It’s the Trend, Stupid

Sometimes, one can’t help but be entertained by blog posts on WUWT. Like this one.

It’s from Shemp Steven Goddard, and it starts by saying:

No matter what happens with the summer Arctic ice minimum, NSIDC will report that the long-term trend is downwards.

Goddard then gives us a glimpse of his genius, telling the reason for this:

Why? Because of mathematics.

Wow!!! There’s an internet phrase to describe my reaction to this … now what was that? … Oh yeah — “LOL

Most of the time, when computer users write “LOL” to indicate “laughs out loud” they’re just being hyperbolic, they didn’t actually laugh out loud. But this time, I really did. Laugh out loud.

But the post itself isn’t the only source of amusement. The very first comment is from reader “softestpawn,” who mentions

Well… that’s because the trend for that period is downwards.

Most of the time, when computer users write “LOL” to indicate “laughs out loud” they’re just being hyperbolic, they didn’t actually laugh out loud. But this time, I really did. Laugh out loud.

One can only hope Goddard will learn that there’s a reason scientists look for genuine trends that rise above the noise. One can only dream that Moe, Larry, and Curly will pick up on that too, because that’s one crew that specializes in trumpeting weather over climate and noise over trend. Perhaps they think that shouting about the short-term local will distract you enough that you won’t notice the long-term global.

But wait! There’s more! Like this from “The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley”:

Yes, well this is like saying (and I hate it) that “this year, or last, or next, will be in the top ten of warm years”. Aarrgh! Of course it will! For it not to be would mean that the temperature has plummeted – which is highly unlikely.

Now, what’s that internet phrase to describe my reaction? Oh yeah — ROTFLMAO.

One of the most revealing comments, which didn’t make me “laugh-out-loud” but did bring to mind “the stupid, it burns!”, comes from David L:

You can generate any series of random numbers and fit a line to it. There’s about a 50% chance the line will be negative, but it’s meaningless. First, you have to prove what function is appropriate for your system (linear isn’t almost never the “correct” function), then you have to show the error on the function’s coefficients to determine if there’s enough “signal to noise” or statistical evidence that the coefficients are reliable estimates of the true relationship. Being a scientist I doubt the credibility of randomly fitting lines to snipets of data. For example, loss of sea ice cannot be a linear decrease. It has to be at least exponential…the asymptotic limit is zero amounts of sea ice. There can’t be negative amounts of sea ice (which a line is going to drive towards). If you are measuring the loss of sea ice, that function has to be nonlinear as is approaches the limit of zero sea ice. If it’s an exponential decay then you can approximate the initial drop with a line, the slope being the initial rate of decay, but to fully describe the physical event, the line is not sufficient. And if sea ice follows a cyclic time period as well (which is more than likely) then a sinusoidal function is appropriate as well. Using a simple line tells me the science is far from understood and the scientists are at the infancy stage of understanding.

Well … somebody is at the infancy stage of understanding.

This from the aptly pseudonymed “Frozen man”:

Trend without the error in the slope is meaningless…

OK. For September ice extent (as shown by Goddard) the trend rate in satellite data is 79 +/- 27 thousand km^2 per year.



124 responses to “It’s the Trend, Stupid

  1. It’s the dumbest things that Goddard says that are the closest to the truth…

  2. The smoothing on Goddard’s graphs is horrible. I don’t think there are enough data-points to justify it. And is that September mean extent, or summer minimum extent?

  3. paragraph beginning “Most of the time” repeats itself a few paragraphs on. That’s surely not intended?

  4. It looks like you have a cut-and-paste error, for you repeat this paragraph:
    “Most of the time, when computer users write “LOL” to indicate…”

    As usual, thanks for you do,

  5. carrot eater

    I had trouble believing my eyes on this one. I may have audibly laughed.

  6. Apparently, Watts can’t differentiate between “anger” and “laughter” (you’ll have to skip over to WUWT to see what I mean).

    Let’s face it, Goddard has made WUWT entertaining. He’s a one-man ignorance machine.

  7. linear isn’t almost never the “correct” function

    Now I’m curious. What is almost never the “correct” function?

  8. carrot eater

    Tamino, you could make this a teaching moment. As in, what sorts of things would you do, in order to assess whether there was a change in the apparent trend, instead of just noise?

