Sunday, July 31, 2016

Roy Spencer's TPPI Mishmash of Myths, Nonsense and Fraud

Here's another Repost from and Dana Nuccitelli, it was originally written for The Guardian and concerns the latest Dr. Roy Spencer broadside against serious climate science and the learning process.  

With much appreciation I'm taking advantage of SkS CreativeCommon's license and am reposting Dana's article because I believe Roy Spencer's crimes against science and our children's future demands to be exposed for what they are, fraud.  And that this information needs to be circulated and become common knowledge, please pass it on. 

(Monday morning - I've updated this post by adding on a list of links (and quotes) to further detailed examination of Spencer's dubious science and his even more dubious writings on the topic.)

These are the best arguments from the 3% of climate scientist 'skeptics.' Really.

Posted on 25 July 2016 by Dana Nuccitelli | | The Guardian

When I give a presentation and mention the 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming, I’m often asked, “what’s the deal with the other 3%?”. These are the publishing climate scientists who argue that something other than humans is responsible for the majority of global warming, although their explanations are often contradictory and don’t withstand scientific scrutiny.
A few months ago, the world’s largest private sector coal company went to court, made its best scientific case against the 97% expert consensus, and lost. One of coal’s expert witnesses was University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer - a controversial figure who once compared those with whom he disagreed to Nazis, and has expressed his love for Fox News.
Last week, Spencer wrote a white paper for the Texas Public Policy Institute (TPPI) outlining the contrarian case against climate concerns. TPPI is part of the web of denial, having received substantial funding from both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, including $65,000 from ExxonMobil and at least $911,499 from Koch-related foundations since 1998, and over $3 million from “dark money” anonymizers Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.
Spencer’s arguments should of course be evaluated on their own merits, regardless of who commissioned them. However, it turns out that they have little merit on which to stand. The white paper is a classic example of a Gish Gallop – producing such a large volume of nonsense arguments that refuting all of them is too time-consuming. 

A mishmash of myths

Most of Spencer’s white paper consists of repeating a variety of long-debunked myths. It’s laid out in the form of 13 basic climate questions that Spencer tries to answer. Fortunately, has a database of over 200 climate myths, and summaries of what the peer-reviewed scientific research says about each. This makes it possible to handle Spencer’s 13-point Gish Gallop by simply referring to the relevant myth rebuttals. So here we go:
1) ‘Carbon dioxide is a trace gas’ is rebutted as Myth #127.
2) ‘Climate has changed before’ is addressed in Myth #2, and climate scientist Michael Mann recently rebutted the myth that climate researchers ignore natural factors. Spencer’s misleading claims about temperatures of the past 2,000 years based on a paper by Henrik Ljungqvist are refuted in Myth #168. Claims of hotter periods during that time than today are tackled in Myth #56, and implications that the planet is magically warming because it used to be colder during the Little Ice Age in Myth #32. Finally, the rebuttal to Myth #136 explains why we can’t just blame global warming on natural cycles.
3) The reliability of global temperature measurements is explained in Myth #6.
4) Models used by the IPCC have accurately predicted global warming, as explained in the rebuttals to and Myth #229, as well as an important paper published last year.
5) The net negative consequences of rapid global warming are outlined in the rebuttal to Myth #12.
6) The warming over the past 18 years is discussed in the rebuttal to Myth #7, and is clear from the record hot temperatures of the past 3 years.
7) The accuracy of climate models is covered under Myth #5 and in my book.
8) The sensitivity of the climate to the increasing greenhouse effect is addressed in Myth #30, and the role of clouds in Myth #143.
9) False claims about the 97% expert climate consensus are in Myth #3 and Myth #226.
10) Claims of ‘slow’ ocean warming are refuted by the fact that it’s accumulating heat at a rate equivalent to 4 atomic bomb detonations per secondconsistent with climate model predictions.
11) Spencer downplays the importance of our repeated breaking of temperature records, but we wouldn’t be breaking them without global warming.
12) On climate change causing extreme weather (Myth #41), Spencer suggests that we shouldn’t worry about stronger hurricanes (Myth #16), denies the record intensity of California’s current drought, and cherry picks sea ice (Myth #157) and snow cover data (Myth #159).
13) Spencer ends his paper with the claim that the 97% of climate research that’s consistent with the expert consensus is all politically biased. This is ironic given that Spencer has previously said:

I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.

Click here to read the rest

I've decided to add a further reading list, for those interested in more background information on this character who also believes it's plausible that Earth is six thousand years old.

