back to article A pause in global warming? What pause?There was no pause

Scientists have made the inconvenient “pause” in global warming disappear with a wave of their statistical wand. A new paper published in Science by NOAA estimates that global temperature during period 1998 to 2012 increased twice as fast as all other estimates had calculated. However, the paper has immediately run into a wall …

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  1. theOtherJT
    Pint

    This is why we can't have nice things!

    ...or reasoned discussion, apparently. Always so much easier to adjust numbers to support institutional dogma* than do real science. Screw it. Friday. I'm going for a...

    *Pick your institute to decide which way the numbers should be "adjusted"

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: This is why we can't have nice things!

      Don't sweat it. Thomas Karl will be out of a job soon once the Congress Change Deniers get a hold of this. Some of us will be rational (those of us in the middle ground who feel there's too much BS on both sides) and then the Deniers and True Believers will do battle. Will that work?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: This is why we can't have nice things!

        >>"Some of us will be rational (those of us in the middle ground who feel there's too much BS on both sides) and then the Deniers and True Believers will do battle. Will that work?"

        Um, I have been several times informed by proponents of AGW that those of us in the middle ARE deniers. I've been told in no uncertain terms that the time for debate is over and one is for us or against us. At least when I express doubts that's generally what I receive.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: This is why we can't have nice things!

          Ah... the old either "you are with us or against us" diatribe. Pity that there's little rational discussion.

    2. NomNomNom

      Re: This is why we can't have nice things!

      Why do you assume the numbers were adjusted incorrectly? Right wing think tanks were publishing rebuttals to the paper before it was even published. Red flag: political think tanks reviewing scientific papers that they clearly have ideological objections to. Sure there's more of a reason to question the validity of that than the peer reviewed paper. I bet you that none of these criticisms will ever be submitted to peer review.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why do you assume the numbers were adjusted incorrectly?

        Because I'm a HelplessDesk technician and we're the new house slaves, invisible to the Lords of Power. As a result I've been in the office working on their PCs when they've discussed putting politics over policy in other contexts. Yes, it was one goon advocating a pure power play to increase both his and the other party's power without reference to an real issues outside of the power transfer. No, I shouldn't have been in the room at the time because of the nature of the discussions, but hey one of the was IMPORTANT and that was the only time slot to work on his PC. Er, yes, it was rather somebody more directly connected to this than I should publicly state because I'm not authorized to speak for that agency.

  2. Ragarath

    Heard it on the radio

    I heard this on the radio driving in to work. Was not really paying much attention but it sounded like they had just played a numbers game to me.

    And from this write up, it looks like I was right, another game of making up numbers. No wonder we cannot actually get to the bottom and agree on what is really happening to our planet.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Heard it on the radio

      "it sounded like they had just played a numbers game to me."

      Brilliant, so you made your mind up early

      "And from this write up, it looks like I was right"

      Political think-tanks opposed to action on climate change are very much against any questioning that there has been a pause in global warming. So it was entirely predictable that there would be "write ups" to satisfy what you wanted to believe.

      "No wonder we cannot actually get to the bottom and agree on what is really happening to our planet."

      There are people who don't want you to know what is going on

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heard it on the radio

        There are people who don't want you to know what is going on

        Obviously.

        The question is, of course, on which side are they, and how can one tell?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heard it on the radio

        Yes, there are people who don't want you to know what's going on, and you're obviously one of them.

        This is a textbook case of making adjustments for purely political purposes with no reasonable scientific justification; scientific fraud in other words. Egged on by the usual suspects. The whole "pause" is terribly inconvenient to the multi-billion (or should that be trillion) "Climate Change Industry" so they engineer a hit piece by tame goons.

        Just think, this "analysis" just happens to produce exactlky the desired result, how wonderfully convenient, and all through a series of dodgy adjustments that cool the past, apply a large "correction" over just three years (1998-2000) which just happens to make the temperatures after that "take up" the adjustment which is the period we're interested in, and finally prioritises the most unreliable temperature set (ship measurements) over the most reliable (buoys) and adjusts the buoys (!) upwards.

        It isn't science, it is propaganda.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Heard it on the radio

      What is happening to our planet?

      Well either lots and lots, in the sense that every day is a unique event...or nothing much at all, in the sense that climate is, when all is said and done, wobbling about within certain limits just as it always has...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brilliant! And of course the main news channels will never quote the reg but swallow the bait completely without checking the ingredients. =(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly!

      Stupid bloody main news channels, believing credentialed and experienced scientists over opinion columnists at the Reg!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exactly!

        But what does it say about the 'scientists' that won't show their actual data and how they changed it for fear that they will end up at the butt of jokes or be proven charlatans.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Exactly!

          it says you believe myths

        2. Steve Knox
          Facepalm

          Re: Exactly!

          But what does it say about the 'scientists' that won't show their actual data ...

          It says that you don't know how to do research.

