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« Advancing hard astern | Main | CRUTEM code still not fixed »
Friday
Nov122010

Ciccerone circumspect

The Columbia Journalism Review reports on Mann's comments at the ScienceWriters2010 conference, which I posted about here. The report also covers comments made by NAS boss, Ralph Ciccerone, at the same meeting. Ciccerone of course needs little introduction to readers here because of the role he played in the shenanigans over the Hockey Stick hearings.

Asked in an interview about what he thought of media coverage over the past year, Cicerone was characteristically circumspect: “I don’t have any fault with the media coverage. The media was covering the news. That was no surprise.”

Looking ahead, given the politicized environment in Washington, Cicerone said he was counting on science media coverage of new evidence documenting the impact of climate change around the globe “to help clear the air.” He noted that ongoing measurements of surface temperature, ice, and sea level provide “consistent signals that the planet is warming…. We need to keep watching the data. We’re confronted with a long-term issue that isn’t going to go away. We need to keep the focus on this issue.”

Many commentators have suggested that the Climategate story was blown up from nothing by a coalition of sceptics and media pundits. It's therefore interesting to see Ciccerone putting this argument to bed.

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Reader Comments (34)

He noted that ongoing measurements of surface temperature, ice, and sea level provide “consistent signals that the planet is warming….

Which planet is that referring too ?

Temp plateau, increasing Antartic ice, Artic ice plateau and minimal sea level increase on Earth.

Nov 12, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

'He noted that ongoing measurements of surface temperature, ice, and sea level provide “consistent signals that the planet is warming…. '


Well the signals are consistent - all negative.

Nov 12, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I think that quote may come back to haunt him

Nov 12, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

He might be on a loser with sea level. The rise rate has dropped by 33% since the sun got sleepy in 2003.

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/msl-2010.jpg

Nov 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commentertallbloke

'ongoing measurements of surface temperature, ice, and sea level provide “consistent signals that the planet is warming'
disagree
'We need to keep watching the data'
agree

Nov 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered Commentermark

"Temp plateau, increasing Antartic ice, Artic ice plateau and minimal sea level increase on Earth."
Nov 12, 2010 at 8:43 AM | JohnH

What are you on about?

The only way temperature plateaus, is if you cherry pick a pointlessly short period of time, for no other reason than to try and give the impression of a temperature plateau. Climate science uses 30 year averages for a reason, it eliminates the background noise of weather variation. Using a climactic timescale, we're definitely on the rise.

Increasing Antarctic ice and Arctic ice plateau? Look at the NSIDC September arctic sea ice graph for the latter, that curve's just getting steeper and steeper. As for the Antarctic, it's a very complex place ice-wise. Land mass is on the wane. Again, this is happening at an increasing rate. You're correct to say that sea ice is increasing, but this is despite a Southern ocean temperature increase of 0.17 degrees per decade. There are papers detailing the reasons for this increase, I can point people to them if they'd like. The reasons are several, and varied. Ignoring them, and land mass, and treating sea ice as straightforward, is defiitely oversimplifying to try and score a point.

Talking of scoring points, your last one is actually agreeing with him. Sea levels are rising. However you seem to find it necessary to include the word 'minimal', presumably in an attempt to be dismissive. It makes you seem like you can't bear to concede a point. I mean, how much would you like sea levels to rise before you don't consider them minimal, until they're up to your waist?

Nov 12, 2010 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Whether genuine or not (since one can imagine devious plotters seizing upon climate alarmism to help further their dreams of revolution), there does seem to be a common thread of vivid imagery amongst those alarmed by climate in general and airborne CO2 in particular. I suspect that extraordinary delicacy is required to really get through to such people, given that their nerves are stretched to the limit trying to cope with the acute danger they feel is threatening their wellbeing. Many of them have set out to deliberately instil similar fears in children, as if spreading the fear will help drive away the terrors in due course. Recently, it was announced that Gore's video, An Inconvenient Truth, is to be included in school curricula in Australia, not apparently as a source of amusement and as an instructive focus to hone skills of rebuttal and critical review in senior pupils, but to be taken seriously as a source of guidance. The inconvenient truth about that is the blatant, hostile to science, hostile to humanity, wish to indoctrinate the young which it reveals.

