Q: How do you Outdo Anthony Watts?

A: Add Glenn Beck.

Watts has posted about a video from two of Glenn Beck’s minions, in which (it is claimed) “two guys with a ruler blow up the white house global warming video claims.” You can watch their video, or you can read Anthony Watts’ take on it.

I know, I know, why am I bothering with such tripe? Because this is just too good to pass up.


You don’t have to read it, I’ll tell you Anthony Watts’ take on it:


Remember White House science advisor John Holdren’s wackadoodle video about the Polar Vortex? The opening line of the video spoken by Dr. Holdren says

“If you’ve been hearing that extreme cold spells, like the one we’re having in the United States now disproves global warming…don’t believe it.”

He then goes on to present evidence, like this plot of mid-tropospheric temperature, which looks like it is from UAH/Dr. Roy Spencer, though no citation is given in the video.

The funny part? Watch these two guys blow the glossy WH take on this visual out of the water with just a ruler and some common sense.

Here’s the graphic shown:

wh_mid_tropospheric_warming

Clearly, unambiguously, undeniably, Anthony Watts has endorsed — in fact, praised — their “reasoning.” I wonder … how long until Watts starts to back off from that? Will he end up claiming that he doesn’t endorse their reasoning? That he never did?

So … what objections are raised in this video about the graph? Here’s my attempt at a “transcript” of the relevant part:


“The reason they started in 1978 is because it’s colder than it was back here.” [points to the left of where the graph begins] “If you started it back here it wouldn’t look like it was warming that much at all. But they started it in 1978, now this is satellite records so that’s about the time that they started, but they selected satellite records I believe intentionaly, because this is the cool — there’s cooling here between about 1940 and — and the mid-1970s. So they started in 1978, they use this chart, to show how dramatic the warming is.

Now, let’s go beyond that. Here’s zero. Why is the first temperature well below zero? They want this line to look more dramatic. If you see the zero — the end line is not much above zero at all, zero is, you know, you would think, the average of the entire time. Now here’s another part. Here is the — this is where the line starts, OK, this is the end, the red line, this is the line you’re supposed to look at. Why is the red line up there? Well let’s look at where the temperature actually is. Here’s where the temperature actually is, right there. Now if you look at this and you follow the line all the way over here, we’re at the same temperature as it was in 1978, 1979. And one more additional thing is, if you want to start fooling with when you’re going to pick the starting dates, how about let’s start the starting date right here in 1998 where the temperature’s the warmest, and look at that trend. This is where the temperature is now, and that’s 1998, the warmest year on record. I mean, even with” — [other person speaks briefly] — “Take this red line out for a second and look at the chart. If anything, you haven’t seen any warming obviously since 1998, but even when you go back to, this is where the temperature is basically bunching now, right around here, you’re going back to the entire history of the temperature record that they’re showing you, and there’s very little actually below where we are right now. And this is, this is the sort of manipulation they use all the time on these charts …”

I was going to dissect these arguments, or to put it another way, to “blow the glossy Glenn Beck take on this visual out of the water.” But why should I have all the fun? So, I’ve decided to leave that up to readers. Just to help, here are some graphs which might be relevant.


An enlarged view of the graph from the video:

WH_enlarged


UAH TMT data from its start (December 1978) through June 2009 (as near as I can tell, the range shown in the visual), together with a least-squares trend line:

uahTMT_2009


UAH TMT data from its start (December 1978) through December 2013, together with a least-squares trend line:

uahTMT


Mid-troposphere (500hPa) temperature since 1958 from HadAT2:

HadAT2_500


Surface temperature since a little before 1920 from NASA GISS:

giss

Enjoy!

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67 responses to “Q: How do you Outdo Anthony Watts?

  1. I don’t think the graph can be showing UAH TMT – the two don’t match. Since this is the Whitehouse they presumably used the dataset produced by a US government agency: NOAA STAR.

    [Response: Since the graph ends around 2009.5, it was probably an earlier version of the data — which would explain the mismatch even if it’s UAH TMT.]