          Here is their paper: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2015/06/05/science.aaa5632.full

          And here is the link (from their paper) to their materials and methods: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2015/06/03/science.aaa5632/suppl/DC1

          In short, those 'scientists' that won't show their actual data... showed their actual data (and how [and perhaps most importantly why] they changed it.)

          1. Sigfried

            Re: Exactly!

            Steve, fine, it actually shows exactly why the shouldn't have changed the raw data in that way. Scientific fraud all the way down....again. Karl has form with this sort of politically driven extremism.

            Example, if you have two sources of data, one of which is of much better quality, why would you adjust that to match the poorer data set except for the purpose of producing a desired result ?

            1. Naselus

              Re: Exactly!

              "Steve, fine, it actually shows exactly why the shouldn't have changed the raw data in that way. Scientific fraud all the way down....again. Karl has form with this sort of politically driven extremism."

              Yes, the criminal always makes one fatal mistake. Karl's was to outline his methodology exactly in his paper and provide justifications for doing so along lines developed by internationally-recognised experts in the field in peer-reviewed journals, and then give a precise statistical confidence level for his study which any trained climate scientist would recognize as being non-significant.

              And they'd have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those damn kids.

  4. Big Ed

    Scammed Again

    Credability is lost when you don't know who to trust or who to believe.

    Back in the 70's there was a whole movement to curb population growth; e.g. one or two kids per family. The media lost interest, and save China, the movement died.

    So you have to wonder, even though tangental, if carbon emissions are to blame for "global climate change", wouldn't it make sense to limit demand by limiting carbon users through population growth slowing?

    Ehh, been there tried that, let's work another scare, er scam.

    1. allan wallace

      Re: Scammed Again

      but increased carbon emissions (at least in the form of co2) could lead to global greening - where plant life can grow more efficiently as a result - so surely reducing carbon emissions would have the opposite effect?...

      As an example, the carbonatite emissions of the Volcano of Ol Doinyo Lengai in Africa have an interesting effect:

      "The carbonatite ash spread over the surrounding grasslands leads to a uniquely succulent, enriched pasture. This makes the area a vital stage on the annual wildebeast beast migration, where it becomes the nursery for the birth of several thousand calves."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ol_Doinyo_Lengai

      (and whilst I don't always treat wikipedia without a pinch of salt, in this case there is the science to back it up)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scammed Again

      You are mistaken.

      Not just China, but most countries in the world, with a few exceptions (mostly in Africa), have dramatically lowered their fertility rates in the last 50 years. The world average fertility rate in 1960 was ~5 births/woman and now it is less than 2.5 births/woman. China's rate dropped most precipitously (from ~6 in 1960 to ~ 1.7 now) due to a government enforced policy, but India's also dropped (~6 to less than 2.5). US rate dropped too (~3.7 to ~1.9).

      See https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&idim=country:IND:CHN:USA

      Turns out that better education (especially for women) and healthcare are among the best ways to reduce excessive population growth. Many poor countries have made steady progress in this after the end of colonization since they have been able to invest in their own people, in spite of corruption and government inefficiencies, instead of being robbed by their European colonizers.

      In fact, the number of children in the world has now almost reached a steady state ("peak child") and is not growing any more. The total world population will continue to grow until about the end of this century as the current group children reach the end of their lives. See the following for a good explanation

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezVk1ahRF78

      I highly recommend the http://www.gapminder.org for historical data visualization.

      1. Vincent Ballard
        Thumb Up

        Re: Scammed Again

        Interesting stuff.

        There's one statistic which you didn't mention, and which is important context for the reasoning you present. A priori, improved healthcare could mean that the number of births per woman drop but the number of surviving children per woman rise. The dataset you link also includes infant mortality rates, and e.g. for India they show the number of children per woman who survive 5 years fell from ~4.5 to ~2.4.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scammed Again

          Yes, the number of infant deaths/woman decreased, but the number of births/women decreased much more.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Scammed Again (Child mortality's effect explained...)

            Human animal instinct is to reproduce. The goal has to be (for subtle reasons) just a bit over 2 offspring.

            If the child mortality is very low, then to achieve 2 offspring (with a reasonable confidence level, e.g. 95%) you make 2 and you'll almost certainly end up with 2. This is how it works in modern developed countries.

            If the child mortality is high (e.g. 50%), then to achieve 2 (with a reasonable confidence level, e.g. 95%), you'll need to make about 8, and you'll end up with about 4 on average. The higher average is needed to avoid the under-2 tail of the distribution. This is how, and why (!), countries with higher child mortality end up with high population growth.

            Obviously if child mortality is 100%, then the population will go extinct. The mistake most people make is to assume that it's a linear function from this extreme and that there's no feedback. Both assumptions are wildly incorrect.

            Stable populations fundamentally requires low child mortality.

