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« The best laid plans of Westminster mice | Main | A fracking corrective »

Sierra Club silliness

Many thanks to John Shade for this hilarious video from the US Congress, which I hadn't seen before.

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Reader Comments (145)

that was fabbie

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Well that was entertaining. ;-D

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterFenbeagle

Now you understand the intro to the latest Curry/Christie/Happer/Steyn. Mair declined to come to the Data or Dogma hearing, but Cruz left a spot for him - which Senator Markey said was inappropriate.

You can't get the alarmists to answer questions about uncertainty or other expert opinion. They are like the husband accused of having another woman's lipstick on his collar: deny, deny, deny until everyone gives up in despair or wonders if the lipstick is imaginary (because nobody, surely, can't see it?).

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Procttor

Arse, handed too.

Was a joy to watch. Is that the guy running for POTUS?

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

"The TLT computation begins with the 11 scan positions which the MSU produces for each swath across the ground track below.  There are 11 positions, labeled 1 thru 11, with #6 being straight down (nadir).  There are also 2 more positions at the ends of each swath, one viewing deep space and the other viewing a heated target which is monitored for temperature with two accurate resistance thermometers.  The TLT algorithm actually includes only 4 of the 11 positions, throwing out 5, 6, and 7 and using 1, 2, 10 and 11 as a correction for the data from 3, 4, 8 and 9. Thus, the resulting TLT data can not be said to “ provide “complete global coverage”.  Also, the data can only be provided between 82.5N and 82.5S, due to the inclination of the orbit.  Spencer and Christy calculate a gridded data product including higher latitudes, which they calculate by interpolation, artificially extending beyond the range of available data.

The TLT algorithm is based on theoretical calculations, using a model of the microwave emission and adsorption at each pressure altitude added together from the surface to satellite altitude. Spencer and Christy have never publicly revealed the method they used to create their algorithm, which is rather curious, as the assumptions used may be critical.   Some of the microwave energy in channel 2 comes from the Earth’s surface and the TLT computation adds more surface effects, thus the TLT is not a pure measure of temperature.  As the MSU instruments are retired, newer AMSU instruments are replacing them and Spencer and Christy have created a different algorithm in order to include the AMSU data into the TLT.  They claim that they are simulating the TLT from the MSU, again without specifying the method used to do so.  They have continued this lack of transparency with the latest TLT (version 6), which Spencer briefly described on his blog, but which has not been published after peer review.

The important point to remember from all of this is that the TMT is not useful for measuring climate change and the TLT is highly theoretical.   In spite of being aware of these limits, Spencer and Christy have presented the TMT in testimony to Congress, showing a comparison between the TMT and the results of computer simulations, both globally and over  the tropics.  What they don’t mention is that to produce their graphic,  they have simulated the orbital altitude TMT measurements from the GCM results (3), using CMIP5 data from the KNMI Climate Explorer website (4).  The model results from KNMI are monthly averages and include only temperatures at 3 pressure levels, the surface, 500mb and 200mb pressure height, as I understand it.  The method to translate those monthly values into simulated TMT results remains an unpublished mystery.

Spencer and Christy’s claim that the satellite data does not exhibit as much warming as that from the surface is not surprising.  The 13 satellites’ orbits take the instruments across each latitude at the same time of day with each orbit, the equator crossing times being nearly constant.  The surface temperature record is usually an average of the temperature at a location, computed as an average of the daily low and high temperatures.  This average will not be the same as the temperature measured at a fixed times of the day, say 10AM and 10PM, which the satellite might see over mid-latitudes. And, at the highest latitudes, each pass provides measurements half way between the equatorial crossing times, 3AM at one pole and 3PM at the opposite pole.  At polar latitudes, the orbits overlap, giving multiple measurements during the day, which are summed into a grid box, while in mid latitudes, there are missed areas between the ground swaths, which exacerbates the lack of coverage in the TLT.

[...] In conclusion, I think these facts provide very good reasons to discount the “satellite temperature” data when assessing the climate change resulting from mankind’s activities adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

Best Regards,
Richard Eric Swanson, AAAS, AGU"

Letter to Lamar Smith

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

I sometimes think I'm living a bad dream.

Can it really be true that the future of the world's greatest economy is hinging on a slogan faked up by ex-cartoonist & Himmler impersonator Cook - with his rag-taggle Tree House Gang of unheard-of academics, student radicals, handbag designers, waste disposal operatives & slogan mongers?

It's time for "The 97% Illusion" Bish.

