You can’t explain it

Some of you might remember that when talking to an atheist, Faux News’ Bill O’Reilly said “Tide comes in, tide goes out, you can’t explain it.” Of the ridicule he received for that, my favorite was from none other than Neil Degrasse Tyson, who simply retorted, “I can explain it.” He can. O’Reilly is the one who can’t.

Apparently, O’Reilly now wants to dispute that global warming is caused by humans. Poor Bill … in spite of having decided to push that idea he doesn’t seem to have actual evidence. He, and his staff, don’t even seem to know what are the “best arguments” to support it.


Apparently they’re so desperate to find the “evidence” they don’t have, that DeSmogBlog reports one of O’Reilly’s producers even asked them for help (click the image for a larger, clearer view):

screenshot

I’ve redacted the email address and phone number because I don’t care to encourage anyone to “mailbomb” them or harrass them by phone. But I do encourage people to ridicule them.

Allow me to offer Bill O’Reilly’s producers the argument they’re looking for: “Climate gets colder, climate gets hotter, you can’t explain it.”

No, Bill, you can’t explain it.

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78 responses to “You can’t explain it

  1. But I can explain it.

    It’s due to recovery from the Little Ice Age, which in turn was caused by the conversion of the Norse world to Christianity. Loki was really ticked off, but appears to be letting bygones be bygones, finally.

    [Response: How many times do I have to repeat myself? It’s Leprechauns!]

  2. I am failing to comprehend the mindset of someone who is capable of writing that email.

    • “I hold a position on a public issue for no good reason. Can you provide me with a one paragraph summary for why I think the way I do? Mmkay. Thanks.”

      You can’t make this stuff up.

    • “I was asked for something and I don’t question it. I am working under a very tight deadline.”

      or

      “I actually believe such good arguments exist and assume others know them, I just never before bothered to wonder what they were.”

      • To be fair, the request was for the best argument, not for a good one. Asking explicitly for the least bad would perhaps be a little too revealing.

  3. Bill and Faux carve themselves niches appealing to folks that either haven’t had the opportunities to learn of natures complexities or have chosen not to avail themselves of learning about them. They thrive on saying things that “sound good” at first impression.

    I suspect they are not as stupid as the things they often say.

  4. At first I thought it wasn’t that bad, but then I read it again. What I thought they were asking was the best argument FOR ACC with the intent -I thought- of refuting it. That would’ve been the intellectually honest thing to do. Ask your opponent for the best argument representing his position instead of refuting strawmen or just irrelevant points.
    But no, they seemed to want them to do their job for them… what?

  5. But, but… it’s not getting hotter!

    Is it?

  6. What boggles my mind (and the minds of most major governments & politicians OUTSIDE North America) is how climate change became a right/left political issue. In the rest of the world they just call it ‘science’.

    I can’t explain it.

    • Its not just a North American thing –
      http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2010/08/12/2981317.htm .
      Most prominent deniers are from the (far) right, and the right wing Australian government is determined to undermine the science and dismantle carbon pricing etc. The science says we need to curb emissions. Their ideology says the market should not be interfered with (the idea of market failure, esp re. environmental problems, is anathema). They can’t admit a problem with their ideology, so the science must be wrong. Plus they get huge donations from the fossil fuel industry.

      http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2010/08/12/2981317.htm

      • You are right, the existence of a problem which definitely cannot be solved by the “free market”, but requires planning and worldwide cooperation, would prove their ideology wrong, therefore such a problem is not allowed to exist.
        The reason why this is so prounced in the US and Australia could be that those countries throughout their existence had been free-market systems, whereas Europe in the last 100 years has seen monarchies, repuplics, fascism and comunism come and go, so there may be a less fundamentalist approach to ideologies there?
        Another thing about fundamentalists is that they do not perceive inconvenient facts as an opportunity to learn something new, but rather as temptations to the profoundness of their belief. That makes it so hard to argue with them.

      • Very well put, Thalb 2000.