            The relationship with female education is a less direct, less simple math, relationship. Still true and important, but the above analysis has been overlooked, as evidenced by the widespread confusion of the relationship between child mortality and population growth.

            (All numbers very rough.)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science

    And what's really scary are the policy decisions that are going to be made very soon based on "climate science". Which flavor of science is the question. I'd like to believe the honest, unbiased research will prevail. The cynic in me fears otherwise.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Science

        @Thought About IT,

        There is one very large glaring problem with peer reviewed climate science, the reviewers are very few in number and they all know those that write the papers - in fact it is a friends review and not a review of their peers in science in general. The other problem is that those that write the papers and those that review them all believe the same thing and those that differ are rejected - not the way to get quality papers published.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Science

          that's a very convenient conspiracy theory that creationists also appeal to in order to explain why they can't get their ideas published in leading journals.

          In reality this is a sign that the ideas lack credibility, not a sign that there is something wrong with peer review.

          1. WalterAlter
            Facepalm

            Re: Science

            I just did a Google search on the text string "problems with peer review" and got 26,200,000 hits. Academia is a cesspit of hair trigger egos, funding junkies, ideological zombies and departmental policy boot licks. All the beatitudes we know and love that are characteristic of the bureaucratic mindset are in place and operational in academia, only smarter. Science is presently a necklace of chicken bones.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Science

              I just did a google search on 'problems with the register' and got 449,000,000 results. This proves that scientific papers are 17.1374 times more reliable than el Reg.

              To paraphrase Churchill '“Peer review is the worst form of science, except for all the others.” Especially when the favoured other is 'only publish what rich people with major economic vested interest want'.

              1. Tom 13

                Re: Science

                You shouldn't misquote Churchill to support an untenable position. There is a better method of science. Ironically it was pioneered back in the so called Dark Ages. It calls for publishing your raw data, your adjusted data, the reasons for your adjustments, and all of the methodology related to it. Climatology does none of the critical bits. Some of it shielded for national security reasons. Some of it is shielded for patent reasons. Some of it is shielded for trade secret reasons. Some of it is shielded because the data sharing agreements between governments requires it. And the great fear is that the largest part is shielded for naked political reasons. But with all the rest of the shielding you just can't tell how much.

        2. Naselus

          Re: Science

          "The other problem is that those that write the papers and those that review them all believe the same thing and those that differ are rejected - not the way to get quality papers published."

          Indeed. My own papers the theory of Intelligent Falling keep being dismissed through the corrupt conspiracies of an international cabal of Physicists who all believe in 'gravity' and let it bias their thinking.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Science

          "Surprising number of downvoters who presumably think it's acceptable to put ideology ahead of science."

          Its the Green Way isn't it?

      3. John Deeb
        Boffin

        Re: Science

        And what is Orlowski's "position"? Do you even know? Last time I checked he does not deny any warming and regularly quotes peer reviewed papers to support certain possible scenario's and theories on the more exact nature of climate changes. What is way more dangerous in terms of putting ideology ahead of science, would be "research" like that Cook et al. (2013) about a "97% consensus" which has been challenged already two times by peer review (Legates, D et al. (2015). Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change, Science & Education 24, 299-318 and Tol, R (2014) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the literature: A re-analysis, Energy Policy, 73, 701–705).

        Of course Cook's article materialized already as global hot fact through President Obama's tweets. It seems Orlowski plays it a bit "cooler"....

      4. Dan Paul

        Re: Science

        You mean there is no peer connived "science". Putting lies and manipulated data in front of the truth is always dangerous

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Science

      The decisions will not be based on climate science. The climate science is based on the desired decision.

      Who funds NOAA after all?

  6. Gary Bickford

    Lies, Damn Lies, and ...

    ... Statistics - the three kinds of lies, according to Mark Twain.

    Bonus: "Suppose you were a [politician]. Now, suppose you were an idiot. But I repeat myself."

    1. TheProf
      Stop

      Re: Lies, Damn Lies, and ...

      Oh for God's sake don't be fooled into thinking politicians are idiots.

      They may be liars, cheats, scoundrels, uninformed or just plain ignorant but don't let that lead you to the wrong conclusion. They may do idiotic things but they are not idiots. Idiots usually aren't that dangerous.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When we finally......

    clear this up (and NOW I guarantee the AGW proponents are all liars and thieves), I will personally offer my services to skin every so called "scientist" and Politician that offered their AGW opinions on the subject.

    Right after I sue them for grand larceny.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously.

    Of course they're making shit up, why else would they let the true data intefere with their government grant?

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Obviously.

      So it's obvious that if the data shows continuing global warming it must be false? How convenient a filter to prevent you ever having to accept a world that was warming.

      Also the idea that these researchers benefit in grants from this is wrong. These researchers would have grants to maintain the temperature records whatever the result was.

      1. Smarty Pants

        Re: Obviously.

        Re - Also the idea that these researchers benefit in grants from this is wrong. These researchers would have grants to maintain the temperature records whatever the result was.