  2. I don’t think the graph from the video is TMT. It looks more like the TLT data, especially during the 1984-1985 time period, where TMT shows a little uptick but TLT does not:

    “OK, this is the end, the red line, this is the line you’re supposed to look at. Why is the red line up there? Well let’s look at where the temperature actually is.”

    ‘Bout spot-on where the red line is when you include all of the data.

  3. Oh, dear. After a while, you have to wonder why the guys attacking the science always appear to be so dim. Does anti-science attract stupid people, or does it make them stupider.

    • The internet. It doesn’t make you stupid, it just makes your stupidity more available to everyone else….

  4. “I was going to dissect these arguments, or to put it another way, to “blow the glossy Glenn Beck take on this visual out of the water.”

    Put up or shut up!

    [Response: Do I understand correctly, that you actually regard the arguments from Glenn Beck’s minions to be credible?]

  5. Clearly most of what they came up with is garbage, but I do think that it’s fair to be critical of what I assume was a perspective effect that ends up resulting in a tilted graph. That kind of thing needs to be picked up on and corrected to prevent it adding a veneer of legitimacy to denialist claims.

  6. Well we all know that you can generate lengthy and largely incomprehensible diatribes about the graphs and statistics but there are quite a few points in the vid that relate to less than honest tricks like the way that the base line is not level in the graph that does the alarmists no favours at all. Likewise the start and end points of the graph are deliberately chosen to create a particular result.

    [Response: I should have mentioned Glenn Beck and his cohorts long ago. It makes crystal-clear who has at least minimal cognitive facility, and who doesn’t.]

    • Mr. Hall, if you find elementary statistics “incomprehensible,” let me suggest that you crack a book on the subject. Most of us here have taken at least one or two stats courses, so we’re able to see who’s BSing us and who isn’t. Here’s a hint: tamino is as honest as they come. Glenn Beck is not.

    • tanimo
      I’m an Aussie and have very little knowledge of who Glen Beck is (and I care even less). I just took the claims in the vid at face value and I’m actually interested in what you think about the claims that it is a dishonest presentation.

      [Response: First you say “Well we all know that you can generate lengthy and largely incomprehensible diatribes about the graphs and statistics.” Now you say “I’m actually interested in what you think about the claims that it is a dishonest presentation.” What’s up with that?]

      • Iain Hall is a notorious far right troll and a hardcore climate science denier which can be confirmed by looking at his blog

      • Tanimo
        My question is about “tricks” used in visual presentation, its a matter of ethics not mathematics and it really is not that hard to answer either you think that your side of the argument should avoid doing such things because it undermines the credibility of the argument or you think that the ends justify the means. At present I’m leaning towards the latter from the answers you have so far given me

        [Response: For the record: I oppose the use of “tricks” to give the wrong impression. For the record: the accusations of “tricks” given in the video are wrong. In fact the accusations demostrate that the accusers don’t have a clue.

        And for the record: when you come to my house, start by saying I generate “lengthy and largely incomprehensible diatribes,” then switch to “I’m actually interested in what you think,” then return to “… or you think that the ends justify the means. At present I’m leaning towards the latter …,” for some strange reason I don’t feel motivated to treat you kindly.]

      • Tanimo

        For the record: I oppose the use of “tricks” to give the wrong impression.

        Well that is a good start

        For the record: the accusations of “tricks” given in the video are wrong. In fact the accusations demostrate that the accusers don’t have a clue.

        How so? you don’t need any math to see that having the plot at an angle makes the trend look worse than it is.

        for some strange reason I don’t feel motivated to treat you kindly.

        If I want kindness I don’t look for it on the internet, but I’ve read enough of your blog enough to know that you are not kindly disposed to anyone who disagrees with you on AGW.

    • Is it possible the latitude line and the graph could not be lined up “level”.

      • I just looked at this video, which looks like the one they are ridiculing, and it does not have latitude lines:

        John Holdren

        Is that the video source?