        And when you confront these people that are taking an obviously ideological approach to a scientific issue, they of course deny it, running through their well-rehearsed Gish Gallop of tried and true denier memes.

    • The right do not like the responses since they are outside the free market. They do not have any argument against it, so must use dogwhistles to garner support, therefore they make it a vile plot by the left (who will always do vile plots, it’s part of what the right hate about the left: all the vile plotting).

      What constitutes the left in the USA aren’t doing anything about it, but they can’t claim with any success against the meme that it isn’t a left-propogandist plot.

      If you’re completely unfazed by blatant lying, it only takes one to create an argument with someone. Just claim it!

      • I would submit that the US and related countries are not free market in any pure sense at all. The economies are based on a mixed model in which corporate-state ties are fundamental. That is why so much corporate money is going into govt in the first place. In a truly free market, lobbying the govt would actually be a negative as it would take money for no productive purpose.

      • John, please stop with the “it’s not a free market, therefore the free market hasn’t failed” BS.

        You never bother with this “nuance” when it comes to the failure of dictatorships or communism, so why the hell do you pander to it when your favourite ideological blinkers are shown to be an utter failure?

      • Huh? Don’t know what you’re talking about. Do know that the free market does not exist in the US and has not for a long time. Many corporations/entrepreneurs DEPEND on govt largesse, tax credits, subsidies, favorable legislative treatment etc. of various sorts. ALL use these as they can. As well, the ability to externalize costs due to harm caused is a distortion of the free market as it distorts true costs. This is not “nuance”, it is simple reality.

        To take some easy examples, is the location of football teams a free market? Defense contracts? Single bidders? Politically connected bidders?

        I don’t know if the free market has failed or not. Nor do I, at least, know precisely what my “blinkers” are. But I do know if I open my eyes and look around there is no pure free market anywhere. How do I know this? Many ways, but again, if there were actual free markets, no corporation/entrepreneur would engage in lobbying governments for business purposes as it would be a superfluous expense that would add to costs and another competitor who did not have such costs would be able to underbid them.

      • There’s “free market” as per Adam Smith and other economic theory, which is what John Garland is talking about, and there’s “free market” as per the US right wing, which is what Wow is talking about. They are antithetical concepts.

    • Andy Lee Robinson

      I can explain it.

      Climate change became a partisan issue when the right-wing engraved in stone:
      “We really don’t like solutions to climate change because they might reduce the profits of our sponsors, therefore we officially declare that the problem doesn’t exist”.

      Because we have taken an ideological position and therefore “mea culpa” is impossible, we are forced to maintain this position at ALL costs until either the Party or the planet is laid waste, using all means at our disposal including, but not limited to the following:
      ● indoctrinating the faithful,
      ● obstructing government,
      ● corrupting politicians,
      ● coercing and intimidating the mainstream media,
      ● manipulating the electoral system,
      ● contaminating the education system,
      ● abusing the legal system,
      ● discrediting science,
      ● smearing scientists,
      ● funding activists to mislead the public in online fora,
      ● funding blogs for activists to spread misinformation and create doubt.

      All this because ideology cannot stop digging when in a hole.

    • It’s been an understandable grass roots response for those in commerce and industry to seek to avoid a burden of costs they don’t comprehend as necessary; costs that can be avoided should be. That expanded into organised opposition to climate action with Industry groups and associations using their lobbying power in combination with the creative use of PR, advertising and tankthink to comprehensively undermine support for the actions that a global problem of this scale require. These means have become the standard toolkit for influencing opinion and policy. Their preferred stance is based on perceptions of impacts on costs, competitiveness and profitability of government policy based on climate science, not the validity of that science. And it’s not the validity of the science that matters so much as public acceptance of the validity of the science. In some ways that position of opposition to serious climate policy is only to be expected; it’s not seen as their job to fix a global problem that looks so intrinsically intractable.

      I think the real breakdown happens elswhere – in elected and appointed officials holding positions of trust and responsibility choosing to put their perceived obligations to advocate on behalf of their partisan supporters and sponsors ahead of their obligation to be as well informed as possible and to act without fear or favor for the good of the whole. When such ‘leaders’ give climate science denial and obstructionism their support it gives false legitimacy to those opposed to action on climate and emissions and becomes a feedback mechanism.