        Why do they bother doing this, then just make up the numbers to match what they want to see?

  9. Pete4000uk

    We need to know what is happening, but I feel we are not finding out.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: We need to know what is happening

      You know what's happening, you just don't want admit it.

      Does the research come from someone you personally know? No.

      Does the published data raise the specter of CATASTROPHE! Yes.

      Does the research urge you to CLICK HERE NOW! to fix this? Yes.

      That means it's probably malware/spam and should be deleted post haste.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

    "You can find a cool and pretty dispassionate analysis of the statistical magic in the study by economist Ross McKitrick here"

    I can't believe you typed that with a straight face. Ross McKitrick is a notorious climate change denier whose "work" has been picked apart and discredited many times over. If that's your idea of a "dispassionate" neutral analysis, you just need to acknowledge that you have no interest in objectively reporting on this topic.

    It's just sad to watch.

    1. R Soles

      Re: Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

      Dr McKitrick is professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.

      You can find a list of his peer- reviewed publications here:

      http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/papers.html

      1. Naselus

        Re: Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

        "Dr McKitrick is professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.

        You can find a list of his peer- reviewed publications here:

        http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/papers.html"

        Yes, you can. Of course, being an economist doesn't actually make him a climate scientist, so he may as well be a fireman in this case.

        It's a fairly standard thing of the denial camp to list PhDs without bothering to note if they're in English Literature or Atmospheric Chemistry... One counts as useful in climate science, the other does not. It's much like you wouldn't let someone with a PhD in Sociology perform a tonsillectomy.

        Once again, this one of the tricks Creationists use to try and discredit evolutionary biology - they bring in a guy with a PhD in Comparative Theology and just mention the doctorate, but not the fact that he's not remotely qualified in the subject at hand. The fact the there's so much cross-over in the tactics used by the No-AGW camp and Creationism should be something of a warning, really. And it's not a warning about the corrupt scientific bureaucracy.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

          Ross McKitrick's PhD is in the one area that counts for purposes of this paper: handling statistics. Atmospheric chemistry doesn't affect that.

    2. eesiginfo
      FAIL

      Re: Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

      How?

      How can you even use the term 'climate change denier'?

      This has long become an embarrassing statement...... that when invented by spin doctors, was considered to be an amazing successful tool, used to win arguments, by people who had no idea about what they were talking about.

      Are you even aware of what 'climate change denier' means?

      The concept is 'to automatically imply that the user (of this statement) is correct, without any need to back up any argument with facts'.

      Hence why any feeble minded acolyte would liberally use this 'accusation' (LOL).

      The presumption (sadly) being that you are one such feeble minded acolyte.

      Wake up:

      1. BTW it's 2015...... nobody uses this outdated spin any more.

      2. Regardless of this...... why on earth would you use this language on an El Reg forum, where you know that the vast majority of members are free thinkers, that are more interested in facts, than any spin doctor' invention.

      For God's sake man....... try developing an inquisitorial brain.

      Acolytes eh?

      Who needs them?

      ;)

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

        I wish you were right, but around this Forum.. if your not on one side or the other, you are fair game both sides. Free thinking isn't tolerated on this topic.

    3. Ilmarinen
      Facepalm

      Re: Ross McKitrick? Seriously?

      <quot> Ross McKitrick is a notorious climate change denier</quot>

      Not that you are in any way biased, Anon Coward, or indulging in the Ad Hom falicy...

      (and we can't tell whether you are notorious or not, being an Anonymous Coward)

      Actually, the paper does seem a bit flakey: there dosn't seem to be any new data, just they've changed the assumptions and "adjusted" the data accordingly. I thought that Prof McKitrick's response well reasoned (and Prof Judith Curry's too), even if Mr Orlowski is a bit OTT.

      Of course the NOAA folks might have spotted something that nobody else has - but they do have "form" and have produced a politicaly useful result in the run up to the Paris climate jamboree so the burden of disbelief has to be prety high - personally, I think it's just more junk science.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course the NOAA folks might have

        Yeah, they have. I've been in the office when the head of one of the Line Offices casually noted that Climate Change is where all the government funding is going to be for the next few years.

        It wasn't said with malice, more that matter of fact/I can't change this so I might as well make the best of it tone you'd expect from a German prison camp guard who wasn't actually killing the Jews.

  11. IR

    Can anyone explain this bit:

    "According to the UK Met Office’s John Kennedy, the buoy observational data has an uncertainty range of 0.12C. Karl and co simply slapped 0.12C onto every bouy reading.

    “Adjusting good data upward to match bad data seems questionable, and the fact that the buoy network becomes increasingly dense in the last two decades means that this adjustment must put a warming trend in the data”"

    How does a denser network of buoys with the same fudge factor added make a warmer trend? Wouldn't the trend be the same, albeit ending at the same point but with the fudge factor added?

