Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fabricating Climate Doom: looking at Jim Steele’s deception

{did some clean up editing 4/7/14}

I have written another post where I strip down this article to it's few scientific claims.  Visit:"Fabricating Climate Doom: Checking Up on Jim Steele’s Science"
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It's worth pointing out.
As with other climate science "skeptics" - our good Mr. Steele is great at making dramatic claims, freely attacking the integrity of accomplished scientists and their work with his one-sided story-telling.
But, when confronted with his many misrepresentations he won't defend his claims.
What's to be made of that? Perhaps he knows dang well that his charges are indefensible.  {4/4/14}
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Fabricating Climate Doom: Jim Steele’s Butterfly Effect
{Yes, it's true, this post is a heck of a marathon, but for the student interested in examining the art of rhetorical deception, I think it could be worth your time.

It's also true that I'm not doing nice.  But, considering the  flood of the slander and misrepresentations Mr. Steele allows himself towards serious scientists and their work  -  he ought to be man enough to take a little.

But, as is so typical with bullies, give 'em a taste of their own and off they run whining about unfairness.  The fact remains I document numerous examples of Mr. Steele misrepresenting the science and saying things that are plain false.}

I frequent an obscure on-line chat-room called SkepticForum and recently one Jim Steele joined the conversation with an opening thread titled: "More Respectful Climate Debate is Essential" wherein he links to his own essays which turn out to be extremely biased attack pieces and an excellent example of 'science by rhetoric' as opposed to evidence.  And since the conversation over there is like trying to dialogue with a gang of predatory alley cats, I'm going to review Jim Steele's essay on my own terms.

I include the complete text of Jim Steele's essay, no additions or subtractions, in courier font - with my comments and links to further information interspersed.  One reason I'm doing this is because Mr. Steele has quite successfully astro-turfed the internet with his science-fiction and I believe his game needs to be exposed.

I invite you on an exploration into Mr. Steele's alternate reality.

Fabricating Climate Doom: Parmesan’s Butterfly Effect  
Adapted from the chapter Landscape Change not Climate Change in Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism by Jim Steele

¶1  The pioneers of chaos theory coined the term “butterfly effect” to suggest that a hurricane's formation could be affected by such unpredictable influences as the flap of a distant butterfly’s wings that changed the winds’ direction weeks before. Ironically, it was Dr. Camille Parmesan’s 1996 seminal Edith’s checkerspot butterfly paper titled " Climate and Species Range"1 that became the model for future peer-reviewed papers that blamed climate change for driving species northward and upward and causing species extinctions. 
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For starters, who knows, perhaps there's some rational for Steele's personal resentment at Dr. Parmesan's being cited often.  But, to jump from there to implying that Dr. Parmesan being cited in other studies means those studies are clones of Dr. Parmesan's work or her thinking is down right ludicrous. 

Scientists are independent thinkers, they don't clone each other's work.  Citing an article doesn't mean authors have adopted it! 

Citations are about sharing further information, why does Mr. Steele try to distort it into some conspiracy?  Interestingly Steele makes a habit of quoting people without offering citations, and when asked, won't produce them.
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Featured on the Union of Concerned Scientists' website, Parmesan echoed Dr. Jim Hansen's catastrophic prediction} that global warming was already forcing global ecological collapse, "The latest research shows clearly that we face the threat of mass extinctions in coming years," she says. "My hope is that we will be able to reduce emissions enough so that assisted colonization efforts can be successful, because at the higher ranges of scientists' projections of warming trends, frankly, we're sunk." 
~ ~ ~ 
An interview is not a formal study! 

OK, so Parmesan said those things in an interview, what does that have to do with any particular study she's done?  

Why ignore the fact that she was being interviewed and asked for her considered opinion in light of a life-time worth of diverse experiences and knowledge.  

It had nothing to do with any particular formal study!  Trying to paint it as such reveals a predatory attitude on the part of Steele.
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For promoting global warming theory, she subsequently earned an invitation to speak at the White House and became one of just four biologists to partake in third global climate assessment by the United Nations' Nobel-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By 2009, Parmesan ranked as the second-most cited author of papers devoted expressly to global warming and climate change.2
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Here again: White House, UN, IPCC's Nobel prize, Parmesan being cited, it's like a dog whistle for certain political types out there.  But this is a scientific issue, not a political one.

But, what's that got to do with Steele establishing a serious scientific basis for his complaint?

Why is he off on a tangents suggesting global warming isn't happening at all.  Doing so is pure alternate-universe fantasy, and then he wonders why publishing scientists won't waste their precious time on him.  

Here are some websites, where Jim Steele can come up to speed on the scientific evidence surrounding anthropogenic greenhouse gas induced global warming.
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Climate change: How do we know?
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National Academies - Climate Change: Evidence and Causes
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New analyses find evidence of human-caused climate change in half of the 12 extreme weather and climate events analyzed from 2012
September 5, 2013
- - - 
- - - 
Global Climate Change Indicators
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¶2  Einstein said, “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” and the fanfare given Parmesan drove me hazy. 
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This one is pretty funny.  
Einstein said something that rhymes with something Jim thinks sounds cute.  Hmmm, "Let's invoke the great Einstein, his glow is sure to light up my essay.' 
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Detailed studies by butterfly experts and conservationists dedicated to saving the butterfly from extinction had all blamed habitat destruction and sought habitat restoration. 
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Watch this essay develop, Steele's premise is basically - if it's 'habitat destruction' it can't be "global warming" - That's an argument from ignorance.  If habitat destruction got them first, doesn't mean global warming isn't in the background.

