Tag Archives: denial

Another anti-science attack on Mann fails – but the lies continue

Michael Mann

Once again legal action by climate change deniers/contrarian/cranks has failed. In the US attempts by the  American Tradition Institute, a climate change denial think tank, to obtain personal emails and documents from  the University of Virginia. These documents belong to well known climate scientist Michael Mann and the court action was part of a fishing expedition by climate change deniers to repeat the “climategate” scandal. To obtain emails from which cherry-picked material could be used in the ongoing campaign to discredit climate scientists. See University of Virginia prevails against climate science attack groupfor further information on this case.

But Michael Mann is certainly the scientist that the climate change deniers/contrarians/cranks love to hate. Just recently I was assured by a local climate change deniers/contrarian/crank that Michael Mann had been thoroughly discredited. That his so-called Hockey Stick image, which had appeared in the 2nd to last IPCC review (AR3) had been dropped from the most recent IPPC review (AR4). This local denier/contrarian/crank asserted, for example:

“You’re going to have to come up with someone other than Mann, to be taken seriously.”

“I don’t need to prove Mann wrong, plenty of far better people have already done that.”

“Mann has been so often deprecated he is without authority.”

“The Mann saga is over, even the IPCC has dropped Mann’s hockey stick graph.”

This attempt to discredit Mann and his work is a lie – but its not a new lie. It’s one I had dealt with almost three years ago in my post Climate change deniers’ tawdry manipulation of “hockey sticks”. I am repeating that post here, with slight amendments. Hopefully this will at least lead to some climate change sceptic who may have accepted that lie getting some of the real facts.

The “infamous, discredited” hockey stick

The charge is:

“Mann’s hockey stick has been thoroughly discredited and the IPCC has dropped it from its reports.”

But it’s simple enough to check the IPCC reports – they are on-line for all to see. If you do check you will find this figure below in the 2007 reports. The original data from Mann (MBH 1999) is included with, of course, more recent data. Here is the reference for anyone doubting my claim - Figure 6.10, page 467,  Chapter 6: Palaeoclimate,The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), WG I The Physical Science Basis.

And far from this work being “thoroughly discredited” or abandoned, it has been expanded with more, recent, data. The graph below is from Mann’s 2008 paper (Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia).

National research Council report vindicates Mann

In this paper Mann was responding to suggestions made by the National Research Council in its report  Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years. This thorough and rigorous investigation formed part of US House of Representatives Committee hearings on Mann’s “hockey stick” figure arising from criticisms made by climate change sceptics. It is very authoritative.

Anyone who has ever had their work reviewed knows that a reviewer worth their salt will always find your weaknesses and suggest amendments, even though they endorse your work. And climate changer deniers/contrarians/cranks have hunted out the criticisms, taken them out of context and are usually well versed in those cherry-picked quotes. They must be repeated ad nauseum in those unreliable books deniers rely on as sources. But the fact is the National Research Council report basically supported Mann’s findings:

“The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.”

In fact the NRC produced their own “hockey stick,” using more than just Mann’s data, in the report (see figure below):

Lord Monckton’s lies about the “hockey Stick”

These false assertions on the “hockey stick” graph are, unfortunately, very common. It’s one bit of mudslinging that has found purchase with most deniers repeating the lie. Even some sceptics believe the story.

Lord Mockton has been a prolific propagator of this lie. He even appears in the infamous “climategate” emails saying of the “hockey stick”: “the US National Academy of Sciences has described as having “a validation skill not significantly different from zero”. In plain English, this means the graph was rubbish.”

Problem is – search through the NRC report and you just won’t find those words (“a validation skill not significantly different from zero”). Nevertheless this allegation has been repeated innumerable numbers of times in conservative newspapers and websites. Some of these also claim that the IPCC had abandoned the data (see for example the policy Brief from the Commonwealth foundation – Climate & Penn State – demanding a McCarthyist-style investigation of Mann). But even Mockton acknowledges that the UN continues to use the defective graph.”

I guess it just makes a good story so these conservative sources tack it on. But  where is the integrity in that?

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See also:
Journalist thinks world climate-science publications are controlled by cabal
Analysis of stolen CRU emails by NZ blogger shows tawdry manipulation of facts – Poneke’s credibility now in tatters — Hot Topic

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Changing that light bulb while in denial

Came across this cartoon on twitter – it just seems to depict the current frenzy of Internet activity by climate change deniers/contrarians/sceptics reacting to their defeat in th NZ High Court last Friday

20120910-220449.jpg

Cartoon by @AGWobserver (AGW Observer)

New Zealand climate change denial defeated

The High Court decision on the Judicial Review of NIWA’s New Zealand temperature record was issued today. I will comment in more depth next week but interested readers can download and read the judgement themselves.

