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Discussion > Zombie blog - what's the point?


Your reading remains as selective as ever. Given how heavily you troll and how intensively you read all sceptic sites (I see it's taken you all of 46 minutes to find and respond to my post above) presumably you also read my post at cliscep complaining of their rudeness towards you. However, you choose to disregard it.

It is certainly true that you and I operate to different standards, however. Readers of our respective comments on the internet can judge whose standards are higher.

Sep 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

I guess we really do have different ideas about what is offensive, and what is not. Yes, I did read your cliscep comment. I didn't really see any need to respond. Damned with faint praise, seems an apt comment.

My point, however, (which you have ignored) is that you are of course free to be skepitcal (suspicious?) of what I, and others present. I, for one, do not really care. Nothing wrong with being skeptical and if you want to judge what something on the basis of who presents it, that's also fine. You're responsible for how informed you are, not me.

Sep 5, 2016 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics


Fair enough (I think - your last post was somewhat garbled, but I think I get the gist). No arguments from me with what I think you were trying to say. Over and out for now.

Sep 5, 2016 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark. I now agree with Ravishing Rattie that it is rather disconserting to read one's own thoughts and opinions written out more succinctly and with more erudite prose within your posts. We do, however, appear to be on different trajectories: I am becoming more jaded with alarmist apologists; you seem to be still seeking "truth" on both sides. Very laudable, but "sickening" at the same time! I look forward to your return to thse shores. You bring a sense of balance.

Sep 5, 2016 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

MH:  I think UHI is an extremely good example of the poverty of climate science and of the arguments leading to drastic policy prescriptions, yet Phil's response is not to engage with it, but to try to move the discussion onto a criticism of satellite data sets instead. I haven't claimed that satellites are wonderful for measuring temperature, rather I criticised the appalling weakness of our existing temperature datasets. Instead of engaging directly with that point (an argument I think he cannot win) he shifts the argument onto ground where he feels stronger.

Well, I pointed you to the BEST study some might say the last word on UHI, and there's Petersen et al. Delta-UHI is simply not a reason to mistrust the surface record, globally the UHI trend is miniscule (No UHI in the oceans or deserts, only about 1% of the surface is urban.) Also constant comparisons are being done identify and adjust for non-climatic influences and all the evidence is that this homogenisation works well.

ACK Once a climate "scientist" has been shown to have acted fraudulently, or has been shown to be wrong and not acted to correct those (in hindsight) egregious errors, those people cannot be trusted.

This argument could be strengthened with a concrete example, substantiated with evidence, of fraud or egregious malfeasance. Given the perception here that climate science could give Gommoragh a run for its money, shouldn't be too hard. Note by evidence I exclude hearsay, innuendo and selective quotation

Sep 5, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

…globally the UHI trend is miniscule…
That’s as maybe. But, compare the number of observation stations that are over the oceans or the deserts with those that are in areas that might be affected by the UHI effect; while only about 1% of the surface is urban, I would suggest that more than 50% of monitoring stations are in or close to or otherwise affected by urban areas. What monitoring stations there might be over the oceans or deserts, please do not discount the possibility that there could be some “urban” influence on those stations: most of the historical measurements of sea “surface” temperatures were taken from vessels moving through the water, therefore disturbing the surface; could they be true surface measurements? Also, many may be from engine room cooling intakes – how accurate are the thermometers for this? Accuracy for these thermometers is not as essential as it is for meteorological observations, so many, if not most, are probably not the certificated 30cm alcohol-in-glass thermometers normally used for met observations on met ships; there again, the intakes for these could be up to 20m below the surface. Again, another “urban” effect. Similar human effects might occur with monitoring systems within your deserts.

One of the main problems with climate “science” is that there are SO many variables involved – the accuracy of the instruments, the siting of the station, the rigorousness and consistency of the persons obtaining the readings, to name but a few of the major variables – it has to throw the claimed accuracy into question – while individual thermometers might be verifiably accurate to within 0.2°C, the collective summation of the data gathered might only be accurate to within 2°C.

Sep 5, 2016 at 12:22 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Oh I don't know Phil, how about a) using a sedimentary record upside down and not correcting the error, b) claiming further sampling of bristlecone pines was difficult, when it was not, c) changing the number and locations of data sets in the PAGES 2013 paper over a month after the paper had been accepted without this affecting the outcomes, d to n) egregious cherry picking from Santer et al 1996 all the way up to the present day. Enough?

Sep 5, 2016 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

RR - There's no doubting that urban areas are over-represented in the dataset, for obvious reasons. 27% of GCHN stations are in cities with a population >50,000. There's also no doubting that the scientists collating the measurements are aware of the effect, have measured and adjusted for it.

while individual thermometers might be verifiably accurate to within 0.2°C, the collective summation of the data gathered might only be accurate to within 2°C.

