Bob Tisdale pisses on leg, claims it’s raining

Global warming deniers really hate the fact that a proper comparison of computer model projections to observations does not show that “models fail.” But they love faulty comparisons.

One such faulty comparison was discussed here, which shows — among other things — that when comparing two series, you shouldn’t align them using a single year for alignment. That’s because a single year is bound to be either hotter-than-trend or colder-than-trend, which will bias the comparison.

Now Bob Tisdale has joined the chorus of those who object. His reason? The claim that

The reality: 1990 was an ENSO-neutral year, according to NOAA’s Oceanic NINO Index. Therefore, “1990 was…” NOT “…an especially hot year”. It was simply warmer than previous years because surface temperatures were warming then. I’m not sure why that’s so hard a concept for warmists to grasp. The only reason it might appear warm is that the 1991-94 data were noticeably impacted by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

Yes, you read that right. He says that 1990 was not an especially hot year. His evidence? That 1990 was not an el Nino year. Which he follows with “Therefore….”

We know that el Nino can make a year especially hot, just as la Nina can make it especially cool. We know that a warming trend makes later years likely to be hotter than previous years. But we also know — and either Tisdale does not, or he’s just pissing on your leg and calling it “rain” — that years can be especially hot or cold simply due to random fluctuation of temperature, in addition to those factors.

So: if you want to know whether a given year was especially hot or not, don’t look at some el Nino index and then declare “Therefore…” Look at the temperature. Unless, of course, your goal is to piss on somebody’s leg and tell them it’s raining.

Here’s global temperature data from NASA, together with a smoothed version so we’re not tripped up by the global-warming trend:


I put a red circle around the data for 1990. Notice how it’s noticeably above the trend line? That’s because 1990 was “especially hot.” Not just hot because the trend was going up, as Tisdale claimed. Especially hot in addition to the existing trend.

Here are the residuals — the departures from the smooth trend line:


I put a red circle around the residual for 1990. Notice how it’s noticeably above zero? That’s because 1990 was “especially hot.” Not just hot because the trend was going up, as Tisdale claimed. Especially hot in addition to the existing trend. As a matter of fact, it’s the 10th-hottest departure from the smooth trend in the 133-year data record from NASA.

But Tisdale doesn’t even want us to use the actual trend, because that might not “look right” since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo caused cooling after 1990. OK. Let’s just look at 1975 through 1990 — no interference from Mt. Pinatubo — and let’s just use a simple linear trend rather than any of that fancy “smooth trend” stuff. Here’s what you get:


I put a red circle around the data for 1990. Notice how it’s noticeably above the trend line?

Yes, 1990 was “especially hot,” and not just because of the warming trend, it was so in addition to the warming trend. But Bob Tisdale and his ilk are so determined to deny anything — anything! — which befuddles their smear campaign, that they’ll deny even that. Try to stay out of the “rain” …

While we’re on the subject…

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47 responses to “Bob Tisdale pisses on leg, claims it’s raining

  1. Horatio Algeranon


    Spite. The final frontier. These are the voyagers of the sparship Dissenterprise. It’s five* year mission. To explore strange new stats. To seek out new (short-term) trends and new (IPCC) “falsifications”. To BOLDLY** claim what no one has claimed before***


    * or 7 …or 10…or 15…(but certainly less than 20-30 , the standard period for gauging what is happening to climate (which is defined as a long-term average)
    **and with ALL CAPS…and numerous exclamation points!!!!
    ***for very good scientific reasons.

  2. He should change his name legally to Bob Pissdale.

  3. “It’s data, Bob, but not as we know it.” “Beam him up, Anthony!” “There’s Moncktons on the starboard bow and my leg feels warm!” “Mac, can you run an audit on this?” The USS Disinformation and it’s motley crew drift on in alternative universes, boldly going where no rational being has gone before or after.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “Damnit Tony, I’m a nitwit, not a scientist”

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “They called the Dissenterprise a garbage scow!”
      “Graphed wrong and piss-poor”

      • arch stanton

        the Trouble With Trends

      • Horatio Algeranon

        “The Trouble with Tisdales”
        – by Horatio Algeranon

        The trouble with Tisdales
        Is that they tell tall-tales
        And keep multiplying
        Their warming denying

    • Horatio Algeranon

      And some quotes don’t even have to be changed:

      NOMAD: “This is one of your units, creator?”
      Captain Tony: “Yes, he is.”
      NOMAD: “It functions irrationally.”