      On the other ‘side’ we see the loudest voices for action from Environmental advocacy. It’s not a problem that they are advocates for action but it is a problem that the broader perception is that climate is a ‘green’ issue driven by a small and not entirely rational fringe. Yet the climate problem should never have been framed as anything but centre and mainstream and crucial to long term security and economic prosperity.

      IMO the failures of the pro-action environmentalists to deliver acceptable and sufficient policy direction is only to be expected; they tend to be more interested in protecting natural ecosystems than preserving profitable economic systems. They only draw the bright light of media attention because they stand up and speak out, whereas mainstream politics spends more effort keeping heads down and NOT speaking out. I think it has been to the advantage of opponents of action to point to the inadequacies and inconsistencies ‘green’ politics and make that the primary issue in order that public attention is not on mainstream politics that actually has the power to act purposefully if it so chose. It’s in the foot dragging interest of mainstream politics – deferring to the dominant influences within commerce and industry – that the issue be seen to be driven by an extreme and not entirely rational fringe.

      (apologies for length of comment – I must work on being more concise!)

      • Disagree. Any modern hypercorp can hire the expertise necessary to know what is coming re. climate out of pocket change.

        I look at it more in terms of short term, quarterly thinking and believing that they’ll be in a good position to adapt to the future they know quite well is coming.

        Oddly re. this topic I was studying the various intricacies of tides “coming in and going out” tonight at an advanced navigation class I am taking. I can explain them a lot better now…and there are very many intricacies. If O’Reilly or one of his producers should ask anyone here about tides why tides “the go in and the tides go out” point him to the NOAA pub http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/Understanding_Tides_by_Steacy_finalFINAL11_30.pdf

        [Response: I’ve done a fair amount of marine navigation in my day, I’d even say I was pretty good at it. Really enjoyed celestial. It takes real skill, and experience sure helps. Plus … if you take the ocean for granted, it can kill you.

        Nowadays of course, any idiot with a computer and GPS can claim to be an expert navigator. Or with climate science, they don’t even need the GPS.]

      • Off topic: I love my GPS. In the North Atlantic around Newfoundland I would never trust only to my GPS. This is not contradictory.

        [Response: We are in complete agreement.]

      • “the broader perception is that climate is a ‘green’ issue driven by a small and not entirely rational fringe.”

        Bollocks.

        Might as well claim that the republican right (hell, the entire right wing that constitutes both parts of the USA politics) are driven by a small and not entirely rational fringe.

        You’d at least be correct in that assertion, unlike your assertion about green/environmentalism being driven by the likes of ALF. We KNOW that both Republican AND Democrat leaders are driven by fear of Hannity, OReilley, Beck and Limbaugh. There’s ample and widespread evidence of it.

      • I think it’s the feedbacks that reinforce climate obstructionism by rewarding (via perceived avoidance of rising energy costs) opposition to action on climate. The fiction that is climate science denial provides a convenient justification for support for a political policy position that is advantageous (or less disadvantageous). It’s still down to short term advantage and disadvantage for most business people; longer term for those with more direct

        “Wow”, the perception that it’s Environmental activism that’s the dominant political forcing on the climate issue has been widely promoted by opponents of action on climate, with some success; a grand conspiracy of commies, greenies and corrupt scientists preventing honest people making a living is a popular meme. I never said it actually IS the dominant political forcing on the climate issue . And I thought i was clear that I think it should not be, not even as a public perception.