But the old tale of those who cry wolf too often holds out some hope. Most of us will grow weary with the 'water up your waist' notions of those seriously disturbed by the various scares, but in the meantime a great deal of harm has already been done thanks to them. So many politicians, so many others with power or influence, remain in thrall to the environmental movement, despite it having a dismal record of being wrong time after time after time. But fears can be allayed, through boredom, through observation and experience, and even through logic and explanation, and reassurance, provided by calmer and better-informed people. I think this 'allaying' is proceeding apace, as public opinion polls indicate reducing levels of concern amongst the general public, and the recent elections in the USA saw a wave of wiser heads about climate chosen by the voters. The ongoing exposure, dramatically boosted by climategate, of the decidedly undistinguished nature of some of the back-room boys on the technical front of CO2 alarmist, is another source of optimism. But perhaps, if the gods wish to be cruel to be kind, a series of colder winters will provide the coup-de-grace to this shocking and shameful episode of shallow-thinking and specious but effective scaremongering on a global scale.

Nov 12, 2010 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

@ ZedsDeadBed:

Climate science uses 30 year averages for a reason, it eliminates the background noise of weather variation. Using a climactic timescale, we're definitely on the rise.

Don't be silly. Climate science uses 30 year averages because you've only got 150 years of data.

Nov 12, 2010 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Ouch! :)

Nov 12, 2010 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Justice4Rinka

No, don't you be silly. Going much above 30 years can flatten meaningful change into trends. It's sufficient time for the climate to change measurably. The further below you go, the closer you get to assessing weather rather than climate.

Nov 12, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

@Zed

"Going much above 30 years can flatten meaningful change into trends. It's sufficient time for the climate to change measurably."

Is it possible to tell if this change is outside the realms of natural variability?

Nov 12, 2010 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss H

@ ZDB

Exactly, the period was cherry picked to get one that provided trends across an otherwise meaninglessly short span of time.

Funnily enough, where climate scientists unavoidably do only have 30 years of data (Arctic sea ice) they insist that's still enough to make apocalyptic predictions off too. And if they have all but the last 30 years of data, they just leave it out and that's fine (Hockey Stick)

30 years? You might just as well try to guess my age by weighing my eyelashes.

When it comes to predictions, climate alarmists need to stop kidding themselves they're hard-done-by Cassandras and accept that they are actually Doris Stokes.

Nov 12, 2010 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"accept that they are actually Doris Stokes"

Has anyone heard from her lately? Strange, if not...

Nov 12, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Climate science uses 30 year averages for a reason, it eliminates the background noise of weather variation.

I guess it's agreed upon then. Santer et al (20 years data) is junk and MMH 2010 (30 years data) settles the matter on the fingerprint wars.

Nov 12, 2010 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered Commenter"Dr." Karl

Someone, possibly ZBD said - "Land mass is on the wane". Think about it. Is this the most stupid, non-scientific, arm waving, non-quantifiable statement anyone has ever proffered in this forum? "Land mass is on the wane" - seriously, if it wasn't so sad, you'd have to laugh.

Nov 12, 2010 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

GrantB

In context, my referring to landmass being on the wane, is quite clearly referring to the mass of the ice on land. I'd suggest taking the time to read something properly before commenting upon it. Failure to do so can reflect badly on you.

As for all your other charming accusations, again, as I quite cleary said, I'm willing to provide references if anyone would like them.

I wonder why my impression of deniers is of people who don't bother to read things but then attack opposing views anyway.....

Nov 12, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

"Exactly, the period was cherry picked to get one that provided trends across an otherwise meaninglessly short span of time."
Justice4Rinka

Erm, so initially 30 years was used because there was only data for 150, now it's changed and it's a cherry-picked period to artificially provide trends.