  4. The title thread cracked me up. Thanks.

  5. Thread title, I meant. It’s late. I’m tired.

  6. McIntyre still won’t acknowledge that the AR5 draft Figure 1.4 that a fake skeptic leaked from the AR5 materials a year ago, that was based on a single year, 1990 (as tamino elicits above), is bogus. He jumps through more hoola hoops than have ever been manufactured in the history of mankind to evade the fact that he is, once again, wrong:

    IPCC: Fixing the Facts

    Never once does he ever mention the word ‘baseline’ in his OP. It’s left up to the commentors to point this out.

  7. It’s impolite to make fun of the elderly. Sadly, one can’t critique denialists without doing so.

  8. Man, Tamino, you are definitely one of the best at factually based demolition of the standard denialist arguments. Absolutely one of the best.
    Keep it up.

  9. It is also worth pointing out that 1990 was the warmest year ever in the instrumental record up to that time (in both GISS and HADCRUT). Of course, with a rising trend, one expects to be breaking that record every so often, but it is unlikely to happen in an “average” year given the amount of year-to-year climate variability relative to the magnitude of the trend.

    In response to metzomagic’s comment, I was thinking about how great it is to be a “skeptic”. You win no matter what:

    (1) If the IPCC corrects something that was originally more favorable to your position, then they are covering up the facts and can’t be trusted.

    (2) If the IPCC corrects something that was originally less favorable to your position, then the fact that they had the other way around to begin with shows that they are not infallible and are biased, and hence can’t be trusted.

    (3) If the IPCC does not correct something that you deem they should, then the fact that they refuse to change it shows they are biased, refuse to correct their errors, and can’t be trusted.

  10. In regard to climate change scientists and governments, the problem is, those with expertise have no power, and those with power have no expertise.

    Greed will always blind, and governments are easily swayed by blind power.

    Governments are voted in by the people to govern “for” the people, not “for” big business.

    This cartoon refers;



  11. Could also point out that 1990 just happens to land on the highest solar peak of the last four decades…

    Way to cherry pick a starting time point Bob and not correct for it…

  12. I’m not sure why any of us are the least bit surprised. Bob Tisdale has very little knowledge of how the physics of the climate system work. He thinks that ENSO creates and destroys heat, after all.

    • Hi,
      I think the real problem is, there is a big community who not have understand what GHG-warming is, because their own believe prevents them.

      But what to do? Ignor them? or try to speaking with them? My opinion is, just ignor, because most of them never interest in the facts.


  13. I think the most important point is that Pinatubo happened the year after 1990. That functionally reset the warming, because of true geo-engineering where geo (the earth) was putting the sulfate in the stratosphere.

  14. If it’s not ENSO it’s not happening, according to Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale. And if it is happening it’s not CO2 :)

  15. In addition to an upturn in aerosol forcing after 1990 the sulphate burden dropped substantially just prior to 1990 due to the (industrial) collapse of Sovietunion and Eastern Germany.

  16. 1990 was a warm year, relative to the underlying trend and despite a neutral enso, because of the very positive arctic oscillation during winter/early spring that warmed northern eurasia and the south eastern US(and cooled greenland/NW canada), it was also concomitant with the 11-year solar maximum.

  17. Michael Mann was heard saying that the more that the deniers deny something the more that the correct answer is diametrically opposed to what they are denying.

    Since B-Tis leans on ENSO so much, why not correct the GISS using the SOI and throw it back in his face?

  18. WheresWallace

    Bob “outsmarts” himself once again.

    • In his most recent post, I’m not sure it’s just pissing anymore. Huge long post largely going on and on about how an average of a whole bunch of stochastic model runs can’t reproduce the single realization we live in.

  19. You really should pick on people your own size. Bob is not a scientist, just a regular guy sitting around the house with an interest in global warming. I find his work to be poorly organized and poorly written, and logically incoherent. Why bother with him?

    • B. Buckner on Tisdale: “I find his work to be poorly organized and poorly written, and logically incoherent. Why bother with him?”

      And this differs from every other climate denialist exactly…how?

      • Rob Nicholls

        “Why bother with him?” I can see where B Buckner is coming from, but I think it is important to debunk Bob Tisdale’s posts because they have the potential to confuse and mislead an awful lot of people. The flaws in Tisdale’s arguments are not immediately to everyone.