        However, I note that currently in Australia the only nation wide political party that does actually stand up and speak out for more action on the issue is The Greens, reinforcing the perception that it’s driven by a minority fringe. The mainstream Right is in government and is busy severing and cauterizing the connection between energy policy and climate like barber surgeons getting it over and done before the patient has time to struggle. It’s like they actually are engaged in a crusade against a conspiracy of commies, greenies and corrupt scientists – so important to be stopped that they couldn’t present their intentions to the public during their election for fear of tipping the insidious infiltraitors off. They are currently redefining fossil fuel mining as “strategic energy projects” to protect them against current and future community opposition. Then there is the Centre Right (ALP), who feel they got burned by their half hearted efforts to look proactive, and subsequently can’t bring themselves to fight on or for the climate issue like it really matters. They can’t be seen to appear to not care either but they can’t bring themselves to commit to the issue either.

        Which leaves The Greens the only consistently heard voices calling for timely and sufficient action. Whilst they are pleased with that, the actual power to act in a timely and sufficient manner rests (as it always has) with the mainstream LNP and ALP.

  7. Maybe next he’ll send an email to Richard Dawkins looking for the best arguments to prove existence of god.

  8. > right/left

    As they say in the US:

    “Right …. right … your OTHER right!” meaning, farther than you imagine.

  9. Do not take the explanation of semi-diurnal tides too lightly. :)

  10. Send him to Dr. Inferno, he’d probably believe it.

  11. Was that actually a producer, or an underpaid intern who found DeSmogBlog on a Google search for “climate change”? Wow.

  12. I’m not even sure what the point of the request for “best arguments” is for.
    After all,the worst arguments (weak,discredited,looney) have been used for years now,and they still resonate with the ‘skeptical” faithful.
    Why change a winning formula now? It’s not like their base is actually going to vet the arguments,or even listen to them (it’s all good).
    They already have their answer “AGW is a hoax”,details at eleven…bedtime at ten.

  13. I think Dawkins actually did identify the best argument for God and it was the Argument From Design. He has has written several books debunking that argument, of course. Not that Roy Spencer is convinced.

    http://www.princeton.edu/~grosen/puc/phi203/design.html

    But, I agree, it would have been bizarre for a creationist to ask a biologist to identify creationism’s strongest argument. At least they know why they believe what they believe.

    Perhaps Fox is struggling because their old standby, knock-down argument, “Al Gore is Fat” may not be true for much longer.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/11/25/al-gore-goes-vegan-with-little-fanfare/

    • Al Gore will still be rich, which is contemptible when it happens to a Democrat. So they won’t have too much trouble adapting.

  14. After re-reading that email for a third time, I just wonder if he meant to be asking (clumsily), what were the very best pro AGW that they would offer,so they could formulate their ‘best’ anti AGW response to those arguments. Sometimes shorthand speak in emails can be less than precise.
    Just a thought.

  15. But what an awesome opportunity to pull a corbomite maneuver. “Yes! The most obvious reason why it’s not humans is the ratio of corbomite to CO2 in the atmosphere! Atmospheric chemists have been pointing this out for years! See Untermeyer & Glennsson 1991 in Climate Physics B. Also, Hunter et al. 1956 in Atmospheric Movements proved that the adibiatic lapse rate was thicker than the tropopause in the Hadley Circulation. That can only mean that anthro CO2 is not building up in the atmosphere. Someone is LYING. Several someones, really. Say hi to Bill! I’m a friend of the show!”

    • You are so out of date!
      I’s nano-corbomite that is causing this, the old fashioned corbomite is safe.
      But someones are burying that research so you have to take my word for it.

  16. Because science.

  17. The best argument is that clearly, human-caused climate change is not happening because if it were, it would have political implications that the Faux News audience would not like.

    • 2nd best argument: Because Al Gore is fat.

      3rd best argument: Because Real Climate moderation.

      4th best argument: Because BENGHAZI

      5th best argument: LOOK.!!!! SQUIRREL!!!!!!

  18. Johnathon Haidt (social psychologist) has some good insights into the left right bias on climate change in this month’s Citizens climate lobby teleconference. http://citizensclimatelobby.org/calls/CCL-February-2014.mp3

    He also has some excellent TED talks,

  19. What you have to remember is — you won’t believe how fluently they lie, even when they’re doing it to your face. And that’s “moderate Republican”behavior these days in the US, not from the extreme right.

