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« ECCO chamber | Main | #Greensgobyair »
Saturday
Jun012013

More from the 'Wrong Files' - Josh 224

The Met Office (along with everyone else, it seems) has much to say about Doug Keenan's post (simplified by our host here) and can be found on their blog here and website here

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (31)

No doubt they'll issue an updated release to report any actual evidence of AGW when they find it...

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Keenan and Donoughue scored a palpable hit. The edifice of alarmism, already built on sand, is now on even weaker foundations. This drawing is a welcome marking of the floundering and the scurrying that constitutes the Met Office response. That may have served their immediate purpose of deflecting the political heat of sustained PQs, but it will not suffice in the longer term to conceal the moral and intellectual poverty of their contribution to the shocking phenomenon of climate alarmism.

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

The Met's reply is a classic case of how not to answer a charge put against you, and instead to answer with obfuscation.

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

I am SO glad you wrote this. I read the Met Office thing quite late at night and thought 'I must be really tired because I didn't get the gist of that. I must have nodded off during the important bits.'

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The Met's reply is a classic case of how not to answer a charge put against you, and instead to answer with obfuscation.

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

Concisely, POLITICAL REPONSE.

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I must have nodded off during the important bits.'
There weren't any. At least not that I could find.

Jun 1, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I'm an actuary married to a biostatistician. As a skeptic, I hate to defend the Met Office. However, the concept of statistical significance is pretty murky. It depends on the choice of a model. Furthermore, the model will be wrong, because there aren't really random changes in temperature. Rather there are changes in temperature that we can't explain.

For me, the bottom line is that the rise in temperature since the late 1800's is not random. On this one point, I think the Met Office is correct.

Jun 1, 2013 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid in Cal

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky so far. The totalitarian nightmares of the 20th century showed what public sector "professionals" are prepared to do for a fat salary and a gold plated pension. The climate scam ain't the half of it.

Jun 1, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Josh, You really nailed it—this summarizes their response beautifully!!

Jun 1, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

For me, the bottom line is that the rise in temperature since the late 1800's is not random. On this one point, I think the Met Office is correct.

Jake, you are guessing. I think that is the point. Randomness does require independence, as I recall. While one could reasonably argue that today's weather will not be entirely independent of yesterday's last years is almost certainly independent of the year before. But then I'm guessing :)

Jun 1, 2013 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Sorry last post was directed at

Jun 1, 2013 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid in Cal

Jun 1, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

They've retreated to the Waffle Line.

Jun 1, 2013 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

The point being that, random or not, the post-1850 temperature rise and fall is insufficiently distinguishable from entirely naturally occurring global average temperature fluctuations.

This is the equivalent of the argument that a tornado has hit a town owing to God's anger at its population. Without even debating whether god exists or not, Doug is making the point that evidence to support the proposition that a tornado happens at the hand of an angry god is so weak it is meaningless.

Jun 1, 2013 at 9:27 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

@sadbutmadlad

"The Met's reply is a classic case of how not to answer a charge put against you, and instead to answer with obfuscation."

What the Met office have actually said is that they do not only use statistics and models. They also use their knowledge of physics, and the temperature observations.

The way that they validate everything is to say that:

1 - The physics must be right, because it matches the models
2 - The models must be right, because they match (roughly) the statistically tortured temperature observations.
3 - And it must be right to statistically alter the temperature readings, because that matches the physics...

Circular arguments like this are standard fare for Civil Servants. Attention needs to be drawn to the fact that this is what they are doing....

Jun 1, 2013 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

'The models must be right, because they match (roughly) the statistically tortured temperature observations.'

But look how-

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/04/global-warming-slowdown-the-view-from-space/

Jun 2, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

it is sort of amusing but what did Keenan's "hit" actually amount to? I persist in thinking that the Donoughue questions were a load of b/s.

Jun 2, 2013 at 1:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

in fact, these comments at Lucia's seem to nail the storm in a teacup nature of this earth-shattering disclosure:

http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/qas-in-parliament-keenan-kerfuffle/#comments

DeWitt Payne (Comment #114181)
May 29th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

lucia,

All you have to do is calculate the 95% envelope for DK’s ARIMA(3,1,0) using a Monte Carlo method and you’ll see why it’s ridiculous to use even if it weren’t physically unrealistic by being I(1). If you make your noise model complicated enough, you’ll never find a significant trend because the variability is literally wall to wall with random walks.