      • Obviously, this is not my blog so I can only offer my opinion for consideration. But I think the discussion would be much more interesting if our gracious (and vicious) host took on others of more substance, say Judith Curry, or the evil Steve McIntire, or even Lucia Lungren, than the pathetic Bob Tisdale. I mean what is the point of arguing with Bob? His work is a mess and is not scientifically based.

      • B. Buckner (of Tisdale): “His work is a mess and is not scientifically based.”

        And Aunt Judy’s is? Really? When was her last publication? Likewise, McI. I’m afraid spurious FOIA requests for data already in the public domain don’t count.

    • arch stanton

      Bob uses smoke, mirrors, the Gish Gallup and Wattnot to his advantage, and his readership size is (apparently) significantly larger than our host’s.

      Furthermore, not all of Bob’s readers are naïve enough to be sucked in by him. They could use some help in understanding where Bob has mislead them though. Tamino helps with that.

      • Smoke and mirrors imply some level of professionalism – not a word I’d associated with dear ol Bob… “ramblings” and “madman” springs to mind though…

    • “Why bother with him?”

      Please bother with him!

      I’m not the only non-scientist on board with AGW but unable to personally rebut stuff that appears, on the surface to non-scientists, to be not unreasonable.

      I often find myself wavering (but never more than simply towards the minimal “alarm” implied by the least-change scenarios) and I count on finding these rebuttals.

  20. Amusingly enough, despite Tisdale’s close attention to everything Tamino writes, particularly about Tisdale’s errors, he has had not one mention of this particular Tamino response. In fact, comments on Tisdale’s post rather dried up at that point…

    Given the usual garrulous nature of WUWT posters, this is surprising – no denouncements, no support for Tisdale, no discussion whatsoever? Perhaps their moderators are in action? Or perhaps (just perhaps, only a fantastical hypothesis, mind you) the WUWT regulars are somewhat embarrassed by his errors?

  21. I posted in that thread making pretty much the same argument the same day Tamino posted this. Bob’s replies were basically a repetition of his article. 1990 just looks warm because Pinatubo and El Chichon (?!) years were comparitively cool etc. The points about 1990 being above the trend were ignored, so I suppose that if he is even aware of Tamino’s post here, he can’t loosen his grip on his ‘hypothesis’ enough to consider he might be wrong….

    … Ah, he’s posted since last I looked.

    The global temperature responses to the volcanic eruptions (El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo) shifted the trend line downward. If you were to volcano adjust the data, 1990 may not fall exactly on the trend line, but it is nowhere near the 0.1 deg offset chosen by Tamino.

  22. Has anyone overlayed global temperature series minus interannual influences (solar/ENSO/volcanic) on the IPCC model ensembles? I’ve wondered how the adjusted temperature series would fit to the ensemble mean hindcast and near-term forecast. I imagine there’d be less of a problem baselining, too.

    • Hmm, you can look at Rahmstorf et al (2012). It shown good agreement with IPCC-Projection.

      The Baseline is not really the Problem, but interanual fluctuations can mislead your comparison on Projection, because the Trend on short timescales much effected by fluctuations.


      • F&R apply the MEI to help remove the current pause, but it is easily overlooked because a figure that shows how well the peaks and valleys line up is not included. See Figure 7a
        G. Foster and S. Rahmstorf, “Global temperature evolution 1979–2010,” Environmental Research Letters, vol. 6, no. 4, p. 044022, Jan. 2011.

        Extending this to well before 1980 and back to 1880 would have been interesting as well.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        it is easily overlooked…

        Especially if you want to overlook it

        …and instead focus on the latest climate science conspiracy:

        “Hide the Graph”
        – by Horatio Algeranon

        Confronted with science
        They shift the focus
        To “Hide the graph”
        And other bupkis

        “Hide the decline”, “Hide the graph”

        What’s next? “Hide the salam”?

        Now that would be an Etc I’d like to see.

  23. Rahmstorf, Foster, and Cazenave 2012 does exactly that relative to the IPCC projections (AR4, TAR). See Figure 1.

  24. Thanks both.

  25. ‘off topic)

    Hi Tamino,

    Judith Curry is touting this

    Several of the talks interest me, and several pass right over my head. You might like to look at some of them, or at least get ready for JC to start saying that they say what she would like them to say, even if that’s not what they say at all.