Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Debunking the essentially truthy climate claims of 'And then there's physics'

Our warmist friend "Anders," proprietor of the "And then there's 'physics'" blog [formerly "Wotts up with that" blog] is taking a semi-permanent hiatus* allegedly because "he is depressed by the futility of it all, trying to have a discussion with people, who are blathering from bad faith or ignorance."

*interesting choice of words since he doesn't believe there is a global warming 'hiatus' and over 50 publications acknowledge the 18-26 year 'hiatus' in global warming

In his excuses for his personal 'real hiatus' post, he proclaims, 

"So, I think there are certain things that we can regard – given the evidence we have today – as essentially true."
and then proceeds to list the certain things he thinks are essentially true. I've quoted each of these followed by just a few of the Hockey Schtick posts which debunk each one of Anders' essentially truthy claims:
  • "The rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is virtually all a consequence of anthropogenic emissions. If you want to know why, you can read this."
Temperature leads CO2 on all timescales: short, intermediate, and long. The cause does not follow the effect [mathematical proof]Mathematical & observational proof that CO2 has no significant effect on climate.

Single graph demonstrates man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

Climate textbook explains why man-made CO2 does not control atmospheric CO2

  • There have been numerous millenial [sic] temperature reconstructions using a variety of different proxies and a variety of different techniques. They almost all produce a hockey stick-like shape and indicate that temperatures today are probably higher than they’ve been for more than a thousand years and the rate at which it has risen is faster than for more than a thousand years. You can read more here."
Not true on 3 levels:

1) All of the dozen or so millennial temperature reconstructions that allegedly find a "hockey stick" shape have been debunked by Steve McIntyre et al, including PAGES, Kaufmann, Gergis, BriffaSteig, Marcott, et al, in many cases for using the same upside-down data and biased screening as Michael Mann did with his original hockey stick, in addition to other statistical trickery.

2) "They almost all produce a hockey stick shape" is blatantly false. There are well over 1000 published non-hockey sticks in the peer-reviewed literature worldwide vs. only a couple dozen [debunked] hockey sticks.

3) "They almost all"..."indicate that temperatures today are probably higher than they’ve been for more than a thousand years and the rate at which it has risen is faster than for more than a thousand years" is false since the Medieval Warm Period project tallies temperature reconstructions over the past millennium from over 1000 scientists and finds less than 10% indicate the current warm period as warmer than the Medieval Warm Period 1000 years ago. 

4) The rate of warming is not at all unusual or unprecedented during the 20th century, during the Holocene, and during prior, warmer interglacials.
  • The instrumental temperature record has been replicated/reproduced by numerous different groups. All the different records show that we’ve warmed by more than 0.8 degrees since 1880. Homogenization is a crucial part of generating these temperature records and is not an indicator of data tampering, or because scientists want to show that it’s warming faster than it actually is (e.g., here).
According to the HADCRUT3 dataset [from which the GISS and BEST data originates], the globe has warmed/recovered only 0.7C since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850, not "more than 0.8 degrees." Homogenization is important, but unfortunately has been misapplied/misused to often result in an artificial warming trend not found in the raw data. 

Further, just because the globe recovered 0.7C since the Little Ice Age does not imply all or most of this recovery is due to man, the false attribution fallacy. 
  • Our understanding of climate change is not primarily based on global climate models (GCMs). They provide some evidence for how our climate may change if we continue to increase anthropogenic forcings. Also, claiming that climate models have failed because they didn’t specifically predict the so-called “pause” is like suggesting that you can’t be sure the river will flow downhill because you can’t predict the winner at pooh sticks(H/T Richard Betts).
Not true because:

1) Computer model output is not "evidence" of anything. Observations are evidence, never models. It's the scientific method, look it up. 
2) Climate models are not based upon physics, they consist almost entirely of parameterizations/fudge factors, which is one of many reasons why they do not properly simulate the most fundamental aspects of climate including convection, clouds, gravity waves, atmospheric circulation, ocean oscillations, indirect solar amplification mechanisms, etc. This is why recent papers have called for scrapping the current crop of failed numerical models and replacing them with a whole new approach of stochastic modeling. 

3) "claiming that climate models have failed because they didn’t specifically predict the so-called “pause” is like suggesting that you can’t be sure the river will flow downhill because you can’t predict the winner at pooh sticks" is a non-sequitur and ridiculous claim. Comparing water flowing downhill from gravity is in no way the same as pointing out the climate models have been falsified as overheated at 98%+ confidence levels. If a model said that water flows uphill, then that model would be falsified as well based upon observations.
  • We may not know, precisely, the equilibrium climate sensitivity and the transient climate response, but we do have evidence that provides a range for each of these quantities. Claiming that it will probably be on the low side of these ranges, is simply wrong. The probability distribution tells us the likelihood of each portion of these ranges, and deciding that a particular interval is more likely than this probability distribution suggests, is simply ignoring some (or most) of the evidence.
Not true and "we may not know, precisely" is the understatement of the year. The range of climate sensitivities suggested by various scientists is huge, ranging from < 0.5C to well over 6C. The climate sensitivities based upon observations [i.e. the scientific method], not falsified climate models, show very low climate sensitivities and show that IPCC model-based estimates are exaggerated by ~7 times. Further, several papers have demonstrated that climate models cannot be relied upon to determine climate sensitivity to CO2, despite what Anders truly believes.
There are probably more, but the point I’m getting at is that it really isn’t possible to have a good faith discussion with anyone who dispute the points above. 
Anders thinks all of the above rebuttals are "not in good faith," just like when @hockeyschtick1 pointed out to him on twitter that his claim of sea level rise in the past was off by a factor of only 60 times and he claimed correcting his error was in "bad faith."

Happy "hiatus" Anders


  1. Obviously he is finding it harder & harder to maintain the charade with mother nature doing her thing and so many knowledgeable people asking him really awkward questions.

  2. Physicist Dr. Steven Koonin explains many of the problems with climate models: