Global Land Surface Databank: Version 1.0.0 Release

Here’s a nice pic:

Its from (but I cut it a bit to make it prettier). The colour bar is number of years.


* Understanding the effects of changes in the temperature scale standards through time

Battle of the graphs

The battle of the graphs provides a learning opportunity says “American Elephants”, and indeed it does, though possibly not in the way they’re thinking.

I haven’t been able to clearly identify the source of this image (which is the reason for this post: I’ll show you how far back I’ve managed to go, and your job is to go further, or find a reason why my answer is right). The top pane is clear enough; its a borked-up version of MBH from IPCC 2001 or similar. The lower pane is similar to the famous fig 7.1.c from the FAR in 1990. Wiki’s [[Description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports]] has a nice set of pix.

The Manchurian Candidate

My candidate for the source of this nonsense is Monkers, in the Torygraph, with a copy of Photoshop. That’s from 2006, and I can’t find anything earlier. That article includes the pic I’ve inlined above, and the text “The UN’s second assessment report, in 1996, showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today.” There is no such graph; the 19951 IPCC report used a northern hemisphere summer temperature reconstruction (fig 3.20) from 1400 to 1979 by (Bradley and Jones 1993) (text ripped shamelessly from wiki, but anyway I wrote it).

That’s the source of the combined image. The borked-up thing resembling IPCC ’90 but which Monkers erroneously sourced to IPCC ’95 has a long history that I ought to remember; I’m hoping someone will remind me.

[Update: K points to which says that the Torygraph article is indeed the source of the pic, in that graphical form. I may have been wrong about the “long history” of *that* image; its the multiple versions of the real 7.1.c that have the history.]

[Ha ha. another update: the text on that page has mysteriously changed, removing the graph. Isn’t that just a bizarre co-incidence? And yes we all believe in fairies. Here’s a cite of a wayback if you want to see the original -W]

BTW, if you’re wondering why the “skeptics” want the pic from IPCC ’90 to be part of IPCC’95, the answer is that they want the IPCC to have “suddenly” thrown out the One True MWP as revealed in Holy Writ by Lamb, and replaced it by MBH. Adding in an extra 5 or 6 years rather spoils that picture.

Enter the Void

Enter BIG NEWS VIII: New solar theory predicts imminent global cooling (yes, they really are up to 8 posts now) which presents – somewhat gratuitously – a fig 5 which I’ll include below:

captioned “Figure 5: From the Second Assessment Report of the IPCC, 1996, via here” where “here” is a link to You won’t be surprised to find that is, indeed, junk (arf arf) and includes the same pic, introduced by “the IPCC maintained the warming in its Second Assessment Report as follows”. So JoNova (actually its DE) has (to their credit) actually sourced the image, but the source they’ve chosen to rely on is, ermm, junk. And doesn’t source its image. But it looks very much like the bottom half of the Torygraph image cut out. In which case its obviously not from any IPCC report, and has got the provenance of the pic wrong.

Your mother was a hamster

I kindly pointed out DE’s error. After a round of ritualised insults, someone actually dared to agree with me, which was a pleasant surprise. After that its gone rather quiet.


So, it looks like DE has been rather careless with his sourcing. Which is a bit embarrassing for him, as he is trying to be all science-y; look, he’s even got falsifiability criteria, it must be science. And so on. The question then becomes, what is he going to do about it? My best guess is stonewall: pretend that nothing is wrong, and rely on the denizens to just lap it up. That would be petty of him; simply fixing it up would be better and much easier.

[Update: they’ve done the right thing for the pic and updated the graph to the right one, for which I give them some credit. However, the problem now is that they’ve got an updated figure, for which the text makes no sense (see my comment). So, only partial credit.


* More use and abuse of IPCC 1990 fig 7.1(c)
* The Medieval Dumb Period by Russell Seitz
* About that graph…


1. The IPCC Second Assessment Report (SAR) is variously known as IPCC ’95 or ’96. Take your pic.

If it isn’t catastrophic we’ve got nothing to worry about, have we?

