How Deniers Deny

Kip Hansen is so peeved at the New York Times for their recent article about global warming accelerating, that he posts at WUWT denying any and all acceleration claimed in the article. His “rebuttal” is riddled with mistakes and falsehoods, par for the course at WUWT.

One of the things accelerating which the Times article mentions and Kip Hansen denies, is sea level rise. Let’s look at his approach to sea level rise acceleration, in order to find out how this climate denier manages to deny the undeniable.

First he mentions the research of Nerem et al. establishing acceleration in sea level during the satellite era (since 1993), only to dismiss it

First into the breach in defense of scary sea level rise is Nerem et al. (2018) which manages to transmogrify satellite altimetry data from the TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3 missions into a claimed annual SLR of “4.5 millimeters a year”. NOAA apparently failed to get the message:

Then he shows us a graph (from NOAA/STAR, of sea level according to satellite observations) and says this:

Trend in Global Ocean Mean Sea Level? 2.9 (+/- 0.4) mm/year which they represent, quite correctly, as a perfectly straight line since 1993.

When Kip Hansen declares (about the trend,) that “they [NOAA] represent, quite correctly, as a perfectly straight line since 1993,” he makes it sound like NOAA has endorsed his claim, which is absolutely false. NOAA makes it clear: the straight line is there to show what the best-fit straight line is and report its slope. Any endorsement of the idea that’s all there is to the trend, is in Kip Hansen’s imagination only.

Notice: he has said nothing of any substance about the methods or results of Nerem et al., but somehow he thinks he has refuted them.

Notice: he has said nothing of any substance about the presence or absence of acceleration in the data he points to himself. The fact that NOAA calculates and plots a best-fit straight line, says nothing (of substance or not) about whether that’s the whole trend. NOAA never claimed it did.

So, nothing of substance! Except … he points us to his source:

If any readers are in doubt about this data, NOAA STAR NESDIS makes all the data available starting from this page.

I’m not in doubt about the data, but I am in doubt about Kip Hansen’s claims. So I followed his link and downloaded the data referred to (“slr_sla_gbl_free_all_66.csv”). And here it is:

The data in the file are not identical to the data plotted by NOAA. I suspect that the plots from NOAA apply a 60-day smooth, because the data themselves show a 60-day periodicity due to the orbit of the satellite itself, which is best removed to portray sea level trends. I’ll work with the data as is.

Computing the mean sea level at all times (averaging over satellites active at the time) I get this:

The solid red line is the best-fit straight line; it is not an endorsement of the idea that the trend is a perfectly straight line. I also computed yearly averages, just to reduce the noise level and give a clearer picture of what the trend might be:

Does it look to you like the trend is a perfectly straight line?

I know, “looks like” is not proper scientific evidence.

Let’s apply some statistics. Step one: if the real trend is a perfectly straight line, then when we subtract that straight line from the data, what’s left (the “residuals”) will show no trend at all (unless you call “flatline” a trend). Let’s take our best-fit straight line (by least squares regression), subtract it from the data itself, and see what residuals remain:

The gray line is the residuals, the big blue dots are yearly averages of same. Does it look like there’s no trend, just “flatline”?

I know … “looks like” is not proper scientific evidence. But that’s a helluva “looks like.” Bring on the statistical tests.

I tried a linear spline, a trend model made of two straight lines which meet at their endpoints (the “breakpoint” or “knot”). I chose the timing for the knot by changepoint analysis, and that gives me a test of statistical significance (which includes the effect of selection bias). Result? The p-value, less than 0.0001, confirms there is some trend other than just a single straight line.

I also fit a quadratic trend to the data. This is not an endorsement of the idea that the trend is a perfect quadratic, but if the quadratic term is statistically significant it does enable us to reject the idea of nothing but a straight line. The p-value, again less than 0.0001, confirms that there is some trend other than just a straight line.

I also fit a lowess smooth and a linear spline to the residuals, and here they are one more time with the lowess smooth in red (pink band for its uncertainty range) and the linear spline in brown (dashed lines for its uncertainty range):

This displays what the statistical test confirm: that there is some trend other than just a straight line. In fact, the rate of sea level rise got faster. We call that “acceleration.”

Notice: Kip Hansen did none of this.

