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How to make climate graphs look scary — a reply to XKCD

This week XKCD (a popular Geek comic site) posted an epic cartoon called “A Timeline Of Earth’s Average Temperature”. It was a cutesy long godzilla hockey-stick — “scary” to the unwary.

It’s easy to make a scary historical-looking temperature graph — so easy that the artist probably didn’t even know how. (Thank Shakun, Marcott, Annan, Hadcrut and the IPCC for doing the tricky part.) First,  guesstimate temperatures over last 20,000 years with anything at hand: tree-rings, ice bubbles, coral, fossilized tea leaves, whatever. Blend. Then stop the proxies, tack on thermometer data that was recorded in a different way with different errors and a very different response to faster temperature changes. Finally, launch that line into the future with unvalidated, skillless multivariate models that predict a fingerprint which 28 million weather balloons can’t find. Then take the models that didn’t work for the last twenty years, and run with the errors to the next century… Voila!

I took the 14,000 pixel cartoon and squeezed it to one shot that shows the curve that matters. See the error bars? Me neither.

(But who needs an uncertainty range when you have faith?)

Hockeystick Graph, XKCD, Cartoon, Holocene.

Click to enlarge.

The secret to a good hockey-stick graph is to never use the same type of data from start to end. If things like tree rings and ice bubbles were so good at measuring the temperature circa 5,015 BC, why don’t we use them in 2015?

Could it be that thermometers will measure every hot day, but corals don’t?

Matt Briggs takes on the graph  Stream: xkcd’s Global Warming Time Series Mistakes

Adding together lots of errors and uncertainties will make a nice smooth line. Any noise can be averaged to one note. This gives the illusion that the climate was once stable.

The Medieval Warm Period was recorded in hundreds of studies. Temperatures a thousand years ago were not so different to today. In the XKCD graph, that bump’s gone, blended to nothing. xkcd calls it “regional” but 6,000 boreholes drilled all over the world suggest otherwise, so do warm Indonesian waters, receding glaciers in New Zealand and melting ice in Antarctica. (See NIPCC.)  How many other bumps in the last 20,000 years disappeared like this too? About 20,000 years worth. It’s like a thousand year smoother was run over the graph up until the last 100 years.

What happened to those error-bars?

As the Great Matt Briggs says:

The picture xkcd presents is lacking any indication of uncertainty, which is the major flaw. We should not be looking at lines, which imply perfect certainty, but blurry swaths that indicate uncertainty. Too many people are too certain of too many things, meaning the debate is far from “settled.”

Global temperatures vary less than polar ones. So I took data from Vostok and Greenland and shrunk to half its actual variation and slapped it over the xkcd line. See it below. This is just an indication of the variability missing from the “smoothed” proxies. The invisible error bars on the original XKCD graph would be wide.

Holocene temperatures, Marcott, GISP, Vostok, XKCD, cartoon, Graph.

Click to enlarge.

Apparently the data for the XKCD graph comes from Marcott (ha ha, UPDATE See Climate Audit: The Marcott Filibuster, and others on Marcott. My post on Marcott: “Ponder how researchers can find 5,000 year old Foraminifera deposits, but not ones from 1940?”

Another good quote so relevant to the graph: That’s 300 year smoothing. We should average the climate from 1700 to now. How scary would that look?

“Marcott et al clearly say there is “…essentially no variability preserved at periods shorter than 300 years…” So if there were, say, occurrences of a warming rise exactly like the last century, this graph won’t show them.”.

You want noise? This is noise:

Anyone who has looked at proxies, knows that they don’t make long smooth lines. This is just the last 2,000 years of variability in the Northern Hemisphere. There are a lot of not-hockey-sticks.

Temperatures, Northern Hemisphere, Climate change, Medieval warm period.

Click to enlarge

Things we know for sure: The Earth was warmer for thousands of years than it is now during In The Holocene peak. Corals and polar bears survived. CO2 was not to blame for the heat that didn’t kill corals or bears.

h/t To Todd, Dennis.