What particularly spooky about Spencer the scientist is that he also belongs to that group of self-certain egotists who believes that even though he’s a petty jealous human (as some of his lashing-out certainly demonstrates) he’s convinced he’s wise and intelligent enough to understand the mind and will of God Almighty of Time and Creation, Life and Love. 

Testing Truth with an Open Mind by Roy Spencer

He finished with this advice: “… It took me a long time to finally approach the Bible with an open mind, but I am very glad there came a time when I did. My advice to you would be to seek out the truth for yourself. Unfortunately, much of what people believe is based less on evidence and more on unsubstantiated just-so stories. In relation to the basic claims of Christianity, do what I did! Read the Bible. Judge it for itself. Put it to the test. I am confident that you too will find the Bible not only to be in agreement with proven facts of science, but also to be the book which will lead you to a personal faith in God the creator of all things.”

{The supreme irony is that the Bible is precisely such a collection of “just-so-stories.”}

Science and religion: Do your own damn Google search
January 7th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

“Except that I view CO2 as one of those cases where nature, on a whole, benefits from more of our “pollution”. The scientific evidence is increasingly supporting this position.
This is not a big stretch considering that CO2 is necessary for life to exist on Earth, and yet only 4 molecules out of every 10,000 in the atmosphere are CO2. Venus and Mars have atmospheres that are almost 100% CO2; life on Earth, in contrast, has sucked most of it out of the atmosphere. No matter how much we produce, nature automatically takes out 50% and uses it.”

{Typical malicious fraud.  

Notice Spencer neglects to mention the very real atmospheric insulation that those 4 molecules out of every 10,000 represent.  He also neglects to mention that human society developed under an atmosphere where this insulation regulator was set at under 3 molecules out of every 10,000 molecules.

It’s this deliberate calculated deception intended to stupefy people’s understand that deserves to be railed against!

Also worth noting is that you won’t find God in Google Search you find god through a life long personal effort.}
Now for a look at the sober side of this argument  

Can a creationist be a good scientist?
Posted by coby on September 12, 2012

I honestly think that while belief in creationism is the antithesis of scientific thought, it is still possible to be a good scientist and a creationist at the same time.  This is for two main reasons.  Firstly, creationism is a term that covers a wide spectrum of beliefs, from literal 6000 year old earth bible thumping denial of evolution to a more nuanced kind of mysticism that believes somewhere beneath the deep layers of complex and wonderful natural processes exists an unexplainable and supernatural foundation.

There is no practical difference between investigating how deeply “God’s” thoughts are buried beneath the details and just trying to model the behavior and attributes of time and nature’s features, from the grandest principles to the microscopic minutiae.

Secondly, the human brain is remarkably adept at compartmentalizing and otherwise dealing with its own internal contradictions.  Clearly more often than not this is a bug, not a feature, but sometimes it is indeed a feature!  Thus one can quite easily maintain a separation of one’s theology and one’s day job.

But can you really trust a climatologist who believes, in the face of mountains of evidence, the following?

We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory.  Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.
and this:
We deny that carbon dioxide—essential to all plant growth—is a pollutant. Reducing greenhouse gases cannot achieve significant reductions in future global temperatures, and the costs of the policies would far exceed the benefits. …


Voices: Defending science: The link between creationism and climate change

What do creationists and climate change deniers have in common? Over the past few years, this riddle has been on our minds a lot at the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit that has fought for more than a quarter-century to defend the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Now, we’re expanding to defend the teaching of climate change — and with it, science in general.

What originally brought this riddle to mind was the poorly named 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act. Intended primarily to encourage creationism-leaning teachers to use their classrooms as pulpits, the bill identified three topics in addition to evolution for special treatment: “the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” A handful of similar bills in other states followed in its wake, most recently in Tennessee and Oklahoma.

The answer to the riddle is that creationists and climate change deniers have a lot in common — most especially in their assertions about science itself. In addition, they are often the same people! For example, Answers in Genesis, the young-Earth creationist ministry that runs a creation museum where animatronic dinosaurs cavort with humans in the Garden of Eden, also produces a DVD entitled “Global Warming: A Scientific and Biblical Exposé of Climate Change.” In another case, Roy Spencer, a climatologist featured in the film “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” has written that he regards “the theory of creation” as having “a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution.”
Back to science . . . 