In short – the arguments made by the climate change denial/sceptics/ contrarian groups were tossed out and costs will be awarded against them.

Here is the judgement’s summary:

“[185] The plaintiff does not succeed on any of its challenges to the three decisions of NIWA in issue. The application for judicial review is dismissed and judgment entered for the defendant.

Costs
[186] The defendant is entitled to costs. Given the time involved and the steps taken, costs on a category 2 time band C would seem appropriate. However, if the parties are unable to agree I will receive memoranda and deal with the issue of costs on the basis of such memoranda.”

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Weather extremes and climate change

That global warming could lead to extreme weather events seems reasonable to me. And such events can cause large losses of life and property – made worse by their unpredictable nature.

So there is scientific debate on whether the extreme events we have seen over recent years resulted from climate change or not. Some scientific work suggests “yes,” others “no.” (And you can guess which work the climate denial echo chamber amplifies).

Now, James Hansen and two co-authors are publishing work suggesting “yes” – we are already seeing extreme events resulting from the currently rather small amount of global warming – and we expect to see more extreme events in future. They base their conclusions on the statistical distribution of all weather events (measured by temperature) and the change in that distribution over recent years.

You can see the basic idea in the graph below taken from their paper (Climate variability and climate change: The new climate dice).

Credit: Climate variability and climate change: The new climate dice.

Here the frequency of the event (temperature anomaly  measured against the 1951-1980 average) is plotted (Y-axis) against the size of the anomaly (expressed as a ratio of the anomaly divided by the standard deviation of the distribution σ). The black curve shows the normal distribution expected from such data As the authors describe it:

“A normal distribution of variability has 68 percent of the anomalies falling within one standard deviation of the mean value. The tails of the normal distribution . . .  decrease quite rapidly so there is only a 2.3% chance of the temperature exceeding +2σ, where σ is the standard deviation, and a 2.3% chance of being colder than -2σ. The chance of exceeding +3σ is only 0.13% for a normal distribution of variability, with the same chance of a negative anomaly exceeding -3σ.”

As you can see the variability in anomalies for the periods 1951 – 1961 (red), 1961-1971 (yellow), and 1971-1981 (green) are very similar to the normal distribution for the whole period 1951-1981. But in the periods (1981 – 1991 (light blue), 1991 – 2001 (dark blue), and 2001 – 2011 (violet), the distribution has shifted to higher, more positive, values of the anomaly.

This means that those more extreme temperature events have become more common in the last 30 years. In the above figure the chance of temperature exceeding +2σ has moved from 2.3% to greater than 15%. And the chance of exceeding +3σ from only 0.13% to around 10%.

The paper presents the effects of the movement in climate of different regions and different seasons. Here are maps for June-July-August in the years 1965 and 2010. The colour code indicates the size of the temperature extremes in terms of σ.

Credit: Climate variability and climate change: The new climate dice.

Notice the larger regional occurrence, of more extreme events (brown=>+3σ and red=+2-+3σ) in 2005.

As they say in their abstract:

“These extremes were practically absent in the period of climatology, covering much less than 1% of Earth’s surface. Now summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (σ) warmer than climatology, typically cover about 10% of the land area. Thus there is no need to equivocate about the summer heat waves in Texas in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, which exceeded 3σ – it is nearly certain that they would not have occurred in the absence of global warming. If global warming is not slowed from its current pace, by mid-century 3σ events will be the new norm and 5σ events will be common.”

So, that’s another study to add to our assessment of the effects of climate change. Given the diversity of conclusions around it may not be the clincher. I guess we will have to wait for the next review from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). After all, that is the body that will thoroughly review all that has been published and draw conclusions. I think it is likely that the next review will conclude we are already seen the effects of global warming in these extreme weather events.

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Climategate 2.0 and “toecurling” journalism

It’s the silly season again. Another climate change conference (Durban) – another climategate hoax. This cartoon from crikey (Bitter Climate Science Tryst Shock Scandal Rift Emails Exposed) sums it up.

Credit: Firstdog at crikey

Thanks to: Bitter Climate Science Tryst Shock Scandal Rift Emails Exposed.

“Festering syphilitic repellance!”