Psst:  Matt Briggs explains why BCE is a spelling mistake:

The plot purportedly shows the average global temperature, presumably measured right above the surface, beginning in 20,000 BC and ending in the future at 2100 AD. Mr Munroe misspells “BC” as “BCE” throughout the cartoon, incidentally, and leaves out “AD”.

No, I’m kidding. “BC” means “Before Christ”, which some academics, sensitive creatures that they are, find offensive on behalf of people they haven’t met, and so they change it to “Before the Common Era”. And how do they demarcate the “Common Era”? By the birth of Christ, a.k.a. BC. The same people who gave us “BCE” gave us “safe spaces”. Skip it. — W. M Briggs.

Update:  :- )

It’s no wonder that skeptics deride,
What hockey-stick warmists decide,
When some smooth operator,
Can make warming come later,
To be man-made, extreme and worldwide.

 – Ruairi

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How to make climate graphs look scary -- a reply to XKCD, 9.2 out of 10 based on 82 ratings

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77 comments to How to make climate graphs look scary — a reply to XKCD

  • #
    Not that Bob

    “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

    It’s only xkcd!

    63

    • #
      toorightmate

      Be careful what you regard as a joke.
      We all knew “97%” was a joke, but it is now quoted vehemently by POTUS and the Pope.

      152

  • #
    Stuart Elliot

    A friend on FB posted the XKCD graph with some disparaging comments about those who might disagree with it.

    Fragile wee snowflakes with their ‘safe spaces’ bother me, but not as much as the virtue signalers and moral preeners in their pulpits, ears blocked.

    In response to the XKCD FB post I didn’t bother to question the missing Minoan warm period etc etc. I simply said the end of the interglacial was coming and CO2 wouldn’t be enough to keep us warm. I figure if someone is already prone to hand-wringing I might as well do them a favour by giving them something real to worry about.

    324

    • #

      I used to like XKCD, but when I saw that graph several days ago, I realised that he was another IT geek that’s totally fooled by the warming worriers. I’ve mentioned it before, but this seems to be a common trait when it comes to the IT world (as I posted an example the other day).

      This is the link: http://newatlas.com/obq-climate-change-belief/45576/ (it used to be Gizmag until Gawker folded) and I’d love to ask the opposing question as to why do IT and similar people, who are generally pretty savvy and able to analyse things, swallow the climate scam hook, line and sinker. I haven’t come across one IT site that doesn’t question the faith.

      84

      • #
        ivan

        I have an IT company and as far as I and my people are concerned all the cAGW bunk is just that bunkum.

        Unfortunately there does appear to be a very large green following in the IT industry, you just have to look at the comments on anything green that is posted in The Register. Maybe it is because a lot of the people in the IT industry are young and gullible about anything not in their field but that does not explain their blind acceptance of unvalidated computer models.

        192

        • #

          That’s good to hear. I think you’re right about the ‘young and gullible’, but I’ve thought about it for some time and wonder whether the influence also comes from the CEOs of the major publishers. Just consider Facebook, Twitter, the now defunct Gawker Media and many others; all of the CEOs are totally of the Left, if not also heavily Green (much like Their ABC, The Age, The Guardian etc). I suspect that they ensure that their views are maintained and only employ people of the faith.

          122

        • #
          StefanL

          Ivan,
          By definition, IT geeks love IT, so of course they (most of them anyway) believe the models produced by their beloved computers. They are also often narrowly educated, which combined with youth makes them gullible.
          I am a old IT geek but I know enough history, geology, etc to see the foolishness of the CAGW scare.

          41

          • #
            Owen Morgan

            I don’t know if the CRU people, most of whom were, presumably, not behind the Climategate leaks, could exactly be described as “IT geeks”. Well, some of them, or their American associates, knew enough to fiddle code, so that it always produced the same result, regardless of input. I also recall seeing code that was utterly shambolic, apparently randomly edited by anyone who wanted to have a go at tweaking it, with no kind of audit trail. I worked in IT for a long time (I don’t think I made geek status) and it’s for that reason, among others, that I have no faith in the models.

