A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).

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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Labor Party gift to Coalition — gullible green-left still want a tax to change the weather

The Coalition must be thrilled today that the Australian Labor Party want to run the next election on the carbon tax. Could there be better news for Tony Abbott? Labor has vowed “to fight for “a serious, credible climate change policy’’ .”

The Carbon Tax was a centrepiece at the last election and the voters threw it out. Current polls show only 35% of voters want it. So far it has brought down two prime ministers and an opposition leader. The damage looks set to continue.

For Labor, nothing has changed. They still think it was right to tell the voters there would be no carbon tax in the 2010 election campaign, and then bring in a carbon tax. (Who cares what the voters think?) The Labor Party still thinks a tax can change the weather. They still are the gullible patsies for large financial houses bringing in a fake market in a product that nobody wants, that depends on unknowable “intentions”, and is prone to fraud. The Labor Party plan to help workers by transferring billions of dollars from citizens to the financial sector and green-renewable industry patrons, all in a quest to reduce the global temperature by 0.0C 50 years from now.

The Australian – Mr Shorten, speaking against the repeal, said Labor had been right to introduce a carbon price but “did the second best” when it walked away from calling an election in early 2010 “that the nation was entitled to have’’ on an ETS.

“We were right to have international pricing,” he said. “We were right to support an emissions trading scheme.

“We were right to have climate change as a political priority of the previous government.”

Mr Shorten said Labor did not apologise nor resile from its ­climate change policy.

This is all about the ultimate in big-government — global energy tax and control, with virtually no accountability to voters. The big-gambit is coming again, and Bill Shorten is all too aware:

He (Shorten) said Australia faced a choice next year in Paris when world leaders would gather to develop the next set of emissions goals for 2030.

As I keep saying, the only people who want a “free market” in carbon are those that don’t know what a free market is. Free markets depend on voluntary consent, on products that people willingly buy, and on efficiencies that come from having a product that people can see and assess for themselves.

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Tic-tic-tic: Carbon tax repeal goes to Australian Senate (track that progress)

UPDATE Thursday: DONE Success at 11:15am this morning in Canberra. The Carbon Tax is gone.

UPDATE: Weds -- This could take days. The repeal was before the Senate this morning. Labor and the Greens are “dragging the debate out” with speeches. “Filibustering” according to Finance Minister Mathias Corman (The Australian). More debate is due tonight. But the Senate has agreed to extend sitting hours after Friday and keep coming back until this is resolved. They were due to start a 5 week break on Friday. (See Sky News too). This doesn’t look like being resolved today. (SMH)

Sydney Morning Herald:   It [The government] was concerned that while all eight cross-bench senators say they are committed to consigning the carbon tax to history in a final vote, as many as three might baulk at the use of a guillotine to bring an end debate and force that vote.

In a further sign the government had lost exclusive control of the legislative timetable, the Climate Change Authority bill was removed from the list of those to be considered, supposedly at the insistence of the PUP.

Sources said the CCA bill, the purported vehicle for Mr Palmer’s proposed ”dormant” emissions trading scheme, will not be presented this week. Fairfax understands there is also last-minute discussion over Mr Palmer’s belated inclusion of India in the basket of countries to which the CCA would be required to look when recommending that Australia should activate its dormant ETS.

This post will stay sticky at the top until this is resolved. New posts will appear underneath – Jo

Keep reading  →

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Australia already has a kind of emissions trading scheme. Surprize — banks are major players

For all the fuss about an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Australia already has a version of a market in carbon credits and it was set up in 2001 by the conservative Howard government. The RET, Renewable Energy Target, aims to reduce emissions by mandatory use of 20% renewable energy by 2020. For all kinds of reasons we are overachieving, and headed for 27% renewables mix (along with shocking electricity bills, see here too).*

“Official estimates suggest that the RET will generate a transfer of $20bn from householders and industrial users by 2020.”

So in this artificial government-mandated market, which sector is fast to get involved?  Finance.

This is not so much an efficient free market as its pale cousin, the whimsical fake market. But free or fake, banks are there. You can’t blame them. But nor do we need to feed the machine unless there is a good reason.

Banks exposed to big RET risks

The Australian:  AUSTRALIA’S banks are holding nearly $900 million worth of certificates designed to stimulate investment in renewable energy generation as the price of those instruments becomes captive to the political debate over green energy schemes.

Banks including ANZ, Macquarie Group, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank hold 5.9 million, or 20 per cent, of the 28.4 million large-scale energy certificates (LGCs) ­issued and yet to be ­redeemed under the Renewable Energy Target scheme, according to information supplied to the Senate.

Any artificial market almost instantly creates players with property rights. That’s the reason a trading scheme is much harder to unwind than a tax. Once it is created, automatically, there are lobby groups, armed with lots of our money, to keep it going. At least with a tax, voters might get the chance to vote for or against it. In a true free market, voters have the ultimate right — to ignore it completely. They can vote with their feet every day, and spend their money on something better. That’s not what is happening here.

The players in this market are not so much betting on natural events as they are betting on politics. Does that help the nation produce real things, or does it just turn us into a kind of casino where people can bet and lobby on the dice?

The price was $40 – $50 a couple of years ago. This is a fake market determined more by political choice than by buyers and sellers making efficient decisions about the real world.

Market sources speculated that the banks were holding large pools of LGCs under financing arrangements with renewable energy generators and electricity retailers. According to information on the holdings given to Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications by the regulator, ANZ is the second-­largest holder of LGCs, with 4.36 million, behind Origin Energy, with 5.9 million. Origin is also the largest holder of retail certificates, with 372,677 of the 5.1 million on issue. The price of the retail certificates has climbed from about $25 last year to nearly $40.

Keep reading  →

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Majority of Australians want to get rid of the carbon tax. (Only 1 in 3 want to keep it).

The latest Newspoll results say that Australian voters want Clive Palmer to stop blocking the repeal of the carbon tax.

[The Australian]  A Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian after last Thursday’s chaos in the Senate saw the repeal bills rejected, reveals 53 per cent want the controversial tax to be abolished.

Only 35 per cent want the Palmer United Party to continue to block the removal of the tax, while 12 per cent are uncommitted.

So one third of Australia wants us to keep the carbon tax (they can always pay it voluntarily thinks Jo?)

Keeping the carbon tax is costing Australians $11 million dollars a day. There is a deadline. It’s Friday:

The electricity industry incurs $11 million a day in carbon tax charges and market-traded contracts have not been trading carbon since July 1. But a carbon price of $25.40 a tonne will be returned to the contracts if the repeal fails to pass the Senate by Friday. Mr O’Reilly said failure to achieve the repeal by Friday would complicate returning savings to customers by “an exponential amount’’.

Even 33% of Labor voters want the tax gone.

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Unthreaded.

For wandering thoughts…

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Mystery of the dark side of the moon solved after 55 years

Filed under: A Curiosity for a Friday

The far side (left) does not look like the near side (right) there are no maria or “seas” on the far side.

For 55 years some people have wondered why the near and far side of the moon look so different. (I can’t say it had occurred to me, but the answer is very cool anyway.) The far side of the moon has none of the dark flatter pans or seas called maria – instead it is covered from top to bottom with craters.

What I find even more amazing is that the Earth and Moon have been locked in an orbital dance where the same side of the moon always faces the Earth, round and round, and it goes on for billions of years. (Yes, and how do they know, I also wonder, but there is an answer below.) In any case, here’s a new theory that might explain the difference between the near and far sides. It’s very neat.

The Earth and Moon have a rather extraordinary relationship. Not long ago we heard how the gravitational tidal forces between them are so strong it causes tidal bulges in the rock of the moon that lifts moon-rock by 50cm in a roaming bulge that follows the Earth. And we know the Moon causes a daily shift in 70% of the matter on the Earth’s surface.

A Mars-sized impact may have formed the moon.

