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« Did Catherine duck? | Main | Guardian mob attacks: reports were accurate »
Tuesday
Mar242015

The climate scare overturning circulation

Anthony is having lots of fun with the latest scare paper that is doing the rounds of the media, which tries to breathe life into the somewhat hackneyed "ocean currents are about to halt" scare.

Published by Nature and with a team including Mann and Rutherford, you know the paper's entertainment value is going to be high and the authors certainly don't let us down, declaring on the basis of a proxy study (!) that ocean currents in the Atlantic are slowing down and everything is worse than we thought. But as Anthony points out, this is a stark contrast with an earlier observational paper by Rossby et al that found no evidence of any slowing at all. In fact there's a bit of a mystery here:

Rahmstorf and Mann don’t list Rossby’s study in their references, nor seem to use the “highly accurate” ADCP data. Instead they use a model along with the highly interpolated GISS data to come to the conclusions they want.

You have to wonder how a paper that didn't discuss recent key findings in the areas managed to find its way into print in the first place. But I guess this is Nature we are talking about.

And climate change.

And Michael Mann.

Where would we be without them?

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Reader Comments (30)

Speaking of Mann, and going off topic, on my flight from London to New Zealand last week I watched Interstellar and spilt my cuppa over the monitor when the brilliant Doctor Mann was found to have doctored his data!!! :)

Regards

Mailman

Mar 24, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

It does seem to be an omission that they've missed the latest papers.
One wonders whether the reviewers were up to the job?

I do hope Nature does an investigation to find out how they let this through. Perhaps someone should ask Nature if they are undertaking such a basic quality control procedure?

Mar 24, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

When all you can make is BS , they all you have to sell is BS
Of course the latest BS selling attempted is another hilarious reminder of the failure of climate 'science' has once again unable to excuse the lack of heat their hopping to find something ,cold , that is caused by 'CAGW'

This ,Tails you lose , heads I win approach is a further reminder that this is not 'science' in the first place .
Given the editor of Nature is a confirmed 'think of the children' type and given Mann's god like status in the climate 'science' community , and given their choice of god you get a very good impression of the nature of the that community , it is not real surprise to see this being published .

Mar 24, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

"Where would we be without them".....Far richer and happier!

Mar 24, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

I can't wait for certain groups of scientists to get fed up with being on Mann's side. The explosion of pent up frustrations will be impressive.

Mar 24, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Climate scientists are always telling us that the science is sound and settled. Why do they never seem to set the record straight when things like this occur?

They wonder why their science has no credibility.

If they want the rest of us to take some of their work seriously, they need to be the first to stamp out the masses of alarmist papers based on poor data and/or unreliable models, many of which disagree with observation.

Thinking about it, that wouldn't leave very much which probably answers the question in my first paragraph..

Mar 24, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

TinyCO2:

The explosion of pent up frustrations will be impressive.
Agreed. Mann needs frackin'.

Mar 24, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

"They wonder why their science has no credibility".

Do they!

Mar 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

From the paper's abstract (second sentence!):

Maps of temperature trends over the twentieth century show a conspicuous region of cooling in the northern Atlantic.
And there was me believing all those stories about hidden ocean heat and rising SSTs. But of course, GATs and Average Sea Surface Temps can be ignored by the great and the good, but woe betide you if you ever argue that the GAT is a fallacious construct by mentioning extreme cold somewhere in a 'warming world': It's WEATHER! you will be told.

Mar 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

The abstract just keeps on giving. The last sentence says:

Further melting of Greenland in the coming decades could contribute to further weakening of the AMOC.
So Greenland is going to 'melt' in 'the coming decades'? Say what!?!? And, even if it does 'melt' they say it's only a 'could contribute', not a 'will, most definitely, without doubt...' contribute. And people get paid for this stuff???

Mar 24, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

What does Rossby say about the paper? Has anybody asked?

Mar 24, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

I don't think it's a science problem as there are all kinds of balls published in loads of fields daily. Science after all is about getting the ideas out first.

The problem is that the media-political complex picks up on this like the next Taylor Swift relationship gossip ( Calvin Harris apparently) and then by the Power of Repetition it shall hence forth be Truth.