    1. Ilmarinen

      re: Can anyone explain this bit:

      If you average out the bouy data (which you've adjusted upwards) with the non-bouy data, in propoortion to the quantity of each data set, and the bouy data becomes a greater proportion of the whole with time, then that will generate an average that shows warming.

      I think that's it.

      Check out WUWT, etc. for full explanation.

      1. Naselus

        Re: re: Can anyone explain this bit:

        "If you average out the buoy data (which you've adjusted upwards) with the non-bouy data, in propoortion to the quantity of each data set, and the buoy data becomes a greater proportion of the whole with time, then that will generate an average that shows warming."

        In essence, there's been increasing numbers of buoys in the ocean over the years, and our temperature data has thus become increasingly based on buoy-based measurements. We have moved from a period when the majority of the data was gathered by ships, to a system where the majority is gathered by buoys.

        The buoys give, on average, 0.12C lower temperature readings than a ship will give in the same place over the same period. This is because the buoy's thermometer spends a good portion of it's time underwater, while the ship's thermometer does not. Air heats up quicker than water, so over time the buoy gives a lower average temperature. This is an average, so it doesn't really matter that they just added a flat 0.12C to every buoy - some were higher, some were lower, but since we're re-averaging them later anyway just adding a flat 0.12 to all the buoys will do fine.

        If we calibrate the buoys with a slightly higher temperature, to bring them into line with the average temperature reported by ships in the same area, then we find that the temperature trends upwards. The 'pause' in Global Warming is thus a matter of a change in our measuring equipment. Once you adjust the measurements so that they are calibrated to the same background level, the upward trend is restored.

        1. Ilmarinen

          Re: re: Can anyone explain this bit:

          Err..

          We are talking about SST (Sea Surface Temperature) I think. So air temperature not relevant??

          I tried to check the "Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature dataset version 4", ref 13 in the paper but it's behind a paywall. Can anyone quote the exact adjustment applied and the justification as in ERSST.v4 ?

    2. DougS Silver badge

      So what happens if you adjust all buoy data down by 0.12C?

      Do you still show some warming, or do you now show cooling? If it is true that they've added 0.12C to all the buoy data because that's the uncertainty range, then any conclusions reached from that data is utterly invalid because that's not how statistics works.

      I certainly hope that this assertion is incorrect and that they haven't done that, or my faith that climate scientists are in earnest and not just trying to demonstrate a conclusion they've already arrived at is further shaken.

  12. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Yeah, okay, right.

    But you can still see Antarctica now when you couldn't before because of all the ice.

    And there's an occasional Northwest Passage now where there wasn't before.

    And the American wheat belt is moving Northward.

    It is getting hotter. I dunno why, but looking at the retreat of the Athabasca Glacier as a single data collection point I'd say that the effect is accelerating (because the ice is retreating at a documented accelerating rate).

    This is data you can collect with your own eyes and a decent public library.

    It doesn't really matter why. The real cause for concern is that he model for the Atlantic Gyre depends on the northern ice to keep it going. No Gyre, no Gulf Stream. No Gulf Stream and the UK becomes much colder in winter.

    So the real question becomes: Do we understand how the change that is happening will impact the UK, and if so is there an energy strategy in the works to mitigate the possible long, cold Dickensian winters to come?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      You're talking about stuff that has changed in very recent history. Perhaps these same things were true 1000 years ago in the Medieval Warm Period? No one had ever been to Antarctica or tried to sail the northwest passage, and there was no wheat in North America, so its hard to say.

      Are these places warmer than they were 100 years ago? Yes. Is this an exceptional warming unprecedented in the planet's history that humanity is responsible for? It is impossible to tell from your observational data.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        No one had ever been to Antarctica or tried to sail the northwest passage, and there was no wheat in North America, so its hard to say.

        And neither were there quite so many billions of people on the planet either. The question isn't whether or not the Earth can survive another hot spell or freeze, it is how the people now occupying it can do so. The issue is not whether the temperatures are exceptional over the span that life has been on the planet, it is whether people can tolerate them when they happen.

        It's all well and good to talk about the new land opening up as the ice retreats, but none of the revealed surface is arable.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      I don't have a problem with the idea of climate change. Of course climate changes. It's the sort of thing where change is the only constant.

      I do have a problem with the current fad for taking short term noise & trying to imply that a long term trend can be distinguished in it. If there is a long term trend to global warming it'll only become clear in the long term. And at that point it will become possible to make reasoned attempts to explain it.

      I also have a problem with treating models as holy writ. A model is a form of hypothesis and needs to be tested against reality. Given the long term nature of climate such testing could take some time.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This again?

    So basically, the Register's position on this topic is that the data PROVES there is no warming; unless it doesn't, in which case the data PROVES the scientists are fudging the numbers? (To what end is never quite explained).

    And by the way, I already know what's going to happen around here once this year's El Nino is in the books:

    2015: "That doesn't count, it was an El Nino year!"

