back to article Globe slowly warming, insists 'Hansen's Bulldog'

Two of the most vigorous advocates of the manmade global warming theory claim that the Earth's temperature has definitely risen even once Pacific ocean fluctuations and volcanoes are discounted, in a paper published by the Institute of Physics journal Environmental Research Letters. It just hasn't risen by very much. The two …


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  1. Gary Bickford

    Proof positive

    Well, that pretty much puts all those silly climate change deniers in their place! :D

    1. Steven Roper

      Don't you mean

      the climate change believers?

      1. ToddRundgren

        @Steven Roper


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Probably sarcasm.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Gary Bickford

      That's a joke right?

      Or did you not read (or choose to ignore) this last line? "Statistics can be useful as a tool to discover things you couldn't otherwise find. Or they can be used to prove things you want to prove. This looks like the latter."

  2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    Error 404 revisited

    Either the URL on the last line of your article,

    is incorrect or that page has been moved recently.

    1. GougedEye

      Error 404 re-revisited

      "Either the URL on the last line of your article, is incorrect or that page has been moved recently."

      Works for me. Must be a conspiracy.


      1. Armando 123

        I blame Al Gore! (Hey, kick 'em when they're down, I say.)

  3. dannymot

    The existence of the rise is not in question, but the accuracy of the rise clearly is as errors can swing both ways. That is always made clear when looking at a model.

    0.4 degrees is allot considering the small time frame and the small temperature window for comfortable human existence.

  4. Spud2go

    Just think...

    how much less CO2 would be produced if everyone stopped arguing about climate change - and, as a side effect, how many banner-waving politicians would die ( independent research suggests they can't survive without hot air )

  5. Goat Jam


    Thank god that science is "settled" then, eh?

  6. Herby Silver badge

    This proves it:

    There are only three things in life:

    Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.

    Then there are people who promote ALL THREE!

  7. Adrian Midgley 1

    Significance and magnitude

    Larger is not the same as more significant.

    1. JimC Silver badge


      Statistics are the most powerful tool we have for finding out what' really going on. Absolutely vital. Yes they can be misused, especially by people with an axe to grind, but name something that can't.

      The problem with the whole global warming thing is that there is damn all long term historical data for the statistics to munch.

      1. Steve Crook

        Hocky Stick?

        Another issue is that climate scientists generally insist on doing their own statistical analysis, rather than handing the work over to experienced and published statisticians. They also seem to be pushing the envelope regarding statistical techniques as they try to squeeze a very small signal from some very noisy data.

        I'd be more impressed with paleoclimatology if, when they use new techniques to analyse their data, they also published in the statistical literature to demonstrate the validity of the techniques that they use.

        For the record, I think it's warmer and that CO2 emissions are part of the problem, but I've yet to be convinced we know how much warmer it really is, or how much is caused by anthropogenic CO2.

        1. Burb


          @Steve Crook

          People keep saying this about the statistical analysis. The recent BEST study - involving some fairly sceptical participants - re-examined the statistical analysis of temperature data. And they confirmed the previous results and said the previous work had been 'excellent'.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    In signal processing it's important to know what is signal and what is noise

    I'm not sure this paper does.

    On a side note how does this compare with *previous* predictions of the same authors?

    About what they always said it was? Vastly bigger? Vastly smaller?

    Although they do seem to have included what their assumptions were.

    Something the academics of the CRU seemed to have been a bit vague on.

  9. Feralmonkey

    Sorry but if Tamino is involved it is wrong and there is no way to fix it he is of the Gaia orthodoxy and because of that he cannot be trusted to report anything correctly.

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      ad hominem?

      Isn't the whole climate change debate heated enough without Feralmonkeys flinging dung as well?

    2. Turtle


      "Sorry but if Tamino is involved it is wrong and there is no way to fix it he is of the Gaia orthodoxy and because of that he cannot be trusted to report anything correctly."

      You know, reading the story I was struck by the fact that Tamino denominates himself "Hansen's Bulldog". The question that immediately came to mind was how could someone like that every do anything but support, 'till the bitter end and far beyond, any position other than the position he has publicly bound himself to. It is pretty rare that anyone so openly and enthusiastically spurns any claim to objectivity or impartiality.

      1. John Hughes

        Thomas Huxley

        "I am Darwin's bulldog".

  10. swarmboy

    here we go again

    Dr Whitehouse is a scientist, yes. An astronomer to be exact. Not a climate specialist. He's also a well-known climate sceptic, being chief scientific advisor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a privately (and secretly - it hasrefused to reveal its donors) funded think tank led by Lord Nigel Lawson, free-market fundamentalist, another prominent climate sceptic, and architect of Margaret Thatcher's de-regulation of the banking sector, which has worked out sooooo well for us.

    Look at the report. It's interesting, and the statistics are hokey. Then look for counter examples, and counter examples to those counter examples, and work it out for yourselves. Do not participate in this echo-chamber bullshit.

