Lockwood, Hudson, Beeb, Maunder. Sigh

[Update 2013/11/01: Solar Activity and the so-called “Little Ice Age” is sufficient evidence of Lockwood’s opinion].

Sigh. Paul Hudson (remember him?) says Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist, and the person he purports to rely in is Mike Lockwood, who is sane. However, if you look closely there is no direct quotation of ML in the article, so I think I’d be very cautious in interpreting it.

But if you want to know what ML actually thinks on the subject of future solar variations and their probable effects on climate, then reading a recent paper of his, Jones, G. S., Lockwood, M. and Stott, P. A. (2012) What influence will future solar activity changes over the 21st century have on projected global near-surface temperature changes? Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 (D5). D05103. ISSN 0148-0227 looks like a good idea. And the abstract is (my bold):

During the 20th century, solar activity increased in magnitude to a so-called grand maximum. It is probable that this high level of solar activity is at or near its end. It is of great interest whether any future reduction in solar activity could have a significant impact on climate that could partially offset the projected anthropogenic warming. Observations and reconstructions of solar activity over the last 9000 years are used as a constraint on possible future variations to produce probability distributions of total solar irradiance over the next 100 years. Using this information, with a simple climate model, we present results of the potential implications for future projections of climate on decadal to multidecadal timescales. Using one of the most recent reconstructions of historic total solar irradiance, the likely reduction in the warming by 2100 is found to be between 0.06 and 0.1 K, a very small fraction of the projected anthropogenic warming. However, if past total solar irradiance variations are larger and climate models substantially underestimate the response to solar variations, then there is a potential for a reduction in solar activity to mitigate a small proportion of the future warming, a scenario we cannot totally rule out. While the Sun is not expected to provide substantial delays in the time to reach critical temperature thresholds, any small delays it might provide are likely to be greater for lower anthropogenic emissions scenarios than for higher-emissions scenarios.

[Oh, yeah, and the bit in the blog about Mann is stupid, too. As he says “Hey Beeb (@BBC). Yes “I AM ‘vociferous advocate’ of global warming.. & relativity, quantum mech, all 3 laws of thermo,..”]

[Update: Lockwood thinks he was misrepresented:




[Looking further down, we get a comment from PH:

“Paul Hudson Has anyone actually read my article? It makes it very clear that the main effect would be regional. It says that most scientists believe global impact – along the lines of research my Michael mann in 2001 of 0.3c to 0.4c cooling (research I specifically link to) – would be temporary and ‘swamped’ by global warming. That element wasn’t even attributed to my interview with mike who did only discuss with me regional impacts. I added the mann research.I think you guys need to take a deep breath and calm down. Anyone point to any inaccuracies in the article do please tell me I’d he very curious to know where they are.”

Now this is quite interesting. If you re-read the original piece (here web-cited) then it does indeed say:

“It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe. The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum. Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.”

So arguably the piece is only about regional temperature. I’d still be pretty dubious that Lockwood has predicted a chance of LIA-type severe winters for Europe. Hopefully he’ll clarify what he really thinks in a somewhat more citeable forum than facebook.]

As the days of my life are but grains of sand

talking Paul links to What Can We Learn About Human Psychology from Christian Apologetics? The article itself is an exercise in proving itself right: the only people reading it will be those who disagree with Christian Apologetics. But I digress; the point I was trying to make was the connection with “the GW debate” and perhaps Sou’s Talking to contrarians. Why do you do it? Or why not? Most people are talking past each other, or in many places (perhaps canonically WUWT) deliberately going to places where they can be sure they won’t be disturbed by contrary opinions: either because they won’t meet them at all, or because the few that are there will be happily shouted down by fellow believers.

So why am I writing this? Because its fun! Mostly. Habit, partly. For the lurkers? Maybe.

