Craig Loehle is sad

You can read about his sadness at great length in Scientist’s rebuttal of Michael Mann’s “denier”and other unsavory labels in his book (note how CL, like “Dr” Roy Spencer, wears his PhD on his sleeve). CL is sad because Mann has been cwuel to him, or about him, in his book. Though this seems to have been more exciting for CL than Mann, since he doesn’t make it in until p 187, and its just about CL’s rubbish temperature reconstruction (see-also Tamino on the “vindication” version).

But the centerpiece of CL’s recent post, which conclusively demonstrates how Mann is wrong and… well, you get the idea, is the one I’ve inlined here. Its from which isn’t a good source. I wondered what the data sources were for the figure, and what “Current Warm Period” (CWP) might be, exactly. No-one seemed to be able to find an answer; a person calling themselves Richard S Courtney was pretty sure it meant 1998 (actually very un-pretty, but never mind), but that makes no sense – the ice cores don’t go up to 1998, in general (I’m assuming there are some ice cores in there, though with no info as to the sources, its hard to say). Its likely that CWP means something like 20th-century average, but as far as I can tell it isn’t possible to be sure; I think they are being deliberately vague. They claim to have 5 proxies showing the MWP was more than 3 oC warmer than the “CWP”, but that doesn’t seem very likely, and since they don’t say what those studies are, I’m not taking it on faith.

In the usual way at WUWT, no-one was interested in querying the basis for a figure, as long as it supported what they wanted to see.

Update: in the comments, PS has found some of the studies with high MWP’s.]

Brighton, again

DSCN2479-james-and-w_crop The follow-up to Amsterdam and Brighton part 1. Again, if you lack interest in running, the answer is 3:54.28.

The photo is me and James Edgoose after the finish. By this point we’ve gone through the phases of collapsed in a heap for a bit, drunk some water, eaten a banana, just about got up, walked a bit, sat down again, got up and are capable of smiling… well you get the idea. And I can only speak for my own collapse, James finished 15+ mins ahead of me so may have been all sparkly at the finish for all I know.

This year was much better than Brighton last year, but only a bit (3 mins) better than Amsterdam. I’m a bit disappointed by that, but not much; over the last couple of months there has been too much rowing and stuff for me to really concentrate on the running properly. More long runs are required. I came 2068th, of about 8900 finishers, which is well in the top 25%. James, at 3:37 was 1205th.

I’ll put up the graph of the GPS track at some point, but broadly… the first 21k followed the 5:15 (=1:50) plan from Amsterdam, then the rest tapers, a bit more gradually, and didn’t fall quite so far down around 35k. So the plan for sub-3:45 has to be holding 5:15 up to 30k, perhaps, and then stopping the fall-off from going to 6:15. At least that’s what I hope for. James E ran a far more steady race than me, and came past me at about 22k; the 3:45 pacers came past at about 25k,and while I kept them in sight for a while I lost them at maybe 28k and certainly didn’t have the heart to try to keep up. From 21k to mid-30’s I had a pain in my lower left calf that was worryingly-possibly like the beginnings of a strain, so formed an excuse to not push which I gladly seized on. I used up 5 energy gels during the race, and drank some-of 3 energy-drink bottles that they had at the stops. My stomach got a bit queasy at one point – settled by sipping some gel.

DSCN2477-dino-box Brighton is a funny old town: fairly downmarket though I’d say. Last year Mike (doing his one-marathon-before-I-die) stayed in a decent-ish hotel, but near the seafront, and commented next day that it was quite noisy at night, due to drunken stag-party types along the front. This year I stayed in a low dive hostel (St Christopher’s) just near the pier – oh, how convenient I thought – and I too was disturbed by traffic noise in the small hours. Until about 3 am that is, when I was woken up by the stag party people who were sharing my dormitory room, just returning from a night at a strip club looking at “cludge”, oh what joy. Next year I’m going to stay inland a bit.

Here (update) is the promised graph:


Weeelll… yes. More work required!

DSCN2478-alice-dreams Other stuff.

* This year, the water at the stops was in little plastic bags that you just had to squeeze, and in small quantity. This was much better than the usual water bottles, or plastic cups.
* The goody bags were rubbish.
* There still weren’t nearly enough loos.
* They completely stuffed up labelling the start areas, but I got a good start anyway.
* Other pix I took, on Flickr.
* The winners, taken by someone else.

All Scottish coal plants to use carbon capture by 2025?

