Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Denier land: How deniers view global warming"

{edited 12/25/13}

A video review,
"How 'Skeptics' and 'Realists' view global warming."
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Last week someone posted a comment at my post "'s Climate history highlights from old Australian newspapers" that only consisted of a link to an outlandish YouTube video.  
After viewing the video I deleted the comment and posted the following message:

"Dear Anonymous,
I do have a comments policy.
I will not post rantings.
If you have something to say, or a video to link to, present it seriously and if you (or your video link) make claims, those claims must be supported with authoritative sources."

Then, I looked at the YouTube video again and made a comment, which has led to quite an interesting back and forth.  The dialogue has packed in many denier myths and tactics and I hope to compile a collection in my next post - but first I want to review the video itself:

It starts by featuring the's "escalator graph" which looks at the global temperature record since 1970.  But, the guy obviously has contempt for the graph, so allow me to offer this background on the graph.

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Global Surface Temperature: Going Down the Up Escalator, Part 1 
Posted at on 5 November 2011 by dana1981 

" "One of the most common misunderstandings amongst climate "skeptics" is the difference between short-term noise and long-term signal.  In fact, "it hasn't warmed since 1998" is ninth on the list of most-used climate myths, and "it's cooling" is fifth. 

"This myth stems from a lack of understanding of exactly what global warming is.  The term refers to the long-term warming of the global climate, usually measured over a timescale of about 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization.  This is because global warming is caused by a global energy imbalance - something causing the Earth to retain more heat, such as an increase in solar radiation reaching the surface, or an increased greenhouse effect." 

"Right now we're in the  midst of a period where most short-term effects are acting in the cooling direction, dampening global warming.  Many climate "skeptics" are trying to capitalize on this dampening, trying to argue that this time global warming has stopped, even though it didn't stop after the global warming "pauses" in 1973 to 1980, 1980 to 1988, 1988 to 1995, 1995 to 2001, or 1998 to 2005 (Figure 1). "

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0:40  Dripping with sarcasm the narrator tells us that: "The short blue lines are fake skeptic lines, because... the longer trend is positive..."

Then he slowly pulls back from the SkepticalScience 'escalator graph' to reveal it superimposed onto a "Greenland dome" ice core.  
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A couple points:

A)  Actually, there isn't a "Greenland dome" nor a corresponding ice core.  He's probably referring to this data set:

GISP2 - Temperature Reconstruction and Accumulation Data 

Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.
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B)  But, his temperature graph doesn't come from that source, instead he relies on to interpret the temperature data.  The thing is "Foresight Institute" is not about climatology, it's a website dedicated to advocating for nanotechnology.  The writer even admits his lack of climatological understanding with the following remark:

"I’m looking at the temperature record as read from this central Greenland ice core. It gives us about as close as we can come to a direct, experimental measurement of temperature at that one spot for the past 50,000 years.  As far as I know, the data are not adjusted according to any fancy computer climate model or anything else like that."
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The writer appears under the impression that adjusting raw data and using "fancy computer models" degrades the data and makes it untrustworthy.  He doesn't establish why he thinks raw unadjusted data is superior, but it does reveal a profound lack of understanding for data processing and worse an unfamiliarity with the many ways "fancy computer models" have become essential tools throughout science.

To say nothing of the dude's casualness with which he approaches his numbers, considering he simply suspects the data hasn't been adjusted - but he's not sure - but that don't matter to him, he's got his point to make.
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So here we have a person who has only a vague understanding, but still feels confident that he can translate raw numbers into a graph and then indict the climatological community based on his uneducated reading of a graph of his own creation.  There is no humility or self-skepticism to be found - it's an excellent example of what I refer to as "Science in a vacuum."

May I suggest some sources for information about climate models and one about how models are used throughout science:

Monitoring Global and U.S. Temperatures at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center
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How reliable are climate models?
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Teaching About How Scientists Use Models
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The narrator does not explain why he feels justified embedding a global temperature graph of the past four decades onto a single location in central Greenland.  After all climatologists are aware that Greenland has relatively high fluctuations compared to most of the rest of our planet.

However that doesn't stop him from having great dramatic fun as the full record unfurls itself.  He implies that scientists aren't aware of, or are trying to hide, fluctuations.

Another dirty trick - when embedding the SkepticalScience graph onto the ice core record, he shifted the baseline down to -31°C so that it looks like they fit in there.  For the record our planet's average temperature is about +14°C(57.2°F).  

That sort of stealth manipulation is something that real scientists can't get away with because there are too many eyes looking over each other's work - something you can be sure never happened to this homemade science-in-a-vacuum YouTube "lesson."

Please think about what this character has done, the Greenland Ice Cores go back hundreds of thousands of years!  This line of argument is a complete fraud - we are concerned about the impacts of manmade greenhouse gases that have been building for the past couple hundred years, first slow but at an ever quickening pace.  

Climatologists have long known about historic fluctuations - way more than these dilettantes who have never studied any of this full-time.  The real issue here is the last hundred years.  There is overwhelming evidence that humans have become a major "driver" of warming our planet - the physics is clear -  what happened pre-industrial society is simply another cynical distraction intent on misleading people.

