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« Myles' model mystery | Main | IPCC hides the good news »
Thursday
Mar062014

Sherwood's fabrication

The Guardian has a quote from Professor Stephen Sherwood of the University of New South Wales, in which he takes a pot shot at the Lewis Crok report.

The report is standard cherry-picking.  It offers no new evidence not already considered by the IPCC, relying very heavily on a few strands of evidence that seem to point toward lower sensitivity while ignoring all the evidence pointing to higher sensitivity.

It relies heavily on the estimate by Forster and Gregory, which was an interesting effort but whose methodology has been shown not to work; this study did not cause the IPCC to conclude that sensitivity had to be low, even though both Forster and Gregory were IPCC lead authors and were obviously aware of their own paper.

This demonstrates conclusively that Sherwood hasn't read the Lewis/Crok report, the whole point of which is that, once you have discarded all the lines of evidence that AR5 itself says are unreliable you are left with only the GCMs and the energy budget studies. Here's Lewis and Crok in their own words:

...we will accept the conclusion in AR5 that estimates of ECS based on:

  • past climate states very different from today
  • timescales different than those relevant for climate stabilization (e.g. climate response to volcanic eruptions)
  • forcings other than greenhouses gases (e.g. volcanic eruptions or solar forcing)

may differ from the climate sensitivity based on the climate feedbacks of the Earth system today. Accordingly, so far as observational estimates of ECS are concerned, we concur with the AR5 authors that reliance should primarily be placed on instrumental estimates based on warming during a substantial part or all of the period since 1850.

The Forster and Gregory study is based on satellite observations at the top of the atmosphere, and is therefore not "based on warming during a substantial part...of the period since 1850". Lewis and Crok discuss it in their section on the Fourth Assessment and in particular the way the IPCC fiddled the figures in AR4, but is only mentioned in passing thereafter.

Far from relying heavily on it, as Sherwood falsely states, Lewis and Crok explicitly agree with the IPCC that it should not be relied upon.

 

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Reader Comments (33)

'...AR5 itself says are reliable you are left... '
I think that should read as '...AR5 itself says are not reliable you are left ...'

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Thanks - fixed

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The fact that they are having to argue with us now is an advance of sorts. They are in retreat.

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTBYJ

List of miracles increases:

1. Warming has been happening mostly where there was nobody to observe it

2. Forster thinks his own work is bunk

3. NSW Professors can read at thousands of words a minute

4. Lewis & Crok relied on a paper they didn't rely on

5. Having observed decades of incorrect performance by most of their climate models, climate modelers are steadfastly going to keep using them all

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Now where have I heard of the University of New South Wales before? Why am I not surprised that the Grauniad goes to the University of New South Wales for a statement?

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

These people aren't going anywhere.

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I think the most interesting part of the Graun article is this part re Meinshausen's work. Rather takes us back to the question of whether 2C is dangerous or even catastrophic.

But what if we're feeling generous and accept that climate sensitivity might be on the low end, even though new research suggests the opposite? What impact might this have for climate policies?

Dr Malte Meinshausen, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and the University of Melbourne's School of Earth Sciences, has looked at this question in a research paper just accepted to the journal Environmental Research Letters (it's not online yet but I've read it).

Even if we were to accept lower estimates for climate sensitivity, Meinshausen writes, this "only results in a delay of less than a decade in the timing of when the 2C threshold would be crossed" if no firm action were taken to cut emissions.

Meinshausen told me the most important part of the debate about climate sensitivity should be about giving the planet the best chance of avoiding the higher estimates for global warming which can't yet be discounted.

The policy should be about avoiding risk. If we shift policies to a more relaxed approach and then find the higher estimates are more likely, then we have locked ourselves into a pathway of high fossil fuel use and eliminated our chance of staying below two degrees of global warming. We want a good chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change – not one that's like guessing the toss of a coin.

Having only a 50/50 chance of avoiding dangerous climate change seems to me to be very bad news indeed.

Mar 6, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichieRich

Two degrees of cooling, that's what I call dangerous climate change. Bring on some warming.

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"The report is standard cherry-picking."

And the IPPC report is not?

Remember D'Arrigo? : "You have to pick cherries if you want to make cherry pie"

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

RichieRich's comment at 11.50 is interesting. Dangerous climate change contingent on a certain level of warming is breached. My understanding is that it has as more to do with the speed of warming than the magnitude. It is this which could premenantly change the climate systems, potentially making them more volatile as well. A lower sensitivity equates to slower warming rates. It also means the maximum warming is much lower for any level of emissions as (a) GHGs are not held in the atmosphere for ever and (b) emissions will eventually top out.
On these bases, halving of sensitivity makes many times smaller the unmitigated climate catastrophe. The slower onset also makes adaptation more incremental, and onset of random changes to climate more spaced apart.
The benefit/cost ratio on mitigation policy falls dramtically with sensitivity, as do the costs of adaptation.