One of the more stupid debating tricks of the “skeptics” is to oscillate between Ha ha, you believe in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming which is obviously not happening so you’re very silly, and when told that CAGW is a strawman that they’ve invented they switch to if it isn’t catastrophic we’ve got nothing to worry about, have we?1

To which the answer is always some variant of if you can’t imagine anything between “catastrophic” and “nothing to worry about” then you’re not thinking. But I’ve got bored of saying it, so I thought I’d write it down and link to it instead.


* Climate inaction to be ‘catastrophe’


1. Most recent example: comment by David Smith on JoNova’s total-lack-of-introspection “Climate Rage: We absolutely cannot have… a rational conversation!”

The Iraqi government really is rubbish, isn’t it?

As recent events demonstrate all too clearly, the Iraqi government is rubbish. Though from what I read The West had a heavy hand in installing Nouri al-Maliki so I’m by no means complaining that their troubles are all home-grown; more despairing at our ability to prop up corrupt incompetents who don’t like us (vide Afghanistan).

I found this in the National Post:

In a reflection of the bitter divide, thousands of heavily armed Shiite militiamen – eager to take on the Sunni insurgents – march through Iraqi cities in military-style parades on streets where many of them battled U.S. forces a half decade ago.

You see the problem, of course: while ISIS (or ISIL) are out there kicking the government’s ass, govt-side folk are poncing around parading in cities where its nice and safe. There’s a motto here: competition is good; its what keeps people honest. Governments are by nature monopolies; keeping them honest is hard. But if the internal structures are too weak to keep them honest (as they are in Iraq) and external forces prop them up for geopolitical reasons (why hello!) then eventually you risk a structure so badly hollowed out that a tiny but very determined competitor can go for the throat. Or at least, for a major limb. Darwin wins again (see-also my review of Atlas Shrugged).

So, what would you do then?

All the above is entirely negative: I’m railing at the stupidity of the world. I’m allowed to do that sometimes. But its natural to ask, OK wise guy, what’s your solution? I don’t have a good answer to that, but I do have several bad ones:

1. Partition the country. Iraq is an artificial country we created for stupid reasons ages ago. Admit it was a mistake. Give the Kurds their bit, and tell Turkey to Get Stuffed when it whinges. Better still, suggest to them that they let their bit full of Kurds split off and join the ex-Iraqi bit.

2. Be more honest. We’ve f*ck*d the place over so thoroughly and lied about it so much that no-one could possibly trust us (us is the West; we Brits did a pretty good job in the early days, now the US has taken over as idiot-in-chief for the region).


* The Iraq disaster, continued
* Foaming at the mouth with me
* Turkey Gives Up On Unified Iraq – speculative headline backed off in the text, but interesting
* Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq – WAPO

Force X from outer space

Plan_9_Alternative_poster Also known as the worst movie ever made. What I’m going to discuss doesn’t come even close to “the worst blog post ever made”, but, well, you’ll see.

So: the backstory. I’ve been commenting on some of JoNova’s stuff. Its not the big time, but unlike WUWT, or BishopHill, or a variety of minor blogs, she doesn’t censor my posts. There’s some jolly back-n-forth (e.g. at Green climate pornography — cheer for the deaths of the heretics!); she, like-but-not-to-the-same-degree-as AW, really dislikes the “denialist” word; in her case this is a bit odd as I don’t appear to have called her such. But ultimately it goes nowhere, and I won’t trouble you with the details.

But! Life has got more exciting because they have at last done what everyone has been telling the “skeptics” to do for so long: propose your own coherent theory then. And so (starting with 1, but now we’re up to 5 and that’s not the lot) we have BIG NEWS: Historic development — New Solar climate model coming. Aand: as you’d expect, its not really a coherent theory, its just a “theory”. But don’t take my word for it, instead you should read Monkers:

David Evans’ ground-breaking work is a devastating new approach to the climate question. I have been lucky enough to observe the development of this project, and am full of admiration for both Jo and David for their dedication to carrying out a breathtaking research project with no financial reward, simply because it so desperately needed to be done. Let this be the last nail in the coffin of climate extremism. I hope that, as a result of this work, David will be properly recognized by the Australian Government, which – unlike its unlamented predecessor – is open to the possibility that influences other than Man are the principal drivers of the climate. David’s work is heroic in its scale, formidable in its ingenuity, and – as far as a mere layman can judge – very likely to be broadly correct. One should not minimize the courage of David and Jo in persisting unrewarded for so long in what was and is a genuine search for the truth, starting not from any preconception but from that curiosity that is the mainspring of all true science. I wish this project well and congratulate its justifiably proud parents on its birth.