            [OT, but I don't have much faith in the authentic "IT geeks", either. Having just installed Apple's Sierra, I am convinced in my belief that any new operating system release, from either Apple or Microsoft, is just a bundling of "fixes", from people who don't have a clue about fixing bugs, with new "features", i.e. the bugs that have yet to be discovered.]

            21

        • #
          Peter Miller

          “Young and gullible?”

          It should read, “Young, gullible and inexperienced.”

          As you become older and made wiser by experience, you become cynical and learn to look at what’s hiding under the stone.

          So it is with ‘climate science’, if you are capable of understanding the ‘science’, can be bothered to look under the stone and see the writhing mass of maggots beneath, then you become a sceptic.

          Not surprisingly, the Klimate Establishment, like ISIS, goes after the unformed minds of the young with false facts and ideas, plus fake promises of paradise for the truly faithful.

          21

      • #
        Manfred

        “…who are generally pretty savvy and able to analyse things…”

        ‘Generally’ but not specifically. Here as you know, faith permits the suspension of intellect as it does the associated grating, irreconcilable cognitive dissonance. It permits, justifies and endorses all manner of things from abject silliness to throat slicing murder on beaches, from the XKCD climate satire to the UN post-2015 development Agenda aimed at incarcerating the global in eco-administration by 2030.

        Faith whilst blind to intellect is amenable to fashion. Climatism is becoming unfashionable. It engenders more eye rolling these days than it does sucking breath between teeth.

        52

      • #
        john karajas

        I suspect that most IT people spend most of their time in urban areas full of cars and buildings etc and hardly ever venture out into rural or wilderness areas to get a broader perspective of conditions on this planet. In my experience, extended periods out in wilderness areas make one really appreciative of the benefits of modern civilisation. Having said that, I wouldn’t swap my time in outback Australia or Iceland for quids.

        62

      • #
        Radical Rodent

        The author (Michael Franco) might have swallowed hook, line and sinker of the scam, but the commenters haven’t. There are many who ably shred his argument.

        11

        • #
          Radical Rodent

          One excellent case in point, from Jacktrue:

          …any scientific claims that have to be defended with oppression, shaming, political power, and personal attacks rather than scientific facts is “science” that should be viewed skeptically.

          31

  • #
    Radical Rodent

    What a shame that XKCD should abandon their usual off-the-wall view of science, and gone with the “consensus”. A splendid example of smoothing was given in the graph (can be found under the “Trees” in your annotation in the enlarged graph, above), which is then totally abandoned when we got to the instrument measurements, á la “Mike’s nature trick”.

    As I pointed out on Mr Brigg’s blog, there is an excellent graph just two clicks to the right of the one he linked to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_temperature_record#/media/File:All_palaeotemps.svg as it shows the bit XKCD actually uses – and shows that XKCD starts at an unusually cold time! A bit like basing Arctic sea ice measurements in 1979 (go to page 61 of the .pdf).

    103

    • #
      Manfred

      XKCD — A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language

      …has remained true to form.

      The graphic of Geological timescale: concentration of CO2 and temperature fluctuations, already exists in the literature.The XKCD version merely depicts a comical sarcastic version, which as we all know isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s taking the psss.

      55

      • #

        He may be taking the piss but, then again, he may not be. The way that he depicts the ‘Present Day’ leads me to believe that he is proposing the latter.

        22

        • #
          Manfred

          Honestly, the graphic representation is so blatant in its intellectual impoverishment and to boot, is an infantile way to present technical information, how could anyone with the slightest, the most trivial education fail to see its satirical nature? But then again, perhaps it is those to whom this piece of drivel propaganda is targeted?

          The thing about the present day is that in my view there is a growing uncouple between what the acolyte MSM and priesthood Climatism Scientivists claim and the daily reality of the weather experience for the sheeple, which is that on the whole it’s become considerably cloudier and cooler than previous years.

          They ignore (smooth out) The Pause and instead expolate thermageddon. Honestly, who except the the most sensorily deprived and cognitively bereft believe that? Did they even make it to the end of the descending graph without losing their overall sense of relativity?