I used both the lowess smooth and the aforementioned linear spline to estimate the rate of sea level rise. For the linear spline, the results (and their uncertainties) are the average rates during the linear intervals. Here’s the result, in red for the lowess smooth (its uncertainty range in pink) and blue for the linear spline (dashed lines for its uncertainty range):

The NOAA/STAR data, which Kip Hansen himself pointed to, are perfectly consistent with the claim that sea level rise is currently at 4.5 mm/yr.

Notice: The data Kip Hansen points to, outright contradict his own claim of “perfectly straight line” They don’t contradict, but actually support the results of Nerem at all.

My opinion: this is at least in part because he didn’t study the data he refers to and certainly didn’t “thoroughly check” anything. Which is ironic, given his closing comment (emphasis his):

Every time a person takes in something that is not true and accepts it, they become effectively stupider. Promulgating false information, intentionally, through failure to thoroughly check its validity or through failure to label something properly as opinion, is a crime against the collective human mind.

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40 responses to “How Deniers Deny

  1. Wow, thanks so much for this. It’s incredible when people appear to think about this stuff but merely repeat their long held beliefs instead of really thinking. This guy probably saw the graph and then immediately leapt to a conclusion followed by an eager desire to tell all his denier mates about it. And, no doubt, they will also see only what they want to see.

  2. Susan Anderson

    Unbelievable. Kip Hansen is not an authority on anything but sailing his boat. I can’t believe WattsUp took him on. What a waster of time (actually, almost all of them are not good for anything but clogging up space and distracting people who have better things to do with their time). He was one of the dumber and more pretentious fakers on DotEarth.

    • Susan ==> Well, Susan, Andy Revkin himself didn’t agree — he published one of my essay there on his NY Times blog. [ see ]. Not that Andy and I agreed very often.

      • Hey, Kipster. Andy Revkin didn’t agree with you then, which is why his introductory paragraph included “I think he’s downplaying the scientific case, built on basic climate principles (“everything we do know”), for long-term warming, but his general point is worth exploring”.

        I glimpsed at your current little essay and saw “Oh, and no mention of the “heat wave” traveling “north” from Europe — only the high pressure system which brought clear skies and sunny days (which was also partly responsible for Europe’s 4-day heat wave).”

        Heat waves are high-pressure systems. Wikipedia’s description of formation is clear enough – high pressure stalls, air descends, warms adiabatically and stays in place.

        Here’s one bit NSIDC has to say about Greenland’s summer melt season this year: “The key factors for surface mass loss and melting for Greenland in 2019 included: 1) exceptional persistence of anticyclonic conditions (high pressure) during the 2019 summer, promoting dry and sunny weather that enhanced the surface melt thanks to the melt-albedo feedback”

        For the readers, Kip takes some odd positions on fixing things back when he was a frequent disinformer at Revkin’s blog. Kip, can you explain again why you were so angry about one article talking about the benefits of affordable solar systems reaching off-grid villages in Africa and India? To most, seeing that people could charge phones, get online, allow study in evenings and reading that women had less fear of being raped at night just for needing to go outside to relieve themselves would all seem like positive developments.
        But not you – you were incensed, I remember you insisting the benefits weren’t real unless the village somehow also made a variety of other improvements. Lights and power not good unless somebody came and built you a new water system, too, or something like that. Everything at once, like things generally do not happen.

        And I saw one of your early Watts bits where you were trying to teach the readers there to distrust epidemiology, too. Kind of a coals to Newcastle effort, Kip, teaching them to misunderstand science, but if it passes the time…

      • Fagan ==> Revkin didn’t agree about the one bit of my essay he published … to be expected, we seldom disagreed on the topic of AGW and the strength of the science.

        I am certainly not alone in my views of humanitarian improvements in developing countries — I think you re referring to the huge waste of money and effort to distribute “solar panel — battery– and single light bulb” systems to the poor in Africa. It is my view, shared by lots of other development experts, that such systems are a pretense and divert resources and effort to supply what is really needed — and is a UN Sustainable development Goal #7 — “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. The one-bulb effort is just a distraction from this goal.

      • Susan Anderson

        I remember, but couldn’t find, Andy Revkin agreeing with someone who pointed out that he published that article to let Kip Hansen have some rope so he could hang himself (it was put more politely, but that was the gist).

