It seems like everyone wants to talk about Tiljander. I don’t, particularly, but you gotta give the customers what they want, so here is a thread to discuss it if you like. The comment policy still applies, but I’ll be laxer. Comments incorrectly paraphrasing others will be harshly dealt with. Vague rantings unsupported by clear evidence or links, ditto. Repeating what everyone else has already said, ditto (this isn’t a vote).

Some useful links you may want:

  1. Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia (Mea; includes supplementary info)
  2. McI’s comment on Mea
  3. Mea reply to McI
  4. [Update: Supplemental Information for PNAS Article at Mann’s website, plus updates

mann-supp-fig8 Hopefully, people have read the Mea supplemental info where they say Potential data quality problems. In addition to checking whether or not potential problems specific to tree-ring data have any significant impact on our reconstructions in earlier centuries (see Fig. S7), we also examined whether or not potential problems noted for several records (see Dataset S1 for details) might compromise the reconstructions. These records include the four Tijander et al. (12) series used (see Fig. S9) for which the original authors note that human effects over the past few centuries unrelated to climate might impact records (the original paper states ”Natural variability in the sediment record was disrupted by increased human impact in the catchment area at A.D. 1720.” and later, ”In the case of Lake Korttajarvi it is a demanding task to calibrate the physical varve data we have collected against meteorological data, because human impacts have distorted the natural signal to varying extents”). These issues are particularly significant because there are few proxy records, particularly in the temperature-screened dataset (see Fig. S9), available back through the 9th century. The Tijander et al. series constitute 4 of the 15 available Northern Hemisphere records before that point.

In addition there are three other records in our database with potential data quality problems, as noted in the database notes: Benson et al. (13) (Mono Lake): ”Data after 1940 no good– water exported to CA;” Isdale (14) (fluorescence): ”anthropogenic influence after 1870;” and McCulloch (15) (Ba/Ca): ”anthropogenic influence after 1870”. We therefore performed additional analyses as in Fig. S7, but instead compaired the reconstructions both with and without the above seven potentially problematic series, as shown in Fig. S8.

So you can look at S8 – I’ve inlined it – to discover that the Tiljander series don’t affect the overall result much.

[Didn’t like this post? You want DenialDepot]

[Update: one thing that has puzzled some people is how little effect the Tiljander proxies have on the overall reconstruciton: see S8, which I inlined. But look at S9, and you’ll see that the Tiljander proxies are remarkably flat before 1800. This would be consistent, for example, with recent non-climatic artifacts producing more variation than is naturally present. But it also means that the effect of these proxies on the total reconstruction pre-1800 is likely to be extremely slight (which explains fig S8). This is because the scale-this-proxy-to-termperature thingy is done on the overlap with the instrumental period -W]

Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear

Please don’t force me to write another of these, I’ll run out of “oh dear”s.

The issue is RP Jr venturing into areas of climate science he doesn’t understand (see losing the plot for the last one I remember) and dragging Cruel Mistress along behind, though to be fair CM doesn’t fully commit herself.

AndrewT has already expalined the truth to Roger, but it doesn’t look like he wants to know it :-(.

And I still haven’t written up Larklight or Saturn’s Children.

[While I’m here, and since I can: HH on foxes -W]

[Update: you may want to know about my comment policy. Please put any tedious whines about censorship in there. Or go read DenialDepot -W]

AP IMPACT: Statisticians reject global cooling?

There is a slightly weird AP news article by Seth Borenstein which purports to show that In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time. All very well, taken literally, but I thought the world was supposed to be warming, not not statistically cooling.

But it gets worse:

The AP sent expert statisticians NOAA’s year-to-year ground temperature changes over 130 years and the 30 years of satellite-measured temperatures preferred by skeptics and gathered by scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Statisticians who analyzed the data found…

Are we really supposed to believe that the statisticians who received this data didn’t recognise it? You have to be fairly out of touch not to know what the global temperature record looks like.

[Update: a bit more detail here. See-also the comments re the “blind” aspect. This story has tickled a number of fancies: for example CM, DSB, JR. And Eli, naturally.

I’ve struck “slightly weird” – on reflection, that wasn’t called for -W]


In training for Boston, I did a 1 hour erg cos the ladies were doing them, and sort of enjoyed it. And then we did Boston which was 50 km, but we weren”t really racing. And so I wondered how long an actual marathon (42.195 km) would take. And the answer is 3:20:58.4 (almost. I confess that I set the erg to 42125 because I forgot the true distance; I’ve re-scaled my time linearly which I think is fair). My split was down to a contemptible 2:25 towards the end before I “sprinted” for the finish at 2:05. I beat some of the folk at the concept2 sponsored marathon but I like to think that that is a self-selected group of the Leet.

I don’t think I recommend it. It wasn’t much fun; only the ipod saved my sanity. At the end my arms, knees, back and bum all hurt, which is sort-of good: all bits were getting tired. Probably my thighs don’t hurt enough. As for Boston, on the off chance it helps someone, I’ll tell you I: drank 5 little cups of water and ate two little marzipan bars. That was enough.

An interesting question is how I should compare my time to running-on-the-road (the subject of Rowing and Running a while back). From the C2 website I find that the record for age 20-29 (irritatingly you have to specify an age range rather than “all scores”), heavyweight (ditto; I’m 78 kg just on the border of lightweight and could probably get there if I wanted to) is ~2:40 whereas a road marathon record is ~2:06. So scaling my time by 2:06/2:40 (clearly a valid procedure) gets me an adjusted time of 2:38, which marginally beats my hero for all things Marathon, Maz, who has 2:47 and is like a whippet (although he is too elegant to be a real whippet; perhaps Dan Staite deserves the whippet title more, hopefully that won’t offend him. Dan’s ergo times are unreal).