But as you ponder this intricate relationship of Moon and Earth, remember the moon definitely does not affect Earth’s climate. I know because a CMIP5 climate model told me so…

(By the way, the far side is also called the dark side, which doesn’t make much sense in the usual meaning of “dark” because it is not dark to sunlight, just to all eyes on Earth.)

[PENN STATE press release a few weeks ago]

This mystery is called the Lunar Farside Highlands Problem and dates back to 1959, when the Soviet spacecraft Luna 3 transmitted the first images of the dark side of the moon back to Earth.

The new idea that the strange difference in the near and far side started right at the beginning. If the Moon was made when a Mars size body smacked into Earth — the reasoning is that it would have left them both hot – as in 2,500C hot. The Earth and Moon became locked together in orbit from the start, with the same side of the moon facing Earth – and the molten minerals gradually were sorted into a gradient. It’s a bit of a supersized centrifuge — eventually the far side of the moon had more aluminium and calcium. The story goes that side would have cooled and hardened first with a thicker crust because the Earth heated the near side a bit more, or just slowed the cooling — like a kind of Earthshine effect. Then when meteors hit the thinner crust on the near side, lava welled out into big flat pools forming the maria.

Look, it sounds believeable. Who knows? I’m just drawn to the big ponderables…

The Earth and the impact object did not just melt; parts of them vaporized, creating a disk of rock, magma and vapor around the Earth.

Keep reading  →

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The Carbon Tax saga goes on: What game is Palmer playing?

Clive Palmer, the coal mining Billionaire and his three (or four) PUP Senators have voted down the Carbon Tax repeal they said they would pass. It was quite the blockbuster day in Australian politics. They supported the government move to bring on the vote at 11:45am today, then decided not to vote for the repeal bill. They hold the balance of power. The carbon tax is still law. It may get voted on again by next Thursday, but if that fails, it won’t be voted on again til August, and millions in carbon tax payments are on the line.

There are at least three version of why the bill failed (the same thing happened the day Palmer met Gore). Sky News suggests PUP wanted to change their amendments. According to, Palmer says the amendments put forward by the Coalition were older ones, and not the newer ones the Coalition agreed to, and he claims the government pulled a “swifty”. In an article in The Australian,  it appears the problem was that the amendments were not circulated at 8.30 this morning. Given that Palmer has been known to feed scurrilous versions to the media, perhaps the confusion here is no accident?

Without seeing the actual amendments (can anyone find them?) it’s difficult to know, though at this rate those amendments will change by Monday, so the point is probably moot.

First up, lets look at the three versions of what happened (all of which may be right, who knows?) Secondly, we consider why the stakes are so high to get this through so fast. Our carbon tax is currently the worlds higest at $24 a ton, and businesses is not sure if it should be collecting it. The Business Council of Australia concludes “Electricity companies will be holding about $200 million in carbon tax by the end of next week”. Lastly we look at a hint that Palmer might be thinking of a real ETS scheme to be “attached” to the Coalitions Direct Action legislation. The joy of Australian politics. With such high stakes, Palmer may plan on having Abbott over a barrel by late Thursday next week. Was it the wrong version of the amendments?

Keep reading  →

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Lord Lawson Banned on BBC (only government approved spokesmen allowed to discuss science)

The evidence for man-made climate change is now so overwhelming and convincing that the BBC has written to a Green politician to apologize for airing alternate views (the dumb punters might get the wrong idea, eh?). The head of the BBC complaints unit told the Green politician it would not happen again.

Well obviously, it doesn’t help the United Kingdom to allow riff raff like the former Chancellor of the Exchequer to present his views — unless he agrees with the doctrine, of course. How could anyone expect listeners who are merely doctors, lawyers, teachers, and businesspeople to be able to understand a debate this complex?  (Only certified government approved scientists, and BBC journalists have the mental ability to understand the nuances of an argument which uses large numbers, like 97%). Henceforth, British voters must be shielded from alternate views. Repeat after me: there is a consensus.

The nub of the matter is that the Lord Lawson says he’s banned on the BBC. The BBC, of course, says he’s not. But there is this odd official decision: “The ruling found a false balance was created in that the item implied Lord Lawson’s views on climate science were on the same footing as Sir Brian Hoskins.” And there is that training for 200 senior managers on how to not insert “false balance” into stories. In other words — it doesn’t matter how logical or well informed you are, if you speak against the approved line of thought, the BBC must make sure the audience knows your views are less worthy. (For BBC audiences, I presume the new policy will be hard to tell  from the old one).

The Lawson-v-BBC story is that once-upon-a-time he was invited to speak on the Today program quite often, but since he became an outspoken and influential skeptic, there was only one invitation in February 2014, and that might be all there ever will be. Lawson founded the hugely successful GWPF in 2009, and wrote a best seller on the topic of climate change, but wasn’t asked to talk on the BBC flagship radio program until February this year. It was a civil debate with the scientist Sir Brian Hoskins– chairman of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change.  (Transcript here.) At least that’s how it seemed at the time. But for weeks afterwards the complaints raged:

Following the programme, on February 13, all hell broke loose.

Keep reading  →

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Watch the Heartland Conference Live

Even if we can’t be there we can still watch it live. In years to come people will marvel that the true spirit of science was kept alive by a small independent think tank. Thank goodness for Heartland.

The live stream (and links to talks from Monday and Tuesday).

Please tell us in comments which parts you appreciate the most. Jim Lakey tells me that “Australian MP George Christensen gave a great presentation (starting at the 28:30 mark), though it was panned by the ABC.” Typical.  - Jo


[Official Heartland Release]

Day-Three Live Stream of International Climate Conference Features Lifetime Achievement Award to S. Fred Singer

Skeptic Conference Ends with Discussions of Latest Science Challenging UN Reports, Recognition of Professional Courage and Honesty

LAS VEGAS (July 9, 2014)— Today, the last day of the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change(ICCC9), will include the presentation of the “Lifetime Achievement in Climate Science Award” to Dr. S. Fred Singer, as well as 29 more presentations from leading “skeptic” scientists and policy experts of a human-caused climate crisis.

The live stream with full coverage of ICCC9 will begin at 8 a.m. PDT today (Wednesday, July 9.) The last of 70 total presentations at the conference will conclude 4 p.m. PDT.

Keep reading  →

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BIG NEWS IX: The Solar Model!

Dr David Evans, 8 July 2014

At the introduction to this series of blog posts, we said we’d release the spreadsheet containing all the data, model, and calculations. All in one file for Microsoft Excel. Thanks for your patience.

The model, data, code and calculations are here: Climate.xlsm (20Mb).

Containing 44 datasets, 33 sheets, 90+graphs, and 15,000 lines of code

New Here? See this summary of posts. Evans looked at TSI (total solar irradiance) and Earths temperature, and discovered a mysterious notch filter. That implies some kind of solar effect occurs with an 11 year delay – or one solar cycle after the TSI. He built a model. See the hindcasts, and the prediction of imminent cooling. See the replies to critics.- Jo

(Click to download the Climate.xlsm file. 20Mb)

Why Excel?

I chose to do all the work for this project, right from the beginning, in a single Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for pc. It’s not the fanciest or the fastest, but an Excel spreadsheet is the most ubiquitous, and one of the friendliest programming environments as well. It runs on most computers—any Windows computer with Excel 2007 or later, and possibly on Macs with Excel 2011 or later (in principle it should work, but could someone who tries it let me know if there is anything that definitely does not work on Mac please?)

The models use VBA code, the BASIC programming language that is part of Microsoft Office. There are buttons on the sheets to make models run and so on. You can inspect and run or step through the code; it is all totally open.

The main, long discussion paper is still to come. There is more to this series of blog posts. We don’t want to preempt what is coming, and it’s useful to keep the discussion focused.

Some random screenshots for those who want to oogle without the 20Mb download. (No, it doesn’t begin to capture the sea of data.)

