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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)

I think the following analogy encapsulates the difficulties in Mr. Appell’s argument:

Science tells us that more ingestion of calories leads to more weight in humans (the equivalent of Mr. Appell’s contention that more CO2 leads to more warming).

Let us imagine a person who ingests 10000 calories per day (8000 more than the average recommended for the common man), Mr. Appell would definitely expect (and reasonably so) an overweight person, because that’s what science says.

However, this person turns out to be a gold-medal winner in the Olympic games (Michael Phelps). I don’t think I need to explain why the extra 8000 calories Mr. Phelps consumes don’t increase his weight one bit.

The point is that Mr. Appell would have a reasonable case of appealing to what science says IF, AND ONLY IF, temperatures before 1900 were more or less flat (what people have called the handle of the hockey stick). But as the figure above clearly shows, temperatures pre-1900 aren’t even close to being flat. And that is why many people have rightly asked Mr. Appell to explain the very pronounced peak and valleys observed in the handle of the stick.

But Mr. Appell apparently does not seem (or want) to understand these legitimate observations.

Lord Frijoles

Sep 2, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Frijoles

co2science is an extremely handy reference to the peer reviewed literature - you would think a 'journalist' would absolutely love such.

Especially a science journalist who was any good at what they do.

Sep 2, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

Henry, you will find a comical exchange with David A concerning this matter on another thread:

starting at Sep 2, 2015 at 8:18 AM

Sep 2, 2015 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPethefin

Er-hem ....

Sep 2, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

David Appell:

You were asked,
"....and calmly explain how C02 trumps albedo, clouds, and multi-decadal ocean currents."

And at Sep 2, 2015 at 3:31 AM you replied,
“Those are feedbacks, not forcings.”

Your reply is absolutely untrue! If you think they are only feedbacks then you are deluded.

And at Sep 2, 2015 at 3:53 AM you demonstrated the delusion when – for the first of several times in this thread – you made a demand that proclaims the delusion. In that post you wrote;

“Terry wrote:
"That said, it seems you're asserting that, given all of the hundreds or thousands of feedbacks and forcings interacting in this chaotic system, C02 trumps all of them combined. Is that a fair assesment?"

Show me one larger over the last 1000 years.”

They ALL are!
For example, cloud cover has had much larger effect than recent rise to atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Good records of cloud cover are very short because cloud cover is measured by satellites that were not launched until the mid-1980s. But it appears that cloudiness decreased markedly between the mid-1980s and late-1990s
(ref. Pinker, R. T., B. Zhang, and E. G. Dutton (2005), Do satellites detect trends in surface solar radiation?, Science, 308(5723), 850– 854.)

Over that period, the Earth’s reflectivity decreased to the extent that if there were a constant solar irradiance then the reduced cloudiness provided an extra surface warming of 5 to 10 Watts/sq metre. This is a lot of warming. It is between two and four times the entire warming estimated to have been caused by the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

(The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that since the industrial revolution, the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has had a warming effect of only 2.4 W/sq metre).


Sep 2, 2015 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard S Courtney

Damn David,

Should have been a ditch digger.

You say: "My argument is about the large and rapid warming shown in the blade -- the most important part of the hockey stick.

The reconstructed hockey sticks shows no evidence for a global MWP. Ironically, if they had, it would make our current situation WORSE, for it would show our climate is much more sensitive to forcings than we think. That would make the risks we face from manmade GHGs even higher."

Then you launch into your little physics speal.

1) Whether you think you have "proven" the validity of the blade or not, it only becomes relevant if the handle part is accurately depicted. If it is not, then the import of the "blade" isn't much.

2) Ignoring criticisms of your approach by requiring people to prove previous warm periods were global and not regional is misdirection & hand waving. Nothing about the temperature reconstructions done to date offer proof of anything.

3) Your claim about a global MWP making things worse - i.e. "higher sensitivity - is at best an assumption. Since you are always asking for "proof", how about providing some proof for that statement?

FYI - I have taken physics courses. At the graduate level. With Atmospheric Physics being one of them. Maybe your problem using the approach of someone in freshman physics. If I recall correctly, you have a grad degree in Physics. Perhaps you should refer to some of your later coursework.

I still don't understand why you can write intelligently on other topics and then go off the rails when it comes to climate change.

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

I still don't understand why you can write intelligently on other topics and then go off the rails when it comes to climate change.

I suspect that you are under the spell of that which causes the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.
But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

Why do you conclude he writes intelligently on other topics?