The full “theory” isn’t yet available, its being dribbled out to maintain a sense of excitement, but that doesn’t stop the acolytes desperately praising it, whilst simultaneously admitting that they don’t understand it. But they’re sure its brilliant, anyway.

An outline

So, wassitallaboutthen? If you pick some temperature record (I’m not sure they were terribly precise about exactly which; and I think that is going to matter, later) and Fourier transform it, you get a sloped spectrum that doesn’t look too different from red noise (so a published one, see e.g. fig 5a from Stocker ’96 perhaps? We’re looking at yearly-to-1000-year time scales; probably there are better available, do let me know). Their version of this is fig 4 of part 2. Notice there is no power at annual scales, because they’re using filtered data. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the proxies they are (mostly) using mean they don’t see an ENSO signal; and probably filter out much of any solar signal too. But anyway, the point is, if you decide that solar variation is Really Important and you Fourier transport the solar signal, there’s a big peak at 11 years which (surprise!) isn’t in the obs spectrum1. And if you’re incautious enough to difference the two spectra to produce a transfer function, you deduce “aha! There is a notch filter in the Earth’s climate that somehow removes a pile of variability in a band around 11 years”. Yes really.

Saying that this stuff doesn’t work gets you very few points, of course, because 99.9% of all theories that originate on blogs are wrong if they’re lucky, and not even wrong if not. You need to say why. I think the answer is that diffing the spectra to produce the xfer function isn’t permissible, probably for a whole variety of reasons, but most importantly because the data they are using isn’t good enough for that level of detail.

However, they take their xfer function seriously, so they need to find an explanation for it. Roll on BIG NEWS part IV: A huge leap understanding the mysterious 11 year solar delay. These people are not shy about their headlines (yes, I have pointed them to the terrible example of AW’s paper but it just bounced off. I’m not sure how they’re going to cope when this all falls apart. Will they quietly forget it, like AW and his paper? Will it become part of their background mythology? But I digress). Although its putatively a “physical mechanism” its an unknown physical mechanism, so its called “force X” (from Outer Space). For some odd reason, its 11 years delayed, or something, please don’t accuse me of reading all the details, and “Force X has ten to twenty times more influence on temperatures on Earth than changes in the direct heating effect of TSI (a result we will show later)”. Um, that was a surprise. I was expecting “force X” to have about the same, but opposite, amplitude; therefore cancelling out the solar forcing. Something that had 20 times the amplitude, but an 11 year cycle, would produce an obvious and visible effect. At this point, either what they are saying, or my own poor understanding, is clearly lacking; so I’ll leave you to read their stuff and make up your own minds.

Oh, and there’s also the Brilliant Discovery of the “optimal Fourier transform” which isn’t important for the issues in question; but I’m sure anyone reasonably familiar with the misc Fourier transform algorithms available could point out the Prior Art that they’ve missed.

Update: Lulz

For extra lulz, it turns out the Lubos shredded it, JoNova was sad, Lubos took the post down, but JoNova has a copy of which I have a cite. I haven’t had time to read it yet, sadly.

Update: 2015

Re-reading this in Jan 2015, I see that my main analysis of their failure isn’t very clear at all. So, to take from me in the comments (and TP in #7),

To simplify: DE has found that the spectrum of the global temperature signal (T) is consistent with simple red noise, when viewed broadly, over the timescales he is looking at; and this should be no surprise (but it is to him). He’s also found that the solar forcing spectrum (S) is also red noise, apart from the peak at 11 years. For reasons that are unclear, he has decided that S is forcing T (even though at other points he denies this assumption is built in, but it is), and therefore that the difference between the spectra represents the xfer function, and hence a notch filter. But another possibility that S isn’t forcing T in any significant way. DE’s “force X” seems to me somewhat like the luminiferous aether – it only needs to exist if you try to impose your view on reality.


