This is the first Climate Cuttings since the end of July. During August, I've not spent much time on the web, what with moving house and getting settled in to the new home. The long-awaited improvement in the weather has been a factor too. So all in all, this is not as thorough a review of what's been going on as previous editions but here's what I've picked up on.
The big news was NASA's having to correct their US temperature figures when Steve McIntyre pointed out that they were using inconsistent data sets. The news hit the global media in a big way. Real Climate said that the effect on the global temperature record was small, the US accounting for only 2% of the earth's surface. Of course the error might have been spotted years ago if the climate community had adhered to basic scientific standards and made their data and code available. Mcintyre pointed out that the real importance of this cock-up is that it makes a nonsense of NASA GISS's claims that their error correcting procedures can fix bad data in the surface stations record. In fact they have been introducing errors themselves.
Surfacestations.org has now surveyed 25% of the US. Critics are still accusing him of cherry picking. Anthony Watts presented preliminary findings at a UCAR conference. Nobody threw rotten fruit at him. Eli Rabett started posting a "cool station of the day" showing sites where there were A/C units but a cooling trend. After posting two such stations he appears to have run out of examples.
A new study claimed that statistical analysis of temperature and greenhouse gas emissions confirmed the AGW hypothesis. Lies, damned lies, and statistical analysis I hear you cry? Freeman Dyson certainly thinks so - he reckons the whole thing is exaggerated.
A new paper by Stephen Schwartz of the Brookhaven National Laboratory says that the Earth is not as sensitive to carbon dioxide as had previously been thought.
Researchers at the University of Alabama-Huntsville have published evidence supporting Richard Lindzen's iris theory, which says that when the Earth's surface warms, cirrus clouds open up to let the heat out. They have analysed data on rainfall and cloud cover and the heat escaping to space. They find a strong negative feedbank, confirming Lindzen's theory and directly contradicting the alarmist case.
Commenters at a weather bulletin board noticed that the record of historic Arctic sea ice had mysteriously changed. There is, of course, no surprise about the direction of the change. Orwellian airbrushing of the past seems to be quite popular among AGW enthusiasts.
The Met Office issued the results of its new forecast model. It appears that temperatures will stabilise for a few years before rising again from 2009. The University of Colorado's Roger Pielke Snr calls it a misuse of science, as nobody has a model with any forecasting skill at these timescales. Cynics might wonder whether carbon dioxide emissions are expected to slow down for a couple of years. It might also occur to them that solar activity should increase from 2009.
And finally, the aforementioned Roger Pielke Snr has decided to call it a day at Climate Science. His insights will be much missed.
Remember the dear old Montreal Protocol which outlawed CFCs and was going to save us all from a hole in the ozone layer (it's painful apparently)?
According to Reuters, the hole is still growing despite falling levels of CFCs in the atmosphere, and its appearance this year was earlier than usual, suggesting that its growth is likely to continue this year.
Which sort of leaves one wondering if we haven't been had. Can I have my old fridge back?
Phew! That took rather longer than originally expected. I'm finally back in the saddle, and bear the scars of a rather traumatic house move and a complete absence from the blogosphere for three weeks. I spent the first ten days like a lost sheep, wandering around aimlessly, unable to understand how any question, even the most simple, could be answered without a 2Mb broadband connection and the assistance of Mr Google.
It's nice to be back. Lots of reading to catch up on though. Posting will resume in due course.
Thanks for your patience.
To everyone who is visiting from the forums at Wilmott.com, welcome. Please feel free to take a look around. There's a link to the category archives on the right hand side so you can get to all the climate related posts.
If I had to pick a few highlights for you, I'd suggest you try these. They are all written for non-technical readers. As financial readers, you might want to ask yourself whether you'd trust a business with the standards of openness adopted by climate scientists.
This is a story which needs to be aired widely.
Cambridge University Press has buckled in the face of a libel suit from Khalid bin Mafouz, a Saudi financier who has been linked to terrorist financing. These terrorist links were the subject of a new CUP book entitled Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World. Unable to defend themselves because of the reversed burden of proof in the UK courts, CUP have now agreed to issue an apology and pulp all unsold copies of the book. Essentially the UK's libel laws are complicit in silencing freedom of speech worldwide.
It was the 85th coldest July since records began! (Out of 349)
The BBC forgot to tell us though. (In fact, just a week ago they were telling us that temperatures are above average)
Should we panic that we're on the threshold of a new ice age yet?
I notice that the BBC article claims that the poor weather is due in part to La Niña. Compare to this article: No La Niña this summer, NOAA says.
Sunny Hundal is off to a protest called the Camp for Climate Action. This year the focus is on the aviation industry and the camp is going to be at Heathrow where they will fight to achieve their aim of 90% cuts in CO2 emissions.
I reproduce one of Sunny's earlier posts without comment:
Hello! As you may imagine, I’m writing this from sunny Los Angeles. I love this place - the people are really friendly, the weather is great and the side-streets are immaculately manicured.
