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More Appell comedy gold

The climate change world has, I think it's fair to say, been a little quiet recently, but thank goodness we have David Appell around to provide entertainment.

In his latest offering he announces a "long and useful list of studies that find a hockey stick from reconstructions of paleoclimate data".

Sounds interesting. Here's one of them.

I have to say, an ice hockey team armed with sticks shaped like that would be a sight to behold.


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Reader Comments (174)

If you think averaging an intensive variable like temperature is meaningful, then you are a complete idiot and have no understanding of physics.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:00 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

David Appell,

Two replies to my one comment? You would have been wiser to have read the comment before replying; I suppose you're in machine-gun mode and not trying for a constructive argument.

But I'll respond to your first reply. No, physics certainly doesn't govern my world. In my world physics tries to explain things; the world just goes on doing what it does. I suspect, if you open your eyes, you see it's the same in your world too.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Swan

"If you think averaging an intensive variable like temperature is meaningful, then you are a complete idiot and have no understanding of physics."

The temperature of every point of the Earth's northern hemisphere surface is 65 deg F.

The temperature of every point of the Earth's southern hemisphere surface is 75 F.

What is the average temperature of the Earth's surface?

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

"No, physics certainly doesn't govern my world."

Ha ha.

So when you drop something, it does not fall to the floor?

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

David Appell. With every comment you reveal more of your ignorance of physics. How do you simultaneously measure and thus know the temperature of every point of the Earth's northern hemisphere and of every point of the Earth's southern hemisphere? How many points are there in the Earth's northern hemisphere and how many points are there in the Earth's southern hemisphere?

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:22 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

David Appell,

Perhaps tomorrow morning you'll wake up sober. OTOH, maybe you'll wake up as just the same fool who went to bed. Hope it works out well for you.


Sep 2, 2015 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Swan

Robert: Personal attacks just show you can't counter my science.

They are always the sign of the one who's lost the argument.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

David Appell. What is the science you think you have? It isn't physics and creative writing is not, to my knowledge, a science.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:30 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Philip wrote:
"How do you simultaneously measure and thus know the temperature of every point of the Earth's northern hemisphere and of every point of the Earth's southern hemisphere?"

Who cares?

I'm specifying how to compute the average of a scalar field T(x,y,z).

Declaring such an average does not exist is absurd.

In practice, T(x,y,z) is estimated from local measuremnts, with each assumed to cover a certain area in its neighborhood. Then the average of those neighborhoods, weighted by their neighborhood areas, is the global average temperature.

Couldn't be simplier.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

And you think this average temperature, based on an assumption, has some meaning?

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:37 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@David Appell

'"If you think averaging an intensive variable like temperature is meaningful, then you are a complete idiot and have no understanding of physics."

The question is not how to algorithmically compute the average. That is obvious to a 12-year old who has found her first senior school maths/physics book

The question is how/why is the answer meaningful.

And that is not so obvious. Please explain.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

The answer is meaningful because it represents the average temperature of a system, which we want to study.

Sure, you can make the neighborhoods of T(x,y,z) smaller if you can (and you can afford it). But the same principle applies for computing an approximation to the average.

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

It is well known that taking an average is a method for eliminating inconvenient data.

An average temperature (an intensive variable) is meaningless; energy is the important parameter,

Sep 2, 2015 at 8:55 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

OMG, so many Appellisms™ in one thread. Thereby adding considerable evidence (as if any were needed!) confirming the veracity of the aphorism to the effect that 'there are none so blind as an Appell who will not see'.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:02 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

'The answer is meaningful because it represents the average temperature of a system, which we want to study'

Indeed. But that is not an answer. Merely a restatement of the method. We understand the method.

The question remains why is 'average temperature' a meaningful number? What does it tell us?

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Why is average temperature a meaningful concept?

Because it increases as heat is added to a system.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

This thread gets "curiouser and curiouser!".

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

"Why is average temperature a meaningful concept? Because it increases as heat is added to a system."

Nonsense. Adding heat (energy) to a pan of boiling water does not change its temperature. As I said, it is energy that matters. You have to take account of mass, specific heat, latent heat etc.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:17 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Chris Hanley: Too right. Time to go and do something productive.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I.T. Jolliffe:

"It seems crazy that the hockey
stick has been given such prominence and that
a group of influential climate scientists have
doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics”

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterIbrahim

Bish, would you mind calling a halt to the Appell baiting ( or it that Appell bobbing?) ?