    Beware confirmation bias.

  11. ToddRundgren

    David Whitehouse of the BBC?

    Assuming its the same David Whitehouse, (BBC's science correspondence), who is saying he is sceptical then maybe it has all along been something other than CO2, (NO2, N2O4, CH4, H2O), etc

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Thatcher's de-regulation of the banking sector was fine. It was when Mssrs Brown and Blair effectively told the FSA to take a break that we had a problem. What this has to do with climate change is beyond me though..

      This report does cancel out more significant events and try to make sense of the noise underneath. I'm not convinced by their methods.

      1. swarmboy

        You're quite right, of course. It has nothing to do with climate change. I was in rant mode. But, once again, we find a market fundamentalist backed by mysterious, undisclosed private money, opposing climate change. I agree that their statistical methods are highly dubious. But equally, one bit of dodgy science doesn't cancel out the vast majority of climate scientists' opinions on this matter. And no one on the sceptical side has ever provided a reason why the consensus has formed. I mean, are they suggesting that all scientists are secret Marxists? they're certainly not seeking glory, because they're just confirming each other's data. The deniers, by contrast are almost always loons, assocated with loons, or funded by private money with an interest in proving the science wrong.

        1. g e

          Whereas the 'scientists'

          Are often under 'Huge' political pressure to 'not make the government look stupid' if they want another payday. Very consensus-forming, I'd say.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @G E


            You clearly don't, but I actually know quite a few climate scientists and none of them give a shit about making the government look good or bad. In actual fact, I strongly suspect given a chance most of them would relish making the government - who are currently cutting their funding - look as bad as possible. A few quotes out of context from some stolen emails does not a conspiracy make, oh hang on it does, it just doesn't make a truth.

    2. The Axe

      Brown took away the Bank of England's oversight of banks and put it with the FSA. That is what destroyed the regulation of the banks and let them get away with murer.

      As for funding. Where does the AGW lot get all it's funding. Mostly from governments. And a huge amount. The amounts that GWPF get is miniscule. And you're worried about them? Shows you have a lot of confidence in AGW then don't you.

    3. dervheid

      Or maybe...

      it's just a natural phenomenon...

      Earth gets warmer,

      Earth gets cooler,

      Earth gets warmer,

      Earth gets cooler.....

    4. BoldMan

      so tell me what your science speciality is? Are you a climate "scientist"?

      I am a trained scientist too and I know how to apply the scientific method to data and observations. I don't need to be a specialist to understand how science works and how climate "science" doesn't actually follow the scientific method. As a scientist I also understand how statistical analysis can be used to distort findings as much as discover "truth".

      Have you studies astrnomy or astrophysics? A lot of what matters in astrophysics is analysis of the way gases behave and other physical properties that have direct relevance to how atmospheres work. Are you goign to try to tell me that isn't relevant to the debate about the climate?

  12. NomNomNom

    It's the GWPF that cannot be trusted to handle data correctly. Earlier this year the GWPF spread the false claim that the BEST temperature record showed no warming since 2001. Subsequently it was exposed that the GWPF claim had relied on using two faulty data points. The actual data shows +0.14C warming since 2001.

    Readers who are interested in what the Foster and Rahmstorf paper actually did can read the following which summarizes the process of what was done:

    The paper is saying that once you take away the noise created by ENSO, the solar cycle and volcanic impacts the remaining pattern is an almost constant and linear warming to the present day. Ie global warming hasn't stopped, contrary to claims made by thinktanks such as the GWPF. Notice how Whitehouse avoids addressing this actual issue by pretending that the issue is whether the warming is due to man: "I don't believe you can take away three big effects, and be sure the little effects you've got left are due to man."

  13. dillingest

    temperature trends

    'Using a range of simulations the authors estimate that global temperature trends have inched up by between 0.014C and 0.018C a year in recent times. They say that the total rise since 1979 is 0.4C. The authors arrived at this figure by adding or subtracting so as to remove much larger climatic factors such as El Nino and volcanic effects...'

    I'm not sure the author understands the study. The overall trends across the 1979-present reference period from different global temperature indexes are barely affected by the analysis. The trends and total increase quoted here can be obtained simply by looking at the raw data (though 0.4ºC is at the low end).

    What the study has found is a clear and consistent underlying trend in the data, instead of the collection of large bumps and spikes in the raw data, by accounting for known factors which cause short-term surface and tropospheric temperature fluctuations (volcanic eruptions, ENSO, solar cycle).

    To sum up, the important finding in this study is the consistency of the trends, not the magnitude of them.

    1. g e

      Then perhaps

      They should try looking at a longer period than 30-40 years?

      Like 100,000 or something, perhaps.

      Give me a short enough sample of audio I can fit it to more songs...

    2. Tom 13

      Yes, it is true that there are spread-spectrum analysis techniques

      that allow one to discern a signal which is ordinarily hidden in the noise.


      they depend on having data across tens or hundreds of times the cycle for the random noise.

