Catch 22. No.1.

From time to time the boys at WUWT and elsewhere, rather than dole nonsense in bite-size morsels, are so kind as to serve up a compendium, a cornucopia if you will. I know they truly want to persuade people that man-made global warming is no problemo, but I wonder whether they’re quite aware of what they’re doing; this kind of bounty doesn’t do their image much good.

In a recent post, Jean-Pierre Bardinet outlines what he refers to as “22 Very Inconvenient Climate Truths,” which he subtitles “Here are 22 good reasons not to believe the statements made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

Here’s #1:

1. The Mean Global Temperature has been stable since 1997, despite a continuous increase of the CO2 content of the air: how could one say that the increase of the CO2 content of the air is the cause of the increase of the temperature?

Seriously? Do you have to lead with something so wrong?

For those at home, let me explain what “stable since 1997” really means. It means that if you look at the trend of global temperature, but you don’t start looking until just the right moment, then it might look like it might be “stable” maybe.

Here are yearly average global temperature anomalies since 1970, all the way up to the latest full calendar year, 2014 (yeah, the hottest year on record):


There certainly is a warming trend there.

Did you pick some moment when things got really hot so you could psych yourself into believing that today’s trend, the real trend, doesn’ start until then? Like maybe, after 1997?


If the warming trend did change at that time, did you compute what it would look like? ‘Cause if we use least squares regression to compute a trend which is allowed to change its warming rate at that very moment, well by golly it looks like this:


Is that what you call “stable since 1997”?

Or do you think the trend didn’t just change at that time, earth’s temperature just suddenly jumped up? (That really doesn’t make sense, but that’s hardly an impediment to nonsense.) If so, did you compute what the trend would look like? ‘Cause it looks like this:


Gosh darn it, even allowing a rather crazy “trend” which jumps around when you want it to (so you can start your trend when you want to), it’s still going up. Is that “stable since 1997”?

Seriously, is this the best you can do? I mean, do you have to lead with something so wrong?

For those at home who are wondering what has happened since 2014 ended, even though we’re only three months into the year with data, well it looks like this:


30 responses to “Catch 22. No.1.

  1. Yeah, and, alas, that heat stored in the oceans is probably going to come out. Not going to be pretty, I’d say.

    WUWT is not interested in facts. They are selling doubt. Luntz memo:

  2. I got a real climatological catch 22 from a denier I was debating. In short, this was it:
    – on models: “so far the models made awfully wrong predictions” (these was based on some misinterpretation of data by this denier, how else)
    – on fingerprint studies: “let’s not forget that these predictions were made by models that we’ve just seen how wrong they are”

    In short, when models do wrong (or you think they did wrong), that’s bad. When they get it right, that’s even worse. :)

  3. If they looked at the period 1981 to 1993, only, WUWT would state temperatures fell. An ego trip of pure, ignorant nonsense.

  4. You’re going to like the next version of GISTEMP. (WUWT aren’t).

  5. entropicman

    Just another Gish Gallop.

  6. Tamino giveth yet Spencer taketh away (quite literally).
    His model 6 corrections peak near 1998 and are negative for most of the 2000’s.
    I do admire the bottom plot in Figure 3. Make the scale large if you want something to look small.

  7. Point 16 is the most stupid of all:

    16. The trace gases absorb the radiation of the surface and radiate at the temperature of the air which is, at some height, most of the time slightly lower that of the surface. The trace-gases cannot “heat the surface“, according to the second principle of thermodynamics which prohibits heat transfer from a cooler body to a warmer body. (discussion: p. 32)

    For those who can read french, I have demolished Bardinet claim in my own blog:

    • [edit]

      [Response: This is an English-language blog.]

    • for having “interacted” with Bardinet (aka jipebe29, but I just realised that), I can assure you that he is quite able to demolish itself without much intervention.

      Of course, as a real denier, he usually doesn’t aknowledge that and tries to double down with a Gish Gallop.

      (but, if I remember correctly, you may have seen that yourself :] )

    • I thought the argument that the greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics was something Watts wouldn’t tolerate as it makes his followers appear to be scientifically illiterate lunatics. Has this changed or is this simply an instance of their more blatant lunacy slipping, as occasionally happens with Goddard?

  8. NASA Giss in for April at .75 anomaly, 2nd hottest April behind 2010 (.83).

    Every month this year has beaten 2014 so far, year to date we are now .11 degrees warmer than last years overall average of .68.

    Other months this year have been bumped up with new surface data making the first 4 months still .79 anomaly for 2015 year to date. So I guess Tamino won’t need to change the bottom graph for the most recent 4 months.

  9. Since few ‘skeptics’ are 1) genuinely interested in data, and 2) intellectually honest, they’ll always have a fall-back position close at hand. This one will probably be some combination of “it’s an El Nino year,” “of course the temperatures go up and down; they always have” and “they’ve reset the thermometers again.”

    However a record-breaking warm 2015 would at least allow the usual tired myths to be dismissed in a sentence rather than paragraphs… since the denier movement thrives on oversimplification the simple “warmest year on record” leaves them at something of a loss for words.

  10. I don’t expect you to post this, but just to be thorough and to address the skeptics (not that you have to), try an analysis of the satellite data from RSS and UAH. UAH has been revised since your last look, perhaps to accommodate Ted Cruz. GISS in a very fine temperature record, but the satellite data are legitimate as well.