        Nice job not providing a usable link. However, for those willing to use up minutes they will never get back if you add a backslash people can see the usual denier gang weighing in (Kurt in S, wmar, who might be confused with Marc Morano, etc.). If they follow a little further they will find stalwart members of the real world weighing in. Here’s are a few:

        arty ma October 20, 2013
        I’d like to thank all the contributors with math and science backgrounds who pointed out the errors in the post.
        It is unfortunate that the US public already has a relatively poor understanding of the basic methods of science, and an even poorer, perhaps, grasp of quantitative reasoning.
        We certainly don’t want to make things worse with efforts like this.

        Andrew Revkin October 18, 2013
        Richard Alley, in his climate “dance,” does a good job of showing where the CO2 signature is revealed.

        and this is useful too:

        The deniers made themselves a real home from home at DotEarth, and it gave a false impression that it was a real argument. Reality has intruded, and fewer and fewer people are able to claim that planetary evidence doesn’t exist. Such a waste of time. Kip Hansen and his supporters have endless energy providing endless column inches of fakery.

      • Susan ==> You mis-remember. Another reader at Dot Earth asked in comments:
        “Should we take from your selection of the following comment as a NYT Pick, your agreement that your aim was to cause our own Kip Hansen to ‘hang himself by affording him the rope to do so’?”

        Andrew Revkin did not reply. (He seldom interacted in the comment section.) I replied however to the odd suggestion with:
        “Let’s not cast aspersions at Mr. Revkin as a first pass. We know he is traveling in Asia this weekend and may well have passed moderation on to some other editor at the Times to act in his absence. This would be my first guess.

        Regardless of his personal opinion about the validity of my conclusions about statistical trends, he has always shown himself to be without the kind of guile you imply. (There is no doubt that we disagree somewhat about the general state of Climate Science and its implications.)”

        Gotta love your memory though — that one rather nasty comment (demeaning to both myself and Andrew Revkin) was made 12 October 2013!

      • Here’s Kip demanding grid or nothing in 2015 from one of Revkin’s DotEarth columns:
        “It is “nice” that some homes get a light bulb in the evening, and a cell phone charger. Band aids are “nice”, cast off American clothing is “nice” — lots of charitable efforts are “nice”. But when they are done to make us feel better instead of the things that would solve real problems, then they can be destructive. These little single home solar solutions do not solve any of the people’s real problems and certainly doesn’t meet the UN’s goal of “modern energy services — which would save lives and help bring the poor the benefits of safe unspoiled food, safe clean water, dependable health services and schools with lights, computers, air conditioning or fans, a/v equipment and internet services.”

        The UN site now heads the Energy goal with “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy” and a target is “By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services”.

        If you think the grid is going to touch villages everywhere by 2030 your hat’s too tight.

        Kip – here’s something from the UN with affordable modern energy services: “The pay-as-you-go solar home system provides eight hours of emission-free lighting each day and enough power to charge mobile phones. The Azuri system cuts weekly energy spending by up to 50%, which means people start saving money and reducing emissions immediately.”

        Kip – “modern energy services” were what Akon was bringing in that article that got you so incensed. Pay-as-you-go systems that were affordable to start with. Chargers so people could stay connected to the internet ( you know, the mobile payment system uses that). Light so kids could study, parents could work, and again, women could feel safer going out to the latrines at night.

        Kip – solar power systems are inherently modular. Since internet connectivity is already a given with the phones, you wanted “lights, computers, air conditioning or fans, a/v equipment ”
        All here:
        For a bigger selection: look at the products pages here:

        Refrigerators and other off-grid gadgets and appliances are even getting efficiency ratings and field tests in scientific studies. Open access report.
        “Off-grid appliance performance testing: results and trends for early-stage market development”
        Lai, E., Muir, S. & Erboy Ruff, Y. Energy Efficiency (2019).

        The encouraging thing about this thing you disdain, Kip, is that new, clean energy technology is going to reach hundreds of millions of people so their lives will be better without having to wait for an old fashioned grid. They get to skip that and benefit from sunlight, which is delivered pretty often, even without paved roads.

      • On the matter of microgrids and household-level systems in the developing world, I went looking for the “lots of other development experts” and failed to find any in a quick search.

        (Perhaps they exist, out there somewhere, but you’d think they’d “speak up” a bit more loudly. Anyway, it’s good to know that our friend Kip is a “development expert”, as the only credential I could find for him–again, admittedly, in a quick search–was “science junkie”. That was interesting, in that that’s the one I can claim myself. But I digress.)