          11

  • #

    The problem I have with XKCD and the Josh WUWT follow up,
    ….the diffusion of gasses (such as CO2, the O, etc) lasts for about 2-3K years.
    remember (or not) thermodynamics? concentration moves to lower levels, not higher
    everything measured is a lower mean average of a 2000 year (or so) period.
    Note, also, that even the “dust” migrates downward over a 2000 year period, but mostly in the first decade or so.

    Anyone graphing short term temporal snapshots onto 2000 year “low” averages is less than stellar and
    likely has position security (goberment: once hired, never fired).

    12

  • #
    Ruairi

    It’s no wonder that skeptics deride,
    What hockey-stick warmists decide,
    When some smooth operator,
    Can make warming come later,
    To be man-made, extreme and worldwide.

    294

  • #
    Andy Pattullo

    If I stand in the shallows at the beach and look towards the horizon I can see that everywhere the ocean is calm and mirror flat. When I look nearer small waves approach shore and the ocean is more disturbed and unnatural. When I squat down bringing my eyes close to the water I can see massive foamy undulations and water splashes into my nose and mouth, apparently trying to rid the ocean of my presence. From this I have reached a 97% concensus that my presence has destroyed the natural order of the normally benign and featureless ocean. Perhaps I should make a cartoon to inform the unenlightened masses.

    203

  • #
    tom0mason

    It seems the Greeks have turned a corner in hockey stick design that goes beyond the (t)wit of Mann.

    63

  • #
    tom0mason

    Oops
    Geek spelchequer not Greek!

    It seems the Geeks have turned a corner in hockey stick design that goes beyond the (t)wit of Mann.

    83

    • #
      Yonniestone

      That’s ok, consensus tells us a good hockey stick graph needs the fudging of Mann’s rings Greek style……

      83

  • #
    Mari C

    I generally love xkcd’s cartoons and “explainers” of science. I bought a book from the cartoonist/physicist for my niece, who is seriously into maths and sciences (and soccer, and her phone, and maybe soon, boys) and she had a field day with it – reading it, checking out other real-life examples, composing her own “what-ifs” and so on. And I am sure to keep pointing out to her something she now knows, but may be taught to forget – knowledge changes, and what is known can be proven false in a few years.

    That said, anyone is susceptible to going with the “consensus” science ideas, even, or maybe especially, you are highly competent in a different part of science, as you tend to trust those who are expert. After all, much of what we know and do is based on the expertise of those who have gone before. Even if, and when, older theories are proven wrong, having that theory to test is because of someone else’s work, and the agreement that it looked pretty much right.

    That isn’t consensus science – it’s testing and building on the past, and being willing to admit that maybe those 100 years of agreement were in error because now we can measure the depth, distance, width, or see those tiny invisible bugs that make us sick, or actually travel to those places we couldn’t before.

    All our history shows us that the ones who disagree with the consensus, who insist on testing and pushing the boundaries, who slay the dragons, are the ones who have advanced science, technology, humankind. I don’t understand those who can’t admit that the heretics, while not always right, aren’t usually wrong.

    193

  • #
    David S

    The have been several references in this blog in the past which I think show the scary global warming in a proper light. There is one in particular which rather than show the change in temperature it shows the actual temperature. It shows that a 1-2 degree movement in temperature during the last century is barely perceptible to the eye and by only showing the difference the picture is different. Skeptics should use the graph with absolute values when arguing for their cause.
    I would appreciate if someone could repost that graph again so I can save it for future reference.i was trying to find it the other day.

    73

    • #
      Mark M

      JR @greeniewatch has a graph at top of his page with this explanation and a link:
      The CRU graph. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of a degree Celsius and that even that tiny amount of warming started long before the late 20th century.
      The horizontal line is totally arbitrary, just a visual trick.
      The whole graph would be a horizontal line if it were calibrated in whole degrees — thus showing ZERO warming.”

      93

    • #

      There’s also the ± 133 years temperature on an alcohol thermometer:

      https://suyts.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/image266.png?w=700

      101

      • #
        David S

        Thanks Martin

        That’s the one I like. It is the best picture to show warmists as to how scary the global warming really is. When you are arguing about global warming, a picture ( especially this one) tells a thousand words.