      • Lol, they’re not latitude lines; the multiple screens they are using make it look like there are lines in the WH presentation.

        The White House clearly knew rightwing TV would have screens like that so it’s even more deceptive than previously thought!

    • OK, now wait a minute. The complaint is that the abscissa slopes upwards, right? Upwards. Now what does this do to the perception? It makes it look warmer (farther from the axis) early and cooler (closer to the axis) later on–IT DEEMPHASIZES THE WARMING!!! My guess is that you will find that Holdren simply used a graph he found and that the graph was made by Uncle Roy. Iain, you not only fail at statistics comprehension and logic. You fail at life.

      [Response: If I were going to tilt a graph in order to make it *seem* to be increasing faster, I sure wouldn’t put in the x-axis at all.

      My guess is that the decision to tilt the graph was made by some graphic designer, because he/she wanted to give it a “3-D” look and thought it would be prettier. From a purely scientific standpoint, it’s bad practice, but the idea that it was done deliberately in order to give a false impression is just ludicrous. It says much more about the motives of the accusers than the scientific inadequacy of the designers.

      And the stuff about when the data starts, and where the line is placed, makes a bag of rocks look like a genius.]

      • My high school chem teacher always said “box of rocks” or “bag of hammers”, though thinking back maybe those were not the most professional of remarks in an educational setting, though they sure seem relevant on the internet. What is a bag of hammers that has an agenda?

  7. Just like Archimedes said: “Give me a start and end point,a ruler,and a forum to spew from,and I shall cool the world!”

  8. The Mid Troposphere:- “It’s supposed to show the er Arctic er and the mid level region like he was talking about like the United States are getting closer together in temperature”- so mid is like where the US is in the world?

    A graph showing warming is a ‘subliminal signal’

    In 1978 John Holdren predicted global cooling- is that the 1971? 1973? or 1986 cooling through warming prediction? http://www.wnd.com/2009/10/112317/

    As opposed to the 1978 MSU satellite record but that ‘I believe was intentionally because …to show how dramatic the warming is” but wouldn’t 1970 be more dramatic? or 1960? or 1920?

    And the graph has been tilted to make it warmer!! -although on the original video the sequence lasts just a few seconds- which I suppose is subliminal.

    Tamino- ditch all your fancy science stuff and get a ruler!

  9. It’s hard to know where to start:

    (1) It’s not more dramatic than it would have been if they had used other records (like HADCRUT); it’s less dramatic.

    (2) It’s also less dramatic than it would have been if you extended the data through today rather than stopping in 2009, during a La Nina period.

    (3) You don’t determine a trend in noisy data by looking at the start point and the end point.

    (4) The only reason that the end point is lower than the start point is that the data is cut off in 2009, anyway. The actual endpoint today is higher than the start point.

    (5) Their argument that the choice of baseline (which I believe is UAH’s. not Holdren’s anyway) makes it more dramatic doesn’t really make any sense that I can figure. Why does it make it more dramatic to start below zero…It makes the endpoint lower (relative to the baseline) than it would be otherwise.

    You can’t make up stupid this stupid.

  10. “but they selected satellite records I believe intentionaly, because …”

    But the cranks keep telling me that RSS is the “good” record!

    Watties – memories like goldfish. The day before, Watts had a post from Monckton who was using the satellite record to attempt to “prove” the usual “no warming”

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/02/much-to-dismay-of-christopher-monckton.html

  11. The video commentary relies on the ridicule, lack of any real climate knowledge on the part if its intended audience, and on the general lack of inquisitiveness of its intended audience. The commentary is wrong in many ways; I’ll just pick one of ‘em. (quotes below from the original blog post’s transcript)

    The main criticism the video makes of the chart is the angled perspective it is shown from. This is supposedly for the purpose of making warming look greater than it really is. But all they have is ridicule and the off-angle presentation of the graph: no data, no math, no analysis, no science. And if you’re caught up in the rhetoric of ridicule and phony measurements that have nothing to do with the data or science, you don’t notice the criticism actually fails to make its point.