(Click to enlarge)

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The optimization process by which we found the range of parameter values for the notch-delay solar model, and their most likely values, is complicated by the presence of many local minima. It is lengthy and was guided at hand at some stages, to trim the burgeoning number of possibilities in sensible ways. So at this stage we are also releasing excerpts from the main paper that define and describe the model, the total climate model, and the finding of the solar model parameters.

The spreadsheet was written for doing research—it is not a production version intended for consumers. It assumes the user knows generally what is going on. There are some descriptions and help, mainly in text boxes and comments (the red triangles in the upper right of cells—hold the mouse over the cell and the comment pops up).

People are welcome to make changes, but the only authorized copy of the spreadsheet will be at the download location above. Please send corrections or suggestions for changes to me at, and I’ll try to incorporate them (no promises about timeliness though, because it has been extremely busy around here since starting the blog posts, with a mountain of comments and so on to read and respond to).

An Open Source Software Project?

If there is sufficient interest, the spreadsheet can be turned into an open source software project. Does anyone know if GitHub is suitable for large Excel files? Software is usually built as many small text files but we have one large non-text file, so it is not clear that version tracking and differencing will work meaningfully. Also, if we go open source there is an administrative overhead for everyone.

Please note that any results you generate using the spreadsheet are not endorsed by me, and if you make graphs other than what is obviously intended in the spreadsheet, please take the “” label off them. (Please provide links back to credit the original work, without any endorsement implied, see below.)

Journalists and data?

By the way, this spreadsheet started life as an aid for journalists. The idea was just to have all the main datasets, with instructions on how to download them, and some pretty graphs as examples—to show journalists and news producers how to get the data for themselves.

Soap box time: True authority in science comes from the data. That was the point of the Enlightenment: reason and empiricism triumphed over superstition and abuse by church and state. People learned to trust data ahead of any human authority, and science was born. Empirical data became the highest authority in physics, chemistry, and biology.

However in modern climate science the mainstream media and most politicians go to the government climate scientists as their highest authority, not to the data. Sure the climate scientists show them some data, but only their favorite data—and for a theory to be true it has to agree with all the data. With the Internet it is easy to bypass the authorities and go directly to the data itself, but the old media isn’t doing that yet. Can downloading a file of numbers, reading it into a spreadsheet, and graphing it really be too hard for the media? Come on media people, I’ll show you how.

I was preparing this spreadsheet for journalists in late 2012 when David Stockwell convinced me to look for a low pass filter in the empirical transfer function, assuming the climate was mainly driven by solar radiation (TSI). All the data was there, so I built the Fourier transforms and analysis software right into the same spreadsheet, and got distracted from the journalist project.

By the way, I couldn’t find the low pass filter we were expecting, and I twice gave up on the project because the data analysis was definitely not finding the transfer function of a low pass filter (perhaps the TSI assumption was way wrong?). Then one day, on the point of abandoning it again, I realized there was a notch instead, which was unexpected and interesting.

Sharing and using the model

  • Attribution — Please give appropriate credit to Dr David Evans, provide a link to the Notch-Delay Solar Project Home Page, and indicate if changes were made, with a brief description of the nature of all changes. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests David Evans or ScienceSpeak endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
  • Permission -- To use any part of this work in a for-profit project, please email
  • Cite as: Evans, David M.W. “The Notch-Delay Solar Theory”,, 2014.

The world needs more independent science

This large work is offered freely, and has been entirely self-funded and funded through donations to Jo Nova’s blog. There are no government grants, and no UN programs paying for analysis like this. To all those who help make it possible we are more grateful that you can imagine for assistance and contributions of all shapes and sizes.

You can help support more  independent scientific research at the Paypal Tip Jar or by direct deposit or cheque.


Click for details
*Due to strange Nanny-state rules, you can’t donate freely to me, but you can buy me quantities of $1 emergency chocolate. (No. I can’t believe it works this way either.)

Jo notes: I dislike group emails, and have not been able to thank every one personally, though I wish I could — I know most people would rather I write and research for public consumption instead. There are some direct depositors who deserve a mention: so thank you to Rodney, David M, Jules, Tom, Fay, Keith, Max, Bartels, Aaron, Phil, Fred D., W.E.B, Peter H, Peter K, Keith, Jim, Lawrie, M.J.B, Black Duck, W.B.C., Reed, I also owe one Peter C a letter in reply. Special thanks to MC, SB, BM, PF, GJ, PM, JD, DE, GB, VM, JP, TL, HC. There are too many good people to name.  We’re grateful to every one of you. I still owe many emails!

Skeptics are winning, against all the odds, but there is still a lot to do, and if you’ve enjoyed the latest revelations, we’d be delighted to get your help so we can do more.


About Dr David Evans:

David Evans, PhD, M.S. (E.E.), M.S. (Stats) [Stanford Uni], B.Eng, M.A., B.Sc. [Syd Uni] worked with Fourier analysis and signal processing, and trained with Professor Ronald Bracewell late of Stanford University. Evans main focus is researching mathematics (Fourier analysis, calculus, the number system, multivariable polynomials, and related topics). He consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005, and part-time for the Department of Climate Change from 2008 to 2010, and was the lead modeler in developing FullCAM, the carbon accounting model that Australia uses for the Kyoto Protocol. Evans also produces the GoldNerds excel sheets that have become the industry standard for investors in precious metals on the ASX. He is available for contract work.

UPDATE: New version 1.15 posted Wednesday 2pm Perth time, hopefully fixes “clock” compilation problems on 64-bit Excel. Should now run on 32 bit and 64 bit Excel on Windows, and on Mac. Thanks to Mark Gutzwiller, DT Christensen,  and Don Jordan in the comments below for a fix.

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Sabra Lane, ABC 7:30 Report, was that an interview or an advert?

Sabra Lane interviews Bernie Fraser, Chairman of the Climate Change Authority on the ABC 7:30 report. She only had time for a few questions. Shame then, to only ask one’s everyone knows the answer to.

Instead of asking Fraser how many dollars each Australian will have to spend to lower global temperatures by one degree Celsius, Sabra Lane asks him about global psychology instead: “On the Renewable Energy Target, there’s a lot of talk about the Government watering it down or getting rid of it. What impact is that having on Australia’s reputation?

What does she think the head of any “authority” dependent on the fear of a carbon-crisis for its existence was going to say? Not much — Sabra, no one overseas cares a lot about what we do?

Keep reading  →

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Will Australia get carbon trading? The Palmer and Al Gore paradox goes on…

Palmer is offering to vote for Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan as long as he gets “his” Emissions Trading Scheme as well (the one he didn’t want eight weeks ago, to solve a problem he didn’t believe existed).

None of it makes sense on its face. Clive Palmer, the coal miner and die-hard unbeliever, appears to “want” an ETS, the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and direct action to reduce CO2 as well as the RET.  (And some say that Gore lost?)

Is Palmer just playing games with both the Coalition and the media, holding cards for negotiation-sake, and messing with journalist’s heads? It could be.  But until we see the fine print on the legislation (and all the other deals), we can assume the loser of the Gore-Palmer paradox was neither Gore nor Palmer, but the Australian taxpayer.

Abbott will find it hard to knock back a deal to bring in “Direct Action”, after having campaigned for so long to get it working.  Especially if the ETS is sold as a dead duck at zero dollars and only on the condition that Japan, South Korea, China, Australian and the US all start emissions trading. How could he turn that down?

It could be a painful squeeze:  he said he wants Direct Action, but he won his position as leader of the Coalition by opposing an ETS in 2009, and Coalition voters hate the carbon imposts in every guise. An ETS is just a carbon tax in a form where the bankers scoop up the cream, instead of it being “redistributed” to special interests and marginal seats. The brokerage fees on a 2 Trillion dollar market greases a lot of wheels. The Money-Go-Round that market powers, sets up an Industry of industries clamouring for green gravy.