But considering Jim's background, I think there's something else going on.  This has more to do with ideology than science.

Incidentally, it's worth noting that it appears Steele has absolutely no Lepidopterology education or field experience, leading me to ask: Jim Steele, why do you believe you are smarter than accomplished experts?  
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In contrast Parmesan blamed global warming and argued for reduced carbon emissions. 
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Steele claims to hate half truths, yet he is taking something Dr. Parmesan said in a general interview and conflating it with her study.  Very misleading and less than half the truth.

Back up and look at the bigger picture - it turns out there's plenty Steele hides from his readers.  Here is a sampling, look for yourself and see how Steele's claim that "Detailed studies... all blamed habitat destruction" :
- - - 
Passion for Butterflies Becomes A Study in Climate Change Impact
Ayesha Monga Kravetz , National Science Foundation   |   August 03, 2012 
- - - 
This figure shows the rate of change in the growing season length (defined as the number of frost-free days per year) during the period January 1975 – December 2010.
- - - 
Length of Growing Season
This indicator measures the length of the growing season in the contiguous 48 states.
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And let's not forget the real time situation
and the global warming related droughts the western USA is enduring
- - -
August 2013
Compiled and Edited by:
Tamara Kadir
Linda Mazur
Carmen Milanes
Karen Randles
California Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Executive Summary

Page vi:
• Forest vegetation patterns
The lower edge of the conifer-dominated forests in the Sierra Nevada has been retreating upslope over the past 60 years. These regions are experiencing a warming of winter nights, causing a shift in vegetation from needle-leafed to broad- leafed trees. This vegetation shift will impact birds, mammals and other species that rely on certain tree types for food and habitat.

• Subalpine forest density
Today’s subalpine forests in the Sierra Nevada are much denser—that is, comprised of more small-diameter trees—than they were over 70 years ago. Small trees have increased by 62 percent, while large trees have decreased by 21 percent, resulting in 30 percent more stems today. During this time period, warmer temperatures, earlier snowmelt and more rain than snow occurred in this region. Densification of forests could lead to larger and more frequent fires and make trees more vulnerable to insect outbreaks and disease.

• Vegetation distribution shifts
In Southern California, the distribution of dominant plant species across a slope in the Santa Rosa Mountains has moved upward in the past 30 years by an average of 65 meters (213 feet). The climate of the canyon has become warmer and drier during this time period, suggesting that these conditions have been stressing the lower elevation plants and providing more favorable conditions for plants at higher elevations.

• Spring flight of Central Valley butterflies
Butterflies in the Central Valley have been appearing earlier in the spring over the past four decades, a change correlated with hotter and drier conditions in the region. This indicator complements studies from Europe that demonstrate a similar life cycle timing response of spring butterflies to warming and drying.

• Small mammal range shifts
Small mammals in Yosemite National Park are found today at different elevation ranges compared to earlier in the century. Most of these changes involved movement to higher elevations. Range contractions are of particular concern, given the decreased habitat area at higher elevations.
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British Butterfly Reveals Role Of Habitat For Species Responding To Climate Change
Source:  University of Exeter  |  March 9, 2009

A new study shows it is possible to predict how fast a population will spread and reveals the importance of habitat conservation in helping threatened species survive environmental change. The research tracks the recovery of a rare British butterfly over 18 years and offers hope for the preservation of other species.
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But wait there's more. . .

1}  Signals of Climate Change in Butterfly Communities in a Mediterranean Protected Area
Konstantina Zografou, Vassiliki Kati, Andrea Grill, Wilson, Tzirkalli,  Pamperis, John M. Halley 
Published: January 29, 2014
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087245

""The European protected-area network will cease to be efficient for biodiversity conservation, particularly in the Mediterranean region, if species are driven out of protected areas by climate warming. ...

"... we found a marked change in butterfly community composition over a 13 year period, concomitant with an increase of annual average temperature of 0.95°C. Our analysis gave no evidence of significant year-to-year (2011–2012) variability in butterfly community composition, suggesting that the community composition change we recorded is likely the consequence of long-term environmental change, such as climate warming. 

We observe an increased abundance of low-elevation species whereas species mainly occurring at higher elevations in the region declined. The Community Temperature Index was found to increase in all habitats except agricultural areas. …"

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2}  Climate Change May Affect Butterfly Flight Season
Published November 22, 2013

According to new research from the University of British Columbia, the Université de Sherbrooke and the University of Ottawa, increasing temperatures caused by global climate change will ultimately affect the flight season timing of these winged beauties.

A team of researchers combed through Canadian museum collections of more than 200 butterfly species and matched them with weather station data going back 130 years.

As a result, researchers found butterflies possess widespread temperature sensitivity, with flight season occurring an average of 2.4 days earlier per degree Celsius of temperature increase.
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3}  Climate Change May Disrupt Monarch Butterfly Migration 
Feb 22, 2013 | By Nayantara Narayanan and ClimateWire 

The butterflies rely on the thaw of spring to tell them when to begin the long journey back north but global warming may disrupt the timing
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4}  The Butterfly Effect: How a Little (Climate) Change Can Lead to Chaos
Posted on September 4, 2012 by iyzabaig

The model showed that although most of the life stages hinted at an increased population with higher temperatures, the life stage that determined population viability was the overwintering larva stage. 
This stage was negatively affected by all of the climate change scenarios, and resulted in (compared to the baseline scenario) an 88% butterfly population reduction in the increased temperature variability scenario, a 94% reduction in the temperature increase scenario, and a 97% reduction in the European climate change scenario. 