He's clearly never going to agree with anything and the incessant drivel he's keep repeating is just trolling as far as I can tell.

I note that Dr. Spencer is considering banning him on his blog, as he recently banned D**g Co**on, for being equally mindless.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

the hockey stick is notable for the clear message it conveys about the climate change we are causing.

that's why it has been attacked and abused, of course.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

I'm defending myself. If you don't like it, don't read my comments. problem solved.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Appell

David Appell (Sep 2, 2015 at 8:31 AM), your argument about the average of a scalar field reminds me of a joke about a guy standing between a fridge and a furnace... his average temperature was calculated to be ‘normal’!

I guess what I’m saying is that simplistic models or measurements may well be useful in some circumstances, especially when the system it relates to is rather simple. However, applying them to more complex systems is likely to lead you to a very wrong conclusion.

A simple example is that if I know the average fuel consumption of a car, I should be able to estimate how far it will travel on one tank of fuel. However, the real-world value may vary by an order of magnitude because it depends upon other factors like the driver (e.g. racer or chauffer), the nature of the terrain (e.g. flat or hilly), and even the weather (e.g. head-wind or tail-wind).

Unfortunately, the problem with estimating the impact of climate forcing is even more complex because, to use the previous example as an analogy, we are also unsure about some of the most basic but important details… like the tank capacity.

I know you will most likely dismissed or ridiculed this comment, but I do think it encapsulates the fundamental flaw in your argument.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

@david appell

'Because it increases as heat is added to a system'

Well, up to a point, m'lud.

But if you care to turn over to page 2 in your 'Climate for Beginners' book, you'll see that in the real world, rather than the theoretical physicists ideal, it's a bit more complicated than that.

Just as past climates are a bit more complicated than your simple 'super exponential hockey stick' model has led you to believe.

Once again, I commend you to Prof. Feynman's strictures about 'rigorously comparing with reality'.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterIbrahim

Sep 2, 2015 at 12:05 AM | David Appell
I wrote,

"David Appell, you keep posting Marcott et al as support for your faith that the uptick (blade) is exceptional. But it isn't known to be in any way unusual. There is no study that shows the current rise as being strange."

You replied,
Define "strange."

Obviously, I meant “worthy of note” and “providing evidence for your assertion that the climate is changing in an exceptional way”.
Then I followed up with,
"Will you now please acknowledge that you misunderstood the evidence of Marcott et al and that Mann is not supported by that paper?"

You replied,
Misunderstood what?

Perhaps, you have forgotten the lesson I taught you at WUWT.
Marcott does not provide supporting evidence for Mann’s hockeystock. Marcott himself says that the uptick in his paper is not robust.
You know that Marcott does not support Mann’s hockeystick but you repeatedly pretend that it does.
That is why you are held in such sscorn. I was quite polite at WUWtT when I thought you were just ill informed.
But now I see you are deliberately trying to deceive.

But I gave you the chance to correct yourself and not be an irrational enemy of the truth. You didn’t take it. Instead you took umbrage as though you have not lost all respect. From honest people.
You tried to justify your fleeing with,

If you expect further replies, you'll stick to the science and can the insults.

But my statement stands,
"If not... well - please acknowledge that you are a zealot, not a rational person."

That is not an insult. Science relies on an intent to seek the truth. You do not seek the truth.
Facts can wound but not insult.

Sep 2, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney


Mr Greenskull wants another little word with you ...


Sep 2, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Oh, and for the record, even Wikipedia links to evidence for a global MWP.
New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, isn't it?

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

David Appell at
Sep 2, 2015 at 1:08 AM

RB wrote:
"What I think you mean is that you IGNORED this problem."

Wow. Haven't ANY of you ever taken a course in physics??

I ignored nothing. Proxies simply aren't part of my argument. Period. It depends only on the functional form of atmospheric CO2, and the relationship between temperature, forcing, and CO2.
David Appell.

"Does your defence of it really, as you appear to say, boil down to "this is expected by physics because more CO2 means more warming"?"

Yes, more CO2 means more warming. The science is very clear on that. That's what you all really dislike.

Thus - if I understand David's claim: scientific truth can be determined by laboratory experiment (Arrhenius and all that), plus the addition of measured man-made inputs (over time).