For Gore, being able to claim that Australia had legislated an ETS (however meaningless) is a momentum win in the public relations campaign. It would also be a sweet lever to use on Canada and Japan and everywhere elsewhere. Gore would love to turn up to the UNFCCC in Paris in 2015 with conditional agreements from a range of countries. Could he get away with it? If the Australian ETS was a joke (down to the fine print) and known to be a joke, it would not be worth a thing. But given how patsy the media are, dutiful journalists will report that “even Australia’s conservative government has signed up to an ETS” as if it means something. Do we want to rely on investigative impartial reporting? Exactly.

Clive is playing hard ball every which way, and seemingly getting away with it. But his facade of ploys would turn around and bite him if the media would only do their job and portray him as the fake man he is who transparently believes in nothing but games.  His voters didn’t vote for him to keep the RET, the Climate Change Authority, or an Emissions Trading Scheme. But the Love Media are enjoying watching him play Abbott, and have no problem with the insincerity as he panders to their green religion.

When will someone pin Clive down and ask him to explain his “climate beliefs”? We’d need a real media…


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Weekend Unthreaded


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More strange adventures in TSI data: the miracle of 900 fabricated, fraudulent days

Funny things happen on the Internet sometimes. Rather spectacular claims were made that 900 days of data “were fabricated”. This claim was described as not just speculation, but “a demonstrable fact”, and worse, the crime was apparently even “admitted to” by the man himself! Except that none of it was real, and three tiny misunderstood dots were not fabricated, not data, and not important. Welcome to a Bermuda-Triangle-moment in blog-land, where facts vanish,  ships full of  misquotes appear from nowhere, and ghosts-of-malcontent and misunderstanding roam freely. This post here is to slay the last loose ghosts, lest anybody think they might still have life in them, or indeed, think they ever did.

Usually a live debate is a brilliant way for spectators to learn. But in that particular science thread, the main lesson is not science but manners. Common courtesy may seem a quaint anachronism, but without it, logic and reason die on the sword of uninformed passion. A simple polite email and an open mind could have saved the world from a cloud of nonsense.

Thanks to the many valiant souls who fought for common sense.

It’s rare in a complex situation that the answer is so simple. (You won’t believe how small and irrelevant it all was.) The short answer is that the 900 days of fabrication was a fuss about three dots covering three years of data at the end of a 400 year graph. The tiny blue dots were described on the graph as “assumed as average” and added to the end of a solid red line. In other words, they were obviously not actual data, the description made it clear they were estimated, they were colored differently, and nothing was hidden. What’s more, their presence or absence made little difference to the arguments or the predictions. (So there was no incentive to fake them up.) It was kind of like a handy-hint was misinterpreted as a constitutional law and the trial went on for days before anybody noticed. Time for a cup of tea instead, then? We think so.

In round one, Leif Svalgaard said Evans was “blatantly wrong” about the big TSI drop (Willis Eschenbach said “wildly incorrect”) — so we explained how the fall was 11 year smoothed and was right there even in Leif’s own data. Both men read our reply (citing it here or on WUWT) and both men can comment freely here.Yet neither was willing to admit they were wrong, apologize, or correct their claims. Does accuracy matter? It does to us. This is round two, where their second mistake is as wrong as the first. We remain baffled at their behavior. We can but point to the data.

If you’ve come here for the science, the graphs and details of datasets come first. If the bloodsport competition is more your thing, the accusations and “highest” criticisms of our critics are printed at the bottom. You won’t want to miss those.

– Jo



Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Data

Dr David Evans, 4 July 2014

We need to clear up some confusion over TSI data and the Solar Model. Sorry, there is no big new “News” here, but the details matter and allegations as serious as fraud or fabrication deserve a proper response. Plus there’s a sort of useful lesson in how a silly mistake can get magnified and live on for days. Much of what follows will be obvious or covered previously. (An early reviewer said it cemented some things in his mind and he liked that anyway). We’d rather be pushing the scientific ideas forward. Soon.

1          The Context: Why there is a fuss over a fall in TSI?

The notch-delay solar model predicts a sharp global cooling and the turning point is soon (see Post VIII). It’s widely known the current solar cycle is a lot lower than the one before, but the notch-delay model predicts a sharp turn. An obvious question arises: is there some other way, apart from using the model, to see there is going to be a sharp cooling soon? (Assuming the notch-delay theory is right.)


tsi solar model hindcast

Figure 1: Climate model driven only by solar radiation, with no warming due to carbon dioxide. Predictions shown by dotted lines. See Post VIII for explanation and context.


The model includes a delay, a low pass filter, a notch filter, and parallel paths. For a move as gross as the projected imminent cooling, we can dispense with the subtleties of the last three elements and just focus on the dominant driving element—the delay. This is just a simple check. The model is of course very aware of the sunspot cycle, so any corresponding fall in TSI is not of the usual sunspot cycle variety, but is a fall after taking into account the usual ups and downs of the sunspot cycle.

The obvious and simplest way to remove most of the sunspot cycle and reveal the underlying trend is to apply an 11-year smoother to the TSI. The sunspot cycle varies from 8 to 14 years, but averages 11 years. The goal is only to crudely mimic the model’s behavior in order to get more understanding of why it predicts an imminent cooling.

2          TSI in Post VIII

Here is the TSI graph presented in Post VIII: [Jo says: look out, this is the graph that generated the Bermuda-Triangle moment.]


Figure 2: The recent fall in TSI is the steepest and one of the largest ever recorded (records go back to 1610). (There is a trivially different original before the PMOD data was updated a few days ago, linked to in Post VIII.)


Which Lean 2000 dataset was that? It’s reasonably clear:

This TSI graph shows the composite TSI data used in our project, which is described in its bare bones on the graph itself (top left). Direct measurements of TSI only started in late 1978, by satellite. The reconstruction used for most of the data in Figure 2 is from Lean 2000, which is the main, standard reconstruction. Anyone familiar with the TSI datasets can also see that the Lean 2000 data used here is the newer version with the Wang, Lean, & Sheeley background correction (2005), because the level during the Maunder Minimum is about one W/m2 below the average level since 1940, whereas in the original Lean 2000 data the difference was over two W/m2—see the first graph here.

We did mention that smoother in Post VIII: “We put an 11-year smoother through it to give us the red line, which shows the trends in solar radiation.” We then commented on the three big falls in the red line, and made the point that the third fall, which started around 2004, will lead to a corresponding fall in temperature sometime around 2014 to 2017 (but more likely 2017) according to the notch-delay solar theory.

A close up of those misunderstood blue dots

Notice the blue dotted line (circled) at the end of the red line. Here it is, blown up:

Figure 3: Enlargement of the fall in the 11-year-smoothed TSI around 2004, in Figure 2 above.


The text on Figure 2 explains the dots: “Composite TSI for Sep 2013 to Dec 2015 assumed as average TSI value from Sep 2012 to Aug 2013, to extend smoothed curve (dotted line).”  That period is roughly 900 days.

The extension was made to give us an idea of where the TSI fall might bottom out. If the data stops in August 2013, as in Figure 2, then the 11-year-smoothed values stop 5.5 years earlier, in January 2008.* We are close to a solar maximum in sunspots now, so the values of TSI for the rounded top will probably be about the same. You could reasonably disagree with that extrapolation, but the method was stated clearly on the graph.

The extension was noted in the explanatory text, dotted, and a different color to the data. It is described as assumed and used to extend. It is difficult to confuse with the data. (Apologies for stating the glaring obvious. It’s odd having to point out things this simple. We describe the fracas below. Who would have thought?)

The same dots are more obvious (and useful) on a close-up graph:


Figure 4: As per Figure 2, but from 1950. Notice how the extension of the data shows that the fall in 11-year smoothed TSI will likely end soon, and thus indicates the size of the fall in 2004, so it can be more easily compared to the falls in the 1600’s and in Napoleon’s time.


What are the differences in the TSI datasets?

