Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What’s natural about Jim Steele trashing Dr. Mann? - via Pacifica Tribune

We The People of the United States have a moral, ethical right - along with a pragmatic need - to learn what scientists have learned about this planet's biosphere and climate engine without constant dishonest crossfire.   
We should not tolerate serious scientists constantly being drown out by amoral, ruthless and frankly ignorant arguments - that an astoundingly ruthless GOP PR factory repeats over and over again, without ever learning a damned thing from the evidence in front of us.  

Here you'll find a pared down version of the previous post - Focusing on that malicious 'libertarians' need to trash Dr. Michael Mann and science in general.

Based on Jim Steele's “What’s Natural?” column, “Changing Sea Levels, Part 1” (2/13/19), published in the Pacifica Tribune.

I’ll admit the following is aimed at rationalists, children of the intellectual enlightenment so to speak, since I’ve found that trying to engage in a constructive debate with Jim Steele is a fool’s errand.  He hides.  Thus I settle for this informative Virtual Debate format.  

There is value in exposing and understanding the tactics of libertarian deception, so I continue to strive to share my discoveries and learning curve with anyone interested in confronting the lies and deceptions being broadcast about our planet’s physical reality.
I think it's only sporting to allow Dr. Mann a few words.

John Cook interviews climate scientist Michael Mann on the most famous "climate gate" email, and how climate deniers distort and disinform, 2014 at a American Geophysical Union meeting.


My reasoning is clearly laid out, as are my supporting links - ready for any challenger to pick up and dispute in a civil constructive manner.  First, my short response to Editor Frederick, then Mr. Steele's column, followed by my detailed review.  


Dear Editor of the Pacifica Tribune,
Jim Steele’s February 13th, Changing Sea Levels column is an example of propaganda rather than informative enlightenment. 

43 discombobulated sentences of admittedly (somewhat)* factual tidbits and anecdotes, but with raging omissions.  All artfully spun to keep the self-certain GOP crowd within their comfort zone.  

Along the way Steele devotes some 7 sentences to maligning Dr. Michael Mann, twice using the term “Mann’s followers” which, me thinks, is a bit of projection considering the Trump phenomena amongst today’s right wing.  

Incidentally, Dr. Mann works on paleoclimate and interpreting proxy data, so naturally he doesn’t write about local land movement, but to imply he is unaware of it or ignores it, is ludicrous. 

Why does Steele feel the need to destroy Dr. Mann’s reputation in the eyes of his audience?  That's not serious constructive dialogue, it’s political theater.   

In a talk about changing sea levels, our planet’s cryosphere is mentioned five times, all with a dismissive spin, finishing with “there is still no consensus”. 

In reality our planet’s Cryosphere is melting at an accelerating rate, alarmingly beyond what any experts anticipated.  Really!  Look it up.  We’ve already squandered the past 20 irretrievable years yet Steele’s advice is to squander yet another 20.  Really?

My intention is a point by point review of libertarian deception in action.

(please click on image for sharp view)

in the third paragraph Steels, turns his attention to slander Dr. Michael Mann.
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“To what degree rising CO2 concentrations are accelerating sea level rise is still debated.”
Debated?  Sure, science is about a constant debate and struggling to refine numbers.  It’s never 100% settled!  
Steele’s disregard for the massiveness and the wondrous dynamic folds within folds of harmonic complexity within Earth’s heat and moisture distribution engine as it moves heat from the equator to the poles, makes him blind to a great deal.  Expecting a perfect number reflects a deep cynicism, no wonder he gets so much wrong.
“Prominent climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann gives scant attention to the critical issue of sinking lands.”     
Seriously!?  Dr. Mann is a paleo-climate specialist, an expert statistician and he develops computer models to extract information from paleoclimate proxy data.  He is no geologist, land subsidence is outside his expertise, so naturally he doesn’t write about it. 
But to imply Dr. Mann doesn’t understand and acknowledge local elevation changes, their varied causes and their local impacts is ludicrous.
Here Steele demonstrated that “libertarian” dependence on creating enemies and demons through false narratives.  While Dr. Mann has become a favored whipping boy for climate science contrarians, he’s actually a highly respected and productive authority in his field - as any good faith investigation reveals.