        What I did find was a pair of articles in Forbes:

        Seems there’s a fair amount of interest and investment in microgrids, household-level systems AND utility-level solar in Africa, so clearly those “lots of other development experts” don’t represent the only point of view on this. I also note that “single bulb” seems a pretty poor characterization of what is actually being done:

        “If it is a sunny day, you will put more electricity into that box,” says Lumos’ Gordon. “It recharges every day. You draw as much power as you need to. If it runs out, it runs out. But the battery will last a good period of time: two or three hours of TV, running fans, burning light bulbs and charging phones.”

        (Link #1, above.)

        It’s true that such systems “may struggle with larger electricity loads such as powering machinery and agricultural equipment” (Link #2.) But there’s great utility in addressing *some* needs *now*. After all, “Africa, of course, has 600 million people without access to electricity.”

        It would be great to somehow give everyone across electrical access per the development goal Kip refers to. But replicating the sort of fossil-powered centralized grid that the world’s wealthiest nations took a century to build up for their respective territories might just be the least efficient and effective way to go about addressing the problem. And, given the climate consequences that would follow adopting such a model for the area that is the primary focus of high population growth rates, also the dumbest and most self-defeating. “Diverting” the course of the least-developed nations into a more sustainable path–and “sustainable”, be it noted, is in the description–using modern, decentralized energy systems would seem to make a lot more sense.

      • Doc ==> Micro-grids are a fairly good idea — where feasible. When my wife and I were in the Dominican Republic doing humanitarian work, we organized a project for one small mountain community to design, build and install a small hydro-powered , flow of stream generator and distribution grid serving 100 households, all for under US$15,000. This allowed all these families to have refrigeration, power for: sewing machines, phone chargers, TVs, radios, washing machines. Dependable, sufficient local electricity allowed local businesses to develop.

        The programs that I do not support are the solar-panel/battery/one light bulb per household systems being touted and financed instead of proper electrical access.

        This topic really has nothing whatever to do with “sustainability”. It has to do with basic human rights — if the rich countries are to help the poor countries, we need to supply what is really needed and wanted.

      • Just wondering, Kip, how much time you have spent in developing countries. I suspect it is not a great deal. So, I am wondering how you know what people want and need in such places and what makes you think that solar panels are being foisted off on unwilling natives?
        In my recent experience, solar panels are among the Chinese products in highest demand–they’ve revolutionized village life in many developing countries.

      • snark ==> My wife and I spent 12 years in the Dominican Republic, paying our own way, doing humanitarian work all across the social spectrum — from working with individual families, neighborhood health clinics, farmer co-operatives, regional health departments, WHO/PAHO, and Dominican National agencies for health and education.

        Everyone likes to get cool gifts — even ones that don’t really fulfill their needs. Rather than put a single light-bulb and a phone charger in each home, it is far better to build and supply real electrical energy access. Even a single 20 amp 120 VAC outlet in each home is life-changing for the profoundly poor. It means, most importantly, refrigeration – safe food storage.

        This essay – – above — is not on this topic. I have touched on the topic here in the past — but not done a deep dive essay.

        The UN’s SDG 7 “Ensure everyone has access to CLEAN, AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE and MODERN ENERGY” is one of their efforts that I wholly support.

      • Kip, I’ve credited you your charity work in the past, but also pointed out that it doesn’t make you a one-size-fits-all expert, especially when you’re still, years later, attempting to present current, affordable solar/power/lighting systems as “single-bulb” solutions.

        If you can get streams running reliably in the Sahel or the many other flat, arid or semi-arid places where many of the people are sparsely settled, I’ll get a hat just so I can take it off to you, especially if you also address the fact that reliable water supply is projected to become much more iffy worldwide. Can’t get power from a dry stream bed (unless you put solar panels in it).

        Flow-of-stream is great in countries that have streams. Not so much in many other areas. Yet the sun hits every square inch of the planet at least sometimes. And batteries, solar panels, power electronics and even DC appliances are getting better every single year. The UN mandate includes “affordable” and the pay-as-you-go, mobile money approach has been a game changer for millions of people.

        Your insistence that people should wait until a full suite of things is available before beginning to benefit from available, capable technologies takes away from the good you’ve done. Your efforts to continue denial of changes we all should be doing are also removing your credit and credibility as a helpful contributer.

      • fagan ==> I’ve tried to make it clear which give-away programs I don’t support — the classic solar-panel/battery/single bulb to a hut/house give-aways.

        Programs that are going to build solar panel arrays with village-sized battery back up and inverter systems — true mini-grids — that supply each home with minimum of 24/7 20-30 amps of 120 VAC fill the bill of the UN’s SDG#7. I’m all for them.

        The aid problem is that inadequate half-measures (really, 1/10th measures) are often taken INSTEAD of doing something that makes the truly important difference.

        Fulfilling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal for energy access is not going to be easy — and it will not be accomplished when funds and effort are wasted on programs that are not even going to eventually add up to an appropriate solution.

        Of course, good and well-meaning people can disagree about what approaches to take. There was the same disagreement when the United States was attempting to achieve full electrical access — “By the end of the 1930, electricity found its way to only about 10 percent of American farms. ” My grandparents didn’t have electricity on their farm until after WWII.

        Programs that achieve the full scope and intent of the UN’s SDG7 have my full support.

      • Kip, I’m used to your style. You’ve been shown, now and before, systems well beyond “a single light bulb” along with the phrase “pay as you go”, so you won’t be confused unless you deliberately decide to. You decide to, and keep pretending there’s nothing between your choice and a lightbulb.

        I’ve been describing scalable systems that meet many points of UN sustainable development goal 7, and you throw in additional criteria. Has to be the village! Has to be 120v wall sockets! Might as well say they need 300 watts per channel on their stereo, and a 9-volt landline phone system, too. But the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 doesn’t specify the amount of functionality you demand.

        They’re fine with people getting incremental benefits, because their ambitious goal by 2030 is not exactly rushing headlong to full washer-and-dryer systems for all. The UN is aware of the fact that people using pay-as-you-go solar systems gain benefits by spending less for light (kero$ene), polluting in their house a bit less – same fuel, and being able to keep phone charged and move their way up to affording more things.

        “Off-grid solar solutions, ranging from solar home systems to solar mini-grids are important drivers of rural energy access, which complement grid electrification in some countries.”

        IRENA, in tracking sustainable power in developing countries, also includes simple solar light systems as one trackable progress indicator.

        Those systems you’ve rejected time and again fit UN goals. They fit the desires of the residents paying for them, too. Here from the World Bank:

        “Fortunately, there are lower-cost technological alternatives to grid electrification that are especially useful in providing basic service to households in rural and remote areas where infrastructure extension costs are particularly high. Costs of smaller scale off-grid technologies, most notably solar lighting devices and solar home systems in combination with improved batteries and LED lights, have decreased considerably over the last decade […] Even in grid-covered rural areas, households and micro-enterprises use electricity mostly for lighting, phone charging, and entertainment – which can easily be provided by solar panels.”

        So the systems I linked that provide light, phone charging, TV and a fan. They provide what the above report notes people most want when getting electricity.

        Affordable systems that provide people real benefits this year rather than some expensive, grand-swoop future, in nations where even their central grids might still be unstable, is a positive thing. The UN recognizes that. You fight it.

        I’m for helping them with microgrids, large solar/wind/storage, local home systems and development of efficient DC appliances – all of it – no cutoff and plenty of no-strings aid from the US (well, some audit control for reviews).

        By the way, will you post your support for UN Sustainable Development Goals in an essay at WU? I know the crowd you cultivate are fond of Agenda 21 and blue helmets. Their comments on that would be worth reading.

      • Susan Anderson

        Actually, he selected that comment, which was very revealing. Thanks for providing the quote. There’s nothing nasty about preferring truth and a future to lies and dangerous promotion of ignorance.

      • Kip: “The programs that I do not support are the solar-panel/battery/one light bulb per household systems…”

        Oh, you mean the programs that absolutely no one is supporting or offering? You do love your straw men, don’t you, Kip? Jebus, how long ago were you in the DR, and why do you assume every developing country is the same?

  3. Kip Hansen: Proving once again that you have to be an ignorant imbecile–at best–to be an denialist.

  4. “Every time a person takes in something that is not true and accepts it, they become effectively stupider. Promulgating false information, intentionally, through failure to thoroughly check its validity or through failure to label something properly as opinion, is a crime against the collective human mind.”

    Projection is a mechanism associated with mild-to-severe thinking disorders. It has completely taken over the denier community with statements like this as well as their many screeds about what science is and is not directed at professionals. And about as insightful as sports “analysts” at a bar.

  5. This is great. Thanks. How humiliating for Kip.

  6. There is a WARNING stapled to the Wattsupian drivel discussed in this OP.
    It is labelled as “OPINION” (although it does go on to say it presents factual data within that opinion which can be interpreted differently by those with differing opinions) but also proclaims:-

    “Every time a person takes in something that is not true and accepts it, they become effectively stupider. Promulgating false information, intentionally, through failure to thoroughly check its validity or through failure to label something properly as opinion, is a crime against the collective human mind.”

    Given the “not true” content of Wattsupia, that is strong language.

    As for this particular serving of Wattsupian drivel, the thrust of argument is that a certain NYT article is “greater-than 100% wrong” which is not the easiest of positions to defend. And given such a stance, the fool only addresses the title and opening two paragraph, which comprises slightly less than 3% of the whole. So it is likely this particular drivel-smith indeed deserves his HotWhopper badge of dishonour.

  7. I suppose that Kip would look at a bridge over a valley and conclude the terrain was flat all along.

  8. Back when sea level rise was 3 mm/year there were posts at WUWT saying sea level rise was not happening.

  9. Thanks for drawing attention to my work at WUWT. Short term tiny changes in metrics that are themselves subject to large uncertainties should not be considered suitable for recalculation of trends. The satellite record itself is barely long enough, and is not precise enough, to allow for such interpretation.

    [Response: Thanks for putting the incompetence of climate deniers on public display.

    You chose the data to support your own claim. You invited scrutiny, brazenly but not too wisely I’d say, and provided a link. But when I show that it flatly contradicts you — suddenly it’s “not long enough” and “not precise enough.” It looks like you’re following a long-standing climate denier tradition: when the data you chose yourself makes you look bad, run away from it.

    If, as you say, “failure to thoroughly check its validity” when promulgating your false information is a “crime against the collective human mind,” then I have to ask: when it comes to your claim that sea level has followed a “perfectly straight line since 1993,” how did you “thoroughly check it’s validity”?]

    • Grant Foster ==> On the contrary, I prefer to stand by NOAA’s (and NASA’s) numbers and their evaluation of the long-term trend. Of course, I did not say “that sea level has followed a “perfectly straight line since 1993,”” nor would I.

      [Response: When you said “perfectly straight line” we knew you were talking about the trend, not the fluctuations. You don’t get off that easily.]

      The data shows that the long-term trend has not changed since the beginning of the satellite era.

      [Response: No. It doesn’t. That is exactly the point of this post.

      The data — which YOU selected — show unambiguous, statistically significant acceleration. That’s a fact.

      I presented my analysis to demonstrate the point. Where is your analysis? All I’ve seen from you is false claims, graphs made by others (are you not able to make your own?), and a glaringly obvious lack of any analysis at all.

      That is how you deny the undeniable. You pontificate about what the trend is — but you haven’t studied the data yourself. You offer no analysis — I suspect, you’re not able to do it. You close by getting on a very high horse about how everyone who fails to “thoroughly check its validity” before promulgating false information is guilty of a “crime against the collective human mind.” Which tells us that you’re not just wrong, you’re a pompous ass.]

      I have maintained (yes, long term, over the last decade) what anyone who studies the satellite altimetry sea level program knows — and provided NASA/NOAA data and links to their original program materials on the error bars that should be attached to all NASA/NOAA sea level data. It is my series Sea Level: Rise and Fall. (a search on any search engine will lead you there.) Overall, the series explains my views on our technological ability to measure the height of the “global” seas to any degree of accuracy or precision at all. Part 4a specifically discusses the Nerem (2018) paper when it was fresh. [ ]. And while I doubt that you (or many of your readers) will like it, it makes interesting reading.

  10. Readers also need to remember that Kip’s “essay” was for the WU crowd, so it’s not about encouraging critical thinking. For example, a sentence like the following makes it pretty clear to the average literate adult English speaker that the recent high tide flooding in Venice was the worst one since one 50 years ago.

    “The mayor called for a state of emergency after the Italian city was submerged under “acqua alta,” an exceptionally high tide — the worst in 50 years.”

    Not in the type of essay that flies at WU land. Here’s Kip’s insight: “And there’s your hint — when a journalists claims something is “worst in 50 years” they are avoiding telling your that it was worse sometime more than 50 years ago”.

    No, Kip, they’re saying the journalist equivalent of “Ain’t seen a flood like this one since oh, goin’ on fifty years ago”. Enjoy your hobby, it must take a lot of work to convince them of anything that lets them feel there’s nothing going on.