TSI measurements come from satellite-based instruments. There are three main datasets. PMOD starts in late 1978, is the dataset Judith Lean used to reconstruct TSI back to 1610 from the sunspot data, and is the dataset we use predominantly. ACRIM had some troubles in the 1980s, but we use it from 1992. SORCE started in 2003. See footnote.**

Lief Svalgaard made it clear that he prefers his own reconstruction and the SORCE/TIM reconstruction (a reconstruction until 2003, then the SORCE/TIM data) to PMOD/Lean-2000:


Figure 5: The SORCE/TIM and Svalgaard reconstructions both show the three big drops in their 11-year-smoothed curves, including a recent fall. Compare to Figure 2.


Their 11-year smoothings both show three sharp declines –  in the 1600’s, in the time of Napoleon, and recently — just like our composite TSI in Figure 2. However the timing of the most recent fall is different:


Figure 6: The start of the recent fall in the 11-year-smoothed trends of the SORCE/TIM and Svalgaard reconstructions occur earlier than in the PMOD/Lean 2000 data. Compare to Figure 4.


If the SORCE/TIM and Svalgaard reconstructions are to be believed, the recent fall in TSI started back in 1995. This is a significant difference. If TSI fell from 1995 then the corresponding fall in temperature should have been evident from about 2006 — but since it didn’t happen that would mean the solar influence is weak. (Toss out that theory eh?) But if the sharp fall started around 2004, the corresponding temperature drop is yet to impact Earth.

See the graph posted and discussed here. It shows that all the TSI estimates show a recent fall in their 11-year smoothed trends, and all the falls are of a similar magnitude. All show a TSI peak in about 1986. The only substantial differences (relevant to this work) are in the timing of the start of the recent fall.

Basically it comes down to a choice between the sunspots and reconstructions based on those sunspots, or the measured TSI. As Svalgaard himself said, “All so-called ‘reconstructions’ of TSI are Guesses. Most of them bad.” The only measured data covering the relevant period from the late 1980s (required to construct an 11-year mean of the early 1990s) to the current day is PMOD.

4  The Accusations (Aka science as a “bloodsport”?)

Comments below come from the post “A Cool Question, Answered?” (which turned out to be a Hot Question, Unanswered). Don’t Svalgaard and Eschenbach protest just a little bit too much?

There are basically three accusations that Svalgaard and Eschenbach repeat over and over:

1. That my claim of “TSI dropping” around 2004 is false.

They argue against a straw man, as if I had claimed that monthly or daily TSI readings have dropped since 2004. However Post VIII , linked to in the article at WUWT,  makes it abundantly clear that I was talking about the trend, as established explicitly by 11-year smoothing and implicitly by the filtering action of the notch-delay solar model.  See Figures 2 and 5 above. Svalgaard links to a graph or the SORCE/TIM measurements since 2003 as support for his position that there is “no such drop” — but his graph is of TSI, not ll-year smoothed TSI or any trend measure of TSI. They never acknowledge either that there was a recent fall in the 11-year smoothed TSI or that I was referring to it.

Svalgaard repeats his misunderstanding here. He links here to the Figure I used in Post VIII, which is labelled “Solar radiation (TSI) 11-year smoothing“. Here Eschenbach even pastes our graph of 11-year smoothed TSI estimates, and attacks our use of 11 year smoothing! So they knew. I talked about three big falls — which are clearly visible in the 11-year-smoothed red line, but not the brown line of 1-year smoothed TSI with many falls. It is hard to explain how they missed it.

Note that this is a separate issue from Svalagaard’s position that all the past reconstructions and recent measurements are wrong except his reconstruction and the SORCE/TIM measurements from 2003, which he explains here and here.

2. That I fabricated data in my TSI graph, which is Figure 2 above.

The extension is not data. I described it as an extension on the graph itself : “to extend smoothed curve (dotted line)”, the method used to obtain it is given on the graph and that makes it clear that is not data, it is presented in a different color from the data, and is dotted, not solid, like the data. See above. The general principle is you can put anything on a graph, so long as you explain what you are doing and it is not deceptive. The extension isn’t so useful on the 400 year graph, but on the 60 year graph (Figure 4 above) it shows the likely extent of the fall.

3. That I am hiding something by not releasing my data and calculations yet.

A reminder of what we said in the introductory post: “All the data, model, and computations are in a single Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It runs on any pc with Excel 2007 or later; it runs at least partly (and maybe fully) on any Mac with Office 2011 or later. This is completely open science—every bit of data and every computation is open for inspection. We will be releasing this towards the end of the series of blog posts.” The reasons for this—so as not to preempt the blog posts, and to engender a more focused conversation with useful feedback –were given several times, and elaborated upon here. The spreadsheet would already have been released by now, but some people prepared to comment publicly on it still don’t know the basics, and it takes time to correct their mistakes.

Here are some of the , er, highlights:

Svalgaard 1. The TSI used by Evans is totally wrong“.  | Lean 2000, PMOD, and ACRIM are mainstream datasets. The datasets for the critical period from the mid 1980s on are basically the PMOD and ACRIM measurements. Svalgaard implies these measurements are “totally wrong”, while putting forward only reconstructions to cover the period before 2003. So, this is a case of measurements vs reconstruction.

Svalgaard 2. “The most blatant error is the statement that TSI has had a sharp unprecedented drop starting in 2003-2005 to now. This is complete nonsense. There is no such drop. | Straw man. A drop in 11-year smoothed TSI has clearly occurred, even in his own reconstruction (doesn’t he see it?).

Svalgaard 3.As far as I am concerned, the model is already falsified. Not by the observations but by the [almost fraudulent - as there clearly is an agenda here] use of invalid input to begin with. | Fraud implies lying with intent to deceive. See Figures 5 and 6: who lied? Svalgaard prefers his own reconstruction or the the IPCC reconstruction that recently replaced the one I used: who’s got an agenda?

Svalgaard 4. “The data is not slightly wrong, but verry wrong, and hence the prediction [...] is wrong, which was my point.” | The prediction is based on measurements of TSI since the mid1990s, but mainly around 2004, made by PMOD and ACRIM. Svalgaard only offers a reconstruction for most of this period. Again, we use mainstream measurements while he uses reconstructions, both of which show a trend drop anyway.

Svalgaard 5. “On the contrary he has shown that Mr Evans used wrong TSI data. This is either incompetence [I will allow for that hence my 'almost'] or a deliberate act [you made that call].” | Again, we use mainstream measurements while he uses his reconstruction.

Svalgaard 6.The SORCE/TIM data is correct since 2003 and contradicts Mr Evans demonstrably false assertion that there was a sharp drop in TSI in the 2003-2005 time. | Straw man. See accusation 1 above.

Svalgaard 7.On the contrary, TSI is now higher than at any time in the SORCE/TIM record, so Mr Evans has spliced the SORCE/TIM data incorrectly to the observations covering 1978-2002. | Huh? How would he know? As it happens, I didn’t use the SORCE/TIM data.

Svalgaard 8.That the 2000 Lean reconstruction is invalid is well-known [even Lean agrees with this] so Mr Evans is either incompetent or deliberately using invalid ‘data’ without having done his due diligence. The Krivova reconstruction suffers from the same problem as Lean’s obsolete one: invoking a background based on the flawed Group Sunspot Number. | My prediction of an upcoming fall relies on PMOD and ACRIM data from the critical period from the mid1980s, not from any reconstruction. Perhaps those making claims of incompetence ought first be competent readers?

Svalgaard 9.Mr Evans made a horrible mistake [deliberately or out of ignorance - your call] making his prediction worthless; one cannot scientifically disagree with such nonsense. Disagreement requires substance and there is none in Mr Evans’ work. Straw man. See accusation 1 above.

Svalgaard 10: In response to something Christopher Monckton said, “You are correct that nothing can rest on Mr Evans’ incorrectly doctored dataset. Oddly enough he refers to me as “Mr Evans” but accuses me of doctoring. Funny man.