One satellite data set is underestimating global warming

Wednesday 25 March 2015
A new study suggests that the University of Alabama at Huntsville is lowballing the warming of the atmosphere

A very important study was just published in the Journal of Climate a few days ago. This paper, in my mind, makes a major step toward reconciling differences in satellite temperature records of the mid-troposphere region. As before, it is found that the scientists (and politicians) who have cast doubt on global warming in the past are shown to be outliers because of bias in their results.

The publication, authored by Stephen Po-Chedley and colleagues from the University of Washington, discusses some major sources of error in satellite records. For instance, after satellites are launched, they scan the Earth’s atmosphere and calibrate the atmospheric measurements using a warm target onboard the satellite and cold space. 

The accuracy with which the atmospheric measurements are calibrated can influence the inferred temperature of the atmosphere (called the warm-target bias). Additionally, over the years, multiple satellites have been launched and the selection of which satellite data are used can play a role. Finally, biases can occur because the satellite orbits drift during their lifetime and the influence of diurnal temperature variation can affect the global temperature trends. 

Of these three errors, the last one (probably the most important one), was the focus of the just-published paper. 

It is known that there is a problem because there are multiple groups that create satellite temperature records. For instance, NOAA, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). The problem is, their results don’t agree with each other. In particular, the UAH team, led by Dr. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer (who have discounted the importance and occurrence of climate change for years) present results that differ quite a bit from the others. In fact, in the current paper, it is stated that “Despite using the same basic radiometer measurements, tropical TMT trend differences between these groups differ by a factor of three.” …

Collection of in-depth critique by Barry R. Bickmore

Roy Spencer is one of the few climate contrarians with real credentials.  That doesn’t stop him from propagating some real whoppers, however.  Here I’ve collected links to critiques of Roy’s work.  I’m starting with the posts I’ve made on my blog, including my 3-part review of his new book, The Great Global Warming Blunder:  How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists.

Christy and Spencer’s Satellite Temperature Record Mistake
1. Andy Revkin writes about the episode in the New York Times.

Dr. Spencer Goes to Salt Lake City
1. Politicizing Science.  Roy Spencer testified before a committee of the Utah House of Representatives.  Read all about what he said, and the response of local scientists and politicians.

The Great Global Warming Blunder
1. Roy Spencer’s Great Blunder, Part 1.  In his latest book, The Great Global Warming Blunder, Roy Spencer lashes out at the rest of the climate science community for either ignoring or suppressing publication of his research.  This research, he claims, virtually proves that the climate models used by the IPCC respond much too sensitively to external “forcing” due to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, variations in solar radiation, and so on.  Instead, Spencer believes most climate change is caused by chaotic, natural variations in cloud cover.  He and a colleague published a peer-reviewed paper in which they used a simple climate model to show that these chaotic variations could cause patterns in satellite data that would lead climatologists to believe the climate is significantly more sensitive to external forcing than it really is.  Spencer admits, however, that his results may only apply to very short timescales.  Since the publication of his book, furthermore, other scientists (including one that initially gave Spencer’s paper a favorable review) have shown that Spencer was only able to obtain this result by assuming unrealistic values for various model parameters.

2. Roy Spencer’s Great Blunder, Part 2.  Roy Spencer repeatedly claims that most of the rest of the climate science community deliberately ignores natural sources of climate variation, but then contradicts himself by launching an inept attack on the standard explanation for climate change during the glacial-interglacial cycles of the last million years (i.e., they are initiated by Milankovitch cycles).  The problems Spencer identifies are either red herrings or have been resolved, however, and he proposes no other explanation to take the place of the standard one.  In fact, climate scientists have used paleoclimate data such as that for the ice ages to show that climate sensitivity is likely to be close to the range the IPCC favors.  Therefore, it appears Roy Spencer is the one who wants to sweep established sources of natural climate variation under the rug.

3. Roy Spencer’s Great Blunder, Part 3.  Roy Spencer posits that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is linked to chaotic variations in global cloud cover over multi-decadal timescales, and thus has been the major driver of climate change over the 20th century.  To test this hypothesis, he fit the output of a simple climate model, driven by the PDO, to temperature anomaly data for the 20th century.  He found he could obtain a reasonable fit, but to do so he had to use five (he says four) adjustable parameters.  The values he obtained for these parameters fit well with his overall hypothesis, but in fact, other values that are both more physically plausible and go against his hypothesis would give equally good results.  Spencer only reported the values that agreed with his hypothesis, however.  Roy Spencer has established a clear track record of throwing out acutely insufficient evidence for his ideas, and then complaining that his colleagues are intellectually lazy and biased when they are not immediately convinced.