  20. But in order to explain the tides, you need to know about the theory of gravity, and after all, gravity is just a theory…

    And then there is the existence of the moon. Just because we saw the Apollo astronauts walking on the lunar surface, doesn’t prove its existence. After all, you can’t believe everything you see on television… Isn’t that right, Bill O ?

  21. Hi Tamino,

    I have just read,elsewhere, for the 300th time, that there has been no global warming for 17 years.

    I wonder if you would care to produce a citizen scientist’s (read “idiot’s) guide to which timeframe you need to choose to demonstate no global warming?

    Does 15 years work? 8? 25?

    I believe that Monckton has possibly refined it down to months, even. How many months out of the previous 1,200 can you choose as a starting point to demonstrate no warming to the present?

    Ideally, you’d want to colour code it, with red for good solid Republican months, and blue for Commie months.

    [Response: There’s no “set” time frame, it depends on both the strength of the trend and the size of the noise. Also, the very phrase “choose as a starting point” implies cherry-picking, which affects the statistics profoundly (see this). Also, there’s a HUGE difference between “no statistically significant warming” and “no global warming.”

    The obvious lesson is that the situation is *much* more nuanced, and *much* more complex, than you’ll ever hear from the likes of Monckton.]

    • These chaps don’t do nuance. Which is good, which is bad?

      How many proper ripe red cherries are there? Of the last 1,200 months, how many can one choose as a starting point to show no significant warming til now?

      I realise this is a silly question, which I hope might provoke a silly blogpost, which would ideally show up the silliness of anybody giving the slightest credence to the potty peer.

    • idunno,

      In general, you need 30 years or more to determine a climate trend. This was decided by the World Meteorological Organization in 1935, decades before global warming was an issue, on purely statistical grounds.

    • barn E. rubble

      RE: “The obvious lesson is that the situation is *much* more nuanced, and *much* more complex, than you’ll ever hear from the likes of Monckton.”

      I’m guessing ‘idunno’ was hoping for an answer from you that was *much* more nuanced and *much* more complex than he’d get from the likes of Mockton. Me too.

      Here it is again: I wonder if you would care to produce a citizen scientist’s (read “idiot’s) guide to which timeframe you need to choose to demonstate no global warming?

      I would like to know the when & why of any start date but most have chosen 1998 IE: after the super El Nino.

  22. If I’d had received that email I’d have been tempted to take the p__s by sending them a stack of examples – each of which could be soundly demolished with a few moments serious thought.

    Oh wait, that sounds like the entire output of WTFWT…

  23. idunno, further explanation of the statistic used to assess whether a trend can be claimed.

    You _can_ do this calculation yourself, at home!

    More Grumbine Science: Results on deciding trends

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Jan 5, 2009 – You need 20-30 years of data to define a climate trend in global mean temperature; Forward and backward trends are markedly different …
    More Grumbine Science: How not to compute trends

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-not-to-compute-trends.html

    Jul 26, 2011 – That’s the conclusion if you apply the popular trend analysis technique those who claim that the earth has cooled, or ‘not warmed’, since 1998, …

  24. On another occasion, arguing against the science behind evolution, O’Reilly declared, “There are 24 hours in a day–that’s science!”

  25. Tamino: Also, there’s a HUGE difference between “no statistically significant warming” and “no global warming.”

    Hesitantly, because I am not a statistician, I’d suggest a third phrasing, along the lines of “over the last 17 years warming is significant at the 10% level” (or variations on that theme). I see a big difference for the lay reader between that and “no statistically significant warming [at the 5% level]”.

    I known scientists routinely use 5%, but is it legit to recast it with lower confidence levels? As a relative stats numpty, I don’t know if that phrasing is totally bogus.

    It just seems to me that saying we are more than 90% confident warming has continued is better (and more accurate) than using a stock phrase which is of course accurate but is not well understood by the layman.