        David S

        41

      • #
        StefanL

        The base line of 0 degrees fahrenheit is arbitrary.
        Is suggest two other options (with both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales):
        (1) Base line freezing point of water and top line boiling point of water;
        (2) Base line coldest temperature ever recorded (Vostok −89.2 °C, −128.6 °F) and top line the hottest temperature ever recorded (Death Valley 56.7 C, 134 F).

        21

  • #
  • #
    Sean

    It’s also instructive to look at how temperature is measured with a thermometer vs. how its measured in proxies. Thermometers can take measurements year round, around the clock. Proxies might just measure growth activities of living things which for the high latitudes and high altitudes means proxy measurements are only taken during the warm parts of the year when living things are not dormant. Consider also that much of the warming that has take place in the last century is just from increased night-time lows in the winter. Most proxies would not catch this at all.

    101

  • #
    Glen Michel

    Also at about 17500 BC “temperatures have been creeping upward,but around this point CO2 begins to increase”. Strange admission indeed.

    31

    • #
      toorightmate

      In 1750BC they were burning coal on their camp fires like it was going out of fashion and would disappear! Hence the jump in CO2.
      Forgive them Lord, they knew not what they knew.

      41

    • #
      Yonniestone

      It’s BCE for Christs sake!!!

      101

      • #
        Annie

        I’m so glad Matt Briggs pointed out the silliness of BCE. I insist on my using BC and AD and blow the pathetic little snowflakes who think they must take offence on behalf of others who have not. In fact, we have received Christmas cards from Jewish and M*sl1m friends.

        71

      • #
        Glen Michel

        What about that movie with Raquel Welch in it.10,000BC with all those lovely Dinosaurs ( model ones) running around killing the locals who were living in complete harmony with their environment.

        41

      • #

        Before Christ’s Execution (BCE).

        61

    • #
      Manfred

      They’ve endorsed the inconvenient science that tells us temperature leads CO2.
      The whole thing is a satirical send-up in my view.

      31

  • #
    toorightmate

    I am old enough to remember when you would plot actual data and then extrapolate what the future might be, based on stated ASSUMPTIONS.
    Now we plot the future with infinite accuracy and extrapolate what the past may have been.
    AND if the past doesn’t look too good, we fix that with a drop of homogenisation.
    I guess that’s progress.

    111

  • #
    ScotsmaninUtah

    No shirt no shoes no error bars – No entry

    I took the 14,000 pixel cartoon and squeezed it to one shot that shows the curve that matters. See the error bars? Me neither.

    Some graphs should be “barred” from publication :o

    p.s. 44 days untilt he U.S election and BBQ day :D

    http://www.270towin.com/2016-countdown-clock/

    51

  • #
    Oliver K. Manuel

    Creativity is a natural part of human consciousness. It can be guided with rewards.

    “How to make climate scary” is the key to successful research grantsmanship today.

    “How to hide reality” was the key to successful control of society before Copernicus.

    51

    • #
      Oliver K. Manuel

      Ancient philosophies say it is not good to end human consciousness with unfulfilled desires.

      Unfortunately, I now approach the end of life with an unfulfilled desire to correct a logical error my research mentor – the late Paul Kazuo Kuroda (1917-2001) – found in the Weizsacker-Bethe formula for calculating nuclear binding energy on 13 Jun 1936, exactly four months before my birth:

      The cores of heavy atoms like Uranium, ordinary stars like the Sun, galaxies like the Milky Way and the expanding Universe are powered by the same source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 – NEUTRON REPULSION

      11

  • #
    TdeF

    “a very different response to faster temperature changes”.

    We are being told to react on the results of tens of years, not even hundreds and a long way from thousands. All of the long term storage of temperature are subject to massive averaging and with that averaging applied to the last hundred years would mean that measurable happened. Hockey sticks over decades are nonsense. In fact within measurment accuracies, the temperature has been incredibly steady. Then how far back does the data go? We had not reached even the South Pole by 1911 and the heights of Everest until 1953.

