The skeptics case?

[This was a draft from 2012. I never really finished it, but I’ve decided I kinda like the invective, so it can go out now.]

The Skeptics Case is by some chap called “Dr David M.W. Evans” posted at WUWT (though it seems he touted it around; there’s a version at von Mises, too. In my own categorisation of “skeptics”, which runs roughly like:

1. stark staring bonkers – don’t even believe in the greenhouse effect at all
2. staring bonkers – don’t believe the CO2 rise is genuine
3. bonkers – don’t believe the CO2 rise is anthropogenic
4. unthinking – don’t believe the observed temperature rise is genuine
5a. just about scientifically valid “skepticism” – believe the basic radiative forcing from CO2, but think the feedbacks are small or negative
5b. just about scientifically valid “skepticism” – don’t believe the observed temperature rise is anthropogenic
6. sane – accept the std.ipcc view

he gets about a 4.5, or maybe a 5a (this, in turn, gets him some stick from the wild-eyed zealots in the comments, but only very mild stick of course, because they are very reluctant to go for anyone on “their side”).

I can’t resist throwing in this:

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.

which DA attributes to Harlan Ellison. It is WUWT to a tee.

Anyway, enough preamble, on with the show. What exactly is “The skeptics case”? It seems to come in 4 parts:

Air Temperatures

One of the earliest and most important predictions was presented to the US Congress in 1988 by Dr James Hansen, the “father of global warming”… Hansen’s climate model clearly exaggerated future temperature rises.

To which the obvious answer is: well yes, it was indeed one of the earliest predictions. We don’t judge the quality of a modern jet by carefully examining the Wright brother’s aircraft; that would be dishonest.

But Evans’s plot above is even more dishonest that that. Compare it to


Suddenly, Hansen’s projections don’t look so bad, do they? They do the same trick with IPCC ’90, too.

Ocean Temperatures

This one is more straightforward: Evans artificially discards all data before 2004, and then (having produced a meaninglessly short time series) proceed to say meaningless things about it.

What is his excuse for doing this? That ARGO starts in 2004, and before ARGO, no ocean data is good enough.

[At this point I got bored and stopped. Looking back from 2017, that seems like a wise decision.]

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