    The reason they started in 1978 is because it’s colder than it was back here. [points to the left of where the graph begins] If you
    started it back here it wouldn’t look like it was warming that much at all. But they started it in 1978, now this is satellite records so that’s about the time that they started, but they selected satellite records I believe intentionaly, because this is the cool — there’s cooling here between about 1940 and — and the mid-1970s. So they started in 1978, they use this chart, to show how dramatic the warming is.

    No, they start in 1978 because they’re showing satellite data and that’s when the satellite data start. Maybe the chart starts at a point “colder than it was back here” before the beginning of the chart. But should we take the word of the commentor? Let’s not. If you look at both the HadAT2 500hPa graph and the GISS graph, the slope is downward back to roughly 1970. So if the Whitehouse had wanted to show more warming they could have started back in 1970. Oh. Wait; these are satellite data and the satellite data don’t go back that far. So could the Whitehouse staff have chosen the satellite data because it starts at an especially cool point? No. If they had wanted to start at an especially cool point to show more dramatic warming they would have used GISS or HadAT2 500hPa data.

    Or if Holdren had wanted a graph that showed more dramatic warming he could have done this: the graph used shows satellite data through
    somewhere in 2009. We have satellite data extending up through roughly the present: 4 more years of data. Looking at the slope of the data for the entire satellite period is steeper than the slope just through 2009 (see the charts Tamino provided). So if Holdren wanted to show more dramatic warming he could have chosen to use *all* the satellite data in a chart.

    Well, then. Could it be Whitehouse science adviser Holdren chose this chart to exaggerate the warming trend. In a word, NO.

  12. To be fair I’d give them five points out of 100 for noting that the graph is tilted by the graphic designer which could possibly be subliminally misunderstood by people not paying attention. Unfortunately 5 out of 100 is not a passing grade, not even close, especially since they missed the entire point of the presentation (about the Polar Vortex). On second thought make that 2 out of 100.

  13. Oh, I didn’t realise I’d overlapped with you, Tamino. Still this might go some way to helping out Jess, Iain, WUWTers or anyone who wonders what they are on about.

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/02/friday-funny-peculiar-at-wuwt-science.html

    I’ll add in your good pick-up, MikeH.

    [Response: Nothing wrong with overlap.]

  14. What a maroon, my favourite was when he drew a line from the peak of 1998 to the bottom peak and called it a trend lol…

    My second favourite was when the other guy pointed out the slight upward slope in the x-axis, and that the guy with the ruler goes “I didn’t notice that! good pick up” … really really you didn’t notice that ! How unobservant must you be to not notice that.

    That chart or any one of the other global temperature charts starting from 1978 or earlier could and should be drawn in a square box with minimum statistical noise from one corner of the box to the next to truly show the trend. Much like Tamino’s last chart but square, the trend would then have a near 45deg angle, deniers would have a heart attack then!

    “YOU CAN’T DO THAT! you can’t present you data in the clearest possible way, showing the true trend like that! That’s not fair!”

    Perhaps Tamino you should set a good standard and start using square charts :)

  15. What we really need is a charting standard, so that we can simply say “that chart is not presented to carting standards”, i’m sure there is a standard out there would anyone know of an official one… something like

    1) A square viewing area must be used
    2) X-axis and Y-axis must be shown outside of and adjacent the viewing area
    2) Unnecessary statistical noise must be removed or smooth in the data
    3) Data must be spread maximally – but still within the boundaries of the viewing box:
    – Lowest data point must touch the bottom of the square viewing area
    – Highest data point must touch the top of the square viewing area
    – Starting data point must touch the rightmost edge of the square viewing area
    – Ending data point must touch the leftmost edge of the square viewing area

    I’m sure I read something like this as advice to authors section on charting standards, in some journal at one stage…

    That way if a denier brings up a ridiculously manipulated chart we can just point to the chart standard and challenge them to present their data according to the standard

  16. The answer to those cranks, that works best for me, is to point them to Fig. 6 on page 4 of Jim Hansen’s new paper – the one which shows a steady rise of temperatures on the southern hemisphere and a steady rise of temperatures in summer on the northern hemisphere and a decline of temperatures in winter (which can be explained by the extended La Ninas in recent years, obviously).

