's easy to count up the pieces:

At this point most people would notice a pattern, and guess/assume the number of pieces of cake is 2n-1.

But, surprisingly, that's wrong.

For n=6, the number of pieces is 31, not 32 as one would likely guess.

For n=7 the number of pieces is 57, not 26 = 64. And so on: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 31, 57, 99, 163, 256...

That's kind of wonderful -- it shows you shouldn't try to detect a pattern or rule based on a limited number of trials.

In mathematics this is called Moser's circle problem, and the slices are called "chords." The formula for the number of pieces is

where the objects in parantheses are called combinations -- the first is the combination of n objects taking 4 at a time, and not caring about their order, etc. Here are a couple ways of solving the problem.

This was proved in 1987, showing that not all simple but interesting math problems were solved, or even proposed, 300 years ago. (Moser formulated another seemingly simple problem, the worm problem, in 1966, and it's not solved yet.)

And it says to be careful in your thinking, more careful than most of us are.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

For NASA GISS to Set a New Temperature Record... needs only an average anomaly of +0.58°C for the last three months of the year -- or 0.23°C below its average year-to-date. 

So far this year, no month has dropped anywhere close to that.

Year-to-date, 2015 is +0.07°C above the second-highest year, 2014. And it's +0.13°C above 1998. which once seems so extreme.

Friday, October 16, 2015

What Computers Can't Do

"Unfortunately, while computers continually surprise us with what they can be used for, almost nothing is known about what they cannot do."

-- Timothy Gowers, Mathematics: A Short Introduction (2002)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stunning Picture of a Saturnian Moon

Wow -- this is the north pole of Enceladus, taken yesterday by the Cassini space probe. Taken from about 6,000 km away, with 35 meters per pixel:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bad Book Reviews Versus Some Actual Science

A fawning book review for Mark Steyn's self-published manuscript by a sycophant named Lynne Cohen says
Several of the hockey stick's most obvious problems are easy to grasp. The 900-year long handle completely ignores two indisputable eras, the Medieval Warm Period, from about 950 to 1250 A.D. and the later Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. 
I asked her for the evidence for these "indisputable eras," and she says she's just a book reviewer with no knowledge of what she's writing of:
I want to remind you that I am not a climate scientist, only a lowly book reviewer. I have no first hand knowledge of these well-documented time periods, only a faith in the knowledge and reputations of the climate scientists who write about them. Sort of how I trust my doctor to know the pills he prescribes will heal me without my understanding how or why.  
But it seems she only has "faith" (the opposite of science) in some climate scientists whose studies (she cites zero of them) she happens to like. When I asked her again, she wrote it's all "widely accepted" so she doesn't have to provide any evidence:
Regarding the "Medieval Warm Period" and "Little Ice Age", their existence is widely accepted - I didn't invent the terms after all - within both the lay and scientific communities. I would no more provide evidence of them than I would provide evidence of photosynthesis, but I know they are all real. How? I believe the reputable scientists. 
Clearly Lynne is out of her league here.... Like so many deniers, she thinks the science is all wrong, without actually knowing any of it.... That saves time, that's for sure!

Steyn claims
There are peer-reviewed studies by over 750 scientists from over 450 research institutions in over 40 countries that have found a Medieval Warm Period of between 0.1° and 3.2° Celsius warmer than today in every corner of the globe - from Alaska to South Africa, Morocco to New Zealand, Bolivia to China, Egypt to New Guinea... Everywhere they look for it, they find it. 
while offering no evidence for this in his blog post or whether all these studies lead to a reconstruction of globally noticeable climate eras, as he and Lynne claim. Except for another opinion from the opinionated nonexpert Jonathan Jones.

OK, there was that study by the oil-funded was never published anywhere -- because CO2science wouldn't dare submit their work for peer review anywhere legitimate -- and which was debunked because the period of study of the papers cited differed by up to 500 years, and many were selectively interpreted. The study ignored "very wide" error bars, and one study that only went back to 1500 A.D. was included as evidence for the MWP. In short, that study was both wrong and dishonest.

Meanwhile, all quantative reconstruction studies I know of -- which are the opposite of scattered opinions about scattered studies by scattered nonexperts -- use available proxies to form a global perspective find no evidence for a global MWP or global LIA -- Tingley and Huybers, Marcott et al, PAGES 2k, and more.

Here's the abstract from the PAGES 2k study conducted by over six dozen paleoclimatologists from 24 countries, based on 511 climate archives from around the world and published in Nature Geosciences:

Stefan Rahmstorf, who wasn't part of this study, wrote about it for ThinkProgress, and gave the paper's main result:

Rahmstorf then gives their reconstruction, labeled by "b" below -- which is, not surprisingly, a hockey stick, because a hockey stick is expected from very simply physics:

Who are you going to believe -- the careful work by six dozen experts from around the world, who put all the data together into regional and global reconstructions, or the opinions of some nonexperts who took studies individually without trying to acquire a global perspective? 