What makes you say that 30 years is a meaninglessly short span of time in climate terms? We're able to measure the temperature change in climate per decade, using a period three times that reduces error.

Do you believe it impossible for climate to change in 30 years? If so, you're in a tiny minority, and I'd be amazed if there was a single published paper providing evidence for your view. If you believe the climate can change in 30 years, and we can measure it with a fair degree of accuracy over that period, then why is it too short?

Your comments seem to be inconsistent.

Nov 12, 2010 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Sixty years give a far better picture of climate change on decade long scales as it incorporates peak to peak periods of certain ocean osilations which folow temperature far better then CO2.

As for warming or cooling, pick your period..
1410-1500 cold – Low Solar Activity(LSA?)-(Sporer minimum)
1510-1600 warm – High Solar Activity(HSA?)
1610-1700 cold – (LSA) (Maunder minimum)
1710-1800 warm – (HSA)
1810-1900 cold – (LSA) (Dalton minimum)
1910-2000 warm – (HSA)
2010-2100 (cold???) – (LSA???)

Nov 12, 2010 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The disconnect between CO2 and temperature is contained in Frank Lansner’s post here.
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2,Temperaturesandiceages-f.pdf

Nov 12, 2010 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

@ ZedsDeadBed:

"Climate science uses 30 year averages for a reason, it eliminates the background noise of weather variation."
No, not even that clearly, and it positively does not eliminate various forcing and feedbacks that can and are known to be far longer!

Nov 12, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

"If you believe the climate can change in 30 years, and we can measure it with a fair degree of accuracy over that period, then why is it too short?"

If I was a woman I could be an actress.

The problem is that you have no idea what's being measured accurately or inaccurately or neither, yet you act like you do.

Andrew

Nov 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

"...counting on science media coverage of new evidence documenting the impact of climate change around the globe."

I think Ciccerone misspoke here. He meant to say "...counting on science media coverage of new *adjusted data* documenting the impact of climate change around the globe."

Nov 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

You know what is funny?

The prim and proper moral outrage over the IPCC-published sea level rise estimates in 2007, which have been lagging observed data, for 3 years, and that is such a problem

Real temperatures are lagging any expected monotonous increase for fifteen years, but that is still not a problem.

Nov 12, 2010 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

@ ZDB

Erm, so initially 30 years was used because there was only data for 150, now it's changed and it's a cherry-picked period to artificially provide trends.

If, before you even start, you have already decided there are 30-year trends to be observed that trump those visible on a timescale of 150 years, then clearly you have to break the data down into shorter periods somehow so you can claim to have found some. It's completely circular reasoning.

Suppose a climate scientist were to observe my daughters during the first six months. Each grew about a foot during that time. The climate scientist has six months of growth data, so he breaks it into six month-long segments and analyses those. Knowing that looking "much above 6 months can flatten meaningful change into trends", he brilliantly calculates that by the time they're 20, my daughters will be exactly 46 feet tall. And declares a crisis.

I sugest that better might results might be obtained by looking at the growth trend over a longer period. He just asserts that 6 months is more significant than 10 years, calls me a denier, and as the 15-year data comes in, he focuses on hiding the decline.

What makes you say that 30 years is a meaninglessly short span of time in climate terms?

What makes you say it's not? The burden of proof is on the alarmist who's wanting the money.

Nov 12, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"The burden of proof is on the alarmist who's wanting the money."
Nov 12, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Justice4Rinka

No. The burden of proof is on the denier, who has so far failed to falsify climate science, is in a tiny scientific minority, has no evidence for her or his views, and a mountain of evidence to say they're wrong.

To use the example of your daughters, if one initially measure them every 10 minutes, you'd soon find that not only were you measuring them needlessly often, but that they were also taller in the mornings - the 'weather', if you would. If you then changed to measuring them every 10 years, you'd find you'd gone to far the other way, and your only useful readings would be start, middle and end.

Perfecting this process through all daughters, you will end up on a period of every few months. Infrequent enough to see measurable change, where there has been some, frequent enough to see that change.