    2016: "This year is cooler than last year, so clearly no global warming!"

    I really wish El Reg would just stay away from this topic altogether. You really don't care what the science says anymore, you are just obsessed with this point of view that a couple of you have nailed your colors too.

    And at this point, this weird obsession is just dragging down the credibility of the whole site, to the embarrassment of everybody else that works there.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: This again?

      "So basically, the Register's position on this topic is that the data PROVES there is no warming; unless it doesn't, in which case the data PROVES the scientists are fudging the numbers? (To what end is never quite explained)."

      Proof in science is a tricky thing. In climate science, it can be a bit easier because their standard of proof is perhaps more lax than in traditional disciplines. So there's a theory that there is a relationship between CO2 and temperature. What that relationship is is uncertain. So we have climate models producing a range of predictions showing that as CO2 increases, so should temperatures. Thus we got the calls for action to prevent xC warming by <whenever> and the UN wanting $100bn a year to fight the War on Warmth.

      So along came The Pause. Observations showed warming wasn't increasing despite record amounts of CO2. Whilst this was a short Pause, it could be shrugged off. It's a non-linear system and short pauses are expected. So climate scientists said it didn't falsify the models unless The Pause exceeded X years, with X increasing in proportion with the length of The Pause. Various attempts were made to explain The Pause with it being due to aerosols, volcanic activity or the missing heat somehow diving deep into the oceans in some undectable fashion.

      But the longer The Pause continued, the harder it is to explain the divergence between simulated and observed reality. Especially with COP coming up and possibly a last chance to get developed countries to sign up to giving the UN $100bn a year. So with much fanfare, we get this new paper launched with a blaze of publicity that pretends The Pause just doesn't exist.

      Skeptics naturally are.. skeptical.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: This again?

        "Observations showed warming wasn't increasing despite record amounts of CO2"

        That's exactly what the commenter you replied to was talking about. Why do you accept the observations when they show a pause but complain about them when they don't?

        The question that is being raised now is whether there was a pause at all. Many researchers are not doubtful of that. There is no statistically significant difference between the previous warming trend and the most recent rate of warming, therefore on what basis does anyone claim global warming has slowed down?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This again?

      "the Register's position on this topic"

      It's news to me that the Register has a position. It publishes articles by individual writers.

      "I really wish El Reg would just stay away from this topic altogether."

      OTOH, if you're not happy with it you could stay away.

      "to the embarrassment of everybody else that works there."

      Citation needed. Has anyone who works there told you they're embarrassed? AFAICT they must be a fairly unembarrassable lot.

  14. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Linux

    I missed that chocolate story

    But now I am wondering if he got the idea from me.

    For years I have been going around - taking the piss out of diet fads by saying :-

    "Chocolate CAN help weight loss............ but only as part of a calorie controlled diet."

    The second part being included in EVERY diet food I have ever seen advertised.

    As for global warming; arent we due to start the panic about the oncoming ice age?? The last panic was in the late 70's /early 80's, so it must be coming back into fashion soon.

    1. Vincent Ballard
      Joke

      Re: I missed that chocolate story

      Tapeworm eggs can help weight loss even without a calorie-controlled diet.

  15. Alistair Silver badge
    Boffin

    ohboy

    Again we have the debate about the value of data used to run the calculations.

    Again we have the calculations showing something different.

    I stand by my position. We as a species know that the climate is changing.

    We've got thousands of scientific minds digging at the problem of "what is causing climate change", we're spending millions of dollars/pounds/marks/francs/yen whathaveyou on the research. There are entrenched camps that are already decided on "what is causing climate change". There are as yet no concrete conclusions on what is actually causing the changes, there are as yet no concretely guaranteed expected results of what these changes will mean to the planet as a whole.

    We've got entire economies dedicated to "renewable resources development" that are spending *billions* of dollars/pounds/marks/francs/yen whathaveyou on new ways of turning sunlight or wind into power. We've still got entire economies dedicated to burning whatever form of carbon to make energy, and spending billions of dollars/pounds/marks/francs/yen whathaveyou to keep that industry going.

    Personally, I suspect/feel/have a reasonable suspicion that tossing millions of tons of CO2 out there is not a good thing for the planet overall, but I don't believe it is the *only* reason why we're seeing climate change. I think there may be other factors involved that are far beyond our ability to control that are contributing. I still have yet to see a projection from the scientific community that has reached mainstream media that has come even close to what we get to observe (10/15/20 years) down the road.

    Events like this where a primary source of analysis is *tossing data out* of the calculations or models and saying that the result is truer than other models, demonstrates clearly that the scientist(s) doing this are NOT interested in accuracy, but rather only in proving their theory. The method calls for adding all observational data and having the theory work with it. Or tossing the theory out the window and finding one that DOES work with all the observational data.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: ohboy

      "Personally, I suspect/feel/have a reasonable suspicion that tossing millions of tons of CO2 out there is not a good thing for the planet overall"

      The only times in geological history when the CO2 levels have changed in a short period have been associated with Great Dyings.