    That does not stop people from graphing world temperature, CO2 and TSI data for the last 20,000 years let alone without error bars for all the assumptions and averaging.

    Worse, in the state of Victoria the biggest coal power station looks set to close in April 2017 so that Victoria will be saved now that Tasmania and South Australia have also been saved and both are now critically dependent on Victorian coal produced electricity and prices. The only thing missing is any logic. Who cares if spot prices for electricity hit $450 per mW hour? (45c/kwhr, 5x the Victorian rate)

    Hazelwood power station is one of the greatest capital works of a generation. A modern power station is only opened in 1971! Now we are told it is ancient and polluting and invisible, harmless CO2, the foundation of all life on earth is actually a really a deadly pollutant and we can save ourselves and the people of China by seppuku. This is also based on the idea that brown coal produces more CO2 per kw than say black coal per ton, where figures from around the world show that is not true. So the myth of pollution is doubled by fake arithmetic.

    Soon Victorians will have to go without safe cheap and abundant electricity because some swinging voters are afraid of their own shadows and the French owners know there is quick and easier money to be made by stopping things. The days of blackouts in summer and sky high prices are nearly here for Victoria. Some people will be thrilled with this. They will not be the people you would think. Cui Bono? Certainly not the people of Australia.

    [Sorry that this was caught by filters with no apparent reason.]ED

    52

    • #
      TdeF

      One of the developing stories is that the Government of South Australia now want the owners of the coal power plant to be on permanent standby for when the wind does not blow!

      I would guess that soon the cost for not generating electricity will be at least as high or higher than the cost of actually doing so. This is like the $100Bn of Climate Change desalination plants around Australia which are costing $100Million a year just to maintain and not produce water. So EU. People paid not to make wine, not to produce butter, not to grow crops or produce cheap electricity. Public money going to people to not do anything. The ultimate public service, at our expense. Elephant insurance.

      62

      • #
        Dennis

        The socialist answer, pick winners and losers and completely ignore the financials and economics

        52

      • #
        TdeF

        In passing, some science. I bought the argument that brown coal is far less energy productive than black coal per ton, even though the chemistry is so similar. The explanation is that half the brown coal is water, so you lose half the heat. That’s double counting.

        Facts:
        Heat of vaporization of water is 2260joules/gram, so 2.26MJ/KG
        Heat of combustion of black coal is 32MJ/kg

        so only 1/16th of the heat is lost in evaporating the water. Even this can be saved if the water can be mechanically squeezed out beforehand.
        What this means is that world wide the terrible brown coal/lignite plants produce about a tiny 6% more CO2 per tonne than black coal. So why close Hazelwood?

        Consider the arguments from our very own Victorian Environment masters.

        “Hazelwood power station, located in the Latrobe Valley, is Australia’s dirtiest power station and #1 emitter of dioxins.

        Hazelwood burns brown coal, which one of the most polluting ways to produce electricity. And as a result, pumps out more than 16 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution each year.”

        We are paying for this nonsense from public service activists and the money flows to activist groups.

        The report was written by energy analysts Green Energy Markets for Environment Victoria

        In the short to medium term, increased imports of electricity (from black coal-fired generation) from NSW and Queensland could be used to replace some of Hazelwood’s electricity production – but not its contribution to meeting peak power demand. Over the last three years, Victoria has exported a net 4,500 GWh per annum to other states. It is therefore arguable that not all of Hazelwood’s generation needs to be replaced to ensure that Victoria’s energy needs are met. “

        Incredible. So according to Environment Victoria we should close our biggest power plant, stop the exports to SA and Tasmania and buy black coal based electricity from NSW? Is there anyone home in Environment Victoria who makes sense? Or is it just a big slush fund administrator for Green activists?

        82

        • #
          TdeF

          The damage from the Hockey stick is going to cost Victorians. Hazelwood was sold in 1996 for $2.35Billion. The new owners spent $85million to reduce dust emissions.

          The attack on Hazelwood has been ceaseless, to prevent hockey sticks.