Meanwhile, Wotts has been trying to talk to RP Sr who really really doesn’t like people to be anonymous and pretends that dislike is civililty. And the reason I mention that is because RP posted Radiative Forcing, Radiative Feedbacks and Radiative Imbalance – The 2013 WG1 IPCC Report Failed to Properly Report on this Issue. Like everyone else, I haven’t read the details. Why should I? If RP had a real point, he wouldn’t have published it at WUWT, where only the fanbois go. He’d have offered it to RC, or somewhere else with a reputation. If no-one but WUWT will publish your stuff, you’re lost. This begins to look like the Dr Spencer problem.

Amsterdam man, 2013

Just like 2011 or 2012 but faster! TL;DR: 3:43:06. Just 5 minutes faster and I’ll only be an hour slower than Maz. This post is mostly for my records. Transport and accommodation just like before, except I had Miranda with me.

2013-10-20 18.02.58 As you can see, Amsterdam has some exciting architecture.

My GPS track is here, or at least a bit of it is. Turning it on as I went in to the stadium I realised I hadn’t bothered to charge up the battery. Oops, though its perhaps nice that I’m getting rather casual about things I’d once have obsessed over. So the track contains the first ~16k, and the last ~4k. The official record is here (oh, but you need my name or 7126, my bib number) and that gets you the splits every 5k. Compare to 2012 (bib 2852) and the obvious difference is that I don’t fall off a cliff in the last 12k. This time the splits are 5:10 / 5:11 / 5:12 / 5:18 / 5:20 / 5:20 / 5:23 / 5:29 and then 5:0x to the end. My target is 3:30, which will require 5:00 splits. Perhaps next year.

Having the GPS for the first 16k let me get my pace in, and left me running with a group at about the right speed. So losing the GPS after then didn’t matter much, and was actually quite unexpectedly liberating, giving me more time to think about my toenails.

I wasn’t too hopeful about this race – I hadn’t done much training beforehand, so was mostly hoping to roughly equal my PB of 3:46 set in Brighton this year. However, I did significantly better than that, and also came out of it feeling much better – which probably means I could have run it faster, so perhaps I did lose something from not having the GPS. I did slightly suffer from not knowing what pace to run it at – I settled for ~5:15, which would have got me 3:40, and lost a bit off that in the second half, which is acceptable. In retrospect, I should have pushed 35-40 somewhat harder.

And rowing

Since I’m posting sport (again; I promised not to) I’ll point to:

* We won IM2 VIII’s at the Boston marathon
* I got my point at Peterborough
* We went up 3 in bumps. Did I mention that before ;-?

Wyatt and Curry part II: not waving but drowning

Begin by reading Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century? That post offers some snarks on the paper, and some indications why you might distrust it, but no really substantive criticism. I’ll try to do that here but I won’t fully succeed because (just like Wyatt and Curry) I don’t really understand MSSA. I’m hoping that someone how does know it will do a proper analysis.


Where’s the meat?

If you look through the paper to find the core substance, you won’t. There are layers of mush and piles of words but precious little hard matter. Figure 12 is about the closest they come to a mechanism, but its just a pile of words arranged in a picture; there’s no maths here. So really, we’re reduced to figure 2 and similar as being the only vaguely convincing bits.

And… well, it looks good, doesn’t it? All those nice smooth wave-like lines showing clear evidence of “propagation”. What more could you want? Weeellll…

First of all, the smoothness is because all the indices have been heavily filtered into a spectral band (update: Eli has a nice post showing quite how heavy the filtering is. Note that this isn’t fatal of itself – the ACW was also heavily filtered – but). Not precisely this, because its been done via MSSA, but effectively so. Unfortunately they don’t show this in spectral space somehow, which I think would have been helpful. However, they do show you the proportion or power of the original signal that remains in this band, and this is really very revealing.

wc-fig5-partial-caption As ever, click on the image for a larger version. Note that I’ve cropped the caption. Ignore the ovals drawn on, instead note the fraction of variance for NINO in the range – about 1%. That makes sense: we all know that NINO is quasi-periodic at ~5 year, so you expect little left over at very slow periods. But this means, in turn, that NINO is irrelevant at their timescales of interest – as, very likely, we could have guessed at the outset. So whatever their MSSA has done, it certainly hasn’t allowed them to filter out variables that contribute little to the pattern.