  9. It is hilarious the lengths some will go trying to obfuscate on the Arctic decline, one week its extent, then volume, short term trends, ‘maths’, clouds, shear, concentration, thickness, anything but warmth and decline.

    Poor guys realise their ‘dog and pony’ show is over once the Arctic hits even lower extent. Even they know one looks silly denying Climate change with boats sailing through the Arctic.

    “The idea of an ice-free Arctic seems implausible to me without a dramatic change in climate.”
    -S. Goddard 9/6/2010

  10. Dave L, never ever ever ever take up sky diving as a hobby.

  11. There might be a couple interesting analyses one could do here:

    1) Slightly more interesting than Goddard’s analysis, and still at the “understandable without much math” level: Assuming it is a linear trend, how large would Arctic September ice extent have to be in 1 year to make the trend not significant? (this would presumably still be a large number, but not as large as the Goddard calculation). Repeat assuming 2 years of similar extent, or possibly even a graph showing “extent needed to eliminate trend” on the Y axis and “years of continuous extent of this value” on the X axis.

    2) Much more interesting than Goddard’s analysis (though still not any kind of real science), and more complex mathematically: what would be the appropriate analysis to identify a break-point in a trend (or to show that a trend is not well-described by a linear function), and how large a single year (or multiple year) increase in extent would you need in order to meet that break-point threshold?

    ps. Hah! In doing a google search for “Trend breakpoint analysis” the first hit I got was “Trend analysis with Excel” ( which references this blog for its breakpoint example: “The Fargo, ND chart shows a segmented regression analysis of the trend in beginning day of snowmelt prepared by Tamino for his Open Mind blog. “

  12. [Think horse racing announcer:]

    “Rounding the last turn, Willis E. takes the lead with The Electric Oceanic Acid Test. Amazing! With no background in ocean chemistry he is able to read one journal article showing ocean acidification and, with a wave of his hand, prove that OA is not a problem! Truly remarkable!

    But wait, here comes Steve G. charging hard with The Trend! Wow, he has really closed the gap coming to the finish. We knew Steve G. was good but we had no idea he could show that mathematics is meaningless for determining trends. Incredible strategy coming to the finish. Whodathunkit?

    Which of these two will win the coveted Pseudo Science Triple Clown?”

  13. Nick Dearth

    Tip of the hat to Patrick for his comment over at

    “I can still see the WUWT headlines in 10 years however ‘Summer ice minimum holds steady at 0 sq km for five years in a row, an indication that recovery is on its way’ :)”

    Lol indeed!

    • Don’t underestimate the size of deniers’ blind-spots. They will somehow fail to notice that the ice disappeared, and if you are crass enough to mention it, they will say “But there’s still ice all the rest of the year! Where’s your ‘ice-free Arctic’ now?”

      And the more amusing idiots will claim that the ice is recovering every single winter. Kind of like they do now, really.

  14. Which of these two will win the coveted Pseudo Science Triple Clown?

    That would be the Kentucky Turkey, Freakness, and Failmont Stakes, I assume?

  15. It is very unfortunate when morons like Goddard – without even basic understanding of the mathematics and physics involved – promote such stupidities (without realizing for instance that even if the amount of ice was somehow average this year it was VASTLY reduced over years in similar positions in the solar cycle).

    However since in 1-3 years the amount of ice will most likely reach the absolute minimum EVER RECORDED it becomes very important to place such morons with their face inside the shit they created and totally discredit their attempts to blame things on something else (which most likely at that point will be something related to the solar activity).

  16. There is a method to Mr. Goddard’s madness: he’s innoculating against the inevitable. This year’s minimum looks unlikely to resemble “recovery” to any great degree (ooh, bad pun that, sorry!) and so he’s set up a convenient “change of subject.”

    It’s getting harder for me to believe that he’s at all sincere–though I won’t be dogmatic on that, as I’ve never had any direct interaction with him. It’s just that all this has a very “tactical” look to it.

  17. carrot eater,

    Try a Chow test.

  18. There’s a definite trend to gullibility at WUWT. Did you see their fall for the “Spanish Solar Company Bomb” story?

    • Gavin's Pussycat


      It’s definitely time for another “benthic bacteria” scam — but a sophisticated one, not an obvious poe. Such great resources at Denial Depot, Friends of Gin and Tonic etc.

  19. “It’s snowing outside today.”

    “Yes, isn’t it great?”

    “So what happened to your ‘seasonal cycle’ theory.”?


    “Isn’t it supposed to be warming up, now that it’s supposed to be ‘spring?'”

    “It’s only April. We often get snow in April.”

    “But back in March you made a so-called ‘prediction’ that it would warm up in April.”

    “And so it has. The average temperature has…

    “Oh, don’t get technical on me. It’s been proven you can’t define ‘average temperature’. You warmists will take every warm day as evidence of your unproven “seasonal cycle” theories!”

    “But, err., umm, we’ve known about the
    seasonal cycle for .. 4,000,000 years or so.”

    “Yeah, and what has it gotten you? Bad predictions. It’s snowing!”

    “Sigh. You really are a bit of an idiot.”

    “How do you expect people to take you seriously when you insult us ‘skeptics’?”

  20. I have a theory, ,
    Goddard is a plant, a mole, double agent! And the Powers That Be should take him to oneside and give him a sharp slap up side his head. He is getting lazy, sloppy. Any more posts like this “Trend” story and even the morons will start to catch on.

    • Bout as smart as one

    • I think Richard’s hypothesis has some validity. From the comments:

      stevengoddard says:
      June 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm


      Nobody made any accusations of scientists being stupid or corrupt, and I simply can not be responsible for other people’s paranoid interpretations.

      Which people? Hmmmmm…..

  21. Goddard is a plant, a mole, double agent!

    I’ve speculated before that Goddard is just a Poe, out to make Watts look even more stupid than Watts looks by himself.

    But alas, I don’t think this is the case.

  22. Philippe Chantreau

    Seems they took the “how low can you go?” question as an all around challenge…

  23. Tony Sidaway

    If Goddard isn’t a plant then he’s a Poe. Either way this is a win until the Watters realise he’s posting like a fucking idiot, them it’s still a win because they have egg on their faces. But isn’t that the whole point of the WattTheFuckIsGoingOn website? The whole thing is just a gigantic Poe, and this much is obvious to any reasonably well educated, intelligent person.

    • Does anyone know if Steven Goddard and Alan Siddons are in any way related? They appear to have similar misunderstandings about basic thermodynamics.

      Of course, either or both could be Poes…

    • “Either way this is a win until the Watters realise he’s posting like a fucking idiot”

      You know, some truly sceptical people have the surname “Watters”, let’s just call them the “Watt-Watts” or something…

  24. Did I miss something?

    This was obviously an attempt to out-do Denial Depot.

  25. Donald Oats

    You know that reaction people have, when seeing something *really* stupid, so stoopid like for instance the WUWT commentary, that the reflex is to slap one’s forehead with one’s hand and go “Sheesh! How could a member of the human race be so stooopid as to think that??”

    Well, after reading Tamino’s comments on Goddard, my advice is to let go of the mouse first.

    • That he has not realized that NSIDC do not base their assessments of how much ice there is from the TREND shows astounding ignorance. It is an error akin to believing that the map IS the territory.

      • TrueSceptic

        Hi Ben,

        First time I’ve seen you here. I see things are a bit quieter at the JREF since the change in moderation policy.

        (Apologies to Tamino for this OT comment.)

  26. Marion Delgado

    This may be a propos de rien, but apparently the Intelligent Design blog czar emeritus from Wm. Dembski’s Uncommon Descent, “DaveScot,” posts at Watts Up With That as Dave Springer. He’s the one saying ENSO causes the arctic sea ice loss in that post’s comment thread.

  27. Now I’ll preface this by emphasising that I’m not a scientist or a mathematician, and do not have a degree in anything, but really liked high school maths and physics.

    This “Dave L” bloke reckons he’s a scientist. He says that loss of sea ice cannot be linear, because it can’t go negative, and therefore must be exponential/asymptotic.

    Why? Why can it not be linear? Why can the decreasing numbers/quantity/volume of anything not be linear? When it gets to “zero” it simply stops. There is nothing left. End of story. There is no longer a mathematical relationship because it has ceased to exist! Why does sea ice (or anything else which is declining) have to slowly approach zero but never quite get there?