    • When similar conditions to those of previous record setting events recur, the results will be more severe and will set new records. Not cause to believe what we are experiencing is unexceptional but cause for concern about more and exceptional new extremes.

  11. Susan Anderson

    I left out one other cogent DotEarth effort to defog the obvious, here:

    Mark Renfrow – Dallas October 11, 2013
    Andy, this post has provided interesting insight into the denier mind. I’m not sure what was intended but I must admit, I’ve learned something about motivated reasoning and how powerful it can be in pretty smart people.

    It’s why science tests the hypothesis, to overcome the biases we all have. So there’s no shame in the bias, just in the ignoring the outcomes of failing to scientifically refute the AGW hypothesis.

    Kip has spent much time here telling us that a trend does not determine the future. Why? Because he has no way to debunk the science in the existing trend line. That’s motivated reasoning.

    In other words, he asks us to please ignore the trend, since it means nothing about the future. But of course it does…in either direction.

  12. Kip, while Susan, you and I have old home week, please explain why your positions, supposedly sciency, all work to the benefit of the fossil industry?

    Your “not a single bulb, until the grid arrives in full!!” demands for helping rural communities, where people actually benefit from moving from no electricity to some electricity, is essentially telling them to wait for their grid operators to stretch expensive infrastructure out to them, where they’d also “enjoy” what’s a sporadic resource even in cities. Remember our rural areas weren’t invited to the commercial grid until the feds stepped in to complete wiring our country.

    In the past, you’ve commented honestly on the damages to coral biomes around the world from threats to them like overfishing, pollution, wreckless tourism, invasive species, runoff from land.

    Yet bring up the global risks of decalcification, warming, oxygen depletion, and you go into what can only be called full denial mode.

    So for whatever reason, now that well over half of the Great Barrier Reef suffered bleaching during yet another global bleaching event, why still protect fossil use instead of the ocean life? A few years back, you pointed to a paper, but first pointed to a denial article on the fossil-fueled Australian news site. The actual paper was, needless to say, more dire than your sunny spin. You don’t want people reading the science, you want them reading spin.

    So as an ocean lover, what’s your take on these links? Widespread bleaching was rare before 1998. Note that I’m not calling you names, I’m just questioning what is a willful blind spot in representing reality.

    • Susan Anderson

      Your posts are always informative, thank you. I am more than happy to have left that posse of deceivers to defunct DotEarth and refuse to contribute clicks to WattsUp. Sou did the staggeringly frustrating and unrewarding work of unpacking the confusion and misrepresentation at WattsUp for years. It doesn’t go anywhere, and Kip is not going to change his mind. This just gives him a new audience. We have real work to do, and the deceptions of promoters of unwisdom and inaction are more ignorant and criminal by the day.

      Thankfully, I know you have a wider audience for your interesting and intelligent work!

      On that criminal bit, Sou does a good one here:

      If a serial climate disinformer doesn’t like being compared to mass murderers, then they should ask themselves why they are working so hard to bring about death and destruction. Or, they can change their behaviour and stop acting as if they want to. (Today there was a very unpleasant denier who objected to this comparison. He is a long term disinformer about climate change and has now been banned from this blog, so you won’t see his comments or my response.) [Update: That particular disinformer just sent a comment to let me know he and his hard-core denier bloggers follow in the footsteps of “Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot…”, or words to that effect.]

      • Thank you, Susan. I found that when I first encountered the DotEarth crowd I couldn’t believe it was a comment board for the NYTimes instead of the WSJ opinion section or the WU blog Kip donates disinformation to (slogan for either site: “we’ll soothe you by telling you nothing’s going on – please don’t examine the arguments closely”). I found it good exercise to try to document reality in response to the usual crowd there.

      • Hey, late to the party in the incremental approach to electricity vs. Kip’s bigger-first scheme, but I just saw this on IEEE Spectrum this evening. It’s worth a quick read – incremental, affordable improvements attracting local enterpreneurs and enhancements. The article that led me to it is linked below that, and is also more applicable to developed countries as we force our grid to adapt.

        “Startup Profile: ME SOLshare’s “Swarm Electrification” Powers Villages in Bangladesh — The company links isolated PV systems to create an energy-sharing economy
        Bangladesh hosts the world’s largest collection of off-grid solar energy systems. Rooftop panels and batteries electrify over 4 million households and businesses there. The Dhaka-based startup ME SOLshare believes it has the technology to link these systems and foster a solar energy-sharing economy. If the company succeeds, home systems will morph into village minigrids, offering wider access to more power at lower cost.”