Svalgaard 11: “I will agree that Mr Evans did not intend to have anybody discover his little ‘trick’. [One is reminded of Mann's 'Nature Trick' of Climategate fame].” The extension is plain to anyone. There was no “trick”, nor anything to gain from the dots—they limit the downward trend. See accusations 2 and 3 above.

Svalgaard 12: In response to “what’s all the hubub about?” Svalggard says “It is about scientific honesty [or rather lack thereof]“. | Dishonesty? I didn’t misquote Svalagaard or say he did things he didn’t, did I?

Svalgaard 13: “So Mr Evans fabricates out of thin air about 900 days of TSI and tags that to the end of the curve.” | The extension was clearly explained on the graph itself, and is visually very different from the data. See accusation 2 above.

Svalgaard 14: “Both Willis and I have shown that Mr Evans invented the decline of TSI since 2003-2005. | All the estimates and datasets show a recent fall in 11-year-smoothed TSI, even Svalgaard’s own reconstruction. See the first figure here.

Svalgaard 15: “And the fabrication [of data] is a fact as I showed above by Mr Evans’ own words.”  | It’s a “fact” now? And wait… it’s in my “own words”, but you said I was hiding it? So which is it? See accusation 2 above.

Svalgaard 16: “Even the data he claims is Lean 2000 has been tampered with and doctored into shape.”  | The TSI in the TSI graph in Post VIII is a composite of Lean 2000 and other sources, so it will not exactly match Lean 2000. As noted above, anyone familiar with the TSI datasets can immediately see that the Lean 2000 data used here is the version with the Wang, Lean, & Sheeley background correction. Odd that he didn’t notice.

Svalgaard 17: Mr Evans does indeed fabricate and invent data. End of discussion.” | Since there is no fabrication or invention, where does that put Svalgaard and Eschenbach? See accusation 2 above.

Eschenbach 1: “I begged David Evans, begged him please, please, to release the hidden code, to stop keeping the model equation a secret, to reveal the data, to expose the numbers of tunable parameters, to show the results of the out-of-sample tests that Jo says he’s already done …” | Really? Begged? I don’t recall ever having talked with Willis or exchanging emails with him. And I’ve searched through all the comments Eschenbach left on the blog posts here about the notch-delay solar project…and no “beg”. No asking even. Certainly no “please”. Just lots of repetitive berating for not releasing material immediately, and he did not even address our clearly stated reasons given for introductions-before-material.

So how about you quote yourself Willis: where is this begging you keep said you did?. I’ll quote you — this is what you typically say at the bottom of one of your articles: “USUAL REQUEST: …please quote the exact words you disagree with. That way, everyone can understand your point of reference and your objections.”

Eschenbach 2:“I begged Jo and David to publish, and I got the same answer we’ve gotten from every other pseudo-scientist, that for me to ask was wrong, wrong, wrong, and that they’d publish the code and data and out-of-sample tests when they damn well felt like it … science at its finest.” | Yep, definitely said “begged”; see accusation 3.

[Jo adds: I note that Willis raised the “Mann and Jones” false equivalence on this blog on June 21, and my answer to this was not quite the “same answer we’ve gotten from every other pseudo-scientist”. Willis asked:And why on earth do I have to ask you pretty please if you’ll release your results as if you were Phil Jones or Michael Mann?” Jo replied: “Because Phil Jones and Michael Mann get your taxes. We don’t. That’s why.”  This from the man who insists people quote him exactly?]

Eschenbach 3:…and admit that (at least according to their graph) they have made a wildly incorrect claim that the TSI has fallen precipitously since about 2004. It is on the basis of this supposed fall that they are predicting falling temperatures.”  |   Straw man. See accusation 1 above.

Eschenbach 4: “But neither of us owe David Evans an apology. He’s the one that made the horrendous newbie mistake, not us.”  | Ummm, you didn’t notice it was 11-year-smoothed TSI and trends in TSI we were talking about?

Eschenbach 5: “That quote from the graph itself clearly says that they have invented the data from March of 2013 to December of 2015, which is the 900 days of data that Leif mentions. Now, I’ve used the word “invented” for that data. The graph itself uses the word “assumed” for that data. And Leif used the word “fabricated” for that data.”  | “Invented data” now? Not so. (It’s like Chinese whispers: assumed means invented means fabricated. Go Directly To Jail!). It was clearly explained and marked on the graph itself. See accusation 2 above.

Eschenbach 6: “Next, David Evans has not released the data, the model, the model results, the equations, the out-of-sample tests, or any of the details. This is the same garbage we got from Michael Mann and Phil Jones. And now, here you are cluttering up WUWT with the same kind of garbage. There is no transparency. There is no data. There is no code. In what alternate universe does this pass for science?” | Didn’t read the introductory post perhaps? Don’t believe the answers we gave you? See accusation 3 above.

Eschenbach 7: “Christopher, I have a simple rule that has never failed me. When a man is hiding something, it’s because he’s got something to hide. |  I have a simple rule too: when a man attacks a scientific argument with accusations about motives, there is something else going on. See accusation 3 above.

Eschenbach 8: “I’m sad to see you and David Evans and Joanne taking up the habits of Mann and Jones, David. I’d thought y’all were scientists. Ah, well, live and learn.”  | We are sad to see a skeptic taking up the habit of character attacks, as is commonly used by unskeptical people. See accusation 3 above.

And on and on and on.

We are looking forward to releasing the spreadsheet, and are grateful that Eschenbach and Svalgaard have made it clear they have made their conclusions already. ; -)

5          Conclusion

Otherwise, we remain baffled. The comments by Svalgaard and Eschenbach at WUWT are inexplicable. Svalgaard says that “science is a bloodsport”, but Joanne notes that it “doesn’t have to be… You could use logic and reasoning instead.” We offer no speculation on the reasons for their repetitious, tendentious, and aggressive comments. It doesn’t look like truth-finding to us when someone uses fallacies, fails to quote exactly, and fails to acknowledge polite responses pointing out their misunderstandings. We see little hope that their attitude will change, so we expect more of the same as we roll out the project.

A big thank you to Christopher Monckton and the others who objected at WUWT and pushed back. Thank you! They  sensed that a crime was being committed and they did what they could. And thank you also to those who have emailed us, or left comments on this blog about the matter, or donated. (BTW Joanne spoke to Anthony Watts at length yesterday in a friendly exchange. He had arrived late at the “Bermuda Triangle”, and did what he could. Please keep comments constructive below. This post is about commenters and a new theory, not Anthony.)

We are still rolling out the introductory blog posts. It is taking much longer than we had anticipated partly because of the need to respond to unwarranted and inaccurate criticisms and statements. We very much want feedback, good and bad, and appreciate the well informed, polite sort the most. We will resume the series as soon as we can, other commitments, notwithstanding.

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Award Winning Skeptics and the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change

Ten awards will be given to prominent global warming skeptics at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-9), taking place in Las Vegas on July 7-9.

It’s great to see people who have put their careers and reputations on the line for scientific progress get the recognition they deserve. Awards are not as exciting as “new science” I know, but they are an important way to say thank you for some exemplary dedication. There are some giants here who I very much admire.

 Sherwood B. Idso,  Arthur B. Robinson, Roy Spencer, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley,
 S. Fred Singer,  Willie Soon, Patrick Moore,   Tom Harris,  Alan Carlin, E. Calvin Beisner . 

There is still time to get tickets to go to the conference. We, unfortunately, can’t be there, but had fabulous, rewarding experiences in the past. It is a great credit to Heartland that they put on better science conferences than The Royal Society.  The truth shall not be suppressed (but only because some people put in the effort to get it out there). Don’t discount how useful it is to make the effort to say thank you.

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Climate change could stop fish finding their friends

Filed under: Light relief (for a moment til we get back to The solar model)

Not only will your air conditioner make little fish more reckless, but other fish might seriously not be able to find their friends for coffee. I did not make up that headline. Your taxes did.