Not that I want to add to your already growing sense of envy, but my preliminary holiday plans are as follows. I’m off to Mexico for a few days just before Christmas. Then the whole extended family gets together for food and presents on Christmas day. Then just before new years eve I’m planning to head down to San Diego for the big beach parties there with a few friends and family. In the new year I’m planning to drive up with a few people to San Fransisco and then over to Yosemite park, and then to a skiing resort nearby. Oh yeah, it’s gonna be crazy. I’m itching to write something about American politics but I think I’ll give it a rest. What are your holiday plans?
None this year actually, Sunny.
I picked this up via a weather forum. A commenter called Duncan MacAlister noticed that a graph of Atlantic Sea Ice extent had changed. He was comparing the graph according to to The Cryosphere Today's website with the same page on the Wayback Machine.
The two graphs were posted by a later commenter, and I've ripped them and reposted here:
So somewhere between the end of last year and now, something like a million square miles of sea ice have suddenly disappeared.
Global warming is pervasive stuff. It can even heat up the past.
This is turning into a bit of a recurring theme isn't it? The lastest example of our green friends ability to trash the environment is a U-turn on the advice issued to local councils on collecting domestic rubbish. Having previously suggested alternate weekly collections of waste, WRAP is now telling them to collect food waste every week. So instead of having one visit per week, we are now going to have one and a half. That's a 50% increase in related emissions.
Ward Farnsworth has penned a very good guest article at the Volokh conspiracy, on the subject of why politics is bad and trade is good.
Suppose the wreck of a ship is found on the ocean floor. Four teams race to lay hands on a treasure chest the ship is known to have on board; it contains artifacts worth ten million dollars. Each team spends about three million dollars trying to get there first. Eventually one of them succeeds, and the others are out of luck. Question one: do you see why this outcome is perverse?
There's been plenty of excitement in climate circles this week, so without further ado, here's what you may have missed.
The Lockwood & Frohlich paper and its claim to refute the solar theory of climate change continues to attract comment.
- Lubos Motl has comment from solar physicist Nir Shaviv, who reckons the paper is meaningless. Apparently Lockwood is using proxy measurements of solar activity (like sunspots) rather than measurements of the cosmic ray flux, and also doesn't consider the possibility of a damping which would introduce a delay between changes in cosmic ray flux and changes in temperature.
- Joe D'Aleo has a substantial paper pointing out flaws in Lockwood's thesis. In particular, he's been picking the brains of solar scientists Richard Willson and Nicola Scafetta.Willson runs the NASA's ACRIM programme which collects the data on solar output. He thinks Lockwood should have used his ACRIM results rather than Frohlich's own PMOD series which represents ACRIM plus some heavily disputed "corrections".
Scafetta points out that the results of the Lockwood paper would be quite different if they had used ACRIM instead of PMOD and takes Lockwood & Frohlich to task for not considering this. He also takes issue with their averaging technique which implies that temperature at any point in time is partly driven by the future output of the sun!
There's also more comment on the Armstong paper claims of the inadequacy of climate forecasts.
- Real Climate had a piece attacking the paper. While mostly knockabout stuff, they did make a substantial claim, namely that there is out of sample testing of climate models, although how you can test your model against the shambles of the paleoclimate reconstructions is beyond me.
- Jos de Laat of the Dutch Met Office reckons Armstrong's criticisms have hit the nail on the head
Surfacestations.org has now passed the 200 mark and should hit 20% of the network next week.
- The station at Tucson AZ was nominated as the worst in the network. It has also shown the fastest rising temperatures.
- A commenter at Climate Audit pointed out that not all AC units expel hot air.
- Surfacestations suffered a denial of service attack. Observers wondered if environmentalists were behind it.
- Police destroyed a suspicious weather station. Observers wondered whether this was a case of destroying the evidence.
- An US Weather Service insider has written to Anthony Watts complaining of NWS's resistance to modernisation of the network.
- The American Association of State Climatologists has written to Congress, complaining that the surface station network is close to collapse.
The Great Global Warming Swindle was shown on Australian TV to a great deal of hoo-ha. Martin Durkin said that the film survived the mauling it received.
Roger Pielke Snr continues to post on the failure of the IPCC to address the issue of land use and its effect on climate. This post has a huge list of papers that were ignored.
Next week should see a lot of interest in a new paper from two German scientists, Gerlich & Tscheuschner. They claim to have refuted the greenhouse theory of climate change once and for all.
And lastly, this letter to the FT:
From Mr Ake Nilson.
Sir, In your editorial "It's time to plan for the next deluge" (July 25) you say that "it is now scientifically incontrovertible that global warming is making heavy rain fall more frequently across the world's temperate latitudes". But less than a year ago, on August 10 2006, you reported: "This year's hot, dry summer will be repeated many times in the future and will become normal in the next 40 to 50 years if climate scientists are correct."
Please could you make up your mind as to the effect of global warming?Ake Nilson