These results suggest that because temperature increases will negatively impact the overwintering stage of the butterfly life cycle, the most temperature-sensitive life stage, the overall population of butterflies will decrease significantly in the coming years due to climate change. ..."
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5}  Butterfly Range Shifts Are A Sign Of Global Warming
September 29, 2012 | By:  Samantha Jakuboski

Last month, after 18 years of observation and nearly 20,000 surveys, a very interesting study was published in Nature Climate Change about the effects global warming has on Massachusetts’s butterflies. Conducted by amateur scientists of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, the study supported the hypothesis that global warming is the culprit when it comes to the changes in the “distribution and abundance” of butterfly populations on the Northeast Coast. As the temperature is rising, populations of warm-adapted butterflies are increasing in size and moving farther north, whereas populations of cold-adapted butterflies in Massachusetts are decreasing in size.

Over the past 100 years, the temperature of Massachusetts has risen 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
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5b}  Climate-driven changes in northeastern US butterfly communities
Greg A. Breed, Sharon Stichter & Elizabeth E. Crone
Nature Climate Change 3, 142–145 (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1663
Published online 19 August 2012
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6}  How Butterflies Adapt When Climate Changes
Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience Staff Writer   |   April 03, 2012 07:01pm ET

"A lot of the butterflies we were looking at are threatened by climate change. With the warmer temperatures, it will be too hot for a lot of them to survive in southern Europe," study researcher Andrew Suggitt, a graduate student at the University of York in the United Kingdom, told LiveScience. …

The researchers concluded that though the majority of butterfly species could make use of these cooler areas of habitat, not enough of the actual individuals are doing it to protect the species from climate change. It's likely that food and other habitat resources are keeping them in open, warmer areas, even though it may be too hot for them to survive.

They did see that the microclimates played a more important role to the butterflies in Spain, where climate change is heating the butterflies out of house and home, than in the United Kingdom, where the butterflies are expanding their range northward to escape the heat. The Spanish populations will likely continue expanding northward and to higher altitudes to escape the heat, the researchers noted.

This study will be published tomorrow (April 4) in the journal Biology Letters."
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7}  Passion for Butterflies Becomes A Study in Climate Change Impact
Ayesha Monga Kravetz , National Science Foundation   |   August 03, 2012

The work within the sites began as a five-year study that focused on short-term weather impacts. Soon, however, the study became an open-ended, long-term project that incorporated the impact of climate change. ...
In the more than 40 years since the sampling sites were established, Shapiro has completed more than 6,300 trips to the 11 sites. He has entered about 130,000 individual records of 160 butterfly species and subspecies.

Through an NSF Biological Databases and Informatics grant, Shapiro and his team created a digital database covering more than 35 years of field records.
With the digital database and using statistical tools to separate short-term effects from long-term effects, Shapiro and his team have found significant long-term trends by studying the changes in the geographic and altitudinal distribution of butterflies. ...

At low-elevation sites, near sea level, increasing urbanization and landscape changes have heavily impacted butterfly populations. Butterflies have decreased in abundance and distribution due to fragmentation of their habitats.
With climate warming, butterflies at the highest-elevation site are appearing with increasing frequency. Those that normally breed at 7,000 feet now breed at 9,000 feet. The site is gaining diversity because the butterflies are moving uphill. ...
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8}  The Butterfly Effect: Global Warming Changes Butterfly Habitat and Behavior
Saturday, June 12, 2010 by: M.Thornley

In an article titled, "Butterflies Across Europe Face Crisis as Climate Change Looms," researchers warn that Europe will lose much of its biodiversity due to global warming as indicated by a study of butterfly distribution conducted by the Climatic Risk Atlas of European Butterflies, which involves hundreds of European scientists. One of the authors of the study, Dr Josef Settele, said: "The Atlas shows for the first time how the majority of European butterflies might respond to climate change. Most species will have to shift their distribution radically."
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9}  Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity
Matthew L. Forister, Andrew C. McCall, Nathan J. Sanders, James A. Fordyce, James H. Thorne, Joshua O’Brien, David P. Waetjen, and Arthur M. Shapiro 

approved December 17, 2009  -

Climate change and habitat destruction have been linked to global declines in vertebrate biodiversity, including mammals, amphibians, birds, and fishes. However, invertebrates make up the vast majority of global species richness, and the combined effects of climate change and land use on invertebrates remain poorly understood. Here we present 35 years of data on 159 species of butterflies from 10 sites along an elevational gradient spanning 0–2,775 m in a biodiversity hotspot, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California. 

Species richness has declined at half of the sites, with the most severe reductions at the lowest elevations, where habitat destruction is greatest. At higher elevations, we observed clear upward shifts in the elevational ranges of species, consistent with the influence of global warming. Taken together, these long-term data reveal the interacting negative effects of human-induced changes on both the climate and habitat available to butterfly species in California. 

Furthermore, the decline of ruderal, disturbance-associated species indicates that the traditional focus of conservation efforts on more specialized and less dispersive species should be broadened to include entire faunas when estimating and predicting the effects of pervasive stressors.
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Over at SKEP Steele dismisses all of the above as being beside the point.  But, that his shell game.  