          Now the proposal is to pay the owners to NOT generate electricity.

          The previous Labor government stopped the export of $400Million of brown coal to India, because according to ‘The Age’ on its front page, they were going to remove the water and make the coal ‘blacker’!

          As explained above, the reason to remove the water is that half the weight is water and paying to ship water to India is absurd. However the export was stopped.

          It would be wonderful if Environment Victoria hired real scientists to tell them about brown coal vs black coal, the deceit in the Hockey stick and the simple demonstrable fact that there is virtually no fossil fuel CO2 in the air today. It seems the government hires scientists like the CSIRO to tell them what they want to hear.

          The French owners are happy to just get a good return on Hazelwood without doing any work at all or even hiring anyone! No Unions. No strikes. We will sell additional assets like our Melbourne Port, the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere for $11Bn and use the money to pay a French company not to produce any electricity. Great work if you can get it.

          Perhaps a basic qualification for working in Environment Victoria should be a real science degree with some physical chemistry?

          32

        • #
          ianl8888

          I bought the argument that brown coal is far less energy productive than black coal per ton, even though the chemistry is so similar

          It really doesn’t matter if you buy it or not, a tonne of lignite typically contains about 6x the water content of a tonne of bituminous coal, so much more lignite needs to be burned to supply the same amount of energy/tonne as a black coal burn.

          Simple basic geology. Fortunately for us (at least to date), LaTrobe has enormous deposits of good quality lignite at very shallow depths.

          I’ve posted this quite a few times over several years now. Clearly it does not resonate. So I’ll just repeat: geology is one of the four basic strands to science. And it would be much appreciated if you learnt some before pontificating, please.

          41

  • #
    Mark M

    If talking cartoons, Jeff Albertson aka The Comic Book Guy has a good quote:
    “Hey Nostradumbass, did the rapture come? I can’t recall.
    Oh, in fact I can recall, and it didn’t.
    And you suck.”

    Worst Apocalypse. Ever.

    31

  • #
    Dave in the States

    Statistical and graphing illiteracy, or perhaps better innumeracy, is very common in our modern “educated” world. It’s easy for dishonest or ignorant graphic artists to mislead people. I used to sometimes refer people to Climate Audit but then I realized that in most cases it was simply beyond them.

    At university, as I recall, Statistics 101+ was required of science majors, but rarely of any other disciplines besides math majors. When I was young I had a few old school teachers that pointed out the chicanery that can happen with graphs. However, this is not, that I know of, taught to students in primary schools anymore.

    Another thing I find often presented by warmists and their graphs are conflation of data and model results, and also theory.

    51

    • #
      Phil R

      Dave in the States,

      FWIW, I agree. I’ve had a couple college-level stats courses (a long time ago) and I love Climate Audit, even if a lot of the technical (math, statistics) discussion is way beyond me, but I learn just by reading the discussions and the back-and-forth. I had to use statistics in my Master’s thesis and when I was done, it was quite humbling.

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    Dennis

    Before Common sense Exited?

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    crosspatch

    The modern thermometer was invented at about the end of the LIA. All of the world’s temperature data records the recovery from that event. Of course thermometer data are going to show warming — it was invented at the tail end of the coldest period since the 8.2ky event.

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    Ian H

    With regard to BC BCE AD and all that, I don’t care too much about the initials. What ticks me off is the sheer stupidity of leaving zero out of a simple sequence of integers.

    … 2BC,1BC,1AD,2AD … WTF!

    Did these people not finish primary school? Have they never heard of negative numbers?

    Lets fix the problem people. We don’t need BC or BCE. We really only need one set of units for counting years. Caesar died in -43AD. Problem sorted. And if some pedant tries to tell you that is wrong and it should be 44BC, just ridicule the heck out of them for being innumerate.

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    ScotsmaninUtah

    The more you know the less certain you become

    Too many people are too certain of too many things, meaning the debate is far from “settled

    Gavin Schmidt NASA – GISS often declares that the coupled climate models are “skilled” in areas such as
    volcanos inferring that they are reliable and accurate , but having never been verified or validated as is done with deterministic systems of similar complexity it very difficult to believe this statement.