To quote Richard Littlemore
“As reported by Joe Romm at Climate Progress, Mann has been the target of a host of allegations and attacks, many arising out of the iconic status of a graph (inset) that he created in a 1998 paper with Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes, and others sourced in the emails that hackers stole in 2009 from the the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
As the NSF now reports, none of Mann’s critics ever showed the courage or conviction of actually laying a formal complaint before Penn State, where Mann is director of the Earth System Science Center. 
But the allegations were so prominent in the blogosphere and in mainstream media that the university took it upon itself to conduct an investigation. The NSF then reviewed Penn State’s exculpatory findings, duplicating some parts of the investigation in greater detail.
The result? No shred of evidence exists to impugn Mann’s work. …”
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Federal Investigators Clear Climate Scientist, Again
The Inspector General of the National Science Foundation has closed its investigation into climatologist Michael Mann after failing to find any evidence of misconduct
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
National Science Foundation (NSF) inspector general: “Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed.”

Two things we know with extremely high confidence:
  1. Recent warming is unprecedented in magnitude, speed, and cause (so the temperature history looks like a hockey stick).
  2. Michael Mann, the lead author on the original hockey stick paper, is one of the nation’s top climatologists and a source of first-rate analysis.

We know these things because both the hockey stick and Mann have been independently investigated and vindicated more times than any other facet of climate science or any other climate scientist.”

 Recent studies vindicating the hockey stick:
  1. Temperatures of North Atlantic “are unprecedented over the past 2000 years and are presumably linked to the Arctic amplification of global warming” – Science (2011)
  2. GRL (2010): “We conclude that the 20th-century warming of the incoming intermediate North Atlantic water has had no equivalent during the last thousand years.”
  3. JGR (2010) [PDF]: “The last decades of the past millennium are characterized again by warm temperatures that seem to be unprecedented in the context of the last 1600 years.”
  4. Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds (2009)
  5. Unprecedented warming in Lake Tanganyika and its impact on humanity (2010)
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“He prefers scary models supporting his theory regards a rising CO2 effect on sea level,  “We’re talking about literally giving up on our coastal cities of the world and moving inland." "
Another example of Jim Steele depending on The Lie to peddle his stories.  It took a little poking around but I’ve discovered where that quote came from.  Lets take a closer look at what Dr. Mann actually said, this time in context:

Hurricane Harvey And The New Normal, 09/01/2017

“… If we continue down the road we’re on and make no adjustments to climate change, Mann says, then these sorts of events could eventually become two-year or three-year events.
“In other words,” Mann said, “we get a Harvey-like event impacting the Gulf Coast, or a Sandy-like event impacting the New Jersey and New York City coast once every few years … Imagine having to deal with something like that every few years.”
At that point, Mann says, “we’re talking about the retreat from our coast lines. We’re talking about literally giving up on the major coastal cities of the world and moving inland.”
A two-pronged approach
So, what do we do? Mann suggests a two-pronged approach. …” link
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That so many right wingers are okay with such malicious and transparently dishonest manipulation of what other’s have said is hideous - and oh so self-destructive in the long run.  
Incidentally, in the world of serious constructive scientific debates, misrepresenting your opponent’s position and evidence is a cardinal sin, even criminal ! 
If only we could hold Jim Steele and compatriots to such standards.
Ending that paragraph Steele mentions “Mann’s followers” - Me thinks a bit of projection going on there, specially when considering the blind worship we see coming out of Trump rallies.  
Then there’s Steele’s own tendency to keep it within his echo chamber, broadcasting demands for debate, yet running away when challenged with a constructive debate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
For the Record: Michael Mann’s professional record puts the lie to Jim Steele’s trash talk.  Take a look:

Compare that to Mr. Steele’s scientific accomplishments. 
(besides op-eds)

Since Jim Steele gives scant attention to Dr. Mann's actually scientific record, I'm going to give Dr. Mann the floor again.  Listen to the man defend himself:

Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University, USA.  
Building on the findings in his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”, Dr. Mann discusses the basics of climate science and reveals the tactics which opponents of climate change use to distort the science and attack the reputations of scientists. He describes both the hockey stick controversy and the broader context of skepticism in science and contrarians rejecting evidence of human influence on climate.
Fifth paragraph supplies more gratuitous character assassination,
“So, does Mann’s disaster scenarios represent an extreme climate doomsday cult? Or is he offering sage scientific advice we should heed?” 
“Cult” I have to wonder what possesses Jim Steele to issue such utterly malicious melodramatically claptrap?