    [Response: I’ve already done so here (except for the recent adjustment of UAH, which didn’t exist at the time). I also did the data from NCDC, the HadCRUT4 data, the data from Cowtan & Way, the CRUTEM4 (land-only) data, and the land-only estimate from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project.

    The satellite data seem to me to be plagued by problems. Not only are they constantly changing as the methods change (and sometimes, as errors are found) while different teams can’t seem to agree on how to do it right, when it comes to trend they are in rather stark disagreement with the tropospheric temperature data from radiosondes (like HADAT2 and RATPAC). And when people say “global temperature” with no modifiers, it’s usually taken to refer to surface temperature, which the satellite data are not.]

    • Imma thinking the skeptics are going to quietly start to ignore the satellite data in the coming years. Lower tropospheric temps are likely to spike in a big way with the building El Nino, and that ain’t gonna fit the worldview they’ve created for themselves.

      With surface temps also rising, I’m not sure where they’re going to turn.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “With surface temps also rising, I’m not sure where they’re going to turn.”
        They will claim it to be the resumption of the recovery from the little ice age!

      • Or claim that none of the data is trustworthy, with the last few ‘trustworthy’ scientists co-opted by the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy. Or, quite possibly both, according to convenience, varying those claims with forays into a false fatalism: “Climate changes, it’s just what it does. The Earth can shake us off like fleas anytime it wants to!”

        (Paraphrased from real comments…)

      • Where will they turn? Easy, 2015–or 2016–will simply mark the start of a new hiatus. “Global warming” will turn out to be just a string of barely interrupted hiatuses. As Timothy already noted, the cry will go out: “no warming since 2015!”

      • Yep, that, too.

    • In my reading of the denial blog literature, the principle value of the satellite record for deniers lies in its extreme response to the conditions in 1998 that was much smaller in the surface temperature record. Without that convenient cherrypick, the argument would be over a difference in trend estimates that really is not of great practical significance over time. This notion is easily seen in the fact that deniers have drifted away from other series as the lower magnitude 1998 cherrypick has been overcome in those series by the long term trend leaving that cherrypick useless.

      Tamino, of course, has noted often the statistical nonsense of picking an extreme start point and not controlling for the bias this generates.

      As we get repeats of the 1998 conditions over time–i.e. repeat observations over the entire range of what is occurring on Earth which the satellite record is measuring–the long term trend will overtake any singular data point in the satellite series as well. That is in addition to any problems coming from the reduction of satellite data to climate information. Unfortunately for politics, if not science, this will take time.

      • Well-stated, IMO.

      • I have recently been engaging with a denialist who contends that the terrestrial temp estimates are unreliable because they are a “calculation”. Then, in the same breath, he sings the praises of the satellite measurements. Really, you can’t make this feces up!

    • Chris O'Neill

      Not only are they constantly changing as the methods change (and sometimes, as errors are found)

      Indeed. Roy’s latest effort reduces his 36 year UAH trend from 0.14℃/decade to 0.11℃/decade. Imagine the cries of derision if GISTemp suddenly increased their trend by 0.03℃/decade.

  11. I looked briefly over the list of “22 Very Inconvenient Climate Truths”. Looks like you may have the makings of 22 new blog posts. Can hardly wait (assuming you have the intestinal fortitude to deal with this).

    For those of your readers not aware of this, there is an interesting MOOC currently running at the edX site. Called “Denial101x Making Sense of Climate Science Denial”, it is produced by the University of Queensland and run by John Cook (of the blog Skeptical Science). It is currently in week 3, but weeks 1 and 2 materials are still available, and all the videos are posted on a YouTube channel. The course covers all the various denialist themes, categorizes them, and discusses the science that refutes them. There are also extensive discussions of the nature of denialist sociology and psychology that I found interesting. There are long interviews with many climate scientists and others active in the area (Phil Jones, Mike Mann, Ben Santer, Stephan Lewandowsky, Naomi Oreskes, and others). Seems worthwhile, particularly if readers are wondering how to cope with friends, relatives and others who seem inclined to dispute the conclusions of climate science. John Cook and his associates seem to have done their homework in this area.


    • @Robert and others: I, too, am subscribed and taking Denial101x. Worthwhile. My biggest surprise is how systematic incentives and planning of climate denial are, and how “the hidden persuaders” have duped many, who think they are hearing what’s real, and how immoral they are when they go after climate scientists, even ones who otherwise are politically of the same sentiment. There’s plenty of documentation regarding this, too, resulting from deep forensic work looking at public records of tax returns of hundreds of specialist think tanks and “institutes” for funding sources.

      There’s a lot of psychology to learn, too.

  12. Timothy (likes zebras)

    Just think of all the fun we will have in 2026 when WUWT is running pieces entitled “No global warming since 2015!”.

    Yeah, so much fun.

  13. Fun stuff also on WUWT: “Top 10 skeptical arguments that don’t hold water”.

    No. 16 in the “22 Inconvenient Truths” hits the Top 2 on the stupid meter by Roy Spencer. No. 6 hits the Top 5. And No 15. hits the Top 10.

    They might have checked against their own content. Then again – why should they?! They’ve got to keep a narrative going…

    • Philippe Chantreau

      Now that’s really funny. Nice catch Random. WUWT makes a list of arguments that they themselves present as invalid, then publish a post by a guy using these very arguments. They haven’t progressed one bit since the good ol’ days of the carbonic snow. Hilarious. You really can’t make this stuff up. How can people delude themselves into buying this kind of nonsense?

  14. Wow, that entire list is almost entirely bullshit, and thinly veiled at that.