      This may be the first time that a large CO2 shift hasn't been associated with a flood basalt event burning through fossil fuel layers on the way up.

      Past oxygen levels have been much higher (and lower) than they are now. Past CO2 levels have been higher (and much lower) than they are now. The issue isn't the levels, it's the _rate of change_ falling outside that which ecosystems are able to adapt. In many ways ocean levels and warming are amongst the least worrisome things on the agenda.

      Those who point out that CO2 levels were this high 500 million years ago should also take into account that the sun is pumping out 10-15% more energy than it was then. This planet is only going to habitable for 500 million more years at the outside. Past that the oceans will be above 50C even if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere. I'm more worried about what my grandchildren will inherit.

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What we really need

    What happens over a period of a few hours & days is weather. Over a few months its a season. We can discuss these sensibly. We can even look back over a year & decide that it was wet or dry, warm or cold. What we lack is a terminology to describe longer periods, up to, say a century or two; the kinds of interval that get averaged out to plot real climatic change.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: What we really need

      we dont lack terminology - we lack comparable datasets over the range of more than a couple of decades or so.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What we really need

        If we don't lack terminology what term do we use to describe variations of temperature, precipitation, atmospheric & oceanic behaviour over the short periods up to a couple of centuries? If you want to call that "climate" what term do you use to describe the longer term variations on the scale of thousands of years?

        Actually, I think we do have a good term for the shorter variations: "noise".

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: What we really need

          "If we don't lack terminology what term do we use to describe variations of temperature, precipitation, atmospheric & oceanic behaviour over the short periods up to a couple of centuries?"

          Solar cycles?

          *ducks and runs*

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: What we really need

        "we lack comparable datasets over the range of more than a couple of decades or so."

        We also lack consistent ways of gathering those datasets.

        As the paper points out:

        1: Originally ocean temperatures were observed by hauling a bucket of water and dropping a thermometer in it.

        2: This changed to measuring the intake water temperature of shipping engines (distorting the readings slightly upwards)

        3: In the last 20 years it's been more common to use buoys to measure temperature. These also get distorted depending on local currents - in some parts of the world the ocean temperature can change 10C in 20km depending on upwellings, etc.

        4: Land based measurements get distorted depending on surroundings - grassy fields run cooler than paves area, and many sampling sites have ended up urbanised or paved in the case of airfields. They're also affected if they're downwind of population areas.

        The problem is that the overall changes in the last 100 years have only been a few degrees, so we're arguing about 0.1-0.2 differences in short term which are hard to measure and subject to calibration error, plus there are climate cycles of 40 years or more to contend with. It's _hard_ to average this out over short periods, but we don't have the luxury of being able to wait 100 years and say "there's a clear trend there"

        Cause for more immediate concern is what's happening in the Laptev Sea (methane outgassing) and if it's spreading. If it does spread then switching off CO2 emissions tomorrow won't have any effect on what happens next.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: What we really need

      No, the problem is worse than that. Weather is a chaotic system. That means that before you can say anything meaningful about climate change you need to know whether it is a chaotic system with a convergence, or even any sort of stability.

      To know that you need a baseline of data at least a couple tens of thousands of years long, and the closer you get to half a millennium the better.

      US weather service data is maybe 150 years total and those numbers hold for most of Europe because the US was settled around the time weather was morphing into meteorology. Even at that the only really reliable data comes from the era of satellites, which cuts those numbers in half. Which means there's nowhere near enough baseline to do anything other than throw the bones and tell a good tale when it comes to climate change. With 65 years of data we've finally gotten to the point where our 10 day forecasts are about 50% better than guessing and our 3 day forecasts are about 90% accurate.

  17. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Just read the paper

    I have just read[*] the Karl et al paper in Science (this is a full text link, the Reg article links to the abstract). Not that there is much detail, but what I did find there looks rather bizarre. Consider:

    1. They deal with sea surface temperature (SST). Historically, these were taken by ships - throw buckets into water, raise to deck, stick a thermometer in. Lots of biases (e.g., ships are not everywhere, measurements were irregular, etc).

    2. At some point (starting before WWII) ships got fitted with engine intake sensors - these gotta give you higher readings - they are next to the engines, after all.

    3. Recently (it is not clear to me how recently - the paper does not say) buoy measurements have become wide-spread. These do not suffer from (as) many biases as ship-based measurements (see above). But buoy-based measurements do not go nearly as far back as ships, so if you want long-term historical data...

    4. Buoys systematically show slightly lower temperatures than ships in close-by locations.

    5. So, let's compute the somehow averaged difference between co-located ships and buoys and adjust all (i.e., not just co-located) buoy-based data upwards.What the...?!?!?