Dec 15, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Spencer and Christy run UAH, so what's the problem with RSS which tells the same story.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Swiss Bob

Not only running for POTUS but leading the republican nominations for the first caucus.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

So president Obama his idea for protecting every school child in LA from a possible Terrorist bomb threat is to shut every coal mine in Pennsylvania .

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Why is Richard Swanson's letter to Congressman Lamar Smith pretending to ignore the fact that the independently derived RSS satellite data set, using different algorithms, also shows no warming for 18+ years?

Why is he also ignoring the multiple radiosonde balloon data sets that confirm the satellite data?

Is he very ignorant, very poorly briefed or just very crooked?

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

I will raise your level of absurdity

Morning Ireland (Irish state radio version of the today programme)

“This will change the narrative. A powerful moral voice has validated the science of climate change” - Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland and now global warming groupie)on the Pope's comments
1 19 Jun 2015 Dublin City.

Francis Bacon and the rest of the scientific method crowd are spinning.

The interview was extraordinary in so much as the interviewer did not immediately recoil and say "but........."

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Swiss Bob

Not only running for POTUS but leading the republican nominations for the first caucus.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

I see senior Democratic advisers are telling Hilary they expect Cruz to get the Republican nomination.

Since he's built his reputation on attacking establishment dogma on both sides, and he seems to have chosen to highlight the climate scam as a major campaign issue - I think we all need to order in a years supply of popcorn.

There must be many dim greenies like Mair quaking over the potential loss of their seats on The Big Green Gravy Train :-)

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:14 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Obviously done the rounds but always worth another look just to remind us of the outright duplicity of those on the other side.

The man stated he refused to accept data and refused to acknowledge he would accept data. No data allowed when dogma rules the roost.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

He was certainly made to look a complete fool

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Johnson

Yet again we see the power of propaganda with the execrable soap powder style "97% of scientists prefer warming" schtick being wheeled out as fact. The quality and life expectancy of those laughable papers is irrelevant to the cause.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

Senator Cruz is a delight to read or listen to, but he was born in Canada. Many say he is a "natural born citizen" of the USA, but others say he is not. His campaign will be dogged by the issue. If I had a vote I would certainly vote for him.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Ashton

The motive for this outright attack on science is not very difficult to work out in my opinion

Banks require scarcity to operate....there is currently no scarcity of coal etc etc.

Mary Robinson is the current favourite of the IEA.

Their energy advice is the most disastrously catastrophic whispers in nations ears that one can think of.
That is to continually waste fogone consumption on increasingly quixotic schemes.

Its Bellocs (Servile State)definition of capitalism come true.
That is - it is a concentration game.
Of freedom for the few.
Nothing to do with rational Production /Consumption.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Senator Cruz is a delight to read or listen to, but he was born in Canada. Many say he is a "natural born citizen" of the USA, but others say he is not. His campaign will be dogged by the issue. If I had a vote I would certainly vote for him.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Ashton

I think his parents were both US citizens - geophysicists working for the oil industry in Canada - so his place of birth is really a non-issue.

He spent 10 yrs litigating in the US Supreme Court and has recently proved to be a formidable political strategist - see:-

Definitely one to watch.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:45 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Foxgoose (Dec 15, 2015 at 5:06 PM):

Is he very ignorant, very poorly briefed or just very crooked?
I think the evidence suggests that “Yes” is sufficient for your question.

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

The first question Cruz should have asked is "Do you know what a satellite is?"

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

And what would we hear from Phil Clarke if the satellite data were co-operating, I wonder..?

Dec 15, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Yes - Mair's was the testimony of a Dork (not the Irish one)

It is a pity that Cruz was not well briefed enough on the bogus 97% "study" to blow it out of the water after Mair's 3rd chorus.
If he is going to be taken seriously he has to have the killer instinct and be able to blow the opposition away. Clearly he did not have the numbers and methodology at his fingertips. Mair is effectively laughing at the whole thing.

Dec 15, 2015 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

Phil Clarke,

Since according to the Sierra Club guy, the "pause" refers to the 1940s, why do you feel the need to demean the satellite record?

Dec 15, 2015 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

This outfit, which masquerades as an outdoors enthusiasts' club, has tentacles everywhere.
Here's a comprehensive expose' on their operations:

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

Cruz should have asked "Have you heard of the Turing Test".

As his interviewee managed to fail it.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Well spotted, John M.