The above certainly makes clear that there is plenty of evidence for climate change starting to have serious, and growing, impacts on butterflies and other living creatures.
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She had blamed “global” warming even though most maximum temperatures in California had not risen significantly.
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She said global warming was a factor, she's never denied other factors!  Read what she wrote: 

And what's with putting "global" into scare quotes?  Does Steele actual doubt the fundamentals of greenhouse gases and how they impact our atmosphere?  

As for Steele's claimed lack of warming, look at footnote 3, please notice there is clear warming both day and night.  Also consider that with so much of California at high elevations or on the coast it's no surprise those day time maximums would show a retarded trend compared to other regions.  

{Steele how do you dare preach about the sin of using half-truths, when your essay is based on omitted hug pieces of information?}
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"3 Statewide California temperature trends using USHCN data 
 Time series of annual California Tmin and Tmax temperatures from USHCN data between 1918–2006 are shown in Fig. 3. Annual temperature trends showed statistically significant warming (95% confidence level) for both Tmin and Tmax, but with a much larger warming in Tmin (+0.17C dec−1) compared to Tmax (+0.07C dec−1). Despite significant differences in long-term trends, annual Tmin and Tmax were significantly correlated (r = 0.61), suggesting the influence of common forcing mechanisms."
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More disconcerting the butterflies never migrated northward or upward, as claimed. 
~ ~ ~ 
Dr. Parmesan was doing a population study.  

Take a look: -  
"range shift" - "movement of boundaries" - "range expansion or contraction" all those terms you'll find, but you'll not find "migration" nor is it claimed.  

If you read Dr. Parmesan's essay with a bit of good faith you will notice she adds cautions and nuances, all of which our Mr. half-truth hater Steele chooses to ignore, in favor of his story-line.
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Yet she now seeks funding to support an ecologist’s worst nightmare, assisted colonization. Parmesan wants to create her own Noah’s ark shuttling animals northwards and upwards so they can escape the supposed rising tide of warmth predicted by models, despite the fact that introducing species into new habitat brings disease and disrupts the established ecological balance. 
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And what does her new project have to do with a study all those years ago?  Here again Steele is blowing some political dog-whistle, deliberately trying to tarnish Dr. Parmesan.  And why?  Because she has concern for the health of our biosphere?

Your politics is showing Mr. Steele.
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¶3  To her credit Parmesan had diligently spent four years of extensive and laborious fieldwork revisiting locations where the butterfly had been observed earlier in the century. However after verifying that more populations had gone extinct in the southern extremes and at the lowest elevations of the butterfly's range, Parmesan enthusiastically claimed her results were consistent with global warming theory. 
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Why not just write: "Professor Parmesan's paper is the result of over four years of researching population studies from throughout California into Mexico"?

Steele again deliberately conflates Dr. Parmesan's appreciation for the scientific facts of global warming with the conduct and substance of her specify population study.  They are two different things.

Notice how Steele has yet to bring any substantive evidence into his essay regarding any study. 
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In 2010 she summarized her work: "it was a bloody obvious change. These butterflies were shifting their entire range over the past century northward and upward, which is the simplest possible link you could have with warming. I was expecting some incredibly subtle, sophisticated response to warming, if at all. What I got was 80% of the populations in Mexico and the Southern California populations were extinct, even though their habitats still looked perfectly fine."2 But as I discovered later Parmesan always knew the butterflies had never migrated further north or to higher elevations.
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Dr. Parmesan never claimed the butterflies migrated.

Steele doesn't offer any real specifics, just his vision of how he imagines events went down and he trusts his audience will accept his version of events as a given.  But they are not a given!  

Steele defines nothing in any substantive manner. 
{The way a serious scientific minded reviewer would do.}
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¶4  Hansen’s global warming theory had predicted that the increasing maximum temperatures would push animals northward and upward, however Parmesan failed to mention that most of California's maximum temperatures had never exceeded the highs of the 1940s as seen in Yosemite National Park. 
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One more time.  Steele fails to mention that a large percentage of California is at high elevations where midday warming will always be suppressed because that's how it works at higher elevations with it's thinner air and winds.

Steele's own reference contradicts his spin:
"3 Statewide California temperature trends using USHCN data:"Time series of annual California Tmin and Tmax temperatures from USHCN data between 1918–2006 are shown in Fig. 3. Annual temperature trends showed statistically significant warming (95% confidence level) for both Tmin and Tmax, but with a much larger warming in Tmin (+0.17C dec−1) compared to Tmax (+0.07C dec−1). "Despite significant differences in long-term trends, annual Tmin and Tmax were significantly correlated (r = 0.61), suggesting the influence of common forcing mechanisms."  {"common forcing mechanisms" read: greenhouse gases.}"
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In fact, her paper never analyzed local temperatures at all. Parmesan relied on the political global warming bias. Parmesan was speaking globally, but butterflies always act locally. 
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Here Mr. half-truth hating Steele labels a scientific understanding, one that is built upon a century of science and observations made by scientists throughout the globe, "a political bias" - revealing his own political bias.

But, considering there is no serious scientific study disputing the universal agreement among scientists regarding the impact of all those greenhouse gases we've been pumping into our thin atmosphere, Mr. Steele has some audacity to call that "political... bias."

On top of that, now Steele is divining Parmesan's personal motivations... how would Steele know?  Or is that just the predator peeking through?