    6. Now, since buoys are nominally more accurate let's give them higher weights. This would normally be correct, but it's blatantly inconsistent with the previous adjustment - why did you choose to "correct" the more accurate data?!?

    7. Let's extrapolate the results to polar regions where very little or no real data exist. [**]

    As a result, the more recent observations (buoys) are adjusted upwards without any justification as far as I can see, AND given higher weights, AND extrapolated way beyond the sample that exhibited the bias that caused the adjustment in the first place.

    Frankly, I think I can bend just about any trend in any direction using methods like this. Now, can I get a government grant? On second thought, a research grant would probably not be a generous enough compensation for the lost ability to look at myself in the mirror.

    [*] I've been meaning to do it fora few days now, ever since it made waves in mainstream media. Always go to the source - got to justify my Reg handle...

    [**] Aside: many numerical models only cover polar regions, for various reasons - I fully expect some influence on model calibration in future publications, though it remains to be seen, of course.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Just read the paper

      6. Now, since buoys are nominally more accurate let's give them higher weights. This would normally be correct, but it's blatantly inconsistent with the previous adjustment - why did you choose to "correct" the more accurate data?!?

      This I'm actually willing to accept for sea surface temperature. Two different types of errors. One is unreliability of data because of missing data and variations in taking readings. The other is a shift in data points for a known cause that always points in the same direction by the same amount.

      Case in point. Quite a few years ago I worked for an OEM that made column ovens for Perkin-Elmer (The company I worked for actually owned the patent and licensed them to P-E). Part of the contract involved them doing QC on received ovens. They did the tests and started rejecting sets because the data was inconsistent. Our chief EE sat down with them and reviewed their testing procedure. They were simply putting two thermometers in the oven at different places and taking the temperature. Our method involved placing thermal couples on the entrance and exit points for the column. This turned out to be critical. Their method was fine for a traditional column oven that heated from the outside in. If the temperature in the oven wasn't consistent, you couldn't heat the column. Our column oven heated the fluid by direct thermal transfer on the plate. So the temperature in the oven was not necessarily correlated to the temperature inside the column, but the temperatures at the entrance and exit points were.

      It's the rest of the problems that bother me.

  18. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    2 alarm bells from Ross McKitrick

    Assuming Ross' analysis is accurate. There are 2 really worrying parts of the NOAA data that any science or maths grad should be able to see.

    1) Some of the NOAA data uses a 90% confidence interval. Real scientists consider p=0.95/95% a good rule of thumb for the start of talking about something statistically significant. In contrast the Higgs Boson results at Cern were not announced until they were at 99.9999% confidence.

    2) Most of the argument seems to centre around how NOAA have added 0.12 degrees to some of those readings. Regardless of where the actual addition is made the margin of error according to Ross is 1.7 degrees. i.e. the average change may be 0.12 degrees but the entire range of changes would be on a distribution between 1.82 and -1.58 degrees.

    Or to put it a much simpler way, the margins of error on most of their plots would be much much wider than most of the trend seen to date.

    It really does make you want to spend some time looking at the raw data sources and some of the assumptions being made.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: 2 alarm bells from Ross McKitrick

      But why assume Ross's analysis is accurate?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: 2 alarm bells from Ross McKitrick

        Perhaps because the two points I mentioned are trivially easy to check?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 alarm bells from Ross McKitrick

      Lots of clever El Reg posters seem to have fundamental problem with a trend. Sea temperatures are adjusted to get a consistent dataset over time. It doesn't make a blind bit of difference to a trend if you adjust buckets and bouys up, or engine intakes down. Because we are interested in the trend - not the actual temperature. If you subtracted 0.12 degrees from the 'high' readings the trend would be identical.

      And as for point 1) do you never ever make a decision till you are 95% sure? 'There's a ten percent chance of me crossing the road before that truck hits, so lets go for it'. '

      The raw data sources are publicly available. If you look at them, find something scientifically interesting, then publish it and the world will thank you!

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: 2 alarm bells from Ross McKitrick

        Trends that are artificially adjusted are not valid. Raw data that is artificially adjusted is not valid.

        Two crap "readings" do not make valid data.

        Data that is too insignificant to pop out of this "noise" is not valid.

        We are NOT interested in "trends", only the actual truth.

        Did the ACTUAL DATA increase and by how much, not "We adjusted the data because it didn't say what we wanted."

        1. Tom 13

          Re: 2 alarm bells from Ross McKitrick

          The adjustments MIGHT be valid. If they have the real data to show that the buoys consistently report temperatures that are ALWAYS 0.12 degrees lower than ship data and you can point to a proven physics mechanism that backs it, yes the adjustment should be made.

          The problem here is that the data fiddlers have been caught so many times that we don't know they didn't just adjust it because it didn't match their predictions. And throwing out the conflicting data sets really points toward it being data fiddling not a good technical correction.

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  20. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution

    Is that science speak for "I call bullshit"?

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

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