        And for us in the wealthy lands – an important consideration as we add rooftop generation and head to a future where power is generated and/or consumed anywhere.

        “A Plug-and-Play Microgrid for Rooftop Solar
        The future of solar energy depends on making residential power good enough for the grid”

    • b fagan:

      Your “not a single bulb, until the grid arrives in full!!” demands for helping rural communities, where people actually benefit from moving from no electricity to some electricity, is essentially telling them to wait for their grid operators to stretch expensive infrastructure out to them, where they’d also “enjoy” what’s a sporadic resource even in cities. Remember our rural areas weren’t invited to the commercial grid until the feds stepped in to complete wiring our country.

      I’m late to this party too, but your characterization of Kip’s position rang a bell for me. In common with many climate-science deniers, Kip’s conviction that AGW is a stalking-horse for environmentalism/liberalism/socialism/communism is well known. Back in my figurative bomb-throwing days, I came across a quote by VI Lenin: “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country.” Many US conservatives remained suspicious of the TVA. Perhaps Kip wants to delay electrification in third world countries for fear they’ll turn Communist? Illogical, to be sure (look what happened to Soviet power), but that’s seldom a serious obstacle for deniers.

  13. On the subject of deniers denying, another of the denialist faithful who is waving his denial at the world at present is good old Roy Spencer. With his UAH TLT v6 record posting its hottest November on record, he decides to tap out an OP which concentrates on the annual average temperatures. 2019 is destined to claim third warmest year on the UAH record (the RSS TLT record will show it as second) behind the big El Niño years 1998 & 2016. Unlike November temperatures which tend to be less affected by El Niño, TLT records are strongly affected by El Niño so it is no great surprise that a non-El Niño year has failed to top 2016 just three-years-back. (Even in the RSS TLT record, 1998 sits presently 5th amongst years of the past decade.)
    But good old Roy Spencer cannot call 2019 the 3rd warmest year on record but instead calls it “the Third Least-Chilly.” He then sets out his reason for resorting for this juvenile euphemism:-

    “The use of the term “hottest” to describe recent warming belies the fact that the rate of warming we have experienced in recent decades is minuscule compared to the several tens of degrees of temperature change most people experience throughout the year — and sometimes from one week to the next.”

    This is very remenicient of Dickie Lindzen’s thin red line (a plot of the global warming on a plot of Spring daily max-mins for Boston). But then Dickie managed to demonstrate how far his AGW denial had pushed him into the realms of the swivel-eyed fantasist. From the same 2012 ranting seminar put on for him by his denialist chums in the UK parliament buildings [at 32:20]:-

    “Points to take away from the global mean temperature record.
    Changes are small. They are in the order of several tenths of a degree. Changes are not causal but rather the residue of regional changes. Changes in the order of several tenths of a degree are always present at virtually all time scales. And obsessing on the details of this record is more akin to a spectator sport for tea-leaf reading than a serious contributor to scientific efforts.
    Say, at least so far. If some day I should see some changes of twenty-times what I’ve seen so far, that would be certainly remarkable but nothing so far looks that way.”

    So Lindzen was saying that a change of global temperature of several degrees celsius (so +0.7ºC) is unremarkable (not worthy of attention) and it would take a change in global temperature of twenty-times that to become remarkable (so +14ºC). This is perhaps an interesting view of such a large increase in global temperatures as myself, I would suggest a +14ºC would not be described as remarkable (worthy of attention) but very difficult to ignore.
    Spencer’s excuse is the argument that the natural energy flows in and out of our climate system are so much larger than the AGW forcing and uses this relative size to suggest we remain ignorant of the causes of recent global temperature increases.
    “In other words, recent warming [which is of course “miniscule.”] might well be mostly natural. We just don’t know.” And so presumably these denialists just don’t care.

  14. This really should be at the Climate Models post, but commenting there is apparently close, so this is the next best thing.

    Google has just published in the the public domain datasets from CMIP6.

  15. Susan Anderson

    A final plea on this post for fact based knowledge and the future, for anyone who follows the future and thinks “skepticism” includes talking points from nonexperts:

  16. So, admittedly i only skimmed the comments, but I think I got the gist:

    Tamino’s explanations about statistics and Kip H’s failure to address any of them don’t matter, because Andy Revkin was a gentle soul and didn’t like to come down hard on folks.

    That sound about right?