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« Who is briefing Davey? | Main | Lurch »
Friday
Nov152013

Climate magic

The green side of the climate debate is getting terribly excited about a paper by Kevin Cowtan, a chemist from the university of York, and Robert G. Way, a geographer from the university of Ottawa. They claim to have discovered that the pause is illusory and due to incorrect estimates of temperatures at the poles. With their new whizz-bang method of making up data they claim to have magicked the missing data into existence and, surprise suprise, actually the poles are warming very quickly and the pause doesn't exist.

Judith Curry is having fun with the paper, noting that the methods they use to estimate the missing data are not exactly suited in the particular circumstances of polar temperatures:

  • the statistical infilling technique of kriging 'makes no physical sense' when applied across land/ocean/sea ice boundaries
  • satellite data is 'not useful' when applied to the polar regions
  • data reanalyses are 'not useful' because of temporal inhomogeneities in the datasets that are assimilated.

It will be interesting to see how much traction it gets outside the green ghetto.

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Reader Comments (64)

TTS and Chris Y - you have, at some length, outlined some of the areas that define this paper as nonsense. Convoluted nonsense. perhaps, but still nonsense. Or am I missing something important?

Nov 16, 2013 at 12:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

@gekko "a geographer and a chemist" so I'm sure that Steve Jones will ensure that this paper is not mentioned on the BBC by enforcing the "they are not climate scientists rule"

..oh silly me that rule only applies to people making skeptical arguments, every Greenpeace activist, solar panel salesman and their dogs are allowed to express opinions in favour of the "catastrophy is certain " line.

Nov 15, 2013 at 10:47 AM | stewgreen

Actually the BBC are very egalitarian about climate sceptic interviewees. The three most recent climate sceptics I encountered on the BBC were an Australian geologist, a retired politician and a Scottish accountant.

Nov 16, 2013 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Thinking scientist

You will find cross-validation, etc in the supplementary material published alonside the paper.

You might also like to read the discussion on Judith Curry's site here.

http://archive.is/JnG31

The authors join in the discussion . The relevant portions are summarised here.

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/11/anthony-watts-protest-about-cowtan-way.html

Nov 16, 2013 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic Man: I have downloaded the paper and the supplementary material. As far as I can see my questions are not addressed and these are serious ommissions from any paper that wants to be taken seriously - for example, they describe the variogram, state its an exponential form but don't state the range they are using or show the fit of the variogram model to the data. Why not? If they are gridding on the 5x5 degree grid, firstly how do they account for the variogram now being within a distorted coordinate framework and do they provide unequal area weighting both in the kriging and the temperature calculations? It is not clear to me from reading the paper.

Nov 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Entropic Man: I went to follow your links and I have serious concerns now about your behaviour.

Why are you linking to an archived web page about a current Judith Curry page, rather than to Judith Curry's page?That is the sort of behaviour I expect from an enviro-activist, not a an engaged, interested observer.

And what is this page critiquing Anthony Watts, that causes my IE and protection software to go crazy?

Please don't pull stunts like this again. Its rude and unnecessary. My respect for you has just gone through the floor. Whilst I don't agree with much of what you post, I can accept you have a point and try to counter it. That is the basis of reasoned debate. I cannot accept you making links like this: they shout loudly of a hidden purpose and agenda. For me, no further warnings. Do it again and I will treat you as troll.

Nov 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

thinking scientist.

I had thought that you would find the discussion between the authors and Judith Curry of interest.

The links I gave you seemed the easiest way of giving you the meat of that discussion.

Nov 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM: "The links I gave you seemed the easiest way of giving you the meat of that discussion."

Really? Link to some indirect, archive version and not to the actual live blog? (which I could hardly not know about, given it was in the title post of this thread).

Do me a favour. Pull the other one. Troll.

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

The Independent are reporting this today:
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exposed-the-myth-of-the-global-warming-pause-8945607.html

The BBC were onto it like a shot at 5am this morning, quoting from The Independent piece.

Nov 18, 2013 at 6:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Stevens.

Entropic Man: I went to follow your links and I have serious concerns now about your behaviour.

Why are you linking to an archived web page about a current Judith Curry page, rather than to Judith Curry's page?That is the sort of behaviour I expect from an enviro-activist, not a an engaged, interested observer.

And what is this page critiquing Anthony Watts, that causes my IE and protection software to go crazy?

Please don't pull stunts like this again. Its rude and unnecessary. My respect for you has just gone through the floor. Whilst I don't agree with much of what you post, I can accept you have a point and try to counter it. That is the basis of reasoned debate. I cannot accept you making links like this: they shout loudly of a hidden purpose and agenda. For me, no further warnings. Do it again and I will treat you as troll.

Nov 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

ThinkingScientist, I initially had some similar thoughts when I clicked on Entropic Man's circuitous link to Judith Curry's blog article. But it also seems possible to me that he could have re-posted the link from some less pleasant blog (If frequency of comments is anything to go by, the eminently reasonable Professor Curry's Climate etc is not on his usual beat, despite offering acres of uncensored comment space).

Nov 18, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

thinking scientist

. How disappointing. A slight difficulty with links and you turn into an abusive yahoo like so many others here.

Nov 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

If you are still interested you'll find Kevin Cowtan's post at November 13th, 2013 at 4.23pm.

Nov 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM,

So now that Michael Hart has inadvertently given you a way out, you’re going grab it with both hands by feigning innocence and claiming that your giving TS a link to an archive site rather than Judy’s own blog was “a slight difficulty with links“? Sorry, it won’t wash. Your post of Nov 17 @ 7:27pm shows you knew exactly what you’d done. But there again, we mustn’t give those nasty sceptic sites traffic must we? We might just create the obviously false impression that they’re popular and we wouldn’t want that would we? But you don’t even have the guts to admit what you did and the real reason why. You’re pathetic.

Nov 19, 2013 at 3:29 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Laurie: EM's link to an archived Judith Curry page is even more stupid than that: the correct link appears in the header to this post!

And not just one but two weird links?

Nov 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

thinking scientist

If you want to find out more about the cross-validation, the authors continue their discussion with Judith Curry here.

http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/18/uncertainty-in-arctic-temperatures/

Why not ask them directly. There is also a link given to their own website and FAQ section.

Nov 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

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