    To which I say “that’s no stagnation in my book, just an arithmetical effect”. Funny enough, that since then a bunch of skeptomanics tried to convince me, that global mean temperatures were really, really important (…even a guy, who – a ‘couple of comments before – had declared global mean temperature for nonexistent, “because you can’t measure them”).

    So – just say “there’s no stagnation”, point to the graphs and enjoy the spinning heads…

  17. “I wonder … how long until Watts starts to back off from that?”

    It hasn’t taken him long. He is now taking the stance that the article was humour and shouldn’t be taken seriously. And of course all the people who are picking holes in it are just humourless.

    [Response: When even Watts’ crowd starts finding holes in it …]

  18. Hence I challenge you Tamino to start presenting your charts as per an agreed to charting standard :) so that data can be presented in a completely unbiased way :)

    Also if you can create a blog post with the above Charting Standard points,
    perhaps add to it if you like…

    Something that we can all use call out deniers on and we could link to, that would be great…

    [Response: I’m all for good graphing practices. But I think as long as one is being honest there should be room for different perspectives. And, I’m not especially fond of square graphs.

    As for ironclad rules of how graphs must be … to quote Churchill (in a different context), “That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put.”]

  19. My take on the two guys with the ruler – a pair of comedians. Surely. Is anybody on the planet* going to take them seriously? (*I mean ‘the planet Earth’. I can imagine a lot of folk on the planet Wattsupia taking notes and studying them in great detail afterwards!) For some reason, the subject of Linearonomy springs to mind.
    But I wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye. Why are the two jokers picking on a graphic, a piece of eye-candy, from the John Holdren ‘wackadoodle’? What did the graphic have to do with the Jihn Holdren message? – Nothing!
    So what is going on here? Is it more Linearonomy?
    UAH TMT has been criticised in the past for not showing anything like the rise seen in other records (including RSS that is also uses satellite data). So I wonder – is our host is about to demonstrate to us in black and white some similarities between Spencer&Christy and that other classic comedy duo Laurel&Hardy?

  20. I’m confused, what is your actual objection to the video? They point out that you can start from a cool year and end in a hot one and use it for propaganda. They also pointed out the tilting which was dishonest but most likely done by the graphic designers.

    [Response: No, they didn’t “point out that you can start from a cool year and end in a hot one and use it for propaganda.” They claimed that was what actually happened. Wrong. The most generous interpretation is that they are grossly ignorant of what the data say, but still accused someone of dishonesty based on their own ignorance. The least generous interpretation …

    No, it’s not true that the tilting was dishonest. Silly, perhaps even foolish, yes. Dishonest, no.

    How about that stuff about the zero point being chosen to make the increase look bigger? The zero point was chosen by the team which created the data — which, if it’s UAH data (not unlikely) would be those terrible “warmistas” John Christy and Roy Spencer, right?

    Then there’s the accusations about the trend line. Do they even know how it was defined? ‘Tain’t likely.

    They revealed ignorance of what the data actually indicate, but still persisted in finding nonexistent faults. What’s more reprehensible is that they used their own mistakes to accuse others of fraudulent presentation. My opinion: the reason they see fraud and propaganda everywhere, is that it’s their own modus operandi.]

  21. As has been pointed out, it’s pretty grotesque to think that a halfway competent cherry-picker would use UAH data, cut off at 2009, to ‘exaggerate’ warming!

    But then, it’s pretty grotesque to criticize the choice of ‘satellite data’ and then go on to describe that data as ‘best’ and ‘most accurate.’

  22. “Here’s zero. Why is the first temperature well below zero?”

    I suspect that an average intelligence 11 year old would understand the mathematical explanation after 10 minutes instruction. By 14 or 15 they should be able to reason it out on their own. Does any more really need to be said?