And this from one of the most extreme climate change deniers, Telegraph journalist James Delingpole in Climategate 2.0: the most damning email of them all. It’s attacking an email with a Christmas song celebrating the IPCC Nobel prize. We will leave such enthusiastic but naive song writing aside. But it certainly puts Delingpole’s nose out of joint. It’s a bit over the top to describe such attempts at composition as “toecurlingly, . . vile,  reprehensible, stomach-churningly dreadful, . . .festering syphilitic repellance. .” isn’t it!

“The worst, most toecurlingly awful, damning, vile, reprehensible, stomach-churningly dreadful email – the one that shows the Warmist junk-scientists in a light of such festering syphilitic repellance they can never possibly recover is this, the Christmas ditty specially written by Kevin Trenberth in celebration of the Nobel committee’s comedic decision to award the Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC.”

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Empathy for colleagues

Science follows certain procedures, but does the media get the signal? Credit: CSIRO

The Australian astrophysicist Mathew Bailes recently got international recognition for his part in the discovery of an exoplanet which could be made of diamond. As he says: “Following the publication of our finding in the journal Science, our research received amazing attention from the world’s media.” (See Diamond planets, climate change and the scientific method)

It’s always nice when a scientific discovery, and the work of a scientist, receive public attention. Even though, as he says:

” in the overall scheme of things, it isn’t that important.

And yet the diamond planet has been hugely successful in igniting public curiosity about the universe in which we live.

In that sense, for myself and my co-authors, I suspect it will be among the greatest discoveries of our careers.

Our host institutions were thrilled with the publicity and most of us enjoyed our 15 minutes of fame.”

It could have been different

But here’s the lesson in this story:

“The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been.

How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists.”

And he asks you to consider a parallel scenario;

“Imagine for a minute that, instead of discovering a diamond planet, we’d made a breakthrough in global temperature projections.

Let’s say we studied computer models of the influence of excessive greenhouse gases, verified them through observations, then had them peer-reviewed and published in Science.

Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings.

People on the fringe of science would be quoted as opponents of our work, arguing that it was nothing more than a theory yet to be conclusively proven.

There would be doubt cast on the interpretation of our data and conjecture about whether we were “buddies” with the journal referees.

If our opponents dug really deep they might even find that I’d once written a paper on a similar topic that had to be retracted.

Before long our credibility and findings would be under serious question.”

And:

“Sadly, the same media commentators who celebrate diamond planets without question are all too quick to dismiss the latest peer-reviewed evidence that suggests man-made activities are responsible for changes in concentrations of CO2 in our atmosphere.The scientific method is universal. If we selectively ignore it in certain disciplines, we do so at our peril.”

It’s worth those of us outside the climate science community reflecting on this. Scientists and non-scientists alike.

Consider the continuing harassment of Dr Michael Mann who is still be pursued by climate deniers and conservative politicians. What do they want. His emails from years back! (see Professor turns to law to protect climate-change work).

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Is Monckton good value?

On a recent podcast I heard John Abraham, well known for his debunking of claims made by Christopher Monckton, say that Monckton was actually a good asset to climate science. That the man had so discredited himself and his climate denier/contrarian arguments that he was turning people off. The more he spoke the more he discredited climate change denial/scepticism.

Perhaps this explains why Monckton’s recent visit to New Zealand has been such a failure for him. Of course he and his mates are attempting to blame “censorship.” You know – the “censorship” that occurs when others don’t dignify him with a debating partner or don’t bother going to his meetings.

I certainly have noticed far fewer people supporting him recently compared with the height of the “climategate” attacks. At that time many local blogs were posting Monckton’s videos. Those same blogs have been strangely silent during this visit. The only video I saw posted was on the Christian Apologetics.com blog.

What a come down.

And who are his remaining fans? They seem to be a select few at the moment. I did a search for details of his meetings. Couldn’t find any reports (strange and suspicious – suggesting that perhaps the attendance was low). But the blogs and web sites advertising his meetings were interesting.

Of course there was the climate change denier/contrarian climate conversation group and climate realists. After all they organised the visit. But what company did they have?

I mentioned the Christian Apologetics.org. But there were also a couple of conspiracy paranoia sites, Chemtrails Watch, More than 9/11, OpenUReyes , Evolution News NZ and one clearly racist site White News Now.
And then a few way out personal blogs like John Ansell’s blog (remember him – sacked by the ACT Party for being too openly racist) and
The Voice of Reason (which as you would expect is anything but reasonable)

Then there were the Home Education Foundation, Saucy American in NZ and the right wing Fairfacts Media Show.

Crikey Monckton – with friends like this you don’t need any enemies.

