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« Munk's sea-level enigma | Main | The temperature and the spin »

Look back in wonder - Josh 309

It's everywhere you look - there's dodgy numbers, vague impressions and tweets galore - yes, it's the warmist year evah! 

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (45)

What if climate researchers are not adjusting or falsifying past temperature records and anthropogenic CO2 emissions are actually cooling the temperatures of the past at an ever increasing rate? It scares me to think of the climate calamity of our cooling past meeting at the crossroads with our warming present.

Jan 17, 2015 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

2014 has become the record year for temperature adjustments.

Michael Mann will award himself a Record Second Nobel Prize, to congratulate himself, and no one will know any better.

Jan 17, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Good one, Josh. They had to do a lot of adjusting the past down just to get this, and the supplemental info they somehow overlooked in the PR says there is only a 48% chance it is even true after all the adjustments. Those are illustrated in essay When Data Isn't in Blowing Smoke.

Jan 17, 2015 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Good one, Josh.

If they adjust much more they will have to cancel the retreat of the Mont Blanc glacier and explain that it was threatening Chamonix until 1950.
Back in the 17th Century they sent for a priest to exorcise the glacier, perhaps in the near future we will see Climatologists standing before an advancing glacier (waving a thermometer?) demanding "Get Back, in the name of ....

Jan 17, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

You would have thought that with all the terrible news stories (they really were terrible stories) about collapse of the sea ice, the BBC, combined with The Grauniad (not yet combined in name though) would be running special features about imminent polar bear extinction, this time due to frozen feet. Polar bears did not evolve to walk for miles, on ice, to find open water, to hunt for food.

Spare a thought also, for impoverished climate scientists, who were planning retirement cruises, to the North Pole. They will have to drive there, like Top Gear.

Jan 17, 2015 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

CAGW (Cynicism About Global Warming) reached record levels in 2014, and 2015 looks even better!

Jan 17, 2015 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Love it.


Jan 18, 2015 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

When will this please end?

Jan 18, 2015 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones


It's like hiccups. If you forget about them, they go away.

Consider that, after all, "anthropogenic global warming" has turned out to be a figment of the imagination.

Jan 18, 2015 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

1 in 27million chance of it NOT being a record, ...

...... while Gavin is anywhere near the numbers. !!

Jan 18, 2015 at 4:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterthe Griss

Has anybody else noticed there's an uncanny similarity increasingly evident between current gov edict on energy policy, science and the arts, and Reggie Perrins' 'Wobble Jelly' tasting questionnaire?

Results are (in ascending order):

1) pumice stone
2) bookends
3) Bolivian unicyclists jockstrap


Jan 18, 2015 at 4:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterdc

Maybe not immediately relevant but redolent of current malaise:

Jan 18, 2015 at 4:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterdc

You have to wonder, when these guys are at home, are they capable of living a normal life that is not based on lying and deception all the time? It must be hard living a double-life.

Jan 18, 2015 at 6:54 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Great cartoon Josh!

Jan 18, 2015 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Well, the Warmists have persuaded me at last...or have they? Shock article in Farmers' Weekly:

(Forgive outrageous self-promotion, Your Grace!!)

Jan 18, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

1 in 27 million statistic brings to mind Prof Roy Meadow's 1 in 73 million, which was very likely key to the wrongful conviction of Sally Clark. Convicted on Statistics? by Vincent Scheureri.

As Feynman said, science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

Jan 18, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Do read Charlie Flindt's comment at Farmer's Weekly. It is very funny.

Jan 18, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

The situation for warmists is dire. Since they fundamentally believe rising CO2 causes rising temperatures, and CO2 continues to rise, temperatures cannot be seen to decrease. They can talk around a plateau, calling it a “pause”, but they absolutely must prevent a decline. First they got rid of the high temperatures in the 1930s, then 1998 went, now 2014 is the new record. Yet future years must surpass this last one, in order to hide a decline. Future cooling is not an option.

Jan 18, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

The same type of logic as Climate Central's 1 in 27 million is used by proponents of intelligent design, under the name of Borel's Law.

Jan 18, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Registered Commentershub

Agree with Mike - Charlie's piece in the Farmer's Weekly is funny and well worth a read - here's the direct link:

Opinion: A lot of hot air and some bumper yields

I like the idea of the pause now being old enough to vote !

Jan 18, 2015 at 11:52 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Actually, I don't see a HUGE amount of publicity and panic over the data. It's just the usual suspects, and even they are moderating their language.

Seems to me that this is their 'Battle of the Bulge' - a last-ditch attempt to change the way the tide is going. And just like that battle, it's doomed to failure, and will leave them in a much worse position than before...

Jan 18, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Nice one, Josh.

Btw, anyone got David Viner on speed-dial, so the kids can ask him what that white stuff is, that appears to be carpeting the garden this morning?

Jan 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Josh and Charlie Flindt on top form as per usual. I wonder how many years of pause * it would take to change the climate activist record? Pun intended.

*I have no opinion on the likelihood.