  23. After watching the White House video presentation, I am at a loss to understand why they chose that particular graph to display. From what I can see, a mid troposphere graph of temperatures was not even germain to the argument they were trying to present. Why show a graph of temperatures at 18000 ft? Nobody lives there and nothing grows that high anyway. Tamino’s GISS graph of surface temperatures would have have had far more impact, showing the long term trend and minimising the noise. Also, to only display the data up and till 2009, missing out two of the hottest years this century, 2010 and 2013 was a real own goal.

    It just looks like the just said to a junior staffer, “go find a graph showing global warming”, and he got the first one he found. Nobody appears to have checked to see if it was recent, or indeed relevant. Also, displaying the graph alongside the Earth in a perspective view laid it open to accusations of tilting the baseline, which predictably, the deniosphere latched on to. (you can’t expect those idiots to understand the nuances of a perspective projection.)

    Of course, the rest of Beck’s cohort’s complaints are just pure rubbish, and worthy of derision, but that doesn’t excuse the poor choice of graph.

    [Response: I agree.]

    • Horatio Algeranon

      Why show a graph of temperatures at 18000 ft? Nobody lives there

      though it is closer to where Glenn Beck and Company reside.

    • Now some, not Eli to be sure, might ask where the polar vortex is in the atm

    • Thanks Eli, for your response.

      However, I just reviewed that video of Holdren’s and nowhere does he mention the “mid troposphere” or indeed the “troposphere” at all. Instead we have a graph that is on screen for just over a second, of warming in the mid troposphere, and viewers are asked to make sense of it. If Holdren had explained the context of the graph and held it on screen longer, I would agree with you that it was relevant, but how is the ordinary punter watching the video supposed to know that the Polar Vortex originates in the mid troposphere? (let alone the dumbass denizens of deniersville), especially when the graph is not shown for long enough to even read it?

      I stand by my original statement that the graph was out of context given the argument put forward on the video. Then there is the issue that it was 4 years old, and not even the latest version of the graph which could have been shown. (thereby diluting the impact). Followed by the really silly pseudo perspective presentation (no doubt the bright idea of a graphic artist), which left it open to accusations of “tilting the baseline”, especially if your IQ is below room temperature.

      Holdren, as the White House’s communications guru on Climate Change, should really have been on top of this, and caught it before it went to air. It is hard enough presenting rock solid science, in the clearest possible way, and still being deliberately misunderstood by the so called “Sceptics”, without handing them the gun and the ammunition to use it.

      This kerfuffle was so predictable and has had the effect of derailing the original intended message. I think the White House really needs to do better.

      • Debunker,
        Ferchrissake, are you under the misapprehension that anyone who works in the Whitehouse is a scientist? The graph was a prop, and an ineffective one at that. It would have been hard to pick any graph that was less effective to make his point. This was inverse cherrypicking.

      • Snarkrates,

        My point exactly. What a cockup! :-D

      • Note the lettering at the top of the graph. Does Eli have to come over to your house and teach you how to pinkle?

      • Eli,

        You misunderstand my point. Of course I have can read the caption on the graph. I’m saying that the average person in the street doesn’t realise that the polar vortex originates in the mid troposphere. They probably don’t even know what the troposphere is, or even where it is. So to flash up a graph of this for just over a second on the video, which is not enough time to take it in, was just bad communication. When I first looked at the video and the graph flashed up, all I concentrated on was the squiggly temperature line. I had to go back and pause the video to take it all in. The average punter is not going to do that, so even apart from the fact that it was an out of date graph and the silly perspective thing, it was just badly presented.

      • Debunker,

        I just reviewed that video of Holdren’s and nowhere does he mention the “mid troposphere” or indeed the “troposphere” at all.

        Because it’s not germane to his explanation.

        Instead we have a graph that is on screen for just over a second, of warming in the mid troposphere, and viewers are asked to make sense of it.

        No, this is BS. The section where that chart appears, right between an El Nino graphic and one on equatorial precipitation patterns, Holdren is talking about climate change in general as a precis to the next section on the PV. While those 3 graphics flash up, this is what he’s saying.