Of course, if you refuse to look at any of the authoritiative scientific information you'll never know.  

It really is a question of political agenda over intellectual integrity the evidence is out there!

From about a minute to 

1:45 - The narrator (SciFo?) adds a fairly flat CO2 graph, claimed to be an epica ice core record - EPICA stands for "European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica"

The narrators dripping sarcasm hit's new levels of excitement, and I can't help but recall my high school days when I hated grammar and english classes and being a know-it-all teenager I had great fun ridiculing the teachers and their lessons to the amusement of my classmates which reinforced my hostility towards those 'GIGO' lessons I would 'never need' in my life.  

Ahh, but then life and learning happened, and what I wouldn't give to be able to retake those classes and learn the lessons those valiant teachers were trying to pound into my disinterested thick skull.  

If nothing else this video is an excellent example of that type of juvenile misunderstanding and empty-headed ridicule that the denialist industry has come to depend on - since emotional strings is all they have to tug on - having no real down to Earth facts on their side.  
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As for the graphic, I'm betting it's another homemade thing, since I can't find any kind of likeness coming from [EPICA ice core record], and in fact the closest one I could find demonstrates that the video's reproduction is another misrepresentation.  Also please notice that SciFo's graphic ending date is 63 years ago.  A lot has happened since then.

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2:04 - To finish, toss in an emotional picture or two, keep the rhetoric red hot and rely on a couple of manipulated graphics to make the point that climatologists are not to be trusted.

That is what propaganda looks like.

Science is about learning.  And for learning to happen, there needs to be some genuine goodwill and curiosity, along with a willingness to be proven wrong and to learn new lessons in light of new information.  I don't see any of that within any of the dialogues I've had across the blogosphere.

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Since the video never did review what these graphs were about, here's a short overview with links to further information .

A)  The escalator graph is about global temperature trends over the last forty some years.  It dramatized the variable nature of the temperature record.  It also shines a light on the false claim that short term cooling periods disprove what climatologist have been telling us about a warming world.

B)  The video then uses a central Greenland ice core data set... ignoring that Greenland doesn't represent the globe.

Greenland being at the northern boundary of the Atlantic Ocean and its Gulf Stream,  it's a place that experiences dramatically more extreme climate fluctuations than most other places on our globe.
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But, worse than that, this video presents a homemade graph, based on raw data, as though unadjusted data, processed by someone who doesn't have a clue about climatology is superior to graphs produced by professionals who are working with a whole community of other professionals looking over their shoulders.
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Regarding what the actual Greenland Ice Core record tells us, here's what the pros have to say:
Greenland Ice Cores Reveal Warm Climate of the Past (Eemian period, 130,000 to 115,000 thousand years ago.)

Press Release 13-008 ~
Analysis of Greenland Ice Cores Adds to Historical Record and May Provide Glimpse into Climate's Future

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C)  From Greenland our pal jumps to the South Pole and produces a graph that conveniently hides the hockey stick shape by chopping off the end of the graph - not the way to do serious science or serious learning!  Please note 0 years before present equals 1950, meaning the spectacular rise in CO2 over the past six decades is missing from the graph.

800,000-year Ice-Core Records of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 


Lars Karlsson said...

"The narrator does not explain why he feels justified embedding a global temperature graph of the past four decades onto a single location in central Greenland."

He does it because that's what deniers do.Eastetbrook might be the person who invented this one.

citizenschallenge said...

Yea, speaking of Mr. Easterbrook…

Don Easterbrook's Heartland Distortion of Reality

Posted at on 7 June 2012 by dana1981

At the recent scandal-plagued Heartland climate conference, Don Easterbrook gave a presentation in which he discussed his previous predictions of global cooling.

Given the inaccuracy of those predictions after just one decade, we were surprised to learn that Easterbrook had highlighted them in his talk, going as far as to claim that his global cooling projectons have thus far been more accurate than the global warming projections in the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (TAR).

However, to make this claim, Easterbrook had to distort the IPCC's actual model projections, claiming: . . .
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citizenschallenge said...

Check out the December 30th article: "Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year: The Daily Mail" By, Denise Robbins and Shauna Theel.

The Daily Mail is best known for its celebrity gossip, but this year U.S. media turned to it for science reporting. The tabloid had huge influence in stirring up faux controversies about climate science, often shredding facts and then abandoning the damage it had done in the name of viral traffic.

In fact, four times this year the Mail published climate stories that required corrections, which the paper often skirted by revising its article without a formal correction, helping the misinformation to continue to spread.
David Rose's Most Egregious Myth: Arctic Sea Ice Is Increasing, Proving "Global COOLING."

David Rose Altered The Words Of Scientists.
David Rose Fudged Numbers To Claim Climate Scientists "Confess[ed]" To Lower Warming.
Daily Mail's James Delingpole Slandered The Met Office, Misrepresenting Its Findings.
Daily Mail Consistently Publishes Sensationalist, Contradicting "Science" Stories.

citizenschallenge said...

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