    I don’t understand what he’s talking about. Am I just stupid or illiterate or something?

    [Response: There’s nothing preventing sea ice decline from being linear until it gets to zero (of course it can’t go below zero). “Dave L” is the one who’s seriously confused.]

    • And of course logic would suggest that melting will accelerate as extent declines, what with those crazy feedbacks and all. . . so it may not be linear, but it damn sure won’t be asymptotic.

      • It occurs to me further that there is a pretty good familiar analog for this: graph the velocity curve of a falling rock. I guess Dave L was too busy playing–not too adroitly!–with words to think of mere physical phenomena.

        (I could have said “falling object,” but “rock” seemed particularly appropriate for some reason. . .)

      • Andrew Dodds

        Well, probably more of an S curve, from the consideration that at the lower end you are trying to melt the ice right next to the Greenland ice sheet.

        That’s my unsubstantiated guesswork, anyway..

    • David L: “There can’t be negative amounts of sea ice. (…) If you are measuring the loss of sea ice, that function has to be nonlinear as is approaches the limit of zero sea ice.”

      Mike, you are absolutely correct in your reasoning above, David L is talking nonsense. As mentioned above, you could make David L’s exact same argument about height above ground when skydiving. But David L is fond of just postulating – with nothing to back it up – that there will be a new stable level of ice or that it’s even cyclical. “Common sense” misapplied. It’s even worse, that he’s claiming to be a scientist.

      • Phew! Thanks guys. I thought I was going completely nuts there for a minute when I read it.

        What he says doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense even for a layperson like myself.

        I find it rather disturbing that he calls himself a scientist. I’d find a strange sense of relief if he was actually lying about that bit.

    • Bernard J.


      With respect to:

      “He says that loss of sea ice cannot be linear, because it can’t go negative, and therefore must be exponential/asymptotic.”

      not only could ice loss be linear, it could alternatively be exponential (or even logarithmic) an be non-asymptotic to y = 0. That is, ice loss could easily reach 0.

      No matter which of these shapes is chosen, there is no physical reason to claim that zero ice coverage is impossible to achieve. And there are mathematical ways in all three (or more) instances for describing the finite achievement of no ice cover in a finite amount of time.

      For pity’s sake, if I put a block of ice on my roof and it melted in an exponential fashion, portions of it would not remain there indefinitely.

      I think that Dave L needs to learn a little bit more about the description of trajectories…

  28. “This “Dave L” bloke reckons he’s a scientist. He says that loss of sea ice cannot be linear, because it can’t go negative, and therefore must be exponential/asymptotic.”

    Tell that to people on an airliner that’s lost one or more of its control structures.

    Look up … “augered in”.

    Yes, it is true that airplanes can’t descend much lower than ground level. That’s a problem, not a comforting “nothing to worry about!” statement.

    • Put a load of ice in a bucket of water, leave it in the sun all day, see what happens.

  29. The numbness of Steven Goddard gives us deniers a bad name.

    • The silence of the skeptics-in-name-only on nonsense like this, or rather the loud acclaim, doesn’t help either. And keep in mind, many of those correcting errors on WUWT are convinced of AGW and just try to do damage control.

  30. So, let’s see. By Dave L.’s logic, the amount of gas in my tank can never be negative, so I can never run out of gas.

    If Dave L. is a scientist, then my ass farts the Star-Spangled Banner. Even a freshman level physics class would have been sufficient to tell him that as the ice becomes increasingly fragmented, surface area to volume increases, so rate of melt will increase! This guy is stupid even by WUWT standards.

  31. TrueSceptic

    Given that someone has taken the trouble to post this in Goddard’s thread (it’s only a matter of time in any climate thread before someone disputes the greenhouse effect), it is only fair to make you read it too.

    “There is also no need to provide a ‘blanket’ to keep earth warm. The vacuum of space acts like the most perfect thermos flask. Space is not cold; it is empty, void of matter, and thus has no temperature.”

    Alan Siddons

    Click to access Greenhouse_Effect_Poppycock.pdf

    Hey, did I mention Goddard and Siddons earlier?

    • Ray Ladbury

      Oh my f**king dog. This cannot possibly be serious. The guy has to be poe. I mean, I suppose he’s 2/3 of the way there: he knows about conduction and convections; he’s just never heard of radiation?