Finally, let's note again that even IF there was a global MWP, it says absolutely nothing about the current era, when greenhouse gases dominate and the amount of energy the Sun is delivering to the Earth has been on a declining trend since about 1960.

TIM TSI Reconstruction

Interesting Things

Some of the things I found interesting lately:

Bill Gates has committed $2 billion to development of new energy technologies to combat climate change. More in this article in The Atlantic.

Abe Streep went to Wyoming and spent a week talking to the people there about coal. It is, of course, lifeblood for Wyoming's economy, and you can't help but feel for a group of Americans who -- as has happened before here, with the steel industry and car industry -- see the coming death of their industry coming and the end of their well-paying livelihoods. They clearly realize, whether all of the admit it or not, that climate change is here and the issue isn't going away (despite the best efforts of the climate thugs). At the same time, though, some of the things Streep hears from people there are just insane -- that Obama is the Antichrist, that he's a Muslim, that he's trying to kill coal for the sake of billionaire backers who are invested in solar energy.

The Hadley sea-surface temperature for September was the warmest (most anomalous) in their records, which start in 1850. It was a huge 0.06°C higher than second place, which was just last month. The last five months are among the 6 warmest months in HadSST3's records; and 3rd place is only as far back as August 2014.

Year-to-date, 2015's SSTs are +0.10°C above 1998's....

Aerosol forcings over the last 10-15 years wouldn't have explained the hiatus (which didn't exist anyway, a closer look at the data showed).

John Fleck says Lake Mead is forecast to drop even further in the new water year, by 5 feet.

Yes, Steyn and McIntyre Are These Kind of Scumbags

Wow. So Steve McIntyre gave a private email I sent to him to Mark Steyn, who publishes it without permission.

When I learned Internet ethics, that kind of thing was competely verboten.

Having to be a snake to make an argument means your cause is already lost.

But that's how Steyn chooses to make a living -- he's a thug who is reduced to earning money by ambushing scientists and whoever writes about them.

I once thought a little better of McIntyre than this. Clearly that was a mistake -- he's turned out to be the kind of snake who slithers alongside the thugs of the world, whispering wicked ideas into their ears. It's not hard to understand why McIntyre is frustrated -- his work has gone nowhere, while Mann has won a major award from his colleagues, has a prominent position with real influence in the debate, is published everywhere, and is quoted in the media basically every day.

Two of Canada's finest.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Alaska Governor Proposes Allowing Barrels of Oil to Vote

OK, it's not quite that crazy (yet). But he's heading in that direction:

In other news, Oregon Republians urge more timber clearcutting to fund forest preservation efforts, yet another study by the Heartland Institute has found that smoking is the quickest and most efficacious way to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and the NRA proposes that all Americans be required to carry guns in order to reduce the US epidemic of gun violence.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Willie Soon is Hiding

Odd -- Willie Soon is the lead author on an Earth-Science Reviews paper titled "Re-evaluating the role of solar variability on Northern Hemisphere temperature trends since the 19th century," and they list him as "corresponding author." But unlike all their other papers, they don't actually give his email address.

Instead, the usual links to the corresponding author just go around in a loop.

Strange. Why wouldn't Willie Soon want to correspond with people who are reading his paper, if he was didn't have something to hide?

The Backwards Evidence That Climate Deniers Use as Proof They're Winning

It's the latest amazing(!) rebound (don't strain your eyes trying to find it here) in Volkswagon's stock price, via Eric Worrall at Woo-What.

Because, you know, any letup of the so-called "free market" in punishing VW for their massive fraud -- fraud that killed ~ 40 Americans (hope none of them are Eric Worrall's relations!), and destroyed tens of billions of dollars of VW stockholder value -- is now apparently a VICTORY for climate deniers, who don't seem to mind breathing in particulate pollution as long as they can use it for political purposes.

In essence, Eric Worrall is rooting for more fraud like VW's, whose excess particulates cool the planet while chocking cities and killing people. Massive corporate fraud on VW's scale is now a denier's best friend.

Talk about a topsy-turvy world....

The Department of Oops - David Rose Edition

From David Rose in the Daily Mail, March 2013:
The graph shows a world stubbornly refusing to warm. Indeed, it shows the world is soon set to be cooler.

Do you think these data show the world getting "cooler" after David Rose said it would?

No, I don't either.

David Rose gets another -1. (I hope someone out there is keeping his total score.)

Antarctic Sea Ice Max Declines by a Record Amount

Antarctic sea ice has peaked for the year, and it's significantly below last year's peak -- 1.3 million km2 below in fact.

Or, as they like to say, 14,500 Manhattan's below last year.

Or, 3 times the size of California.

It's the lowest peak since 2008. In fact, the maximum's year-over-year decline is the largest ever seen in the satellite era.

That doesn't mean the long-term Antarctic sea ice trend is reversing -- it's still very much upward.

This reversal, has, though, given a sharp reversal to annualized southern sea ice extent:

But it's still far above the trendline.

It will be fun to watch what happens from here. (But no, a resumed increase won't disprove manmade global warming.)