        “Climate is the pattern of weather we observe geographically and over the seasons, and it’s described in terms of averages, variations and probabilitites…”

        The graph is only about ‘some of the stuff we observe.’ It’s not put out as anything more than that.

        If Holdren had explained the context of the graph and held it on screen longer, I would agree with you that it was relevant

        It’s only relevant in that it charts average temps in the same altitude as the polar vortex, but that’s incidental. Holdren’s “argument” is that the the polar vortex has become wavier is because the difference in temperature between the Arctic and mid-latitudes is decreasing. That has nothing to do with the average temps of the global mid-troposphere. Or El Nino. Or precipitation changes at the equator.

        I stand by my original statement that the graph was out of context given the argument put forward on the video.

        Then you should stand down, because the context in which that graphic appeared was during an overview of what climate is. It flashed by well before Holdren moved on to talk about the polar vortex, and the graphics that actually accompany the explanation (“argument”) of changes of the polar vortex are germane to what’s being said. The ony reason anyone is connecting global average TMT temps to the polar vortex is because of the silly fracas over its graphical presentation. You’ve been drawn in by dim-wits.

      • Not that it provides any answers but, as a point of interest, here is the link to the original video and its context in the NOAA visualisation library (page 8).

        My guess is that someone producing the video went looking through this library (or an equivalent library) and picked on this clip because the thumbnail shows a graph of rising global temperatures. Nothing more complex than that.

      • Thanks Paul, thats great. Really puts the whole thing in context and explains why such an old graph was used.

        As such, it really emphasises my original contention that some White House staffer went looking for some footage to insert into the presentation and didn’t really think too hard about whether it was appropriate in the context of the narrative. Pretty culpable not to use up to date material though.

        Also noted that in the original video, the graph was on screen for far longer, and the narrative explained why it was being used. Not the case in the Polar Vortex video, which was one of my original points.

    • Barry,

      I’m not sure why you are having a go at me. If you read my previous posts, it’s quite clear that I agree with with you. It appears the graph in question was only there to illustrate global warming in general, and not tied to the Polar Vortex. As such, they could have used a much better and up to date graph which would have avoided the silly presentation issue which gave the right wing schlock jocks an opportunity to misunderstand it and misrepresent it.

      As it turns out, Paul S has unearthed the original video that the White House did their sloppy cut and paste from, and all is explained. So no, I haven’t been mislead by dimwits, I was just making a valid point, now vindicated.

      • Sorry about that. I hadn’t read your earlier comments, and my last were ill-aimed.

        I don’t think there was any fault using the graphic, though. It was ‘generic’ material for a generalized view of climate. They could have used any time series of any period. How could they possibly have guessed someone would zero in on a frame in a collage? The contrarians are so creative at making hay out of nothing that vetting every choice to obviate their idiocy is impossible. Straining to do so gives them far more power than they deserve.

      • Thanks Barry, no problems.

        Using file footage is fine as long as you use recent stuff. Cutting the last 4 years of readings off to hide recent warming is the sort of stuff the Deniers do. On purpose. Its silly for our side to do it through carelessness.

      • The TMT graph isn’t meant to inform the viewer that the globe is warming, and certainly not by how much. Its purpose is purely to indicate that we observe stuff, “patterns of weather… in terms of averages, variability,” like the other graphics in the sequence. Using the full period of TMT would not have made a lick of difference to the average viewer.

        Ridiculing the ‘analysis’ is fun and appropriate. Criticizing the choice of graphic by recontextualizing its application as a serious point in the climate debate legitimizes the focus of a couple of clowns with a ruler.

    • horatio Algeranon

      OT,but I watched a funny weather report on TV the other night.

      The weatherman was saying how “the next few days are expected to be cold…not because of the “polar vortex”, but because it’s winter (!), for God’s sake!”

      But on most weather channels, Polar Vortex mania has taken hold, so it’s a good thing there are still a few people around to bring us back to reality.