Is Phil Clarke as keen to support the chairman of Sierra Club in his belief about what constitutes the pause as he is to support his hero, Mann? He (Clarke) is very keen to show (without any confirmation, and through a third party) that John Christy would not share his algorithms for the RSS calculations, yet he has nothing at all to say about Mann failing to show his data and methods for MBH98 - the first hockey stick, nor Phil Jones's refusal to share his data - which was mysteriously lost. What a curious set of values the man has. It's as if the RSS data is meaningless, but the post-adjusted GISS and HADCRUT data is OK. C'est la Guerre.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Please let Cruz be President. Just to get up the BBC's nose would be reason enough- but he promises so much more.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

97% of WHAT??

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusCold

Thirty years ago I would have asked, who is Senator Cruz and can I have his babies. These days I am willing to sit back and enthusiastically applaud the gentleman very politely tearing the Sierra Club "stuck needle" climate alarmist a new one.

Bravo, Senator. Bravo!

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLynne at Counting Cats

'The effect on minority communities should not be up for debate...'

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Registered Commentershub

Robotic tosser.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterphilhippos

Cruz was excellent but he should have emphasized that the 97% was old bunkum while the pause is here and now.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Spence

100% - 97% = 3%.

That suggests an IQ of ~70.

About right for people who believe this scam; just a personal opinion...o)

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

The alarmists keep trying to come up with reasons why we should ignore the very inconvenient satellite data, and none of them are very convincing. This is what Gavin said:

The fact is, the satellite and surface data agreed pretty well up to about 2004 whereafter they began to consistently diverge. The only significant period of disagreement before that was 97/98 when satellite data showed more warming than surface - as entirely expected due to accentuated warming in the LT from water vapour during a powerful El Nino. The lack of warming in the LT is particularly strange given that we should be seeing an amplification relative to the surface right now. Maybe in 2016 we will see a dramatic spike in temperatures in the LT, but I think it just as likely we will not and 2016 will fail to live up to 1998. 2015 will only be the third warmest year according to Christy and Spencer and if 2016 flops and we see La Nina cooling after that, warmists are going to have even more explaining to do. It would not surprise me if preparations are afoot to 'adjust' RSS to show warming more in line with the surface datasets, leaving UAH as the outlier, just as RSS was for a time when UAH 5.6 was showing a bit more warming than RSS.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaime Jessop

No wonder no climate alarmist will take their opponents to court.......

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

Ouch !!

A spanking like that has to hurt.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenes

600,000 viewers of the clip so far, within a few weeks. I just checked a few Richard Lindzen clips on Youtube. Views were in the low thousands, and they'd been up for years.

It's going to be politicians who will win this battle, not scientists, not us. Let's hope there are some others as good as Cruz.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:13 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

It would not surprise me if preparations are afoot to 'adjust' RSS to show warming more in line with the surface datasets, leaving UAH as the outlier, just as RSS was for a time when UAH 5.6 was showing a bit more warming than RSS.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaime Jessop

Yes - Robert Way was gleefully hinting on Twitter recently that a "revised" RSS dataset might be pending.

I guess the only people left who can't be leant on will be Spencer & Christy then.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

I plead the 5th 97%

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Spencer and Christy run UAH, so what's the problem with RSS which tells the same story.

As a data scientist, I am among the first to acknowledge that all climate datasets likely contain some errors.  However, I have a hard time believing that both the satellite and the surface temperature datasets have errors large enough to account for the model/observation differences.  For example, the global trend uncertainty (2-sigma) for the global TLT trend is around 0.03 K/decade (Mears et al. 2011).  Even if 0.03 K/decade were added to the best-estimate trend value of 0.123 K/decade, it would still be at the extreme low end of the model trends.  A similar, but stronger case can be made using surface temperature datasets, which I consider to be more reliable than satellite datasets (they certainly agree with each other better than the various satellite datasets do!).  So I don’t think the problem can be explained fully by measurement errors.

Dr Carl Mears, VP of RSS

From <>

Clearly the satellite data is neither global nor 'pristine'; the record has been stitched together from a dozen instruments flying on different platforms, adjusted for orbital drift and decay and converted from brightness to temperature using a climate model and undisclosed algorithms.

The SST data show no pause, the many surface datasets show no pause, the balloon radiosonde data, which also surveys the troposphere, shows no pause. A truly sceptical sceptic might be interested in why the satellite data is such an outlier.

I don't think Senator Cruz qualifies.

Bad luck on Paris, btw.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

yet he has nothing at all to say about Mann failing to show his data and methods for MBH98 - the first hockey stick,

Why would I comment on a lie?

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Phil Clarke:

"Bad luck on Paris, btw."