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Sherwood was the one that believed the models should show even higher temperatures and so be even more in disagreement with observations, So why would his word on anything be taken seriously?

If Forster doesn't believe his own work then he should bloody well not publish it! Yes thanks but we knew it was just biased guesswork. The trouble is that guesswork and the inadequate models are all they have and they call it "evidence".

Talk about risk? What about the highly likely risk that we are severly damaging our energy future based on a perfectly normal temperature rise of a 0.6K and a pessimistic notion of dangerous climate change that has no empirical support whatsoever?

I've not read that new paper but anyone who thinks a totally unexpected 17 year plateau in warming and consequent large divergence from the model outputs (that are the only support for catastrophic manmade warming) can be dismissed just by predictiong a further warming delay of 10 years needs to swop his PhD for a dunces cap. Smith et al. already tried that handwave by the way in 2005 when they predicted that the temperature would shoot up in 2009 after a few more years of lull. Now Smith admits he just "doesn't know". A pity more of them couldn't admit that - but then they wouldn't make the papers, and may not even be employed.

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it:

I omit erroneous data,
You cherry-pick data,
He spreads disinformation

Mar 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

'The report is standard cherry-picking..'
Ah, yes - well the warmists would know all about that, wouldn't they..?

Mar 6, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

The AGW community is acting more and more irrational as reality firmly declines to participate in their crisis.

Mar 6, 2014 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

What does non-standard cherry-picking look like?

Great work, Andrew. I believe you. And I'll read it up before long, unlike some.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:01 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

What fascinates me about the alarmists is the breadth and depth of their logical fallacies. Now, as the Catastrophic Warming hoax disintegrates, they cloak themselves in the pseudo scientific belief that there is a 50/50 chance of catastrophic warming. Not 60/40 or 55/65, but 50/50. And given the odds, what rational person wouldn’t pursue the alarmist course of action?

These hoaxes die very slowly, observe Steorn’s magic magnet motor or Blacklight Power’s magic hydrogen. But when the CAGW hoax eventually collapses, the alarmists can assuage their fragile egos by saying look, what scientist wouldn’t have taken action given the 50/50 odds? So the coin came up tails, we weren’t wrong, just unlucky. Unlucky that the world didn’t burn up, that is. An odd bunch.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

The odd bunch made a lot of money
Sorry: stole.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPtw

University of New South Wales.

A totally infested nest. " I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

I have said it before: CS due to 2xCO² is ≤ 0.000°K à la Ferenc Miskolczi.

I believe (there's that word again) that aliens will contact us and explain 'climate science' before any of these vested clowns admit... well, anything.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

"Now where have I heard of the University of New South Wales before?" - Phillip Bratby

Probably from reading about the Akademik Shokalskiy Ship of Fools, another fiasco sponsored by UNSW.

Mar 6, 2014 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

Climatology has defined a central quantity "sensitivity" as a modeler's dream. However, it is difficult to measure. They have been guessing it ever since. Science, indeed. A climastrology.

Mar 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

I've always wondered this. Why is climate sensitivity considered to be a constant? For example, would a doubling of CO2 during an ice age cause the identical temperature change as during an interglacial? Is doubling from 100-200ppm the same as doubling from 1000-2000ppm? Is doubling different between time of high solar activity and low?

I suppose one answer is that we are calculating a doubling of CO2 for our times (e.g. 280-560ppm). But what about CS studies that use paleo data? Are the different climate metrics taken into account somehow? Will future solar activity affect CS?

Mar 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeC

The evidence currently shows that the Climate Sensitivity of CO2 is very near zero.

Mar 6, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

The true Climate Sensitivity of CO2 should be very near zero, since the complex heat transfer/fluid flow mechanisms cooling the earth's surface will adjust themselves to maintain the equilibrium.

Mar 6, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

How in the blazes are these people able to come up with responses so quickly?

Mar 6, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shub: "How in the blazes are these people able to come up with responses so quickly?"

They have learned well at the feet of people like Blair and Campbell - with their 'rapid rebuttal team'. And they would see the country beggared rather than admit they had a scintilla of doubt in their beliefs.