Increasing sample size improves accuracy. I (politely) suggest you revise the Law of Large Numbers.

Sep 5, 2016 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

That is a logic I do have trouble getting my head around: a thermometer reads, say, 2°C high. I take a reading from it, and that reading is 2°C wrong. However, if I take a thousand readings with it, the average of the readings have now been reduced to 0.002°C wrong – my thermometer is now super-accurate! Sorry, but I do have trouble accepted that premise; to me, the average of however many readings of that thermometer you take will always be 2°C wrong.

Sep 5, 2016 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


Thanks for coming back with some supporting examples.

(1) I'm assuming you are referring the use of the Tiljander sediments in Mann 2008. The problems with this proxy were acknowledged in the paper and the reconstruction performed with and without it and other potentially problematic data.

we also examined whether or not potential problems noted for several records (see Dataset S1 for details) might compromise the reconstructions. These records include the four Tijander et al. (12) series used (see Fig. S9) for which the original authors note that human effects over the past few centuries unrelated to climate might impact records (the original paper states ‘‘Natural variability in the sediment record was disrupted by increased human impact in the catchment area at A.D. 1720.’’ and later, ‘‘In the case of Lake Korttajarvi it is a demanding task to calibrate the physical varve data we have collected against meteorological data, because human impacts have distorted the natural signal to varying extents’’). […] We therefore performed additional analyses as in Fig. S7, but instead compared the reconstructions both with and without the above seven potentially problematic series, as shown in Fig. S8

Also, whether the study used the proxy inverted is in doubt, as Mann said,

The claim that “upside down” data were used is bizarre. Multivariate regression methods are insensitive to the sign of predictors. Screening, when used, employed one-sided tests only when a definite sign could be a priori reasoned on physical grounds. Potential nonclimatic influences on the Tiljander and other proxies were discussed in the SI, which showed that none of our central conclusions relied on their use

Basically the proxy had to be used in the orientation the algorithm required or it had to be left out - Mann did both and reported the outcomes which were pretty much the same. No fraud, no error.

(2) I'm not aware what this refers to, but it hardly sounds like an egregious game-changer. The whole Bristlecone thing is overdone, they're fine before about 150 years ago and no conclusions are dependent on their use.

(3) Is it unusual for papers to be changed after acceptance and before publication? I believe this refers to the Australasian proxies? More of a conspiracy theory than fraud, seems to me. Small potatoes in the scheme of things.

(4) Far too vague, what do you mean? In my opinion if you're going to credibly allege fraud, a serious offence in anyone's language, you really need some valid examples.

Sep 5, 2016 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

RR - That is correct, the point is, we have several thousand other thermometers. The homogenisation algorithm would likely detect your faulty thermometer by comparison with nearby sites and drop it as an outlier. The larger number of measurements that you have of a quantity the nearer the average of those readings will be to the 'true' value.

The global mean temperature has been estimated to have 60 degrees of freedom, that is you need just 60 well-sited stations to provide a reasonable estimate of the value.

Sep 5, 2016 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke


Asking a Republican-led congressional investigation of any climate related issue to produce an objective outcome is like asking Judge Gath the Philistine to score David v Goliath.

Mark Hodgeson

Why not call those who accept that climate change may be a problem "accepters", because we conditionally accept the scientific evidence, while you are sceptical of its validity. You might even call us the consensus. 🙂

Politelness limits ones speech even here, but I regard as a denier anyone who calls me or another member of the consensus an alarmist. Sites where the term is common currency have a similarly low credibility.

Sep 5, 2016 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Asking a Republican-led congressional investigation of any climate related issue to produce an objective outcome is like asking Judge Gath the Philistine to score David v Goliath.

It is enough that an investigation has been mooted. 'Everybody knows' that all climate scientists are guilty until proven guilty.

Sep 5, 2016 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

What if those other thermometers are wrong? What if the other sites are introducing their own errors? What if the sum of all the errors is weighted to one direction? Sadly, unlike you, I have serious doubts about figures that are claimed to be accurate to the degree (no pun intended) that we are expected to believe with the climate – 2014 (or was it 5?) was the HOTTEST year EVAH… by 6 hundredths of a degree (perhaps, as it happens, as NASA quantified it by saying it was about 60% probable). Riiiight. I quake in my boots. I can accept that there has been a rise of about 1°C over the past century; my own observations support that, as the winters of today do not seem to be as severe as they were in my younger days. The summers…? Well, not so much.