      So tell me again, what is the exact periodicity of the ice-age/tropical-age cycle for the Earth? And, how many times that cycle do we have reliable observational data?

  14. Sean Baggaley 1

    @dillingest: those "bumps and spikes"?

    They're *natural*.

    " accounting for known factors which cause short-term surface and tropospheric temperature fluctuations (volcanic eruptions, ENSO, solar cycle)."

    Because, of course, none of those annoying, presumably "unnatural", climate-impacting events will EVER happen in the future and completely screw with the climatologists' nice, clean, smooth graphs. Right?


    1. Burb


      @Sean Baggaley 1

      What is your point here?

      No-one is saying that there won't be short term bumps in the future. The question is whether there is an underlying trend.

  15. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  16. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "Judge for yourselves"...

    ... I'd love to, but even if that link wasn't broken (it is) I'd prefer to have done so without Andrew Orlowski poisoning the well with his snide comments before we even get a chance to look at the Paper.

  17. Brian 6

    Global bullshit

    If "Two of the most vigorous advocates of the manmade global warming theory" can only come up with a 0.4 increase in the last 30 odd years, with a margin for error much larger than the rise they are claiming...Then why does anyone believe in global warming ??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A 0.4 K increase over the last 31 years is less than the lowest estimate from the paper, which range from 0.44-0.54 K. Over the same period, atmospheric CO2 concentration increased by a little over 50 ppm, which corresponds to roughly one fifth of a doubling. That yields an estimated transient climate sensitivity of 2-2.5 K per CO2 doubling, with a correspondingly higher Charney sensitivity. That's why. I'd suggest familiarising yourself with the basic science before commenting further.

      1. Brian 6

        Basic Science

        The margin for error still means the increase could actually be a drop. I never had a problem with the basic science. The reason no one has ever been able to "prove" man made global warming is the fact that its not happening.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Clearly you do have a problem with the basic science, since you're still making demonstrably false statements. The margin for error is nowhere near large enough to wipe out the observed increase, even in the *raw* data, let alone the series corrected for exogenous factors. Did you even bother to read the paper? If you're not willing to familiarise yourself with the relevant literature, your opinion on whether or not global warming has been proven doesn't really count for much.

          1. Brian 6

            Dr Whitehouse

            "It's a case of making statistics show what you want it to prove in the first place," physicist and science author Dr David Whitehouse told us. "I don't believe you can take away three big effects, and be sure the little effects you've got left are due to man.".............. Maybe you think u are better qualified than Dr Whitehouse or maybe u just dont think he has a grip of the basic science. Well of the two of you I know who I'm more willing to believe.

  18. Microphage

    source of 'climate change` reports

    Could someone produce a report that cross-correlates the results of sceptical 'climate change` reports with the source of finance ..

    ps: It's Stefan Rahmstorf ...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Desperate stuff indeed

    Hansen's Chihuaha

  20. James Micallef Silver badge

    1979-2010 ??

    Years carefully chosen to exclude the cooling period of the late sixties and seventies?

    0.014 degrees a year is 1.4 degrees a century, while the best estimate I know of that we have of current trends is 1 degree a century, or 0.010 degrees a year. Excluding the 10-15 years prior to 1979 seems to have increased the size of the trend by around 40%.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, I'm sure their failure to include satellite data from before the satellites were launched is all part of the conspiracy.

      Also, there was no cooling period in the late sixties and seventies.

      Also, what increased the size of the trend was removing the influence of exogenous variables, which was the entire point of the paper.

      Other than that, good post.

  21. g e

    Please donate

    Will run Climate Quango for food.

  22. dillingest

    smooth graphs?


    Where on Earth have you got the idea that anyone thinks these factors won't continue to have effects in the future?

    The 3 things mentioned are considered the most important factors in determining subdecadal global average surface temperature fluctuations. However, since they essentially oscillate around 0 their effect on multi-decadal trends is minimal, hence the overall trends in the full 1979-present reference period are unchanged.

    Where they have a large effect is in shorter-term trends. For example, in the NOAA record the decadal trend from 1974-84 was 0.29ºC/Decade, from 1992-2002 0.33ºC/Decade; Conversely 1986-96 was only 0.08ºC/Decade and 1998-2008 0.06ºC/Decade. Even though the trends across the whole period are around 0.15ºC/Decade plotting across shorter periods reveals much greater variability - sometimes warming is 'faster', sometimes warming is 'slower' or perhaps even 'stopped'. What this paper has shown is that simply adjusting for these 3 factors leaves a much more consistent temperature progression. What that consistency means can be left to you as an exercise.

    There are certainly potential problems with this approach, which may be worked out later in the literature, but it's a useful contribution to scientific understanding.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Register may the last honest science news outlet left on Earth. Please don't sell out to the Global Warming Cultists.


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