Or try calculating your position by double integrating accelerometer readings from your smart phone. Unless you have a nuclear submarine/ICBM grade inertial measurement device, the calculated position deviates from the true position by meters within seconds.

lucia (Comment #114182)
May 29th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

DeWitt–
Yep. That’s what diffusive systems do. It’s ok in diffusion problems where things diffuse. But it’s silly to suggest the earth’s temperature is “diffusive”. As the Met office says in the first question where Lord D mentions the I(1) type models:
“often lack physical realism in the case of temperature data”.

This answer was given to Lord D. He appears to simply ignore that part of the answer. My experience is that Doug Keenan essentially does the same thing.

DocMartyn (Comment #114202)
May 29th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Well I took the HADCRUT4 global data set. Then I took the rate of temperature change over a 31 year period, then I plotted the data.

http://i179.photobucket.com/al.....19cb37.jpg

The average rate is 0.714 degrees per century, with a standard deviation of 1.01 degrees.
However, the lineshape of the slope is not noise. the line shape is quite clearly information rich. I could not claim that the rate is a function that can be understood or modeled into the future.

HR (Comment #114207)
May 29th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

This exchange between Lord D and Baroness V is so uncontroversial, limited and dull it’s hard to see why anybody would want to spin it into something more.

Jun 2, 2013 at 1:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

As a danged furriner, I am not across the details of this dispute.

But, it seems to me that shifting the debate to matters of substance (in this case, methodology) is a step forward. It is certainly an improvement on lofty refusal to engage, namecalling, empty rhetoric and so on.

If Doug Keenan's work has managed to move the discussion on to more solid ground, whatever the outcome, he has done us all a service.

Jun 2, 2013 at 3:44 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

If Doug Keenan's work has managed to move the discussion on to more solid ground, whatever the outcome, he has done us all a service.
Jun 2, 2013 at 3:44 AM johanna


Absolutely.

And the MO's incoherent and rambling response makes clear that they are seriously rattled. Rightly so, as statistical analysis of time series is - or should be - at the heart of their operations yet it is clear that they are floundering in dealing with the subject.

To me, it's utterly amazing that they have not produced a single Met Office report discussing statistical analysis of time series applied to temperature and other data. I'd have expected them to have had hundreds of such reports, covering every possible aspect.

The implied response "we are climate scientists and only qualified climate scientists can meaningfully question our work" no longer holds water.

Jun 2, 2013 at 8:14 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"it is sort of amusing but what did Keenan's "hit" actually amount to?"

Quick summary of the conversation so far:
Government: We must spend lots of your money on windmills because of dangerous climate change.
Sceptics: How do you know there's dangerous climate change?
Government: Because of the rise in global temperatures over the 20th century.
Sceptics: Is the rise significant?
Government: Yes. Our experts calculate that it is statistically significant.
Sceptics: Using what statistical model?
Government: AR(1)+drift. When we assume the temps are AR(1)+drift, we find the drift has to be non-zero.
Sceptics: I thought temps were known not to be AR(1)+drift. What justification did you rely on for using this model? Aren't there other models like ARIMA(3,1,0) that fit far better, and for which the rise is insignificant?
Government: Um... We don't need to answer that question.
Sceptics: Aren't there other models like ARIMA(3,1,0) that fit far better, and for which the rise is insignificant?
Government: We don't need to answer that question.
Sceptics: Aren't there other models like ARIMA(3,1,0) that fit far better, and for which the rise is insignificant?
Government: We don't need to answer that question.
Sceptics: Aren't there other models like ARIMA(3,1,0) that fit far better, and for which the rise is insignificant?
Government: We don't need to answer that question.
Sceptics: Aren't there other models like ARIMA(3,1,0) that fit far better, and for which the rise is insignificant? You do have to answer the question.
Government: Err... yes. AR(1)+drift doesn't fit the data. Using ARIMA(3,1,0) fits a thousand times better. Assuming ARIMA(3,1,0)+drift finds the rise to be statistically insignificant. But we never used AR(1)+drift to draw our conclusion in the first place, and using any of these models would be the wrong thing to do. No sir, we never! We used the IPCC's detection and attribution work, based on our physical understanding built into climate models. Yes, we did.

...

Sceptics: Thanks. Now about the formal validation (in the technical sense) of these climate models... And does the IPCC say they can fully account for all the uncertainties? Can you show us their calculation...? etc.

---

I agree it's a small victory, but given the time and effort it took to get even such a small point resolved, how long would it take to get them to answer a big one?

Jun 2, 2013 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

Brilliantly retold NiV. And we never know what's a small victory - not until years later. Unintended consequences cut both ways.