      • Kevin Stanley

        How does he think the sun’s heat gets *to* us?

      • TrueSceptic


        Alan Siddons is new to you? I first came across him in The Marohasy Bog. He seemed to be very popular there. I suspect he’s now found a home at Jo Nova’s. How does someone work in radiation physics yet believe things that any high school science student knows are bats@@t crazy?

      • I was going to agree with you…a Poe, then I followed the link! Read the last few lines if you dare, (Warning your head may explode).

      • Oh, Lord, googling alan siddons brought me to this article at “Climate Realists”:

        By current estimates, man is pumping about 4 ppm of CO2 into the air every year. But the atmospheric level is rising only 2 ppm every year. Theory has it, then, that half of human emissions are presently getting absorbed by so-called carbon sinks, thereby cutting the net emission in half every year.

        Yet if half of human emissions stay in the air and the other half goes elsewhere, this proves that anthropogenic CO2 is not accumulating — the reason being that absorption is an ongoing process. A 50% reduction factor cannot be applicable only once. The next year would naturally see a further reduction. And so forth.

        I’m sure that Judith Curry is annoyed that climate scientists aren’t taking this guy seriously …

      • How has a village idiot of this magnitude remained so far undiscovered? Lord, he could be a Republican Presidential candidate!

      • Well, I’d say that he was “discovered” a few years ago, and you can find his “wisdom” all over the deniosphere. Here’s more if you want a laugh.

        We have another really special person running I Love My Carbon Dioxide. It appears to be this genius, who disproves GH theory with a few plastic bottles!

      • “It is said that Methane is 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Yet from the respective melting points of the main atmospheric gases it is clear that the oxygen and nitrogen are the most sensitive to heat absorption. ”


      • Most greenhouses aren’t even green … there’s no end to the fraud called climate science!

      • Ray, I know you enjoy these howlers as much as I do. How’s about this sentence, posted on a BBC thread over here – and yes, on climate of course:

        “The problem with science is that it does love its theories.”

        That has to be up there with the “….evidence is no longer relevant” classic!

        Cheers – John

      • Ray Ladbury

        John Mason,
        The thing about these guys is that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry! I blame a permissive education system that failed these people by allowing them to graduate without learning the very important lesson that they are in fact idiots. I’m sure the teachers thought they were preserving their self esteem, but look where it’s gotten us.

        Frankly, though, there are a lot of scientists that don’t fully understand the complementary roles of theory and experiment–Motl comes to mind. What separates science from other types of empirical investigation is that empiricism is guided by theory and theory is supported by empirical evidence…or not. I mean alchemy was an empirical study, but it was guided by metaphysics, and trial and error is unguided. For some reason, the balance in science works best of any combination humans have tried. However, I think the reasons why are subtle.

    • “it’s only a matter of time in any climate thread before someone disputes the greenhouse effect”

      I once came across a comment claiming the greenhouse effect is one big lie because it violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. A paper by two German physicists was cited to corroborate this statement. Go figure!

      • TrueSceptic

        “Once”? Really? You must be much more careful in choosing your reading matter than I am in mine. They are usually people who have a somewhat tenuous understanding of the subject (or of anything resembling rational thought, really).

        Those 2 physicists? Perhaps a Gin & Tonic will help in remembering their names? ;)

      • Make that “two German theoretical physicists with no discernable expertise in the field of climate science or in the field of thermodynamics, and fringe scientists (as in hardly publishing and low impact) even in their own field”.

    • Thanks for posting that – it’s gone into my collection of Most Amazing Online Comments On Climate!

      Almost as good as the now world-famous “Please stop resorting to the “evidence”. It’s now completely irrelevant.”

      Cheers – John

    • 3K. They gave a Nobel Prize for that.

  32. For the next few hundred years, or longer if we turn of that Fossil Fuel CO2 pump, the Arctic wont be ice free in high summer and thus the denialos claiming victory, because there will continue to be glacial ice breaking off and floating around from Greenland, Ellismere, Baffin and wherever glaziers are… they could not distinct even in a million years.