But for a bit of humor read Lord Monckton Runs Wild on Wellington Streets.

Monckton messes own nest

Ever get the impression the Christopher Monckton may have reached his use-by date? Maybe even well past it?

Looks like this might be the case as the climate change denier/sceptic/contrarian groups trying to organise a programme for him in New Zealand are having problems. Their hero has become so repugnant that dreams of huge publicity for their cause seems to facing the harsh truth of reality.

Apparently, TV programmes Q&A and Close-up are no longer interested. And the host for their Auckland event, Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ), has pulled out and left the mess to The Climate Realists – a rather nasty little conspiracy group.

Avoiding reality

Of course this groups is unwilling to face up to the fact that Monckton has been caught out so many times telling outright lies, misrepresenting climate science, attacking scientists and their science, that he no longer has any appeal; except to the committed climate change denier or contrarian. After all, Monckton often compares his debate partners to Nazis, he argues that climate scientists should be prosecuted and imprisoned. And even that perhaps “. . . no one should be allowed to practice in any of the sciences, particularly in those sciences that have become the mere political footballs of the leading pressure-groups, unless he can certify that he adheres to one of those major religions – Christianity outstanding among them – that preach the necessity of morality . . .”. (see Monckton requires religious certification for scientists?)

Consequently, most serious legitimate scientists now refuse to debate with this guy. After all, such debates do far more for Mockton’s CV than they  for the climate scientist. The media is coming to see that he is so far out that without the appearance of a real controversy he is not worth interviewing.

But, true to form, these Climate realists must explain the problem as a conspiracy. As “things that have been going on behind the scene”. They explain the negative reaction of PRINZ members to their organisation being used in this way as conspiring to prevent “someone whose opinions are perceived as being ‘outside the politically correct mantra’ from speaking in public.”  (Of course no one has taken away that right from Monckton. he is still going ahead with a meeting but has lost endorsement of the PRINZ).

They see their inability to find someone reputable to debate with Monckton as another conspiracy. But again, what they have really lost is the opportunity to use such a scientist to provide credibility to the concept of a scientific controversy where none really exists. The same old tactic that creationists always attempt to use.

There is no conspiracy. This is just the result of Monckton’s own behaviour. He has made a mess in his own nest and is now facing the consequences.

Exposing the pretense of Christian unity

Thanks to:  Nathan Lee

I sometimes think that moderate Christians are afraid to criticise their more extreme brethren. How many, for example, will openly criticise the large minority of Christians whe oppose evolutionary science. In New Zealand I estimate that about 40% of Christians oppose evolutionary science (see New Zealand supports evolution).

similarly, I often think Christians who accept the scientific picture of global climate change seem afraid to criticise those conservative Christians who actively campaign   against the science. And then there are issues such as women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, and so on.

On these issues it often appears that conservative and extreme Christian groups will pretend to speak for Christians as a whole. And they get away with it because fellow Christians are hesitant to stand up and openly criticise them

So I was pleased to see this initiative in Australia where some Christians are coming out against the conservative and extreme Australian Christian Lobby. They have launched a petition to the Prime minister to making her aware that the Lobby does not have the support it pretends to.

The wording of the petition is:

We are Australian Christians, and we’d like you to know that the Australian Christian Lobby does not speak for us.

We believe that its endorsements and policy statements rarely represent a helpful contribution to political dialogue in Australia, and we urge you and your government to listen to a broader cross-section of the Australian Christian community.

We are much more diverse than the Australian Christian Lobby.

via Australian Christians against the ACL Petition.

See also:
Christians turn back on lobby
Australian Christian Lobby … I disown thee
Australian Christian Lobby’s prayer for prejudice in Victoria?

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Spreading doubt on climate change

It’s interesting how we keep getting little snippets of ‘news’ circulating the internet that cast doubt on the scientific consensus around the likely anthropogenic contribution to climate change. They will often quote new scientific findings or statements from scientists or scientific organisations. I think we are all aware of what is going on here. We all tend to select the information which supports our arguments. Nevertheless, the apparent scientific credibility of some of these snippets can sow doubt in the minds of many of us.

I thought it would be interesting to follow up a comment made by Ross Dixon on a recent post (Climate change and New Zealand). This implied that the 46,000 members of the American Physical Society had changed their minds on the causes of climate change and had published a paper outlining this in their “journal.” The implication is that the paper had scientific credibility (implied by the peer review involved in publication by a scientific journal) and that the society had made a statement supporting the paper’s conclusions.

Well, the facts are a bit different!

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