No matter how much you protest (and you doth protest very, very much), this is the exact process climate science has been through, to arrive at the 30 year figure. Your belief that it is picked to somehow reinforce AGW, is, frankly, a little paranoid.

Nov 12, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

zedbed

Let us not lose ourselves in a fog here - the question was "why 30 years is the only approved time interval?".

The whole of 'climate science' has not proven anything, or produced any mountains, let alone 'mountains of evidence', employing this time period definition. 'Deniers' are not trying to 'falsify' the 'whole of climate science' - let us stay focused on the simple question at hand.

All temperature points - every minute, every second - contribute to the climate, as much as they do, to the weather - it is all the same thing. Natural variations in climate take place in all timescales - decadal, to millenial and beyond. The choice of a baseline timescale is arbitrary; the IPCC uses different baselines and time periods as well.

Nov 12, 2010 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

@zdb
"We're able to measure the temperature change in climate per decade, using a period three times that reduces error."

Only if you can detect the signal of ACO2 in the noise from UHI, solar variation, ocean cycles, temperature adjustments, station homogenisation, land use changes etc.
Then, using that information should it ever be attained, project into the future against CO2 saturation effects plus solar variation, ocean cycles, land use changes etc.
Then consider how projected changes may manifest themselves, where they may be benign, where they may be deleterious and where they may be of no consequence.

As we currently strive to detect the signal of ACO2, arguments over periods of comparison for data analysis would seem to be for sometime in the future and entirely dependent on what has been accomplished on data accuracy at that time.

Nov 12, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

From NCDC -

"Every 30 years the international meteorological community comes together to produce a document that summarizes the "normal" climate for all of the nations of the world. The effort was originated by the International Meteorological Committee in 1872 as an effort to assure comparability between data collected at various stations. International agreements eventually determined that the appropriate interval for computing a normal would be 30 years (Guttman, 1989). The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which succeeded the International Meteorological Committee, defines normals as "period averages computed for a uniform and relatively long period comprising at least three consecutive 10-year periods" (WMO, 1984). The WMO defines climatological standard normals as "averages of climatological data computed for the following consecutive periods of 30 years: January 1, 1901 to December 31, 1930, January 1, 1931 to December 31, 1960, etc." (WMO, 1984). Normals are computed every decade by individual countries to keep up with any climatic changes that may take place, but a coordinated international effort to compile global standard normals is undertaken only once every 30 years (Guttman, 1989). The latest global standard normals period is 1961-1990. "

Nov 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

"....We need to keep the focus on this issue.” That is to say, we need to keep the focus on the scientists who say "the planet is warming"... as the result of human-induced CO2. Skeptic scientists disagree, so how do you prevent the public from focusing on skeptics?

For one very probable answer, please see my article "How an Enviro-Advocacy Group Propped Up Global Warming in the MSM – A Nov 2 Election Connection" http://bigjournalism.com/rcook/2010/11/02/how-an-enviro-advocacy-group-propped-up-global-warming-in-the-msm-a-nov-2-election-connection/

Nov 12, 2010 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell C

ZDB

"quite clearly referring to the mass of the ice on land"

It wasn't clear to me, either. As it transpires that you talking about ice (not land), I assume you mean the Pine Island glacial sheet that happens to be sitting on a volcano...

Nov 12, 2010 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"The burden of proof is on the denier"

That's post-normal science for you.

Nov 12, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I noticed a couple of years ago that the '30 years' touted at RealClimate as the time to note a climate trend is just about half of the cycle of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Sure enough, in the historical record, the trend changes every 30 years from warming to slight cooling. So, the 30 years is just about perfect for getting the future trend dead wrong, unless you happen to start your trend near the middle of one of the phases of the oscillation.
===============

Nov 12, 2010 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Where is the "Hotspot" Zed? Models eh! I will stick to catwalk ones, at least they are observable!

Nov 13, 2010 at 5:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete Hayes

And I thought 30 years was chosen to be long enough not to unsettle a career. Silly me.

Nov 13, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

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