Or so says reuters and a whole host of others repeating the same story. The source is draft ELECTRICITY GENERATION POLICY STATEMENT from the shouty Scottish government. You won’t be surprised to hear that I don’t believe a word of it (I’ve been pretty sniffy before), but lets read on. Oh, but first, why so sniffy? Because, its not economic (if it was, we’d all be doing it, der). Nor do I see any sign of it becoming economic in the next 10-15-20 years. But who knows, I could be wrong. Lets read on…

They say: The Scottish Government’s policy on electricity generation [nd: this is indeed about electricity generation, not all fuel use; there is stuff in there about other use, but I’ll ignore that -W] is that Scotland’s generation mix should deliver: (1) a secure source of electricity supply; (2) at an affordable cost to consumers; (3) which can be largely decarbonised by 2030; (4) and which achieves the greatest possible economic benefit and competitive advantage for Scotland including opportunities for community ownership and community benefits. These are in conflict, how will they balance them? Some bits seem confused (delivering the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 as part of a wider, balanced electricity mix, with thermal generation playing an important role though a minimum of 2.5 GW of thermal generation progressively fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS); – this appears to confuse renewables with carbon-neutral; and there should be a particularly strong role for CCS, where Scotland has the natural advantages and resources which could enable it to become a world leader. is pretty weird, too (oh, they mean they have offshore places to dump the CO2. Maybe). Also, they say No Nooks, but I’m not going to rant about that here) but never mind that; what about demonstrating carbon capture and storage (CCS) at commercial scale in Scotland by 2020, with full retrofit across conventional power stations thereafter by 2025-30?

So I’m trying to talk about CCS here, but along the way I find Our analysis demonstrates that while renewable energy will play the predominant role in electricity supply in Scotland by 2020, the Scottish electricity generation mix cannot currently, or in the foreseeable future, operate without baseload and balancing services provided by thermal electricity generation which I find hard to make sense of. Presumably 2020 is within the “foreseeable future”, so by 2020 renewables will be predominant, and yet thermal generation will still be providing the baseload? Don’t understand. I think its just a kind of lead-in para to the CCS discussion, and doesn’t really have any meaning. Some of the CCS is to be propped up by the UK’s stupid “carbon price floor” (just say No! Instead, Carbon Tax Now!). The Scottish Government has never intended to support unabated new coal plants in Scotland, as this would be wholly inconsistent with our climate change objectives. We have made it absolutely clear that any new power station in Scotland must be fitted with a minimum CCS on 300 MWe of its generation from day one of operation. OK, so much for good intentions. But how will the economics work out? Ah, but before that, note If CCS is not proven to be technically or financially viable then we will consider low carbon alternatives which would have an equivalent effect. So, imagine you want to build a new coal fired plant in Scotland (the policy only applies to coal, not oil or gas). You’re going to have to build in CCS. But, CCS may not be viable – the govt itself admits this – but you’re going to have to build it in anyway. I think the answer to that will be that no-one will want to build new coal plants in Scotland. Maybe that is what they want, anyway.

Oh. That seems to be it. I was expecting them to go on an analyse CCS and work out what carbon price they needed to make it viable, and so on. But they don’t. They just re-iterate CCS is a promising low carbon technology that is still in the early stages of realising its large scale development potential. In the event of CCS being found not to be financially or technically viable, consideration will be given to other emission reduction measures. So, I think this is all motherhood-and-apple-pie. They want de-carbonised energy, because people like the idea, and stuff like that. But they aren’t going to trouble themselves about the costs just yet, so this is just politicians making airy gestures. It is meaningless until the hard choices that they are pretending don’t exist come into play.


* Rabbit pie pushing
* Geoengineering Politics and again.

Aristotle and the continuum

And now for something almost completely different. This all begins at History of the infinite where I said it might be fun to work out why his [Aristotle’s] “proof” that the continuum can’t be composed of indivisibles is wrong. This lead on to Aristotle against the continuum – reply (wherein you will find Aristotle’s proof that the continuum cannot be composed just of points, laid out reasonably comprehensibly). There is also The history of the continuum and Another argument against indivisibles (which is a less viable attempt via addition).

Anyway, to summarise: thinking about infinity is hard. Suppose we abstract A’s argument away from “the continuum” (whatever that is) to the real line (which is at least clearly defined) – and let’s say, just the real numbers between 0 and 1 (I’m using “real” in the mathematical sense of “real number“, not in the sense of belonging-to-the-real-world, of course. The first sentence of that linked article is a bit rubbish, though. Sigh). Then to restate A’s argument, we’re obliged to say “the real line is not made up of just numbers” (numbers == points). This is self-evident twaddle (how can the real be made up of anything other than numbers? It is them, by definition. Although if you want to be pedantic it also has an ordering and a metric), so the argument collapses in a heap (although it took me a while to realise this). If you want to, you can try to read through A’s original argument without the hints, and see where his argument falls down, but it isn’t necessary to do that in order to see that it is wrong.