The actual measured temperature of the atmosphere can be safely ignored - is that correct, David?

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

There's now at least 4 Northern hemisphere reconstructions with a clear MWP that support each other; Mann08 (corrected version with bristlecones & upside down proxies removed), Loehle, Moberg05 & this paper.

It's a recurrent feature of this debate that alarmists link to papers or reports they have not even read. If Appell, Rice or the other members of the warmist lunatic fringe had bothered to read this paper they'd have seen a nice summary therein of how paleos have moved on from the embarrassing HS fiasco: In particular by not using compromised tree rings. There is still a general reluctance to actually use proxies the right way up or to abandon the idea that modern temps are unprecedented but one day they may manage those seemingly simple tasks and maybe the new, corrected science may even filter through to the IPCC spaghetti graphs.

Nobody in the paleo community now defends the hockey stick result. As can be read from the quotes in the climategate emails and subsequently, eg Steyns book) clearly very few people in the paleo world believed the hockey-stick at the time either, though it would have been nice if they told the media that, rather than being silent lambs. That the HS was given prominence in the IPCC report was entirely due to Mann being made the lead author of that chapter.

Only ignorami or those with motivations beyond the science can continue defending this superceded notion of a HS. And yet again the skeptics were proven right - As with the unvalidated models, hurricanes, coral, Antarctic cooling, Arctic recovery, Gulf stream shifts, greening of the planet, etc, etc.! So how long will it be before the chattering classes admit that the only rational response to bad science is to be sceptical - and not to just jump on the first anti-industry, anti-human, anti-capitalist bandwagon that comes along?

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

That man is the Appell of his own bronze eye.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Sydney

David Appell,

When you reviewed Mann's book "Dire Precictions" did you make it clear that Mann was the predictive tool, not his Hockey Stick?

Obviously if the Hockey Stick had been described as abstract art, a lot of hassle could have been avoided.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The use of upside down tiljander (sp???) data should have been a warning to everyone about just how poor Manns work is!


Sep 2, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

In a complex world simple physics may be simply inadequate.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Sydney

David Appell

Having been imperiously dismissed, I think I now understand why you considered Professor Jones' remarks to be "hand-waving".

And, I have to say that your post demanding an example of a "non-hockey-stick" reconstruction in the middle of discussing a thread which features a "non-hockey-stick" reconstruction - right there, at the top of the page - was deliciously post-modern.

The equivalent of asking for evidence of the existence of David Appell.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterWFC

Of course in the light of our experience about motivated science it is hugely probable that the CO2 hockey-stick is fake too. Stomata data, geological data and Arctic ice cores all indicate no correlation between CO2 and temperature and that current CO2 levels are not unusual. With Marcott et al it was eventually admitted that it is wrong to splice low-res data onto high-res data but that had already been done with the CO2 data and it remains uncontested (except in the stomata papers) along with additional scientific sin of shifting the y-axis so they fit together by inventing the notion that ice and the gas trapped within it can be different ages: That argument reminds me of the 'magic' prions in the BSE fiasco which made the impossible possible.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I had to dredge back into my memory banks.

But it was a guy called Martin Lack who thought he was single-handedly going to bring down all sceptics. And mad a total public arse of himself when he tried. I wonder whatever happened to him?

It seems that David Appell is his long lost transatlantic cousin....naive, blinkered and with an ego way out of proportion to any minimal talent.


Sep 2, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

So why have people wasted so much time on this guy

Sep 2, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

David Appell’s contribution to climate science is equivalent to Erich von Däniken’s contribution to SETI.

As I said before, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Sep 2, 2015 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Going back to Appell's reply to me yesterday I think I understand what he is saying.

The blade of the hockey stick (and he is not interested in the proxies or the statistical methods that lead to the blade and does not cite them in support of his position in any way) is what would have been expected, because physics.

Therefore it is robust and beyond criticism.

Sep 2, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

David A...

If half the planet is at 65degF and half is at 75degF, then the mathematical average T for the planet is 70degF. However such a planet does not radiate energy at the same rate as a planet with a uniform (and average T) of 70degF.

Averaging T is a bit of a dubious proposition. It's not a conserved property.

Sep 2, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNickM

David A,

I am afraid your proof - well it isn't. Though I don't suppose that will change anything you choose to believe.However, let me see if I can help.