    PIOMAS meantime dropped [increased if you will] the anomalous sea ice volume to 11,000 cubic missing. In September of last year they recon there was 5,800 cubic km left, so at this present rate things look to be up that famous creek… the Solar Disc refraction guy recons we’re now 2 months ahead in the current melt year. JAXA is nearly hitting the monthly average of 10 million km square for June. There’s just a few more 100k daily loss that will push that shady record along.

  33. MistyDawnMcKay

    That Dave L— he burned a hole in my brain– I can’t even think after reading that. He must shake up phrases in a coffee can.

  34. Speaking of WUWT, in today’s episode of “Goddard On Thin Ice” our buddy Steve makes the following comment:

    Southern sea ice has more impact on earth’s albedo than northern hemisphere ice, because Antarctic ice forms at lower latitudes.

    Also, the southern peak positive anomaly occurs at the summer solstice, whereas the northern hemisphere peak negative anomaly occurs at the equinox, when it has no effect on the earth’s radiative budget.

    Am I missing something, or does Goddard have this all wrong? Isn’t the peak positive anomaly in the southern hemisphere occurring around the winter solstice?

    Either Goddard is an idiot, or I am.

    • I’m basing that on the CT graph, which seems to show peaks during April-May last year and June this year.

      Maybe Goddard was referring to a pattern from previous years.

    • The solstices are when peak (and lowest) insolation occurs, but there is a large thermal lag, so the max and min points are about 3 months later. You can also see that N and S are in antiphase, as you would expect, although the peaks and troughs are not symmetrical for either.

      Here’s the last 2 years, so you can see the lag more clearly, and here’s a normalised and part-inverted version so you can see the difference in the lag> I’ll let you judge how that compares with Goddard’s claim.

    • J,

      I missed this: it is meaningless to refer to summer or winter unless you say which hemisphere this occurs in; however, we have to assume that Goddard means the northern summer for the southern peak. He’s still wrong.

      • Goddard’s point was as follows:

        (1) He claims that the biggest negative NH anomaly occurs late in the (northern) summer, near the equinox, when the sun is getting lower in the sky. So the ice-albedo feedback is less significant because of that low sun angle, and the decline in NH ice extent is not all that important.

        (2) He also claims that the biggest positive SH anomaly occurs around the southern summer solstice, when the sun is higher in the sky. Thus, in Goddard World, the increasing SH ice extent is more significant than the decreasing NH extent.

        That would all make sense … except that it seems to me that the SH positive anomaly has mostly been in April-May-June, i.e. closer to the SH winter solstice than summer. Maybe he forgot that the seasons are reversed in the SH?

      • J is right, at least for the last couple of years – the southern (postive) anomaly has been significant for 6-month periods centered just after the June solstice. By October as the sun is getting higher down under, the anomaly diminishes and is quite small around the December solstice. This is very clear on the 2-year chart at Cryosphere Today. By contrast, the northern anomaly is year-round, with largest (negative) values centered say 1.5 months after the June solstice.

        Thus, the northern anomaly is of greater significance for albedo, and Steve Goddard is just someone on the internet who is wrong.

      • TrueSceptic


        Goddard’s claim about the timing of the min NH anomaly is correct, so it stands to reason that the effect this has through albedo change is less than it would be if the peak were earlier (centering around the solstice would maximise the effect).

        Clearly, the max SH anomaly occurs in the S winter, when the sun is below the horizon, so his claim makes no sense at all. Does he understand what summer and winter actually are?

        He’s also wrong about the timing: the max S occurs at the same time as the min N, not before. (The min S is slightly before the max N, but that is not what he is arguing about.)

  35. Goddard’s just trying to divert attention from the fact that all of his and Watt’s “recovery” crap over the last few months has turned out to be, well, crap!

    • dhogaza, you won’t be saying that in November!

      • But by then, Cryosat-2 will hopefully be producing ice volume data. We will know exactly how much ice there isn’t during the winter.

        I’m not sure whether they plan to produce realtime data. I’m afraid it is unlikely.

      • Why won’t I? The entire arctic basin fills with ice each winter, so what?

        I don’t expect a record minimum this year, but it’s hilarious watching Goddard flail around.

  36. If you think Godard on Arctic sea ice is bad, take a look at what Lawrence Solomon had to say about “record breaking” sea ice extent back in April:

  37. Oh my. Goddard now has a post up on GRACE where he says that, because it’s too cold for melting, ice loss can’t occur even on the edges of the ice cap.