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    Albert

    The only climate change is the reduction in number and intensity of cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and the global average temperature that has stalled. All other panic is ”weather” and nothing else, ”daily events” are weather

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    MudCrab

    Randall, the XKCD creator, is a warmist as anyone who has ever binged on his entire back catalogue will be able to confirm.

    The thing I do find ironic is that in a previous post he made the statement that the missing heat is located deep in the oceans. This clearly shows that for at least one time in his life he openly accepted that the models were not matching the reality.

    More fool him really.

    Pity. Just because he is very entertaining doesn’t mean that he is right.

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    Kratoklastes

    [Snip. Mostly OT. Unnecessarily offensive. 18C etc. - Jo]

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    Thomas

    Thanks Jo!
    Being a fan of XKCD, I was a bit disheartened to find this “scientific” curve. I knew enough to criticize it for me but I would not be able to discuss it with the others. Your insightful post fulfills that need!
    Thanks again.

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    [...] if that sounds too extreme, then at least let us join Jo Nova and William Briggs in humiliating the author of this utterly misleading cartoon so as to prick [...]

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    Roy Hogue

    These graphs might be useful after all. With Halloween coming up all too fast, it’s good to have something really scary around. We can hang these graphs up around the front door to scare off the Trick-or-Treaters — or at least give them a real thrill instead of the usual ghosts and monsters, etc. There’s always a use for something if you look into it seriously enough.

    Whaddaya think?

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    OK, so days later I added in some Marcott links.

    Apparently the data for the XKCD graph comes from Marcott (ha ha, See Climate Audit: The Marcott Filibuster, and others on Marcott. My post on Marcott: “Ponder how researchers can find 5,000 year old Foraminifera deposits, but not ones from 1940?”

    Another good quote so relevant to the graph: That’s 300 year smoothing. We should average the climate from 1700 to now. How scary would that look?

    “Marcott et al clearly say there is “…essentially no variability preserved at periods shorter than 300 years…” So if there were, say, occurrences of a warming rise exactly like the last century, this graph won’t show them.”).

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    Thurston

    Bravo Jo Nova!
    I added this this text, see below, to the Explain xkcd Wiki for the cartoon:
    http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1732:_Earth_Temperature_Timeline#Trivia

    *An alternative version of this comic/graph can be found at http://joannenova.com.au/2016/09/how-to-make-climate-graphs-look-scary-a-reply-to-xkcd/
    ** It includes:
    ***An alternative graph that adds Greenland and Vostok ice-core proxy-derived temperatures
    ***A critique of concatenating a smoothed proxy-based data set with instrument data (with links).
    ***A critique of the missing Medieval Warm period (with links).
    ***Discussion of missing error bars and smoothed proxy noise (with links).
    *

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      Thanks Thurston. One paper I’ve seen recently calculated the polar to global temperature variation was about 1.6 to 1. So my graph probably underestimates that variability…

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    A Logical Man

    Wake up sheeple! Climate Change is real!

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    FarkQued

    Im a fan of some of xkcd cartoons, the gravity well graph, sea depth graph, and the world of the internet. However, having lived several decades i remeber long stretches of 100 degree weather in the early to mid 90s that we have noot seen a repeat, nothing even close in the same region in the past two decades since. That of course is lay observational data. To me scouring data online I see Global Warming / Climate Change feeds of data model prediction datasets and not allot of comparison to observational multisourced datasets. Some other things I have noticed – Why are new land weather stations right next to or right on top of asphalt? How much of the thermometer data is being rounded up possibly during F to C conversions? Why do we call warming gasses “green house gas” when in a closed green house full of plants shouldnt the levels of CO2 gas be reduced and O2 gas and water vapor increased? In long term CO2 analysis, why do the temperature spikes always precede by decades the CO2 spikes, like warmth causes CO2 not vice versa? Recently we have had some supermoon, ie the moon orbital distance reduced due to cyclical orbital differences, shouldnt king tides correlate?

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