The same goes for sea-levels: 1.5mm per year. Sit in your bath, and try to measure the level to that accuracy; now wander down to the sea side, and consider how you can measure that liquid surface to that accuracy. It does not matter how many readings you take, that level of accuracy is beyond measurement; all that can be done is to view the levels over a time-period when differences in level may by determined, and divide by number of years. I would moot that we are talking about 100 years, here, when a 15 cm difference might be determinable (having, of course, to assume that all else is equal – which, itself, could be introducing massive errors); the fears being generated that the rise has increased by x, y or z over the past 5, 10 or 15 years are based on nothing but LIES. The sea levels at Blackpool, Bournemouth and Bridlington seem little different from what they were in my childhood, though – indeed, the flooding of the fronts does seem to have reduced, implying that sea-levels might well have fallen!

You have introduce one interesting codicil, though:

…you need just 60 well-sited stations to provide a reasonable estimate of the value. [my bolding]
How is a such a siting of a station determined? How many stations presently in use are so well-sited?

Sep 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Meh, Karl's paper is, was, and always will be corruption. Whistleblowers within NOAA prompted the Congressional investigation, but scientifically it was already blown up, and illustrates that climate science is now pulling out all the stops to continue the alarm.

Sep 5, 2016 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

EM: as I have pointed out before, you have expressed alarm about what you perceive the consequences of what little global warming we have had so far will bring, yet you object to being labelled “alarmist”. You also are happy to label any who do not agree with you as “deniers”, though you are utterly unable to specify anything that these people deny. If you could point out where (and what) any of the “sceptics” in this argument have actually denied (rather than merely questioned) anything about global warming/climate change/call it what you will, then we could accept your use of the label “denier”.

However, I doubt you will be able to do that, yet you will continue to call us “deniers”; you will also continue to rail that “Something must be done about this, before disaster befalls us all!” and we will continue to call you “alarmist”.

Sep 5, 2016 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Defending Tiljander now? That's a good one for people to check out. Phil revises what can still be investigated.

Sep 5, 2016 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

This is where you repeatedly give yourself away, Phil, defending the utterly indefensible. I know you're bound(hand, foot, and fingers) to the alarmist narrative, but you shoot yourself in the foot with such absurdities.

Sep 5, 2016 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

RR. I think you can measure sealevel to a fine degree of accuracy. Take a narrow pipe and extend it seawards well beyond low tide level. Attach other end to a wide vertical, transparent graduated column. If the pipe is long enough friction will dampen out wave height variations. Measure water level variations in graduated column over several lunar cycles. Average out variations. Voila an accurate determination of sea level. Repeat over several decades to obtain relative sea level changes. Then do clever stuff to determine component due to land elevation changes.

Sep 5, 2016 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Completely removing Tiljander from Mann 2008 slightly reduces how far back the reconstruction replicates, but leaves the basic conclusion of anomalous warmth unchanged.

I was looking for examples to support the claims of fraud and/or uncorrected 'egregious' errors, if you recall. Tiljander is another irrelevant sideshow.

So I'm still waiting.

Sep 5, 2016 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Good idea, Minty. Don’t forget that the vertical pipe has to start in a hole deep enough to be below lowest low water; where is stops – well, let’s pander to Entropic man, and fit it on to a tall building. As for the land measurements, that is simple: drill a pipe into the nearest hill, fix it to a transparent, vertical, gradated pipe, fill it with earth and – violin (smaller than a voila) – there’s your land level measurer! Genius! Together, we could rule the world!

Sep 5, 2016 at 3:17 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

For anyone wishing to check (get a life) my excerpts come from the SI to Mann et al 2008 and the reply to comment to the same paper.

Sep 5, 2016 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Re your earth pipe, err, you go your way and I'll go mine.
Re my water pipe. I thought you might correctly accuse me of plagiarism since the Egyptians used essentially the same method to measure the level of the Nile.

Sep 5, 2016 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

Radical Rodent

The combined satellite and tide guage data are detecting 3.4mm/year overall sea level rise, not the 1.5mm you quoted.

Time to update all those references you misplaced.

I would agree with Phil Clarke; before you go off half cocked about the number of sample sites research the Law of Large Numbers.

Just to remind you of the basics. The uncertainty of a sample mean depends on the variability of whatever you are measuring and the size of your sample.

For small samples uncertainty is large. As the sample size increases uncertainty of the mean due to sample size decreases.

At some sample size the uncertainty stops decreasing because you have reached the uncertainty due to natural variation. Since any further increase in sample size produces no further improvement in data quality., this is your optimum sampling effort.

You can also discard the fallacy that the uncertainty in the mean cannot be smaller than the measuring accuracy of your instrument.

Sep 5, 2016 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

ACK & Radical Rodent

It is one thing to measure the sea, or River Nile level going up and down relative to the land, but how do you measure the level of the land going up and down?

Winchelsea? Harlech Castle?

Sep 5, 2016 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie