Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Real Difference between Skeptics and Deniers

Anthony Watts has a post which mocks scientists who are trying to explain “the pause.” It oozes ridicule because so many possible explanations have been explored, which he dismisses as “hand-waving.”

His list is reasonably long:

Too much aerosols from volcanoes, ENSO patterns, missing heat that went to the deep ocean, ocean cooling, low solar activity, inappropriately dealt with weather stations in the Arctic, and stadium waves, to name a few. So much for consensus.

Setting aside whether the list is even right — what Willard Tony doesn’t realize is that he has put the spotlight on the real difference between skeptics and deniers:

When scientists who are genuinely skeptical see something they don’t understand, they try to understand it. When deniers see something scientists don’t understand, they use it as an excuse to claim that “natural variation has been in control, not CO2.”

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Cherry p

Here’s some data, annual values for the time span from 1979 through 2013:


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Which would you choose?

One of the main accusations leveled in a recently discussed video was that the data set was chosen, deliberately for the purpose of making the warming look bigger.

Suppose you needed to plot mid-troposphere temperature, but your real goal was to make the warming look as big as possible. Which data set would you choose?

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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.

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A reader recently asked about a news item regarding recent results from the CryoSat-2 satellite mission. One of its purposes is to measure sea ice thickness throughout the Arctic. By combining that with data for sea ice concentration, one can estimate the total volume of Arctic sea ice.

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Cowtan & Way

You probably recall that not too long ago, Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way re-processed the data used in forming the HadCRUT4 global temperature data set. Their goal was to interpolate across unobserved areas in the best way available, by Kriging. They also used satellite data to supplement the interpolation.

As I’ve said before, since the Berkeley team released their “methods” paper I’ve believed that Kriging is the best way to approach the interpolation issue. It was one of those “Doh! — Why didn’t I think of that!” moments. Therefore, despite its relative newness, I think we should consider treating this data set as one of the “main” global temperature data sets. Only time will tell whether that comes to pass.

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