Nature is acting like a giggly schoolgirl. No wait even a giggly school girl has some common sense from time to time.

Mar 24, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Possible interruption of the Gulf Stream, is nothing in comparison to the genuine risk of terminating the Global Warming Income Stream, that has fed, and housed alarmists for years. How will their grandchildren survive if they have to get real jobs? This is a genuine cause for panic and hysteria, amongst Real Climate scientists, and they are going to fight it, with any means available, as they fight for survival.

Mar 24, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Possible interruption of the Gulf Stream, is nothing in comparison to the genuine risk of terminating the Global Warming Income Stream, that has fed, and housed alarmists for years. How will their grandchildren survive if they have to get real jobs? This is a genuine cause for panic and hysteria, amongst Real Climate scientists, and they are going to fight it, with any means available, as they fight for survival.

Mar 24, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Fact is, anonymous peer review doesn't actually exist. At a minimum, the editor will know the identity of the reviewer.

Even if a reviewer is like minded to the views of the editor and Michael Mann, they will also know the possible consequences of giving a negative review to such characters in a highly politicised branch of science.

Mar 24, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

In mathematics we may often see research based on unproven conjectures done because it is fun and gets us interesting results. Often it is also in hope that it may lead to some sort of contradiction, disproving the conjecture.
This is similar thing, with climate models and assumption of their accurateness playing the role of the unproven conjecture. I don't think it is useless - just like in mathematics, it may lead scientists closer to the conclusion that models are not an accurate representation of climate system.
The whole problem is with interpretation.

Mar 24, 2015 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha

Kasuha on Mar 24, 2015 at 2:10 PM
"The whole problem is with interpretation."

The whole problem is with the cost! While it is an academic activity, the cost is usually minimal, but as soon as it enters the political arena, with unsubstantiated scare stories that support billions of GBP 'invested' in green-delusions, the academic angle ceases to be the reason for its existence.

It's then, not follow the idea, but follow the money and, in particular, the taxpayers' money!

Mar 24, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

"…it may lead scientists closer to the conclusion that models are not an accurate representation of climate system."

Kasuha: 2:10pm.

"It's then, not follow the idea, but follow the money…"

Robert Christopher: 3:02pm.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Upton Sinclair: 1935 AD

Mar 24, 2015 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

I thought it was funny that they had to put in a disclaimer saying that they weren't predicting a Day After Tomorrow -style mega Ice Age.

Mar 24, 2015 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

Where's ATTP gone?

Surely Professor Mann's excellent paper needs some support in the face of all these scurrilous attacks from the Climate Science Deniers on this blog?

Mar 24, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

"I thought it was funny that they had to put in a disclaimer saying that they weren't predicting a Day After Tomorrow -style mega Ice Age." Bloke in Central Illinois

It's because man made CO2 has screwed the climate up SO bad it appears normal.

Mar 24, 2015 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I must say that I fail to understand et logic of Mann et al. The area that they claim has been cooling is essentially where the NADW (North Atlantic Deep Water) is created. The NADW is the most important driver of the AMOC (and is also important in the global thermohaline circulation), The NADW sinks because it is denser than surrounding water masses. It is denser because it is salty and cold. So colder water in this area would on the whole tend to strengthen the AMOC.
The scare scenarios of stopped AMOC are not predicated on colder, but on fresher water in the North Atlanticsince this would be lighter and thus not sink. And as far as I can see Mann et al. doesn't even mention salinity.

Mar 24, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

I seem to recall panics about this way way back .... I'm 63 by the way, so I mean way way back. Mann *should* give up his day job and go into stand up comedy.

Mar 24, 2015 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Mar 24, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Bitter&Twisted
===================================================

ATTP? Probably having trouble levering his head out of where the sun doesn't shine?

Mar 24, 2015 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Rossby's 20 years of weekly data across the NYC/Bermuda transect shows no slowing. the RAPID buoy monitoring program at 26N shows interannual variability but no slowing over 10 years. NASA JPL published a satellite/Argo method in 2010 that suggested there might even have been a slight speed up.