But then why is the black line in figure 2 of about the same amplitude as all the others? Because they’ve all been normalised. A more representative version of this picture would renormalise the lines by some-version-of-variance; in which case the black NINO line would be essentially flat.

Once you realise that, you can see that EIE, NAOw, and ALPI, all with less than 10% variance in band, are also negligible at this scale. EIE is “East Ice Extent” of the East Eurasian Seas; even W+C note that its negigible at this scale, and its not in fig 2, so we’ll forget it. NAOw is NAO in winter; since they don’t provide a pic for it I’ll have to assume that NAO, too, has negligible variance in-band and it too should be ignored. ALPI is the Aleutian Low Pressure Index.

wc-fig2-butchered Then I thought: but hold on, NHT is the hemispheric temperature index; it can’t propagate. Removing this, along with the other three that have essentially no in-band variance, leaves me with this crudely retouched version of their figure 2 a. Its now much less obviously a wave; its just three (four really, but two essentially overlay) different lines filtered to within an inch of their lives into a 60-year-ish band.

I think that’s about it, really. All the stuff about exploding sardines is just fluff and can be ignored. The “mechanisms” is an extended exercise in self-delusion.

[Update: Michael E. Mann, Byron A. Steinman and Sonya K. Miller, “On forced temperature changes, internal variability,
and the AMO” say:

. Using the synthetic temperature histories, we also show that certain procedures used in past studies to estimate internal variability, and in particular, an internal multidecadal oscillation termed the “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” or “AMO”, fail to isolate the true internal variability when it is a priori known. Such procedures yield an AMO signal with an inflated amplitude and biased phase, attributing some of the recent NH mean temperature rise to the AMO. The true AMO signal, instead, appears likely to have been in a cooling phase in recent decades, offsetting some of the anthropogenic warming. Claims of multidecadal“stadium wave”patterns of variation across multiple climate indices are also shown to likely be an artifact of this flawed procedure for isolating putative climate oscillations.

Weirdly enough, MW doesn’t like it.]


* ZOMG! Not everyone is arrogant enough to create a website to showcase one not-very-good-paper, but then Wyatt isn’t everyone.

Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century?

This is Wyatt / Curry’s Stadium Wave (Marcia Glaze Wyatt, Judith A. Curry, Clim. Dyn., Sept. 2013; henceforth W+C), but you don’t get a title like that past a staid journal like Climate Dynamics.

Note: the copy of W+C I started writing this from which I found at Curry’s site offers graphics of truely outstanding industrial-strength awfulness. Really: if you don’t believe me, go look. Most of them are completely unreadable (you need to go about half way down the comments at Curry’s before you find anyone who notices this, strongly suggesting what the comments there also suggest: that few have troubled themselves with reading the paper). I subsequently found a better version elsewhere, so I can’t claim ignorance as I was planning to.

Note: what this most reminds me of, off the bat, is the “Antarctic Circumpolar Wave” (White and Peterson 1996. I even made a small contribution to the literature). Its not the same – the ACW has a clearish mechanism and dynamics, and a very different though still “slow” period. But if I were W+C I’d definitely have mentioned it. Odd that they don’t.


Behavior of numerous and diverse geophysical indices – from fish populations to cosmic nuclides – fluctuate at a quasi-periodic 50-to-80 year tempo (e.g. Ogurtsov et al. 2002; Patterson et al. 2004; Klyashtorin and Lyubushin 2007).

But Ogurtsov et al. say “It is seen from Figure 2 that two significant century-scale oscillations really are in the spectrum of sunspot variability, a 90–100-year cycle (since the second part of the 18th century) and 50–60-year cycle (until the first part of the 19th century)” (my bold). The bolded bit is important: it means the 50-60 years stuff has gone by 1900. So its useless to W+C. Interestingly, O et al. only say this in the body, not the abstract – perhaps some carelessness or confirmation bias from W+C there.