Jun 2, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Diogenes wrote:

in fact, these comments at Lucia's seem to nail the storm in a teacup nature of this earth-shattering disclosure:

http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/qas-in-parliament-keenan-kerfuffle/#comments

When I clicked on the above link I received a very strange error message telling me that I am banned from accessing the site!

Access Denied
The owner of this website (rankexploits.com) has banned your IP address ...

In the tool bar on my browser (Safari) there was another message saying Access Denied | rank exploits.com used CloudFlare to restrict access

I have never heard of rankexploits.com before, nor have I heard of CloudFlare, and have absolutely no idea why I should be banned from that website or any other one.

Has anyone else on this list had the same problem accessing the link Diogenes posted, or ever been stopped by CloudFlare from accessing any other site.

Jun 2, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Argument by authority has been a stock-in-trade of those who have found enjoyment, fulfillment, wealth, or power through public scaremongering about climate. This work by Keenan and Donoughue has weakened that authority, and therein lies the scope for this to be more than just a minor step forward.

Jun 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Roy
I have commented on rankexploits and seen a similar range of bizarre messages. It is a feature, not a bug. :)

Jun 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Registered Commentershub

Here is the basis of the Met Office argument (it was exposed accidentally on a TV talk show): http://youtu.be/YhG6ebuKTH0

Jun 2, 2013 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Early morning tea making ritual rudely interrupted by me as I shout at radio 4. Roger Harrabin says Ed Davey to give robust speech to Meto including bit about right wing newspapers questioning concensus of 97% daninyada yada which leads to mps asking questions and its not true scientific scepticism but self interested, corporate backed schilling (or words to that effect), although Roger did wonder whether the Minister was puffing his freen credentials in the light of the watering down of sections of the new Energy Bill going before house today.

Jun 3, 2013 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterIsabelle

Josh, much truth is said in jest, but you have just penned the best precis of Sligo's sloppy science I have read.
Brilliant!

Jun 3, 2013 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Roy, Lucia has had a lot of trouble with spam bots and so has lots of filters in place to trap them. They can be a bit over-enthusiastic.

So if you had read the rest of the page (the bit you show as ...) I suspect you would have been given details on how to ask Lucia to let you in. She tends to respond very quickly to such direct requests.

It's possible that your IP address has been previously used by some other user of your ISP who was doing naughty things, and hence got plack listed.

Jun 3, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Wow, the met office blog post is a lot lot weaker than I would've imagined. Seriously. I'm shocked at their inability to scientifically support their own view...

Jun 4, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterHettie

There is a new post at WUWT which looks impressive. Relevant to the Keenan Challenge as picked up and pursued with such good effect by Donoughue, is this section where I have added the bolding at the end:

Nonetheless both these points, 1) atmospheric CO2 pivotally controls climate; and 2) we pivotally control atmospheric CO2, are hard-wired into all General Circulation Models of the climate – Models that attempt to predict the far future behavior of a “coupled, non-linear chaotic system”. One is compelled to consider that this modeling effort may well, in fact, be impossible. Yet these Models constitute substantially the entire evidentiary basis for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) as opposed to non-anthropogenic global warming (NGW or Natural Global Warming) for which there is a great deal of evidence. There is only one place anywhere in the history of the world where a CO2 increase precedes a temperature increase and that is in the Models themselves. And while extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, after 20+ years and with 10’s-100’s of Billions of global $’s devoted to this issue, the situation is unchanged. Where is the evidence of CO2’s pivotal feedback? And how can you justify a continued belief that rising atmospheric CO2 is entirely or even largely anthropogenic? The most vocal proponents of AGW-GHGHE theory are reduced to literally ask: “How else do you explain it?” But that is not evidence. And, far more importantly, it is also not clear what needs to be explained.

Jun 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

A side-by-side comparison of the statistical performance of the Met Office and Keenan's models is given here: http://suyts.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/keenan-confirmed-met-position-laid-to-utter-waste/

Keenan's model wins in every comparison, sometimes very dramatically.

Extract:

What Met has done was to state to Parliament that the rise in global temperature of 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880 is statistically significant but Keenan is right in his criticism that the model they use is useless in making that determination. But no worries, they don’t need statistical models to determine statistical significance.

Do you have any idea how incredibly stupid that sounds to a statistician? Statistical significance can only be determined by using statistical tests. That’s why the term “statistically” is in front of “significant.” That was the whole point of Parliament’s question.

I’m off to the grocery store to buy more popcorn. The ongoing debate between Keenan and the Met Office isn’t over yet. It will be interesting to watch how it unfolds.

Jun 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

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