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commentertarran

It is worth recalling that this thread began with David Appell defending Mann's 1998 & 1999 papers, those commonly known as the "Hockey Stick" papers.

David, you then dismiss my criticism by claiming that your approach says nothing about the "stick" part of those papers, only the "blade" part. That shows your unimpeachable ignorance, really, utter ignorance.

The paper's point is not the blade but the stick. The conclusion is that the recent temperature is "unprecedented" which can only be made with reference to past temperatures. And since they selected and weighted proxies by matching them to 20th Century (up to 1960 !) temperatures their method MUST (do you even understand THIS) produce a blade. It is like a study that purports to. say, identify some characteristic of people who drive red cars coming to the important "conclusion" that these drivers drive red cars. You cannot conclude anything about the characteristic you selected on, surely you understand that ?

Or do you deny that those papers weighted proxies by their correlation with temperature ?

Having accepted that, then the paper's important work is to show that the temperature rise is not found at any other time within the bounds of the study, no ?

So by not having anything to do with proxies and focussing on the blade only, you therefore do not defend Mann's papers or their conclusions. So why do you think you are defending them ? By ignoring the "stick" you are admitting that the papers are worthless, no ? And since you cite Wahl & Amman, do you also accept that they show that before around 1750 the results lake and statistical significance ? It's in their paper, perhaps you should read it. So at best W&A say that the 20th Century warming is "unprecedented" since 1750, which is neither a startling claim nor original.

The 20th century part of Mann et al 1998-9 is also mostly the "training" part of the study, where they match proxy records to instrumental temperature measures. Are you claiming that one can draw conclusions from that matching period ? Ask yourself honestly if you could answer yes.

This isn't to argue your point about CO2 and temperature, it is purely about your defense of Mann's papers, something you have attempted to do but in fact if your argument is purely the CO2 one, you are not defending at all.

Sep 2, 2015 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterEd Snack

Sep 2, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke
I laughed, then had another look, and laughed louder.

I'll try... David:
The world, planets, space and time do whatever they do. That's not physics, it's reality.

Physics is a human construction. It's our attempt to understand the world around us.

Physics doesn't tell us anything, the natural world does.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

David Appell's comment about finding hockey stick's everywhere is not even original. Prof Micheal Mann wrote the following comment for a publicity campaign organised by John Cook to promote the 97% consensus findings of the Cook et. al paper. Mann stated:-

There are now dozens of hockey sticks and they all come to the same basic conclusion. The recent warming does appear to be unprecedented as far back as we can go.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Heh, and he's admitted that 1500 AD is as far back as he can go.

Sep 2, 2015 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Excellent point about modern reconstructions not having a "hockey-stick" like shape.

I've made this point a number of times, including in various discussions with David Appell, but none of the recent reconstructions (including Mann's somewhat problematic 2008 reconstruction) look anything like a hockey stick.

MBH is clearly an outlier when you plot it on the same scale as the more recent reconstructions.


Sep 3, 2015 at 3:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

Here's a similar figure with Mann 2008 EIV added.

Sep 3, 2015 at 3:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

GolfCharlie opines : "Obama on ice" is as sure footed as Bambi was, in Walt Disney's classic"

Can he have missed the sequel?

Sep 3, 2015 at 3:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

My recent debate with David Appell at Pierre L. Gosselin's site has lead me to the simple conclusion – either he has serious mental issues, or he knows he is defending lies and doesn't care. Sadly I fear the former.

His Aliskyite techniques might lead one to conclude the later, but there is something deeper here. David is in “Weepy Bill” territory. (Remember Bill McKibben, who found his calling as climate warrior after his crushing disappointment he was not American Indian?) David was an activist in search of a cause. He found climastrology.

I question David's emotional stability. I don't think he can cope with the reality – adding radiative gases to our radiatively cooled atmosphere will not reduce it's ability to cool the solar heated surface of our planet.

I suspect this is the problem sceptics who got it right now face. Warmulonians are gripped by religious fervour. They may accept “warming but far less than we thought”. But “there is no net radiative GHE on planet ocean”, would result in total mental collapse.

But there is no easy way out. Anthony Watts has been a fool to try for it. The “warming but less than we thought” cop-out is no solution to the greatest assault on science, reason, freedom and democracy in human history. We cannot advance science on a foundation of lies. Sceptic surrender monkeys are no part of the solution.

Sep 3, 2015 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterKonrad

What an entertaining show that was. So many hilarious things in one thread, with for instance Appell:

- demanding answers to his questions but himself constantly answering questions with questions:

"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."