Patterson et al. covers ~1440–4485 years before present, so isn’t much use, especially if you actually believe Ogurtsov et al. which tells you that the periodicity comes and goes; and Patterson et al. also say the periodicity comes and goes (and the 50-to-80 stuff isn’t terribly convincing in their spectral plots either).

K+L doesn’t look terribly valuable; bizarrely, it was posted by J Marohasy in 2008 but without comment. And note that the copy I’ve pointed you at is hosted by “klimarealistene.com/” who are An organization for those who do not agree with the UN climate panel, the IPCC.

None of this matters a great deal. People often lard their papers with some boilerplate. But its odd that W+C can’t find better refs to support their desire to see a 60 year cycle.


WKT invoked numerous observational and model-based studies to support suggested physical dynamics potentially conveying connectivity within the stadium-wave network. Candidate mechanisms include…

This very definitely reminds me of numerous poor met/climate papers I’ve read that string together chains of “possible mechanisms” but end up offering nothing solid.

…This paper extends WKT by investigating the underlying physical mechanisms associated with the stadium wave through analysis of an expanded network of geophysical indices… The expanded index collection provides insight and perspective on attribution and potential predictive capacity of the stadium wave…

Um, so, still no fundamental dynamics then? Just more looking at indices? While I’m here, I’ll also note that

WP hypothesized that failure to find the signal in any of the CMIP-model simulations might reflect the absence or poor representation of network dynamics fundamental to signal propagation

feels like the kind of model-bashing you’ll see as a staple at WUWT.


Prior to analysis, all raw indices were linearly detrended (least squares method)… The cornerstone of our analysis is the Multichannel Singular Spectrum Analysis (M-SSA…). M-SSA is used to extract and characterize dominant spatio-temporal patterns of variability shared by indices within a network. The technique is particularly skillful…

This may be a sign of trouble ahead, because it reads very much like “we took a pile of data and stuffed it into a stats package we found but didn’t understand”; Curry has form in this area.

Other evidence that the stats are dodgy: in methods, W+C say:

One-hundred-year time series for each index were auto-correlated. The auto-correlation plots showed that the maximum autocorrelation after one year among the eight indices was r~0.65. Using this auto-correlation value in the Bretherton formula (Bretherton et al. 1999), the effective number of degrees of freedom was estimated to be 40. From this, the projected decorrelation time is N/N* = 100/40 = 2.5 years

which is plausible. However in the caption to figure 3 they say Error bars are based on North et al. (1982) criterion, with the number of degrees-of-freedom set to 40, based on decorrelation time of ~2.5 years which has reversed the causality between d.o.f. and decorrelation time. By itself its a small point; but it doesn’t inspire confidence in their stats.


Curry’s PR is pushing this paper as “‘Stadium Waves’ Could Explain Lull In Global Warming”. But you should never trust PR. The denialists are all over this, in a rather short-sighted way: they love the “lull” or “hiatus” in the PR, because in their odd minds that means “global warming has stopped / was always a fake”. But the only possible interpretation of this paper, were it correct, would be that GW is valid and this is merely “variability”. However, very few people are actually reading the paper, which Curry is relying on.

Because the claims of explanatory power, and even more the claims of predictive power, that Curry’s PR is pushing just aren’t backed up by the paper:

We suggest that the stadium-wave hypothesis holds promise in putting in perspective the numerous observations of climate behavior; offers potential attribution and predictive capacity; and that through use of its associated proxies, may facilitate investigation of past behavior that may better inform our view of future behavior.

And the future? Again, we’ve got people sounding off:

“The stadium wave signal predicts that the current pause in global warming could extend into the 2030s,” Wyatt said, the paper’s lead author

but those are Wyatt’s words, not those of the paper. The paper itself offers little in the way of prediction: While evidence strongly supports our hypothesis of a secularly varying climate signal propagating through a hemispheric network of synchronized ocean, atmosphere, and ice indices during the 20th century, we cannot know if this variability, tempo, and sequential chronology will continue into the future is about it.