    Thinning, as discovered using laser altimetry, equals mass loss. Gack.

    • Brian, I can see where that’s headed. Ice lost via discharge from marine terminating outlet glaciers should only show up as a gravity anomaly right along the coast … so why does the GRACE map show mass loss inland? One issue is the really, really coarse resolution of GRACE, which a lot of people don’t understand (and their visualization methods are a bit unhelpful in this regard).

      • Gavin's Pussycat

        There is also the “buttressing effect”… when a glacier starts flowing faster, also the ice further inland starts moving as the ice in front of it gives way. These forces propagate way faster than the ice can move.

    • Oh my. Goddard now has a post up on GRACE…

      Yeah, and some guy named “Robert” who apparently is a researcher in the Antarctic is spanking Goddard’s rear bigtime. Humorous.

      And at the current end of that thread, Goddard scores an own goal:

      Published online 19 May 2005 | Nature
      East Antarctica puts on weight
      Increased snowfall over a large area of Antarctica is thickening the ice sheet and slowing the rise in sea level caused by melting ice.

      A satellite survey shows that between 1992 and 2003, the East Antarctic ice sheet gained about 45 billion tonnes of ice

      “This is a phenomenal piece of research, but it is what we expected, ” comments David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. “These effects have been predicted for a long time, it’s just that no one has measured them before.”

      He’s unaware that when a study shows a scientific prediction to be true, it’s a sign of good science. And that it is warming temperatures that are leading to the increased snowfall, which I’m sure Robert’s going to point out soon.

      Goddard’s better than just about any comedian not named Jon Stewart …

      • Amazing pwnage by “Robert” (and he threw in a completely different tack in response). Sputtering ensues.

    • That thread’s insane, with 95% of the posters swearing that the various sources of observation data are “NASA lies”.

      Sort of like the faked moon landings, I guess.

      • LOL. They’re so busted on that similarity.

        I see Goddard’s taken to lecturing Robert (you know, the one who’s been to Antarctica) on… the properties of ice, someone else has thrown in the classic “Oohh, you’re here on work time” crap, and Robert recommends Skeptical Science at WUWT! Worth getting popcorn for :-D

    • Oh my. Goddard now has a post up on GRACE …

      “There but for the GRACE of Goddard…”

  38. Mustn’t… get… sucked… in….

    The stupidity…. it hurts….

    Steven Goddard is just your typical Internet troll, and Watts has given him a huge platform and hundreds of sycophantic fans. I just hope he lives long enough to learn how wrong he is.

    • “I just hope he lives long enough to learn how wrong he is.”

      Well, technically, he already has, IMO. There’s lots of information suggesting that he is “just right out.”

      But the “learning” part appears to have some issues for him.

    • Actually, it’s entertaining watching Robert – apparently a grad student doing thesis work related to glaciology – rip Goddard a new one. Well, at this point, several new ones.

      Goddard’s tush looks like a colander at this point …

    • And daring to use… scientific papers. “Goddard’s” sin is spouting off without knowing the basics about glaciology or the latest scientific literature. “Goddard” has noting left but sputtering and complaining that Robert should have been banned.

      • They have a different concept of what constitutes published science over there. Did you notice the comment from one of Goddard’s lap dogs admonishing Robert for daring to question his master because Goddard has written so many articles, while Robert hasn’t?

      • “Blogscience” articles, I suppose!

      • TrueSceptic

        I also see that EFS_Junior and Chris Noble have been trying to put Goddard straight on some very basic points, including the myth of old window glass “flowing”.

        In response, Goddard has displayed some of the most astounding arrogance you will ever see. Truly, he is the greatest genius in history. We are not worthy!

  39. I’m glad Robert is going for his fishing trip – he needs some kind of reward for such a sterling effort.

    And I must thank whoever-it-was for the youtube plastic bottle experiments. The few unforgettable moments I spent with that have changed the household budget forever. We will no longer need the big alfoil rolls to make our hats.

    We have bottles!

  40. The conventional advice, is that when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging.

  41. You don’t think I *did* it do you?

    Unforgettable applies to the moments spent watching that clown.