Not only is this Mann/Ramstorff nonsense a 'triumph' of models over reality, it contains academic misconduct.
The paper Figure 6 graphically misrepresents the conclusions of its source paper concerning Greenland ice mass balance. And that sources balance was itself proxies rather than observational. Observational estimates exist from 1958 on. The NOAA/NASA estimate is almost no ice loss in the 1990's, perhaps 200 gt/year from about 2000-2010, and probable ice mass gain the last few years. None of which is reflected in a figure 6 that misrepresents a poor reference.

Mar 24, 2015 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

"I thought it was funny that they had to put in a disclaimer saying that they weren't predicting a Day After Tomorrow -style mega Ice Age."
Mar 24, 2015 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

They are having enough difficulty predicting the day before yesterday, poor things.

Mar 24, 2015 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Trouble is, the paper has been published and it will be re-quoted by the compliant press for the cause. The failure of the Nature peer review "process" to require the paper to deal with the most recent research on the topic is staggering, but must be followed up doggedly and not let this paper go unchallenged. Imagine an author being allowed to simply not quote a major recent paper on the topic just because its results were "inconvenient".

Mar 24, 2015 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveR

Mailman: I too saw Interstellar and couldn't help chuckling at the character of Dr Mann (played by Matt Damon) admitting to falsifying his data! Whoever wrote the script is both well informed and has a sly sense of humour!

Mar 25, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

This has been a repeating story for several years and the Tyndall Centre produced a working paper in 2005 on the subject, (read more at "Global Warming – The Social Construction Of A Quasi-Reality" http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/social_construction.html).

Tyndall Working Paper 72:
"Does tomorrow ever come? Disaster narrative and public perceptions of climate change", Tyndall Centre, March 2005

This paper specifically studied the impact on public perception of the disaster movie, “The Day After Tomorrow”, based upon a supposed breakdown of the Thermohaline Circulation. There was also a promotional piece on the Met Office web site entitled “Science meets Hollywood”: “The Day After Tomorrow”, with a subsection entitled “Will We Freeze?”

The Tyndall researchers made the point that it is an extremely unlikely event as evidenced by these comments:

"..expert elicitation on abrupt climate change undertaken by Arnell et al. (2004) found that several experts declined to respond because they felt the science was too uncertain and that subjective judgements would not be appropriate.

Thus, there exists no globally accepted consensus on the likelihood or extent of rapid climate change and agreement among scientists and policy makers over the ‘danger’ posed by abrupt changes in the climate system appears unlikely. Little information exists on lay belief and understanding of the subject."

But what if the Gulf Stream doesn't really keep us warm? Seager's article (below) is a detailed and interesting discussion of the oceanography issues, well worth a read.

"The Source of Europe's Mild Climate: The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth" Richard Seager, 2006

"Like many other myths, this one rests on a strand of truth. The Gulf Stream carries with it considerable heat when it flows out from the Gulf of Mexico and then north along the East Coast before departing U.S. waters at Cape Hatteras and heading northeast toward Europe. All along the way, it warms the overlying atmosphere. In the seas between Norway and Newfoundland, the current has lost so much of its heat, and the water has become so salty (through evaporation), that it is dense enough to sink.

The return flow occurs at the bottom of the North Atlantic, also along the eastern flank of North America. This overturning is frequently referred to as the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation, or simply the "Atlantic conveyor." It is part of the global pattern of ocean circulation, which is driven by winds and the exchange of heat and water vapor at the sea surface.

The Gulf Stream indeed contributes to Europe's warmth, but it is wrong to conflate the climate difference across the North Atlantic with the northward flow of warm water in the Gulf Stream. This erroneous logic leads to such statements as (from The Times of London): 'The British Isles lie on the same latitude as Labrador on the East Coast of Canada, and are protected from a similarly icy climate by the Atlantic conveyor belt.'

Such claims are absolutely wrong."

The full article is here: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-source-of-europes-mild-climate

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:25 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

RE: "But I guess this is Nature we are talking about."

To paraphrase Ross McKitrick: "Just because it's published in Nature, doesn't mean it's not true."

Keep in mind it's all simply a 'communication' problem.

Mar 26, 2015 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterbarn E. rubble

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