Monthly Archives: January 2012

USA48

A favorite tactic of those who deny global warming is to exagerate the importance of the temperature record of the contiguous United States (the lower 48 states of the continental USA). It’s only 1.6% of the surface area of the planet, so it’s not truly representative of the globe as a whole. But what the heck, it is part of planet earth, so it’s interesting to examine the temperature history of the contiguous U.S., aka the “lower 48 states,” aka “USA48.”

Continue reading

Some Questions for Rutan

One of the signatories to the letter about global warming recently published in the Wall Street Journal is aerospace engineer Burt Rutan. A recent post on WUWT features his exchange with Brian Angliss at Scholars and Rogues. According to the post Rutan, in an email to Anthony Watts, stated “I usually ignore these diatribes.” If you read the post he refers to, it’s abundantly clear that it’s not a “diatribe.”

Rutan also states


You can easily tell if someone is a true environmentalist, i.e. an advocate for a healthy planet – he is one who is happy to hear the news that the arctic ice content has stabilized.

My main question is about a graph which Rutan presents, but before we get to that, Mr. Rutan, I have to ask because we’re all so eager to know: on what basis do you claim that arctic ice content has stabilized? I’ll happily point you to my basis for claiming that it has not, that in fact arctic ice content has destabilized. Do tell us, Mr. Rutan — we’re all ears.

Continue reading

Fake Predictions for Fake Skeptics

Let’s make a fake prediction.

Continue reading

Chip’s Cherries

After the record-breaking global temperatures noted in 2010, Chip Knappenberger treated us to his Cherry-Picker’s Guide to Temperature Trends. It was a follow-up to his earlier Cherry-Picker’s Guide to Temperature Trends.

Continue reading

Best Case Scenario

Chip Knappenberger has posted about some papers, including Santer et al. (2011, Separating Signal and Noise in Atmospheric Temperature Changes: The Importance of Timescale. Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2011JD016263) which proves one thing: that Knappenberger doesn’t get it. In more than one way.

Continue reading

Step 3

One of the most important lessons to learn about statistics, and not forget, is that just because your model is statistically significant, that doesn’t mean it’s right. In fact, just about all models are wrong. And some models, even some which strongly pass statistical significance, aren’t even useful.

After investigating some claims about temperate records showing a “step change” rather than continuous trend, and finding those claims faulty, a reader mentioned yet another such claim. Specifically, it discusses a paper by Stockwell and Cox, submitted to International Journal of Forecasting. The essence of all these claims is that the temperature trend is discontinuous, that there aren’t just sudden jumps in temperature caused by noise, but the trend itself is a discontinuous function of time.

Continue reading

2011 Temperature Roundup

Now that 2011 is complete, most of the major global temperature estimates have updated their data to include the complete calendar year. The only one which hasn’t yet is HadCRU, for which data are available through November of 2011 but December’s estimate is not yet online.

Continue reading