  42. Boy, that’s some kind of standard for simplistic, isn’t it?

    You don’t need to understand any interactions or feedbacks; you just move the isotherms mechanically.

    Guess everything is perfectly linear in Goddard world–today, at least.

  43. But is he really a moron or just trying to come up with better ways to fool his readers.

    • Ray Ladbury

      I really think that Goddard–and even microWatts–really believe what they post–at least the main thrust of it, which is that mainstream science is wrong. I really think that because they are so convinced the science is wrong, they see no problem in being wrong themselves.

      Of course the difference is that when science is wrong, it self corrects, while on WTF we can count on a variant of the same zombie arguments re-animating on a timescale of 18 months or so.

      • TrueSceptic

        I agree. Their obvious anger when challenged and exposed shows that they see every criticism as a personal attack, not as a legitimate point of discussion.

    • That’s a question that teases me–some here who’ve interacted directly with him say he appears to believe what he writes. OTOH, it’s so disingenuous at times–this post being an example, perhaps–that it’s hard to believe that he could really believe it.

      I’m a musician by trade, and I can’t imagine posting something that daft. Writing it, maybe, but not posting it–maybe the key to Goddard’s oeuvre is that he never thinks twice?

      (And yes, that could be a “straight line!)

  44. Günther Kirschbaum

    Is it me or is Steven Goddard doing something spectacular again?

    • carrot eater

      Oh my… Just when you think Goddard can’t do anything more stupid, he exceeds himself. Looks like one commenter tried to clue him in, that the location of the zero-level matters when you do such an integration, but he is totally impervious to being helped.

      Don’t get me wrong, GISS does have a better chance of breaking a record than the others, but you don’t need this kind of idiot analysis to tell you that.

      • The annual record is just the 12-month running average ending in December — and there are 11 other 12-month running averages to consider each year.

        In terms of 12-month running averages NASA GISS world land and ocean beat the record back in March, then again in April and May with anomalies of 63.58, 65.67, and 66.33. Previously the record 12-month running averages ended in Aug, Sept, Oct and Dec of 2005 with 58.67, 60.42, 61.58 and 62.17, and before that the final record of 1998 ending in September of that year was 58.67.

        Now NASA GISS is quite comfortable filling in the blanks as — the regions where temperature does not get measured — using long-distance correlations. In contrast, the people at Hadley do not and therefore their temperature anomaly product has less “coverage” in the Arctic and Antarctic and thus turns a blind eye to much of the polar amplification that has been taking place in recent years.

        Then somewhere in the middle you have NOAA’s NCDC — which as I understand it makes some use of teleconnections. But like Hadley, the record 12-month running average from 1998 (set in August for NCDC but October for Hadley CRU — CRUTEM3vgl) remained unbroken.

        That is, until July of this year, at least according to my calculations. For NOAA’s NCDC the 1998 record for 12-month running average global temperature anomaly has been broken — but by only 2 ten-thousandths of a degree Celsius: 0.6367 ending in July of this year vs. 0.6365 ending in August of 1998. Funny thing is that with NOAA NCDC this may change the following month or year due to their recalculations — and the 12-month running average ending in August 1998 may once again reign supreme. For a little while.

    • Yes it looks like that. Why would he be looking at the area under the curve rather than just comparing the mean temperature of the first seven months?

      Why did he not mention NOAA’s analysis?

      1998 (Jan – Jul): 0.6687
      1998 (Fullyear): 0.5971

      2005 (Jan – Jul): 0.6084
      2005 (Fullyear): 0.6154

      2010 (Jan – Jul): 0.6793

      2010 is ahead of 1998 first 7 months and would have to cool significantly not to finish ahead of 2005 overall.

    • To paraphrase Roy Edroso, “This is the stupidest thing ever written, and will remain so until Steven decides to write again.”

  45. Has Roger Pielke Sr. topped Goddard’s statistical “misunderstanding”? On Skeptical Science, he wrote “There does not need to be years of record to obtain statistically significant measures of upper ocean heat content. This is the point of using heat. We just need time slices with sufficient spatial data. A trend is unnecessary, and indeed can be misleading when the signal is substantially nonlinear.”

    Albatross has replied, and so have I, but y’all please do join in the fun!

  46. Sorry, I misformed my html in my previous comment. The link to Pielke’s comment is here.