Weak Sauce from Climate Deniers

Over at RealClimate, in a post about Jim Hansen’s forecasts from the 1980s, a commenter calling himself “Victor” has bent over backwards to argue that the climate change we’ve seen already is just “natural.” He recently went so far as to say this:

“First of all: what persistent trend? Sorry but I can’t find one. What we see in the actual evidence is a roller coaster pattern of ups and downs. The only persistent upward trends occurred either early in the 20th century when CO2 emissions had only a small effect or late in the 20th century over a period of only 20 years.”

Let’s take a look.

Here’s the data, yearly average global temperature from NASA:

I’ve included a smooth fit (modified lowess smooth) as a red line. It looks to me like the persistent trend has been continuing for over 40 years, not “only 20 years.”

And that’s the way it really is. I’ve analyzed this data using rigorous statistics, many times, and demonstrated that since about 1975 the trend has been upward, with no evidence of any “pause” or “hiatus” or even “slowdown.” I’ve even published my results in peer-reviewed scientific literature. You can see for yourself here (article is on page 6).

Let’s see if we can show it in a way which even “Victor” can understand.

We’ll use the data from 1975 through 1999 and fit a straight line (by least squares regression) to estimate what the trend is:

The blue line is the estimated trend line. The dashed blue lines above and below show the range within 2 standard deviations (of the residuals). Note that all the data points lie withing the 2-standard-deviation limits (which doesn’t always happen, but isn’t uncommon with only 25 data points).

Now let’s use that trend to estimate what would have happened if the trend continued unchanged:

Essentially, we’d expect the data to fall within the dashed red lines. Of course they’ll fluctuate about that line — after all, there is natural variation. But if the trend continued they would mostly fall between the 2-standard-deviation limits.

So … what actually happened? This:

Imagine that! They did fall within the expected range. Only one value is outside the range, and that one (for 2016) is not far outside and is above the limit. As I’ve often said, there’s no evidence that global warming showed a “pause” or “hiatus” or even a “slowdown.”

What if the trend had stopped in 2000? Then we’d expect this:

It turns out that 5 of the 18 years had temperatures outside the “no-trend” limits. All but one of them is above the “no-trend” value itself. And the last three values aren’t just above the “natural variation” limits, they’re way above.

The “trend didn’t continue” hypothesis just doesn’t hold water.

Maybe Victor thinks there was a “pause” in there somewhere. Maybe he sees what he thinks looks like a “pause,” but he certaintly hasn’t provided any analysis to back up that idea. He can’t seem to conceive of the idea that what “looks like” a “pause” — to him — is just natural variation in addition to a continuing trend. Funny how he blames the temperature trend on natural variation, but can’t conceive of its creating the false impression. Does he believe in natural variation, or doesn’t he?

When you actually do the analysis, using rigorous statistics rather than visual impression, you find that there is just no evidence for a “pause” or “hiatus” or even “slowdown.” As for this kind of visual impression, I’ve done it before — my regular readers might be getting bored with it. But since climate deniers continue to push falsehoods, I guess I’ll just have to continue to show how wrong they are. And they continue to push the “pause” idea. Victor pushes his own version, namely “late in the 20th century over a period of only 20 years.” I prefer actual science. And I prefer truth.

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47 responses to “Weak Sauce from Climate Deniers

  1. Especially in such cases, please do not use my name in vain.

    [Response: I should have added “not to be confused with Victor Venema” several times.]

    • The commenter “Victor” at RealClimate is of course the moron Victor Grauer of Pittsburg PA, aka “Victor the Troll”, who has been exhibiting his infernal stupidity at RealClimate since his arrival there in 2014. In an appearance here at Open Minds eighteen-months ago “Victor the Troll” gained membership of Tamino’s “Proud to be Stupid Club”. (The troll was hiding behind the name Docgee at the time. His self-published book setting out his grand-retch of AGW-busting garbage also requires his identity hidden by the pen-name ‘Polar Vomit’ or something similar).

      • Susan Anderson

        Thanks VERY much for the detail, good to know.
        I’ve put a link over at RC which will no doubt be passed in time. Boy oh boy do these lowlifes love to waste good people’s time that is better spend getting stuff done.

      • Oh, Victor is no moron. His difficulties are emotional in origin, not cognitive, even though the ramifications end up in the conceptual realm.

  2. I think it’s a good idea to ridicule folks who post ridiculous stuff over and over. I think it’s a poor idea to expect that these same folks will learn the science and math involved. Ideology is the driver with these folks. Victor is ridiculous. I don’t engage with him at RC because I think it just feeds his ego, but I am ok with a thread like this one that singles him out for public ridicule. Victor Venema is ok however.

  3. victor not venema is famous over there for doing regressions of all kinds by “eye”. Why the mods don’t start bore holing such analyses is beyond me.

  4. a roller coaster pattern of ups and downs””

    Is Grauer another sufferer of “recurrent El Nino amnesia syndrome”: a denier who remembers how El Nino affects the temperature record only when he is trying to explain away a new global temperature record in an El Nino year.

    • I’d call him a sufferer from “Selective Variable Syndrome”, in which causative or contributory factors capriciously pop in and out of an analysis depending upon which way their evidentiary value tends.

      Oh, and Dunning-Kruger, of course, complicated by Emeritus Disorder.

      • It’s more than that. It’s also using capricious, verbal definitions of scientific terms to spew FUD. One of victor not venema’s recent favorites has been to assert that for two variables to correlate, each and every “wiggle” has to match. The recent AMOC thread at realclimate contains several such assertions.

        For example, under his “definition” of correlation, over a 40 step period, the equations Y1 = .017X+.1*sin(X) and Y2 = .017X-.1*sin(X) have a zero (!!!) correlation “by victor’s eye” as the “wiggles” are perfectly out of phase rather than the .77 value given by actual math.

        victor not venema also is fond of quoting Feynman and high school level “what REAL scientists do” to practicing researchers. Two more clear tells. I don’t remember off the top of my head his citing of Galileo or Einstein for support yet, but it surely wouldn’t surprise me if he had.

      • “cos(X)?” I’m thinking those equations as written would satisfy even Victor’s exacting standards for correlation… ;-)

      • The trouble is you DO think. According to vic if BOTH the trend line AND the wiggles don’t exactly match by eye, there is no significant correlation.

    • deniers like El Nino’s only when they are on the left hand side of a temp graph (right side not so much!!) so expect the recent one to grow in popularity

  5. Tamino,

    Yes, please do keep detailing the errors deniers of climate change continue to post. I know of nothing comparable to your efforts at any other site, and those efforts are invaluable.

  6. “… He was co-creator, with Alan Lomax, of Cantometrics, a systematic methodology for the comparative analysis of musical style, and worked on the Cantometrics Project as Research Associate, under Lomax’s supervision, from 1963 through 1966 …”

    Comparative analysis, eh? Using the Mark One eyeball or eardrum tool? Or something else?

  7. I like to introduce people to graphs showing ocean heat content as an alternative to surface temperatures – there is not enough room there for even the illusion of a 21st century “pause” and it seems to me to be one of the most direct measurements we have of ongoing climate change.

  8. PS, look up Cantometrics; they have pictures with squiggles.

    • Couldn’t find that, unfortunately, following the link you posted. I wonder if that could be Laban dance notation, which they adapted for the companion effort Choreometrics. (I think I’ve got that name right.) But I don’t suppose it matters for current purposes.

  9. This quote from Grauer is ironic.
    “Cantometrics is a statistical method. Its patterns and correlations are based on multiple instances, not just one. There will always be exceptions, which is why statistical methods are generally preferable for comparative studies than the close examination of individual examples.”

    • That’s partly why he thinks he knows something about statistics. And note that the tradition of music theory proceeds precisely from “the close examination of individual examples.”

  10. i make discussion with a guy name Howard R. Hamilton and Mick Garcia recently on facebook (great Deniers… i think). He have same word than “Victor” about serious analyze like tamino or berkerley Earth made. He think that this information is just bullshit.
    Not me. be sure. I think you make great job. Please continue.

    Some of you have comments about these guy.?

    Recently i make some regression with +- variation of 10, 15, 20 years with 1998 year for central, just to prove the non-pause theory.

    It’s clear no hiatus, just a rate of about 0,15 C/decade

  11. Methinks that Weaktor has many problems. For one thing, he simply doesn’t understand what statistics is–and he is blind to his ignorance. Similarly, he cannot comprehend the fact that multiple independent forcings can lead to a complicated behavior that no single forcing will reproduce. Finally, he can’t quite comprehend the log relation between forcing and CO2 concentration.

    I suspect that he is not unintelligent, but that he thinks he is a whole helluvalot smarter than he is and that he is fundamentally lazy in terms of actually learning new things. The thing about thinking you are always the smartest person in the room is that it means you don’t learn much new.

  12. Yes, well it seems to be common practice to distort what data mean for Victor-the-Troll-style simpatizantes Showing this:

    rather than the more representative this:

  13. Martin Smith

    Tamino wrote: “As for this kind of visual impression, I’ve done it before — my regular readers might be getting bored with it. But since climate deniers continue to push falsehoods, I guess I’ll just have to continue to show how wrong they are.”

    I never get bored, but more importantly, I need these essays in my arguments with deniers. They reanimate the dead mole denial points in a continuous cycle. We just finished re-whacking the global sea ice mole, now we are re-whacking the Hansen-was-wrong mole. Now I’m getting read to re-whack the poverty-without-coal mole. These essays don’t change denier’s minds, but they do shut them up and force them to move to the next mole in the rotation.

    • @Martin Smith,

      And I’m awaiting the “Oh, it’s the subterranean volcanoes” and “Oh it’s not a problem because of more rapid than expected rebound” for Antarctica themes …

      • Martin Smith

        The “subterranean volcanoes are melting Antarctica” mole always pops up just before the “global sea ice is increasing” mole. It goes like this: A science report appears saying satellite data shows the Antarctic ice sheet is melting faster than expected. Then the “increasing snowfall over Antarctica” mole reappears, then the “it’s subterranean volcanoes” mole.Then the “But global sea ice is increasing” mole, which we just saw.

        But you’re right, the “Arctic sea ice is rebounding” mole is up now, and I’m also seeing a new mole pop up about increasing Arctic sea ice volume. I think it’s mainly due to Tony Heller, who is branching out from his standard “Evidence of change is evidence of fraud” theme.

        There’s enough material here to start create a Discovery Channel series we could call “Mole Whackers,” along the lines of the popular “Myth Busters.” Who’s up for it?

  14. Has anyone re-examined the Cantometrics statistical work? I assume they published their calculations somewhere. It would be interesting to see someone check the math.

    • Related:


      “…the idea is logical enough. The results are seriously faulted, however, by a fundamental bias in approach and sloppiness in method…

      “Almost one-third of [Lomax’s] data fails to support his hypothesis, yet he does not qualify his results as limited and tentative nor does he tell us, as he should, that the fundamental orientation of the research has been altered…”

    • @Hank Roberts,

      What does Cantometrics have to do with Climate? Or is there some other one besides the songs people? A specific reference to the literature you claim to know would help.

  15. How well would this analysis work using UAH-6 data instead of NASA? Not necessary, but possibly a way to really rub in in their face.

  16. @Hank Roberts,

    Well, assuming there is only one, and the obvious one, I cannot see how that could possibly contribute anything more to the analysis or the conservation than spectral analysis, drawn broadly to include things like Gabor-Wigner transforms could.

  17. > What does Cantometrics have to do with Climate?

    Victor-not-Venema apparently was one of the team who did statistical analysis for that project. I thought it might be interesting to know how well or poorly the analysis was done. Was it analyzed by eyeball? Possibly someone familiar with it can comment on the level of skill involved.

  18. Oh, I see Doc Snow found an evaluation and posted the link and a quote.
    Thank you.

  19. The response to this thread from the moron Victor Grauer of Pittsburg PA was to post at RealClimate a rebutal of the analysis set out in the OP (actually a pasting of gobshite from his self-published AGW-refuting book. The fool isn’t up to the task of writing it out a second time.) Sadly for poor Victor the moron, his grand rebutal was relegated to the RealClimate bore hole. The fool susequently argues with the moderators that this was an unworthy fate for his wonderous argumentation, bleating ” I’m especially disappointed to see that you’ve bore-holed my recent response to Tamino, thus depriving him of the opportunity to defend his views in the light of my critique.”
    And what does his grand rebutal comprise? Actually he refers to an OpenMind post of 2014 which demonstrated that for all global temperature series, an OLS trend through 1980-1997 can be projected through to 2013 without a hint of any ‘hiatus’.
    But witless Victor argues that this as “just a trick … misdirection.” For moron Victor the projected trend line “predicts absolute temperature, telling us nothing at all about the rate at which temperature changes” which is rather an odd thing to say about a projected warming trend. But Victor insists there is a period post-1998 when the global temperature remained roughly constant and even if the period was warmer than the preceding years and cooler than the following ones and sweetly sitting asride the long-term trend, it remains visible, a ‘hiatus’.
    And another consideration is apparently “the very different issue of absolute heat,” although that probably only manifests itself within the tortured delusions of Victor’s imagination.

  20. There is a very good reason why the progress of science is not predicated on the understanding of the D students. If it were, climate science would not be the only area to suffer retardation. Physical chemistry, aeronautics, geophysics, astrophysics, relativity, quantum mechanics…would all be slowed if not stopped altogether as Weaktor scratched his head and blew bubbles with his drool. He’d probably also demand how our hand had managed to steal his nose.

    • Not so!!! Counterexample: Arrhenius was initially awarded a 4th class degree–i.e., a D–on his dissertation when he hypothesized and presented evidence for his crazy idea about the spontaneous dissociation of ions in solution!

      Apparently it was upgraded to a C at some later point.

      [Response: And later upgraded to a Nobel prize.]

      • There is that!

      • “Arrhenius was initially awarded a 4th class degree–i.e., a D–on his dissertation when he hypothesized and presented evidence for his crazy idea about the spontaneous dissociation of ions in solution!

        Apparently it was upgraded to a C at some later point.

        [Response: And later upgraded to a Nobel prize.]”

        oh, sure, but it was fundamentally just a Nobel prize for chemistry-type stuff, right? The Arrhenius contributions were not in a tough science that attracts the best and brightest. Good chemist. Whoop-tee-doo

  21. I’d guess V-not-V may have handwaved-and-eyeballed the data behind the claims that were published as Cantometrics. If so, the music correlations would likely not be any sounder than his climate analysis. Well, unless emeritus of course.

  22. And, well, if his career and reputation are based on the kind of analysis he so frantically promotes at RC, that could explain V-not-V’s defense of his eyeball method as not only defending his climate science but also defending the analytical method on which he’s based his career and musicological reputation. That would indeed be a sad outcome.


  23. My suspicion is that Victor took the old, old “no warming since 1998” meme, subtracted 1975 from it and got roughly 20 years.

    As his starting point was wrong, and generally known to be wrong, you could argue his conclusion is not even wrong.

  24. Victor has now posted an attack on Tamino at Real Climate.