It would be better for Steele to examine his own motivating drivers for producing such dishonest clap-trap.
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Ask any university ecology professor. They would not hesitate to harshly criticize an undergraduate term paper that used a “global average” to explain a local event; yet that was her only climate “evidence”.
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Here we have an example of thee ol tactic of 'supposing' in order to create one's own reality.  

Dr. Parmesan actually wrote "This result, in conjunction with earlier detailed studies of climate-cause population extinctions in this butterfly, suggests climate change as the cause of the observed range shift."

These "local events" were spread across California and into Mexico.

Mr. Steele, mixing and matching the LA/SD corridor with all of California is his 'straw man.'  But, it has nothing to do with exploring science or learning! 
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¶5  Furthermore Parmesan failed to address the fact that higher temperatures enhanced the butterfly’s survival. Warm microclimates are critical for its survival. Caterpillars living in cooler microclimates develop more slowly, while those actively basking in the direct sunlight digest their food more quickly and grow more robustly. Cool rainy years often extirpated local populations.
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And Steele fails to establish how that would adversely impact population census studies, we don't even know if he's talking about the same species of butterflies/caterpillars.

To repeat what Parmesan wrote: 
"This result, in conjunction with earlier detailed studies of climate-caused population extinctions in this butterfly* suggests climate change as the cause of the observed range shift.  
However, conclusive evidence for or against the existence of the predicted biological effects of climate change will come, not from attempts to analyze all possible confounding variables in single studies such as this one, but from replication of this type of study with additional taxa in other regions.  
Until this has been done, the evidence presented here provides the clearest indication to date that global warming is already influencing species distributions." 
Ehrlich, P.R. et al Oecologia 46, 101-105 (1980)
Singer, M.C., and Ehrlich, P.R.  Fortschritte der Zoologie 25, 53-60 (1979)
Murphy, D.D. and Ehrlich, P.R. J. Lepid. Soc 34, 316-320 (1980)
Thomas, C.C., Singer, M.C. Am. Nat. (in the press)
Singer, M.C. and Thomas, C.D. Am. Nat. (in the press),
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¶6 Since the 1950s, Stanford University's Paul Ehrlich and his colleagues had made detailed observations throughout the checkerspot’s habitat on the Jasper Ridge Preserve. They determined that the caterpillars must raise their body temperature an additional 18-21°F above ambient air temperatures. To raise their body temperature, caterpillars shuffled across the hillsides seeking life?giving hot spots.4,5,6 Any global warming, natural or anthropogenic, should have been a benefactor, not an executioner.
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Steele again forgets that Dr. Parmesan was doing a population study.  That means counting numbers as opposed to studying details of the life cycle.  

Then he blows that dog whistle with the stupid wise crack "life?giving hot spots," followed by a slap in the face remark.  

A imagine an objective reader would realize we are all dependent on a fairly narrow range of temperatures, too cold or too hot and we start having problems.  Some extra warmth is good, a lot of extra warmth is bad.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶7  Parmesan’s observations of extirpated populations were not new. Conservationists had sounded the extinction alarm years before her “global warming study”. Butterfly populations had diminished so quickly that the checkerspot’s apparent fate was compared to the rapid ruination of the extinct passenger pigeon. Scientists working to prevent extinction had always warned that the suburban sprawl from Los Angeles to San Diego had devoured the butterfly's critical habitat and extirpated most populations.7,8 When the checkerspot’s southern California Quino subspecies was finally listed as endangered, conservation scientists wrote, "The basis for the listing was habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, recognizing additional negative effects from fire management practice. All factors are the results of intensive human economic development of ever diminishing resources."60
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Think about this a moment, L.A. / S.D. suburban sprawl has devoured the butterfly's critical habitat and extirpated most populations.  So habitat destruction rushed in faster than climate change. . .   thus any impacts of climate change on those populations wouldn't be apparent.  

Now Steele's thesis seems to be that if urban impacts are present that means there are no climate impacts, it's a classic example of crazy-making in action.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶8  The conservationists’ detailed studies also reported that most extinctions observed in southern California had already transpired by the 1970s, before any purported CO2 warming had significantly developed and furthermore populations were now recovering. In 2003 researchers wrote, "although we now know that the butterfly likely disappeared from Orange County thirty years ago, it was rediscovered in Riverside County in the early 1990s, and in San Diego County at several formerly occupied sites soon after."8
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Again Steele is mixing and matching to suit.  Parmesan's study covered sites throughout California and cross the Mexican border, and populations remained dynamic after the study period.
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¶9  Nor were extinctions limited to the southern end of the butterfly’s range. Rapid urban development entirely extirpated the Canadian subspecies (the Taylor checkerspot) from the coldest northern end of the butterfly’s range. 
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No details, no citation, we are left with the interpretive spin Steele chooses to inject.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But because there was a greater preponderance of extinctions in southern California, the "average statistical center" for the species migrated northward. There was never any evidence of any real migration due to warming. There was never an apocalyptic flight to cooler lands. 
~ ~ ~
Dog whistle back in action "apocalyptic flight".
Dr. Parmesan made no mention of any flight, apocalyptic or not, nor migrating species and Steele knows it.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Parmesan’s climate claim was solely a statistical fairy tale. Still Parmesan's unscientific climate claim was published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals with one of the highest rejection rates, Nature.
~ ~ ~
Yes, it was a statistical study, but that doesn't make it's a fairy tale - misrepresenting what Parmesan actually wrote allows Steele to paint any picture he wants.

