How to be a Fake Skeptic

It’s easy to do, just follow these steps:

  • 1: Make false claims, then draw an outlandish conclusion.
  • 2: Show a graph — it doesn’t have to support your claims.
  • 3: Give a link — it doesn’t have to support your claims.

    And that’s the way you do it …


    That’s the way Steve Goddard does it. Here is the entirety of his post “Coldest Arctic Start To Autumn Since 1996″:


    The early and fast start to winter in the Arctic is due to cold temperatures not seen since 1996. Temperatures north of 80N have been normal to below normal for five months, obliterating global warming theory.

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Has temperature north of 80N really been “normal to below normal for five months”? It’s curious that Goddard refers to data from DMI, which is a “reanalysis set” — data from a computer model! Scary. What’s even scarier is that the DMI data shouldn’t be used to look for climate change because they’re the output from not one, but three different computer models: one covers the time span 1958 to 2002, another for 2002 to 2006, and yet a third from 2006 to the present.

    Did Goddard even know this? Did he bother to investigate, or to question his assumptions? I guess not — that’s what a real skeptic might do.

    If you’re going to use a reanalysis data set, at least be consistent — use a single reanalysis for the time period you’re studying. Here’s one, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. Here’s its estimate of monthly average surface air temperature anomaly north of 80N:

    If monthly data is too noisy for you, here are annual averages (although 2011 isn’t complete yet)

    Does the latest value (for 2011) look “normal to below normal” to you? Here are averages for the months of April through August (the last 5 months):

    Does the latest value (for 2011) look “normal to below normal” to you?

    Not only were none of the last 5 months “normal to below normal” temperature, two of those months — July and August 2011 — were the hottest July and August in the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis:

    Of course, the warming seen in summer months in the Arctic is dwarfed by the warming seen in winter months. Like December:

    Now, what would have predicted this faster warming in winter than summer? Could it be … global warming theory?

    So where, you wonder, did Goddard get his idea? Maybe he’s referring to the fact that there was an exceptionally cold couple of days in the Arctic at the start of Autumn. How cold? Is he really that excited about “cold temperatures not seen since 1996“? A few cold days — not even that cold — and he declares “obliterating global warming theory”?

    Can he really be that deluded? Yes. That’s one of the secrets to being a fake skeptic.

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  • 89 responses to “How to be a Fake Skeptic

    1. Thanks Tamino for all your time and effort. This is a great blog and I’ve learned a lot.

    2. Oh lordy. Sigh.

      At least these weekly/daily mole whacking exercises should keep the muscles in trim for squash or tennis season.

    3. Some of the anomalies (as marked on the y axes) don’t seem to be centred on zero for any time period within the range. Especially the last plot (December).

      [Response: They're not anomalies, they're actual average temperature (the output of the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis). I mistakenly labeled the axes "anomaly."]

    4. Tamino, I think that DMI uses [i]four[/i] different datasets for this chart.

      – ERA 40 reanalysis
      – ECMWF T511
      – ECMWF T799
      – ECMWF T1279

    5. Your last graph says Temperature _Anomaly_ of -24 C. Is that right? It doesn’t look right!

      [Response: It's actually temperature, not temprerature anomaly.]

      I enjoy your posts Tamino. Do other reanalyses show the same results?

    6. Hey, you forgot to mention:
      Step 4. Have a fancy mobile icon in front of your url, specially if it looks kinda scientifical like an atom. Does it for me.

      I love the “obliterating global warming theory” bit. I guess that is the kind of thing you write when you know you are producing garbage but don’t really care any more.

    7. The y-axis on the December graph looks wrong… shouldn’t it be -2 to +5 or thereabouts? Those look like averaged temps rather than anomalies.

      [Response: They are.]

      Would be interesting to see the monthly anomalies on the same y-scale, maybe overlaid too. But hey, I think I could even manage that myself. :)

      It’s a nice coincidence you’ve turned your laser beams on Goddard. I had him in mind when I created a crank denialist character for a piece of TV drama here. The stubborness. The teflon ego that isn’t dented by criticism and ridicule. There are so many like him out there, blogging away. (Australian readers can see the episode next Thursday 29/9 8.30pm ABC1 ‘Crownies’. Sorry for the naked plug, Tamino, delete if you want. But I think the more climate change stories we can get into pop culture, the better. It’s a challenge, though).

      • Ethicist and climate warrior Clive Hamilton picked up on my ‘Crownies’ ep in an article for The Drum. The usual bunfight has broken out in comments. Joy.

        • Crispy – well done on ‘Crownies’, you really nailed the denier mentality, and gave an excellent summary of the scientific arguments. Australians (or those with an Australian proxy server) can watch the episode (number 13) on-line with the key climate-related bits at 15 minutes, 30, and with the hilarious finale from 37-41.

        • Thanks Michael. The producers liked the James Watt denialist character too and talked about bringing him back next year, which might allow me to run amok again. But a second series of the show is far from certain, sadly.

    8. It was my understanding that the region 80N to 90N is almost entirely ice-bound year round,and that summer time surface temps are strongly moderated by the ice, staying close to zero C. There was a post about that region at skepticalscience about a year ago.

      Most of the area above 80N is (currently) still covered in permanent sea ice. In the Arctic Summer when the surface ice is melting, it is known that the air temperature close to the surface is limited by this ice melt temperature to just above zero degrees C, (Rigor 2000). This is why the Summer air temperatures have not varied much over the entire instrumental period. This maximum temperature “clipping” effect is clearly seen on all arctic data sets from Arctic buoy data to individual station data to satellite data.

      I emailed Gorm Dybkjær at DMI around the same time last year on that subject after arguing about it at Steve Goddard’s blog and WUWT. I asked,

      It would appear at a glance that summer time temperatures have increased little over the past few decades going by the DMI graph set. Do you hold this to be the case?

      Part of the reply:

      “From the link to WUWT, that you’ve attached below, it seems that a cooling temperature trend in the Arctic summer is present, throughout the past approximately 10 years. Where ‘summer’ is defined as the period where the +80N mean temperature is above 273K.

      However, I very much doubt that a simple conclusion can be drawn from that, as there are complicating aspects to that analysis, e.g.:

      1) The surface in the +80N area is more or less fully snow and ice covered all year, so the temperature is strongly controlled by the melting temperature of the surface. I.e. the +80N temperature is bound to be very close to the melt point of the surface snow and ice (273K) and the variability is therefore very small, less than 0.5K.

      2) The +80N temperature data after 2002 are based on the operational global deterministic models at ECMWF, at any given time. Before 2002 the ERA 40 reanalysis is used. I.e. the +80N temperatures are based on 4 different models, the model used for the ERA 40 data set and the operational models T511, T799 and T1279. The point is that there can be a temperature bias in one or more of the models, that can cause the lower temperature level since approximately 2002, where the shift between the ERA40 data and the operational model data occur in the WUWT-plot…”

      (There’s a bit more of the email reply at the sk/sc article above, which also mentions stronger wintertime temp trends for that region)

      I’m surprised to have seen much of a temp trend at all for summertime months North of 80N.

      (processing)

      Ok, June temps trends are completely flat for the NCAR record, assuming I did it right. I’m still intrigued that there is a positive trend for July and August, based on what I learned at skeptical science and from DMI.

      I asked S Goddard how he arrived at his assertions and linked to here. See what he says.

      • Surely the obvious conclusion from the July/August data is that in recent years there has been some open water above 80N in these months, allowing the average temperature to go above freezing. In that case the lack of a trend for June would indicate that there is surface melt (thus keeping temps at freezing across the cap), but there isn’t open water above 80N.

    9. On the last graph (December) I think there must be a confusion between average temperatures and anomalies, or something. Anomalies of -24°C or more would be…odd.

      Just to let you know we’re still paying attention here at the back :-)

      [Response: Quite right. And you're not the only one paying attention.]

    10. Two small nits:

      The figures for July, August and December are temperatures, but the y-axis label says “anomaly”.

      The figure for the 5 last months says April-August (which is indeed 5 months), but the text says May-August.

      These should be obvious, but deniers are hypersensitive to typos.

      BTW: I think denier is far too nice a word, I’d prefer another one that almost rhymes with it.

    11. If you think that the DMI graphs are incorrect, you should probably take that up with them..

      [Response: Evidently you have no defense for your misleading propaganda.

      I have no problem with DMI or its graphs. I object to you drawing a mistaken conclusion even if they were appropriate for the question at hand. I object to using them for a purpose for which they were not intended, and for which they should not be used -- according to the people at DMI, that is. I object to your not bothering to notice that they're not the output from a single computer model, but from four different ones (I'm now told) which likely have a relative bias. I object to your failure to get actual *data* for analysis, or even a graph of data from a consistent reanalysis data set. I object to those who are astoundingly ignorant drawing grand misconclusions about global warming based, not on decades but on a single year, nay just a few months, not just limited to the Arctic, but to less than 20% of it.

      I object to the level of hubris which can observe a few cold days (not even that cold) at the start of Autumn and jump to the ludicrous conclusion "obliterating global warming theory."

      But I must thank you for giving as perfect an example of how to be a fake skeptic as one could hope for.]

    12. Either the vertical axis on the December graph is wrong or there is something very, very scary going on. Scarier even than he thought that anyone listens to Goddard.

      [Response: They're temperature, not temperature anomaly. I mislabeled the axes.]

    13. The labels for the y axes in the last three graphs say “temperature anomaly”, but shouldn’t it be absolute temperatures?

      [Response: Yes.]

    14. Keep hammering–every time that Steve Goddard says something this dumb, a few more people are convinced he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Eventually a few in the media might understand.

    15. Following the “more info” link on the DMI page, I find this:

      [S]ince the model is gridded in a regular 0.5 degree grid, the mean temperature values are strongly biased towards the temperature in the most northern part of the Arctic! Therefore, do NOT use this measure as an actual physical mean temperature of the arctic. The ‘plus 80 North mean temperature’ graphs can be used for comparing one year to an other.

      The only question is, did Goddard not bother reading this, or did he read it and ignore it, knowing that his followers never verify anything he says?

      • Found the answer to my question in a 2010 Goddard post on WUWT. Read the comments, and this one in particular, responding to a Watts defense of Goddard’s post

        The problem is Anthony that Steve has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to finally admit that DMI is an interpolated measure just like GISS is. He has always hammered GISS for interpolating but never a word about DMI which he lets readers believe is actual data. [emphasis added]

        So Goddard knew at least a year ago that DMI was not intended to be interpreted as an indicator of physical temps. And he is now pulling the exact same trick that the commenter pointed out in the section I bolded.

        • A dumpster diving award nomination for ChrisD, with bonus points for wading through a region abnormally dense with Junkscience links.

          Credit to Phil. also. I see that his url is “deleted”…

      • Well, on his site Steven (or one of his claque) pointed to the following sentence: “The ‘plus 80 North mean temperature’ graphs can be used for comparing one year to an other.

        I’m not sure how DMI can state that, given everything else posted on this thread, but there you have it – they do indeed claim that the between-year comparison is meaningful as far as it goes.

        More importantly is how far it agtually does go, which is not very far at all. The DMI measure is very strongly biased towards the area immediately around the Pole in that the 0.5 degrees from 88.5N to 90N are weighted as highly as the 0.5 degrees from 80N to 80.5N despite the fact that there’s a 40-fold difference in the area covered. The DMI figure is therefore little better than a single point estimate of the temperature at the Pole.

        Maybe this the the main reason there’s a trend in the NCEP/NCAR summer values and no trend in the DMI summer values. Is the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis also heavily Pole-weighted, or is it area-adjusted? If it’s area-adjusted, this would explain how it can detect a summertime trend (it’s including areas of open water north of 80N: see above) while DMI can’t (it severely underemphasises the peripheral melt zone).

    16. Tamino, I wonder if you cherry pick people like Goddard because they are such easy pickings, so to speak.

      Isn’t there someone a bit more difficult to go after? Someone who actually, you know, at least sometimes makes a sensible argument based on, you know, actual verifiable data? :)

      • My impression is that we’ve pretty much run out of people making sensible anti-climate-change arguments based on actual verifiable data. At this point, the challenge is ramping up a science communications network that is capable of going toe-to-toe with the fossil-fuel-funded disinformation network. Thanks to Tamino for providing some of the raw material needed.

      • But duckster, he makes such a great target.
        Anyone with some real knowledge can easily shoot him down in flames.
        The real fun is watching him dig such lovely holes trying to defend himself.
        Case in point: Triple point of water….classic.

      • I’m not sure there are anymore..

        There are places like ClimateAudit and ClimateEtc, which work almost entirely on insinuation – typically the ‘this looks suspicious to me’ style of argument – but generally offer nothing to take apart, generally because they want to avoid direct academic confrontation (which they would lose..)

        So the only people left actually making direct claims that AGW is false are the (ahem) less intellectually astute such as Goddard.

        It’s not dissimilar to Creationism, where the ‘intellectuals’ for want of a better word use things like ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘Microevolution not Macroevolution’ to try and put a layer between themselves and outright denial of reality, leaving it to the footsoldiers to make the real whackjob arguments..

    17. Once again: Thanks for this, Tamino. Your ongoing efforts are truly appreciated.

      duckster asked if Tamino is cherry picking targets. I suspect he is — he’s picking the ones doing the most damage by influencing newcomers.

    18. nice analysis. It’s good to have the spotlight put on these clowns now and again as a reminder to them that they can’t simply get away with it.

      As the world continues warming, the ice continues melting and sea level continues rising, it will become even more important not to let them get away with it. The number of failed short-term based “skeptic” blog claims is going to stack up very quickly from here.

      We’ve already seen the credibility of two prominent climate skeptics dashed by under-predictions of arctic summer sea ice minimums, one of which coincidentally was Goddard.

      The “skeptic” meme of a post 2007 recovery in sea ice is already regarded as an in-joke in the blogosphere for being so wrong. If in 2020 there has been further arctic sea ice loss then that recovery prediction is going to look purely deluded on a graph of arctic sea ice. I mean you won’t even see a blip, it’ll just be 2000-2020 all the way down. To be able to show the public a graph of that and tell them that after the 2007 drop skeptics had predicted sea ice was recovering….well that will speak for itself.

      Not to mention if all the other grand claims they’ve inexplicably made (global cooling, sea level rise stopping) turn out balls too.

      Perhaps in the 2020s noone will be shameless enough to run a climate denial blog. Watt’s might just make excuses and take an early retirement. The others might just take the CA route and descend into a kind of irrelevant conspiratorial throthing.

      • I fear the “skeptic” arguments will always, by necessity, focus on short term fluctuations. I fully expect them to be saying things like “arctic sea ice has been recovering since ____” forever.

        Also, in the same way that they often use JAXA ice extent (2002-2011) with no reference to NSIDC (1979-2011), they will probably also continue to emphasize data sources that have a short history claiming that they prefer to use the most up to date methodologies.

        Of course we’ll all know better but the fact is that their current methods continue to work with enough people to stall effective policy in the US. I see no reason to believe that they won’t continue to have at least enough power to stall things for at least another generation.

        • You’re right, Ernst.

          I’ve already collected “Global Warming Stopped In. . .” posts. I’m starting on “Sea Ice Is Recovering. . .” ones.

          Please forward any nominees you may know of. . .

    19. I am an academic in one field (not climate science) and I am currently writing an article that is based largely on a theoretical framework developed in a different field (psychology) that I am not formally trained in.

      I have read everything I can get my hands on (dozens and dozens of peer reviewed psych articles), I have discussed my theory with everyone I know who has a psych background and I am still very nervous that I have committed some error that would be immediately obvious to someone with the appropriate training.

      I don’t really understand the absolute certainty of those who think that they know some field better than those who have been formally trained in it. (Actually, I think may understand it at a theoretical level – it’s a manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger effect, probably coupled with a strong dose of motivated reasoning – but I wouldn’t have known that before my current research project.)

      • What I find particularly interesting about climate denial is that, for most of the deniers, the “I know more than scientists” delusion is largely restricted to climate science. Most of them wouldn’t think about arguing with the findings of quantum physics or astronomy. Why only climate science?

        Furthermore, they seem to think that climate scientists are exceptionally stupid. The classic indicator of this is the ubiquitous “Duh! It’s the SUN!” comment–do they seriously believe that climate researchers never thought of that possibility, never evaluated it?

        It’s just weird.

        • This testimony from a former denier is worth reading: http://climatecrocks.com/2011/09/01/dare-to-be-dumb/ . The “Duh” comment fits with taking fear out of not understanding science by belittling it.

        • It’s just that it has policy implications in climate science, but believe Eli these types are thick on the surface in every area. QM, free energy machines and whatever. For the full flavor try http://www.crank.net/

        • I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve encountered on ‘serial denier’–the list now encompasses climate change (strong denial, includes GE altogether), HIV/AIDs, quantum theory, and indirect detection of exoplanets.

          I think that denialism is for him an ego booster masking a deep sense of intellectual inferiority–Herr Doktor Freud would have called it reaction formation. Presuming he’s at least representative of a sub-type, the “I know more than scientists. . .” attitude is the whole point.

        • There was a decent series on the BBC recently on Geology (Professor Iain Stewart, How the Earth Made Us); I saw a comment on another message board where a person said, essentially ‘I really liked it until he mentioned global warming at which point he suddenly changed from Reasonable Scientist to Raving Political Ideologue’.

          There really are people who are perfectly happy to follow a scientific argument until they sense that it might just lead to a conclusion that they don’t like.. and then SLAM down come the mental shutters.

      • Try contacting Dunning, if you haven’t already.

    20. Philippe Chantreau

      I’m thinking about advertising on Goddard’s site that I sell bridges and historical landmarks. Considering the kind of thinking one has to do to buy his snake oil, I might find quite a few potential customers…

    21. Goddard is nothing if not consistent

    22. I think the answer to the question of the source of the hubris lies in two things. First, some of them are paid to do it. (aka the Usual Suspects) Second, most of the rest of them right wingers who see AGW entirely as a part of the usual political scrimmage. (There’s a tiny whackball group of the “iron sun” variety who are simply cranks and who gather in like numbers around any scientific issue.)

      If you’re paid and are confident that you’ll be dead before we’re over-run with climate immigrants and attendant wars and such, well, touting denialism is just money in the street. The others, the right wing/political scrimmage types have never displayed the foresight, imagination and concern that would be making them as demoralized as the rest of us were they in possession of such traits. For them, it’s exactly like arguing tax brackets. Us v Them.

      • Also, take a look at a catalog of reasons for anti-science: here

        ideology and finance seem common, but D-K is certainly prevalent.
        it is hard to know exactly, but that catalog seems plausibly to cover most cases, although for many it takes combinations. intense ideology always nullifies basic physics, even among (a few physicists, even Nobelists like Giaever.)

        • About the economic impact, there’s a large amount of Death Before Discomfort shortsightedness.

          And to a certain extent, one can sympathize. Climate change moves, to coin a phrase, like a glacier. At least at the present. What most of us fear is the point at which climate simply changes state and goes off like a rocket. As one recent comment at Real Climate points out, glacial maximum was just 18,000 years ago. And the huge mass of ice had virtually reached its current size (IIRC) by around 14000 years ago. Dizzying. 4000 years for ice sheets that stretched from the Arctic to the Ohio River. And were over a mile thick. That’s melt like grandma used to make. Over 1 ft/year for tens of millions of km2. But it isn’t happening right now, and A/C in the summer and 2 hour commutes are. (What’s disturbing for me is how small the orbital forcings that prompted glacial retreat are compared to the forcings from increases in CO2. If you have a vivid imagination, It’s an almost hallucinatory menace. )

    23. He’s almost adorable, isn’t he?

    24. Horatio Algeranon

      The “Skeptic” Pokey
      — by Horatio Algeranon

      You put some data in
      You take some data out
      You put some data in
      And massage it all about

      You do the cherry picky
      And you post it all around
      That’s what it’s all about

      You put your stats in
      You take your stats out
      You put your stats in
      Correlate them all about

      You do the screwy statty
      And you quote them all around
      That’s what it’s all about

      You put your graph in
      You take your graph out
      You put another graph in
      And you tilt it all about

      You do the graphy wacky
      And you post it all around
      That’s what it’s all about

      You put some station photos in
      You take some station photos out
      You put some station photos in
      Annotate them all about

      You do the happy snappy
      And you post them all around
      That’s what it’s all about

      You put your “theory” in
      You take your logic out
      You put your “fraud claim” in
      And you blog it all about

      You do the “Skeptic Pokey”
      And you turn the public around
      That’s what it’s all about.

      Join in. Anyone can do it (and does)

    25. I have a running discussion with several friends on the psychology of denialism and conclude we need to deliver a positive message to conservative Christians and white males. To reach the former, we can promote the Vatican’s recent, rational position on Climate Change and make the moral case for protecting Earth’s ecosytems for future generations and other life forms. For the latter, it seems the concept of climate change challenges their sense of purpose and makes them defensive about how they’ve handled things since they’ve been in charge. To reach conservative white males, we must use the full force of Hollywood/Adverstising/Psychology to convey the meme that the wise leadership of white males is needed to fight and win the battle against Climate Chaos for the survival of the tribe and that women find this kind of leadership irresistably sexy.

    26. Knowing full well that … WTFUWT? and Goddard’s 666 Daily Dumps!

      are full on cranks … I go to each … daily … for the over-the-top humor …
      and the shear number of … Daily Dumps!

      Goddard really blew his shorts out on this one though with a …
      money shot that only his fellow scatologists could admire!

      Excellent work Tamino.

    27. I’d venture another explanation for some denialists, relating to “emeritus syndrome”.

      As some point in life, the difference between what you hoped to achieve and what you have achieved can become painful. You must defend your ego, and a good way is to blame your failures on someone else. The government is always a good bet, and more particularly, an excess of regulation. If it wasn’t for all those rules and restrictions, your life would have turned out great!

      And what do you find on denialist blogs? They rail against all environmental laws, against government, against taxes, against political correctness, against modern education. And how dare anyone tell them that they can’t pump CO2 into the atmosphere with impunity! It is just another example of the totalitarians imposing their will on good honest people who, without this unnecessary imposition, would have been healthy and wealthy.

      It should be noted that this sort of thinking is fine in your workplace. The boss obviously is an idiot, and you could do much better, if only you were in charge ;-)

    28. Earth to Goddard and Watts,
      The Arctic circle does not start at 80 N, not even close.

    29. Good work, Tamino. This place can feel like a breath of fresh air at times!

      LOL Horatio – excellent!

      John

    30. It seems to me that there’s a lot of naivety on the part of scientists. After all, it’s obvious that certain graphs, no matter their originally-intended audience, now have a massive following amongst the very people that the 97% of climate scientists who see the writing on the wall would like to help see it too. The graph which prompted this post is probably one of them, but the main one I have in mind is that of arctic sea ice extent at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
      This is updated daily, and I’d betcha that over the summer melt season it had millions of hits per day as warmists and denialists alike looked at the change for the day and attempted to predict the trend. However, it’s as if it were produced for the benefit of the scientists themselves and no-one else, because the change in value from the previous day is not shown numerically, so to get it you have to download the data and calculate it. What are they thinking regarding presentation? But, that’s not the worst of it as far as I’m concerned. I’m just using that example to try to show they don’t have a clue what their “new” audience would like to see, or should be shown. They should ask around a bit more. Now the real problem, I believe, is that the graph gives a false impression of normality by only showing data back to 2002 (I gather because that’s the start of their satellite record). If climate scientists believe that the trend that it demonstrates is not normal, then make that clear by including the lines for 2000, 1990, and 1980, say, on the same graph. Then people are seeing a real comparison every day they look at it, not just of that day’s change, but how different it is from 30 years ago, and can make a far better judgment for themselves about the accuracy of statements like Goddard’s. Can’t you imagine the politicians being shown the graph in its current form, and thinking to themselves, “Well, that’s not too bad over the last 10 years or so. Some years lower, some years higher. It could easily turn around next year.”? They’ll take a graph purely at face value, not tempered by any thoughts of the impact of 30 gigatonnes more carbon emissions per year.
      What I’m suggesting can’t be impossible, with a bit more collaboration between teams. I note lucia did something similar on 3 August at http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/wed-nh-ice-update/
      Her graph is infinitely better as an overview of actual change, although too crowded. With suitable caveats, surely it must be feasible to show the observations produced by another team on the same graph. You should surely be all working together on this, no? I’ve been wondering for years why it’s not done. Please enlighten me, or just do it!

    31. Philippe Chantreau

      I don’t know how/where you get your info. I don’t need Lucia because the sites devoted to sea-ice monitoring have all the info I want to see.
      The sea ice satellite record goes back to 1979. Both NSIDC and Cryosphere Today indicate that the baseline is established over the first 30 years of the record, they both show daily anomaly of extent/area by respect to this baseline. Cryosphere Today has a daily graph of total area updated every day, with the exact number shown plainly, and it shows the entire record if I recall. So you can literally “see” how different it is from 30 years ago AND how it has been evolving over the years. CT also has a very neat comparator that allows one to compare the satellite pics themselves between any 2 dates of the entire record (the very recent may not yet be available), how much more do you want?

      NSIDC has a wealth of good info too, you just have to click more than 2 or 3 times to get it. How much does this have to be spoon-fed?

    32. It’s too bad lying is only punishable by eternal damnation.

    33. Further to Philippe’s response to Al’s comments…

      The charts from the University of Bremen and those from the Nansen Centre (Arctic ROOS) also show the long term trend lines. In the case of Univ Bremen, these go back even further, to 1972 for the Arctic and to 1973 for the Antarctic.

      I can’t state this with certainty, but I’m pretty sure the extra years come from integrating the single channel ESMR data from the early Nimbus satellites with the multi-channel data from ’79 onwards. The ESMR data is certainly available to download from NSIDC.

      By the way, I just love it when I get the old “Arctic Sea Ice just happened to be at the maximum of a 60-70 year cycle when satellite coverage started in 1979″ garbage from the local ostrich population. The ESMR derived average September extent for ’79 was 7.07 million sq km. The equivalent figures for the 7 preceding years ranged from 7.13 to 7.50 and averaged 7.29 million sq km.

      I know it’s been nearly 40 years since I sat my last maths exam at university, but I’ve got trouble seeing how that makes 1979 a local maximum. ;-)

      If one really wants some flexibility when comparing charts, one can also try looking at the BIST tool* on NSIDC’s site. (* Yep, I know that is tautology.)

    34. Hi Tamino,

      As my comment pertains to Cherry Picking, it is slightly OT.

      You have been found guilty of shaking me out my normal lethargy by your various posts on Cherry Picking. Since the local sceptics here need all the help they can get, I thought it would be a jolly wheeze to knock up a little spreadsheet that would help them find the appropriate fruit.

      So far it is set up to sniff out declining temperature trends in the HadCRUT data, and “Recovery” in Arctic sea ice from the NSIDC. (Did you know that between 1995 and 2000, and again between 2005 and 2010 the average annual extent in the Arctic actually rose by 6,000 sq km each year?)

      I expect Scotland will be back under the ice any day now.

      Cheers Bill F

      If you want a copy to play with, please just drop me an email.

    35. Philippe Chantreau

      “but I’ve got trouble seeing how that makes 1979 a local maximum.”
      All it needs is somebody’s backyard pond to freeze solid. That makes a maximum, and a local one at that…

    36. For those interested in the psychology of climate science denial, I think much can be learned from Dan Kahan’s study of cultural cognition. In particular his article “Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect in Risk Perception” has obvious parallels to climate science denial. It can be found at 4 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 465 (2007). A free version can be downloaded from SSRN.

    37. Goddard is (and has been) just a chearleader for the cause, keeping morale up amongst the troops so they stay active, vocal and posting.

      • Ah, yes. Missed the DMI comment amid all that hoo-ha comment, but that was the post where SG wrote:

        Conclusion : There will probably be minimal ice loss during August. The minimum is likely to be the highest since 2006, and possibly higher than 2005. So far, my forecast of 5.5 million km² is looking very conservative. Ice extent is higher than I predicted for early August.

        Guess that’s one for my “sea ice is recovering” collection.

    38. What is a fake skeptic?
      Some kind of backdoor ad-hominum slang for denialist?

      [Response: A "fake skeptic" is someone who claims to be a skeptic, but in fact is not. The claim is often applied to one's disbelief in consensus science (global warming, evolution, health risks of tobacco). The arguments put forth by fake skeptics reveal that they will reject the evidence no matter what, while simultaneously accepting the most ludicrous alternative explanations with appalling gullibility.

      When their fake "skepticism" is exposed as a fraud but they have no rational reply, they will often revert to accusing their critics of "ad hominem" attack.]

    39. Real skeptics doubt even their own opinions. Fake skeptics have all the answers they need.

    40. Fake skeptics can mount a detailed critique of the use of decentered principal component analysis in a published, peer-reviewed study, and claim that it invalidates the results…

      …but will not hesitate to accept, believe, and promote the conclusions of a blog-post “analysis” involving no test of statistical significance. Provided the blog post comes to the “right” conclusions.


    41. Fake skeptics can mount a detailed critique of the use of decentered principal component analysis in a published, peer-reviewed study, and claim that it invalidates the results…

      And if said fake skeptics posted the full output of the decentered principal component procedure applied to Mann’s tree-ring data vs. random noise, Tamino (or any other competent analyst) would be able to tell you which is which in about two seconds.

      Nobody who understands how to interpret the output of the SVD/principal-component algorithm would ever confuse random noise with data containing a coherent signal. The fact that the deniers haven’t been able to figure that out is further proof that the denier community as a whole is spectacularly incompetent.

    42. “Fake skeptics can mount a detailed critique of the use of decentered principal component analysis in a published, peer-reviewed study, and claim that it invalidates the results…”

      A few. . . damn few.

    43. Horatio Algeranon

      Horatio wrote this a while ago, but some things are timeless

      The Global Warming “Skeptic”
      — by Horatio Algeranon

      Here comes the Sun,
      Let’s have some fun,
      The earth is warming,
      Why’s that alarming?

      The Ice Age cooled things
      In the past,
      The current warming,
      Will not last.

      Besides,
      The record’s “contaminated”,
      With tar and grills,
      And things related.

      Consensus?
      Schmensus!
      One must confess,
      What scientists think is meaningless.

      Their models are based
      On thin, hot air,
      They don’t mean squat.
      Why should we care?

      They even claim,
      That cosmic rays,
      Have not decreased,
      Since earlier days.

      And everyone knows,
      That Mars is warming,
      But none find that,
      One bit alarming.

      And “urban heat”,
      Under our feet?
      Jim Hansen thinks
      That’s really neat.

      So don’t you fret,
      And don’t you worry,
      This “Global Warming”,
      Is a fanciful story.

      (anyone who has not been living under a rotten (b)log for the last few years knows that the quotes mean “fake”)

    44. Horatio-san, I love your stuff. But you’ve got to be a little more careful with the meter. Rhyme is great, but it’s not the whole thing. Speak the lines aloud to see what I mean. Make sure each line has the same number of beats, or that there’s some pattern to the changes.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        Thank you for the kind words and for the constructive criticism.

        But, now you have Horatio thinking that he may need to add a disclaimer to all his poems (for all the English majors and other fans of real/serious poetry out there who may cringe every time they read one of Horatio’s goofy poems):

        Caution. With Horatio’s poems, anything goes — sometimes very badly. Not to be taken too seriously (or at all).

        • disclaimer to be taken seriously not

        • My favorite rhyming scheme has got to be Tom Lehrer:

          “And you may have thought it tragic,
          Not to mention other adjec-
          Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do.”

          from “We Will All Go Together When We Go”

        • Horatio Algeranon

          “Poetry Meter Sticks”
          — by Horatio Algeranon

          Horatio’s verses
          Are like curses
          To Shakespeare buffs
          — Or even hearses
          To English profs
          With poetry courses

    45. There was a young man from Iran
      Whose limericks never would scan
      When asked why this was
      He said, “It’s because
      I always try to fit as many words into the last line as I ever possibly can.”

    46. Michael Mann just went after a fake skeptic in a column right here: http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20111001/EDITS/110939988/1021&ParentProfile=1065

      Mann called out the fake skeptic by name and just flat-out tore him a new one.

      Mann has come out swinging like this a couple of times recently; he’s beginning to make Tamino look like a pussycat. ;)

      Anyway, folks here can give Mann some support by visiting the above link and clicking on the “recommend” link at the top of the page. Also, posting links to Mann’s piece in comments, blog-posts, and/or tweeting/facebooking/whatever the piece will raise its on-line profile and ensure that more people see it.

      • I wonder if Mann’s strategy is to cull the herd by going after the weakest and lamest rather than the highest profile. It might work. I remember reading William Burroughs on police action aimed at controlling drugs. He advocated going after the individual junkie because there will always be someone willing to sell drugs. Similarly, maybe libeled scientists should start going after the lamest, most solitary, most venomous of the anonymous posters who libel them. Then, columnists at obscure news outlets. Then, the more idiotic low level of Fox on-air personalities. Eventually, and maybe sooner than expected, the Cheese Stands Alone. After all, it’s way the Arctic sea ice is melting. A little here. A bit more there. Etc.

      • Caerbannog, as you noted at Daily Kos, the original article seems to be missing.

    47. Jeffrey Davis, One question. How would you decide which Faux News personalities are most idiotic. It seems like trying to distinguish between aleph-0 and aleph-1.