Poachin’ Pope

Not Vicki this time. No, its the one about those naughty left-footers poaching the bums on our seats. Speaking of bums, apparently the apostates say: “The Church of England is, in the view of many of us, ceasing to be the church of Jesus Christ and becoming the church of political correctness, not only the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate – to which we object – but also in many attitudes to human sexuality from divorce and remarriage, to homosexuality.”

As an observer of all this, I find it confusing. Suppose I was to believe in Christianity – Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Bible is true, etc etc – how could I possibly know which church to join, if at all? As Paul is wont to say, please give me back my passport and let me out of here… not, that’s not right, he says God is Silent. Choice of C of E or Catholicism seems to be very largely a social construct. There are indeed real differences in relgiious practice – Catholics cannot stick bits of rubber on their willies – but those religious practices themselves are pure social constructs, since the bible says nothing about rubber (don’t take my word for it; I’ve checked). The bible, whilst vague on whether you should be Cath or Prot, is quite explicit on some other issues, for example Sell your possessions and give to the poor, not a sentiment that has ever been popular with any rich church. So why should I care if C of E folk join the Caths, or vice versa, any more than I care if Arsenal fans go off and join Spurs?

I’d like to say “it isn’t very clear why you need a church at all, now that we can all read the bible for ourselves” but this is all to clearly not true. Anyone, who knew nothing of our conventional faith, who settled down with a copy of the bible and tried to work out for themselves what it meant would be very confused indeed. Clearly you do need someone to pick and choose for you which bits to take seriously and which to ignore and which bits to add in. But why that is “religion” I don’t know.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear

Roger is having a spot of trouble: everyone is being nasty to him. Once upon a time the mighty Prometheus bestrode the world like a Colossus and ate big fish for breakfast, but now it seems Roger swims with the minnows and it isn’t a nice world down there. Eli shows him no mercy – wabbits are a vicious bunch – and Tim Lambert is not kind either but Whiskey Fire probably has the best take on all this.

Incidentally, it isn’t really Roger’s fault but he does seem to be attracting the wacko septics in the comments, for example Of course DeepClimate consistently refuses to publish my charts documenting the on-going, unbroken 10,000 year cooling trend in both the northern hemisphere AND the southern hemisphere. Yes, DeepClimate doesn’t publish that because it is rubbish. Sigh. Roger really needs to weed out the wackos. A comment policy that deletes irrelevant rubbish is *good* not bad.

Still, I’ll take Pielke over, say, Romm any day but this recent post does him no favours.

[Updates: Romm says Roger Pielke Jr. is the most debunked person in the science blogosphere, possibly the entire Web but this is twaddle.

More interestingly (thanks Hank) I’ve finally found fame and fortune in Nature (Louise, eat your heart out):


Why has the man got a penis-shaped fish resting against his backbone? I’m baffled -W]

Bad policy will boil the planet?

The Economist has a couple of articles on energy policy and climate change, both related to Britain’s Committee on Climate Change, an untested body. My title comes from the first, which basically says that a carbon tax would be a good idea (I agree). The second sits rather oddly with the first, and says that the markets won’t work, and doesn’t mention the word tax at all. How can they come from the same report?

It looks like you can read the CCC report from http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/progress-reports (not to be confused with the similar HoL committee here). No, the CCC is far more sexy and has a twitter feed and all that jazz. Still, the twitter feed will point you towards their report, so that is good. I just looked at the Executive summary – well, life is too short, no (I got home at 22:10: do I win a prize? Answer: no, don’t be stupid William).

They do suggest UK action to underpin the carbon price could provide support for required low-carbon investments (e.g. through introduction of a tax that adjusts according to EU ETS price fluctuations to deliver a target carbon price in the UK). Unfortunately that seems to be the only place that the mention “tax” in the context of carbon price.

The presentation of the report manages to say Our analysis suggests that in a risky, uncertain world, even with very high carbon prices, the market may not deliver necessary low-carbon investment, resulting in high emissions intensity (and high costs for consumers). which I take to be the source of the not-tax-but-reform-markets meme. But I don’t know where in the report itself this text comes from! At the moment, I’m not at all convinced they have clearly demonstrated why carbon taxes can’t do much of the work, and why they shouldn’t be pushed now.

[I forgot to mention: Gareth has already covered this -W]

Arctic to be ‘ice-free in summer’?

The Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free and open to shipping during the summer in as little as ten years’ time, a top polar specialist has said. Don’t believe it, but who is saying it? Yes, its the Beeb again, determined to run their reputation into the ground and then hammer it six feet under.

This stems from the Caitlin Arctic Survey which isn’t promising.

What Wadhams actually said was “The Catlin Arctic Survey data supports the new consensus view – based on seasonal variation of ice extent and thickness, changes in temperatures, winds and especially ice composition – that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within about 20 years, and that much of the decrease will be happening within 10 years. There is no such consensus. “Much of the decrease” is too vague to be bettable; 20 years is too long a horizon; so I don’t think there is any scope for interest here. And did PW really say that? I ask because the Science Report contains very similar text, and I don’t think it was written by Wadhams (he can spell “undeformed” for one thing).

The “survey” latest stuff (here but irritatingly no perma-link) trumpets the “New data, released today (15.10.09)” but you have to nip off to their science page to find it. And… it is some data. But it is only one years slice through one bit of the Arctic, so whilst nice enough it won’t revolutionise anything.