So far Steele has offered a lot of rhetorical fancy dancing - misrepresenting a number of facts along the way as I've highlighted - now he believes he's smarter than all the reviewers and editors at Nature.  

Steele has yet to write up a study describing error's.  
Instead he writes opinion pieces he won't defend.
That's science by rhetoric, not science by learning.  
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶10  How did Parmesan deal with the multitude of contradictory factors? Instead of a more detailed study, she simply argued, "the predicted effects of climate change will come, not from attempts to analyze all possible confounding variables in single studies such as this one, but from replication of this type of study."1
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Earth science is not like mathematics and engineering, it is an infinitely complex constantly shifting subject.  There probably has never been a perfect nature observation study.  

Flaws don't necessarily invalid scientific studies, errors are searched out, understood and learned from as time keeps moving forward.

Seems to me, Dr Parmesan appreciates that there are so many interconnected factors involved in this rapidly evolving situation that there's way more benefit to moving forward incorporating lessons learned.

The climate science denialists set have done a great PR job of establishing impossible expectations that Earth sciences must reach some mythical perfection before we can accept the weight of their evidence.  It's actually quite shameful, but politically successful. . .  though our kids will hate us for our disregard for their home planet.
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In essence, by arguing that confounding factors were no longer important, she suggested we throw out the foundation of good scientific analysis. 
~ ~ ~
Dr. Parmesan does not argue that, 
Steele once again misrepresents the scientist.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
To demonstrate the negative impacts of climate change, all anyone needed to do was demonstrate that populations were dwindling in the south more than in the north, or dwindling more at lower elevations than at higher elevations. Implausibly, the prestigious journal Nature supported this “new climate science.”
~ ~ ~
When a angry student has an epiphany that their professor has made a fundamental error, it is always better for the student to examine his own "insight" most critically before screaming to the world that the professor is a fraud.

But, Steele has yet to show any humility or appreciation for his own blind spots.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Defying the Experts 
¶11  The evidence against any CO2 connection was overwhelming, but I was no butterfly expert. Needing a reality check, I talked with my friend Dr. Paul Opler, one of North America's top butterfly experts. If you have ever spent any time with Paul, you quickly realize that no one has a greater love for butterflies. If there was the smallest threat, he would be the first to speak out.  
In 1974, he was hired as the first invertebrate specialist for the United States Federal Endangered Species program. Virtually every butterfly species now listed as endangered was listed under his watch. To my great good fortune, he agreed to teach a course, "Butterflies of the Sierra Nevada" (which he still teaches), for my environmental education program each year. When he visited, I expressed my doubts about the legitimacy of Parmesan's claims and my bewilderment at all the media hype, and I asked if he had seen any supporting evidence. 
¶12  He carefully stated that from all the data he had perused, he had seen absolutely no evidence that any butterflies had ever moved northwards, nor had they been pushed to higher elevations. He added the checkerspot has now been discovered further south in Baja, Mexico. He too couldn't understand the public fanfare and echoed my thoughts that “only her statistical averages moved, not the butterflies".  
Due to his expertise, Opler had been invited by the Fish and Wildlife Service to comment on the proposed recovery plans for the subspecies in southern California and wrote:
¶13  The lengthy space given to Camille Parmesan's study and the suggestion that newly found colonies are the result of global warming is highly speculative. Her study did not find new northern, or higher populations of the species. Her results were a statistical artifact of the purported loss of low-lying southern populations (emphasis added). Her surveys that showed the absence of butterflies in some population areas could have been carried out in relatively bad years when the species was present only as diapausing larval clusters. (Diapause is a period of dormancy similar to hibernation)
~ ~ ~
It's really irritating how often important quotes and claims are not supported by citations or links so that we, the audience, can investigate the full context of the 'mined' quote.

While Steele gives us only a select sliver of Opler's views, we do have this California study making it plain that other's have also been documenting these changes:

"Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity"
vol. 107 no. 5
  1. > Matthew L. Forister,  2088–2092, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0909686107
Says something quite different:
"Here we present 35 years of data on 159 species of butterflies from 10 sites along an elevational gradient spanning 0–2,775 m in a biodiversity hotspot, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California. Species richness has declined at half of the sites, with the most severe reductions at the lowest elevations, where habitat destruction is greatest. At higher elevations, we observed clear upward shifts in the elevational ranges of species, consistent with the influence of global warming.  
Taken together, these long-term data reveal the interacting negative effects of human-induced changes on both the climate and habitat available to butterfly species in California. "  ~ ~ ~ Arthur Shapiro et al. Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity. PNAS, January 11, 2010
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶14  Opler was not the only expert to dissent. Other scientists, armed with detailed studies aimed at insuring the butterfly's recovery and survival, also disagreed. "Our observation that human impacts were almost always involved in local extirpations in southern California (even for those areas that may seem to still have "suitable habitat"), the role of global warming as the proximate cause of extinction must be carefully evaluated. We suspect that warming is perhaps an exacerbating factor, but that increased extinction rates in southern California are primarily caused by more direct anthropogenic forces."7
~ ~ ~
"Proximate" cause, still leaves room for global warming's impact, it's simply that in development crazed Southern California habitat loss and fires are the predominate cause.  Remember Dr. Parmesan's study was state wide.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶15  So I decided Parmesan's landmark climate study needed to be replicated with a more critical eye on the contributing land use factors. However, when I looked for her methods section there was none. Her study had been published as a correspondence, and in Nature, a correspondence doesn't require a methods section that allows for independent verification. That also explained how her paper survived a gauntlet of disagreement by leading experts. A correspondence is not typically peer reviewed. It is published simply based on the advocacy of Nature's editors.
~ ~ ~
Interestingly, it turns out Steele has no expertise in butterflies, he never studied Lepidopterology, has never conducted his own study, so it seems rather presumptuous for him to believe himself capable of such self-confident absolutist judgment.