Blog Posts
1. Roy Spencer’s Non-Response.  Many of Roy’s readers were asking him to respond to my 3-part review of The Great Global Warming Blunder, which Roy said he wrote because he couldn’t get some of his work published in the peer-reviewed literature.  (Due to foul play, naturally.)  Now he says he won’t waste time responding to blog critiques, because he’s too busy trying to get his work published in the peer-reviewed literature.

2. Roy Spencer’s Latest Silver Bullet.  Roy Spencer has come up with yet another “silver bullet” to show that climate sensitivity is lower than IPCC estimates.  I.e., he fits a simple 1-box climate model to the net flux of heat into the upper 700 m of the ocean, and infers a climate sensitivity of only about 1 °C (2x CO2).  There are several flaws in his methods–inconsistent  initial conditions, failure to use the appropriate data, and failure to account for ocean heating deeper than 700 m.  (He fixed the last one in an update.)  All of these flaws pushed his model to produce a lower climate sensitivity estimate.  When the flaws are corrected, the model estimates climate sensitivities of at least 3 °C, which is the IPCC’s central estimate.  In any case, a simple 1-box climate model does not appear to be adequate for this kind of analysis over only a few decades.  But while Spencer’s latest effort doesn’t really do any damage to the consensus position, it turns out that it does directly contradict the work he promoted in The Great Global Warming Blunder.

3. Just Put the Model Down, Roy.  Roy Spencer’s wild and crazy curve-fitting adventures never seem to end!  The following excerpt from my critique says it all.  “Well, give me more than 30 parameters, and I can fit a trans-dimensional lizard-goat and make rainbow monkeys shoot out its rear end.”

L’Affaire Spencer
1. Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedback (  Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell published a paper in which they once again botched their statistics in an attempt to show that the climate sensitivities of standard climate models are too high.  This created a media bubble, with some media outlets claiming a “gaping hole” had been blown in global warming “alarmism”.  Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo took it apart on the RealClimate blog.

2. Remote Sensing Editor Resigns Over Spencer/Braswell Paper.  The editor of S&B’s paper figured out that the criticisms of the paper were devastating, and that S&B had ignored previously published research that they should have addressed in their paper.  Given the big media frenzy, the editor decided to resign (probably to save his journal from a reputation for publishing anything submitted.)

3. Roy Spencer Persecuted by Own Data.  Roy Spencer’s latest paper, published in Remote Sensing, supposedly “blew a gaping hole” in the standard theory of climate change.  A new paper by Andrew Dessler shows that this is just another in a long string of Roy’s faulty claims to prove that climate sensitivity is lower than previously thought.  The main problem in all of these attempts has been rampant abuse of statistics.  Typically, Roy would brush off such criticisms, relying on the statistical naïveté of his core audience and the media, and claim he is being persecuted by the “IPCC gatekeepers”.  In this case, one of Dessler’s figures shows very clearly how Spencer and his co-author Danny Braswell left out of their analysis all the data that didn’t fit with their hypothesis.  It’s so clear that even people who don’t know much about statistics can see the problem.  There is no running from this one–no claiming that Spencer is being persecuted–unless he wants us to believe he’s being persecuted by his own data.

4. Roy Spencer Responds With More Excuses.  Spencer responded to Dessler’s criticisms by misconstruing some of the arguments and sweeping away the statistical concept of “error bars” with a wave of his hand.  He also couldn’t understand why he needed to report all that missing data.

5. Remote Sensing Publishes Rebuttal.  Remote Sensing published a rebuttal to Spencer and Braswell’s paper.  The rebuttal, written by Kevin Trenberth, John Fasullo, and John Abraham, is mostly based on an earlier RealClimate post by Trenberth and Fasullo, but tidied up and updated for publication.

Nazis, shoddy science, and the climate contrarian credibility gap
Dana Nuccitelli, February 21, 2014

“… Yesterday, Roy Spencer took to his blog, writing a post entitled "Time to push back against the global warming Nazis". The ensuing Godwinian rant was apparently triggered by somebody calling contrarians like Spencer "deniers." Personally I tend to avoid use of the term, simply because it inevitably causes the ensuing discussion to degenerate into an argument about whether "denier" refers to Holocaust denial. Obviously that misinterpretation of the term is exactly what "pushed [Spencer's] button," as he put it.