Indeed the problem I’m having now is to see how his argument can ever have been believed, by him or by anyone else. It doesn’t help that from “continuum” I automatically go to “real line”, where his stuff falls over without you pushing it. So we have to try to think like him, and I think the key is to think geometrically not numerically (incidentally, I think the issue of rationals vs irrationals, or countability, is irrelevant here; A postdates the proof of irrationals, if that helps). And also you need to blur the line between the real-world and the maths-world; he is thinking, I think, largely in terms of the real world, albeit a slightly idealised real world. So he is used to thinking of lines, and of line segments, and of geometrical proofs in which those lines are marked by a few points. So he thinks of the line as a thing, to which you can add a few points, and then a few more, but obviously never by that process make the whole line.

If anyone out there has a way of stating his thinking in a way that makes any kind of sense, do please comment (I believe I may have turned on Captchas, don’t let that put you off).

[Update: NB found me, and I think that essentially resolves the problem, with:

points only come into (actual) existence for Aristotle when a division is made
between two line segments

That sounds correct, and explains the problem (together with his dislike of actual, as opposed to potential, infinities). So if you’re A, then given a line segment between two points, you can keep cutting it and keep finding points, none of which (of course) touch. And in your mind, therefore, you have a series of line segments spearated by points. What you can’t do is consider all possible cuts, because that kind of realised infinity is foreign to his way of thinking.

In which case, the final step is to go back and say, given that definition / idea, is his original proof valid? I think that, given that, his original result is valid, but vacuously so: he refuses to consider completed infinities, and a line, to be made of points, needs an infinite number of points, which he has ruled out, therefore a line isn’t made of an infinite number of points. But only because of his artifical restriction on the meaning of infinity.]

Global temperature response to radiative forcing: Solar cycle versus volcanic eruptions

Another one in the eye for the solarists. K. Rypdal, JGR VOL. 117, D06115, 14 PP., 2012 doi:10.1029/2011JD017283:

I show that the peak-to-peak amplitude of the global mean surface temperature response to the 11-year cyclic total irradiance forcing is an order of magnitude less than the amplitude of a cyclic component roughly in phase with the solar forcing which has been observed in the temperature record in the period 1959-2004. If this cyclic temperature component were a response to the solar forcing, it would imply the existence of strong amplifying feedbacks which operate exclusively for solar forcing, such as top-down mechanisms responding to the large variability in the ultraviolet part of the solar spectrum. I demonstrate, however, that the apparent cyclic component in the temperature record is dominated by the response to five major volcanic eruptions some of which incidentally took place a few years before solar minimum in four consecutive solar cycles, and hence that the correlation with the solar cycle is coincidental. A temperature rise of approximately 0.15 K over the 20th century ascribed to an increasing trend in solar forcing is more than offset by a cooling trend of about 0.3 K due to stratospheric aerosols from volcanic eruptions.

Or in other words, you can’t do attribution just by looking for cycles that you’d like to see in the records. That wazzock Scafetta springs to mind.

They even provide a list of Key Points:

* Solar cycle signal in global temperature is no more than 0.02 degrees K
* A 0.2 K periodic signal observed in phase with solar cycle is due to volcanoes
* Volcano cooling in 20th century more than offsets solar activity warming

Disclaimer: I’ve only read the abstract, but it seems clear enough.


* The 11 year solar cycle signal in transient simulations from the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model – not directly relevant, mind.

I am a red hot climate change denialist?

Strange – you might think – but not so bizarre that some people don’t think it. Here is the quote

William, given the article’s clearly supposedly-sceptical viewpoint, I did not expect my edit to survive but, 8 minutes! Wow, you are red hot! I note your track record of getting into trouble with Moderators over edit-warring issues, so will not be so foolish as to do the same with you myself. However, is there anything you would care to say in your defence that will prevent me from writing you off as a climate change denier?

Why does he call me “William”? I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me. Is he a foreigner? No, he is Britishor so he claims. But clearly not a well-bred one. I delicately suggested that he might get a clue (as the hip doodz say) from Conservapedia, but he doesn’t seem to have done so.

What has him so hot under the collar? The runaway greenhouse effect article. This has always been rather poor: largely because, as the article says, A runaway greenhouse effect is not a clearly defined term; and because it was edited by Andrewjlockley, who is part of the AMEG crowd. And because people keep confusing it with positive feedback. Our man wanted something less ambiguous, and there is a not-very-exciting talk page thread.

All this has odd echoes of last week’s tempest but Martin Charles Lack is not Andrew Judd – he seems to know when to back off, for one thing.

Largely irrelevant refs

* [[List of Viz comic strips]]. Check for “Captain Oats” – I still remember that one. I personally rescued Mickey’s Monkey Spunk Moped from redirection.
* No lessons learned from Climategate ? Fred Pearce and the New Scientist attack anti-nuclear book – this is a guest post at WUWT by Martin Cohe[n]. It contains refs to “Climategate”, therefore by WUWT standards it is publishable; but it is so laughably incoherent that even the regulars think it should be pulled. My comment.
* The Fireplace Delusion – meant to be about religion, but would fit the denialists, too. h/t Paul.