Yeah, we love predictions, they’re really good. W+C are bold enough to make at least one:

Rebound in WIE, followed by ArcSib should occur after the estimated 2006 minimum of WIE and maximum of AMO…

An odd sort of prediction, you might say, because 2006 is well in the past. But their figure 3 (which I take to be an important figure; its one of the few that can actually be read) only runs up to 2000. I’m rather unclear what period their study covers; I’m going with the labelling on their figures, because I can at least see that; the “data” section is tolerably vague about time periods; at one point it says ” These indices include 20th-century instrumental values of well-known indices” which is at least consistent with stopping in 2000. Its an odd end-point though; you’re throwing a way a decade and more of good-quality data.

Its also an odd sort of “prediction”, because as we all know Arctic sea ice has been on a steep decline over the last few decades, and doesn’t seem to have shown any signs of recovery post 2006. The quote is from the summary+discussion section, and you’d have expected an alert referee to pick up on this. WIE includes, according to W+C, Greenland, Barents and Kara. And a recovery or “rebound” is not obvious.

To be continued

You’ll notice that amongst all this, I haven’t actually offered any critique of the paper’s main thesis. Well spotted. That will have to wait until I have another spare evening. In the meantime, I’d be grateful for links to other people’s analysis of the paper (and I mean a detailed analysis, not just an “oh, look, there’s a badger” sort) either pro or con or neutral. I had a look, but didn’t find any. I did trog through the endless comments on Curry’s site, and found Wyatt saying we wanted to really understand dynamics propagating and sustaining the wave. That is the essence of the paper which sounds good, but does it live up to itssss promise, Baggins?

Comments elsewhere, part III

oglaf-punching Like its illustrious forebears comments elsewhere and part II. However, rather differently like, in that I want to point to some positives before falling back into snarking.

I’ve commented at wottsupwiththatblog and hotwhopper about Li et al.. It is, I think, a flawed paper but not as badly flawed as the denialists reporting of it which is, as you’d expect, very badly flawed. More of that anon.

Also at wotts was a discussion of the “green surcharge” on UK energy bills. Some useful references and clarifications make their way into the comments; VB has some nice refs.

Over at ScottishSceptic: sceptics vs. academics I talked, mostly politely, to “sceptics”; I found the post via ClimateEtc. You’ll see at first sight self-delusion there and an almost touching naivety about the Great Debate. But we did manage to talk somewhat. I tried to point out that (1) insisting that you were really sceptic-types who liked hard facts, but then (2) arbitrarily knocking 0.2 oC off the temperature record because you don’t like its face, really can’t be reconciled. And indeed they didn’t reconcile it, or even somehow that I couldn’t understand even consider it a problem. But at least some of them haven’t been hardened in the fires of WUWT or wherever, so are capable of talking. The blog owner has gone into purdah for a bit, but perhaps the conversation will pick up later.

Facebook_meme_Global_Cooling_11 Dr Spencer put up a post entitled The Danger of Hanging Your Hat on No Future Warming. In it, he’s trying to point out to the nutters the dangers of going too far overboard; naturally, they aren’t listening. I can only assume he put up the fake pic I’ve inlined here (except I’ve added the word “fake” to prevent confusion; he presents it as genuine) in order to “balance” his post by pushing the 1970’s cooling meme. It destroys any claim he can make to honesty; several commentators have pointed out to him that its fake, but he hasn’t updated it or added any acknowledgement. I too tried to add a comment but it looks like I’m banned there; comments simply don’t appear; I got in a couple at the Woy vs Willis spat before the iron curtain descended.

In other news: Scientific American faces firestorm after removing blog post about scientist being called a whore.

Lindzen jumps the shark

You may say “but you declared Lindzen emeritus in 2011“, and so I did. But that was over the issue of peer review. This is concerning science:

arctic sea ice is suddenly showing surprising growth.

That’s just stupid. Really; its nothing but propaganda: designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind to quote one R. Lindzen quoting one G. Orwell.

