Category Archives: Global Warming

Statistics can be tricky

And for more than one reason.

Sometimes it’s because the math is hard. As the science of statistics has advanced, and computers have made it practical to use ever-more-sophisticated methods, the math has gotten more sophisticated, which often means just plain harder. It’s getting more and more difficult to stay current with the latest developments. But it’s worth the effort; as the methods have gotten more complicated, they’ve also gotten better.

But sometimes it’s for an age-old reason, which few lay people and not enough scientists (even not enough statisticians) fully appreciate, that you have to understand what your data are doing, and why. Often, you really need to feel it in your gut.

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I really think the “donations” thing is fixed

We called PayPal again, this time we got somebody who really seems to know what he’s doing. The fix was applied right then instead of the previous “it should work in a day or two.” Immediately after, my wife (who previously tried and failed to donate) tried, and it worked.

So it looks like the donation thing is really fixed this time.

Of course anyone who wishes to, is more than welcome to. If you get an error message, do let me know (and copy/paste the error message in your comment).

Thanks very much to all who donate, and to all who’ve helped track down the problem, and all who have been patient.

Jeb Fiddles while California Burns

You may have seen headlines that Jeb Bush is once again admitting that climate change is happening (how many times has he changed his tune?) but 1) still insists that nobody knows how much of it is due to mankind, 2) insults as “arrogant” those who tell him that yes we do know, 3) refuses even to suggest something we might do about it other than “use more natural gas,” and 4) slams President Obama’s Clean Power Plan — that would be actually doing something about it.

Here are some clues for you, Mr. Flippy-Floppy: 1) we’re responsible for it, the vast majority of it, probably even all of it. 2) Yes, on that topic the science is settled; calling that “arrogant” so you can refuse to accept what the scientists say while admitting you’re not a scientist, that’s what’s really arrogant. 3) Natural gas is cleaner than coal, but it’s still a fossil fuel. And 4) President Obama’s clean power plan is the right thing to do, but even if you understood that you wouldn’t admit it. You’re too arrogant.

Meanwhile, thousands of people were evacuated from their homes because the “Rocky Fire,” a wildfire described as “unprecedented” by firefighters, now covers 60,000 acres — 93 square miles, bigger than the city of San Francisco — while it tears through northern California. Remember California? The state suffering through the worst drought in over 1,000 years?

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Getting model-data comparison right

One of the favorite criticisms harped on by deniers is that global temperature isn’t rising as fast as computer models have predicted. So far, comparisons have shown that observed temperature is on the low end, even skirting the significantly low end, of model results. They generally use this to imply, or say outright, that not only are models “wrong wrong wrong” but the whole of climate science is “wrong wrong wrong.”

Of course it might be a valid criticism of the models, but not of global warming theory which most decidedly does not depend on complex computer models. The models are just our best way of forecasting what the future will bring; they aren’t necessary to understand, or confirm by many observations (not just temperature data), the physics behind man-made climate change.

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Where most of us live (with apologies to southern-hemisphere readers)

Almost all of us live on land, not the ocean. And, most of us live in the northern hemisphere, not the southern. For the benefit of most of us, let’s take a closer look at how temperature has changed, in the northern hemisphere, on land.

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Quick note to regular readers

We’ve contacted Paypal, they tell us that the problem with donations has been a glitch on their end. They also say that sometime tomorrow or the next, it should be working OK.

I’ll also mention that, although I often post about new scientific results and mathematical analyses, often quite technical, I also feel the need to post about what’s happening right now, and in simple terms. Many of you are quite knowledgeable and sophisticated, but I need to write stuff for the more typical lay reader as well. So, my next post will be a simple exposition of recent temperature in the northern hemisphere, on land, but (I hope!) will not be very technical.

Mad not a scientists

It speaks for itself.