Mar 6, 2014 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Sherwood's own paper claiming tropics support high sensitivity model results is mostly black magic.

The test of a good paper is whether it provides sufficient information to allow someone to independently validate the results. This paper doesn’t and seems to me on balance to be more propaganda than hard science.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

When baking pies the wise chef will see that the pits are removed from the cherries before, not after, baking the pie.
The AGW promtotion industry wants us to eat pits and all, and then cries foul when we point out that much of their work is mostly the pits.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The professional doomcasters are sounding increasingly like small and badly-socialised boys gathered in their tree hut plotting foul stuff to frighten those who aren't part of their little tribe.
The UNSW sounds like a particularly vile playground populated with fantasy-promoting academics of all ages.

Mar 6, 2014 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

The evidence currently shows that the Climate Sensitivity of CO2 is very near zero.

Mar 6, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

The true Climate Sensitivity of CO2 should be very near zero, since the complex heat transfer/fluid flow mechanisms cooling the earth's surface will adjust themselves to maintain the equilibrium.

Mar 6, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I'm with you, gentlemen. Evidence is on your side. It may take time but your time will come.

Mar 6, 2014 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

Why bother with models? Has it occurred to someone that observations of nature take precedence over any model anytime? Take observations of global warming. We have had no warming for the last 17 years while models are quite unable to even hindcast, not to mention predict, any of that no-warming. 17 years is two thirds of the time that IPCC has existed and it is totally irresponsible for an allegedly science-based organization to refuse to admit relevant scientific observations for this length of time. The only responses to it that I have seen are laughable attempts to find the "missing heat" in the ocean bottom or in other contortions of reality. And for a scientific organization, not one of them has bothered to apply the laws of radiation physics to the absorption of IR by carbon dioxide. It so happens that in order to start greenhouse warming by carbon dioxide you must simultaneously increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That is necessary because the absorbence of that gas for infrared radiation is a property of its molecules and cannot be changed.

Since there has been no warming at all in the twenty-first century we have to look at twentieth century warming and see how they meet this criterion. There are two general warming incidents in that century, plus a separate one for the Arctic. The first warming started in 1910, raised global temperature by half a degree Celsius and then stopped in 1940. The second one started in 1999, raised global temperature by a third of a degree Celsius in only three years, and then stopped. Arctic warming started suddenly at the turn of the twentieth century after two thousand years of slow, linear cooling. There is also a warming that starts in late seventies and raises global temperature by a tenth of a degree Celsius per decade that is shown in ground-based temperature curves. Satellite temperature curves indicate no warming in the interval from 1979 to early 1997 which makes that warming a fake warming. Fortunately we do know what carbon dioxide was doing when each of these warmings started, thanks to the Keeling curve and its extension by ice core data. And this information tells us that there was no increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide at the turn of the century when Arctic warming began. And there was no increase either in 1910 or in 1999 when the other two warming periods got started. Hence, there was no greenhouse warming whatsoever during the entire twentieth century. This makes the twentieth century entirely greenhouse free.

The twenty-first century is also greenhouse free, thanks to that hiatus-pause-whatchamacallit thing. And this takes this takes the uncertainty out of estimating sensitivity. Its true value is exactly zero because addition oc carbon dioxide to the atmosphere demonstrably does not cause warming.

Mar 7, 2014 at 1:35 AM | Registered Commenterarno-arrak

Shub: "How in the blazes are these people able to come up with responses so quickly?"

Perhaps it is because they know what the weak points of their theories are and therefore have had time to prepare their defence even before criticisms of those theories are published.

Mar 7, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Shub,
AGW acolytes started a 'rapid response' team strategy to come up with fresh propaganda when ever counter news comes up. We see this more lately because more and more news counter to the AGW dogma is coming out.

Mar 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Phillip Bratby:

"Now where have I heard of the University of New South Wales before? Why am I not surprised that the Grauniad goes to the University of New South Wales for a statement?"

The heroic Antarctic expeditionary Chris Turney is from the University of New South Wales.

UNSW would rate as a right-wing university in the political spectrum of Australian universities. It is my alma mater, and it really is the home of capitalist pigs:

UNSW graduates hold more chief executive positions of ASX 200 listed companies than those of any other university in Australia. Wikipedia

The Guardianista types and other commie academics usually congragate around Macquire University and University of Western Sydney. I believe they are holed up in La Trobe University in Melbourne, south of the border from here.

So now people know where to look when they want to blame capitalists or communists for the climate doomsday hysteria.

Mar 9, 2014 at 1:10 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

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