[Appell:] Define "strange."

"Will you now please acknowledge that you misunderstood the evidence of Marcott et al and that Mann is not supported by that paper?"

[Appell:] Misunderstood what?

"David Appell, why is it so important to climate science to prove there was no MWP, when all evidence prior to the Hockey Stick established there was a MWP?"

[Appell:]What evidence?

- accusing people of insulting him, followed by insult after insult from him:

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

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

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

Followed by:

[Appell:] You people are very poor at understanding physics.

[Appell:] Wow. Haven't ANY of you ever taken a course in physics??

[Appell:] My God you are dense.

[Appell:] If you can't follow, you aren't much of a climatologist, newbie or otherwise.

[Appell:] Only suckers like you and people who read this fall for it.

- performing outstanding circular reasoning (squared!):

[Appell:] It was the blade -- a rapid increase in temperatures relative to the several hundreds of years before -- that was so notable about the hockey stick -- a clear sign of the anthropogenic signal.


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.

[Appell:] .......

- saying that the existence of a global MWP (which he denies LOL) would somehow increase the risks of manmade GHG's (wow what a leap he makes there!):

[Appell:] The reconstructed hockey sticks shows no evidence for a global MWP. Ironically, if they had, it would make our current situation WORSE, for it would show our climate is much more sensitive to forcings than we think. That would make the risks we face from manmade GHGs even higher.

- thinking averaging world temperatures gives a meaningfull climate related parameter.

- and last but not least, equating heat with temperature (my personal favorite!):

[Appell:] Why is average temperature a meaningful concept? Because it increases as heat is added to a system.

[response in a nutshell]: Nonsense. Adding heat (energy) to a pan of boiling water does not change its temperature.

[Appell:] .......

What a tool.

Sep 3, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Corrections apologies my proofing is poor

The decline of our happy Holocene

Our current beneficial, warm Holocene interglacial has been the enabler of mankind’s civilisation for the last 10,000+ years. The congenial climate of the Holocene spans from mankind’s earliest farming to the scientific and technological advances of the last 100 years.
Accepting that the Oxygen isotope method of paleo temperature estimation is a good representation and that the method gives a reasonable history of past climate especially for the Northern hemisphere when using Greenland ice cores.
Looking at a broader picture in Millennial steps, according to the GISP2 Ice Core data the real decline towards the next glacial age started some 3000 years ago, round about 1000BC.
The GISP2 temperature record shows a distinct ‘Tipping Point’ at 1000BC and temperatures then start their decline at a significantly increased rate. Having been roughly flat for the first 7000 years including the Holocene Climate Optimum, the Holocene rate of temperature decline escalates from roughly 0.05°C / millennium 8000BC - 1000BC, to about 0.5 °C/ millennium, 1000BC - 2000AD.

The GISP2 ice core records from Greenland show.
1 the last millennium of our benign Holocene 1000AD - 2000AD was the coldest of the whole current Holocene interglacial.
2 each of the notable high points in Holocene temperatures, (Holocene: Climate Optimum - Minoan - Roman - Medieval - Modern), has been progressively colder than the previous high point
3 for its first 7-8000 years the early Holocene, encompassing its high point “climate optimum” had a pretty flat temperatures on average a drop of only ~0.05 °C per millennium.
4 but the recent Holocene for the last 3000 years since 1000BC has seen a temperature diminution at at least 10 times that earlier rate
5 our happy Holocene interglacial is about 10-11000 years old and judging by earlier Interglacials the epoch is probably drawing to its close, in this century the next century or this millennium.
6 so any minor warming after at the end of the 20th century to the Modern high point eventually will be seen as noise in the system in the longer term progress of continuing cooling over the past 3000+ years.
7 other published Greenland Ice Core records (NGRIP1, GRIP) corroborate this finding. They also exhibit the same pattern of a prolonged relatively stable early Holocene period followed by a subsequent much more rapid decline in the more recent past.

Global warming protagonists should accept that the Holocene is in long term decline and that any action taken by man-kind is unlikely to make any difference whatsoever. And were the actions by Man-kind able to avert warming would be simply reinforcing the catastrophic and eventually disastrous cooling that is bound to return in due course.


[Previous version removed: J]

Sep 3, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered Commenteredmh

What a delightful thread, BH at its best. Sadly, I doubt Mr.Appell actually learned anything from it.