1. You don’t see the the 11-ish solar cycle in the global surface temperature record. You can see it in other stuff, generally upper atmosphere (e.g. Harry van Loon and Dennis J. Shea, GRL 2012) although the folk at JoNova don’t know that (and, ter be ‘onest, I was never terribly keen on it when I was in the game). I always assumed you didn’t see it because it was so small, and got integrated out by the ocean a-la Hasselman.


* JoNova’s “Big News” skeptical climate “model” is one giant circle – Daily Kos
* JoNova’s emails to Lubos begging him to return to the fold
* JoNova: Climate Rage: We absolutely cannot have… a rational conversation!

Tamino considered scary

Tamino (Open Mind) is a pretty good blog, but I hadn’t realised until recently just how scary the denialists find it. As a case in point, I commented at NoTricksZone, who had said:

the GLOBAL WARMING STOP has been extended yet another month, now at 17 years and 9 months… Earth to Warmworld. Earth to Warmworld…do you read me? Come in, please. Is anyone out there?

Well, that’s a challenge, so I answered it:

Hello. Will do?

I thought that was just an opening gambit, and we could have a possibly, maybe, vaguely interesting back-n-forth. But no! It was much better than that. Links to Tamino are forbidden, and my comment was replaced1 by

[snip, Foster is an ‘undesirable’ who cannot be trusted with statistics]

After a bit, though, even that wasn’t enough, and the snip got rewritten to:

[snip, Foster is an ‘undesirable’ who cannot be trusted with statistics…Winston, please see Kevin Marshall comment below]

I’m sure Tamino will be delighted to learn that his posts are too dangerous for the inhabitants of NTZ to be allowed to see.


1. I won’t trouble you with the full refs and webcite’s here; see for the gory details.

Obama’s recent executive order on carbon emissions

A round-up of reactions to Obama’s announcement. Work gets the FT, so I saw Obama proposes biggest ever US push for carbon cuts in print on the front page, and I think Obama will be happy with that, and with what the FT have written:

Under the plan, each US state is given a different target for cutting carbon emissions from its power sector. They will decide how to achieve the cuts by switching to cleaner energy sources such as natural gas, nuclear or wind power, by improving grid efficiency or by reducing electricity consumption

And, in US carbon curbs raise hopes for Paris deal we have His backers are already hailing the move as an effort that will define his presidency. According to his opponents, however, it will kill thousands of jobs and fail to stop other countries blah blah blah you know all that stuff I’m sure.

mt thinks its good and so does Timmy. Timmy explicitly rejects the worry about job losses, FWIW.

The people who like CCS are a bit sad because the plan doesn’t mandate CCS. Which is to the plan’s credit, because mandating CCS would have been stupid. WUWT hated it, sort of, or rather they hated the caricature they were shown and didn’t think to look for the reality.

There’s a funky interactive map here.

In other news, Gareth reports that The NZ Emissions Trading Scheme has failed and should be replaced by a carbon tax according to NZ greens. Unfortunately there’s special pleading in there already, in that different industries get different prices. No-one will ever learn.

Oh, and my opinion? I thought you’d never ask. I’m with the “yeah, this is about as good as you could expect, and its the right direction, so fine” school of thought. Which is, effectively, everyone except the nutters. Anything that both Timmy and mt can agree on must be very nicely judged.

[Update: in the comments, JS provides EPA’s Proposed Power Plant Regs: Solid Legal Footing, Considerable Flexibility
by William Buzbee
which addresses the “will it survive legal challenge” question.


* Take Notes, Mr. Steyn – Barry Bickmore continues to provide helpful advice to Mark Steyn.
* The conservative family values of Christian man Anthony Watts-VV finds nastiness at WUWT (in other news, the Pope is Catholic :-). However, VV has found the Key Quote from AW: he wears his contempt on his sleeve – Anthony. That’s right, the one unforgivable sin is to Diss Da Man.
* Random impressions following the Obama’s move on climate – Brian