    [Response: It’s true that 95% confidence is an arbitrary, if time-tested, choice. But declaring 90% confidence when I’ve been using 95% confidence all along, smacks of cherry-picking the confidence limit. Where does it end? If I allow myself to declare significant warming at 90% confidence, how about 88%? 85%? 74%?

    And there are valid issues with hypothesis testing in general, particularly the “right” choice of null hypothesis. Choose a small enough time frame, and BOTH “statistically significant warming” and “statistically significant change from previous warming trend” will fail.

    So, I’m gonna stick with 95% confidence except on those few occasions when I go Bayesian. Stayin’ off the slippery slope.]

    • IMO it’s a far better method to illustrate the null hypothesis proposed by deniers is wrong. They want null to mean “CO2 has no effect”.

      We already know that’s wrong.

      And also show how the claims of “no warming since X” of absolutely no use in a discussion about whether the IPCC have it right or not, since “no warming since X” has nothing to say on whether the IPCC have it right or not unless you actually state that the trend that there is in “the years since X” show that the IPCC are wrong.

      The null would have to be, since the science is now solidly proving AGW, that “something else” is now driving it, and the null hypothesis MUST be “The IPCC’s predictions are correct and complete” and the deniers must prove that this assertion is incorrect.

      In the meantime, we should be working along the ideas resulting from the currently proven statement “The IPCC’s predictions are correct and complete”.

      • These are still fairly technical responses when dealing with a lay audience (of which I am one, so please be kind). Could someone confirm that there there _is_ statistically significant (surface) warming if you start with 1997 or 1999, or possibly _any_ other year in the last 20 rather than 1998? If so, I personally think that should be the go-to response to anyone who brings up the “no warming since 1998″ meme (even though the time frame is still too short to really establish a trend). For a lay audience it might concisely point out the cherry-pick and basic dishonesty of the assertion.

      • Yes, Bay Bunny, from 1997 there is a statistically significant warming trend.

        In the original creation of this meme, deniers looked for the *longest period* that didn’t give a statistically significant (even if still positive) trend, and the choice at that time of EITHER YEAR either side of that gave statistical significance to the trend.

        In 2010, any year 1995,6,7 or 8 gave a statistically significant positive trend, and it’s only due to the “regression to the mean” (in layman’s terms, it’s 100% blindingly obvious that BY DEFINITION any record year in the past will have a year either side of it that is lower than that) that the claim can be brough back to life by the witchdoctors of climate denial.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “Go with what you know”
      — by Horatio Algeranon

      You can go with Bayesians
      I will go with Pausians
      Lazy day Hiatiuns
      And GHG Stagnatians

    • Better put, what odds do you need to make a financially significant bet. 2 or 3:1 is reasonable.

    • A simple Bayesian / information theoretic answer to the question, “did warming stop in 1998?” is “no, with at least 99% certainty”. The data (GISS) support a “constant trend since 1979″ model (hypothesis) over “a warming until 1998 then zero warming” model by a (Bayes) factor of more than 100 to 1 .That is, the observed data is >100 times more likely under the constant trend model than under the denier’s “stopped in 98″ ‘model’. So even if we allow a blatant cherry pick, and assign equal prior probability to “constant trend” and “stopped in 98″ models, i.e. pretend they were each equally probable before we saw the data, the posterior probabilities (after exposing them to the data) would be 0.99 for the constant trend model, and 0.01 for stopped-in-98 model. Given this weight of evidence, any true skeptic would abandon the stopped-in-98 model PDQ (as even the fake skeptics will soon be doing…standby for “warming stopped in 2005″).

      R calculations follow, given a vector y of annual temp. anoms (I used GISTEMP).
      #y = annual GISTEMP values, 1979-2013
      time=c(1979:2013)
      time.stopped=ifelse(time>1998,1998,time)
      mod1=glm(y~time)
      mod2=glm(y~time.stopped)

      lhood1=exp(-0.5*AIC(mod1))
      lhood2=exp(-0.5*AIC(mod2))

      lhood1/lhood2 #likelihood ratio (Bayes factor)
      116.632
      lhood1/(lhood1+lhood2) # posterior probability / AIC weight
      0.99

      • Actually, Jim, this is a very important insight, and I want to emphasize it to make sure that it doesn’t get lost. The ~linear rise model is much simpler than the “global-warming-stopped” (GWS) model (at least 2 parameters difference). This means that the likelihood of the GWS must be at least 7.4x better than that of the linear model to have equal predictive power.