However, this misinterpretation has no basis in reality. The term "denier" merely refers to "a person who denies" something, and originated some 600 years ago, long before the Holocaust occurred. …”

Roy Spencer's Dummy Spit shows his lack of education
FEBRUARY 21, 2014

Roy Spencer has spat the dummy, blown his top, ranted and raved and fulfilled Godwin's Law (archived here - h/t Dumb Scientist).  Roy Spencer has decided to object to the term "denier" to describe him, writing:
When politicians and scientists started calling people like me “deniers”, they crossed the line. They are still doing it.

They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.

Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.

I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

Satellite measurements of warming in the troposphere

What the science says...
Satellite measurements match model results apart from in the tropics. There is uncertainty with the tropical data due to how various teams correct for satellite drift. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program concludes the discrepancy is most likely due to data errors.
Climate Myth...
Satellites show no warming in the troposphere
"Satellite measurements indicate an absence of significant global warming since 1979, the very period that human carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing rapidly. The satellite data signal not only the absence of substantial human-induced warming but also provide an empirical test of the greenhouse hypothesis - a test that the hypothesis fails." (Bob Carter)

From 1978, a series of satellites have measured atmospheric temperature in the troposphere and stratosphere. The data is spliced together and adjusted for time-dependent biases by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), headed by John Christy and Roy Spencer. The initial results showed a warming trend of only 0.09°C per decade, well below the surface temperature trend of 0.17°C per decade. Climate models predict the troposphere should show greater warming than the surface.
UAH versus RSS ...

Climate Scientists Debunk Latest Bunk by Denier Roy Spencer
BY JOE ROMM JUL 29, 2011

Long wrong climate science disinformer Roy Spencer has published another deeply flawed article.  That ain’t news.  What is news is that the deniers have a couple of new tricks up their sleeves.

First, the disinformers have figured out they should focus on journals that don’t seem to have a very deep understanding of climate science.  In May, it was a paper in a statistics journal, which was ultimately withdrawn because of “evidence of plagiarism and complaints about the peer-review process.”  This time it’s an article in the open-access Remote Sensing co-authored by Spencer.

It bears repeating that Spencer committed one of the most egregious blunders in the history of remote sensing — committing multiple errors in analyzing the satellite data and creating one of the enduring denier myths, that the satellite data didn’t show the global warming that the surface temperature data did.

It also bears repeating that Spencer wrote this month, “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

That doesn’t mean Spencer’s new paper on remote sensing is wrong, but it means his work on the subject does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, as most climate journals would know.  And it means we should pay attention to serious climate scientists when they explain how Spencer is, once again, pushing denier bunk.

As the famous critique goes, “Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good”:

1 He’s taken an incorrect model, he’s tweaked it to match observations, but the conclusions you get from that are not correct,” Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.
2 It is not newsworthy,” Daniel Murphy, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cloud researcher, wrote in an email to LiveScience.
3 NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth in an email:  “I have read the paper. I can not believe it got published. Maybe it got through because it is not in a journal that deals with atmospheric science much?”
4 Trenberth and John Fasullo at RealClimate:  “The bottom line is that there is NO merit whatsoever in this paper.” …


Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?
By Joe Romm MAY 22, 2008

“… In the interest of saving you some time, which is a major goal of this blog, let’s see why these are two people you can program your mental DVR to fast forward through. First off, they were wrong — dead wrong — for a very long time, which created one of the most enduring denier myths, that the satellite data didn’t show the global warming that the surface temperature data did. As RealClimate wrote yesterday:
We now know, of course, that the satellite data set confirms that the climate is warming , and indeed at very nearly the same rate as indicated by the surface temperature records. 
Now, there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes when pursuing an innovative observational method, but Spencer and Christy sat by for most of a decade allowing — indeed encouraging — the use of their data set as an icon for global warming skeptics. 
They committed serial errors in the data analysis, but insisted they were right and models and thermometers were wrong. They did little or nothing to root out possible sources of errors, and left it to others to clean up the mess, as has now been done
Amazingly (or not), the “serial errors in the data analysis” all pushed the (mis)analysis in the same, wrong direction. Coincidence? You decide. But I find it hilarious that the deniers and delayers still quote Christy/Spencer/UAH analysis lovingly, but to this day dismiss the “hockey stick” and anything Michael Mann writes, when his analysis was in fact vindicated by the august National Academy of Sciences in 2006 (see New Scientist‘s “Climate myths: The ‘hockey stick’ graph has been proven wrong“).

In their solo careers, Spencer and Christy are still pros at bad analysis.” …

Bad Week for Roy “Wrong-Way” Spencer
September 7, 2011


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