We shall should see.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Phil Clarke is hiding the fact that Mear's comment was made before adjustments were made to bring UAH & RSS into closer agreement. His comment about the closeness of the surface datasets is absurd anyway since they all use the same basic data.

In any case, the fact that his opinion differs from that of Spencer & Christy doesn't invalidate their data - it simply emphasises that climate science is by no means settled - and those who try to pretend that it is have an agenda other than finding the truth.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:50 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Bad luck on Paris, btw.

Agreed, Obarmy, Camoron and Hollande, Gore and twenty thousand other loons..... all in under one roof? FFS: it was indeed bad luck on Paris.

No one denies earth ave temps.......... circa 1850 to 1995 - it hasn't become a tad warmer over those ensuing last few decades laddie......NOW HEAR THIS.......the contention is - what has mankind got to do with it, further to that what insignificant role does man made emissions of CO₂ influence events, if at all........................... and on that - nothing but nothing is proven - not even close.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Ah well, let's take a quick look at the claims of Swanson (and presumably Clarke) to see how well they stack up. This will make long posts so I'll work on them one at a time. As ever, when running numbers it is always possible I may make a mistake. Please feel free to highlight any errors I make, and I will endeavour to correct them.

Most of the first paragraph just describes the microwave sounding unit used on the satellites, and it is halfway through that Swanson finally gets to his beef. Swanson is upset that some satellite data are not used - channels 5, 6 and 7 are thrown away, simply *thrown away* I tell you! So what does that amount to in real terms?

It isn't hard to find the MSU scan parameters and polar orbit characteristics online. Channel 6 is nadir (pointing straight down), and it is not used because the path through the atmosphere is too short, the extinction means that the measurement is too low and contaminated by surface temperatures rather than air temperatures. But what does that mean in terms of lost coverage, the complaint from Swanson?

The MSU has a 3dB beamwidth of 7.5 degrees, and is scanned across in 9.47 degree steps. So channel 6 is straight down, channels 5 and 7 are centred on +/- 9.47 degrees. Channels 4 and 8 (the first used) are centred on 18.94 degrees, which means the inner edge of the antenna pattern will be (18.94 - 7.5/2) = 15.19 degrees from nadir.

The satellites orbit at around 850km altitude, so we can calculate the "missing" strip underneath the satellites by not using channels 5-7 by simple trig; ignoring the curvature of the earth, the strip is 2*850*tan(15.19) km wide, which comes to around 460km (give or take). This is the "missing strip" beneath the satellite, which I believe is filled in by interpolation (happy to take corrections on this if it is not correct).

Swanson and Clarke included this as their first criticism. That the satellite set interpolates across a 460km gap.

Let's compare this to the surface temperature sets. GISTEMP not only interpolate, but *extrapolate* up to 1200km away from a station. Extrapolation introduces far more error than interpolation. If Swanson and Clarke feel interpolating over 460km is shockingly bad, how must they feel about extrapolating over 1200km? They must be appalled!

But no, of course they are not. The criticisms they level at the satellite temperature set would crucify the surface sets, but that isn't their aim, of course. It isn't about being objective, it is about burying results they disagree with, objectivity be damned.

I'll move on to some of the other criticisms in their global coverage claims shortly (including the equatorial gap between swaths and polar caps), but unsurprisingly none of them stack up when you actually run the numbers.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

Phil Clarke is hiding the fact that Mear's comment was made before adjustments were made to bring UAH & RSS into closer agreement.

I hide nothing, UAH was adjusted, Mears was addressing RSS.

Glad to see you acknowledge that the adjustments were made with an end goal in mind. when can we expect S&C to let us see their working (or end the stonewalling, as the Auditor would no doubt phrase it)?

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

"Bad luck on Paris, btw."

You think it was a success, then? Oh dear.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:27 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Phil Clarke

"Bad luck on Paris btw"

Paris was a disaster for the Green NGO/political warmist /UNFCC /BBC/Grauniad alarmist cause. It is now formalised by international agreement that all countries will do their own thing about their own CO2 emissions and no country is under any legal obligation to do anything at all.

As usual the reaction to such a disaster is to declare it was a great victory and creep away.

Some triumph!

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

So Phill you believe collecting Satellite data is a waste of time

So spending millions of pounds sending a British Astonaut up to the International Space Station is that a waste of time and money too.

According to uncle Phill the Science is settled and not up for discussion and if these sattelittes keep coming up with unexpected inconvenient results then they will pull the funding on any more Weather Sattelittes that keep turning up embarrassing 19 year Climate Pauses

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

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