Actually, he was a mathematical wunderkind and never stopped running, now he's a respected scientist at the top of his class.
I’ve gotten to know his record and even him a little through sporadic correspondences over the past decade - his responses are short, to the point and helpful.  It doesn’t take long to realize what an incredibly conservative guarded fellow he is - nothing at all like the cartoon Steele and pals feel compelled to fabricate and broadcast.   
Take a look at Dr. Mann’s professional accomplishments, it’s astounding, the man is too busy working, for the sort of games that consume Steele and the contrarian crowd.  In his heart Mann wants to arrive at the most accurate answers possible.  
The hysteria about his hockey stick's supposed fraud is nothing but disingenuous political theater.  His team’s iconic ’98/99 papers weren’t perfect, pioneering science never is perfect! 
But they were far more accurate than the slanderers would tell us.  They prefer science rejection by rhetoric, slander and out and out thuggery, such as:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Death threats, intimidation and abuse: climate change scientist Michael E. Mann counts the cost of honesty
Robin McKie  |  March 3, 2012

Research by Michael E. Mann confirmed the reality of global warming. Little did he know that it would also expose him to a vicious hate campaign
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I’m a scientist who has gotten death threats. I fear what may happen under Trump.
Michael E. Mann  |  December 16, 2016

My Penn State colleagues looked with horror at the police tape across my office door.
I had been opening mail at my desk that afternoon in August 2010 when a dusting of white powder fell from the folds of a letter. I dropped the letter, held my breath and slipped out the door as swiftly as I could, shutting it behind me. First I went to the bathroom to scrub my hands. Then I called the police.
It turned out to be cornstarch, not anthrax. And it was just one in a long series of threats I’ve received since the late 1990s, when my research illustrated the unprecedented nature of global warming, producing an upward-trending temperature curve whose shape has been likened to a hockey stick.
I’ve faced hostile investigations by politicians, demands for me to be fired from my job, threats against my life and even threats against my family. Those threats have diminished in recent years, as man-made climate change has become recognized as the overwhelming scientific consensus and as climate science has received the support of the federal government. But with the coming Trump administration, my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet. …
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is the sort of outrageousness, that Jim Steele’s type of over-the-top and under-the-belt, lies and character assassination lead to.  
Steele's rhetorical games are many things, but they have nothing to do with honest learning, or serious science!  
I believe it’s a crime against our Democracy’s Free Speech Rights, which were about leveling the field of debate and enabling constructive debate, not today's alternate Hollywood based reality that libertarians and today’s faith-shackled GOP have become so dependent on.

We The People of the United States have a moral, ethical, and pragmatic right to learn what scientists have learned about this planet's biosphere, and climate engine without constant dishonest crossfire.  We should not tolerate serious scientists constantly being drown out by amoral, ruthless and frankly ignorant arguments - that an astoundingly ruthless GOP PR factory repeats over and over again, without ever learning a damned thing from the evidence in front of us.
Sixth paragraph reads,
“Some researchers and politicians argue any accelerating rate of sea level rise must be the finger print of a human contribution as some models predict. But that is simply not true.  In a 2007 peer reviewed paper, On the Decadal Rates of Sea Level Change During the Twentieth Century, researchers reported rates of sea level rise accelerated up to 0.2 inches/ year every 10 years, followed by a decade of deceleration. Sometimes sea levels fell.  Some of Mann's followers believe it's impossible for sea levels to fall in an age of climate warming.  But they are ill-informed.”
It’s easy to expose and clarify Steele’s fraud in this paragraph.  Take a look at the paper itself, 
“On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century,” S. J. Holgate, January 2007 - GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L01602,
This is how Steele suggests you should think about sea level rise -
Rate Of Change:

See!  No problem.  Why worry!

On the other hand, Dr. Mann and other serious people suggest this is the honest way to think about current sea level change
Cumulative Sea Level Increase

Houston, we have a problem !

For more information about the complexity of ocean surface over time, here’s something interesting from the European Space Agency, among others:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Chaotic ocean variability can mask regional sea level trends
Scientists February 15, 2019

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Post Glacial Sea Level Rise

Holocene Sea Level curve -, Mikaidt
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Climate Change: Global Sea Level
August 1, 2018
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Single Image Proves Human-Caused Global Warming
John Englander | Apr 9, 2017

Now for the adult version of what Dr. Mann really thinks.

Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump | Michael Mann
Center for Inquiry  |  Published on Mar 16, 2018 
The era of Donald Trump has caused an eruption of climate change deniers coming forward, directly in the face of the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists that climate change is real and human-caused.  
This type of belligerent denial has now infected the very highest level of our government. The official policy of the U.S. government is distraction, denial and delay, and doubling down on our headlong exploitation of dirty fossil fuel energy. 
This talk explores the scientific evidence of climate change, why we should care about climate change denial, and the often absurd efforts by special interests and partisan political figures to confuse the public, wage a war on science, attack scientists, and deny that a problem even exists. 
Despite the monumental nature of the challenge we face, particularly in the era of Trump, we remain cautiously optimistic in prevailing in the greatest battle human civilization has ever faced—the battle to avert catastrophic and irreversible climate change impacts.
Michael Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center at Penn State. He is the author of, "The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying our Politics, and Driving us Crazy", which he co-authored with Tom Toles, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post. 
This talk took place at CSICon Las Vegas on Friday, October 2017.
Tenth and final paragraph starts out,
“There is still no consensus regarding Greenland and Antarctic contributions to sea level.” 
That’s not true at all.  The consensus is that the speed of Greenland and Antarctic melting is going from bad to worse! 
Arriving at one perfect number that exactly quantifies the loss is beyond human abilities.  But scientists are doing very well and they recognize (and acknowledge) their limitations, always struggling to improve. 
But, using rhetorical gotchas Steele must laser focus on tiny and for the most part irrelevant uncertainties - that’s because his goal is to confuse and steer people away from the reality unfolding in front of our eyes.  For example,
"Accelerating changes in ice mass within Greenland, and the ice sheet's sensitivity to atmospheric forcing," 
Michael Bevis el al.,   PNAS (2019). 