Note the carefully phrased results:

“Whilst fish kept under normal conditions consistently chose the familiar school, fish reared under high CO2 conditions showed no preference for either the unfamiliar or familiar school.”

If increasing CO2 was a politically-correct achievement, would that same result carry a headline telling us that “Climate Change makes Fish More Confident with Strangers”?

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The Solar Model finds a big fall in TSI data that few seem to know about

Leif Svalgaard claims “TSI has not fallen since 2003″. It’s technically true in a sense, but demonstrably false when discussing 11 year smoothed trends (which is written on the graph he was criticizing). Willis Eschenbach sadly was carried along. This post is in response to an overheated thread at WUWT. Both men owe David Evans an apology.

The fuss is over the big fall in TSI.  Leif Svalgaard said it was “almost fraudulent” that we claimed there was a fall in TSI since 2003 since there wasn’t a fall in this dataset. He says: “There is no such drop.” I say, look at the graph below, it’s even in your own data.  Svalgaard provided the link to his TSI set, and we’ve included that line in the graph below. It’s the light-purple line. (Has he paid attention for the last ten years?)

In his rush to call it “totally wrong” and to declare “the model is already falsified” he didn’t notice we were talking about a trend in 11 year smoothed TSI, and the fall is evident in whole cycles (but takes some wisdom to find in daily or monthly data). I guess that’s a mistake that could happen to anyone — but some of us might ask politely before we started calling “fraud”, and saying things like “Mr Evans assertion is false [and I maintain seems to be agenda driven..." Likewise, Willis Eschenbach unskeptically follows: "as Leif points out, he’s using a bogus set of TSI data." If skeptics toss out careless accusations, it rather cheapens the real ones.

Obviously the 11-year smoothed effect is news to Svalgaard, perhaps it's news to a lot of people. It's something David found because his Fourier work suggested a notch, and the Solar Model that was made with a notch filter predicted a  big fall to come. From that David inferred there must have been a corresponding large drop in TSI and then he created the 11 year smoothed graph and found it (in response, it must be said, to an email from Lubos in April asking if there was an easier way to see there was going to be a big fall in temperature than through the model output).

The comments at WattsUp has been unseemly, and entirely unnecessary. (I'm sure it doesn't help Anthony.) We will deal with other misunderstandings from the same thread (yes there were more) in a future post. The uninformed ad homs are a waste of time. What happened to common courtesy?

Compare the major datasets of TSI or proxies:

The major TSI datasets all agree there has been a large fall since 2003, in terms of 11 year smoothing (which is obviously required to remove the sunspot cycle and reveal the underlying trend). The SORCE/TIM reconstruction shows the fall starting in 1994. The “composite TSI” is that used by David to drive the model, averaging Lean 2000 (to the end of 2008), PMOD, and ACRIM (from the start of 1992).


As to whether the SORCE data should have been used in the Notch-Delay Solar Model — it’s rather trivially clear that since it starts in 2003 it’s not very useful for 11 year smoothed graphs, because there is only a single point of 11-year-smoothed data. It’s no use for finding the  model parameters, because the delay of about 11 years means it cannot be used to check predicted temperatures against observed temperatures yet. And SORCE might be wonderful but it isn’t useful for Fourier analysis of long term climate cycles either (it’s hard to find an 11 year delay in only 11 years of data).

Strangely too, for a commenter who I hear is familiar with solar data, Svalgaard seems to forget that the last peak of solar cycles was 2001-2002, which is not visible in the graph he linked to (SORCE wasn’t operating then). Svalgaard compares data that starts after the peak with the next peak and says “they are the same” as if it means something. It’s a tad misleading (to be polite). I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way.

The graph below pretty clearly shows how TSI from the 2003 to 2012 fits — at least in the larger PMOD scheme of things (SORCE data only covers this short era). Yes, it’s technically accurate to say that TSI now is the same as 2003. Svalgaard declares ” If anything TSI is now higher than it were in 2003.” But it is obvious that the peak of the latest cycle is a lot less than previous ones. 


In PMOD data (like SORCE data) obviously TSI now is similar to 2003. Equally obviously, that’s a meaningless comparison. The current peak is nothing like the last one.

Svalgaard thinks science is a bloodsport

Svalgaard emailed me this morning saying “science is a bloodsport”.

I replied that it “doesn’t have to be… You could use logic and reasoning instead.” 

All the facts could be uncovered faster by honest enquiring minds without malice. People who brought preconceived assumptions about “motivations” and bad-will into a science debate failed to read what was put before them.  We knew David’s work was going to be difficult, and that’s why we’ve released it bit by bit. They aren’t the only ones who have not read carefully enough.

Svalgaard admits reconstructions are “guesses”

Noteworthy is Svalgaard’s honesty about reconstructions. Commenter Brad, here asked why Leif used the term “TSI-guess” in his file label, Leif responded  saying: “All so-called ‘reconstructions’ of TSI are Guesses. Most of them bad. The TSI-Guess.xls file is my guess.”

He elaborated:

TSI varies because the magnetic field of the Sun varies, and the field varies as the Sunspot Number does, so the variation of TSI is essentially that of the sunspot number [which is known] on top of a fixed background that does not vary. Based on the past decade of SORCE/TIM precise measurements of TSI, we can calibrate the sunspot number in terms of TSI. That gives me a Guess, which will not be correct in details, but will capture the gross features of the variation.

A brief history of TSI datasets

David Evans looked at all the major TSI datasets he could find in 2013, and downloaded the data available on 8 Aug 2013 when he froze the data used by the project. It’s harder to measure the sunlight than you might think, because there is a wide spectrum of light from UV to infra red. Everyone thought there was essentially no variation to measure up ’til late 1978 when people started observing it with satellites — it’s telling that TSI used to be called “the solar constant”. But there is really only one observed record that runs through the last 35 years, namely PMOD. ACRIM provides data from 1978, but before 1992 or so its results disagreed with PMOD and Lean (which is a reconstruction guided by PMOD). Like everything in climate, there is a war going over the adjustments and reconstructions and no one can agree. Fans of the IPCC now say the TSI was falling for decades, while others think TSI pretty much stayed high til the 23rd cycle and the 24th has been strikingly small.*

The PMOD dataset is the longest running continuous TSI record. ACRIM data got compromised by the Challenger Shuttle exploding, and then its results apparently didn’t quite make sense until the early 1990s.  Bring on SOURCE, a new hot tool in 2003, which seems to work well.  Lean and co used the PMOD data with sunspots during the same period and figured out a kind of calibration to use so we could estimate TSI from the old sunspot data. Yes, it’s difficult and we all wish Napoleon had fixed his satellite program, but it was not to be. The data is what it is. We are all doing the best we can.

Hmm. That’s a sudden adjustment in the reconstruction of TSI dataset?

The steep fall shown in the graphs for the predictions in part VIII is from 11 year smoothing of the PMOD and ACRIM data. And it’s still there in the updated data (see the update in post VIII). But a funny thing happened to the SORCE/TIM dataset.  Anthony Watts covered the strange rearrangement of TSI reported on Feb 6 2014. The SORCE / TIM data changed rather a lot overnight. Previously there were four high peaks in the late 20th Century, but now there was only one, and it was the earliest.

Note the dramatic change in the last three peaks. (It’s a 3 second slow blink)

The animation makes it clear the shape of the last few peaks is quite different.

The next data battleground is going to be when the fall in TSI occurred. If it occurred in 2003 as per the PMOD and ACRIM data, then a corresponding fall in temperature is on the cards for about 2017. If it started in 1995 as per the new SORCE/TIM reconstruction now favored by the IPCC suggests, then the corresponding fall in temperature should have been evident from about 2006 — but since it didn’t happen that would mean the solar influence is weak. In the return of a previous theme, the measured data favors the former, while the later relies on reconstructions (the SORCE/TIM data only starts in 2003, and is not relevant to the 11 year smoothed values in the mid 1990s)  that flatly disagree with the measured data.