        The linear rise model is also supported by the available science–whereas there is no mechanism posited by the denialists for the hiatus beyond various putative “oscillations”.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        “Bayesian Shmasian”
        — by Horatio Algeranon

        Global Warming stopped, in 1998.
        No point to even argue, there’s really no debate.
        The temperature back then, was warmer than today
        We’re headed for an ice age, what more is there to say?

        The Pause since ’98, is undeniably true
        Just look at any graph, that’s really all you do
        The warming’s on hiatus… before it turns to cooling
        The Bayesian’s themselves, the only one’s they’re fooling

      • snarkrates, arguably if the hypothesis is ‘no warming since X’ the post-change-point slope is not free (its fixed at zero) and need not be penalised ,but the choice of X (timing of change) is free and definitely should be penalised (by weighting it against all the alternative X’s). Doing so reduces the support for ‘stopped-in-1998′ to effectively zero.
        Using free ‘knots’ (change-points) leads to the conclusion that any ‘pause’ (period with zero trend) did not start until the mid 2000’s. Using free knots and free slopes leads to the conclusion that the trend may of have slowed since the mid 2000’s, but is still positive. A pause / slow-down of <10 years in length is probably not significant climatoligically, whatever its statistical significance.

      • Jim,
        Except that in reality “no warming” does not mean no warming, but statistically insignificant, and that presumes a confidence level. This, in turn determines the range of years. So, I would contend that the choice of slope, while constrained is not determined. One could equally consider the linear trend to be a decision driven by the physics, and so, also constrained (as well as favored) to some extent. I think you’d have to move to a Bayesian approach, and possibly Monte Carlo to treat this.

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  27. The 13 February issue of Nature has an editorial on statistical errors in science and an article mostly on the p-value and lack of understanding in its use in the scientific literature.

    • My Hayes first graduate stats text back in the early 70s made essentially these same points.

      In the end replicability and effect size will out. Unfortunately the truth pointed out in the editorial drives the public to distraction and is guaranteed to provide biased bloggers cherrypicks to make a living from.

  28. Horatio Algeranon

    “CO2itus Interruptus”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    CO2itus interruptus
    Is not required for cooling
    The warming’s on hiatus
    And CO2 ain’t ruling

  29. Bay_Bunny, see the Grumbine topics I cited just before you asked about testing significance. It’s arithmetic, you can do it yourself, follow his guidance there.

  30. I’d go for the good ol’ “not warming, but it’s caused by the Sun”. It’s always a good argument any denier can rely on.

  31. I hear that we may be getting an El Nino later this year. A spate of 1990’s style warming trend might isolate the fringe even more if an El Nino pulled some heat out of the ocean.

    [Response: I’m hoping for an el Nino because it may bring more rain to drought-stricken California.]

  32. In the last reporting period ONI dropped to -0.4, and SST maps in February have a La Nina-like tongue.

    Strong westerly wind anomalies are present in the tropical Pacific west of the Date Line while trade winds are near-average along in the eastern half of the tropical Pacific (see anomaly map for the 5 days ending 23 February). This is the second strong westerly wind burst this year, with the first occurring between 19 and 30 January. … – BOM Australia

    Right now it’s just as likely to be ENSO neutral throughout 2014.

  33. snarkrates, “no statistically significant warming” means

    a) there was warming
    b) there is not enough data to show the trend of warming

    • Wow, you missed my point. It is that neither model has all parameters free.

    • snarkrates, you seem to have missed mine:

      “No statistically significant warming” means there was warming but not enough data to prove the trend.

      If there were no warming trend, then it would have bene “it’s been cooling”.

      NOTHING in “No statistically significant warming” indicates a thing about free parameters.