Bevis' team used data from GRACE and from GPS stations scattered around Greenland's coast to identify changes in ice mass. The patterns they found show an alarming trend—by 2012, ice was being lost at nearly four times the rate that prevailed in 2003. 
Data from DRI ice core lab shows rapid melting of Greenland ice sheet
December 5, 2018

The study, titled "Nonlinear Rise in Greenland Runoff in Response to Post-industrial Arctic Warming", was published in the journal Nature in on December 5, 2018: A detailed press release from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is below. 

“Surface melting across Greenland’s mile-thick ice sheet began increasing in the mid-19th century and then ramped up dramatically during the 20th and early 21st centuries, showing no signs of abating, according to new research published Dec. 5, 2018, in the journal Nature. The study provides new evidence of the impacts of climate change on Arctic melting and global sea level rise.   
“Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet has gone into overdrive. As a result, Greenland melt is adding to sea level more than any time during the last three and a half centuries, if not thousands of years,” said Luke Trusel, a glaciologist at Rowan University’s School of Earth & Environment and former post-doctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and lead author of the study. “And increasing melt began around the same time as we started altering the atmosphere in the mid-1800s.”    …”
350 years of Greenland ice melt reconstructed

Modern Greenland ice sheet melt unprecedented since age of industrialization.
Current melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet is unprecedented for at least the last three-and-a-half centuries. That is what a group of climate researchers from the US, Belgium and Utrecht report today in the journal Nature, based on melt records from three ice cores drilled in central west Greenland. Brice Noël, postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research of Utrecht University (IMAU), played an important role in the research by contributing an advanced polar climate model. “This model translates the local melt history stored in the ice cores to the whole of Greenland.”
National Snow and Ice Data Center - Greenland Ice Sheet Today
To help you visualize what’s happening check out these videos,

Older Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing
NASA Goddard  |  Published on Oct 28, 2016
Snow over Antarctica Buffered Sea Level Rise during Last Century
It’s a complicated story, an introduction …
NASA Goddard  |  Published on Dec 13, 2018
Antarctic ice loss 2002-2016
NASA Climate Change  |  Published on May 19, 2017
Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago
 "_blank">Try watching this video on</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>
Published on Jan 19, 2019

A pair of new studies released on Monday share a same ominous message -- that our planet's ice is melting at an alarming rate, which is bad news for global sea levels. 
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Antarctic ice-sheet sensitivity to obliquity forcing enhanced through ocean connections
  • January 2019 - R. H. Levy, S. R. Meyers, D. K. Kulhanek 
Nature Geoscience, volume 12, pages132–137 (2019) 

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Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017
Eric Rignot, Jérémie Mouginot, Bernd Scheuchl, Michiel van den Broeke, Melchior J. van Wessem, and Mathieu Morlighem
PNAS January 22, 2019 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Catherine Walker: Global Warming and Changes in East Antarctic Glaciers

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“There is also significant debate in regards to what adjustments need to be applied to satellite data.However, that discussion must wait for part 2.” 

Significant debate?    
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Explainer: How data adjustments affect global temperature records
Zeke Hausfather | July 19, 2017
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Thorough, not thoroughly fabricated: The truth about global temperature data
How thermometer and satellite data is adjusted and why it must be done.
Scott K. Johnson  - 1/21/2016

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
No climate conspiracy: NOAA temperature adjustments bring data closer to pristine
Dana Nuccitelli, February 8, 2016

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Now we’ve come full circle back to Mr. Steele’s useless punchline:
 “wait at least 20 more years for more data before "giving up on our coastal cities of the world and moving inland.”

As if we haven’t squandered way the hell too much time already.

{  You may have noticed I use the term “Malicious” repeatedly.  
That is because there's a specific applicable legal definition attached to it, 
take a look:

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