The bottom line here is that perhaps SORCE/TIM is a better guesstimate of TSI than PMOD, but whatever PMOD is measuring seems to be a better predictor of Earth’s temperature.  So in future if we can elucidate what makes PMOD useful and the new SORCE/TIM reconstruction not so much, then we may get clues as to the mystery force that operates with an 11 year lag. Obviously temperature is not following the SORCE/TIM reconstruction with an 11 year lag, but it does seem to follow PMOD.


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Are transfer functions meaningless (the “white noise” point)? Beware your assumptions!

Some people are claiming that the transfer function is meaningless because you could use white noise instead of temperature data and get the same notch. It’s true, you could. But the argument is itself a surprisingly banal fallacy. It looks seductive, but it’s like saying that it is meaningless to add 3 oranges to 3 oranges because you could add 3 oranges to 3 apples and you’d still get six!

It is trivially obvious that the transfer function will find a relationship between entirely unrelated time series, as any mathematical tool will when it’s misapplied. The question that matters — as with any mathematical tool — is has it been misapplied? What matters is whether the base assumption is valid, and whether the results will be a useful answer to the question you’ve asked. If the assumption is that apples and oranges are both pieces of fruit, and the question you ask is “how many pieces of fruit do we have”, then it is useful to add apples and oranges. But if you are trying to compare changes in fruit consumption, adding the two is mindless. So let’s look at the assumptions and the question being asked.

Assumptions first

Two assumptions were made before computing the transfer function. And before anyone complains that the whole project was a circular tautology — pay attention — the assumptions are temporary. They are a “what if” used to see if we get a meaningful answer. Later the assumptions are dropped and tested.

Assuming that:

1. Recent global warming was associated almost entirely with TSI.

2. The climate system is linear and invariant

…then, the transfer function from TSI to temperature is of great interest and sinusoidal analysis is appropriate.

David Evans has been explicit about both right from the start, but not all commenters seem to realize the implications.

The transfer function between TSI and Earth’s (surface) temperature will be meaningless if there is no causal link between TSI and Earth’s temperature. (Some people may need to read that twice).

This “link” could be an indirect one. It doesn’t mean that TSI itself is causing the change in temperature. It could, for example, mean that TSI is a leading indicator of other solar events that lag it by 11 years. It could be that those other events — say magnetic fields, solar wind, UV or other spectrum changes — are the ones actually causing the albedo changes that cause the temperature to change 11 years after the TSI changes.

By all means, if you have definitive evidence that changes in TSI cannot possibly be directly or indirectly associated with changes in Earth’s temperature, do let us know. It will save us a lot of time. Likewise, if you know of any reason why TSI can not possibly be a leading indicator for some other solar factor which acts with an 11 year cycle, please let us know. Some people are willing to declare they know that TSI cannot be associated with changes in Earth’s temperature.  Some of us have an open mind. The solar dynamo is not completely worked out. Fair?

What about the question we are trying to answer?

As to the second part, what question was David Evans asking, and are the results useful? He made it explicit.

The initial aim of this project is to answer this question: If the recent global warming was associated almost entirely with solar radiation, and had no dependence on CO2, what solar model would account for it?

So is the discovery of a notch filter useful, and does it help to create a solar model? It certainly looks that way so far.

The model was constructed in the frequency domain. The main feature in the transfer function is the notch, so we tried building a similar notch in the model. The existence of the notch implies there has to be an accompanying  delay (the timing seems unnaturally perfect, people are understandbly having trouble wrapping their heads around that). The delay was later found to likely be 11 years, which is not only the length of the major cycle of the solar dynamo but is borne out by other independent studies– such as Usoskin, Soon, Archibald, Friis-Christensen and Lassen, Solheim, Moffa-Sanchez, etc. (see  post III). Later, a model based on an 11 year delay was found to produce reasonable results (see that hindcasting).

So the notch turned out to be very useful in building the model, giving two of the  five elements in the model (the other three are the low pass filter, the RATS multiplier, and the immediate path for TSI, which were deduced by physical reasoning).

It would be better if there was a known mechanism. Of course, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, steady on. We are working on it. If people already knew what force X was then presumably they would have noticed its correlation with temperature and the climate problem would already have been solved, wouldn’t it? Some commenters, (those not focused on fallacies like argument from incredulity or the mechanics of publication time-tables) are being very helpful in gathering clues on force X — thank you!.

PS: The release?

And for those who are impatiently waiting the full working model, we’re working on it. There are a few last-minute things  to sort out. The spreadsheet used data to August 2013 in the investigation, and was frozen months ago with that data. That’s the copy that is available to people who got advance notice. Now that we are releasing it, it would be nice to update the data, while preserving the original calculations. David is copying the Aug 2013 data and updating all the data. We are also figuring out the creative commons conditions that would be workable, and deciding how to manage suggestions, adaptations, and modifications. We suspect the normal open source software sites don’t deal with 20Mb Excel files which people can modify, but which are very difficult to track changes on (does anyone know of a similar project?). Right now the sciencespeak legal department, open science support team, human relations division and marketing arm are working flat tack. (That’s both of us. ;-) )

The biggest impediment at the moment is that some people still haven’t read the first posts we put up carefully enough. Even though we answered their questions personally in comments they still keep repeating the same points. Should we have kept the whole project secret until we had solved all these questions? Perhaps, but it’s been immensely helpful to get some feedback and help from some readers, and we didn’t know who would be the most useful beforehand. They have made themselves known.

On the other hand we’re being compared to Phil Jones and Michael Mann by one commenter, which we think is a tiny bit over-the-top, given that Jones and Mann are funded by the taxpayer and they spent years and used legal means to prevent their data being made public. To put a fine point on it, we got no income from taxes, and we owe the critics nothing. We also ask nothing of them (except, implicitly, patience and manners). Maybe that looks equivalent to a few people –  we can’t see it. All the fuss, seriously, is flattering (if counter-productive).

Manners makes no difference to the scientific method, but ultimately the human practice of the Scientific Method is only ever advanced by … humans, and manners do matter. Science is never advanced by namecalling, misquoting, strawmen and personal attacks. Please quote us exactly, eh?

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Weekend Unthreaded

I’m sure some people must be tired of discussing the solar model ;-)

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Sea level rise less than 1mm for last 125 years in Kattegatt, Europe — Nils-Axel Morner

Nils‐Axel Mörner has a new paper out (his 589th). For 60 years he has been tracking the coastlines close to him, and carefully isolated the exact part which appears to be the most stable. From that he shows that the real sea-level rise in Northern Europe is less than 1 millimeter a year since 1890. This is less that the 1.6mm trend in 182 NOAA tide gauges, and far below the estimates of the IPCC reports.

There is also no sign of acceleration in sea-levels for the last 50 years. (How much should Europeans spend to stop a 1mm annual rise that was already going in 1890 and has not changed much since then?) If anything, Nils work shows how difficult it is to measure true sea-level rise on land that shifts.

In this graph below, he compares the rise of most tide gauges with the Kattegatt region, and the IPCC results. This is only one result from one place, but it is based on thousands of readings from sites all around Kattegatt. His painstaking attention to extreme detail and empirical data stands in stark contrast to the IPCC where the trend depends heavily on adjustments. (Those adjustments appear to be based on a tide gauge in Hong Kong that is subsiding compared to the four other records nearby). Nils notes that people once thought true eustatic sea level changes would be the same all over the world, but this is not so. He remarks that the search for a meaningful mean global rate has become “illusive”.

Nils explained that the superb thing with the Kattegatt region is that we have both a perfect control on the crustal movements, as well as a number of fine tide gauges, so, we can separate the two factors in a way hardly possible anywhere else.


The rise since 1890 is consistent, slow, and linear.


To show how much work goes into analyzing land masses for their tilt and change in height, here is one graph of norther Europe. The boxed area (Kattegatt) lies on the edge in between areas which are moving in opposite directions.

Keep reading  →

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