But, than such extreme confidences is the realm of the politician and dilettante, not the serious skeptical scientist or student.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Withholding the Evidence
“We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.”
Dr. Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize in Physics
¶16  I emailed Dr. Parmesan and asked for the locations of the extinct populations. After months without reply, I called. Caught off guard, she initially refused to share any data, but after more discussion offered the possibility of collaboration. She said she needed to hang up but promised to send some data. More than three years later, I am still waiting. So much for Feynman's good scientist “trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible."
~ ~ ~
Another transparent effort to suck legitimacy out of name dropping.

Considering the way Steele has been writing it's no wonder that Dr. Parmesan realized the man was a predator bent on vandalism.  He has shown zero interest in understanding her studies, and he plays a mean shell game of mixing and matching in order to draw suspect conclusions that he treats as gospel.
Why would any busy serious professional cooperate with such a character, who's more predator that interested student?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶17  Her husband eventually responded to a follow-up email I sent a year later in which I expressed my frustration with their failure to allow independent verification. Her husband, Dr. Michael Singer, is a checkerspot expert who had shared in her research. Singer unintentionally confirmed Opler’s criticisms, "Her study did not find new northern, or higher populations of the species…There are no ‘new’ northern populations in Parmesan's study.  
The study consisted entirely of re-examining populations known from past records and assessing which of them was currently extant or extinct. No 'new' populations were sought or found (emphasis added).” Trying to discourage my replication efforts Dr. Singer wrote, "But I do remember writing to you to say that E. editha has been increasing through the 2000s and that many of the populations that Camille and I recorded as extinct in the 1990s have been recolonized….So, any new census of Sierra Nevada populations would show a reduced correlation between elevation and population status, perhaps no longer a significant correlation." Singer and Parmesan illustrate a glaring problem when limiting debate to peer-reviewed journals. Contradictory evidence is simply never published.
~ ~ ~
It would be better if the non-expert Steele spent a little time trying to understand what Dr. Singer was explaining to him.  But understanding hasn't been his focus.

Steele is on a mission to tear down Parmesan's work, not to try and understand it.  It's no surprise she's too busy doing science to have the time to waste with a hostile dilettante who believes himself smarter than the experts.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
¶18  So why haven’t they published this good news of the butterfly’s recovery? Why did only her erroneous climate gloom and doom bring worldwide acclaim? Despite a wealth of evidence that contradicted global warming predictions, her faulty “Climate and Species Range” went viral and is now cited by over 580 articles. 
~ ~ ~
Oh, and what good news Mr Steele?
Butterflies reeling from impacts of climate and development 
Arthur Shapiro, et al.  |  University of California - Davis  |  January 12, 2010 
California butterflies are reeling from a one-two punch of climate change and land development, says an unprecedented analysis. The new analysis gives insights on how a major and much-studied group of organisms is reacting to the Earth's warming climate.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In contrast just 17 have cited the paper detailing conservationists’ efforts that actually saved the butterfly, “The Endangered Quino Checkerspot Butterfly”. Parmesan wrote subsequent papers blaming extreme weather and climate change for population extinctions and again withheld evidence of the species’ success. Likewise her half-truths were immediately embraced and published by our leading climate scientists and then cited by more than a thousand articles. That deception however requires a future essay.
~ ~ ~
Here again this a politically massaged message to the uninformed faithful.  

To start with, there is a limited audience for actual butterfly conservation efforts, so that discrepancy in citations is easily understood.  There's a much more global interest in the greater evolving story of global warming's impact on ecosystems and species.

Also Mr. Steele, before you accuse others of half-truths and fraud, you'd do better to review your own biases, which you've demonstrated quite well in this disingenuous agenda driven essay with it's many half truths and worse.

And then there is the matter that when I look around I can find plenty of other studies documenting climate change's impacts habitats and species. 
- - -
Indicators of Climate Change in California - Report Summary 
p.6"Except for the Central Valley (where agricultural irrigation likely had a cooling effect), daytime heat waves during the summer are increasing, especially in the Coastal North and Mojave regions. Nighttime heat waves are increasing in all regions. …"

"Other indicators of climate change impacts on physical systems show that: 
 Lake waters have been warming at Lake Tahoe, Lake Almanor, Clear Lake and Mono Lake since the 1990s. Changes in water temperature can alter the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of a lake, leading to changes in the composition and abundance of organisms that inhabit it. 
 Sea surface temperature at La Jolla has increased over the past century at a rate twice as fast as globally. Warmer ocean waters contribute to global sea level rise and extreme weather events." 
"Other indicators of climate change impacts on biological systems show that: 
 In Southern California, dominant plant species across the north slope of Deep Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains have moved upward by an average of about 65 meters (213 feet) over the past 30 years. 
 Today’s subalpine forests in the Sierra Nevada are much denser, consisting of more small- diameter trees, than 70 years ago. 
 The lower edge of the conifer-dominated forests in the Sierra Nevada has been retreating upslope over the past 60 years. 
 Central Valley butterflies have been appearing earlier in the spring over the past four decades. 
 About half of the small mammal species surveyed in Yosemite National Park showed a change in the elevation at which they can be found today, compared to earlier in the century. Most of these changes involved movement to higher elevations."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have supplied the links to these citations, 
note that three are from the 80s and five out of the eight are from the previous century, you'll find more update information in the above cited studies.