      That’s not to deny that the polar vortex is real and can have real effects on winter weather in the US, but when one starts blaming all winter weather (including seasonably cold temperatures) on the “polar vortex” it’s time for a reality check.

  24. “Perception is reality.” — Lee Atwater
    First principle of modern conservative philosophy.

  25. Horatio Algeranon

    Precisely what “perspective” are they supposed to be showing in that graph, anyway?

    The perspective of someone who doesn’t know anything about graphing?

  26. “Do I understand correctly, that you actually regard the arguments from Glenn Beck’s minions to be credible?”

    What I’m saying is “Put up or shut up!” All you’ve done is present completely different graphs to the one in the original video!

    How does that refute the fact that in the original video the graph was tilted?

    It doesn’t, which is exactly my point.

    So far you’ve presented no refutation whatsoever in response to the points made about the original graph and how it was constructed.

    [Response: Failure to pay attention on your part, does not represent an imperative on my part.]

    • @Jess
      You seem to be under the misconception that you repeating nonsense somehow makes it true. Read people’s posts (e.g., joeldshore) and read Tamino’s inline comments, they expose the errors made by the people you are trying to defend. Even Watts is now trying to back peddle. But by all means feel free to have egg on your face if you are unwilling to listen to reason and the facts of the matter.

      [Response: I even posted about one of the false accusations.]

  27. “Failure to pay attention on your part, does not represent an imperative on my part.”

    Sorry, I missed your refutation that tilted graphs are OK.

    Looked again…

    Nope – still can’t see it.

    Must be hiding in the deep ocean…

    [Response: I didn’t say that tilted graphs are OK. I even said I consider it foolish. But I also said it was not dishonest.

    I also pointed out several other points made in the video which are just plain wrong. In fact, just about everything in the video is just plain wrong. Did you conveniently ignore that? Or is your attention span just too limited?]

  28. Jess,

    Did you miss my post above about perspective projections? I am a graphic designer so can tell that the graph is an attempt at a 3D presentation, probably by a graphic designer trying to be clever. That is immediately obvious from the way the writing on the top of the chart slopes more than the scale on the bottom of the chart.

    This was a very clumsy attempt at presentation and should have been caught by someone with a clue about visual scientific presentation before going to air, but it is not an attempt to mislead. Did you also miss the several attempts people here have made to explain this to people like yourself. I suggest you thumb through a beginners drawing book on perspective theory and all will be made clear to you. If, after that, you don’t get it, I’m afraid you are never going to get it.

    Just because you are ignorant of elementary perspective or statistical theory does not automatically mean that people are trying to mislead you. It just may well be that you are unreasonably paranoid and suspicious.

  29. Sigh. Not being particularly familiar with Glenn Beck, let alone the cretinous “Pat & Stu”, I watched part of the video in question.

    Next time, *please* add an advance warning. Such videos can be hazardous to both one’s blood pressure and mental health.

  30. Actually I have a slightly different issue with estimating linear trends from that sort of data. That is to do with the irregular quasi-periodicity which will impose end point dependent biases on the trend. It looks to me like the start and end points used will actually impose a mild negative bias in the trend simply because the initial “quasi-cycle” approximates sin(0) to sin(pi) and the terminating one approximates sin(pi) to sin(2pi).
    In other words, quite apart from the domination of appearance over content in the initial graph, I think another message from the data is that this likely represents a low end estimate of the trend.
    But then I suppose the point was that the trend is positive.

    [Response: I’m extremely skeptical of claims of quasi-period behavior.]

    • Poor choice of words on my part. I just noticed that the first couple of years of data were predominantly above the zero anomaly and the last couple were below. So my thought was that if the data could be properly modelled as a linear trend with noise then the real trend would most likely be higher than shown in the 1978-2009 data. When I look at your trend out to 2013, which has more data above the zero, it looks to me as if the estimated trend increased. I make no claim of any special insight.
      I’m not concentrating well. We have bush fires at three points of the compass from here.