My favourite Appell comment: '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 '

Perhaps Mr.Appell would care to share that penetrating insight with some of the more vociferous and less scientific members of the alarmist community.

Sep 3, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Average temperature can theoretically be calculated, like Appell says, yes. But it is still a meaningless value. Two solids made from the same material and at the same yearly average temperature can emit different ammount of radiation depending of the distribution of the temperature, in time and space. Vastly different, in fact. So the average temperature, even if calculated as theoretically it should be correctly calculated, tells you nothing about the radiative equilibrium of the planet. But in addition it is being estimated in a way that does not resemble even remotely the correct way to calculate it.

In addition he writes: "Why is average temperature a meaningful concept? Because it increases as heat is added to a system"

which is wrong. The energy increases, but the average temperature might even decrease! I'm thinking of my 20ºC coke with a couple of 0ºC ice cubes in it, in my 30ºC room. The glass has an average temperature below 20C, so it is taking heat from the room. According to Appell, the temperature of the glass should increase. Yet despite taking heat from the room, The average temperature of drink+ice still reduces for a while as the ice melts.

Sep 3, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNylo

Since the S-B temperature is calculated from the total rate of radiation from the earth to space, it definitionally does tell you something about the radiative equilibrium of the planet, just not much in detail.

Sep 3, 2015 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

The thing is that the S-B temperature, calculated from the total rate of radiation from Earth to space, will not be the same thing as the "average temperature" of Earth. It will only be the same in a planet in which all the surface is at the same temperature all the time. Which is a far cry from what we have on Earth, despite many people would consider temperature on Earth to be remarkably stable. We have swings of many tens of Kelvin both in space and time. The average temperature is NOT the S-B temperature and therefore gives no information about the radiative equilibrium of the planet.

((T1^4+T2^4)/2) > ((T1+T2)/2)^4, for any T1<>T2, and more different the more different T1 is from T2. That's why the moon's average temperature is so cold.

Sep 4, 2015 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterNylo

Spatially averaging of temperature (a LOCAL measure for kinetic energy) has been discussed ad nauseam by physicist the past 15y and the agreement is that you can NOT specially average it.

the argument for this are mathematical inequalities (Jenssen's equality on convex curves) that force the spatial average to be biased.

Local energy is proportional to T**4 via Boltzmann radiation equation
An average energy estimate over a volume like earth (which then can be interpreted as the "average" earth temperature) will have to go via this T**4 function locally, and only then be spatially averaged.. :)

All this of course in the presumption that the local atmospheric temperature measures are indicative of local radiative energy which they are not, as that depends a LOT on humidity. a 5 degrees fluctuation in the Saharah means nothing compared to a 2 degrees fluctuation in a humid tropical region.

for these 2 reasons , spatial temperature averages are complete NONSENSE and ALL PHYSICISTS agree on that.

The reason to maintain it is that the comically derived temp anomaly, while physical NONSENSE , "might" be an "indicative" measure under very stable conditions (like : the climate does not change a lot in 200years, humidity does not change anywhere a lot in 200y time, both completely at odds with what the warmists peddle) , and it is the only thing that was scientifically recorded with any seriousness.

Your height of your azaleas in the garden might also be a "measure of temperature" everything else remaining the same ..that is the sort of physical insight behind the "temp anomaly"

Sep 4, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

Roy Spencer has posted his UAH satellite temperature measurements for the month of August on his blog. Not much change. Not much news, really. Roy didn't say much, as one might expect when not much comment is needed.

But within ~24 hours David Appell has made ~25 comments.

Sep 5, 2015 at 2:47 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I didn't understand what Appell was talking about until I visited his website. Now that I have, I find that he just doesn't understand what the problem is or he does and just wishes to confuse people who don't take the time to fully understand it.

It has warmed since 1800, finding a proxy reconstruction which shows warming since 1800 is not a hockey stick, it is what should be expected to be seen. It is what the handle of the stick looks like compared to the blade that matters.

From his website...
"The proper response to someone who asserts that the Hockey Stick has been falsified is to ask "Which one?" "

To which the reply back would be "Mann 98, the one that has been called a hockey stick for years and has been shown in peer review to be worthless".

Seems a science writer should know that it doesn't matter what your graph looks like if you used the wrong methods to create it. There could be 500 studies with reconstructions that look identical to Mann 98, but they wouldn't and couldn't make Mann 98 correct.

David Appell, the man who doesn't understand what a hockey stick looks like nor why it (Mann 98 since he seems to not know) was such bad science.

Sep 5, 2015 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt K

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