Plus, I added a few more interesting links for your edification.

Literature Cited
1. Parmesan, C., (1996) Climate and Species Range. Nature, vol. 382, 765-767
2. Science Watch Newsletter Interview of Camille Parmesan. (2010)
3. Cordero, E., et al., (2011) The identification of distinct patterns in California temperature trends. Climate Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0023-y.
4. Weiss, S., et al., (1988) Sun, Slope, and Butterflies: Topographic Determinants of Habitat Quality for Euphydryas Editha. Ecology, Vol. 69, pp. 1486-1496
5. Weiss, S., et al., (1987) Growth and dispersal of larvae of the checkerspot, Euphydryas editha. Oikos 50: 161-166
6. Ehrlich, P., and Murphy, D. (1987) Conservation Lessons from Long-Term Studies of Checkerspot Butterflies. Conservation Biology, vol. 1, pp. 122-131
7. Mattoni, R., et al., (1997) The endangered quino checkerspot butterfly, Euphydryas editha quino (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Journal of Research Lepidoptera 34:99–118. 
8. Longcore,T., et al., (2003) A Management and Monitoring Plan for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) and its Habitats in San Diego County. A Management and Monitoring Plan for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Further reading:

Article 8:
(Essay) Detection at Multiple Levels: Edith's Checkerspot Butterfly and Climate Change
By Camille Parmesan, University of Texas, Austin
~ ~ ~ 

Dispatch #30: A Profile of the Lepidopterist Camille Parmesan
By Alex Shoumatoff
~ ~ ~ 

Statewide California temperature trends using USHCN data 
~ ~ ~

Yosemite Researchers Get Rare Glimpse at Habitat Shifts Over 100 Years
By LAURA PETERSEN  |  Greenwire  |   Published: May 12, 2011


Sou said...

Excellent, CC. You've picked up on all Jim's tricks. He's been waging a vendetta on Dr Parmesan for some time. I don't know why he singled her out of all the other biologists, ecologists and entomologists. It seems personal.

If he wanted to find out for himself what the sitation was he could try and do his own study. However from what I've read of his ravings, I doubt he'd be capable of designing a research study let alone writing it up.

He is a climate science denier and I suspect even denies the greenhouse effect. I've seen him posting his silly comments in different parts of cyberspace.

On another occasion Jim pretended one sea was another and that spring and autumn were the same as winter. When his gross deception was pointed out plain as day, he still wouldn't admit to it and tried on lots of bluff and bluster and faked hurt feelings. Typical denier stuff.

JIm Steele said...

I see skeptic forum banned citizenchallenge for libelous unfounded comments. And just like Sou, CC fabricates stories in their attempt at character assassination.

Sou has engaged in similar libel manufacturing totally false accusations such as 'On another occasion Jim pretended one sea was another and that spring and autumn were the same as winter. When his gross deception was pointed out plain as day, he still wouldn't admit to it and tried on lots of bluff and bluster and faked hurt feelings."

It says far more about the global warming devotees lack of integrity than mine. And I have no doubts the courts would rule in my favor!

citizenschallenge said...

Yea, Jim bully for you, now you can hide from facing the litany of misleading lies, and crazy-making spin you put on your story.

You don't seem to have the intellectual integrity, or curiosity, to face a serious point by point examination.

As for SkepticForum, look for yourself folks,

The place is a romper room for wise-crackers, and their climate change board is an atrocity. You got a couple regulars who heap the vilest slander on top scientists with impunity. Try to nail down their claims and you might find a graphic of an exploding head tossed in to settle the discussion and the moderator says "free speech is a bitch."

Just don't pick on his kids, and you'd better not try to actually confront their lying garbage regarding how they misrepresent scientists and their studies.

Good conversation over there is coming up with best quips, and god help anyone who wants to have a serious discussion - or who tries to nail down a slippery snake like our pal Jim Steele.

So this will end the same way it usually does with denialist types like Jim Steele refusing to participate in a serious review of his claims. Nah, whiney blahblah, like his above comment, is as deep as he cares to get.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The sad life cycle of a discussion with a denialist:

First the grand claims and the challenge to look closer.

But, when I look closer and point out the many various deceptions, then it's on to insults and indignation.

Then they run away and hide, off to find another venue for their lies.

Sadly I'm learning that we can never hope for a person like Jim Steele to actually have that serious skeptical examination. But then learning isn't his thing - he's got his political agenda to peddle.

Unknown said...

you appear to be book smart and that is about it. no human skills. if i don't accept your point of view then you would attack my character and intelligence. there are too many one sided people like you in this world.

citizenschallenge said...

Kim Lee, do you notice that you don't offer one constructive critique of what I've written?

You don't know me, all you've done is employ a cheap rhetorical trick.
Conjure up a convenient target of your own imagination.
Why not try to find out who I really am?
I challenge you (or a pal) to rationally debate your issues with my claims and the evidence I've collected !

Kim, can you hold up an intelligent dialogue?