And if you really don’t know why, the answer is: this is just natural variability. Last year was exceptionally low; this year isn’t exceptionally low. This is very basic stuff, and Lindzen knows it very well.

Which reminds me: I really must do the end-of-season wrap-up post.

Noted shark-jumpers in history

* von S
* la Curry
* Singer?

Humourous side show: Woy vs Willis

Meanwhile, Citizen Scientist: Willis and the Cloud Radiative Effect is good for a giggle. In which Dr Spencer points out (but he likes them, so he doesn’t say it in these terms) the obvious: that the denialist types are going nowhere, even when they actually get round to looking at real data, because they’re so ignorant of prior art. This, I think, is a combination of them being convinced that they are so original / brilliant / whatever that there’s no point in even looking; and them being too ignorant or lazy to bother looking (hey, c’mon! In the movies the Brilliant Scientist does science, he doesn’t read other people’s papers! Learning from others is for kids! See-also “Dr” Roy Spencer is sad and lonely and wrong).

Willisgate, Take 2 – oh, it gets better. Woy once again says Willis is clueless, but is desperately trying to keep the Watties on board (who else has he got?) by covering it with sugar.

[Side note: censorship has been turned on at Woy’s place; at least it has for me. I just left him:

Oh look… suddenly censorship isn’t interesting. Why aren’t you prepared to honestly admit that censorship is fine by you, as long as its WUWT doing it?

But as for wiki: yes, its pretty good, in most respects. The pages dealing with GW and surrounding issues are good, and impartial. WUWT can indeed be trusted, to be junk. Note how hard AW had to work to construct a myth to explain away his dislike of wiki.

But it hasn’t appeared.]

Roy fakes it up

Update: “Dr” Spencer has a semi-tolerable post The Danger of Hanging Your Hat on No Future Warming – well, if you’re not too particular; you have to ignore “I don’t know whether the IPCC fingerprint proponents are being dishonest or just plain lazy/stupid.” But! He’s faked his picture, as several commentators point out. That’s deeply dishonest of him.


* Wondering Willis Eschenbach’s Thunderstorm at WUWT

Temperature vs Concentration in AR5

ar5-spm-fig10 As I was saying, somewhere, to someone the other day, – oh, I reemember, it was to Timmy – you can get rid of some of the problems with future projections by drawing temperature against CO2 emissions, instead of against time. If you do that, you (the person drawing the figure) doesn’t have to prejudge the separate issue of future CO2 emissions – you can just let your reader decide that for themselves, and then read temperature changes corresponding to CO2 off the chart.

I’m glad to see that the IPCC have been paying attention to my private conversations, and have included figure 10. David Hone is very keen on it too. The RCPs closely overlay each other. Note that the 1% CO2 line and its grey-blue shading is rather misleading: its lower than the rest because, as the IPCC sayeth, “the 1% per year CO2 simulations exhibit lower warming than those driven by RCPs, which include additional non-CO2 drivers”. I’d have omitted it if I was drawing the pic.

Oh, the fun you can have

Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? by John Bohannon is about his experiments in sending a fatally-flawed paper to a variety of open-access journals, and the appalling lack of rejections that followed (note that PLOS-ONE correctly rejected it).

To make it not too easy to reject just based on “I can’t find your institute on the internet” (and, I think, to simulate the target group) the paper was supposed to come from non-West non-native-English speakers. And so:

…my native English might raise suspicions. So I translated the paper into French with Google Translate, and then translated the result back into English. After correcting the worst mistranslations, the result was a grammatically correct paper with the idiom of a non-native speaker

Isn’t that lovely?

The serious point, as I take it, is the murky industry of pay-to-publish journals, which threatens to either pollute the science-o-sphere with trash, and/or rip of poor authors. On the second point: well, its always been part of science to know what the credible journals are in your field, based on their reputation, and based on the papers you’ve read that they’ve already published. If you submit to journals that are filled with trash, you’ve shot yourself in the foot.