Jan 18, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Aha! I have found the origin (or, at least, an origin) of the silly 1:27million: The flaw in the argument is in the final sentence:

The odds of that being random are so high…
Because it is NOT random; it is the end of a long, rising trend. The odds of 1 square metre of land in 100 square kilometres being the highest is a 100 million to one chance; the odds of 1 square metre at the top of a hill being higher than all around is 1:1 – a certainty. (whomsoever you might be): big, big, BIG FAIL!

Jan 18, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

You're all too kind! What nice people.

If only Josh could do a cartoon of fat redheaded farmer abseiling up/down a cooling tower, struggling in a too-tight harness.......

Jan 18, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

Yes RR.

How could anyone claiming to be a climate scientist confuse a temperature time series with a series of random coin flips?

Jan 18, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

RR, that's Seth Borenstein's work.

Jan 18, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Registered Commentershub

Exactly, RR.
The hottest day of summer is likely to succeed, or precede, the second hottest day of summer.
Well, D'Oh!

What does that prove? Not much. It's usually already obvious when it is summer. We are living in a period of relatively warm temperatures (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least, and probably the globe). Possibly warmer than it has been for many hundreds of years. I hope it continues.

But as to the alarmist claims about the record-est temperatures ever... well, they claim to be alarmed, and then choose the most most maladjusted or non-existent surface temperature data-sets to prove it. They want to live in the dark ages, and the dark ages certainly didn't have satellite temperature measurements of the troposphere. Which is where CO2 is supposed to have it's modelled warming effects, but the modelled effects are proving shy.

Jan 18, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

RR and others,

I liked this stated caveat:

Here are some statistics and the odds they calculated, with the caveat that high temperatures tend to persist so that can skew odds a bit

I also liked the additional calculation where when you look at more but shorter time spans for the same period, the odds change drastically, and really go intergalactically stellar!

.. the fact that the last 358 months in a row have been warmer than the 20th-century average, according to NOAA. The odds of that being random are so high—a number with more than 100 zeros behind it—that there is no name for that figure

Sharp minds doing their absolute best ...


Jan 18, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

They can live w their lies because they think
The consequences of their lies are benign
This sort of ethics is typical for marxists

Jan 18, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterWortSalad

If you look at the fourth post down on this thread :

it shows a graph from NASA who claimed that the chances of 2014 been the warmest year was 48%. So how did almost 50/50 get to 1 in 27 million ?

Jan 18, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen

Owen, they get the huge odds by pretending that each year is an independent event, like heads or tails. They do know, but ignore the fact that temperatures are auto-correlated: as said above, this year is highly likely to be close to last year's temperature.

Jan 18, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

A regular <A href="">Tom Gauld is Josh . How has Punch survived so long without him?

Jan 18, 2015 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

2014, the Peak Warmist year? That would be good, and not before time.

Great cartoon, as ever.

Jan 18, 2015 at 5:31 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Does anybody collate the various graphs used by warmists over the years so one can see the various adjustments they have made retrospectively

Jan 18, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen

you can start here

amazing the number of changes that were made in the last few weeks to recover the record that was slipping away, mainly to older records. It was pre ordained last autumn and someone made it so.

Jan 18, 2015 at 7:40 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Owen, for temperatures such a collation (and more) is in essay When Data Isnt in ebook Blowing Smoke: essays on energy and climate.

Jan 18, 2015 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

""Does anybody collate the various graphs used by warmists over the years so one can see the various adjustments they have made retrospectively
Jan 18, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen""

Steve Goddard at Real Science does some nice blink diagrams to show how much the past has changed.

He also points out that Gavin fiddled the GISS data by adding 4 degrees to Greenland in December.

Jan 18, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Graphs used by the Warmists ? Owen, they even collate the graphs Coolists deploy .

Some have even been so uncharitable as to animate the long awaited BEST temperature record ,and guess what it looks like?

Jan 19, 2015 at 3:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I'm surprised my ancestors survived the cold of late 1800s and early 1900s. Did they have any idea at the time how cold it was going to become after the fact?

Jan 19, 2015 at 4:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jay

Of course the actual literature concludes that the temperature record is indistinguishable from a random walk. I'm getting the impression that statistics should be abolished in scientific literature. Much of it just seems to be abused as a pseudo-mathematical cloak around pre-determined outcomes in the soft sciences. the hard sciences don't use stats in general because either there is an obvious relationship or there isn't! Whenever any paper uses the term 'statistical significance' you can assuredly reject it automatically.

Jan 19, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Russell: your (repeated – yet again) point being?

(BTW, what are Coolists? I have heard no-one on here claiming that the temperature trend is downward, so who are you saying is? Or perhaps you meant "Coo – lists!"?)

Jan 19, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

What are the chances that out of billions of humans the same familiar few names, for years in succession, keep appearing in the list of medal winners of international 100 m sprint races?

Jan 19, 2015 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Sydney

Thanks for the links.

Michael Mann is at my local university this evening, would like to go and ask a few questions about the adjusted graphs but probably wont be allowed or get sued !!

Jan 19, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen


"a number with more than 100 zeros behind it—that there is no name for that figure"

Well, a number with 100 zeros is a Googol, so a larger number would easy enough to express, and it's a long way before you get to a Googolplex...

Jan 20, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

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