Science is done in certain ways. The typical way (and that applies here) is someone creates a hypothesis. Then scientists conduct experiments or hunt down observations in the real world. The results of these experiments can then confirm or refute the hypothesis. It's important, if you want to be thought of as a scientist - to not get too attached to any particular hypothesis.

The global warming hypothesis is really fairly simple. In a nutshell: 1) Humans are burning a lot of fossil fuels. 2) About half of the CO2 generate stays in the atmosphere. 3) CO2 is a greenhouse gas. 4) All other things being equal this should lead to a small increase in temperature. 5) Due to positive feedback you get a big increase in temperature. 6) We are all doomed.

Now proper scientists would go looking for some evidence in the real world to either support or refute that hypothesis. Like hunting down temperature records and looking to see if there was anything unusual about temperature in the industrial age.

What you've done, instead, is simply restate part of the hypothesis. Your statement that CO2 is increasing (super exponentially even maybe) is a part of the global warming hypothesis. Your statement that CO2 radiative forcing increase logarithmically is also part of the GW hypothesis.

So all you've got is a circular argument - If you believe in global warming then global warming is true. That ain't science mate - that's practically theology. Start accepting circular reasoning in your science and you'll end up being lumped in with the creationists and intelligent designers.

Course Mann's hockey stick is also an example of circular reasoning but it's not as glaringly obvious as yours.

Sep 2, 2015 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterNickM

Appell's 'proof' is no better than 'The defendant must be guilty. He wouldn't be in the dock otherwise, would he?'

As NickM so wisely points out, it is a circular argument.

Sep 2, 2015 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterHorace Rumpole

"Thus - if I understand David's claim: scientific truth can be determined by laboratory experiment (Arrhenius and all that), plus the addition of measured man-made inputs (over time).

The actual measured temperature of the atmosphere can be safely ignored - is that correct, David?

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrson"

As the saying goes, a liberal is someone who sees something work in practice, but doesn't believe it because it doesn't work in theory.

Sep 2, 2015 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

There is a lot of counterproductive handwaving from both sides here, and that gives David Appell more than enough room to manoeuvre. That is a shame.

It seems David is making an assertion that he is not addressing proxies, and that there is a simple connection between temperature and CO2-concentration in the atmosphere.

It seems David is unaware that temperature is a proxy for energy, and that it is used due to its convenience in describing properties of closed systems. As has been pointed to by several people, an average temperature is not obviously meaningful. The simple processes of evaporation, freezing and melting should be known to any freshman in physics and it is quite unforgiveable not to understand the non-linear relationships between temperature and energy in these processes.

David also seems unaware that the laboratory experiment on CO2 vs temperature is not representative of what happens in the real world.

Yes, all the world is physics, but physics is not all the world.

Sep 2, 2015 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnders Valland

Your imaginary anthropogenic signal is no substitute for real scientific evidence of CO2 AGW.
While cooking up GIGO as you do you have never provided any evidence.
Equally fallacious is your petulant pretense that there is no evidence of a global MWP.

You are a charlatan of the worst order who pitches invented science to discuss while continually falsely claiming others do not or will not discuss the science of AGW.

With all of your humiliating chapters of foolishness and dishonest discourse you have never displayed any interest in truth or learning curve.
Instead you soldier on with a steady stream of public deceit to prop up the biggest lie in human history.

Sep 2, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMary Foster

I really appreciate both David Appell's many comments, and that our host both managed to attract them and left them for all to see. It is truly fascinating to look into the mind of a true believer ...

His theory is so simple, it can't be refuted

Just fantastic!

Sep 2, 2015 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Heh, the blade is simple CO2 physics, until the last 20 years when unknown natural forces have defied simple CO2 physics. And he expects us to name these unknown natural forces as well as the unknown ones for the last millennium.

Son, that's the fun, right there.

Sep 2, 2015 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I have to agree with Anders Valland, there is a lot of arm waving on both sides. And that's the real nub of it. Why is there still not a comprehensive resource either side could use to demonstrate what the bulk of the data is saying? There are more and more studies published but they don't seem to get us any closer to a clear answer on anything. The PAGES 2K was like a Spanish airport. One day it might be something but right now it's a fancy ghost town.

Sep 2, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

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